This is a double allusion as Joe and Helen are also the first names of Shalhoub's own parents.
The episode where Monk learns of a potential lead to Trudy's murderer has Tim Curry playing a Manipulative Bastard who for various reasons is unable to move around much and is immobile, just like Forte.
Monk's standoff with Winston Brenner in Monk's darkened apartment in "Mr. Monk and the Blackout", with Monk wearing nightvision goggles, is similar to the climatic scene in The Silence of the Lambs where Buffalo Bill (Levine) stalks Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) through a dark basement. Coincidentally, Ted Levine and another actor from that movie, Scott Glenn, would later reunite in "Mr. Monk Is On the Run," but in reversed roles, with Glenn playing the villain and Levine being a supporting protagonist.
In "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever," Monk's alias name in witness protection is "Frank Conway," a reference to Shalhoub's character Kevin Conway in A Civil Action where he costarred with John Travolta.
Natalie's parents are Bobby and Peggy Davenport. Their first names are the exact same as the first names of Traylor Howard's real parents, Peggy E. Traylor and Robert M. Howard, Jr.
This is not the first time Natalie has been involved in a relationship with a man named Mitch.
In "Mr. Monk Buys a House," Hector Elizondo is first introduced as Dr. Neven Bell. Later, when seeing Monk discovering a clue on the stairway of Joseph Moody's house, "Honest" Jake Phillips calls him Columbo. Elizondo had played a murderous diplomat in the Columbo episode "A Case of Immunity".
Real-life Guest Star example: In "Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger", Monk asks if he smells anything in Willie Nelson's bus, to which Nelson replies "no, and neither do you." Fans of Willie Nelson will recognize this as a reference to Nelson being suspected of smoking pot by various law enforcement groups and having close encounters with the cops because of it.
In "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room," Brad Hawkins' character Kurt Wolff shows Monk and Sharona a special pendant that shoots pepper spray. It also makes reference to Hawkins' TV debut in VR Troopers, where the three heroes wore matching pendants called Virtualizers, which enabled them to transform themselves into cyborg heroes by holding the pendants and saying "We are V.R." Another possible reference is to the various Morphers from Power Rangers, for which Hawkins provided the voice of the Gold Ranger, Trey. The fact that Hawkins is in an episode about the music business is also an in-joke as he dabbled in country music for a while.
At least two of the supporting cast members who play mobsters in "Mr. Monk Is Someone Else" were previously regulars on The Sopranos: Vincent Curatola, who plays L.A. mob boss Jimmy Barlowe, was The Sopranos regular Johnny Sack, head of the Lupertazzi crime family. Louis Lombardi, who plays Tommy G., was Skip Lapari in a few early The Sopranos episodes in 2000 and 2001.
Channel Hop: When the show premired in 2002, episodes were broadcast first on ABC and then rerun later that week on USA. Within a few weeks ABC lost interest in the show, leaving it airing on USA only.
The Character Died with Him: When Stanley Kamel died of a sudden heart attack on April 8, 2008 during the production hiatus between seasons 6 and 7, the producers decided that there was no way to try recasting a new actor in the role of Dr. Charles Kroger (as Kamel had played the part in close to half of the 93 episodes that had been made to that point) or have him Put on a Bus, so the same heart attack fate was given to Dr. Kroger. As a result, "Mr. Monk Buys a House" is unique in that it has a card reading "In loving memory of Stanley Kamel" before the closing credits at the end. The episode also introduced Hector Elizondo as Dr. Neven Bell, a therapist to replace the void left by Dr. Kroger for the remaining two seasons of the show. The replacement therapist does seem to have a noticeable effect on the feel of the remaining episodes, especially season 7.
Character Outlives Actor: Dr. Kroger appears in the novels Mr. Monk Goes to Germany and Mr. Monk is Miserable, both of which were published after Stanley Kamel's death. However, they were both set prior to "Mr. Monk Is On the Run".
The CSI Effect: There is a point in the novel Mr. Monk Goes to Germany where this trope is discussed. Stottlemeyer says he hates CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and personally wants to punch the person "who had the brilliant idea of doing a show that teaches crooks how to avoid being caught".
Dawson Casting: Tony Shalhoub is actually six years older than Monk is supposed to be. Hence, though he turns 50 in "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk," he's actually 56 in that episode, which aired in 2009.
In "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend," Stottlemeyer is revealed to be 51, which is just a year older than Ted Levine actually was in 2007. Monk is supposed to be three years younger than Stottlemeyer, but Tony Shalhoub is actually four years older than Levine.
John Turturro plays Adrian's older brother Ambrose, but he's actually four years younger than Tony Shalhoub.
