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Monk (TV series)

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Final episode date
4 December 2009


Country of origin
United States

Monk (TV series) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners7892008p789200

Police proceduralComedy-dramaMystery

Created by
Andy BreckmanDavid Hoberman

Tony ShalhoubBitty SchramJason Gray-StanfordTed LevineTraylor Howard

Opening theme
Instrumental theme by Jeff Beal (season 1)"It's a Jungle Out There" by Randy Newman (seasons 2–8)

Ending theme
Instrumental theme by Jeff Beal (season 1)"It's a Jungle Out There" (instrumental) (seasons 2–8)


Adrian monk a case study in ocd

Monk is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series created by Andy Breckman and starring Tony Shalhoub as the eponymous character, Adrian Monk. It originally ran from 2002 to 2009 and is primarily a police procedural series, and also exhibits comic and dramatic tones in its exploration of the main characters' personal lives. The series was produced by Mandeville Films and Touchstone Television in association with Universal Television.


The series debuted on July 12, 2002, on USA Network. It continued for eight seasons, with the final season concluding on December 4, 2009. The series held the record for the most-watched scripted drama episode in cable television history from 2009 through 2012 (broken by The Walking Dead) with "Mr. Monk and the End – Part II", its series finale, with 9.4 million viewers, 3.2 million of them in the 18–49 demographic.

Mr monk therapist scene


Adrian Monk was a brilliant detective for the San Francisco Police Department until his wife, Trudy, was killed by a car bomb in a parking garage, which Monk then believed was intended for him. In a later episode, he discovers the bomb was truly meant for Trudy. He later believes that Trudy's death was part of a larger conspiracy that she had uncovered during her time as a journalist. Trudy's death led Monk to suffer a nervous breakdown. He was then discharged from the force and became a recluse, refusing to leave his house for three and a half years. Until the final episode, Trudy's death was Monk's only unsolved case.

He is finally able to leave the house with the help of his nurse, Sharona Fleming. The breakthrough allows him to work as a private detective and a consultant for the homicide unit despite limitations rooted in his obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), which had grown significantly worse after the tragedy, along with several other phobias.

Monk's compulsive habits are numerous, and a number of phobias compound his situation, such as his fear of germs. Monk has 312 fears, some of which are milk, ladybugs, harmonicas, heights, imperfection, claustrophobia, driving, food touching on his plates, messes and risk. He however had a breakthrough from claustrophobia later in the series. The OCPD and plethora of phobias inevitably lead to very awkward situations and cause problems for Monk and anyone around him as he investigates cases. These same personal struggles, particularly the OCPD, are what aid him in solving cases, such as his sharp memory, specific mindset, and attention to detail. In one episode entitled "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan", Marci Maven has compiled a list of all of Adrian's fears. In another episode, he tries to conquer his fears by doing various activities which involved his phobias. For example, he tries drinking milk, climbing a ladder, and putting a ladybug on his hand, but when things are scattered unorganized across a table, he cannot resist the compulsion to arrange them neatly.

Captain Leland Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Randy Disher call on Monk when they have trouble with an investigation. Stottlemeyer is often irritated by Monk's behavior but respects his friend and former colleague's amazing insight and observational abilities, as does Disher. Ever since childhood, Monk's obsessive attention to detail allowed him to spot tiny discrepancies, find patterns, and make connections that others often missed. Something someone says or does usually triggers Monk to make the connection.

In his spare time, Monk continues to search for information about his wife's death, and is plagued with the idea that he may never determine who killed Trudy. He dedicates his life to solving other murders because he feels this is fixing disorder in the world. He becomes especially intrigued when a woman is killed, or when someone is killed with some type of bomb, because this reminds him of Trudy's murder.

In the middle of season three, Sharona decides to remarry her ex-husband and move back to New Jersey, prompting Mr. Monk to hire Natalie Teeger as his new assistant. Natalie is a widow and mother of an eleven-year-old daughter, Julie. Monk discovers Natalie when she is involved in a murder case herself, in "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring".

Monk has a brother Ambrose and a half-brother, Jack, Jr., whom Monk never knew about until his father tells him in season five. He later meets Jack, Jr., in the episode "Mr. Monk's Other Brother" during season seven.

