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The Most Heartwarming Munch Moment Ever On Law & Order: SVU

When the NBC crime series "Homicide" ended in 1999, Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer), unlike most television characters, actually found a second life on other shows. Instead of Belzer retiring the (fake) badge, Munch became a part of the cast of "Law & Order" spin-off "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" for 15 seasons, connecting the series to the original "Homicide" chronology. Including guest appearances and crossovers, the character of Munch has now appeared on 10 television shows at this point (via IMDb), with his most recent small screen guest appearance being on "SVU" in 2015 (though he left the show in 2013).

Why is Munch a character across so many TV series? Part of it is Belzer's natural presence as the cynical, cool-headed detective. The actor's face has character, and his aura as a veteran cop who has seen it all, even in the early seasons of "Homicide," feels authentic. But viewers also like Munch because beneath the sarcastic, pragmatic demeanor — the guy really does care. One early "Homicide" episode, for instance, reveals that Munch secretly lights a candle in the squad room every night in tribute to the victims he investigates.

This, however, is Munch's sweetest moment over on "Law & Order: SVU."

Munch convinces a suicidal patient to live

In the Season 5 episode "Painless," Detective Munch becomes invested in a case where a website that provides resources for suicides may have inspired a woman, Christine (Karen Young), to kill herself. The creator of the website, Dr. Amy Solwey (Marlee Matlin), made the site as a sort of "therapy" to deal with her kidney ailments. Amy is offered a life-saving organ transplant but refuses, feeling guilty over Christine's death.

Munch, outraged, visits Amy in the hospital and urges her to take the kidney. The detective tearfully confesses that his father killed himself when he was a boy, and Munch always blamed himself because the last thing he said to him was "I hate your guts." Empathizing with Amy's pain and remorse, he advocates that she live so that they can both work through what happened to her. Amy cries as she slowly takes his hand.

"Homicide" viewers already know about Munch's secret compassion for human beings, but this scene really adds another layer to the detective. "Painless" demonstrates how empathetic the detective can be and how much he cares about the cases he oversees, whether in Baltimore or New York.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.