Sunday's episode of HBO's "The Wire," now viewable on Comcast On Demand, features a cameo appearance by actor Richard Belzer as Det. John Munch. It's a brief scene in a cop bar with Munch telling the bartender he once owned a bar, a reference to a Munch storyline from "Homicide: Life on the Street," which, like "The Wire," is set in Baltimore.
In more recent years, Munch has been in New York on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." But Munch really gets around. He's also been on "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," "The X-Files," "The Beat" and "Arrested Development." That's at least eight series, surely a record for a single character.
Since Munch appeared in all these shows, you could interpret it to mean that they all take place in the same fictional universe, which is a stretch considering they span from the absurd ("Arrested") to the out-of-this-world ("X-Files").
Adding to the strangeness: In "The Wire" episode Sunday, Munch is seen in the bar with Baltimore Sun editor, Gus, played by Clark Johnson. On "Homicide," Johnson played Meldrick Lewis, who owned the bar with Munch. On "The Wire," Gus walks behind Munch and Munch never looks at him, but if he had, would he have been confused? Would the TV worlds implode? The mind boggles.