NBCU Plots Movie Comeback For OCD Detective Monk

The title of Peacock’s planned revival of “Monk” would seem to indicate that this project will be a one-off. 

That’s because this resurrection of the old Adrian Monk detective character will come in the form of a made-for-TV movie titled “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie.”

The movie will bring back Tony Shalhoub in the title role, a detective-consultant connected with the San Francisco Police Department, where he was once a full-time detective until his wife, a journalist, was killed in a car bombing.

His most distinguishing characteristic was his advanced obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that impacted his ability to live normally in the world outside his perfectly arranged and cleaned apartment.



Other original cast members will be back too, including Traylor Howard, who joined the show in season 3 as Monk’s second assistant Natalie Teeger; Ted Levine as SFPD Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer; and Jason Gray-Stanford as Lt. Randy Disher, NBCUniversal announced last week.

The press release provided a one-sentence summary of the movie’s plot. “Monk returns to solve one last, very personal case involving his beloved step-daughter Molly, [who is] a journalist preparing for her wedding,” the release said. No premiere date was given.

The movie will be made principally by the same creative team that made the show -- Andy Breckman, creator, writer and executive producer; executive producer David Hoberman; and Randy Zisk, also an executive producer who is directing the movie.

The movie is being produced at one of the Universal studios owned by NBCU. “Monk” originated on another NBCU property, USA Network. 

The series premiered in July 2002 on USA and ran until December 2009 -- 125 episodes in eight seasons.

All eight seasons are available to stream on NBCU-owned Peacock, where the new movie will stream too.

“Monk” also airs weekdays at 2 p.m. Eastern on Cozi TV, the NBCU diginet managed under the auspices of NBCU’s owned-and-operated TV stations.

“Monk” became a hit almost immediately upon its premiere, and was consistently nominated for various top Emmy Awards.

One of the curiosities debated by some during the run of the show was its classification as a comedy by the Emmy Awards, and not as a drama, even though its episodes were an hour long and the show’s subject matter was murder. Other such shows had long been nominated as dramas.

It is also true that Det. Monk’s constant worries about germs and crooked picture frames were played in a decidedly light-hearted manner. They were the very basis of the show. 

The show seemed to straddle both categories and, in the end, the Television Academy decided to classify it as a comedy.

Tony Shalhoub, now 69, was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in all eight seasons of the show. He won three of them.

From time to time, critics in the psychology community decried the show’s depiction of OCD, complaining that the illness was much more serious than the way it was being portrayed.

At the same time, others from the same community applauded the show for shining a spotlight on the condition.

One of the criticisms focused on the promotional tagline composed and used for the first season of “Monk” on USA -- “Monk! America’s Favorite Defective Detective!”

The phrase “defective detective” then appeared in countless headlines and lede sentences in reviews and feature stories about the show in newspapers and magazines from coast to coast.

Understandably, professional psychologists were unhappy with the slogan’s characterization of OCD as a “defect.”

Over the years, the slogan disappeared. It is doubtful it will reappear along with “Monk’s Last Case,” and if it does, that will be a topic for a future TV Blog.

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