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NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Mariska Hargitay Beautifully Honored Richard Belzer in the Latest SVU

Belzer, a.k.a Munch on Law & Order: SVU, passed away in February 2023. 

By Jackie Manno
Bensler Get Steamy and Almost Kiss | NBC’s Law & Order: SVU

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay paid another tribute to her late former co-star Richard Belzer, who passed away on February 19.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursday, October 3 at 9/8c on NBC.

At the end of a recent Season 24 episode, that was directed by Hargitay, a slide appeared on screen that honored Belzer’s legacy. The words were simple: “In Memory of Richard Belzer." Hargitay also later took to her Instagram page to post the screen. 

Earlier this week, Hargitay went on TODAY to discuss how she feels about Belzer’s passing. "What a heart and soul; he was family and taught me so much about taking risks and creativity and trust," she said. "And he brought so much joy to the set, and boy, did this man love children. He was, you know, this sorbic, quick-witted, brilliant mind, and yet he would melt in the sight of a child. He was just such a beautiful and complex [person], and it was such a privilege to know him."

Before this appearance, Hargitay also made a heartfelt post to celebrate Belzer’s life in the news of his passing.

“Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world. I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years. How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so very much, now and forever,” the post read.

Richard Belzer played John Munch on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from Season 1 in 1999 all the way until 2016. His character was a detective who was known to be no-nonsense with a dry demeanor and penchant for conspiracy theories.


Executive producer Dick Wolf opened up to People about the impact Belzer has made in the SVU universe. “Richard Belzer's Detective John Munch is one of television's iconic characters. I first worked with Richard on the Law & Order/Homicide crossover and loved the character so much, I told [screenwriter] 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," Wolf told the outlet.

Rest in peace, Richard.

Watch Law & Order: SVU on NBC Thursdays at 9/8c and next day on Peacock.