Credit: Michael Parmelee/NBC

Law & Order: SVU actor Richard Belzer is leaving the show as a series regular.

After appearing in more than 300 episodes of the long-running NBC procedural drama, Belzer is stepping down from regular status, a series spokesperson confirmed.

His street-wise cynical character, Sergeant John Munch, first debuted on Homicide: Life in the Street back in 1993, then jumped to SVU after Homicide concluded. The character has also appeared on Fox’s The X-Files, Arrested Development, HBO’s The Wire and NBC’s 30 Rock. Munch turned in his retirement papers in last night’s SVU episode.

Yet sources say in next week’s episode — spoiler alert — Munch is going to be appointed as a special investigator for the District Attorney’s office. So “the door is open” for him to appear in future episodes. During the episode, according to NBC’s description, “SVU comes together to say goodbye to the retiring Sergeant Munch.”