tek's rating:

Monk, on USA Network
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Now this show is really good. It stars the always enjoyable Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, a former police detective who got kicked out of the San Francisco PD a few years ago, and now does private consulting work. He's really brilliant, very Sherlock Holmes-y, except that he is obsessive-compulsive, germ-phobic, and stuff like that. It got worse after his wife, Trudy, was murdered, a case which is still unsolved. (We hear a lot about Trudy, but we rarely see Monk working on solving that case. It is, however, the show's over-arching mystery, and of course it's solved in the series finale.) In any event, while Monk's quirks are mostly played for laughs, the show can also provide moments of poignant drama, mostly regarding Monk's feelings about his late wife.

Monk has an assistant, Sharona Fleming, who um... well, she's like a personal nurse or whatever. She helps him out with all the normal little things in life that he's not really equipped to take care of himself. She enjoys being involved with the cases, but she also gets very frustrated and annoyed with Monk sometimes. And she has a son named Benjy who she raises by herself. In the middle of the third season, Sharona left the show. We learn that she remarried her ex-husband and moved to New Jersey (a convenient excuse which I never found believable, for the actress leaving the show). But we do see her again in the final season. Anyway, Monk gets a new assistant, Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard). She has a daughter named Julie. Her husband was a Navy pilot who died a few years ago. Natalie also helps with cases, and helps Monk with little things, but she's not a nurse, and she deals with Monk somewhat differently than Sharona did.

Monk also sees a psychiatrist named Dr. Charles Kroger, and wants to get back on the police force, but... he really isn't in any condition for that. He does have a friend in the department, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), with whom Monk often ends up working on police cases, as a private consultant. There also is a somewhat bumbling police detective, Lt. Randall Disher, who works under Stottlemeyer. Disher is always terribly amusing. ...In between seasons 6 and 7, the actor who played Dr. Kroger died, so in season 7, Monk gets a new therapist, Dr. Neven Bell (Héctor Elizondo). What else to say about the show? I said it's really good. Well written, well acted, very interesting, great stories, good characters, very funny, and can also be quite touching at times. The theme music fits quite nicely.... The music changed after the first season, this time to a song by Randy Newman. Both themes work well. And, yeah, that's about all I can think to say, except that I thought the series finale was a pretty good wrap-up for the series, on all fronts.

Oh, and during the eighth (and final) season, there was a series of webisodes called "Little Monk." There was later a web film called "Mr. Monk's Last Case" on Peacock, which I haven't seen.

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