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Detective John Munch, Always on the Case

Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) walked the Baltimore beat in <em>Homicide: Life on the Street</em>.
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Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) walked the Baltimore beat in Homicide: Life on the Street.

You may recognize John Munch, a fictional police detective played by actor Richard Belzer, from Law and Order. If not, then perhaps you've encountered him on the Fox series Arrested Development, or maybe The X-Files or The Beat.

Whatever the program, chances are good that you have seen Munch before. That's because all told, Detective Munch, a cynical guy who loves conspiracy theories, has appeared in more than 300 individual episodes of eight different television programs.

The character gained prominence in 1993 as a Baltimore "murder police" in the series Homicide: Life on the Street. But Homicide didn't have great ratings, so the suits at NBC decided to transplant some of the show's characters to the more popular Law and Order series. From there, stints on various Law and Order spin-offs followed.

On Sunday night, Detective Munch appeared on his eighth show, HBO's The Wire. In the episode, Munch is in the same bar as a newspaper editor played by actor Clark Johnson, who, for those of us keeping score, once played a cop who co-owned a bar with Detective John Munch on Homicide.

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