And Shalhoub was 53 when "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion" was produced. In contrast, Cynthia Stevenson, the actress playing Dianne Brooks, was 45 years old at the time, and her character is supposed to be 47 years old at that point.
Adam Arkin was involved in two season 1 episodes. He wore a fatsuit to portray bedridden Dale "the Whale" Biederbeck in "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale". He also directed "Mr. Monk and the Other Woman".
Canadian Jason-Gray Stanford as the American Randy Disher.
In "Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra," gravedigger Chris Downey is supposed to be an American based on his name, but he is played by British actor Mark Sheppard. In the first scene where he has dialogue, his British accent is slipping.
The first season, because it was filmed in Vancouver and Toronto, gave us lots of Canadian-sounding Californians, eh? These include Michael Hogan (Warren St. Claire in "Mr. Monk and the Candidate"), Linda Kash (Dolly Flint in "Mr. Monk and the Psychic"), Stephen McHattie (Lt. Adam Kirk in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival"), Maria del Mar (Monica Waters in "Mr. Monk and the Other Woman"), and others.
Tony Shalhoub was cabbie Antonio Scarpacci on Wings. He also played a Lebanese-American FBI agent working with Denzel Washington in The Siege, and was the comic relief of Jack Jeebs from the first two Men In Black movies.
And a few familiar faces pop up throughout the series, including Adam Arkin as Dale the Whale, Simon Templeman and Michael Hogan in the pilot.
Michael Weston turned up in "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut" to stage his girlfriend's death before his brief career as a test pilot. It must have been one of his early missions, just because he got caught.
Bulldog is an amoral surgeon in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Hospital".
"Mr. Monk Goes to a Fashion Show" gives us AlexDeLarge as a snobbish fashion designer.
In "Mr. Monk, Private Eye", Marshall Mann is the guy who hit Linda's car.
In "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert", when Kendra Frank ropes Monk and Natalie into investigating her boyfriend Stork's murder, you think that since she's played by Tamara Feldman, she's obviously Marybeth Dunston using an alias name to hide from Victor Crowley.
Major Zero is the drifter a blind Monk is forced to try identifying while blind in "Mr. Monk Can't See A Thing."
According to "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man," Oswald Harvey decided to abandon the Squirrel Nut Zippers shirts (and clothes altogether).
Or maybe Batman just decided to ditch his costume for a while.
Peter "Robocop" Weller cameos as an actor portraying Captain Stottlemeyer in "Mr. Monk and the Actor". The Porn Stache further increases the odds you won't recognize him, but if you're familiar with his voice, you'll be like, "Oh, that's who he is!"
In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Bank," the actor who voices Homer Simpson runs a pawnshop.
"Mr. Monk Goes to Jail" sees Monk befriend Darnell "Spyder" Rudner, an inmate played by Danny Trejo. Trejo seems quite at home as he actually is a reformed gang member who did time before turning to acting.
In "Mr. Monk and the Leper," you see Paul Blackthorne as Officer, er, DoctorQuentin Lance, who turns out to have had leprosy.
Marv is a small-town sheriff in "Mr. Monk and the UFO"
Jossed: The plot of Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants (about a Sharona/Natalie crossover) cannot happen thanks to the final season featuring "Mr. Monk and Sharona" for a Sharona/Natalie crossover.
Lying Creator: "Mr. Monk and the End" opens with a flashback to Trudy's death. We see that Monk and Stottlemeyer had just started a case about a missing nurse when they found out about Trudy's death. Said murder had been advertised for years as "the only case Monk never solved." Except that it turns out that the missing nurse was killed by the same guy who killed Trudy, for the same reason.
Three actresses played Trudy Monk: Stellina Ruisch for the first two seasons, Melora Hardin for all appearances from "Mr. Monk and the Game Show" onwards, and Lindy Newton for flashback scenes with a younger Trudy in "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion".
Dale "the Whale" Biederbeck, Monk's recurring Arch-Enemy, is played by a different actor in each of his appearances because the role is too large for one guy to carry. He's played by Adam Arkin in "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale," by Tim Curry in "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail," and by Ray Porter in "Mr. Monk Is On the Run, Part II".
Sharona's ex-husband Trevor Howe appears twice, but he is played by Frank John Hughes in "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect", and by David Lee Russak in "Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf".
Stottlemeyer's son Jared has changed actors multiple times, as he ages: in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame," he's played by Cameron Cush, and by child actor Jesse James in "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife". In Jared's Day in the Limelight episode, "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert", he's played by John Kyle Hansen.
