Most TV characters are lucky to survive a single season of prime time, but not Det. John Munch. Richard Belzer’s snarky detective spent seven years on NBC’s ”Homicide: Life on the Street,” moved on to ”Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” this year, and has collared bad guys on ”The X-Files” and ”Law & Order” to boot. Tuesday night he makes a special appearance on UPN’s new cop series ”The Beat.” EW Online talked to Belzer about playing the detective who will not die.
What’s the secret to Munch’s appeal?
I think that people like someone who is unpredictable and funny, and who questions authority. Plus I’ve heard from many people in police departments around the country that he’s very authentic, which is flattering. But, even though he is close to my personality, we’re not the same person. He has problems with women, and I don’t. I’ve been married for fifteen years, and he’s been married three or four times and has had a lot of girlfriends, so we’re quite different.
How do you feel about appearing on UPN, the home of ”Smackdown!” and ”Malcolm and Eddie”?
Hopefully, this show will get UPN in the direction of better programming. I think ”The Beat” will be the jewel in their crown, and the critics seem to like it, so maybe it will help strengthen the network in a better direction.
You wrote the book ”UFOs, JFK & Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe.” Any new developments on the conspiracy front?
I’m still working on some of the older conspiracies regarding what the government is keeping from us, because there are always new revelations about the Kennedy assassination and UFOs. That’s the great thing about the Internet, that you can get government documents and real information. You never have to make anything up because it’s all in the public domain now. I’m also working on an animated series about conspiracies in which I’ll play a time traveling detective who goes through history and works on some famous cases. It’s for adults, and, though I can’t say which network it will air on, hopefully it will be out next fall.
So, tell us, is there a conspiracy to keep Munch on the air forever?
Yes, but that’s a positive conspiracy, so it’s not one I’m about to question.