DA Picks: TV’s best crime comedy ‘Monk’ is now available in India

Characters like The Big Bang Theorys Sheldon Cooper or Community‘s Abed Nadir is now a staple of every other sitcom. There’s always that one eccentric and overly obsessive guy. I’d like to believe that Adrian Monk is the archetype for the TV alien. Played to perfection by Tony Shalhoub, he serves as the titular character in the comedy-drama series Monk, which dominated the airwaves from 2002 to 2009. The show was unavailable to watch in India for a long time… but that has changed now. All eight seasons of the Emmy-winning series are now available on Netflix. A movie with the title Mr. Monk’s Last Case: a monk movie was released in 2023 and is available on JioCinema.

For those of you who were too young to catch the show when it aired, the premise of the show is simple: Monk is a highly gifted detective who solves cases by noticing things no one else can. He also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and a number of phobias (germs are at the top). Each episode works as a typical offering from House MD or Sherlock—in which an incredibly gifted individual manages to rise above the conflict in the usual 40-50 minute running time. But at no point does that happen Monk feeling dull or old. You’re always waiting to see what he picks up and finally says the words, “I just solved the case.”

That’s largely due to the great performances from Shalhoub and his co-stars, as well as the great writing. Unlike many shows from the 2000s that haven’t stood the test of time, Monk remains relevant thanks to its sympathetic portrayal of a troubled but gifted man. None of the jokes are aimed at the many problems – psychological or physical – that plague him. The humor is a product of his disbelief at how people function in this dirty (literal and metaphorical) world without thinking about it. Everyone around him is, for the most part, compassionate, leaving us with a fuzzy feeling at the end of each episode.

The main arc of the show focuses on the death of Monk’s wife Trudy: the one case he has been unable to solve and the cause of many of his problems. These are the moments that humanize him and give viewers the opportunity to empathize with this brilliant, idiosyncratic individual. The show’s finale focuses on this specific case. But the 120 or so episodes that lead up to this denouement are equally entertaining.