Spoilers ahead for the Season 25 premiere of Law & Order: SVU, called "Tunnel Blind."
The first episode of Law & Order: SVU's milestone 25th episode involved a pretty dark case that may have set up an atypical ongoing arc, but actually got off to a much sweeter start than fans likely expected of this show in the 2024 TV schedule. SVU brought back Kelli Giddish to start Season 25 with the baptism of her son with Carisi, with Benson as godmother, Carisi beaming with happiness, and Fin eager to hold the baby. The trio also took a moment to toast none other than John Munch, with some callbacks from Fin and Benson that left me wanting to revisit the old days with the late Richard Belzer.
How SVU's Season 25 Premiere Honored Munch
While Carisi and Munch did appear in the same season thanks to Richard Belzer's guest appearance in Season 17 (with Peter Scanavino joining the cast in Season 16 after Munch's departure as a series regular in Season 15), the toast was far more meaningful coming from Fin and Benson. After all, Fin was Munch's partner in what were arguably the classic years of the series, and Mariska Hargitay was working with Belzer from Day 1. After Benson turned down a man Carisi was trying to set her up with, here's how the toast went down:
Fin: "You know, Munch would have ran him off just telling him his theory about the Kennedy assassination."
Carisi: "To Munch, the man, the myth."
Benson: "To Detective Munch."
While there was no SVU episode dedicated to Munch's thoughts about the Kennedy assassination, anybody who watched his years in the unit surely has no trouble believing that the character had an elaborate conspiracy theory. It was touching to see Fin honor Munch earning his promotion to sergeant status, as well as Benson nodding back to his years as detective. I can't be the only one who thinks of his detective days more than any other time when I think of John Munch, can I?
The toast follows an update on Munch almost exactly one year ago in Fin's big episode of Season 24, when Fin told newcomer Bruno that his former partner had retired, moved back to Baltimore, bought back his old cop bar, and met a divorced female rabbi. Tragically, this on-screen update in 2023 came just days before news broke of Richard Belzer's death at 78. His friends and former co-stars wasted no time in honoring the actor, and it's nice to see that his longtime character is still being remembered in the Law & Order universe as well.
How To Stream Richard Belzer's Seasons Of Law & Order: SVU
Fortunately, it's not hard to find Law & Order: SVU streaming if you're also in the mood for some Munch highlights. At the time of writing, every episode of Special Victims Unit – including the Season 25 premiere – is available streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription. Of course, considering that Richard Belzer's final episode of the show was back in 2016 as part of Season 17, you can always use another streaming service that doesn't quite reach all the way to Season 25.
The first 24 seasons of Law & Order: SVU are all available streaming for fans with a Hulu subscription as well. There are plenty of options to choose from, as Belzer ranks on the list of 25 Law & Order actors to appear in the most episodes. His total at the time of his passing last year was 247 episodes.
Whether or not this was the last tribute to John Munch, you can keep watching Benson, Fin, Carisi, and the rest (possibly including a new detective) with new episodes of SVU Season 25 on NBC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET now. The series airs between Law & Order, which just welcomed a new detective after the departure of Jeffrey Donovan as Frank Cosgrove, at 8 p.m., and Law & Order: Organized Crime – which just delivered a shocking reveal about an affair between two characters – at 10 p.m. ET.