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August 22, 2014

'Monk' Series Finale Recap

by Daniel Frankel, posted Dec 5th 2009 1:30PM
After eight light, uplifting seasons, Det. Adrian Monk exited basic cable Friday night to the tune of a Randy Newman score and a 'Six Feet Under'-like montage.

Tony Shalhoub's groundbreaking character survived a near-lethal poisoning in the finale (the perp used the Defective Detective's own sanitary wipes to transmit the toxin). His wife's killer -- it was a federal judge played by Craig T. Nelson! -- has finally been caught. And Monk learned he has a lovely 26-year-old daughter, working nearby as a Bay Area movie critic, eager to connect with him.
After eight light, uplifting seasons, Det. Adrian Monk exited basic cable Friday night to the tune of a Randy Newman score and a 'Six Feet Under'-like montage.

Tony Shalhoub's groundbreaking character survived a near-lethal poisoning in the finale (the perp used the Defective Detective's own sanitary wipes to transmit the toxin). His wife's killer -- it was a federal judge played by Craig T. Nelson! -- has finally been caught. And Monk learned he has a lovely 26-year-old daughter, working nearby as a Bay Area movie critic, eager to connect with him.

In fact, as the final act wound to a close, Monk casually tells faithful assistant Natalie (Traylor Howard) -- in a bafflingly normal way -- that he's headed out to the movies with his daughter. What's he gonna see? Doesn't know -- "Whatever's in theater 10."

Going forward, off camera, we know he'll still be Monk, but getting better now, and still doing what he does best -- figuring out who killed whom.

Certainly, while 'Monk' is gone from the first-run schedule, it lives on thematically, the heart and soul of USA's "Characters Wanted" brand. The network has risen to the top of the basic-cable ratings food chain with same kind of light, quirky, aspirational tone embedded in hits like 'Burn Notice,' 'In Plain Site,' 'Royal Pains' and 'White Collar.'

Wherever there's a show featuring quirky, lovabley flawed, bickering characters, that you can follow along while you Twitter, needlepoint or clean your rifle, there will be 'Monk.'

And while 'Monk' was instrumental in transforming USA into a profit center for parent NBC Universal that now, on corporate balance sheets, is of more value than that of NBC itself, it also transformed basic cable itself.

Indeed, prior to 2002, cable originals -- at least the few that were around -- didn't win Emmys. For his part, however, Shalhoub won the Best Actor in a Comedy trophy three times, while being nominated seven. Stanley Tucci and John Turturro also won Emmys for their guest roles.

'Monk' was that rare important show that wasn't self-important. With eight 16-episodes seasons in the USA library, repeats will be around for years to come. But as far as originals episodes go, we're kind of learning the same lessons the obsessive-cumpulsive Monk learned: sometimes, you just got to let it go.

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Juanita Henry

I recently saw the Monk finally in reruns (I don't have cable) and I thought thr finally was brilliant! It answered every question and let us know how everybody moved on even Sherona. Whoever thought of putting the answer to the question Mr. Monk had been searching for in Trudy' s death in the Christmas gift he never opened - should have received some type of writer's award... simply brilliant!!! Then the leaving Mr. Monk with a piece of Trudy... a daughter... I cried... WOW!!! MASTERFULLY DONE!!!

November 07 2011 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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