Skip to main content


It was with a tinge of sadness that I watched Richard Belzer's final scene as John Munch last night on Law & Order: SVU. "Munchkin" (as he was more affectionately known on his original series Homicide: Life on the Street) had reached mandatory retirement age, and was saying goodbye to the police force. Munch's colleagues threw a party/roast for him, and then at the very end of the episode he packed-up his desk and quietly walked away.

Belzer's departure from SVU (which, to be honest, I only began watching in 1999 because the Munch character had transferred from Baltimore to New York) affects me because of his ties to Homicide and, in extension, my life at that time. The older I get, the more memories I have, and the more they tend to shape and mold my life. When a through-line of that life, even a minor part of it, ceases, then it can cause a moment to reflect.

Odd as it may sound, Det. John Munch is such a through-line.

Homicide: Life on the Street was a staple of my television viewing throughout most of the 1990s. It's one of those things, like grunge music, Blur, goth crowds, Smashing Pumpkins, Beck and Euro-dance that says to me: this was the '90s. Munch debuted on Homicide in 1993, and was there until it ended in 1999, automatically transferring over to SVU that same year. That, dear reader, is almost 21 years of consistency.

When I think of Homicide, it isn't just the solid writing, unique directing and excellent acting that comes to mind, but of the evenings spent with my mom and her then-partner and her kids, watching the new episodes as they aired on NBC. I remember those shared moments, of when Munch tried to catch a murder suspect until the man bricked himself up inside a wall. When Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) had a stroke. When a man (Vincent D'Onofrio) was pushed in front of a subway train and the entire episode was Pembleton (and us) watching the man die, slowly.

So much has changed since then, as it often does in life. Relationships and people have come and gone. TV shows have ended and begun. Presidents have been elected and then seen their time in office come to an end. Landmarks have been attacked. People have died. Wars have been fought. Life, as it always does, has changed its course time and time again. But John Munch was always there. Not anymore. That link to the past is now part of television history.

Last night, right before the character walked out of the SVU squad room for the last time, the phone rang as he was deep-in-thought (with a clip from the old Homicide show, no less). Startled, he answered the phone and mistakenly said, "Homicide," before correcting himself to, "Special Victims Unit."  I thought that was a nice touch. For a second, it was kind of like the '90s again.


Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.