'Law & Order: SVU': Richard Belzer on Munch's retirement and why the time is right

After playing Detective John Munch in a record 10 shows since 1993, Richard Belzer leaves the force on a special episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Wednesday (Oct. 16).Belzer, who plays the sardonic detective, and Warren Leight, "SVU's" executive producer, spoke exclusively with Zap2it explaining why and how he will exit."It's painful," Leight says in the lobby of a Times Square theater, where he was overseeing a forthcoming episode. "In the real world, which we try to very hard to simulate, NYPD has mandatory retirement before your 63rd birthday. And we were trying to figure out how to deal with it. The reason NYPD does it is because you can't have 65-year-old guys running after guys. It is a hard and fast rule."It creates some pathos and sadness," Leight says of losing this mainstay character. "I love writing for Munch. I started out as a comedy writer and he's closest, in some ways,...



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