The ranks of fictional genius gumshoes were joined by former San Francisco detective Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) in the summer of 2002, and he is indeed a welcome addition. Cable channel USA Network introduced Monk, a bright comedy-drama series about an obsessive-compulsive sleuth drummed out of police work following the murder of his wife and a subsequent spike in his overwhelming neuroses. Once a rising star in the homicide department, the twitchy savant is still valuable to Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), who reluctantly calls on Monk to solve difficult, high-profile murders of judges, billionaires, police informants, and famous attorneys. Monk's talent for finding clues and seeing the big picture in criminal investigations makes him a force to reckon with, but his many phobias (germs, heights, asymmetry, and much, much else) aggravate Stottlemeyer and make Monk completely dependent on a long-suffering assistant, Sharona (Bitty Schram), a single mom who functions as Dr. Watson to Monk's Sherlock Holmes. Each of the 12 episodes included in Monk: The Complete First Season is a delightful mix of clever whodunit puzzler, neurotic schtick, and deepening relationships. Among the latter, the bond between Monk and Sharona is most touching, as the platonic friends, sometimes aghast at how involved they are in each other's lives, surprise themselves with the breadth of their trust and commitment. In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum," Monk is forced into a stay at a mental hospital, where a murderer has convinced him he's crazy; it's Sharona who makes her boss realize he's not. In "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake," it's Monk who rushes to Sharona's aid when he deduces that a lying friend is about to kill her. In almost every episode, Monk is confronted with a phobic limitation he must overcome in order to save the day. The question is whether he will heal enough, one day, to re-join his old squad. For the sake of Monk's winning formula and fans, one has to hope such good news never comes to pass. --Tom KeoghSeason TwoMonk: Season Two
finds the popular cable dramedy all the more satisfying and fun in its second year. Relationships between the series' core characters have (against all odds) actually deepened and sweetened, while the new whodunit storylines challenge obsessive-compulsive investigator hero Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) in fresh and novel ways. There are no big changes, but there is more compassion, even friendship, exchanged between Monk and his former boss, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), and grudging admiration for the difficult private sleuth from Stottlemeyer's second-in-command, Lieutenant Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford). As for Monk's crucial bond with his long-suffering assistant, Sharona (Bitty Schram), well, nothing comes easier than before. On the other hand, Sharona continues to draw Monk out of his self-obsession by giving him someone to care about.
Highlights include the strong season opener, "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School," starring Andrew McCarthy as a science teacher whom Monk instantly suspects of killing a colleague. (The latter's death was disguised as a suicide.) Monk's investigation leads him to take, with many pitfalls and funny moments, a post at the school as a substitute teacher. But the episode also demonstrates the series' increasing preference for mysteries that concern how a crime was committed rather than who did it. Also good is "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico," in which Monk finds himself in a panic without bottled water while working alongside two south-of-the-border equivalents (in looks and personality) of Stottlemeyer and Disher. "Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy" stars Gary Cole as a girlie-mag publisher who blackmails the chivalrous Monk by acquiring, and threatening to print, old topless photos of Sharona. One of the season's best shows, "Mr. Monk and the Paperboy," finds the fastidious, orderly detective in a major freakout when his own home becomes a crime scene. Still a comic joy and still stimulating for mystery buffs, Monk: Season Two is highly recommended. Among appealing guest stars are Rachel Dratch, Glenne Headley, Tim Curry, and John Turturro as Monk's Mycroft-like brother. --Tom Keogh
He’s obsessive. He’s compulsive. He’s Monk, “TV’s most original sleuth ever” (Howard Rosenberg, Los Angeles Times).
Primetime Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Tony Shalhoub cleans up crime and grime galore in the beloved series that critics hailed as “fresh, exciting and utterly original” (Chicago Tribune).
Once upon a time Adrian Monk was a rising star with the San Francisco Police Department, but he lost his nerve, his mind and then his badge. Now, this obsessive-compulsive detective is determined to get back on the force by solving one crime at a time in “the best detective show to come along in decades” (New York Post).
Featuring hilarious guest stars, including Stanley Tucci, John Turturro and Sarah Silverman, and packed with every episode from all 8 seasons, this 32-disc set includes hours of behind-the-scenes bonus features along with the collectible 32-page Defective Detective Handbook, making Monk: The Complete Series a compulsively essential addition to any DVD obsessive’s collection.