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Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan

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"Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan"
Monk episode
MonkManhattan.jpg
The cast stands in Manhattan. The scenario has been praised for exploring Monk's phobias[1][2][3] but criticized as "the scenes depicting Mr. Monk vs. the City of New York advance the plot."[4]
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 1
Directed by Randall Zisk
Written by Andy Breckman
Production code #T-2101[5]
Original air date June 18, 2004
Guest appearance(s)

Frank Collison as Warrick Tennyson
Mykelti Williamson as Captain Walter Cage
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Steven Leight
Olek Krupa as Elmer Gratnik

Episode chronology
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"Mr. Monk Goes to Jail"
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"Mr. Monk and the Panic Room"
Monk (season 3)
List of Monk episodes

"Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan" is the first episode of the third season of the American comedy-drama detective television series Monk, and the show's 30th episode overall. The series follows Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub), a private detective with obsessive–compulsive disorder and multiple phobias, and his assistant Sharona Flemming (Bitty Schram). In this episode, Monk travels to New York City in an attempt to discover his wife's killer, but may solve the case of the death of the Latvian ambassador.

Written by Andy Breckman and directed by Randall Zisk, "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan" was shot in New York. When the episode first aired in the United States on USA Network on June 18, 2004, it was watched by 5.5 million viewers. The episode garnered a mixed reaction from critics, praising the comedy obtained through putting Monk in a scenario that would arouse his fears while criticizing Monk's exaggerated reactions to the setting.

Plot[edit]

Detective Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) flies to New York City to find criminal Warrick Tennyson (Frank Collison). In the preceding episode, criminal Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck (Tim Curry) told Monk that Tennyson was involved in the murder of Monk's wife, Trudy. On the trip, Monk is accompanied by his nurse Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram), and police officers Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) and Lieutenant Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford). They stay at the same hotel as the Latvian ambassador, who is subsequently discovered shot to death along with his two bodyguards. Police Captain Walter Cage (Mykelti Williamson) asks for Monk's help in solving the murder. Monk notices the ambassador's coat is damp, even though it had been dry minutes before the murder.

The four retrace the ambassador's movements that day, discovering that he had stopped at a bar before arriving at the hotel. Then, Stottlemeyer and Disher go back to the precinct to try to get a bead on Tennyson's location while Monk and Sharona discover that the ambassador's final words meant "This is not my coat". Stottlemeyer breaks into Cage's office to discover that Tennyson is dying in a hospital and has days left to live. Stottlemeyer confronts Cage, who says the only way he will allow access to Tennyson is if Monk solves the ambassador's murder.

Monk is briefly separated from the group after accidentally boarding the wrong train at Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets. While reuniting with his partners he notices Steven Leight (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) being interviewed on a TV screen about the recent murder of his wife. Noticing Leight eating a mint from the same bar the ambassador had last been seen, Monk insists Steven Leight is the ambassador's murderer, despite the lack of supporting evidence. To support his theory, Monk proposes that Leight stole his wife's jewelry to stage a robbery, then proceeded to the bar before calling the police. He asserts Leight and the ambassador were wearing essentially identical coats, and that they must have been switched accidentally at the bar. As rain falls, Leight locates the ambassador's hotel room, and subsequently kills both him and his bodyguards, and switches the newly wet coat with his own.

Subsequently, a ballistics report confirms that Leight's wife and the ambassador were killed with the same gun and Leight is arrested. Having solved the case, Monk is allowed to visit Tennyson who remembers being hired by a man who had six fingers on his right hand. Tennyson asks for forgiveness, but Monk cannot bring himself to give it. He turns off Tennyson's morphine drip saying, "This is me, turning off your morphine;" but a few moments later, he says, "This is Trudy, the woman you killed, turning it back on," and does.

The foursome prepares to leave New York, having gotten a step further in solving Monk's most important case.

Production[edit]

Although the character did not appear in the episode, Trudy (played in flashbacks by Melora Hardin from the third season)[6] is a driving element of Monk that producers tried to explore in this episode.

"Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan" was written by Andy Breckman and directed by Randall Zisk.[7] Series creator and executive producer Breckman was credited for the script for the fifth time in the series, while it was the sixth time Zisk worked on a Monk episode.[8][9] While Monk's second season was entirely filmed and produced in Los Angeles,[10] "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan" was shot in New York City in March 2004.[10][11]

In the series' plot, Trudy was killed years prior its first episode,[3] which led Monk to develop obsessive–compulsive disorder and to be discharged from the San Francisco Police Department.[2][12] At the beginning of the third season, executive producer and co-creator David Hoberman said the staff felt it was a good idea to explore Trudy's death. They were, however, careful about the manner in which they mentioned her death and Monk's desire to find the culprit. This was out of concern that they would "burden" the series with it.[11]

Reception[edit]

"Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan" was first broadcast in the United States on the USA Network at 9 pm EST on June 18, 2004.[5][12] According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode was viewed by an estimated number of 5.9 million viewers.[13] It was the third most watched program on cable television that week with a 3.6 percent household rating and a household audience of 3.9 million.[14]

