Richard Belzer is leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after a 15-season run as a regular on the Tv police drama.

The actor, who plays Detective John Munch on the show, will exit the programme next week (16Oct13) when his final episode airs in the U.S.

Belzer first appeared as Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street in the 1990s.

He also appeared on episodes of The X-Files, Arrested Development, The Wire, Law & Order, and Law & Order: Trial By Jury as Munch.

This isn't the first main character loss for the show - in 2011, Christopher Meloni, who played Detective Elliot Stabler, left the series after 12 seasons.