I love detective shows. I’ve always been fascinated with the likes of Matlock, Perry Mason, and Columbo. The mystery, intrigue, and suspense they present are irresistable, at least to me. I have also come to love another detective show that has captured my attention, Monk. “Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub – pictured above) was once a rising star with the San Francisco Police Department, legendary for using unconventional methods and out-of-the-box thinking to solve some of the department’s most baffling cases. But after the tragic (and still unsolved) murder of his wife, a devastated Monk became obsessive-compulsive. Now plagued by various phobias, almost everything causes him angst: germs, heights, crowds – even milk. His condition eventually cost him his job, and continuously poses unique challenges as he goes about his daily life.” He is an unlikely hero. Think of Sherlock Holmes with the personality of Rain Man. He has an amazing ability because of his extraordinary attention to detail. Other detectives see what Monk sees, but they don’t see what he sees. Monk sees the world, an ugly world, like a child sees something for the first time.
Monk, in the second to last episode of Season 3 – “Mr. Monk and the Election”, says something that got me thinking. In this episode, Monk’s new assistant, Natalie, becomes a candidate in the upcoming school board election because her daughter’s school was about to be closed as a cost-cutting measure. Natalie’s frustrations with a jammed photocopier and other defective equipment bought at a police auction are dwarfed by fear for her life when a sniper fires into her campaign headquarters, further damaging the equipment and killing a security guard. The sniper also left a note demanding Natalie leave the election. Suspicion falls on Natalie’s opponent in the election, Harold Krenshaw, whom Monk knows as a fellow patient of Dr. Kroger’s (Monk’s therapist). Krenshaw also suffers from OCD but with slightly different characteristics.
In one scene, Monk and Captain Stottlemeyer are interrogating Krenshaw. Monk starts talking about Krenshaw to Stottlemeyer beforehand, “He has serious issues. He drives everyone he meets crazy.” In a scene soon after, Monk asks the question, “It’s not me, is it? Just tell me. Am I that guy? Am I that far gone?” Stottlemeyer then strokes Monk’s ego allowing him to think that he is, indeed, OK and reinforcing the idea that Krenshaw is the one who has the problems. Monk then says, “he will drive you crazy!” Monk also makes an interesting admission, “he wouldn’t have mis-spelled Natalie’s name because… because I wouldn’t…”