Monk (2002-2009): A Moe’s TV Guide Classic TV review


Monk Television Show Poster

The past thirty years of television has seen several mystery shows that featured many intriguing crime inspectors and police detectives who were always in pursuit of solving complex and weird crimes. Though there are quite a few shows that have been a success, none of them resonated with me like the television show Monk. It was a show that not only features an outstanding actor as its lead, but also intelligent and complex stories that fully enriched its world, redifining its genre along the way.


Adrian Monk Tony Shalhoub Still 1


Monk is created by Andy Breckman and stars Tony Shalhoub, Bitty Schram, Jason Gray-Stanford, Ted Levine, and Traylor Howard. The television show revolves around Adrian Monk, a masterful former homicide detective consulting the San Francisco Police Department. However, Monk suffers from OCPD which makes him susceptible to many phobias and fears that greatly affect his work. Lost premiered in 2002 and is a comedy-drama mystery that ran for eight seasons on the USA Network channel.


Tony Shalhoub Adrian Monk Still 2


The core reason why Monk is considered by many to be one of television's best shows is Tony Shalhoub's spot-on portrayal of the lead character, Adrian Monk. Shalhoub's work here cannot be understated. He totally inhabits Adrian's peculiar and confusing world, becoming one with his character. Monk is not only obsessed with having things tidy at all times but he also fears heights, crowds, and milk, to name just a few. However, it is the manner with which Shalhoub showcases these oddities that makes Adrian Monk such a memorable character audiences cannot help but care and cheer for. And it is Tony Shalhoub's outstanding work as Adrian Monk that lead him to deservedly get nominated for eight Emmy awards, winning three of them.


Tony Shalhoub Ted Levin Traylor Howard Jason Gray-Stanford Adrian Monk Natalie Teeger Leland Stottlemeyer Randall Disher


Tony Shalhoub is also joined by a talented acting ensemble that bring color and life to the various supporting characters in Adrian Monk's many adventures. There are Bitty Schram and Traylor Howard who play Monk's two assistants Sharona Fleming and Natalie Teeger, respectively. In their own unique ways, Schram and Traylor are able to bring depth and heart to their characters, making them the perfect companions to the challenged and socially-awkward Adrian Monk.



Completing the supporting cast are Ted Levine as the lovable and confident Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, head of the San Francisco Police Department; Jason Gray-Stanford as Lt. Randall Disher, Stottlemeyer's right-hand; and Stanley Kamel as Dr. Charles Kroger, Monk's patient and empathetic psychiatrist. As with Schram and Traylor, these wonderful actors do a superb job in providing Monk with characters viewers will not soon forget, making them one of television's best comedy ensembles.


Adrian Monk Sharona Fleming Tony Shalhoub BItty Schram


Another distinctive facet found in Monk is the talented crew that creator Andy Breckman has assembled. Throughout the show's eight seasons, Breckman's team has concocted multiple mind-scratching and intriguing murder cases that keep the viewers' attention transfixed on the television screen, not knowing how they will be solved. Each episode is rich with interesting characters, attractive settings, and witty dialogue that is hilarious and intelligent, a trifecta that is a rarity in the television landscape. And it is that attention to detail that elevates Monk into the top-tier of TV shows, especially those of the mystery genre. It is without a doubt that this distinguished group of writers and directors is as important to the show's lasting legacy as the acting ensemble.


Adrian Monk Tony Shalhoub Still 7


I have always been a sucker for mystery shows, ever since I was a kid. There is something about a complex murder case that just grabs my attention and refuses to let go. The first character I have grown an affection for is, of course, Sherlock Holmes. But, I would say that Adrian Monk is a very close second. He has the same peculiarities that Sherlock has but with a twist. And that twist, Monk's OCPD, is what helps create this wonderful television character. But, a character is nothing without the actor inhabiting it, which makes Tony Shalhoub's work that much more crucial. He has given us a landmark television character that I suspect no one will soon forget. Instead, one will want to revisit the strange world of Adrian Monk for many decades to come. A television classic that everyone will surely enjoy.


