John Munch

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What we have here is a small, semi-just-for-fun page for the character with the single most appearances outside his own series this side of a Public Domain Character, making him the king of the Intercontinuity Crossover.

In every appearance, Munch is portrayed by Richard Belzer, who outside of this role is better known as a stand-up comedian. As of 2020, Belzer will have played Munch for 27 years and 28 consecutive seasons as a regular on two different shows (along with cameos and crossover appearances on at least 10 others) which has him tied (though technically one year behind chronologically as the first season of Homicide premiered mid season) with Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane (on Cheers and Frasier), James Arness as Matt Dillon and Milburn Stone as Doc Adams (both of Gunsmoke) as American television's longest running live action character.

Munch has become the only fictional character, played by a single actor, to physically appear on 10 different television series, on 5 different networks.

Shows to feature John Munch:

As a guest star

  • The X-Files - As the Baltimore cop interrogating the future Lone Gunmen. There's also a hilarious scene in SVU where a reporter refers to Munch and Novak as Mulder and Scully. So...
    • Not only that but in one episode of Homicide, Munch mentions that a character is probably watching The X-Files.
  • Law & Order
    • Munch's appearance on the original Law and Order as part of a Homicide cross-over is partly what got him the job on SVU. Belzer originally pitched to Dick Wolf that Munch join Law and Order as Briscoe's new partner. The role had been filled, so Wolf transplanted Munch to SVU instead.
  • The Beat
  • Law & Order: Trial by Jury
  • Arrested Development (credited as himself), as a "Professor of Scrapbooking"
  • The Wire (ironically, former Baltimore Police Department detective Jay Landsman, the real-life inspiration for Munch, plays a recurring role).
    • It should also be pointed out that Landsman, playing Lieutenant Mello, was actually in the scene. As was Clark Johnson, formerly Munch's fellow Homicide castmate.
      • If that's not enough, The Wire has a character named Jay Landsman who was also inspired by the real Jay Landsman, and was played by yet a third actor.
  • Sesame Street (the skit, "Special Letters Unit", a spoof of Law and Order Special Victims Unit, is the one time the character is not played by Richard Belzer.
    • This puppet returns in Elmopalooza as the 'Richard Belzer stunt puppet', accompanied by Belzer himself.
  • And then there's the character's appearance in the French version of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, which is what tipped the character into a trope-on-his-own territory.
  • In the book I Am Not A Cop, by Richard Belzer, Richard Belzer is mistaken for John Munch, and asked to help solve a case.
    • A joke book about stupid criminals recounted a story about a robber who stumbled into a taping of Homicide and surrendered to John Munch.
      • Which is actually true. I heard it from the horse's mouth (well, in an interview with him on Youtube). However, the reports that he testified in court is just a rumour.
  • In an episode of 30 Rock, Belzer and Ice-T show up as their L&O:SVU characters for a joke. It's more than just an incidental cameo because it's clearly not a real episode of SVU. Belzer later appears as himself in the series finale
  • In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, there is an episode where the characters watch a fictional Law & Order spinoff episode starring Munch.
  • In a 2009 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Richard Belzer was interviewed as himself, then does an impromptu scene as Munch with Kimmel and Joel McHale.
  • Munch appears in the 2016 comic book Spider-Man/Deadpool #6

Referenced but not seen