Monk: Series Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Published 5 years ago by , Updated December 5th, 2009 at 9:47 am,

monk logo Monk: Series Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

As the eight-year run of USA’s hit drama, Monk, begins its final chapter, it becomes easy to forget what this show has accomplished. While many shows have ended, Monk is in a different category all together. The show continues to receive high ratings, critical acclaim and award nominations.

Unlike many shows on the air today, Monk is ending because the creators felt that it had run its course and while many fans (like myself) will be upset that our week will have one less eccentric detective in it, you have to respect their decision to end on top.

With that, let’s get started on the series finale. Split up into two parts, “Mr. Monk and the End” brought closure to the mystery surrounding the death of Adrian’s wife, Trudy.  As we saw in the promo, the first part brought with it a slew a guest stars, foot chases and troubles for Mr. Monk. Mix all those things together and we had the makings of a great episode.

[Update: This will cover “Mr. Monk and the End” (Part 2).]

Click here to go to the second page and view the review of “Mr. Monk and the End” (Part 1)

[Spoiler Warning]

I knew that the creators behind Monk wouldn’t let us down. The second of this two-part episode was so beautifully tragic. The sheer amount of emotions one felt while watching this episode should garner them some kind of special Emmy.

While I enjoyed the first part, I knew that the slow pace of which it took would pay off in this episode and boy did it ever. The show wasted no time throwing the audience back into things and I was hooked immediately.  The viewing of Trudy’s tape was so emotional that I had to watch it a couple times because I didn’t completely understand what she was saying. I just heard the words “affair,” “pregnant” and “child” come out of her mouth and I was freaking out.

Until I realized that she was talking about before she and Adrian met, I was crushed. I felt exactly how Monk felt on-screen and couldn’t believe what was going on.  After I realized what she actually said, I calmed down a little and tried to explain to my girlfriend that I’m still incredibly manly despite what she just saw.

With the name of Trudy’s killer in his sight, Adrian spent no time chasing after him and I applaud that effort. Too many times things are dragged out, but since this is the last episode ever, I’m glad they jumped right into things and had Monk go after her killer head on.

Despite being close to death, Monk released all the pent up aggression over these past 12 years into guest star Craig T. Nelson. His spontaneous leap of aggression kind of startled me for a little. This wasn’t a side of Monk we’ve seen before, but the entire time I was behind him 100%.

The performance that Tony Shalhoub gave as a close-to-death Monk was simply amazing. I’m not sure how many people caught it, but when Stottlemeyer entered his hospital room with the case folder proving Monk correct, there was a single tear coming from his eye. Just amazing.

monk2 Monk: Series Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Although, quickly the sick find energy as Monk uses all he has to confront the judge and Trudy’s killer. I don’t think that I’ve ever hated Craig T. Nelson before. Maybe in The Skulls, but we all know that’s fake – Monk is real. icon wink Monk: Series Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Still, the entire scene with the judge and Monk in the rain where Adrian is forcing him to dig up the dead mid-wife was both amazing and intense. I couldn’t believe what was going on, I was happy that he’s getting some kind of revenge, but I hoped that he wouldn’t die in the process.

The only thing I’d have a complaint with was how the judge was dealt with. I didn’t like the whole suicide angle as if felt like a quick and easy clean-up to what had happened. It was just like they turned the page in the script and he was gone. While his death was powerful, I would have enjoyed a much more lengthy punishment – like life in prison (because Trudy didn’t approve of the death penalty).

What’s amazing is that all this happened and there was more episode left. I love when that happens because we get to see more than just a case solved. It’s like having a second dessert. Being able to see Adrian as a father, with Trudy’s daughter was amazing. He was just as quirky, cute and endearing as I imagined he would be.

monk3 Monk: Series Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

As things came to an end we got to see what would happen to everyone. It’s sad to see Disher and Stottlemeyer separated after all these years. They make a great team and an awesome comedic duo – the whole “I love you” bit had me rolling. Still, if he has to go, it’s good to see that he’s keeping it in the Monk family and is with Sharona.

