Monk: Mr. Monk and the Actor
(S05E01) This episode of Monk reflects back to this episode from last season where Monk figured out how an astronaut managed to kill a woman, despite being in deep space at the time of the alleged suicide. The case was such a home run that Hollywood has decided to make a movie about it, and famous actor David Rushkin (Stanley Tucci) has been chosen to play Monk.
Rushkin decides to follow Monk around as he helps investigators figure out how the same man could be involved in two crimes that seem to have no connection to one another: the murder of a woman in her apartment, and the murder of another man at a jewelry store. Monk becomes extremely awkward around the actor, and tries not to let his obsessive compulsive nature show through too much. So much of this show is dependent on Monk's subtle mannerisms, but he exaggerates them to an absurd degree as he tries to impress the actor who's playing him. He all but dances around the crime scene, and even shakes Rushkin's hand without cleaning his own hands clean with a sanitary wipe. He does almost lose it when he gets glitter on his suit, though.
It turns out that Monk's eccentricities are nothing compared to Rushkin's, who gets so into his role that he actually begins to act and behave like Monk, even when he's not on the set. He prods Monk long enough, and eventually Monk reveals the murder of his wife, the event that turned him into an obsessive compulsive germaphobe in the first place. Rushkin, who at this point wears a wig and a suit to resemble Monk, returns to the scene of the crime where Monk's wife was murdered, which leads him to the car dealership where he comes face to face with the man accused of the two aforementioned murders. Rushkin, however, who has at this point completely abandoned reality, thinks this man is the man who killed his wife (and by that I mean Monk's wife).
Stanley Tucci is probably one of the best actors working today, and it's hilarious to watch him mirror all of the head ticks and gestures Shalhoub uses to embody main character. During their final confrontation in the car dealership, the two become distracted by a sticker on a windshield, and rather than fight over the gun that's sitting right between them, they actually take turns using the butt of the gun to smooth out the bubbles under the sticker. Later, Monk tells his psychiatrist that Rushkin "wanted to play a character who wasn't so dark. He's in England doing Hamlet."
Best moment: When Disher realizes his role in the movie is not only being played by a woman, but also one who makes out with the actor portraying Captain Stottlemeyer during one scene.