Posted by: Mark | March 29, 2015

Completion List : Monk

I finished the eighth season of Monk. I like mystery shows in general but Monk combined good stories with well-developed characters. Most mystery shows run out of steam fairly quickly but Monk varied the story lines to keep from going stale. Sometimes it was a traditional whodunit and other times the viewer witnessed the murder and Monk had to figure it out himself.

I’ll rank my top nine episodes as this:

Mr. Monk and the Daredevil: A fun episode with Harold Kremshaw but also one that parallels the show Psych. I wish there had been a pseudo – crossover between the two shows, not with the characters meeting but having the exact same case but each sleuth solves it separately in his own way.

Mr. Monk’s 100th Case: Decent mystery with a new narrative structure and many callbacks from old characters.

Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs: This is an odd choice but it was the first time that Natalie’s character really clicked for me. I had been a big fan of Sharona (not just because of how she dressed) Natalie always seemed too harsh to me but this episode finally won me over.

Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show: Not the greatest mystery but the Brady Bunch dream sequence was fun.

Mr. Monk Joins a Cult: This had a good mystery with a twist in the end, but this episode was the best in highlighting Stanley Kamel’s character of Charles Kroger. Kamel’s portrayal was one of the best in the series. His death could have severely crimped the show but Dr. Bell was an excellent choice of a replacement.

Mr. Monk Goes to Jail: A great mystery setup (who would murder a condemned man minutes before he was executed?), a callback for Dale the Whale, and solid guest stars (Danny Trejo and Tim Curry).

Mr. Monk and the End: The structure seemed off at first for a mystery but that was because the series wrapped up points for the characters. Compared to the final episode of most series, this actually delivered.

Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy: This had a weak mystery but I loved it anyway. Tim Bagley’s character of Harold Kremshaw was always fun and this episode changed him from a variation of the sitcom archetype of wacky neighbor to full-fledged character. The resolution of Dr. Bell talking the killer to his senses was a great capper as well.

Mr. Monk and the Dog:This was pretty similar to an earlier episode “Mr. Monk and the Kid,”but I rank this one higher. It started with the crime so the focus wasn’t on who did it but how Monk would solve it. What made it special wasn’t just Monk’s emotional response to the dog (“Monk and the Kid” did it better) but Monk’s compassion for the killer. Monk wasn’t a tough guy detective but he actually showed mercy to a guy who was going to kill not just him but his puppies as well.

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