Adrian Monk (Monk)

Created by Andy Breckmann & David Hoberman

“Do you smell gas?”
— Adrian Monk

Love it or hate it, this was the face of private eye TV in the first decade of the new millennium, a tongue wedged firmly in his cheek, and all the grit of a sitcom.

So forget Spade or Marlowe or even Rockford or Magnum–for a large chunk of TV viewers of a certain era, ADRIAN MONK is the private eye.

In the USA Network’s Monk, which made its debut in 2002, Tony Shalhoub (of TV’s Wings and Stark Raving Mad) starred as the once-brilliant former homicide detective, a true master of forensic observation, who suffers a nervous breakdown in the wake of his wife Trudy’s still-unsolved car bomb murder.

Mr. Monk’s big dream was to get his old job back. But Christ, you know it ain’t easy. Adrian is battling a massive case of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and multiple phobias –he was afraid of virtually everything: germs, heights, crowds, the dark… even milk (though Sharona, his reluctant full-time nurse/keeper thinks they may have turned the corner on that last one).

So Monk’s in a strange limbo of mental health, not quite well, but too sharp to let go to waste. So the San Francisco Police Department keeps him on a string, calling him in on a freelance basis to consult on particularly difficult cases.

Just another damaged, haunted cop trying to jump on the bandwagon, I thought. But I gave it a chance. The mix of comedy and violence was a little uneven. It was certainly lighter in tone than I expected, and the juxtaposition between mirth and murder was often a rough and uneven blend, and a few times I found it even offensive, as when Monk is strutting back and forth at a crime scene, doing his endless schtick while in the background, the forensic folks are processing a corpse, prepping the body to dump into a bag.

Oh, the hilarity.

Still, because the mysteries were often good ones and Shalhoub was such an intriguing actor (his turn in the Coen Brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There was nothing short of riveting), this was one show I kept rooting for, hoping for the best. And I have to admit I initially loved Adrian’s compulsion to “Sherlock Holmes” everyone, revealing embarrassing secrets most people would rather he didn’t feel compelled to blurt out. And the physical humour is very well done–it’s just not what I was expecting (or hoping for) from the early promos.

Another thing that irked me was the supporting cast. I enjoyed the slow burn of the long-suffering Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), who had a begrudging respect for Monk’s often infuriating ways, and his scenes with Monk are great fun to watch, displaying the impeccable comedic timing that eventually nabbed Shalboub a well-deserved Emmy. But the rest of the cast was superfluous. Particularly Lt. Randall Disher, Stottlemeyer’s second-in-command, who came off as just a ridiculous weenie with a badge (Judge Reinhold for a new millennium!) and Monk’s court-appointed (or more likely, network executive-appointed) nurse/keeper/straight man Sharona, who was possibly the most annoying woman character on crime television since Moonlighting‘s Agnes DiPesto.

And oh, those warm, cloying domestic scenes with Sharona and her kid failed to make the prickly Monk more lovable. Maybe it’s me, but I didn’t want Monk to be quite so cute and huggable – I wanted to see him drive the stuffed-shirt Captain (and the murder suspect of the week) up the friggin’ wall. Hey, I like children as much as the next guy, but the mother/brat combo here served no real purpose, except to add even more schtick to an already schtick-heavy show, padding out the occasionally underwritten episodes and to induce cringing. Wasn’t it Monk who was supposed to be the annoying one?

And the idea of milking Adrian’s mental illness and his growing humber of quirks and phobias for increasingly cheap laughs began to grate. I mean, fun is fun, but laughing at the guy with OCD can’t last, right? It occasionally felt mean-spirited, more like bullying than comedy, and I figured—even in those pre-woke times, that people would start to get offended, right? After all, if I was beginning to feel uneasy (and I’m not the most sensitive guy in the world), how would the general public feel?

But once again, what the hell did I know?

The show proved to be immensely popular, racking up a legion of devoted fans, and returning year after year. Sharona was replaced halfway through the third season by the less annoying Natalie, and the series lasted an impressive eight seasons, racking up awards and nominations on a regular basis, and inspiring a string of original tie-in novels, podcasts, online games, calendars and even bobbleheads. Besides three Emmys, Shalboub copped a Golden Globe and a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series, and several of the show’s writers were nominated for several Edgars. All in all, the show won eight Emmy Awards throughout its run.

