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Trivia / Monk

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  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • Natalie's parents, Robert "Bobby" Davenport and Peggy Davenport, either coincidentally or not, share names with Traylor Howard's real parents, Peggy E. Traylor and Robert M. Howard, Jr. According to Monk: The Official Episode Guide, the writers almost got in trouble, as Traylor recalled her dad saying, "He was like, 'Well are we jerks? I don't want us to be jerks.' And I told him, 'Dad, it's not real!'"
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    • Dr. Charles Kroger is said to be Jewish, much like Stanley Kamel was in real life.
    • Sharona, just like her actress Bitty Schram, comes from New Jersey.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: In addition to letting the show shoot on location at Edwards Air Force Base, the US Air Force also allowed Jeffrey Donovan to ride around in a then-brand-new F-22 and Tony Shalhoub to run around the flight line for the the climax of "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut."
  • California Doubling: Very blatant in Season 1, which was shot in Toronto, something that's visible in the constantly overcast weather and lack of any recognisable San Francisco landmarks outside of Stock Footage. A lot less blatant from Season 2 onwards, for which production moved to Los Angeles, somewhere that obviously has a much closer architectural style to San Francisco seeing how the cities are just a few hundred miles apart (which also permitted them to shoot on location in the latter city on occasion).
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  • Cast the Runner-Up: Alfred Molina and Stanley Tucci were also considered for the role of Monk before Tony Shalhoub was picked. Both would be guest star in Monk episodes and get Special Guest Star billing, Tucci as David Ruskin in "Mr. Monk and the Actor", and Molina as Peter Magneri in "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man". Amusingly, David Ruskin is an actor playing Monk in a TV movie. Peter Magneri has some of Monk's eccentricities.
  • 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: Stanley Kamel died of a sudden heart attack on April 8, 2008 during the production hiatus between seasons 6 and 7. There was no way the producers could try recasting a new actor as 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" has an In Memoriam to Kamel before the closing credits at the end. The episode also introduced Hector Elizondo as Dr. Neven Bell, to replace the void left by Dr. Kroger for the remaining two seasons of the show. The usage of Dr. Bell instead of Dr. Kroger does seem to have a noticeable effect on the feel of the remaining episodes, especially season 7.
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  • 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 and personally wants to punch the person "who had the brilliant idea of doing a show that teaches crooks how to avoid being caught".
  • The Danza:
    • Lawrence O'Donnell plays Judge Lawrence Barr in two episodes.
    • According to the novel Mr. Monk Helps Himself, Grooms's first name is Joshua. He's played by Josh Stamberg.
    • "Mr. Monk and the Big Game" features a high school mascot named Jen, played by the up and coming Jennifer Lawrence (before she became famous as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games films and Mystique in the X-Men prequel movies).
  • 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.
    • Ambrose is Adrian's older brother. In real life, John Turturro is 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.
    • Depending on how you interpret it, it is possible Natalie may count as this due to Older Than They Look, as Traylor Howard is in her late thirties/early forties, when Natalie could easily be mid to late-thirties.
    • All of the flashbacks with Trudy are this. Incidentally, if Trudy were alive today, she'd be five years older than Melora Hardin. But it's played straight: the flashback to Trudy's death in the series finale, for instance, depict Trudy when she was 35. Hardin was 42 at the time.
  • Directed by Cast Member:
    • Tony Shalhoub was Monk as well as one of the show's executive producers.
    • 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".
  • Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: In "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink", Monk's new psychiatrist has one arm. Tony Shalhoub insisted that the character be played by a one-armed actor. The part went to Jesuit priest Rick Curry who was born without a right forearm.
  • Fake American:
    • Vancouver-born Jason Gray-Stanford portrays the American Randy Disher.
    • In "Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra," gravedigger Chris Downey is supposed to be an American, 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").
    • To some extent, Monk is one as far as his ancestry. Monk has American ancestry. While Tony Shalhoub is American by birth (having been born in Green Bay, Wisconsin), he has Lebanese ancestry.
    • Another Canadian posing as an American is Rossif Sutherland as Vic Blanchard in "Mr. Monk and the Other Detective".