Sharona's son Benjy is played by Kane Richotte in the season 1 pilot, as well as all of his season 2 and season 3 episodes, but is played by Max Morrow for all of season 1 except the pilot episode. This is because Richotte's episodes were filmed in Vancouver and also in Los Angeles, while episodes with Morrow were shot in Toronto.
In fact, the only relatives of the main characters who are played by the same actors in all of their appearances are Adrian's brother Ambrose (John Turturro), Sharona's sister Gail (Amy Sedaris), Stottlemeyer's first wife Karen (Glenne Headly) and Natalie's daughter Julie (Emmy Clarke).
Out of Order: There are three cases where the continuity is kinda interrupted.
"Mr. Monk Gets Married" was actually meant to be aired during the first half of season 2 (the late summer 2003 schedule), but instead aired as the penultimate episode to the set of episodes aired in February. This leads to a continuity error where Monk says that Trudy died "six years ago," which would make sense if the episode had aired in summer 2003, as originally scheduled. However, since the episode was delayed until 2004, "seven years ago" would now be correct. Except the episode aired in February 2004, and if Trudy was killed in December 1997, "six years ago" would make as much sense.
It's notable that often the episodes were not aired in the order they were produced. "Mr. Monk and the Other Woman" was actually filmed after "Mr. Monk and the Psychic" and before "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival," which accounts for the apparent regression of Stottlemeyer and Disher's relationship with Monk and less confidence in his abilities.
"Mr. Monk is on the Air" also aired out of order. It was probably meant to be aired after "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert" and before "Mr. Monk Meets His Dad", but ended up instead airing in February as part of the second half of season 5 between "Mr. Monk Is At Your Service" and "Mr. Monk Visits a Farm". You can tell because the episode is set in August 2006 while "Mr. Monk Is At Your Service" is set in April 2007. Additionally, Natalie's hair is longer, the episodes bracketing it had Traylor Howard using various items to hide her pregnancy while she isn't doing so in this episode. Lastly, Natalie is driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee like in seasons 3 and 4 plus the first half of season 5, when in the rest of season 5.5 she drives a Buick Lucerne.
Real-Life Relative: Quite a number of people in Tony Shalhoub's actual family have appeared on the show.
Brooke Adams, Shalhoub's wife, appears several times (always as different characters):
In "Mr. Monk and the Airplane" as Leigh Harrison, a flight attendant who is driven crazy by Monk's antics. She is later interviewed by James Novak in "Mr. Monk's 100th Case", where it is shown that she has developed a fear of flying and also was driven to drinking, which was also implied by her final appearance in the former episode.
In "Mr. Monk and the Kid" as Abigail Carlyle, an abducted violinist's mother.
In "Mr. Monk Visits a Farm" as Sheriff Butterfield. All of a sudden, the scene where Monk goes square dancing very terribly with her (while looking visibly uncomfortable for the entire scene) becomes a thousand times funnier, especially since he brings up Trudy during the scene.
In "Mr. Monk and the Badge" as Edith Capriani, a Crazy Cat Lady that Monk gets fed up with for pulling him away from other cases.
Tony's brother Michael Shalhoub has played three characters throughout the series' run:
In "Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny," he plays Ron Abrash, a former radicalist who Monk and Stottlemeyer question as a person of interest in a kidnapping. Which makes the part where Monk says, "I've been smoking THE TRUTH, man!" that much funnier when you consider just exactly who Tony is saying this line to.
In "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head," Michael plays Ned, the beekeeper whose farm Roger Zisk crashes his car into when trying to cover up bee stings that he'd received the night before when dumping Debbie Barnett's dead body on a roadside.
In "Mr. Monk Is the Best Man," Michael is the minister who presides over Leland and T.K.'s wedding ceremony.
Tony's sister Susan Shalhoub Larkin appears as Linda Kloster's housekeeper in "Mr. Monk and the Genius" (the one who drops the tray and discovers the body).
Tony's nephew Tony Larkin is the shushing monk in "Mr. Monk and the Miracle."
Rachel Dratch, who plays Julie Parlo in "Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny," is producer Daniel Dratch's sister.
Randy's epic struggle in "Mr. Monk and the Leper" to remove some embarrassing photos of him with acne in Dr. Polanski's waiting room. The scene was supposed to be a simple swipe, but the set designer had glued the pictures on so strongly that Jason Gray-Stanford couldn't do the swipe. This explains why Randy looks confused when he pulls on the photo and it doesn't come off - it's because Jason is expecting it to simply come off without much effort (like it was hanging from a nail hammered into the wall). So without breaking character, he grabs the chain pen on the receptionist's desk and tries to use that to pry the picture off, eventually ending up ripping out part of the plaster with the photo.