Main characters

  • Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) is a former homicide detective and a current consultant for the San Francisco Police Department. He has an extreme case of OCD and is well known for his various fears and phobias, including, but certainly not limited to, heights, snakes, crowds, glaciers, rodeos and milk. His wife Trudy was murdered in 1997, and he is haunted by her death (and the fact that it was unsolved) until the series finale.
  • Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram; seasons 1–3) is Monk's nurse and later becomes his first assistant. She refuses to baby him, often forcing him to do things that are unpleasant to him. Her final appearance as a regular character is in "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine" (3.09) and moves to New Jersey midway through season three, leaving only a note. However, she returns in the final season in "Mr. Monk and Sharona" (8.10) in order to give closure to her character. By "Mr. Monk and the End (Part Two)" (8.16), it was revealed that she and Randy have moved to New Jersey together.
  • Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard; seasons 3–8) is Monk's second and final assistant. Although she is more deferential to her boss than Sharona, referring to him as "Mr. Monk", she is not hesitant about telling him when his eccentricities are going too far. A young widow who lives with her daughter Julie, Natalie lost her husband Mitch when he was shot down over Kosovo in 1998. She first appears in "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring" (3.10). Natalie was introduced partway through season three when Bitty Schram, who played Sharona, left "precipitous[ly]", reportedly over a contract dispute. Traylor Howard had not yet seen the show and was unenthusiastic about her manager's urgings to audition as Schram's replacement. She nevertheless tried out and got the part. Despite her initial "cool" reception from fans, show co-creator Andy Breckman believes Traylor quickly and successfully filled the void. "I will always be grateful to Traylor because she came in when the show was in crisis and saved our baby […] We had to make a hurried replacement, and not every show survives that. I was scared to death."
  • Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) is the head of the Homicide Division of the San Francisco Police Department. He and Monk have been good friends since Monk was on the police force, and he continues to be Monk's friend throughout the series. He does his best to help Monk but is occasionally annoyed by Monk's phobias and the damage they can cause. In the first two seasons, Stottlemeyer is reluctant to work with Monk, seemingly annoyed by the idea that he could not handle his cases himself. By seasons three and four, his faith in Monk's contribution is well-cemented and his collaboration unquestionable.
  • Lieutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) is a lieutenant in the Homicide Division of the SFPD. He is naive and often portrayed as slightly dim. The other characters are often irritated by him, but they also care about him. In season eight he is seen kissing Sharona, and in the series finale he moves to Summit, New Jersey where they move in together. He becomes Chief of Police there.
  • Secondary characters