After 8 seasons and 125 episodes, here’s goodbye to Natalie Teeger, Randy Disher and Leland Stottlemeyer (with the greatest mustache of the 21st century). Above all else, here’s goodbye to the greatest former, former, former Detective, Adrian Monk.

As Randy Newman so gracefully sang at the end of the episode, “Yes, I sure am going to miss you when I’m gone.”

So, as I, you… We leave the world of Monk behind, there is one question left to be asked; what did you think of the series finale?

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  1. RE: Netherfield’s comments on TV Movies …

    Sure they will.

    I am not only looking forward to the first of many “Made for TV Movies” (a la what they did with Columbo) …

    but haven’t you heard about the plans for the “Chief Randy” spinoff starting next season? I am sure Monk will occasionally make a guest appearence there as well.

  2. An excellent, emotional finale. What’s interesting though, is that while the writers tied up all the lose ends with Trudy, Disher going off to Summit, NJ with Sharona, etc. Still Monk & Natalie go on to another crime scene to solve more mysteries. So, there’s a chance for more Monk sequels maybe? Hey, they didn’t kill him off, so there’s always the chance. Friday nights won’t seem the same.

  3. Wow, Wow Wow!!

    Just watched Part II of the season finale (DVR’d it!)

    What a powerful, joyful way to end the series. I dreaded Part II after the dark Part I, thinking “they can’t possibly end the series by KILLING HIM OFF, can they?!”

    And i totally agree with the review comments about how emotional the chase with Leland and the suspect through the railyard was — awesome.

    Every touch was deft in the finale — every word of the script, every facial expression of the actors. Loved the scene with Molly on the beach, loved the Randy Newman song, and every little touch in the final montage (the sofa pillow embroidered with “Leland & Trudy” — loved it!!) — just fantastic. Well done, guys. Well done, Tony Shalhoub, and the entire cast, writers, directors, etc etc.

  4. Okay so I loved the finale! It’s weird but the main thing that got me emotionally charged about it was in the last few scenes when you see him not wearing the same outfit. I just thought it was a subtle little thing that let people know that he was going to be alright. My only question is, and i may have to go back and watch it, but in the episode with Monk flying to New York he talked to that guy in the hospital who was related to the killing somehow. I don’t really know how that fit in. Can anyone help me?

  5. I might be the only one…but I thought the finale was disgusting. Tony Shaloub must really hate Bitsy Schramm, since he didn’t even allow Sharona to return long enough to see her embracing Lt. Disher. And this was after her return was promoted as a feature of the finale.

    I also thought his obsessing over his dead wife’s daughter was downright creepy. She should have gotten a restraining order…and in real life she would have.

  6. Got the midwife being killed. I would have thought the judge was smarter than to bury her in the back yard, though. Killing Trudy seems like overkill.

  7. I’ll have a pityful Friday night henceforth. I agree with you saying that the judge ending it quick and painless was swift kick to the groin to all Monk fans, but if he hadn’t died would we have found out about Molly? Are we to guess that Dale the Whale knew about the whole thing, or just about the six fingered man planting the bomb?

    Monk and Sharona had a fallout? How did I miss this? I don’t know if it’s the accent Sharona has or what but I guess enjoy Nataile’s chemsitry with Monk better.

  8. Your review is excellent!! You had me laughing out loud. Loved the finale, I agree that the judge shooting himself was too quick. I’m just a bit foggy on the timing of Trudy in college and having the baby. Didn’t they say he was a law professor? When in college did Trudy and Monk meet? Also, would have liked to see Ambrose and Dale the Whale somehow in the finale. Whoever said Disher and Natalie is right. Just don’t see the Sharona, thing. Really like Natalie so much better.