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Traylor Howard became pregnant before shooting began for the second half of season 5. To avoid causing problems, it was necessary for writers to position Natalie during scenes such that her midsection and below is hidden by items like bags, tables, or car doors. This is evident in "Mr. Monk Makes a Friend" and "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy". In "Mr. Monk Is at Your Service," the writers took advantage of Traylor's pregnancy by incorporating it into the episode. For most of her scenes, Natalie stands or sits in positions that make it so that we see only the section above her chest, (like behind a desk or leaning against her car with the driver's side door open). However, when she needs to rescue Monk from her old obsessive boyfriend, she wards off his advances by stuffing a pillow down her chest. For these scenes, they just filmed her like they would in normal episodes, like in the first half of the season.
  • 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.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • 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 appearances in season 2 and season 3, 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, and the respective actor couldn't travel to the other coast for filming.
    • 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), as well as Natalie's daughter Julie (Emmy Clarke) and parents Bobby and Peggy (Michael Cavanaugh and Holland Taylor).
  • Out of Order: While for the most part many of the episodes can be watched as procedural episodes without much concern for continuity, this happens a few times due to the episode-airing schedule not being the same as the production schedule:
    • "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.
    • "Mr. Monk Is On The Air" was shot in the summer of 2006, but aired as part of the second half of season 5. This discrepancy explains why Natalie is back to driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee she drove in the first half of the season, when she'd only traded it for a Buick Lucerne just prior to "Mr. Monk and the Leper".
    • It's notable that often the episodes were not aired in the order they were produced. "Mr. Monk and the Other Woman" was the seventh episode aired but the third to be filmed, which accounts for why Stottlemeyer and Disher suddenly seem to have regressed to being openly antagonistic towards Monk when they had begun to mellow towards him in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival".
  • 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:
      • 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 is 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.
  • Throw It In!:
    • 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 a wallet that is not his. 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.
  • Unfinished Episode: The author's notes for Mr. Monk Gets on Board state that there was an episode written for season 3 involving Monk and Sharona solving a murder while on a cruise. The cruise line company that owned the ship was okay with it until they started making numerous demands. The producers eventually decided it was more trouble than it was worth and scrapped the episode. The script didn't go to waste though; it was adapted into the 2014 novel Mr. Monk Gets on Board.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend," there are some production stills that suggest that Monk's confrontation 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 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 claimed that they even considered at one point having the killer dismember the victim, then place the individual remains in a self-cleaning oven and turn them into ash. He would then vacuum out the remains and have a vacuum cleaner bag filled with his victim. For a comedic show like Monk, this was considered too gruesome. 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. This is the reason why Dr. Kroger doesn't show up during any of the investigation scenes, and the scene where Dr. Kroger and Monk investigate Francis Merrigan's office has them peer through the window instead of breaking into the office proper because of this.
    • 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.
    • John Ritter, Henry Winkler, Dave Foley, and Michael Richards were 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 Network and NBC share the same parent company).
    • "Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger" was originally supposed to feature Ringo Starr as the musician accused of murder. However, since the crime involved the victim being shot in an alley, the producers thought it too reminiscent of John Lennon's assassination. They also considered singers Brian Wilson and James Taylor, before deciding to go with Willie Nelson.
    • According to Hy Conrad, one script that never got filmed was an episode called "Mr. Monk Is At Sea". It would have been aired in 2004 as part of season 3 (likely taking the place of "Mr. Monk and the Game Show") and would have involved Monk and Sharona investigating a set of murders on a cruise ship. While USA Network approved of the script, it never got filmed because cruise lines were pretty 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 floating 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 Daniel Dratch, who acquired the "Mr. Monk Is At Sea" script from the vault. The script was thus rewritten and published as Mr. Monk Gets on Board, with Natalie taking Sharona's place, some new subplots were written in, and the cruise makes a visit to Mexico that allows for Captain Alameda from "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico" to get involved. The concept of Monk investigating a murder at sea itself would be used in season 7 for "Mr. Monk Is Underwater".
    • In 2012 USA had series creator Andy Breckman write scripts for two potential Monk reunion movies. One would have had Monk get married again and move to France, only to have his new wife try to kill him. The other would have had Monk run for mayor of San Francisco in order to help Molly Evans investigate corruption at City Hall. The network ultimately decided against producing either movie.
    • Randy's original last name in the pilot was Deacon. Which led to a stealth joke: the first two letters of his and Stottlemeyer's first and last names put together spells "Lestrade" (Leland Stottlemeyer and Randy Deacon).


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