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October 8, 2015

Review: Monk - Mr. Monk and the End (Part 2) (series finale)

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 5th 2009 12:30AM
The pressure of writing the last episode must be tremendous. Especially for a long-running show like Monk. The writers have to tie up loose ends, satisfy viewers' desire for the characters, and leave fans with a sense of closure. Closure, in fact, is the word Dr. Bell used with Adrian. Monk was looking for it and so were we.

But the ending is tough. There have been some shows that have stumbled badly at the end. Seinfeld, for instance, was a real stinker. But the memory of Newhart, which harkened back to The Bob Newhart Show may be the best-ever. Now, in the broader scheme of things, Seinfeld was a much better series than Newhart; in every way but the ending. Which brings us back to Monk. How did the writers navigate the Monk finale? Follow me after the jump and I'll tell you all about it.

As Larry David might say on Curb Your Enthusiasm, "Pretty, pretty good." The Monk finale was pretty, pretty good. It delivered closure, all right. The mystery of Trudy's murder was finally wrapped up. It was Judge Rickover, an ex-lover of Trudy's from her college days. He'd become a prominent judge twelve years later when he killed Trudy to keep secret that they'd had an affair that resulted in a child. Rickover had the midwife killed, too.

When Adrian figured it out and confronted the judge in the rain, holding a gun on him and forcing him to dig up the proof -- the midwife's body -- the drama was tense. Would Monk pull the trigger? He could have. Monk thought he was dying, but he didn't. Ultimately, Monk's vengeance was greater because he shamed the judge by telling him that he had killed three people -- the doctor, too -- all for a job. A job!

Shamed and knowing the jig was up, the judge took the pistol and killed himself. Craig T. Nelson very good in this role, the perfect foil because he can play smug, overconfident jerks like this guy. When Monk tried to sock him for insulting Trudy, you could relate.

It was great that it was Natalie who figured out about the wipes being poisoned; it showed that in all her time with Monk, she'd learned a thing or two. But curing Monk and solving Trudy's murder wasn't enough. Something was missing.

Think about how Monk watched Trudy's tape. Monk agonized listening to each sentence, and practically climbed into the TV set. When Trudy said, "You are my life," it was the same words Monk had for her.

"Take care of her," were the words the Judge said before he died, and even when Dr. Bell advised Adrian to let it go, it was a loose end. Monk had closure, but he still felt empty. There was a last mystery to solve connected to Trudy.

Molly. Trudy never knew her child had survived. Monk's meeting with her, a beautiful 26-year-old woman who resembled Trudy in many ways, was an emotional wallow. Adrian couldn't stop crying, and fortunately for him, Molly embraced him like he was a long lost relative. He was sort of. And like a proud new papa, Monk went overboard getting her to fill up his life.

The last scenes of the series were to tie things up with ribbons. Randy resigned to move to New Jersey and become the chief of police in Summit where he and Sharona would live happily ever after. Monk, who had contemplated adhering himself to Molly and adoring her 24/7, returned to his work as a detective when surrogate daughter told him he must. Speaking words that remind Monk of Trudy, Molly told Adrian that he had a gift and had to use it.

So as we heard a new song by Randy Newman -- "I Think You're Going to Miss Me When I'm Gone" -- Monk got called onto a new case with Natalie by his side. Leland was there and the game was afoot. Holmes and Watson on the case.

Other points of interest

-- How tight are Leland and Adrian? Leland promised Monk that he would kill the judge when Adrian couldn't get out of the hospital. Leland agreed to no trial, but Monk knew he was lying.

-- Even sick out of his mind, Monk realized there was something weird about the judge being so attached to that modest house. The sundial under a tree was the inconsistency that triggered Monk solving the murder.

-- Monk was finally able to sleep in the middle of the bed. Trudy's dream had been a premonition, and a message. He was finally happy again. Trudy was back in his life in the form of Molly.

-- Back on the job, Monk was no long buttoned up to the top button. Instead, he wore a pullover sweater under his jacket. It was in between the buttoned up Monk and the cop Monk with a tie.

-- Ending with Leland, Adrian and Natalie all going to a crime scene leaves open the possibility of future Monk reunion movies.

-- Great work by Tony Shalhoub in both parts of this finale. He really brought Monk full circle.

Great dialogue

-- Judge Rickover: "You're going to kill a federal judge?"
Monk: "Tonight, I'm the judge."

-- "I hate the great unknown."

-- Natalie to Monk: "Trudy sent you a gift. She sent you someone to love. It's what you've been missing."

-- Monk gushing about Molly: "You know the Internet? She's on it."

[Check out Monk on SlashControl.]

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Jim E

Remembering Tony's wife is actress Brooke Adams who has appeared in a few episodes including one where she is a local sheriff and has a crush on Monk, it would have been fun to have her reappear in the finale' and rekindle the relationship from that episode...after all, she is really his wife. Would have been cute.

