Law & Order: SVU — 10 Things You Missed About John Munch

After retiring from Manhattan's Special Victims Unit in, John Munch now enjoys a life of tranquility as a DA investigator. The character has had a long and eventful career, first serving in Baltimore's homicide unit before moving to New York. Even though he isn't a daredevil like his colleagues, he remains a fan favorite.

Having appeared in 18 seasons of the spinoff and made cameos in numerous other shows, it would definitely be hard for fans to keep up with everything about the former sergeant. While most of his arcs haven't been complex, there is a wealth of information about him covering both his police work and his personal life.

Munch Has Appeared In Multiple Shows

Munch has appeared on every iteration ofHe has had a cameo on  too and is also the only character to have been carried over from a different franchise, having first appeared in In total, he has appeared in 10 different shows.

As of the moment, Munch is the only character to appear in shows from five different networks. His appearances across different shows are a confirmation of his popularity and likability. Unlike the other officers, he is relatable because he has plenty of flaws and isn't afraid to own them. He's also been dragged through numerous misfortunes.

Munch's Religion

Munch is Jewish. This little detail is revealed in Season 3's "Care" when Fin asks him why he is always so keen on hunting for the tiniest of clues. Munch explains that it's because he got used to hunting eggs during his childhood as part of Jewish tradition.

Religion isn't a common theme on the show, so it's refreshing for the writers to bring out Munch's beliefs. The character tends to lean towards science and statistics, constantly pulling up random facts to prove a point. His lack of attachment to religion is presumably because he had an abusive father who happened to be extremely religious. Since then, he's looked at religious people with a doubtful eye.

Munch Is The Only SVU Character Played By More Than One Actor

Though Munch is regularly portrayed by Richard Belzer, a younger version of the character has been portrayed by Joseph Perrino. So far, no other member of the SVU team has been played by two different actors.

Munch's background has been explored a lot more than his fellow officers and as the events delved deeper into the sergeant's early years, there has been the need for flashback scenes. Ordinarily, the show focuses on background information about the characters and not the officers and it's because of this that fans haven't gotten to see younger versions of the likes of Fin and Cragen.

Munch Is Multilingual

Apart from English, Munch has been heard speaking Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, and Greek on different occasions. He also understands a little bit of Spanish but cannot speak it.

Munch's mastery of Yiddish and Hebrew stems from his Jewish heritage. Knowledge of the two languages has proved beneficial to him on three different occasions where bonded with witnesses by speaking to them in the said languages. It's unclear how Munch learned Russian and Greek but since he is portrayed as a nerdy character with knowledge about various fields, it's highly likely that he mastered the dialects by himself.

Munch's Family Members

Munch has a brother who works as a mortician. He mentions this as the team investigates the case of 23-year-old Siobhan Miller, who pretended to be a 17-year-old rape victim. Moreover, he has four ex-wives but only keeps contact with his first wife, Gwen. Then there is his homeless uncle, who was the subject of one of .

The show regularly reminds fans of the sergeant's many divorces in order to highlight his social awkwardness and general lack of expertise in matters that aren't work-related. It makes sense that he would be closer to his first wife since she suffers from mental health problems and Munch has always been sympathetic and caring towards people with various ailments.

Munch Is The First Manhattan SVU Detective Promoted To Sergeant

Munch is the first in the Manhattan SVU team to earn a promotion to sergeant. A few other characters have followed on the same path after him.

The early promotion has to do with Munch's experience since he became a homicide unit officer in 1983. Logically, given how long he has been working, his promotion should have come earlier. However, Munch has always seemed content with his current position in his life, which explains why he never pushed for promotion in his earlier years and an officer.

Munch's Role Doesn't Align With His Rank

In the real NYPD, the sergeant supervises the rest of the squad. However, Munch doesn't become the squad leader after becoming the first character to be promoted to sergeant. This qualifies as one of the .

Even though this detail doesn't align with reality, the show does its best to explain things since Munch once says that he took the sergeant exam as a dare and had no interest in becoming the squad leader. Munch is also not as aggressive and outgoing as Benson, hence he would struggle to make a good squad leader.

The Inspiration For Munch's Character

Though Munch is a fictional character, he is based on Sgt. Jay Landsman from David Simon's true crime book,  Several other officers on are also based on real-life characters.

Getting carried from one show has helped Munch to not only be more appealing but also be more unique. As of the moment, he is the only SVU officer that is based on a real lawman. However, there are plenty of minor characters that are based on real people since there are a number of .

Munch Is Of Romanian Descent

Munch is Romanian. This information emerges as the team investigates the abuse of a 7-year-old girl from a dysfunctional family in Season 2's "Legacy." When a Romanian witness comes forward, Stabler jokes about Munch being Romanian too.

Since the story of Munch's parents is never explored in detail, it isn't clear whether he was born in Romania or in his country of residence. This isn't helped by the fact that there is conflicting information about where he grew up. In , Munch is said to have grown up in Maryland. But in , he tells Benson that he grew up in the New York's Lower East Side.

Munch's Birthday

Munch's birthday is July 31, 1951. This makes him the oldest member of the SVU crew and one of the oldest characters n the franchise in general.

However, there is some contradictory information about the character's age. While makes Munch's age clear,  makes things more confusing. In Season 6's "Full Court Press", he says that going to high school in the 1950s was hard for a teenage Jew. This implies that he might have been born earlier than 1951. Since the two shows are handled by different writing teams, it isn't so surprising that contradicting information such as this would surface.