I'm not quite sure why it has taken so long for me to write about one of the best and quirkiest programs on TV. MONK has been around for several years and is now into its sixth episode of Season #7 on USA. The superb Tony Shalhoub stars as the Obsessive-Compulsive bundle of nerves, Adrian Monk who just also might happen to be the most brilliant but annoying detective in the entire world. His entourage consists of his ex-SFPD boss, police Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) as well as the young police lieutenant Randy (Jason Standord) who plays the Barney Fife role of lovable incompetent. Rounding out the cast is Monk's impossibly patient assistant Natalie, played charmingly by Traylor Howard. She keeps Monk calm and supplied with wet wipes so he can disinfect San Francisco, one mystery at a time.
Monk is afraid of just about everything. He hates dirt, garbage, spots, germs, milk, and anything at all that isn't perfectly symmetrical including papers, writing, and pictures hanging on a wall. He was kicked off the police force years ago after he suffered a nervous breakdown following the death of his beloved wife Trudy. He has carried a torch for her ever since.
Two episodes this season have been classic, fabulous Monk. In one, he is enticed aboard a Naval nuclear submarine to help solve the death of a young officer. Of course Monk's OCD also includes a heaping helping of claustrophobia, so when the sub dives, Monk has a bit of a hissy fit.
Shalhoub has a field day with his character in this episode, carrying on an imaginary conversation with his psychiatrist, who talks him through the horror of being underwater on a huge submarine.
In the most recent episode, Monk falls for a Zemanian (some sort of imaginary Russian satellite country?) immigrant lady who has been falsely accused of murder. This is so completely out of character for Monk, it's worth watching, even if you have not visited this series in a while. Monk has to struggle with his unusual (for him) feelings of attraction without betraying his loyalty to the memory of Trudy.
I hope they make the Leyla character a regular, it was interesting to watch Monk's attempts to become "normal". The dancing scene was adorable.
Tony Shalhoub has won both Emmys and a Golden Globe for his role as Adrian Monk and the show itself as well as some very talented guest stars (including John Tuturro) have been the recipient of many more. It is an amazing one hour comedy-drama that still feels fresh after seven years on the air. This is the show that first put USA network on the map for original series, and it is still going strong. Tune in Friday nights at 9pm or set your DVR to see for yourself.