  9. It would have been a lot better if Monk had died at the end. For instance, it would have been quite dramatic if, after we knew that the antidote existed, Monk died some other way…like if the judge shot him quickly before he shot himself. Or better yet, the Judge shooting Monk right as Stottlemeyer shot the judge, Monk thanking Stottlemeyer with his last breath (perhaps going black and white into one of those “here’s what happened” things”), then fading away to a vision of Trudy. They ending sequence could have then been a funeral, perhap with Molly still showing up. The final shot should have been Monk’s grave, next to Trudy’s.

  10. Loved the finale and was relieved that Monk did not die. Think it’s great that Disher and Sharona are going to be together, and Disher got a promotion. Pleased that they ran the Trudy Mythology Marathon and watched most of it before the finale. It put a lot of the series in perspective. And Cassandra, we DID see Randy and Sharona embracing several weeks ago — at the end of the episode where Sharona returns to settle her uncle’s estate. You’ve got to keep up!

    A couple of loose ends — Trudy showed all the the symptoms of being pregnant during Part I of the finale. What’s with that? Also, many episodes back, Monk was struggling with part of a note recovered from the explosion that killed Trudy — 530 Kelly Street Mr. Simon (the stuffed dog). That was re-shown in the Trudy Mythology Marathon yesterday morning, but the answer was not included in the final finale. How come?

    USA did a double whammy on me — ending Monk and White Collar on the same night. I’ll be grieving until I find something else to do on Fri. nights.

  11. Forgot to add that the whipped cream and cherry on top of this whole series was a revised theme by Randy Newman. What a treat!

  12. Hey maybe its just me but at the end they where talking about molly(trudys daughter) then Natalie get the phone call.. but they never show who the body is there going to see.. i am just saying it could have been Molly

  13. It was a GREAT final episode!! Not the regular “everybody lived happy ever after ending”, but more of a “this is the way it is” type ending and that life goes on. A well thought out ending, solving the mystery and captivating each character going on with their life routines after-the-fact. Nothing showy, nothing flashy.

    It could not have been better!! First rate!!

  14. To Mike: I am a little confused as well. If I remember correctly, the guy in the hospital bed from the 2nd episode with Dale the Whale was the man that was hired to kill Trudy. However, what I am confused about is the 6 fingered man? They showed him on part 1 of the episode, however, they did not tie the loose end up on that? Can anyone out there help me out with that?

  15. In response to my own comment left a few minutes ago I must have been pretty tired when I watched the part 1 episode! I thought they showed the 6 fingered man but I just watched the scene again and realized I must have been seeing things. Back to Mike: the guy in the hospital bed was the man hired to kill Trudy like I said before. Not sure if anyone else had responded to you.

  16. ^ That’s strange I just wacthed part one also and saw the six fingered man’s hand, timemark 2:18. Maybe there was more than one person after her? In re-watching I found that there was three??? people in the garage when she was killed. Also in the ending of season 6 or 7, didn’t Monk get framed for killing the six fingered man?

  17. The finale wrapped up the entire series more than just a spectacular episode in itself. True fans saw many of the nuances that occasional watchers wouldn’t see. This show had DEPTH of character. That is what I will miss most. Kudos and well-deserved rest to all cast & crew — especially the most under-awarded writing staff in the industry — who took us on a beautiful journey, that truly ended beautifully.

  18. Also, this was a great review that pointed out the more poignant moments. Well done!

  19. I love Monk and always watched but I was very disappointed in the way it ended.

  20. Was thoroughly disappointed in the series finale. I have watched the show from the beginning and just do not buy the whole “Trudy had a baby that died after 9 seconds but gee, she never saw the baby”.
    I agree with another poster who thought it would have been better if he died and he and Trudy were reunited.

  21. Actually, they did show a six fingered hand during Trudys death scene in part 1.

  22. Okay, so I hadn’t known what to expect when I watched the finale, and then I did. And I was disappointed. I won’t lie – there were a few good scenes. I couldn’t quite grasp Craig Nelson being “the bad guy” though. I’m young so I’ve only seen him play good, wholesome roles. Sorry.

