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'Law & Order: SVU': A brief goodbye to Sergeant Munch

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Michael Parmelee/NBC

After turning in his retirement papers last week, Sergeant John Munch (Richard Belzer) finally said his goodbye to the world of SVU. No more are the days of Munch and Fin out on a case, getting confessions out of people with nothing but dry humor and Ice-T’s tough-guy face. Ladies and gentleman, the semi-comedic relief has officially left the building.

In Munch’s final hour, his goodbye was given anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Sorry Munch, but even on your last day, you still don’t get to work a crime or be the lead on a case. Instead, we’re going to give Olivia the reins, and we will see you around. Seriously though, did it seem weird to anyone else that his goodbye episode barely even included him?

What we did get was an opening goodbye ceremony, where Munch arrived at a bar in his finest white tuxedo jacket and some incredibly high-waisted pants as he carried a dapper silver cane (can canes be dapper?). While everyone sat around and reminisced about the good old days, Olivia read an entry from her diary on the day she first arrived at SVU, Ice-T clapped along politely, and Munch made jokes. It was all too obvious that they were pulling on Richard Belzer’s comedic background, but Munch has always been so awkward that it worked. He said things like Liv is the heart of of SVU and Fin is the pancreas. Someone get this man a laugh track! But wait, the party was over just as quickly as it started, because Liv had a case. Adios, Munch. We will see you in the quite literal final minute of tonight’s episode.

Outside of the party, the show was typical SVU, a.k.a. the kind of thing you could watch all day long when you’re home sick from work/school. Benson was investigating a case of re-victimization, which was exactly what it sounded like: Someone had been raped twice by two different men.

After following trails of secret parties in water towers and Alice in Wonderland pocket watches — you had to be there — the detectives found their suspect in the stereotypical attractive rich guy who always seemed to be doing the nice thing while secretly doing the most not-nice thing he could do. The rich boy wasn’t easy to bring down, but he was in fact guilty, and eventually cracked under the pressure of a potential pregnancy with his best friend’s girl. Gets ’em every time.

Once the case was wrapped up, Captain Cragen handed Olivia a Sergeant’s exam and said it was time to make her his official number two. Speaking of Sergeants, Cragen stumbled on Munch on his way out the door. As Munch sat and packed up his desk, he flashed back to his first days on the police scene, more than 300 episodes ago when Belzer started out on Homicide: Life in the Street in 1993 before coming to SVU. And for just a split second, when the phone rang, he answered it “Homicide” before correcting himself to “SVU.” It’s hard to teach an old dog, well, newer tricks.

Now Munch is off to a desk with a whole new view as a special investigator at the District Attorney’s office. We doubt they have nearly as much fun.

Goodbye, Munch. We’re sorry it seemed so rushed, but you know how it is. Crime doesn’t stop for anybody… even when television shows probably should.