Tony Shalhoub as Monk


Title: Monk
Released: 2002

Fix: Police, Dramedy, OCD
Platform: Amazon Prime

Amazon Summary:

He’s ingenious, he’s phobic, he’s obsessive-compulsive. Two-time Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Tony Shalhoub is former police detective Adrian Monk. The brilliant Monk is now back fighting crime and his abnormal fears of germs, cars, heights, crowds and virtually everything else known to man.

FYA Summary:

Once the best homicide detective in the San Francisco police department, Adrian Monk suffered a mental breakdown when his wife Trudy was murdered. Kicked off the force, Monk now works as a private detective. Almost paralyzed with phobias and neurosis, Monk’s severe OCD enables him to notice the clues that others miss.

Familiar Faces:

Tony Shalhoub in Monk

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk

‘The defective detective.’ Cheap, rude, socially useless, and barely capable of taking care of himself, he’s still the greatest detective in California, maybe the US. His obsession with detail and symmetry allows him to notice things that normal human beings would ignore. The police call him in whenever a bizarre crime hits the city.

His OCD is both helpful and ridiculous (He was once accused of a murder he didn’t commit and requested the judge change his bail from $900,000 to one million). His marriage to his late wife Trudy was his one successful relationship and he knows nothing about human sexuality. When the captain says a murder victim had the world’s oldest profession, Monk assumes she was a stonemason.

Monk is a desperately annoying man, but likeable in his own way. He takes total advantage of his friends but risks his life when they’re in danger. With an unhappy childhood and the loss of his beloved wife, he’s never truly found happiness.

Bitty Schram in Monk

Bitty Schram as Sharona Fleming (Seasons 1-3)

Formerly Monk’s nurse, Sharona beame his assistant when he returned to crime fighting. Worldly and with bad taste in men, Sharona helps Monk navigate a world he doesn’t understand. She’s often called upon to do far more than her job requires, such as posing as Monk’s wife as they trail a suspect to a marriage counseling retreat. She’s a cool customer and fanatically loyal to her boss, though she tries to force him to live outside of his comfort zone. Sharona’s son Benjy is in awe of Monk’s abilities, sometimes inviting friends over to watch him work.

Traylor Howard in Monk

Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger (Seasons 3-8)

Monk’s new assistant. A military widow estranged from her rich parents, Natalie is a little less forceful than Sharona, though she seems to genuinely like Monk as a person (it’s occasionally implied she has a bit of a crush on him). Constantly overworked and underpaid, she tries to force Monk to live a more normal life. Her daughter, Julie, treats Monk like a beloved (though crazy) uncle.

Ted Levine in Monk

Ted Levine as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer

I just realized he’s the same actor who played Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs and now I can’t get that image out of my head.

Captain of the San Francisco Homicide Division and Monk’s former partner. Constantly angry and frustrated, he’s impressed by Monk’s abilities, though is often driven to distraction by Monk’s personality.

Stottlemeyer (after Monk saves Natalie’s life by throwing a grenade into the refrigerator, then opens the door again to sit it upright): I’m going to have the mayor give you a medal. And then I’m going to make him take it away from you!

Jason Gray-Stanford in Monk

Jason Gray-Stanford as Lt. Randy Disher

Stottlemeyer’s current partner. Goofy and prone to screw ups, Disher has as many bizarre theories as Monk (though Disher’s are always wrong). He’s less abrasive than Stottlemeyer and slightly less socially awkward than Monk. Fans of romance will be happy with how the series ended.

This was another series with a lot of celebrity guests, including one of the very first appearances of a teenage Jennifer Lawrence.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Exactly Four People

A perfect square. Two on that side, two on the other. Two men, two women. Lets sit in order by age. No, by height. No, by age. No…

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Sierra Springs Bottled Water

The hour-long episodes are funny, but when Monk goes into his ‘Here’s what happened’ spiel, you’ll want to be sober enough to catch all the clues. How did that skydiver drown in midair? How was that woman mauled by a dog that died last week? Why did that murder victim have gold in her stomach?

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Here’s the thing…

If you’re not careful, you could wind up watching like four episodes in a row. But why not make it five? Such a nice round number. But that’s an odd number. So why not ten? But that’s just under a whole season, so better watch all twelve. But twelve? That’s not a round number.

You’re just going to have to watch every single episode.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.