Monk - USA Network

"Monk" is in its sixth and possibly weaker season, but Tony Shalhoub is still amazing as the multi-neurotic former Detective Adrian Monk. Never having recovered from his wife's murder, Monk lives in isolated fear of everything, venturing forth to brilliantly solve every crime and inspiring loyalty among his peeps, even while driving them all crazy.

Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard) is Monk's current and very patient assistant ever since his previous employee, Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram from "There's-no-crying-in-baseball 'A League of Their Own'"), supposedly quit and moved away, though in real life there were rumors of a contract dispute. Ted Levine finally sheds his creepy serial killer from "Silence of the Lambs" as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, Monk's loyal friend and supervisor and a man of integrity and dignity. His assistant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) is less dignified and often the bumbling comic relief. John Tuturro is Monk's brother Adrian, and is even more reclusive and odd than Adrian himself. Monk's father Jack (Dan Hedaya) even makes an appearance to bond briefly with his son in an especially touching episode. Of special note is guest star Tim Bagley as Harold Krenshaw, Monk's rival and nemesis as fellow neurosis patient. A delightful comedian from the famous Groundlings troupe and years on "Will and Grace", his facial expressions enhance all of his scenes with Shalhoub. Then there's Monk's quietly steadfast therapist Dr. Kroger (Stanley Kamel). It's a great cast overall.

Monk is an intriguing character and well worth watching. Hopefully, season seven will step up the pace a bit (the writers do seem a bit tired and less sharp this time around). Sometimes the murderer is painfully clear and you can see what's coming a mile away. But the show is not so much plot based as it is more character based. Shalhoub gives us a fresh look at dysfunction and while the show is mostly a comedy, his performance is still dimensional enough to make him quite vulnerably human and that's why we keep tuning in.

Created by:
Andy Breckman

Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) Former police detective
Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard) Assistant to Adrian Monk
Julie Teeger (Emmy Clarke) Student, daughter of Natalie Teeger
Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) SFPD Police captain
Lieutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) SFPD Police lieutenant
Dr. Charles Kroger (Stanley Kamel) Adrian Monk's psychiatrist
Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram) Former Assistant to Adrian Monk
Ambrose Monk
(John Tuturro) Brother to Adrian Monk
Jack Monk
(Dan Hedaya) Father to Adrian and Ambrose Monk

Series Directed by:
Randall Zisk (23 episodes, 2002-2007)
Jerry Levine (11 episodes, 2003-2006)
Andre Belgrader (6 episodes, 2004-2007)
Anthony R. Palmieri (3 episodes, 2005-2007)
Ron Underwood (2 episodes, 2003)
Stephen Surjik (2 episodes, 2006)
Wendey Stanzler (2 episodes, 2007)
Michael W. Watkins (2 episodes, 2007)
Adam Arkin (1 episode, 2002)
Jefery Levy (1 episode, 2006)

Writing Credits:
Andy Breckman (30 episodes, 2002-2007)
Daniel Dratch (10 episodes, 2003-2006)
Joe Toplyn (6 episodes, 2004-2007)
David Breckman (4 episodes, 2006-2007)
Tom Scharpling (4 episodes, 2006)
Lee Goldberg (3 episodes, 2003-2006)
Daniel Gaeta (3 episodes, 2006-2007)
Peter Wolk (3 episodes, 2006-2007)
Nell Scovell (2 episodes, 2005)
Jonathan Collier (2 episodes, 2006-2007)
Jack Bernstein (2 episodes, 2006)
Hy Conrad (2 episodes, 2006)
Michael Angeli (1 episode, 2003)
William Rabkin (1 episode, 2006)

The First One:
Monk - Season One

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