Everyone loved it but me, and in 2023, 14 years after the final episode,it was announced that there would be a feature film, Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie, written by original series creator Andy Breckman and reuniting the cast.


  • I wonder if Adrian is related to Gus Monk, another San Francisco TV eye…
  • Both Jeff Beal’s jazzy instrumental main title theme (for season one) and Randy Newman’s “It’s a Jungle Out There” (starting in season two) won Emmys for Best Main Title Music in 2003 and 2004 respectively. I wonder if any other show has won an Emmy twice in this category.
  • Randy Newman also wrote a song for the final episode entitled “When I’m Gone.” The song won the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.


  • “If you don’t like MONK there’s something wrong with you…the best detective show to come along in decades.”
    — New York Post
  • “Fresh, exciting and utterly original.”
    — Chicago Tribune
  • “Compulsively watchable…the most captivating character to hit the genre in years.”
    — New York Daily News
  • “An enticingly screwy and potentially addictive new crime series.”
    — The Washington Post


  • “Is that the famous Adrian Monk, the living legend?”
    “If you call that living…”
    — two cops discussing Monk
  • “Someone tried to kill my husband… and you send me the Rain Man!”
    — another satisfied customer



  • MONK
    (2002-09, USA Network)
    125 episodes
    Premiere: July 12, 2002
    Created by Andrew Breckman & David Hoberman
    Writers: Andrew Breckman, Lee Goldberg, Michael Angeli, Daniel Dratch, David Breckman, Tom Scharpling, Hy Conrad, William Rabkin, Siobhan Byrne O’Connor, James Krieg, Rick Kronberg, Timothy J. Lea, Mitch Markowitz, John Romano, Karl Schaefer, David M. Stern, Joe Toplyn
    Directed by Milan Cheylov, Adam Arkin, Stephen Cragg, Adam Davidson, Tom DiCillo, Michael Fresco, Kevin Inch, Jerry Levine, Nick Marck, Michael Nankin, Dean Parisot , Adam Shankman, Michael Spiller, Robert C. Thompson, Lawrence Trilling, Ron Underwood, Craig Zisk, Randall Zisk, Andrei Belgrader
    Executive producers: Andy Breckman, David Hoberman
    Original music by Jeff Beal
    Theme by Jeff Beal (Season One)
    Theme Song by Randy Newman (Seasons 2-8)
    A Mandeville Films Production
    Starring Tony Shalhoub as MONK
    With Bitty Schram as Sharona Fleming (Seasons 1-3)
    Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger (Seasons 3-8)
    Ted Levine as Captain Stottlemeyer
    Jason Gray-Stanford as Lt. Randall Disher
    and Stellina Rusich (later Melora Hardin) Trudy Monk
    Guest stars: Willie Nelson, Craig T. Nelson, Stanley Tucci, Alfred Molina, Sarah Silverman, Snoop Dogg, John Turturro, Dan Hedaya, Adam Arkin, Tim Curry, Virginia Madsen
    The pilot episode was shot in Vancouver, B.C., and the first season in Toronto; subsequent seasons filmed in Santa Clarita, California. Only occasional location scenes were shot in San Francisco.

