Monk is my new favorite TV show. It’s not exactly a new show, but I recently discovered it on USA, so it’s new to me. I usually avoid TV mysteries, series or otherwise, like the plague, but this one caught my attention with its offbeat humor and main character.
Tony Shalhoub, an actor whom I’ve long enjoyed since his days on the TV sitcom Wings, is perfect as the title character, Adrian Monk, a brilliant private investigator with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. His mental state was brought on by the violent death of his wife, and resulted in his suspension from the San Francisco police force. Still on good relations with his Captain, despite his annoying traits, Monk is in demand helping to solve the unsolvable.
Ably assisting him on each case is his no-nonsense day nurse Sharona Fleming, a single mother with a Jersey accent and a snappy comeback for every quirk Monk throws her way. She’s the only person who can keep Monk in line, and the only person he’s able to function around without suffering a complete meltdown. Together they make an entertaining modern-day Nick and Nora.
It’s the characters that drive this series, not any amazingly crafted who-dunnit plots. Shalhoub is fantastic in his humorous and sympathetic portrayal of Monk, and when he has to deal with the gruff Captain, the interplay between the two can have me laughing out loud.
Here’s the Gist: There are far worse ways to kill an hour on the tube. Currently, only the pilot episode is available on DVD, but it’s only a matter of time before they’re all released. In the meantime, catch new episodes of Monk on A&E. It’s worth watching just for Shalhoub’s Emmy-winning performance. [****]