Today marks 14 years since OCD crime consultant Monk finally solved his wife Trudy’s murder, and this week, the band gets back together in Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie. To get the story on what to expect from the Peacock reunion, First for Women sat down with Mr. Monk’s portrayer Tony Shalhoub. The Emmy and Tony-winning actor tells us everything we need to know about Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie and reflects on his favorite Monk episodes.
Plus, Shalhoub previews a special The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel reunion and discusses a possible Wings reboot (See the ‘Wings’ TV Show Cast Then and Now: Soaring Beyond Nantucket).
Tony Shalhoub teases Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie
The quirky procedural Monk ran from 2002 to 2009 on USA Network, snagging eight Emmys along the way — including three for Shalhoub. With his character’s story set to pick up with Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie this week, Shalhoub had a blast shooting the reunion with Monk costars Traylor Howard (Natalie), Jason Gray-Stanford (Randy), Ted Levine (Leland), Hector Elizondo (Dr. Neven Bell) and Melora Hardin (Trudy).
“It was really great because we got everybody back together and people were so enthusiastic about getting back to it,” Tony Shalhoub tells First for Women about the new Monk movie. “Everyone was wondering where the writers were going to take these characters and what they’ve all been doing in the interim. And then on our days off, we got to have dinner together and socialize. That made it all the sweeter.”
While fans got a peek at Monk’s life via Peacock’s “Monk in Quarantine” sketch in 2020, in Mr. Monk’s Last Case, we get the full picture — not to mention a new mystery to solve.
“I’m anxious to see how the characters hold up after all this time, but the writers did such a great job serving all of them and giving everybody interesting, fun stuff to play,” Shalhoub says. “Our characters evolve in a really interesting way.”
Amid the reunion, newcomer Caitlin McGee takes on the role of Trudy’s daughter Molly, who has become Monk’s caretaker and is happily set to be married, until her fiancé dies in what appears to be an accident.
“Molly starts out joyful,” Shalhoub teases, “but falls into this dark place after losing her fiance and then becomes this fierce advocate for solving his death, because everyone, including Monk, sees it as an accident. Not any actress could pull this off, but Caitlin just hit every note. She’s a dream to work with.”
In anticipation of A Monk Movie, Shalhoub shares his s favorite episodes from the beloved series.
Tony Shalhoub dishes on his favorite Monk episodes
When we asked Shalhoub how he picked his favorite Monk episodes, a theme emerged. His top five reflects stories in which the phobic, OCD investigator is pushed out of his comfort zone and forced to make emotional strides.
“Monk doesn’t even have a comfort zone,” Shalhoub cracks, before breaking down his favorites.
1. “Mr. Monk and the Three Pies”
In the 2004 Monk season two premiere, Shalhoub was thrilled to dive into his character’s backstory, with help from his pal, John Turturro. While the mystery of the week involves a string of pie-related murders, Monk’s reunion with his brother is the heart of the episode that earned Turturro an Emmy.
“So many reasons to love this one,” Shalhoub says. “I thought the plot and the mystery were really good, but we also introduced Ambrose, Monk’s smarter, more troubled brother, played by John Turturro. John and I had worked together in the past on Barton Fink and done theater together, and we were friends. The fact that he agreed to do this with us was exciting, and working with him again was thrilling.”
2. “Mr. Monk Bumps His Head”
In Monk season four, episode 11, Monk follows a lead on Trudy’s murder…only to get knocked unconscious and come to in a rural town. Not only is this the second episode that features Shalhoub’ real-life brother, Michael Shalhoub, but guest star Laurie Metcalf spends much of it trying to woo Monk into believing he’s her husband.
“This one was great because we got Monk out of his normal locale, and way out of his comfort zone,” Shalhoub shares. “He’s in an altered state because he’s got amnesia.
“We also had the genius, Laurie Metcalf, as a guest star,” he continues. “I had met Laurie before, but we had not worked together. I’d always been an enormous fan, and I could not keep a straight face in those scenes with her.”
3. “Mr. Monk and the Kid”
In the Monk season three finale, a toddler finds a severed finger in the park, and Monk finds himself connecting with the adorable little tyke.
“This, again, was something unexpected,” Shalhoub recalls. “Monk never had any comfort or time for children. That just wasn’t his thing! So for him to be put in this position where he has to take in this child was so outside of our normal routine.”
“That was also an episode directed by Andre Belgrader, who had been a teacher of mine when I was in drama school and a theatre director I’d worked with many times,” Shalhoub continues. “He directed a number of episodes of Monk, but this was one that we all felt just hit out of the park.”
“Mr. Monk and the Kid” is also one of the five Monk episodes that features Shalhoub’s real life wife, Brooke Adams — who always played a different role and will have a brand new one in Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie.
4. “Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike”
Monk season 5, episode 2 involves the death of a union boss and sees San Francisco buried in trash — a nightmare for Monk!
“Oh, boy,” Shalhoub chuckles. “This is another episode where Monk is even further out of his mind than the normal. And I love the shrink scenes, where the garbage is falling in the background. There’s just garbage everywhere.”
“Also, somehow we got Alice Cooper to join us in that episode,” he adds. “We were going so far, again, outside of our normal formula, and Alice Cooper was just so game and so willing to go along for the ride. It was great.”
5. “Mr. Monk and the End”
The Monk two-part series finale, which concluded December 4, 2009, has a lot packed into it.
“That was complex, because we obviously had to wrap up the show, but also because Monk becomes very ill and close to dying,” Shalhoub recalls. “And then it also wraps up Trudy’s murder, which had always been the one case Monk could not solve.
“We had Craig T. Nelson in those episodes, another coup for us,” he continues. “And I thought we ended the series on such a high note.”
These episodes and the entire run of Monk are streaming on Peacock now, along with Shalhoub in Eva Longoria’s Flamin’ Hot movie.
Tony Shalhoub talks Maisel reunion and Wings reboot
“Oh boy, I never say never,” hedges Shalhoub of his breakout role. “I have not heard anything… but I like to leave all doors open.”
As for a The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel reboot or continuation, that series was buttoned up so neatly in the finale it seems unlikely. That said, with 14 Emmy nominations for its final season, a Mrs. Maisel reunion of sorts is indeed in the works.
“We’re all going to regroup for the Emmys in January, so our group text is lighting up every day about that,” Shalhoub shares. “It’s been over a year since we wrapped Mrs. Maisel and we try to remain close, but we’re all missing that show a lot.”
Shalhoub’s next projects, Fall of the God of Cars and The Wonderyard, were put on hold due to the recent Hollywood strikes. As Tony Shalhoub awaits news on those and keeps busy with theater readings and workshops, Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie starts streaming on Peacock starting December 8.
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