September 26 2011 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have watched Monk since the show began. I thought the Last Show Sucked ! First Trudy having an affair and a baby was like a previous comment totally out of Character. Also, Monk being the detective we all grew to now and love would have known that his wife had a baby.
I think most Husbands would guess there maybe something not quite right especially someone like Monk.
It was like there was effort for the writers of the show to do anything since it was the last show and they did not need the viewers any more. As a matter of fact there was not much effort for the last season or 2.

I was really disappointed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 03 2010 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My family already misses Monk. It was a great show for ages 8-80. The finale was great. We truly fell in love with that sweet character.

December 15 2009 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought this last season was exceptionally written; very tight dialogue and odd ball cases like the UFO one, or the Mafia one. How could anyone NOT like season 8?!

The End Parts 1 and 2 continued the high standard.
Good twists, good use of continued story-lines such as Randy and Sharona, Nathalie and her beau, and the Captain and TK.

The tribute at the end with various old characters was very thoughtful, and how it went from the past to the present to the future was cool.

A couple continuity issues:
If the hitman in the train station killed the train announcer, and then when Randy arrived and the mic was still on, wouldn't the shots have been heard over the PA as well as Randy's message to the Captain?

Also in the train station, the hitman's hair changed from dyed blond (his disguise) back to sandy blond, and brushed differently.

Also, it was established by Monk early on that Rickover killed the midwife, but if they dug up the body at the end, how could Monk have known she was killed so early?

But all in all, a great wrap-up show of my all time favorite 1 hour show.
Time to buy the DVD box set of all seasons!

December 13 2009 at 5:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Perhaps I'm still a fangirlish crazy person attached to fantasy romance fiction...but I was kinda hoping for something to happen between Natalie and Monk. Natalie told him that somebody to love was what was missing his whole life, but didn't he have someone to love all along? You would think that Natalie's boyfriend would catch the way she cared about Monk and obsessed over everything being right for him that he'd tell her to be with him.

December 11 2009 at 10:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larry Lee Moniz

I have to say it was the most satisfying series finale ever. Monk always remained true to it's form, premise and identity as a show. Great cast, superb writing, and always entertaining. They saved the best for last. It is nice to know that Mr. Monk gets a happy ending, and a new beginning.

December 09 2009 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved "Monk," and enjoyed the finale. But I think there were a few inconsistensies. First, I clearly remember an episode in which the Captain was standing in the squad room showing someone where Monk was standing when he received the call about Trudy -- not at a birthing
clinic. Even bigger, if Trudy had reason to believe she might be killed if she met the judge after his call (after all she said on her tape to Adrian that if he was seeing that recording then she was dead) -- why go??? If I received an invitation to go see someone who I thought would kill me, I'd stay home! But overall, it was a satisfying conclusion.

December 08 2009 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
M. Miller

I was extreme disappointed in the finale of Monk. But after seeing it, I can agree that it is time to call it quits. It was as if the people who wrote it had never even seen the previous episodes of Monk.

First the math doesn't work. Monk could not have met Trudy any later than 1981 according to "Monk and the Class Reunion." She did not have time to have an affair and have a baby with her "law professor" before meeting Monk. And Trudy was not a lawyer, she was an English or journalism major in college. She was a reporter by profession. She may have taken a law course, but it would really be out of character for her to be smitten by a law professor and have an affair. Trudy wrote poetry, loved literature and dated very little, because she was waiting for the right man, according to "Mr Monk Goes Back to School."

And Mr. Monk was with his partner, who was not the Captain, when he got the call about Trudy. His partner was introduced in "Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month." He recalls that Monk was laughing and never laughed again.

The ending was a soap opera. Totally fabricated without consideration of the groundwork laid before it, except for the birthday present and the reference to "The Judge" in previous episodes.

I was expecting much more from one of the most creative groups of writers in television. I can easily see how they could have done it so much better and stayed true to the content of the series. I was expecting a mystery to be solved instead of getting nothing but nonsense.

December 07 2009 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was most angry that they inflicted another horrible Randy Newman song on us at the end, when I was expecting the original theme music (which I still hum every week through the muted opening credits).

December 05 2009 at 8:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Scott's comment
Inadequate Wife

I was actually expecting the original Monk theme at the beginning of the episode and was a little disappointed that it wasn't played.

December 06 2009 at 12:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wasn't disappointed in this episode other than nitpicking continuity. Monk not only met and dated Trudy in college, they dated at least her junior and senior years since Monk knew her roommate specifically from those years (back in the episode where the woman had a dog named Tangerine). While it's a possibility that Trudy had the affair her freshman year, why was she taking a LAW course so early on? something just doesn't add up. And I also thought it was strange that Trudy had such an inkling of what might happen that she made Monk that tape... why would she have suspected DEATH?

December 05 2009 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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