Traylor Howard's pregnancy was worked into "Mr. Monk Is At Your Service".
In "Mr. Monk Is Up All Night," the part of the scene where Stottlemeyer and Disher grab Monk's pickpocketed wallet from Gully at the bar was added by Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford. By ad-libbing this bit, they make it clear that they know Gully is buying them drinks on Monk's credit card. They play along with it – essentially thinking, "Drinks on Monk!" Only on their exit do they end any pretense, and take Monk's wallet back; in other words, they have been one step ahead of Gully the entire time. This also proves that Stottlemeyer and Disher are not as oblivious as they may sometimes act.
Meta Casting: Stanley Tucci, one of the actors originally considered for the role of Monk, plays in "Mr. Monk and the Actor" as David Ruskin, who is playing the role of Monk in a movie. Alfred Molina, who had also auditioned for the role, appears in "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man" as computer programmer Peter Magneri.
In "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend," there are some production stills that suggest that Monk's meeting with Linda at her house was to happen on her front lawn, not in her bedroom.
This production blog for "Mr. Monk and the Actor" indicates that the way in which Monk discovers the gun used in the pawn shop owner shooting was a lot different originally. The final version has the gun being found in a downspout. Originally, a kid was to pick up a discarded gun, thinking it was a toy. Natalie would start playing "shootout" with the kid, until Monk deduced it was the murder weapon and it had a round in the chamber, followed by a suspenseful hide-and-seek game in which the last round was fired at Monk and Natalie. An actor was actually cast, but the scene was not filmed and was cut for time.
The USANetwork.com production blog for "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink" shows that the plot formula went through a lot of idea changes. The idea that the piece of incriminating evidence was to be found in a vaccum bag had floated around for years. Hy Conrad writes, "We even toyed with the idea of a killer hacking up his victim then placing the pieces, one by one, in a self-cleaning oven and turning them to ash in the oven's crematorium heat. He would then vacuum out the remains and have a vacuum cleaner bag filled with his victim. But this seemed a bit too gruesome for us." Then there came to settling on a cleaning lady being the murder victim (Theresa Mueller). Then, to make sure some personal involvement was given to a series regular, they decided that the cleaning lady should be killed while in the middle of cleaning Dr. Kroger's office, fulfilling something else the writers wanted to do - give Stanley Kamel a Day In The Lime Light episode.
Once this had been done, a few ideas as to how Dr. Kroger would be involved floated around. Having Dr. Kroger help Monk solve the case had to be shot down because this would ruin the clinical doctor-patient detachment. Therefore, Dr. Kroger was kept out of most of the investigation scenes, and when Dr. Kroger and Monk peer into Francis Merrigan's office, the two couldn't exactly break into the office itself.
The production blog for "Mr. Monk and the Birds and the Bees" indicates that originally the incriminating photo of Julie and Tim Sussman with Rob Sherman in the background was to be taken at a Tunnel of Love attraction, and Monk chasing Rob Sherman to get the photo disks back would have happened on that attraction. However, it was too expensive to build one on a soundstage and they couldn't find a similar attraction at a real theme park.
Future guest stars Alfred Molina and Stanley Tucci were also considered. Amusingly, Tucci's role as David Ruskin in "Mr. Monk and the Actor" is as an actor playing Monk. Also Molina's role was a man suspiciously similar to Monk.
John Ritter, Henry Winkler, and Dave Foley were also considered for the role of Monk. Queen Latifah was the original choice for Sharona.
The Season 3 opening episode (Mr Monk Takes Manhattan) was originally written as a Crossover with Law & Order (USA and NBC share the same parent company).
According to Hy Conrad, the novel Mr. Monk Gets on Board was adapted from a never-filmed and tossed script called "Mr. Monk Is At Sea". It would have been aired in 2004 as part of season 3 and would have involved Monk and Sharona investigating murders on a cruise ship. While USA Network approved of the script, it never got filmed because cruise lines were a bit too sensitive about the notion of a murder being committed on their ships or someone falling overboard. They wouldn't budge, even when the writing team tried changing the killer's identity and lowered the body count. Even attempting to use the Queen Mary hotel in Long Beach for shooting fell through. Although the script was still brought up whenever the writing team was running short on ideas, it became the team's white whale, "Episode 126". Only in 2013 did Hy Conrad contact Dan Dratch, who acquired the "Mr. Monk Is At Sea" script from the vault. Mr. Monk Gets on Board therefore is the plot of the lost "Mr. Monk Is At Sea," only with the use of Natalie instead of Sharona, new subplots, and a visit to Mexico that allows for Captain Alameda from "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico" to get involved.