|First appearance||"Mr. Monk and the Candidate"|
|Last appearance||"Mr. Monk and the End - Part II"|
|Portrayed by||Stellina Rusich
(2006 college flashbacks)
Jack Monk, Sr.
Jack Monk, Jr.
(married at time of death)
Trudy Anne Ellison Monk is the beloved deceased wife of Adrian Monk on the television series Monk. Adrian's attempt to solve the case of her murder is the show's longest-running plot arc, and it was her death that left Adrian "emotionally paralyzed," the trigger for his obsessive–compulsive disorder. She worked as a columnist for The San Francisco Examiner, and as a reporter for San Francisco Chronicle, writing hard-hitting exposes.
Trudy was played by Stellina Rusich in the first two seasons and Melora Hardin from the third season on; in the season five episode "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion", a younger Trudy is portrayed in a flashback by Lindy Newton.
When Trudy's character was merely in photographs and short flashback scenes, Canadian Stellina Rusich was used in the role. By the third season, the character needed to be recast, but with someone similar in appearance to the original actress. Series executive producer Randy Zisk recalls the search was narrowed to five women reading with Adrian Monk actor Tony Shaloub, and that Melora Hardin "just knocked us out. She had an angelic quality without being too syrupy or heavy-handed. It's a softness that we like, because Trudy would definitely have that quality."
Trudy Monk was born in Los Angeles in 1962 to Dwight and Marcia Ellison. In Adrian's words, Trudy "enjoyed poetry, was often barefoot, and kept every promise she ever made". Adrian offers a glimpse into her mindset (in "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan") by turning Warrick Tennyson's morphine back on after he had turned it off claiming Trudy would have wanted him to. She attended the Ashton Preparatory School and graduated valedictorian in 1977, at the age of 15. She did not date very much while there, expecting to know who the right man would be once she found him. Trudy and Adrian met during his senior year at UC Berkeley (episode "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion"). They married on August 8, 1990. In 1993, Trudy was involved in a lawsuit with the financier Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck because she referred to him as the "Genghis Khan of Finance". Dale was unable to win the lawsuit, but the Monks were forced to sell their house paying for their lawyer. Adrian harbors an intense hatred for Dale because of the pain he caused Trudy, saying that he stole a year of her life. Dale remains an important adversary of Adrian's, especially when it is revealed that he was hiding information he knew about Trudy's death.
Trudy Monk was murdered on a snowy December 14, 1997 with a car bomb, made of approximately three pounds of plastic explosives--powered by ten 20-volt magnesium batteries--that was planted under the front seat and remotely detonated by a cell phone, while she was on an errand to get cough medicine for Adrian's brother, Ambrose. Ambrose blames himself for Trudy's death, and his guilt led to a seven-year rift between the brothers. While having a temporary relapse (in "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing"), Adrian mentions that Trudy lived for 20 minutes after the bomb went off. Her last words to a paramedic were "bread and butter", a message to Adrian meaning that she would never leave him, as this was something she always told her husband when they had to temporarily let go of each other for some reason or another.
Throughout the series Monk periodically sees apparitions of Trudy, particularly as he lies in their bed. These appearances tend to comfort him, but on occasion they seem to impart important information, as in "Mr. Monk and the End Part 1" where Trudy tells Adrian that, "It's almost over." He eventually takes this as referring to his quest to solve the mystery of her death.
The bomb was built by Warrick Tennyson. Tennyson mentions (in "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan") that he didn't recognize the man who hired him, but remembers that there were six fingers on his right hand. From the time of Trudy's death until the end of the season two, Monk believes all along that he was the intended target, with Trudy being an innocent victim. The intense guilt contributed to and intensified his nervous breakdown, his obsessive-compulsive manifestations, and his bizarre phobias. Dale reveals (in "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail") that the car bomb was actually intended for her, not him. Discovering that Trudy was the true target, Adrian is seen to be visibly affected by this piece of news.
Adrian attempts (in "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head") to find this six-fingered man by purchasing a picture of him. The picture turns out to be doctored, leading to Teddy Mulligan, the seller, knocking Monk unconscious and sending him to a town in Wyoming, in turn causing Monk to uncover the murder of a waitress while forgetting his own name. Natalie overhears a woman (in "Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk") who looks like Trudy say that she faked her own death to protect Adrian. Adrian begins to believe this might be true, but in the end, it turns out that this woman is an actress who has attempted to pass herself off as the real Trudy in order to get the key to Trudy's old storage unit. Adrian (in "Mr. Monk Is Up All Night") sees a Brazilian woman named Maria Cordova, whom he chases for several blocks for no apparent reason. It is later revealed that the reason he was drawn to her is that she received a cornea transplant from an organ donor, who turned out to be Trudy.
During the season six finale ("Mr. Monk Is On the Run"), Adrian finds the six-fingered man, named Frank Nunn, but unfortunately he is shot and killed by John Rollins, a corrupt Angel County sheriff recruited by Dale in a plot to incriminate Adrian. By the end of the episode, Adrian confronts Dale, telling him that the police searched Nunn's house after he died and discovered some old letters in which Nunn talked about killing Trudy and mentioned that he was hired by a man named "The Judge". Adrian believes Dale knows the identity of "The Judge", but so far, Dale had not revealed any further information. Monk discovers (in "Mr. Monk and the End Part 1") that Trudy had left him a videotape, containing a message stating that she wanted him to watch in case harm were to befall her. Later, Monk and Natalie watch the videotape, which reveals that Trudy had a child with her professor, Ethan Rickover, who is now a judge. Rickover hid the baby from Trudy by claiming that she died nine minutes after birth. Then, Monk learns that, in fact, Rickover had saved the baby girl who is now a 26-year-old movie critic named Molly who he re-connects with and grows to love.
- Lea, Timothy J. (2002-08-16). "Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger". Monk. Season 1. Episode 7.
- Breckman, David (2005-08-12). "Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk". Monk. Season 4. Episode 6.
- Terry J. Erdmann, Paula M. Block (2006-06-27). Monk: The Official Episode Guide. Macmillan. p. 224. ISBN 0-312-35461-4.
- "Mr. Monk and the Game Show"
- "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School"
- "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa"
- "Mr. Monk is Up All Night"
- "Mr. Monk Goes to the Theater"
- "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies"
- "Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk"
- Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (July 2006). Monk: The Official Episode Guide. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-35461-4.