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Richard Belzer leaving 'SVU' after 15 years

Dann Florek and Richard Belzer, actors from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," walk the red carpet at the 2013 NBC Upfronts at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on May 13, 2013. (AP Photo)

After solving brutal crimes for 20 years, it is time for Sgt. John Munch to retire, The Huffington Post reports.

Actor-comedian Richard Belzer has played the cynical, conspiracy theorist cop John Munch since 1993, when the character first debuted on "Homicide: Life on the Street" as a detective.

Munch then transferred to "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" back in 1999, where he has been a major figure ever since. The character has even appeared on "The X-Files," "Arrested Development" and "The Wire."

Munch handed in his retirement papers at the end of the Wednesday, Oct. 9 episode, but a source confirmed that Munch will occasionally reappear on upcoming "SVU" episodes.

Belzer's exit from the series seems a little unexpected, for as recently as May the actor told HuffPo:

I'd be a fool to say I didn't want to do it anymore and I'm certainly not bored with the character because the writing is so good. [Munch is] very close to how I would be if I were in that situation, so it's a dream.

Munch's retirement party will occur as part of the Wednesday, Oct. 16 episode and the show has released the official description.

Sarah Walsh (Sofia Vassilieva) wakes up from a night of partying and believes she's been raped. In shock that it could happen again, she calls Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay), who handled her previous rape case, for help. The search for Sarah's attacker leads the cops to a smooth-talking cyber mogul who preys on vulnerable girls and bribes them for their silence. Meanwhile, the SVU comes together to say goodbye to the retiring Sergeant Munch (Richard Belzer). Also Starring Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Danny Pino (Detective Nick Amaro) and Kelli Giddish (Detective Amanda Rollins). Also guest starring Dean Winters (Brian Cassidy), Finn Wittrock (Cameron Tyler), Amelia Rose Blaire (Nicole Price) and Matt DeCapua (Matthew Forte).

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