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Richard Belzer Leaving "Law & Order: SVU"

Bobby Bank/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- After a lengthy run as John Munch on the small screen, Law & Order: SVU actor Richard Belzer is saying goodbye to the character, at least for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday's episode of the NBC drama set up the retirement of Belzer's detective/sergeant character.

Next Wednesday, the show will host a retirement party for Munch.

An NBC spokesperson tells, "While there are no immediate plans for Belzer to return, the way Munch's story line ends leaves the door open for him to work with the SVU squad in the future."

Belzer, 69, debuted Munch in 1993, on the series Homicide: Life on the Street. He eventually continued the role as a regular on Law & Order: SVU, though he made appearances as Munch in several other series, including Law & Order, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, The X-Files, The Wire, Arrested Development and 30 Rock.

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