Monk is a whodunit detective show with a comedic twist and a little light drama all bundled up as an Emmy hit. Tony Shalhoub plays the title character Adrian Monk to perfection.
Adrian Monk is a former San Francisco Police Detective who was decommissioned after his wife was murdered because he became a high level OCD-(obsessive compulsive disorder)person who is phobically challenged. He had always had a form of OCD, but Trudy (his wife)’s murder exasperated the condition all the more. Trudy was killed by an unknown assailant employing a car bomb. He invariably has the capability to solve any case with his photographic memory, combined with his attention to detail and obsessive need to understand the most seemingly unrelated things.
The examples of Monk’s OCD are carefully researched and integrated into the plots. Often his strange behavior has the rest of those involved tearing their hair and giving up entirely, while Monk has in his own odd way is actually solving the crime.
Supporting monk in his role are his assistants and their families Sharona Fleming was the first assistant and her son Benji who become a surrogate family for Adrian. After Sharona left Adrian needed a new assistant and this came in the shape of Natalie who was also a single mom. Natalie and her daughter Julie become another surrogate family for Adrian.
The police officers that play a big part are Capt Stottlemeyer. He is simply crazy trying to understand how Monk always finds the answers. His sidekick is Lt Disher who is accident prone and comes out with some really stupid comments at times.
Adrian’s phobias and his OCD really bring a lot of understanding about the condition while at the same time making you laugh. The writers are to be commended as this is a show that doesn’t let you down. It always makes you think hard as well as giving you a really good chuckle.
The stories are all great and not of usual content either. Even when the crime and its solution enter familiar territory, the presence of the defective detective at the center of things ensures that you won’t be seeing the same old story. One episode concerns a criminal living under an assumed identity that wants to prevent the public seeing him in close up in the audience of a Willie Nelson TV show, and so keeps blowing up power stations to cause San Francisco blackouts whenever the program is telecast. Another concerns drug side effects when Monk tries a new medication to reduce his OCD, but it turns him into a wild egomaniac that totally lacks his former sleuthing skills.
The first three seasons made money for USA and brought Shalhoub two Emmys. Season one introduced Monk’s peculiar habits; Season Two focused on his relationship with assistant Sharona (Bitty Schram), and his quest to find his wife Trudy’s (Stellina Rusich) killer; and Season Three introduced Sharona’s replacement, Natalie (Traylor Howard). In all seasons, though, the humor derived from Monk’s eccentricities, his compulsion to organize (crime scenes as well as his apartment), his disgust at human contact, and his fixation with Trudy’s death. With no prevalent arc in view for the fourth season, these eccentricities become the sole draw.