Monk: Mr. Monk and the Astronaut
One of the great things about Monk is how its protagonist is able to solve crimes that seem to have airtight alibis. Granted, sometimes the solutions are a bit far-fetched, but that's part of the show's charm.
Last night's episode focused on a famous astronaut who Monk is convinced murdered a woman he had an affair with five years ago. The only problem is, the astronaut was in outer space when the murder (made to look like a suicide by hanging) took place. The astronaut is cool, confident, calm under pressure, everything Adrian Monk isn't. Monk's constituents in the police department are awestruck by the famous man, and can't believe Monk's theory that somehow he was able to commit a murder while floating around deep space.
A lot of times, Monk focuses hard on Monk's phobias, but once in a while an episode will peel back a few more layers. The "murder mystery" aspect of the episode was intriguing as always, but what was really interesting was how Monk was forced to deal with someone whom he felt inferior to, and by doing so had to summon up whatever small amount of courage he had within him. When he chases down a jet plane, stands in front of it, and refuses to move when several rifles are pointed at him, he proves to himself he's not the "muss" (a word he made up combining "man" and "wuss") he thought he was. Monk works best when it's able to combine the quirky with the serious. Last night's episode was the best I've seen in awhile.