Monk Has Aged Surprisingly Well … With Some Exceptions

With all eight seasons of Monk now on Netflix, it’s time to realize that the titular detective could have used some better friends.

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk
Photo: Steve Wilkie | Peacock

Fans of bingeable mystery shows are in for a treat: all episodes of Monk are now available to stream on Netflix! The USA Network original series centered around Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub), a former investigator for the San Francisco Police Department whose wife’s death exacerbates his OCD, along with his multiple phobias. However, his keen attention to detail makes him a valuable private detective consultant for the force, and he’s called in to help solve unconventional cases. The show won eight Emmy Awards and was notable as one of the early representations of a person with OCD as the protagonist of a series.

In addition to its appearance on Netflix, the show received a movie on Peacock in December 2023. It’s not often that a writer gets to go back and re-imagine what he might have done differently if he were writing a show for a modern audience, but series creator Andy Breckman recently had that chance with Monk, which aired 2002-2009. Preparing for the film gave Breckman a chance to revisit the series. In a USA Today interview, he acknowledged that while still being proud of the show, “20 years ago, I didn’t make the (writing) decisions I would now.”

Though critics noted the movie had a slightly darker feel than the original, more light-hearted series—Monk, like the audience, has to deal with COVID and its consequences—it did give viewers a peek into what Monk might have been like if it were written for an audience with a greater understanding of mental health.

What Monk Did Well

The original series wouldn’t have lasted eight seasons if fans hadn’t loved the character of Monk. Much of this is absolutely due to Shalhoub’s charisma in the role: he performs the character in an endearing way, and his phobias and quirks add to that charm. 


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