  • Julie Teeger (Emmy Clarke) is Natalie's teenage daughter. She first appeared in "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring" (3.10) and last appeared in "Mr. Monk and the End – Part I" (8.15). In her final appearance, Julie prepares to attend college to study theater.
  • Dr. Charles Kroger (Stanley Kamel) was Monk's psychiatrist during the first six seasons of the show. His last appearance is in "Mr. Monk Paints His Masterpiece" (6.14). His character was said to have died of a heart attack when Monk returned for the season seven, due to Kamel having died of a heart attack on April 8, 2008, between production of seasons six and seven.
  • Dr. Neven Bell (Héctor Elizondo) is Monk's second psychiatrist. He first appears in "Mr. Monk Buys a House" (7.01). Dr. Bell was introduced in 2008 to replace Dr. Kroger after the death of actor Stanley Kamel.
  • Trudy Monk (Stellina Rusich in the first and second seasons and by Melora Hardin starting in the third season) is Monk's deceased wife. Her husband Monk's attempt to solve her murder is the show's overarching plot arc, from the premiere episode to the 125th, finale episode.
  • Kevin Dorfman (Jarrad Paul) was an accountant and Monk's talkative and nosy upstairs neighbor. He first appears in the season two episode "Mr. Monk and the Paperboy" (2.10). He was murdered by fellow magician Karl Torini in the season seven episode "Mr. Monk and the Magician" (7.15).
  • Harold Krenshaw (Tim Bagley), another patient of Dr. Kroger, is Adrian's intermittent nemesis for much of the series. He and Monk have constant disputes, due to their incompatible obsessions. Harold first appeared in "Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf" (3.06) when he and Monk bickered about the arrangement of magazines in Dr. Kroger's waiting room. In "Mr. Monk and the Election" (3.15) Krenshaw is Natalie's opponent for a spot on her daughter Julie's School Board. He is prominently mentioned in the beginning of "Mr. Monk and the Actor" (5.01). He plays a critical role in "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink" (5.07). He plays an unusual role in "Mr. Monk and the Daredevil" (6.07) with disclosure of details of his past and introduction to his family. After Dr. Kroger dies, Harold constantly tries to discover the identity of Monk's new therapist. He finally does uncover Dr. Bell's name in "Mr. Monk Fights City Hall" (7.16). He bumps into an undercover Monk in "Mr. Monk Is Someone Else" (8.04). In the episode "Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy" (8.08), Harold and Monk finally become friends by conquering claustrophobia together. Harold generously leaves the group at the end of the episode so that Monk can share private therapy with Dr. Bell.
  • Benjy Fleming (Kane Ritchotte during the pilot episode and seasons two and three, and Max Morrow during the first season) is Sharona's son. His last appearance is in the season three episode "Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month" (3.07).
  • Ambrose Monk (John Turturro) is Adrian's agoraphobic brother. He is based on Mycroft Holmes. He first appears in the season two episode "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies", for which John Turturro won an Emmy for his performance.
  • Jack Monk (Dan Hedaya) is the father of Adrian and Ambrose. He abandoned the family when Adrian and Ambrose were young (having left for Chinese food and never came back) and started another family. He appears only in the season five episode "Mr. Monk Meets His Dad" (5.09).
  • Jack Monk, Jr. (Steve Zahn) is the other son of Jack Monk, Adrian's half brother and a known convict. He appears only in the season seven episode "Mr. Monk's Other Brother" (7.10).
  • Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck (Adam Arkin in the first season, Tim Curry in the second season, and Ray Porter in the sixth season) is Adrian Monk's archenemy and most hated rival. He is a wealthy, morbidly obese financier whom Adrian blames for ruining one of the last years of Trudy's life. He first appears in "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale" (1.03), at the end of which Monk sends him to prison for a murder-for-hire. Biederbeck later appears funneling information to Monk about Trudy's murder in "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail" (2.16). At the end of "Mr. Monk Is on the Run (Part Two)" (6.16), Dale "The Whale" loses his pocket politician (the Lieutenant Governor) during a failed conspiracy to assassinate the governor and is left destitute and powerless for the remainder of his sentence.
  • Karen Stottlemeyer (Glenne Headly) is Leland Stottlemeyer's wife from the beginning of the series until their divorce in "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Marriage" (4.12). It is later revealed in the season eight episode "Mr. Monk Is the Best Man" (8.13) that she is actually Leland's second wife. She is a filmmaker who specializes in documentaries. She first appears in "Mr. Monk and the Very, Very Old Man" (2.05).
  • Linda Fusco (Sharon Lawrence) is Captain Stottlemeyer's girlfriend in season six. She first appears in "Mr. Monk, Private Eye" (5.05) and later in "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan" (6.01). She last appears in "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend" (6.04).
  • Trudy Jensen (Virginia Madsen) is Captain Stottlemeyer's love interest in season eight. She is a freelance journalist, first appearing in "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk" (8.09) and marries Stottlemeyer in "Mr. Monk Is the Best Man" (8.13).
  • Marci Maven (Sarah Silverman) is Monk's overzealous admirer. She first appears in "Mr. Monk and the TV Star" (2.12) and later in "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan" (6.01), and "Mr. Monk's 100th Case" (7.07).
  • Episode titles

    Much like novels in a series about a starring detective, all but two of the episodes have titles in the form of "Mr. Monk and (a person or thing)", e.g. "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend", "Mr. Monk (does something)", e.g. "Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus", "Mr. Monk (is something)", e.g. "Mr. Monk Is on the Run", or "Mr. Monk Gets (something)", e.g. "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized". The one exception is the season eight episode "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk".

    While solving a murder is the main plot for most episodes, there are a few episodes in which Monk helps investigate other crimes, such as kidnappings in the season two episode "Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny" and the season three episode "Mr. Monk and the Kid", or a failed murder plot in the season six episode "Mr. Monk and the Daredevil". There are a number of times where the episode is not about the murder itself but about finding evidence to arrest the killer, e.g. "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert", or "Mr. Monk and the Genius", and episodes where the murder is related to the main plot, e.g. in "Mr. Monk on Wheels".

    Some episodes actually start as a totally different type of case, but eventually a murder happens, e.g. a suspected abduction turns into a murder case in "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized". In season seven, in the 100th episode, Monk solved his 100th (and 101st) case since his wife's death, a milestone in his career.

    In a humorous twist, in the episode "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan" Marci Maven (Sarah Silverman) refers directly to cases Monk has solved by the titles of the episodes.

