Adrian Monk was a genius analytical homicide detective, with
the San Francisco Police Department, until his wife was killed
in a bombing. Following his breakdown he returns as an advisor,
unfortunately his breakdown has left him with an idiosyncratic
set of ticks, phobias and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder),
which at points both helps and hinders him in his work...
first aired in 2002 and continues to be produced today. It
was an instant hit, mostly due to the bizarrely erratic portrayal
by Tony Shalhoub,
in the title role. The show was created by Andy Breckman,
who has previously been a writer on Saturday Night Live
as well as holding the writing credits for the films Sergeant
Bilko and Rat Race, so as you can imagine this
show has its tongue firmly in its cheek.
a start in theatre Shalhoub
has gradually built up an impressive set of work on both the
small and big screen. He played the dishonest alien pawnbroker
in Black, the father in Thirteen Ghosts
and an inept actor who helps save the day in Galaxy
Quest and most recently in 1408. Monk,
and Shalhoub in particular, has won numerous awards, in various
categories it has won ten outright and been nominated for
a further twenty-five.
first thing to say about the series is that it is something
which you will either love, and I count myself amongst those
that do, or hate due to the amount of time spent over Monk's
personal neurosis. In truth, having treated many people with
OCD, its portrayal, like many things on the screen, is somewhat
over simplified and used for comedic or dramatic effect rather
than to give an insight into the life of an OCD sufferer.
Not that I have a problem with this, anything that demystifies
and normalises mental health issues has to be a good thing.
mix of suspenseful cop drama and comedy are almost faultless,
and Season Five has a good balance between shows which
are being played for mostly laughs and those which look at
the darker side of Monk's work. Underlying every story is
the touchy, and more than a little melancholic, portrayal
of Monk's life. He has a support nurse, initially played by
Bitty Schram, though the character was replaced by Season
Five by Traylor Howard playing Natalie Teeger. Teeger
gets dragged into his cases along with two colleagues - Lt
Randell Disher, played by Jason Gray-Stanford and his old
boss Captain Leland Stottlemeyer - who do what they can to
support him. These characters form the nucleus of the Monk
you can imagine with such a well respected show, finding well
known actors to guest in episode was not going to be a problem.
The first episode Mr Monk and the Actor boasts Peter
The second episode, Mr Monk and the Garbage Strike,
has Alice Cooper. In Mr Monk meets his Dad, Dan Hedaya
steps into the role of his father, and Sean Astin (Lord
of the Rings) pops up in Mr Monk is at your Service...
and the list goes on.
if the show appeals to you there is little that it can be
faulted for. The scripts are inevitably witty and intelligent
and the acting superb. At its best Monk is compulsive
set does come with some extras, predominantly the pilot episode
of Psych, a buddy comic drama. Initially I thought
that it was little more than an extended advert for the show,
however after watching, it was a good choice, not only is
the show good, but it will appeal to fans of Monk,
it has that same irreverent tone. For Monk fans there
are four webisodes. For those of you that are into commentaries,
the black and white episode of Mr Monk and the Leper
has just a thing, this show is included twice both in its
original black and white film noir version as well as the
colour version, giving seventeen episodes in total.
you would expect, from a modern show, both the audio and picture
are very clear. So if you've missed any from Season Five
go out and do yourself a favour and buy it.