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April 25, 2014

John Munch strikes again!

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Feb 19th 2008 9:07AM

Richard Belzer as Det. John MunchSo who saw this past Sunday's episode of The Wire? If you did, then you probably saw the quick little cameo by Richard Belzer as a bar patron near the end of the episode. After I watched it, one question came to mind: was he playing John Munch? According to this NPR article, he was. However, the basis for the logic was subtle and only a serious TV buff would have picked up on it. Not even I caught it and I'm a huge Wire and Homicide fan.

At one point during his conversation with the bartender (as Clark Johnson's character Gus Haynes walked by) Munch mentioned that he owned a bar once. Now if you recall, in the later seasons of Homicide, Munch did own a bar. Here's where it gets interesting though. Do you remember who he owned the bar with? Detective Meldrick Lewis... played by Clark Johnson. Crazy, huh?

Anyway, here's the real point of this post. With this appearance on The Wire, Belzer has now played Munch on eight different programs. That's insane! The only other characters to come close to that are Norm and Cliff (George Wendt and John Ratzenberger) from Cheers with seven distinct appearances each. Read on for more...

Where else have you seen John Munch? Here's the list:

  1. Homicide: Life on the Street
  2. The X-Files
  3. Law & Order
  4. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  5. Law & Order: Trial by Jury
  6. The Beat
  7. Arrested Development
  8. The Wire

I think what surprises me the most is that he's never guested on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Or for that matter, an episode of The Simpsons. Regardless, it's still pretty impressive.

UPDATE: Make that ten different series. According to this USA Today post dated 8/5/07, Belzer has played Munch on The Simpsons as well as Sesame Street. Hilarious. [Thanks to Nate for the tip!]

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Claudeland

The reason why he was in the show was because in season one fo SVU he made a comment to his fellow officers sayin " i wude never step foot in baltimore again " it might have been the 1st ep of the season im not sure

May 08 2008 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jenni Lee

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001938/

Under The Wire it says he is playing Munch.

February 20 2008 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nathaniel

I remember reading (sorry, don't have a source, and no, not from earlier in this thread) that the Sesame Street appearance was not played by Belzer.

Nonetheless, this is awesome! Even though I have only seen the Arrested Development appearance of Munch, I am a nerd for crossovers, and this is amazing.

February 19 2008 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

How about some more trivia for the scene:

-Munch was based on the real life detective Jay Landsman. The real Jay Landsman plays Lt. Mello on The Wire and he was in the bar at the same time as Munch too. The only thing which would have made it even more weird was if the Jay Landsman of The Wire (fat sergeant who orders the detectives around) was also in the bar at the same time.

February 19 2008 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Borat's comment
Jonathan Toomey

You lifted that right from my review of the episode :)

http://www.tvsquad.com/2008/02/17/the-wire-took/

"Richard Belzer! He only had a few lines and no one, other than the bartender, acknowledged him. So, the big question? Was he supposed to be just some guy? Or was he supposed to be Munch? Because if so, that would create a nice little connection with Homicide. Plus it would be about the millionth show that Belzer has portrayed that role on. Also of note? The character of John Munch was based on the real life Jay Landsman, who just so happened to also be in the bar. Landsman plays Lt. Dennis Mello, whom Gus sat done and spoke with. (Not to be confused with Delaney Williams, who plays Jay Landsman on The Wire. Got it?)"

February 20 2008 at 7:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

Hmm that does seem like it is from your review. To be honest I already knew this info from before.

February 20 2008 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
FreeAgent

Munch is the king. They need to put him back in major status on SVU instead of recurring.

February 19 2008 at 6:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Urban Thought

Of course, Criminal Intent exists in the Law & Order world. This is why Chris Noth (Mike Logan) is able to play his reprised roll on the show.

Criminal Intent shares the same Medical Examiner as the original Law & Order.

February 19 2008 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Urban Thought

Of course, Criminal Intent exists in the Law & Order world. This is why Chris Noth (Mike Logan) is able to play his reprised roll on the show.

Criminal Intent shares the same Medical Examiner as the original Law & Order.

February 19 2008 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andy

Munch has never been on The Simpsons, and the character's appearance on Sesame Street was not played by Belzer.

February 19 2008 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D-Bo

Richard Belzer ftw


I would love to see Munch and Goren work a case together...

February 19 2008 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sitruc

Does Criminal Intent even exist in the L&O world anymore?

February 19 2008 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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