Surely all of my readers must have encountered Monk before, but just in case. Adrian Monk is possibly the greatest detective in the world. At least he would be if he wasn’t almost crippled by a list of phobias (over a hundred at last count), exacerbated by the one case that he can’t solve – the death of his wife, Trudy. Now he works as a consultant for the San Francisco police department alongside his assistant Natalie (or Sharona in the early episodes).
In this episode (chosen at random again), Monk is at a crime scene when Natalie overhears a police report that her daughter Julie has been murdered. Racing to the scene, they find that it is some that shares the name Julie Teeger. And then a second Julie Teeger is found dead. And now there is only one left…
Tony Shaloub won loads of awards for his portrayal of Adrian Monk with good reason. It’s a superb nuanced performance, utterly believable. Even in his most extreme moments, either when played for comedy or tragedy (or both), he completely inhabits the character. In addition, the rest of the cast – Traylor Howard, Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford – complement him perfectly. As with Castle, you get the sense of a cast who are enjoying themselves, producing a fun watch for the audience as well. Ted Levine doesn’t get enough credit for his performance as Stottlemeyer, in my opinion. The steady decline of his car in this episode is a pretty decent running joke.
OK, this episode? Well, the idea of the plot is a clever enough one, but once the investigation focusses on a disturbed young man very early, there’s really only one way for it to go – as Monk has at no point said “He’s the guy”, you know that there’s more to it. It actually is clued, although the second part of the clue comes very late on and if you remember something visual early on and also match it to the later thing… well, you’re doing better than me. But there is only really one suspect so you’ll probably guess it. The reason behind the killing spree is pretty clever though.
So, all in all, a better than average episode of an always-entertaining show. If you haven’t met Mr Monk yet, then do take a look. If you have – why not watch it again? It’s one of the few mystery shows that I can watch again and again. Best of the bunch so far.