Det. John Munch
played by Richard Belzer
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) took his pension for 20 years of service, moved to New York City, and joined the elite Special Victims Unit. A transfer from Baltimore's homicide unit, he brings to the team his acerbic wit, conspiracy theories and street-honed investigative skills. Munch is partnered with Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, who is a formidable match for him. Despite his cynical, satirical, and sometimes miserable nature, John is capable of great passion and cares deeply about his co-workers and the victims that the team fights to get justice for.

Richard Belzer reprises his acerbic character "Detective John Munch" on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after first portraying Munch on NBC's critically acclaimed drama series Homicide: Life on the Street for seven seasons. His character transferred from Baltimore to New York to join the crime unit.

"This is one conspiracy in which I was a willing participant," says Belzer, a renowned conspiracy theorist. In fact, Belzer has played Detective Munch on a record number of television series - Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Homicide, The X-Files, and The Beat.

The veteran stand-up comic, actor, talk-show host and author was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Due to his "uncontrollable wit," Belzer was politely asked to leave every school he ever attended. He first worked as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post and several other newspapers around the country. This interest in journalism is traced directly to his days as a paperboy in his hometown. Belzer honed his life experiences into barbed comedic material drawn from other former jobs including teacher, census-taker, jewelry salesman, and dockworker.

Belzer began his career in show business with a starring role in Groove Tube, the counterculture film that went on to become a cult classic. Since then, Belzer's comedic talents have been featured in every entertainment medium from off-Broadway ("The National Lampoon Show" with Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and John Belushi) to radio ("Brink and Belzer" on WNBC) to film (Fame, Author, Author, Night Shift, and Scarface). He also appeared as himself in the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. His other film credits include Species II, Get on the Bus, Girl 6, A Very Brady Sequel, North, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and The Big Picture. Additionally, Belzer starred in his own HBO comedy special, Another Lone Nut, and released a comedy CD of the same title. He hosted ABC's primetime special When Cars Attack, starred in the six-part comedy Showtime series The Richard Belzer Show, hosted the live Lifetime talk show Hot Properties, and hosted Court TV's Crime Stories.

Belzer is also the author of UFOs, JFK and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe, and is the co-author of How to Be a Standup Comic. He hosted and produced The Belzer Connection, a series of conspiracy-theory prime time specials for the Sci-Fi Channel. He is currently writing, producing, and starring in a sketch comedy style feature film satire This is America for Madonna's Maverick Films. A companion book is being published by Judith Regan's imprint, Regan Books.

Belzer was honored by the New York Friars Club and the Toyota Comedy Festival as the honoree of the first ever roast that was open to the public. Comedians and friends on the dais included Roast master Paul Shaffer, Christopher Walken, Danny Aiello, Barry Levinson, Robert Klein, Bill Maher, SVU co-stars Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, and Dann Florek, and Law & Order's Jerry Orbach.

Belzer and his wife, actress Harlee McBride, live in New York City while filming the series and in France during the remainder of the year.