Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie – The Sleuth Returns

After three Psych films to date, fan favorite detective Adrian Monk finally returns in Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie.

“It’s a jungle out there…”

The film might be streaming on Peacock but it’s a classic TV movie–they had 21 days to shoot the film rather than the usual 8 days per episode. Regardless, Adrian Monk’s (Tony Shalhoub) return is long overdue. I guess we can thank Tony Shalhoub being busy with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I’m going to dive into the film below the key artwork. Obviously, I’m going to keep spoilers as light as can be. There are some things that I cannot discuss because I’m honoring Peacock’s requests at not spoiling the film.

Monk first premiered on July 12, 2002 and ran for eight seasons on the USA Network, concluding on December 4, 2009. Shalhoub earned eight consecutive Emmy nominations, winning three times. His performance and the film earned a Critics Choice Awards nomination this past week. Anyway, it’s been just over 14 years this week since the series finale aired. The gang is back for at least one final go at it, following a 4 and a half minute pandemic short that I am just now learning about. Could there be future cases? It’s honestly hard to tell but I guess that depends on ratings and if series creator Andy Breckman has another story to tell. Here is series executive producer David Hoberman via the press notes:

“From our perspective, the filmmakers’ perspective, I think we’d love to do more of this.”

If you can’t get enough of Monk, Kino Lorber Studio Classics is in the process of releasing the series on Blu-ray with episodes being restored in 4K.

"Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie" Key Art
Pictured: “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie” Key Art (Photo by: Peacock),

I have to say that had so much fun watching Monk’s return especially in a sanitizer-obsessed world. You just had to know that Andy Breckman, who pens the script, would write the film in a Covid-19 world. I mean, how could he not?!? There’s some genius lines that come out of the situation, too! Take a look at this zinger during a scene at the airport!

Molly: “Wow, look at that. Everybody’s you.”
Monk: “They’re gonna hate it.”

The only other thing I’ll say about the airport scene is that it enables fans to find out what happened to Monk and the team. That’s why we’re here, right? Okay, just me. I kid, I kid. In all seriousness though, the film’s comedic tone is no different than the eight acclaimed seasons on the USA Network. The thing that has really changed since 2009 is how we talk about mental illness. It should not be a stigma as we get a first account of how Monk’s OCD impacts stepdaughter Molly (Caitlin McGee, replacing Alona Tal) during the pandemic years. You’ll probably see the difference if you were to turn on any of the 125 episodes from the 8-season run.

Anyway, what brings Monk back into action is a book deal falling apart and then having to solve a case involving his stepdaughter, Molly, as she is prepping for her wedding. The wedding is what actually brings the entire gang back to the Bay Area ahead of time. It’s not long after coming into town that it’s back to business as usual for Monk, Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard), Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford), and Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine). I won’t get into the specifics of what they’ve been up to as it’s best to watch things play out as they do on screen. In any event, it is perfectly fine if you did not rewatch the entire series leading up to the premiere. It’s been 14 years since the last time I watched an episode but it’s like they didn’t miss a beat in their return.

The investigation brings them into the world of Rick Eden (James Purefoy). He’s a billionaire entrepreneur and a space explorer. In short, he’s their version of Elon Musk with just a side of Jeff Bezos. Mostly Musk without any of the conspiracy theories. The investigation becomes something of a David vs. Goliath battle. You won’t get any spoilers from me.

Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie is a fine return to form for a long overdue reunion–hopefully, more Monk films are in our future.

DIRECTOR: Randy Zisk
SCREENWRITER: Andy Breckman
CAST: Tony Shalhoub, Traylor Howard, Jason Gray-Stanford, Melora Hardin, with Hector Elizondo and Ted Levine
GUEST STARRING: James Purefoy, Caitlin McGee, Austin Scott, Emma Ishta, Paulino Nunes, Raven Dauda, Brooke Adams, and Richard Kind

Peacock will launch Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie on December 8, 2023. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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