    There seemed to be a drastic change in the judge’s character between parts one and two, wasn’t there? I mean, he was willing to kill anybody who would threaten his career or his life in the first episode, then in the second, he ate Monk’s gun. I didn’t quite understand that, so I agree with the former comments about it and the review.

    Because Dale the Whale had been “dealt with” in another episode (the season finale with Monk being framed), I didn’t really care that he wasn’t in the series finale. All he could have done at this point is curse the fact that Monk lived happily ever after. But Ambrose should have DEFINITELY been there, and Sharona wouldn’t have been a bad addition either.

    Which leads me to my next comment. . . I didn’t mind the sudden Sharona x Disher thing that much. I just hope they had more chemistry off-screen since we barely got to see any. At the same time, I wish Disher all the luck in the world with his new job because he was made the butt of so many jokes and so much ridicule throughout the years that I started to feel bad for him at some point!

    I didn’t like how everyone had a happy ending though. Stottlemeyer and his Trudy moved way too fast for me. One week for a new episode was nine months and an engagement party for them, even if they turned that episode into a good mystery. And I disagreed with Natalie’s love interest, too. Not that he was a bad guy – I barely even saw him in the show – but I felt like she should have been more dedicated to the memory of her late husband. . . . Then again, I’m a romantic, so there we go.

    The best “happy” moment was of Monk meeting his daughter for the first time. They locked eyes and slowly approached one another, and it was like Molly understood that it would be new, maybe a little strange, and a challenge. She was a very patient young woman, and you can tell there’s also some “Trudy” in her because of it. And Monk crying openly as they hugged. He did need it, and I’m glad he received, even if it was overly cliched for a plot-twist.

    Last specific note is on Trudy’s confession. God awful. Just as cliched as most of the finale, and everything that I had expected, which is a disappointment. I’ve come to terms with usually being wrong when guessing what will happen next in a Monk episode, but when I heard what she had to say I just kept thinking to myself that she needed to stop talking for goodness sake because it was one generic soap opera line after another. Not that her plight wasn’t heartwrenching but they need to not pile it on so high. The best part of it by far is when she acknowledged Monk for how he had idealized her throughout their marriage.

    ^And to hikaru, it doesn’t look like anybody has responded, though I might have missed it. . . 2:18 of part one was part of the flashback of Trudy’s life with Monk and her death. Yes, the six-fingered man made an appearance, but it was in memory of the time twelve years ago when the car bombing took place.

    . . . And I think that’s it. :D

  23. Monk was reunited with Trudy through her daughter.
    He got a happy ending and he didnt have to die to it .
    Works for me.

  24. The judge didnt kill just to protect his job and his life ,
    He also was protecting his daughter.
    His last words say it all .

  25. I may be an incurable romantic , but I thoght the finale skd. Heres why – For years I cheered them for not jumping the shark with Natalie & “Mr. Monk”, but come on, after all the unreturned hugs, all the flirty touches, all the fretting and worrying and even loud smacking kisses all over the face in the last couple of episodes. All of a sudden there is a boyfriend on the scene for Natalie? Then the last 15 minutes spent on the Trudy (substitute) daughter? All I know is there better be a spin off for Traylor!

  26. I enjoyed all the Monks and the finale was great in my opinion. Here is my question does anyone think they will pull a Columbo where the series is over but every year or two or three they would come out with a movie that lasted about a 90 min. I don’t think it would happen but would be nice.

  27. OK, I must have missed something… Who was the 6-fingered killer??

  28. the 6 fingered man was the guy monk was framed of killing in part 1/2 of the season 6 finale.

  29. The guy in the hospital bed was the one hired to build the bomb for Trudy’s car, and the 11 fingered man was the guy who was to find the car and plant it.