Let's Play 'Where's Munch?'

Law & Order SVU (NBC)

It’ll be easier than ‘Where’s Waldo?’ and involve less reading. Where will the long-lived character of Det. John Munch next show his conspiracy-laden and wife-free self?

As just about everyone is reporting (and everyone who still watches Law and Order: SVU learned on Wednesday’s episode1) Detective Sergeant John Munch handed in his retirement papers to the NYPD. While the show is reportedly set to give the character an actual retirement party next week, and while producers note Munch will doubtless still appear on the series this season, this frees him up to take on some new projects, like perhaps scrapbook instruction.

These are his potential stories:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) – Reuniting with his H:LOTS buddy Andre Braugher, the recently retired Munch stops into the Nine-Nine to report a purse snatcher he took down in front of Peralta’s apartment while Peralta was busy singing into his hairdryer.2 Santiago keeps hoping for grand stories of the good old days of policing and keeps getting disappointed as to how everyone used to act even more like Peralta than does Peralta. Munch vaguely hits on Diaz who reveals a heretofore unknown interest in conspiracy theories, but her intensity of belief causes Munch to slowly back out of the room.


Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – The Westchester County Police Department and its Sleepy Hollow Sheriff’s Division are more than fully staffed, so it’s just Mr. Munch the local historian – the only person in town who understands the Revolutionary War-era Masonic roots of the current troubles. And then he gets his head cut off.3


Castle (ABC) – Beckett gets her own Deep Throat4 when Munch starts appearing and disappearing at crime scenes with enigmatic messages about whatever she’s investigating going “all the way to the top.” After saying “Don’t I know you?”5 Castle keeps asking about government coverups of space aliens and Munch closes the episode by telling him “It’s not Area 51 you should care about… it’s Area 54.” Despite the rampant possibilities, this charming throw away will never be referenced again.


The League (FXX) – The boys ask Richard Belzar to be their honorary commissioner and he agrees – but only because he’s actually gone undercover to bust an illegal fantasy sports betting ring. And for an added flourish he tells America where the frick they can find FXX on their channel listings.


The Booth at the End (Hulu) – Munch and Xander Berkeley sit fairly still, sip coffee, and speak to each other in the two driest deliveries to ever approach, yet not reach, monotones.


Community (NBC) – His NYPD (and BPD) pensions insufficient to fund his jet setting lifestyle, Det. Munch (ret.) takes over as head of security at rival City College and his run-of-the-mill competence makes it impossible for the Greendale crew to successfully pull off a prank war. Abed and Munch spend the episode in Munch’s office exchanging meta-commentary.


Revolution (NBC) – Just a cameo required. In the ruins of Baltimore harbor an old guy in a suit gives Miles and Charlie directions and makes the crack that the city used to be the murder capital of America – but the government took care of that problem.


The Americans (FX) – In a maneuver wonderfully reminiscent of Munch’s wonderful X-Files appearance, Elizabeth and Phillip witness a mugging while out on a date6 and can’t talk their way out of talking with investigating officer Det. Munch, not yet promoted to homicide. His radar goes up and he spends the episode digging into the seemingly normal couple, eventually concluding they’re both having affairs and that’s the only reason they were mildly suspicious. The more I write this paragraph the more obvious of a plot line for this show it becomes and damnit if I don’t want me a young (very young, practically just out of the academy) Munch to guest on this show.


Trophy Wife (ABC) – Kate’s latest attempt at parenting leads to a sprained ankle, a missed youth hockey game, confusion in the neighborhood (“Isn’t she the nanny?” “I thought she was a hooker!”), and a visit from Inspector Munch of the Department of Child Services. It’s later revealed that Diane is also one of Munch’s ex-wives and Munch and Pete share a wan but knowing smile.


The Blacklist (NBC) – “We’re trying to find an international forger who the police say died fifteen years ago,” says Keen. “How are we supposed to get a cold case file that doesn’t exist?” “I know a guy,” says Reddington, putting on a hat. Over the best crab legs in Baltimore, Raymond and John laugh and exchange reminisces before Munch is sadly gunned down by unseen adversaries. Reddington gets a tender moment, saying goodbye to a true friend, and realizes the conspiracy with which they’re dealing is bigger than he originally thought. Don’t worry, though – Munch isn’t dead; it was all a triple-ruse to stop the forger and get something out of Raymond without him knowing. And maybe Keen. Or Harry Lennix.


Siberia (NBC) – Munch hunts for any semblance of storytelling technique but, finding no evidence of leadership within the production team, skips out on the case and goes to Jamaica instead.


P.S. – You’ll note a lack of CBS procedurals on this list; perhaps that seems odd since they would be prime stomping grounds for a veteran detective. The problem is we’d lose track of Munch faster than you can’t find Waldo in that one friggin’ page where he’s in a world of Waldos. And we don’t want to miss out on any Munch in our lives.

  1. There are many of us, I know. I mean of you.  
  2. Recommended tune: ‘Bad Boys’, the theme song to COPS.  
  3. Actually, having Richard Belzar on the Halloween episode some season would make me swoon, and I do not swoon lightly.  
  4. Not like that, you perverts.  
  5. “I have that kind of face,” deadpans Munch in reply.  
  6. Season 2 has an over-under of four attempts at reconciliation.  

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About Aaron Mucciolo 207 Articles
He does things. That's all we can say at this time. E-mail: mooch@whatelseison.tv