    Plot formats

    Episodes about a murder generally follow one of four basic plot outlines:

  • The killer is known, and how the crime was committed is known. The episode is spent trying to find evidence to arrest that person, and these episodes are hence patterned similarly to many episodes of Columbo.
  • Monk knows who the killer is, and knows what the motive is, but the killer has a seemingly air-tight alibi. The episode is spent trying to break that alibi and find out how the killer did it.
  • In a number of episodes, the plot involves trying to find out the killer, how the murder was done, and why.
  • In some episodes, the killer's M.O. is known, but not who did it or why.
  • "Here's what happened" segments

    Most episodes feature a sequence in which Monk reveals how the crime was committed, almost always prefaced with the words "Here's what happened" (or a variation of that phrase) and shown in black and white. Most of these sequences are featured near the end of the episode, but have occasionally occurred at the beginning ("Mr. Monk Takes the Stand") or towards the middle. Some of these sequences are told in an unusual fashion, such as being told to a bear ("Mr. Monk Goes Camping"), in the form of a bedtime story ("Mr. Monk and the Kid"), being chanted during a ritual at a monastery ("Mr. Monk and the Miracle"), in a dream ("Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra" and "Mr. Monk's Favorite Show"), being told by someone other than Monk (by Sharona in "Mr. Monk Goes To Jail", by Natalie in "Mr. Monk and the Birds and the Bees", and by Disher in "Mr. Monk Visits a Farm"), being rapped out by a rapper (guest star Snoop Dogg in "Mr. Monk and the Rapper"), and being told in another language ("Mr. Monk Falls in Love"). Harold Krenshaw gives a fictitious summation about Monk in "Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy". Monk states a summation twice, in flashback and in present, in "Mr. Monk and Little Monk" as himself and as young Monk. In at least three episodes ("Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike", "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized", and "Mr. Monk and the Lady Next Door"), Monk gives multiple versions of the same summation, but all except for the last one are false as a result of his being unable to concentrate. In "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever", Monk and Disher give simultaneous summations of different crimes.

    There are only a few episodes that do not contain a summation. The first episode not to feature a summation was the season one episode "Mr. Monk and the Airplane".


    According to an interview with executive producer David Hoberman, ABC first conceived the series as a police show with an Inspector Clouseau-like character suffering from obsessive–compulsive disorder. Hoberman said ABC wanted Michael Richards for the show, but Richards turned it down. Hoberman brought in Andy Breckman as creator, and Breckman, inspired by Sherlock Holmes, introduced Dr. Kroger as a Doctor Watson-like character and an Inspector Lestrade-like character which eventually became Captain Stottlemeyer.

    Although ABC originated the show, the network handed it off to the USA Network. USA is now owned by NBC (NBC Universal). Monk was the first ABC Studios-produced show aired on USA Network instead of ABC. Although ABC initially refused Monk, they did air repeats of the show on ABC in the summer and fall of 2002, and then again in the spring of 2004. On January 12, 2006, USA Network announced that Monk had been picked up through at least season six as one of the "highest-rated series in cable history." An in-joke reference to this contract renewal was also inserted into the episode "Mr. Monk and the Big Reward", which aired around this time.

    Season five premiered Friday, July 7, 2006, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. This marked the first time change for the program, which aired at 10:00 p.m. during its first four seasons. The change allowed the show to work as a lead-in to a new USA Network series, Psych, another offbeat detective program. Monk has followed a consistent format of airing half of its 16 episodes in mid-year and the second half early the following year, with the exception of the first season, which broadcast entirely from July 2002 through October 2002, and the final season, which broadcast entirely between August and December 2009.

    Previously aired episodes of Monk began airing on NBC Universal sibling network NBC April 6, 2008. NBC eyed the show because its block with Psych could be plugged into NBC's schedule intact. The shows were being used to increase the amount of scripted programming on the network as production of its own scripted programming ramped back up following the writers' strike. Ratings for the broadcast debut were well below NBC averages for the time period. The show came in third behind Big Brother 9 on CBS and Oprah's Big Give on ABC.


    Although set in the San Francisco Bay Area, Monk is for the most part shot elsewhere except for occasional exteriors featuring city landmarks. The pilot episode was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, with some location shooting in San Francisco, and the subsequent season one episodes were shot in the Toronto, Ontario, area. Most of the episodes from seasons two through six were filmed in the Los Angeles, California, area, including on-stage at Ren-Mar Studios for seasons two through five and at Paramount Studios for season six. These include the sets for Monk's apartment, the police station and Stottlemeyer's office, Dr. Kroger's office and Natalie's house. In season two, episode eight, a building for the Toronto Star can also be seen in a cut scene.

    In the later part of season 4, there was some on-location filming done in San Francisco. Many portions of the episode "Mr. Monk and the Big Reward" were noticeably shot on location, including a climactic chase scene where Monk and Natalie are chased by three bounty hunters. Other filming was done in Chinatown, which is shown in the opening of "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty" as Stottlemeyer and Disher chase wanted fugitive Miguel Escobar (Carlos Gomez) up Jackson Street. In "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut," some on-location filming was done at Edwards Air Force Base.