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Andy Breckman



Comedy / Drama / Mystery


  • Tony Shalhoub (as Adrian Monk)
  • Ted Levine (as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer)
  • Traylor Howard (as Natalie Teeger)
  • Jason Gray-Stanford (as Lt. Randall Disher)
  • Stanley Kamel (as Dr. Charles Kroger)
  • Bitty Schram (as Sharona Fleming)


Favorite Episodes: (Spoilers Alert!)


  • Mr. Monk and the Kid (Season 3, Episode 16)
    • After twenty-two-month-old Tommy Graser finds a severed finger and gives it to a policeman, Monk walks through the park with Tommy trying to retrace the child's steps. He finds no body or other incriminating evidence, but he does discover a surprising affection for the placid and intelligent toddler, who constantly repeats Monk's name and quietly submits to having his hands wiped when he touches “nature.”
  • Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty (Season 4, Episode 16)
    • Monk is summoned to jury duty against his wishes and must solve two crimes: he has to convince the jury the defendant is not guilty, and solve the mystery of a corpse outside the jury room's window.
  • Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike (Season 5, Episode 2)
    • Monk finds himself adrift in an ocean of filth when a garbage strike brings San Francisco to a halt…and Adrian to near-paralysis.
  • Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink (Season 5, Episode 7)
    • When Dr. Kroger's cleaning lady gets murdered, he decides to retire. When Monk can't bear to find a new therapist, he decides to solve the crime.
  • Mr. Monk and the Leper (Season 5, Episode 10)
    • Monk becomes involved in a murder plot when a reclusive millionnaire suffering from leprosy hires him to do a job.
  • Mr. Monk Goes to the Hospital (Season 5, Episode 16)
    • Monk must go to the hospital but soon becomes involved in a murder investigation.
  • Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend (Season 6, Episode 4)
    • Monk suspects that Linda, Captain Stottlemeyer's girlfriend, is a murderer.
  • Mr. Monk Goes to the Bank (Season 6, Episode 12)
    • One of Monk's treasured possessions is stolen from a safety deposit box, and he'll go to any length to solve the case.
  • Mr. Monk Is on the Run (Part One) (Season 6, Episode 15)
    • Arrested for murder, Monk escapes a small-town sheriff's custody and becomes a fugitive.
  • Mr. Monk Is on the Run (Part Two) (Season 6, Episode 16)
    • Stottlemeyer must keep up the pretense that Monk is dead, while Adrian tries to determine who framed him for murder.
  • Mr. Monk and the Genius (Season 7, Episode 2)
    • Monk must match wits against a grandmaster chess player that he suspects of murder.
  • Mr. Monk Is Underwater (Season 7, Episode 5)
    • A friend of Natalie's late husband comes to Monk asking for help when his friend supposedly commits suicide aboard a locked cabin on a submarine. Monk agrees to investigate, despite his phobia about being on–and beneath–the water.
  • Mr. Monk and the Critic (Season 8, Episode 6)
    • Natalie suspects a theater critic is responsible for a murder, despite the fact that he was present to review her daughter Julie's play at the same time the victim died.
  • Mr. Monk and the End – Part I (Season 8, Episode 15)
    • While investigating the murder of a doctor who may be connected to Trudy's death 12 years ago, Monk soon discovers that his own life is in danger.
  • Mr. Monk and the End – Part II (Season 8, Episode 16)
    • After listening to Trudy's last message, Monk finally discovers who killed his wife. Racing against time before he dies of poison, he must make a fateful decision.

Emmy Awards Won:

  • 2003:
    • Outstanding Lead Actor – Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub
    • Outstanding Main Title Theme Music: Jeff Beal
  • 2004:
    • Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series: John Turturro
    • Outstanding Main Title Theme Music: Randy Newman
  • 2005:
    • Outstanding Lead Actor – Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub
  • 2006:
    • Outstanding Lead Actor – Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub
  • 2007:
    • Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series: Stanley Tucci
  • 2009:
    • Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics: Randy Newman

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