EXCLUSIVE: USA Network is running a Law and Order: SVU marathon in honor of Richard Belzer, who died earlier this week at 78.
Titled “Munch-a-thon,” the marathon will feature 10 of Belzer’s best episodes. The actor and comedian played played against type as a tough New York cop on the series after playing the same character on Homicide: Life on the Street.
The episodes will begin at 4 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, February 26 and run until 1 a.m. In memoriam cards will be attached to each of them.
The episodes included in the marathon are: “Remorse,” “Legacy,” “Manhunt,” “Parts,” “Uncle,” “Unorthodox,” “True Believers,” “Wonderland Story,” “Spring Awakening,” and “Fashionable Crimes.”
Belzer was cast as Detective John Munch in Homicide: Life on the Street in 1992. The acclaimed cop drama debuted after the 1993 Super Bowl and would air on NBC until 1998. He was one of four actors who remained in the cast throughout its seven seasons and 2000 follow-up telefilm. After Homicide wrapped, he began to play Munch on Law and Order: SVU, a role that lasted 20 seasons.
A statement from NBC and Universal Television following his death praised his work: “Anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer portray Det. John Munch — whether on ‘Homicide’ or ‘Law & Order: SVU’ – over four decades will never forget how much he inhabited that beloved character to make it his own. His professionalism, talents and dedication to the craft made him a pillar in the industry, but it was his humor, compassion and loving heart that made him family. Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory.”
“Richard Belzer’s Detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters,” said a statement from show creator and producer Dick Wolf. ” I first worked with Richard on the Law & Order/Homicide crossover and loved the character so much, I told Tom (Fontana) that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on ‘SVU.’ The rest is history. Richard brought humor and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional and we will all miss him very much.”