    Theme music

    During the first season of Monk, the series used a jazzy instrumental intro to the show by songwriter Jeff Beal, performed by guitarist Grant Geissman. The theme won the 2003 Emmy Award for Best Main Title Music.

    NYC actor Colter Rule was hired by USA Network to do all radio and TV promos for the series from its inception, lending an ironic, understated tone which contributed to the show's early popularity. The original tag was "Monk! America's Favorite Defective Detective!" When season two began, the series received a new theme song, entitled "It's a Jungle Out There", by Randy Newman. Reaction to the new theme was mixed. A review of season two in the New York Daily News included a wish that producers would revert to the original theme. Shalhoub expressed his support for the new theme in USA Today, saying its "dark and mournful sound,… [its] tongue-in-cheek, darkly humorous side… completely fits the tone of the show." Newman was awarded the 2004 Emmy Award for Best Main Title Music for "It's a Jungle Out There".

    The show made self-deprecating references to the theme music controversy in the episode "Mr. Monk and the TV Star", where obsessed fan Marci Maven and Sharona both express distaste for the new theme music to a CSI parody called Crime Lab: SF. In the epilogue of the story, Marci implores Monk to promise her that he will never change the theme music if he ever gets his own show. When Monk agrees to the promise (only so he can go back to bed), the original music is heard as the scene fades to credits, and it plays through the credits.

    The original theme is heard in the season three episode "Mr. Monk and the Game Show". It is also heard in several other episodes as the show enters the credits and then leads into the new theme's instrumental. In the season five episode "Mr. Monk and the Leper", while looking around a victim's apartment, Randy doodles out the old theme song on the piano, much to Stottlemeyer's exasperation. The music was also heard in the season seven episode "Mr. Monk and the Bully". The latest use of the original theme music was in the season eight episode "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk" in 2009.

    In the season six episode "Mr. Monk and the Rapper", Snoop Dogg guest-starred as Murderuss, a rapper who is being wrongly accused of car-bombing a rival rapper. For the episode, Snoop Dogg also performed a hip-hop cover of "It's a Jungle Out There" which substitutes for Randy Newman's version in the opening credits, and later is heard at the end before transitioning into the regular credit music. The June 16, 2008, re-airing of the pilot episode featured a new credit sequence with the Newman theme. The season eight episode "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk" features a slower version of the original theme with a muted trumpet playing the melody.

    Randy Newman also wrote a new song for the final episode entitled "When I'm Gone". The song was released on iTunes on December 1, 2009 and won the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.

    For a few episodes where Trudy is featured, a somber but pleasant ending theme was used. The ending theme is last used in "Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra".


    The series was given many awards and nominations, including winning eight Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award (out of 7 nominations).

    Little Monk

    USA Network premiered a ten-episode online series entitled "Little Monk" on August 22, 2009. It includes Adrian Monk and Ambrose Monk during their middle-school years, bringing a back story to Monk's detective skills and phobias. As they would have been middle schoolers in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, viewers will see anachronisms; the various cars seen in the episodes, as well as some of the clothes, do not belong to the period.

    TV movie

    On February 17, 2012, Andy Breckman announced that a script had been completed for a TV movie titled Mr. Monk For Mayor. Breckman stated that the film should begin production in summer 2012 in California for a release date in December 2012. Breckman also stated that he hoped a sequel would be produced as well. The idea was rejected for budgetary reasons.


    The show's soundtrack features its original music score, composed by Jeff Beal.


    A "behind the scenes" audio podcast entitled "Lunch at Monk" is available for download through the USA website. In the podcast, cast and crew members of the show are interviewed over lunch.

    Novel series

    Since 2006, during the airing of season four, Lee Goldberg has produced a series of novels based on the original television series. All of the novels are narrated by Natalie Teeger, Monk's second assistant. For the most part, the novels remain faithful to the television series, with slight discontinuity. Two of the novels were later adapted into regular episodes. On December 31, 2012, the last novel to be written by Lee Goldberg was released. After Lee Goldberg left the series Hy Conrad wrote four more books, ending with Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant.

    DVD releases

    Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released all 8 seasons of Monk on DVD in Region 1. On October 5, 2010, Universal released Monk- The Complete Series: Limited edition boxset on DVD in Region 1. A 32-disc set featuring all 8 seasons of the series as well as special features and a collectible 32-page booklet.

    Monk episodes from seasons 1–8 are also available on iTunes. All seasons are also available in HD format. It should be noted that the Region 2 DVDs of seasons 1–3 are in the 4:3 aspect ratio.


    Monk (TV series) Wikipedia