Richard Belzer Retires from Series Regular Status on Law & Order: SVU

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Richard Belzer has turned in his badge.

The veteran actor - who has been a key part of Law & Order: SVU since its inception 15 years ago - retired from the role of Detective John Munch last night.

His character handed over his papers to conclude the episode and NBC has released a synopsis for next Wednesday's installment that includes a party on Munch's honor. Look for the SVU team to "come together to say goodbye to Munch," according to the network.

Richard Belzer as John Munch

However, it may not be a permanent goodbye.

An insider tells The Huffington Post that Belzer is still open to the occasional appear on upcoming episodes.

He premiered as Munch way back in 1993 on Homicide: Life on the Street. The detective went on to appear in episodes of The X-Files, Arrested Development, The Wire and the original Law & Order. Altogether, Belzer has made more than 450 episodic television appearances as John Munch.

That's incredible.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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