|First appearance||"Mr. Monk and the Candidate"|
|Last appearance||"Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine"
(as series regular)
"Mr. Monk and Sharona"
(as special guest star)
"Mr. Monk on Patrol"
|Created by||David Hoberman|
|Portrayed by||Bitty Schram
|Aliases||Sharona Monk ("Mr. Monk Gets Married")|
|Occupation||Nurse, assistant to Adrian Monk|
|Significant other(s)||Randy Disher (2009–present)|
|Children||Benjamin "Benjy" Fleming
(son, with Trevor)
Sharona Fleming is a fictional character in the USA Network television series Monk. Sharona is a divorced practical nurse from New Jersey and a single mother with a young son named Benjy. She was played by Bitty Schram. Schram was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.
Sharona's childhood is only mentioned in the season 3 episode "Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf". Her father, Douglas, owned a hardware store and died when she was a child. This left her mother, Cheryl, to raise Sharona and her younger sister, Gail, who is an actress and appears in the episodes "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake" and "Mr. Monk Goes to the Theater".
The season 2 episode "Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy" reveals that Sharona had married Trevor out of high school, but it did not last long, leaving her with an infant Benjy to raise on her own. When her son Benjy was one, she did some nude modeling under a pseudonym in Atlantic City, revealed to Monk in that episode when playboy Dexter Larsen of Sapphire Magazine threatens to publish these photos to keep Monk from investigating him further. In the season 1 episode "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale" Dale "the Whale" Biederbeck asks Sharona if she is "still making house calls," to which Sharona replies that "she doesn't do that kinda stuff anymore," implying that at one point she used her LPN training to do home health care.
Role on Monk
Monk was in a catatonic state for three and a half years until Sharona began taking care of him. Monk was able to resume detective work and remarked, "When she found me, I was drowning. She saved my life." The series started a while after she took the assistant's job, and just how she got it and what their early relationship was are never explained, although it is revealed that Captain Stottlemeyer originally engaged her as a nurse for Monk.
When Monk becomes a consulting detective, Sharona helps out, sometimes doing independent investigations and sometimes even using her sex appeal to get information that Monk cannot. She also does all kinds of things that Monk's OCD and phobias prevent him from doing as she has few such reservations herself. However, in the season 2 episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus," Sharona is revealed to have a fear of elephants, due to seeing a girl falling into an elephant pit when she was seven years old. She takes up smoking after Monk reacts insensitively to her fear of elephants, telling her to "suck it up".
Sharona drives a tan 1990 Volvo 740 GLE Wagon, which in "Mr. Monk and the 12th Man" is shown to have 100,000 miles. The counter says 99,999, prompting Monk to move the car forwards and backwards until the number is even while staking out Henry Small's house.
She has 'quit' her job as Monk's assistant at least twice; in the episode "Mr. Monk and the Candidate" and "Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger" (this was due to a pay dispute; she temporarily got a job at a lamp store). Sharona's 'quitting' became a running gag in the show, until she finally left in 2004 to remarry her ex-husband, Trevor Howe, following "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine". This was because Bitty Schram quit the show over contract disputes. Subsequently, Traylor Howard was introduced as Natalie Teeger, Monk's new assistant, beginning in "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring".
Sharona is mentioned again after her character left the show in "Mr. Monk Is On the Run (Part Two)", having sent flowers for the "deceased" Monk and flying in with Benjy to attend his funeral.
A recurring joke during Sharona's tenure on the series is her love life. Despite her astuteness in both helping Monk navigate his life and in assisting him in solving homicide investigations, her judgment regarding potential romantic partners for herself is remarkably poor. Besides Trevor, other men she dates include an architect who turns out be the secret streaker that is interrupting Stottlemeyer and Disher's press conferences ("Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger"), a mob enforcer ("Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather"), several married men, and sometimes (on more than one occasion) the very murderer that Monk is investigating. The seeming common denominator between these and many other men is a compulsive inability to be honest with her.
Return to Monk
Bitty Schram returned to play Sharona as a guest star in the season 8 episode "Mr. Monk and Sharona" In this episode, Sharona returns to San Francisco after the death of her little-known uncle Howard Fleming, to which Monk believes there has been foul play. A primary subplot of the episode is the way that Monk is torn between Natalie's methods and Sharona's. Sharona mentions during the episode that she and Trevor have separated permanently, and that Benjy is currently making plans to attend college. It is hinted that Sharona and Randy may be dating. In the final episode of the series, Randy moves to Summit, New Jersey to live with Sharona.
Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants
Lee Goldberg's novel Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants has Sharona returning to San Francisco after Trevor is arrested for allegedly murdering a UCLA professor. Sharona goes back to her position as a registered nurse. Monk and Natalie meet her when they bring Julie to the hospital to be treated for a broken wrist. Sharona plans to return to work with Monk and thus results in open hostility between her and Natalie.
Eventually, Monk discovers that Trevor had been framed for the murder. After Monk exonerates him, and Sharona and Natalie—who also have been framed by Ian Ludlow, the real killer—Sharona goes back to Trevor. By this point, Sharona and Natalie have become friends and Sharona is sure Monk is in good hands, thus serving more closure than on the television series. The novel ends with Sharona moving back to Los Angeles with Trevor and Benjy, leaving her character in a better position to be able to return into Adrian's life, e.g. visits, than it would if her character was in New Jersey, perhaps hinting at a possible return of her character. The events of the book run somewhat contrary to how her return was later depicted in "Mr. Monk and Sharona", although some elements of the novel, like Natalie and Sharona's open hostility towards each other, are adapted over. Both of these crossovers highlight the differences between Natalie and Sharona - Natalie tends to be more accepting of Monk's compulsions whereas Sharona tries to force Monk to adapt.
Mr. Monk On Patrol
Another Goldberg mystery, Mr. Monk On Patrol, involves her significant other, Disher, act as mayor for several months. Summit has undergone a terrible wave of crime. But, as the San Franciscans grow to be a little hostile to Adrian Monk, Summit's police department (which consists of six men) calls for Monk to solve homicides for a week. Sharona flies to San Francisco to escort Monk and Natalie, whom she had grown hostile with in the earlier Monk episode, to Newark.
- Wallenstein, Andrew (31 August 2004). "No Sharona — Bitty Schram leaves ‘Monk’". MSNBC.com.
- "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake"
- "Mr. Monk Goes to the Theater"
- "Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy"
- "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale"
- Mr. Monk and the Red Herring, Monk, Season 3, 21 January 2005.
- Ausiello, Michael (24 March 2009). "'Monk' exclusive: Bitty Schram says 'Hi, Sharona!'". The Ausiello Files. EW.com.