    • PILOT
    • “Mr. Monk and the Candidate” (July 12, 2002; 2 hour)Buy the pilot
    • SEASON ONE | Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk And The Psychic” (July 19, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk Meets Dale The Whale” (July 26, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival” (August 2, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes To The Asylum” (August 9, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger” (August 16, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Other Woman” (August 23, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk And The Marathon Man” (September 13, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk Takes a Vacation” (September 20, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Earthquake” (October 4, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger” (October 11, 2002)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Airplane” (October 18, 2002)
    • SEASON TWO | Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to School” (June 20, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico,” (June 27, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame” (July 11, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus” (July 18, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Very, Very Old Man” (July 25, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Theatre” (August 1, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect” (August 8, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy” (August 15, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk and the 12th Man” (August 22, 2003)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Paperboy” (January 16, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Three Pies” (January 23, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the TV Star” (January 30, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny” (February 6, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Captain’s Wife” (February 13, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Married” (February 27, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes To Jail” (March 5, 2004)
    • SEASON THREE |  Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan” (June 18, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Panic Room25 Jun, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Blackout” (July 9, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Fired” (July 16, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather” (July 23, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf” (July 30, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month” (August 6, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Game Show” (August 13, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine” (August 20, 2004)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Red Herring” (January 21, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra” (January 28, 2005) 3-12
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever” (February 4, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Stuck in Traffic” (February 11, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas” (February 18, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Election” (February 25, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Kid” (March 4, 2005)
    • SEASON FOUR |  Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk and the Other Detective” (July 8, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes Home Again” (July 15, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk Stays in Bed” (July 22, 2005)”
    • “Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk” (July 29, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Drunk” (August 5, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to a Wedding” (August 12, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Office” (August 19, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk and Little Monk” (August 26, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk and Little Monk” (August 26, 2005)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa” (December 2, 2005)”
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to a Fashion Show” (January ,2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Bumps His Head” (January 20, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Captain’s Marriage” (January 27, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Big Reward” (February 3, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Astronaut” (March 3, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist” (March 10, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty” (March 17, 2006)
    • SEASON FIVE |  Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk and the Actor” (July , 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike” (July 14, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Big Game” (July 21, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Can’t See a Thing” (July 28, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk, Private Eye” (August 4, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion” (August 11, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink” (August 18, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert” (August 25 , 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Meets His Dad” (November 17, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Leper” (December 22, 2006)
    • “Mr. Monk Makes A Friend” (January 19, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk Is At Your Service” (January 26, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk Is On The Air” (February 2, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk Visits a Farm” (February 9, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy” (February 23,2007)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Hospital” (March 2, 2007)
    • SEASON SIX |  Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan” (July 13,2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Rapper” (July 20, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Naked Man” (July 27, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend” (August 3, 2007
    • “Mr. Monk and the Birds and the Bees” (August 10, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure” (August 17, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Daredevil” (August 24, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Wrong Man” (September 7, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk Is Up All Night” (September 14, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa” (December 7, 2007)
    • “Mr. Monk Joins a Cult” (January 11, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to the Bank” (January 18, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Three Julies” (January 25, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Paints His Masterpiece” (February 1, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Is on the Run (Part One)” (February 15, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Is on the Run (Part Two)” (February 22, 2008
    • SEASON SEVEN |  Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk Buys a House” (July 18, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Lotto Fever” (August 1, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Takes A Punch” (August 8, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Is Underwater”” (August 15, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Genius” (July 25, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Falls In Love”” (August 22, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk’s 100th Case” (September 5, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized” (September 12, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Miracle” (November 28, 2008)
    • “Mr. Monk’s Other Brother” (January 9, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk on Wheel” (January 16, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Lady Next Door” (January 23, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs” (January 30, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Bully”” (February 6, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Magician” (February 13, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk Fights City Hall” (February 20, 2009)
    • SEASON EIGHT | Buy this season on DVD
    • “Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show” (August 7, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Foreign Man” (August 14, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the UFO” (August 21, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk is Someone Else” (August 28, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk Takes the Stand”” (September 11, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Critic” (September 18, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse” (September 25, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy” (October 9, 2009)
    • “Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk” (October 16, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and Sharona” (October 23, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Dog” (October 30, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk Goes Camping” (November 6, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk Is the Best Man”” (November 13, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the Badge” (November 20, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the End (Part One)” (November 27, 2009)
    • “Mr. Monk and the End (Part Two)” (December 4, 2009)


    Because you have to have every single episode, right? Disinfectant not included.


    Written by Andy Breckmann
    Starring Tony Shalhoub as ADRIAN MONK
    With Ted Levine as Captain Stottlemeyer
    Traylor Howard as Natalie
    Jason Gray-Stanford as Lt. Disher
    Hector Elizondo as
    and Melora Hardin as Trudy




  • “Mr. Monk and the Seventeen Steps” (December 2010, EQMM) by Lee Goldberg)
  • “Mr. Monk and the Sunday Paper” (July 2011, EQMM) by Lee Goldberg)
  • “Mr. Monk and the Open House” (January 2012, EQMM) by Lee Goldberg)
  • “Mr. Monk and the Talking Car” (June 2012, EQMM) by Lee Goldberg)
  • “Mr. Monk Sees the Light” (January 2013, EQMM) by Lee Goldberg)



  • Adrian Monk Moist Towelette
    This cleverer-than-usual promo item (pictured above) was shipped out by the thousands to plug the release of the second season on DVD.


  • June 18, 2021
    Hey, let’s all laugh at the OCD guy! But it turns out the little germaphobic dude was better prepared for COVID than we were.


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to CarolT for keeping me (relatively) honest.

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