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July 1, 2015

Monk season seven -- an early look

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 17th 2008 11:01AM

Monk returns for a seventh season on Friday, July 18thOn Friday, July 18th, the seventh season of Monk will premiere on the USA network. For some this is incredibly good news, particularly since the show will be celebrating its 100th episode come September. For others, season seven is three or four seasons too many. It's these people who think Adrian Monk should retire to a Feung Shui-styled, completely dust-free room to live out his remaining days lamenting about his lost love Trudy.

Fortunately, Tony Shalhoub doesn't want Monk to retire. In a recent interview the actor who plays the obsessive-compulsive Mr. Monk said that there is plenty more to explore about the character and the people around him. This is especially true thanks to the revelations of the season six finale, which opened up a whole new avenue for Monk to find the killer of his wife. That, and the introduction of a new therapist into Monk's life (due to the sudden death of Stanley Kamel), have the seventh season looking interesting.

Not to the point that everything changes, mind you. Fact is, the seventh season premiere looks and feels like many other Monk episodes of the past. The only major change is the introduction of Hector Elizondo as Monk's new therapist -- Dr. Bell. Well, that and the fact that Monk buys a house. See, not much has changed!

Really, it hasn't. Monk is still Monk as the season begins. He is even a bit worse for wear since the death of Dr. Kroeger. Fact is, Adrian's path throughout the premiere is led by the death of his therapist and his search for a new one. It's a good performance for Shalhoub as you see a mingled sadness and denial in the way he is dealing with his doctor's -- and his friend's -- death.

If you are anticipating a lot of interaction between Monk and the rest of the ensemble cast -- including Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger, Ted Levine as Captain Stottlemeyer, and Jason Gray-Stanford as Lieutenant Disher -- you may be somewhat disappointed. Other than some standard scenes between them, this is pretty much a Monk-centric episode. Natalie probably has some more scenes with Monk than his police friends do, but that's due to her role in Monk's life as Gal Friday.

You won't be seeing much of Hector Elizondo's character either in this episode. Other than a few minutes at the beginning of the show and a few minutes at the end there is very little of his Dr. Bell character. So, we really don't get a feel for who the doctor is and how he will work with someone so desperate and needy as Monk. What we do see is someone who is kind and considerate to Adrian at first meeting. But, as Shalhoub said in his interview, Dr. Bell will be taking a more hard-line approach to Monk's treatment.

Who you will see quite a bit is Brad Garrett, who has a guest-starring role on the show. It's a role that you wouldn't expect from a comedian like Garrett. Then again, there have been plenty of comedic actors who have had a turn at drama once in awhile. At first, Garrett's character seems like a combination of his Eddie Stark character on 'Til Death and the sad sack Robert Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond. However, as the episode progresses, Garrett's character turns into something you don't really expect. It's an interesting turn.

As a whole, the first episode of the seventh season of Monk should be enjoyable to new and old viewers alike. It has a good mix of both comedy and drama, as well as some classic Monk-esque actions. It's a good start to a season that will be important for the character in one form or another.

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