How Well Do You Remember the Genius TV Detective, "Monk"?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: USA Network

About This Quiz

"Obsessive. Compulsive. Detective." With these words, USA Network introduced America to what would become one of the greatest TV detectives of all time. Are you a "Monk" expert? Prove it now with our quiz!

What trauma left Monk unable to leave his home for more than three years?

Monk's wife only appeared in flashbacks and on a video tape. It's explained in the pilot that her death sent the once-brilliant detective into a tailspin.

Which of these words began every episode title?

"Monk" is a TV version of a "cozy," the mystery-novel subgenre that includes clever puzzles, very little violence, and a gifted individual. As such, it used formal titles, e.g., "Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame."

What was Monk's wife's name?

Trudy was the shining light of Monk's life -- the woman who accepted him despite his quirks, and made him into a better man and better detective.

How exactly did Trudy die?

As a detective, Monk first thought he was the target of the car bombing. But he later learned it was meant for Trudy, who was an investigative journalist.

In what year did "Monk" debut?

"Monk" debuted in the early 2000s and ran through 2010. It was one of the most-watched basic-cable dramas of the decade.

What was the name of Monk's nurse?

The term "nurse" here is inexact: The job was more like "personal assistant." Sharona (Bitty Schram) filled the job for the first two and a half seasons, and then Natalie (Traylor Howard) took over.

What was Monk's first name?

Viewers of the show's early seasons will probably never forget the way Sharona would drawl, "Adrian," with a broad New Jersey accent and long-suffering tone.

In which city was "Monk" set?

The character of Adrian Monk was a northern California native. He worked for the SFPD before a personal trauma turned him into an agoraphobe.

Where did Monk go to college?

While screenwriters tend to reach automatically for Stanford as the alma mater of any smart Californian character, the writers of "Monk" chose California's public Ivy, Berkeley. This is a plot point in the episode, "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion."

Who played Captain Stottlemeyer?

Ted Levine played Stottlemeyer for all eight seasons. Fun fact: Despite later playing many macho cops or military men, Levine's breakthrough role was that of gender-confused killer "Buffalo Bill" in "Silence of the Lambs."

Who played Captain Stottlemeyer's wife?

One of the show's infrequent but hilarious themes was the odd-couple relationship between straitlaced Stottlemeyer and his pacifist, yoga-practicing wife. Stottlemeyer has to hide his gun when she comes to visit, since she thinks he doesn't carry one.

Who did Jason Gray-Stanford play?

Jason Gray-Stanford played Lt. Disher. Many of the show's comic moments sprang from his inexperience and gullibility. However, he was competent enough to become a police chief in New Jersey at the series' end.

Which of these beverages does Monk fear?

Yes, Monk is afraid of the most healthy of drinks, milk. We wouldn't blame him if he were afraid of tequila -- everyone should be!

About what is Sharona revealed to have a phobia in Season 2?

As a child, Sharona saw a little girl fall into an elephant enclosure at the zoo. The girl was fine, but Sharona was left with a lingering fear.

What was the name of Sharona's son?

Both of Monk's nurses had children. Sharona was a single mother to Benjy, while Natalie was a widow raising her daughter, Julie.

What reason is given for why Monk won't take psychiatric medicine for his OCD?

In "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine," Monk does take medication for his OCD, only to have it interfere with his investigative powers. This has been a theme in other fiction with exceptional protagonists (see also "House M.D."), and mental-health professionals have expressed reservations about the message that treating a psychiatric problem (like OCD or bipolar disorder) is medicating away the patient's "specialness" and leaving them without gifts to contribute to society.

What reason was given for Sharona leaving Monk's employ in the third season?

Though Sharona's husband, Trevor, was indicated to be unreliable, Sharona nonetheless went back to him and New Jersey in Season 3. This storyline might have been rushed because Bitty Schram left the show over a "contract dispute" (apparently pay was at issue).

What was Natalie's last name?

Natalie Teeger was played by Traylor Howard. Though she filled the same role as Sharona, Natalie was quieter and less openly exasperated with Monk's quirks than her predecessor.

In which military action did Mitch, Natalie's husband, die?

Mitch was a military man who wanted to be an astronaut. He died in the Kosovo conflict of 1998 (though in real life, no U.S. troops died in that conflict).

Who guest-starred as Monk's brother, Ambrose?

Ambrose Monk can be compared to Mycroft Holmes in the Sherlock Holmes universe. He's the older brother who is supposedly even more gifted than his detective sibling, though he accomplishes less out in the world.

Which of these actors died during the show's run?

Kamel was a long-time character actor in film and TV. He died of a heart attack during the show's 6th season, and the producers dedicated an episode to his memory. Headly has since died as well, but it was after "Monk" had gone off the air.

Which of these was NOT a "Monk" guest star?

It would take far too much space to name all the notable actors who were guests on "Monk." Brooke Adams should get special note, though: She is married to Tony Shalhoub, and at 25 years and counting, they have one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages.

Who played Marci Maven, Monk's "number one fan"?

Detectives have fans? Apparently so. Marci Maven appears in several episodes, and is a murder suspect in one of them.

What was Monk's father's name?

Dan Hedaya played Jack. He abandoned the family when the Monk brothers were fairly young, prompting Ambrose to become an agoraphobe long before Adrian did.

Who did veteran actor Hector Elizondo play?

Elizondo played Dr. Neven Bell. He replaced Dr. Kroger, who was said to have died of a heart attack, mirroring actor Stanley Kamel's actual death from a heart attack.

Who did former "NYPD Blue" actress Sharon Lawrence play?

Sadly, Stottlemeyer and his "hippie wife" Karen didn't make it. His relationship with real-estate agent Linda Fusco didn't last either ... because she turned out to be a murderer.

Who plays Captain Stottlemeyer's eventual second wife?

Madsen played a woman named "T.K. Jensen." When Stottlemeyer finds out her first name is Trudy, he suggests sticking with the initials in order not to upset Monk.

Who did Sharona end up marrying?

Randy and Sharona bickered all the time in early seasons ... but we all know what *that's* usually covering up!

Did Monk ever solve Trudy's murder?

While Trudy's unsolved murder haunts and motivates Monk for nearly the entire show, this storyline was resolved in the two-part finale, "Mr. Monk and the End."

What was unusual about Frank Nunn, the man who killed Trudy?

Frank Nunn didn't have a prosthetic arm -- that was a plot point from "The Fugitive." But it's possible the "one-armed man" of that TV show might have inspired a "six-fingered man" on "Monk."

Other than solving Trudy's murder, what does Monk discover in the series finale?

Monk does discover a half-brother as the series progresses, but it wasn't Stottlemeyer. Instead, it's revealed that Trudy had a daughter before she knew Monk. It's also implied that Monk will become a happy surrogate father to the young woman, Molly.

How many Emmys did Tony Shalhoub win for "Monk"?

"Monk" was a critical darling, and critics especially loved Shalhoub's work in it. He won three Emmys and one Golden Globe.

What was the title of "Monk's" theme song?

Randy Newman sang the title song, which debuted in the show's second season. The line "It's a jungle out there" can be heard in the song more than once.

Besides TV, Adrian Monk has appeared in what other entertainment format?

Lee Goldberg is the author of many "Monk" novels. They sometimes deviate in small ways from the canon of the TV show.

Which character did Andy Breckman play?

Breckman said that while he liked shows about tortured profilers with dark, serious plots, he wanted to create a "playful" series about solving tricky puzzles. And he did, creating a little piece of TV history with eight seasons of "Monk."

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