Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thoughts on Monk

Last night, after eight seasons, the series finale of Monk aired on the USA Network.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Monk starred Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, a former San Francisco Police Detective afflicted with OCD. While the OCD renders him unable to function without the help of his assistant Natalie (played by Traylor Howard) it enables him to solve crimes that would otherwise allude the grasp of law enforcement.

The one crime he couldn't solve was the murder of his wife, Trudy.

Craig T. Nelson did it.

While Adrian Monk lost his wife he does gain a daughter of sorts.

I only began watching Monk regularly over the past couple of seasons and frankly I had a love-hate relationship with it. There are some TV shows you can watch again and again. Monk is not one of those shows. There are so many times during the show when Adrian Monk makes me cringe it is sometimes difficult to watch. His behavior is so embarrassing that on occasion I have changed the channel or gone into the kitchen. Yet I would come back to see the conclusion. I would not have come back if the quality of the writing and the supporting cast didn't have anything to offer.

Besides where else can you get a weekly fix of Randy Newman?

I particularly enjoyed Ted Levine's portrayal of Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, Monk's former partner and confidante. While the crusty, mustachioed Stottlemyer cringes with the rest of us at Adrian Monk's antics he also knows that he can look at scraps of paper in a way no one else can.

A few episodes ago, Stottlemeyer's character married a journalist played by Virginia Madsen who happened to be named Trudy. I thought she would play a bigger role in the finale. But we only see her for a few seconds in the closing sequences of the show. Well, at least this wasn't a rehash of Amelia.

Stottlemyer's second in command, Lt. Randy Disher, moves to Summit, N.J. to become the police chief and moves in with Sharona (Monk's original assistant played by Bitty Schram who made a guest appearance a few weeks ago.) I see a spinoff in the making.

Michael Smerconish (the conservative radio talk show host who endorsed Obama) interviewed Andy Breckman, the creator and co-executive producer of Monk, before the airing of last night's episode.

Even Breckman is amazed at the show's success. Breckman told Smerconish, "When I wrote the pilot and I wrote that Trudy, Monk's late wife, died in a car bomb some years earlier, to be honest with you, I never expected in a million years I'd have to solve that damn crime."

As the late Paul Harvey would say, "And now you know the rest of the story."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add that it was a very pro-life ending, whether it was intended or not. Trudy kept her daughter and didn't have an abortion, even though she was in the middle of college when the affair took place. Yet she kept her, and if she hadn't, Adrian Monk would never have had any healing in his life and been able to move on as he did.