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Home > ‘Mr. Monk’s Last Case’ Brings Monk’s Story to a Close

‘Mr. Monk’s Last Case’ Brings Monk’s Story to a Close

Monk Main Image

The Beloved Detective is Back for One Last Case

After fourteen years of being off television, famous detective Adrian Monk is returning to the screen, this time in a feature-length film. With so many actors reprising their familiar roles, old fans are excited to see this new era of their favorite detective.

Oh How the World Has Changed…

Monk began in 2002 and ran successfully for eight years, captivating audiences with its engaging mysteries and quirky lead detective. Adrian Monk, a former member of the San Francisco police department, is forced to turn in his badge after his journalist wife is murdered. The incident causes his OCD to worsen, making it impossible for him to even leave the house. The show begins four years after his wife’s death as he adjusts to being back out in the world and taking on a position as consultant to the SFPD.

According to the trailer for the upcoming movie, the film is picking up right in the midst of the world as we know it. Mentions of COVID and the toll it took on Monk, a notorious germaphobe, constitute a fair part of the trailer, suggesting that the movie may explore how hard it is to live with his particular OCD symptoms. One of the characters remarks that “everybody’s you,” referring to their hyperawareness of germs and cleanliness. His response? “They’re gonna hate it.” His symptoms are also described (by Monk himself) as “unprecedented in psychiatric history.” All of the characters who used to mock the detective for his excessive cleanliness find themselves copying his mannerisms in the midst of a pandemic, a twist of irony not lost on them at all.

The Extent of Fame

Monk’s popularity, though well-affirmed through its nominations and awards, was further cemented by the spin-off media that ran alongside the show and continued after it ended. A 19-book-long series written by Lee Goldberg brought the detective to readers, while a short show titled Little Monk elaborated on the personalities and dynamic between Adrian and his brother Ambrose. The exploration of Adrian’s childhood gives further insight into how he became the renowned detective and answers some questions about the origins of his OCD.

In 2012, there was an attempt to create a television film, which was supposed to have been titled Mr. Monk For Mayor, though it never came to fruition due to budgetary restrictions. There was, however, a short film created in 2020 called Mr. Monk Shelters in Place that also featured some recurring cast members and illustrated Monk’s reaction to the COVID outbreak. It seems as though Monk’s disappearance from television did nothing to hinder his popularity with audiences, demonstrated now through the upcoming film.

Monk mid image

Who’s Returning

Many of the familiar actors from the show will be reprising their characters in this adaptation. Tony Shalhoub will of course be playing Adrian Monk, with Traylor Howard as his nurse Natalie, Ted Levine as Captain Stottlemeyer, Jason Gray-Stanford as Lieutenant Disher, Melora Hardin as Trudy Monk, and Héctor Elizondo as Dr. Neven Bell. There are quite a few new characters as well, played by Pip Dwyer, Austin Scott, Caitlin McGee, and others. 

Andy Breckman, the original creator of the show, came on as the writer for this film, which should provide some reassurance to those who may be concerned about an adaptation of their beloved characters. If that isn’t convincing enough, Randy Zisk, the show’s producer, directed the film adaptation. In the hands of the original creators, Monk and his famous cast of friends should be safe.

Monk’s Future Endeavors

While fans seem to be clamoring for a permanent return of the detective, the trailer (and the title) seem to indicate that this film will be Monk’s final appearance. It’s pretty clearly suggested that the case he’s going to handle in this film is only undertaken because of the personal nature of it – he has spent these last fourteen years in a state of retirement, though people still recognize him for his prodigious deductive abilities. In an industry where sequels are becoming tired and predictable, it may prove refreshing for a movie to commit itself to one installment and no more. While there are plenty of Monk fans to make the film a success, overuse runs the risk of ruining a beloved established franchise.

Mr. Monk’s Last Case is set to release on Peacock on December 8th, 2023.

Monk Last Image

Mr. Monk’s Last Case (2023) Peacock Official Trailer 

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.

Matt Keyser is a recent graduate of Cal State Fullerton University with a bachelor's in Communications-Journalism. He is a freelance entertainment reporter with a focus on film and television. As a former senior programming coordinator for the Newport Beach Film Festival, Matt's experience with critiquing narratives and documentaries has helped showcase his passion for television and cinema through his writing.