CurrentFilm.com and MovieFreak.com's Dennis Landmann qualified it as one of the best episodes of the season.[15][16] Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Melanie McFarland said although it is "a fecund opportunity for cheap laughs", Shalhoub was able to keep the "balance between Monk's power and helplessness without caving into lower comedic impulses."[2] McFarland praised its writing and Shalhoub, saying "It would begin to look like shoddy choreography" if they were not good.[2] "A welcome return" was how it was described by Robert Lloyd from the Los Angeles Times who asserted its "pleasures are all in the predictable eccentricities of its characters, and the fact that it's clearly being staged for our benefit."[3] Ted Cox of the Chicago-area Daily Herald praised the scene when Monk forgives Tennyson dubbing it "great TV."[17] Chris Hicks of Deseret News deemed it as "a terrific example of how the writers come up with simple situations that throw Monk into turmoil but also allow us to identify with him: Monk in Manhattan. The crowds, the noise, the confusion. Perfect."[1]

Not all reviews were positive. David Bianculli, writing in the New York Daily News, stated that the idea of putting Monk in New York "sound[ed] great" on paper but it did not take advantage of what could be "a delightful study in contrasts."[18] Bianculli called it a "misstep", criticizing its premise and how it was not able to keep the balance between comedy and drama that made it "too outrageous."[18] A review for the The Beaver County Times considered it a "stunt episode" and its humor "uncharacteristically forced", saying it "really doesn't do justice to the show's considerable charms."[19] Steve Johnson of Chicago Tribune affirmed that while the premise is funny, "the writers go out of their way to play the city against his condition."[12] He continued by saying it "wouldn't be so bad" if he went to solve crimes "but Friday's first case is a real stretch."[12] Although excited for the episode's premise prior its broadcast,[20] Austin Smith of the New York Post was very critical of it.[4] Smith said in this episode "the producers have him [Monk] crossing that fine line between genius and insanity, transforming our hero into a full-blown mental patient."[4] He also criticized the "Mr. Monk vs. the City of New York" scenes as they do not further the episode's plot.[4] Smith co-worker, Linda Stasi also panned the episode, considering Monk's reactions "caricature[d]".[21] Stasi wrote, "It's one thing to be an obsessive/compulsive ex-detective who lines up the pins on the murder map and it's another to act like you've got a pin in your brain."[21] As Smith,[4] Kay McFadden of The Seattle Times called the jokes "predictable" and said "If you aren't a Monk fan, these devices may strike you as altogether shopworn."[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hicks, Chris (July 9, 2004). "Chris Hicks: 'Monk' on DVD is good, sanitized fun". Deseret News. Deseret News Publishing Company. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d McFarland, Melanie (June 17, 2004). "'Monk' ushers in a killer new season". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Lloyd, Robert (June 18, 2004). "Odd 'Monk' ticks into a third season". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Smith, Austin (June 13, 2004). "'Monk' doesn't make it in Manhattan". New York Post. News Corp. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan". USA Network. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ Terry J. Erdmann, Paula M. Block (June 27, 2006). Monk: The Official Episode Guide. Macmillan. p. 224. ISBN 0-312-35461-4. 
  7. ^ "Monk: Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan (2004) - Cast and Crew". AllMovie. All Media Network. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Andy Breckman". AllMovie. All Media Network. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Randy Zisk". AllMovie. All Media Network. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Restuccio, Daniel (February 1, 2004). "High Def Watch". Post Magazine. Incisive Media. Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Mason, Dave (June 15, 2004). "TV Notes: Creator's disorder informs 'Monk'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Block Communications. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d Johnson, Steve (June 18, 2004). "Notable returns: 'Slasher,' 'Monk'". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ Romano, Allison (June 27, 2004). "Summer Sizzle". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Top 15 Cable Programs - Total Households: Week of 06/14/04 - 06/20/04". Zap2it. Tribune Media. Archived from the original on June 24, 2004. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  15. ^ "DVD Review: Monk: Season 3". CurrentFilm.com. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ Landmann, Dennis (July 18, 2005). ""Monk - Season 3" DVD Review". MovieFreak.com. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ Cox, Ted (December 7, 2007). "Christmas fruitcakes: 'Monk', 'Psych' deliver top-notch holiday specials". Daily Herald. Paddock Publications. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Bianculli, David (June 17, 2004). "Miss that touch of 'Monk': Witty show flat in season debut". New York Daily News. Daily News. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Monk returns". The Beaver County Times. Beaver Newspapers: 7. June 18, 2004. 
  20. ^ Smith, Austin (May 30, 2004). "Summer TV: New doesn't equal good". New York Post. News Corp. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Stasi, Linda (June 18, 2004). "Dirty Deal – New York is not place for 'Monk'". New York Post. News Corp. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Vampires pale compared to reality". The Seattle Times. June 18, 2004. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 

External links[edit]