Season 4 Episode 6

Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Aug 12, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
550 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Just as Monk thinks he's getting better and Captain Stottlemeyer is ready to let him back on the force on a trial basis, Natalie overhears a conversation between an elderly man named Zach Ellinghouse and a woman named Trudy, who looks exactly like Monk's late wife.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • An episode with great promise that doesn't deliver on it.

    There is a television device called the Reset Button. Used most often in sitcoms, it is common in any episodic (as opposed to serialized) show. TV producers fear changing the characters or world of their shows too severely, at the risk of alienating their audience. Therefore, when an episode calls for an extreme change, they will press the Reset Button in the last five minutes, using whatever means they can to return the characters to the status quo. The Simpsons uses this device so often that they have built it into an in-joke, as in the episode where Homer and Flanders become friends, prompting Bart and Lisa to worry that if things change, they won\'t have new adventures every week. Needless to say, Homer decides he doesn\'t like Flanders in the last thirty seconds of the episode, and everything goes back to normal.

    Monk is guilty of pressing the Reset Button many times, from \"Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine\" to last week\'s episode \"Mr. Monk Goes To The Office\". \"Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk\" is a most egregious example of the Reset Button. At the opening of the episode, we see Monk finally making some real psychological progress, able to force himself to ignore some of his compulsions. Unfortunately, it is at this exact moment that an old colleague of his wife Trudy dies, prompting the supposedly dead Trudy to apparently rise from the grave. The trauma he goes through as he thinks Trudy is alive serves as a Reset Button, so that by the end of the episode, he is once again the excessively OCD Monk we have come to know and love.

    I had great hopes for this episode, being extremely interested in the ramifications of a partially cured Monk and a resurrected Trudy, though (SPOILER ALERT) I am glad that it turned out that Trudy did not fake her death, because if she\'d been alive all this time and let Monk suffer as he has, she would not be worth the anguish he has gone through--which would be very much against the mood and style of the show, shattering the viewers\' world as much as it would Monk\'s.


    But Monk wasn\'t allowed to go through any character growth, in fact probably regressing both in terms of his psychological progress and the hinted romantic connection between Monk and Natalie. The episode turned out to be just another Monk episode, dealing with a criminal trying to destroy the evidence of a previous crime, just like every other episode of the show dating back to the pilot (aka \"Mr. Monk and the Candidate\").

    This is not to say that \"Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk\" is a worthless episode. We watch this show not for the plots, which are often hackneyed and implausible, but for the characters--and Monk shows plenty of pathos this week, Tony Shalhoub getting the chance to stretch his acting chops, and it is touching to see how Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher respond to Monk\'s despair and confusion.

    In short, \"Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk\" is a typical episode of Monk, with all of the good and bad elements we have come to expect over the last three years. However, I rate \"Mrs. Monk\" lower than the average episode because it held promise of some really interesting character changes, and then completely failed to follow through on that promise.moreless
  • This was a great episode. It was full of real emotions. You could see how much love there is from Monk for his wife. Its true love. He handled it better than expected also. Definetly a tear jerker.moreless

    This episode was definetly a 10. I love this show and this episode. I never thought Natalie would keep it a secret as long as she did. Monks reaction to it was very emotional. He held up better than what you would have thought. He gets a chance to get back on the force which is ruined because he goes from feeling semi better back to his old Monkish self which we know and love. If he wasn't Monkish we'd lose the whole conflict behind the show and what premise would there be? Thats why you know right from the start that it couldn't be Trudy because the whole basis for the show whether you realize it or not is a love story. If the love story wasn't there there would be no Monk so we have to keep the persona of who and what Trudy was which this imposinator was not. At the end as Monk almost has closure by being there for "this Trudy" as she dies, you almost see in his face a sense of contentment in what his situation is and he almost realizes that he can move on and be happy because as Trudy's poem said, "Nothing is lost forever."moreless
  • I have never seen anything more compelling. This is an episode that truly offers!

    This was one of those episodes that leaves you thinking it could have been better. Yes, they could have brought Trudy back, but what would that do? Personally, I think everyone wants a "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", there are a lot of shows with cameo episode titles, one I know of is Charmed with "Mr. & Mrs. Witch", so now this. It was a good episode and up until halfway through the episode I really thought Trudy had faked her death for the protection of her family. At the same time as compelling, I think it was rather cruel to lead Mr. Monk to believe that his late wife was actually live and well, it reminded me of the Buffy the Vampire SLayer episode "Forever", when Buffy thought that her mother was back from the dead only to open the door and found she was gone. I felt like they had ripped a big chunk of Mr. Monk's heart out and stamp on it in front of his face. I am glad, however, that he had the understanding that Trudy was dead, and that she was not coming back. On the moral scale, I give this episoe a 3, but on the quality scale, I go with a 9.2! Good show guys!moreless
  • This episode was simply cruel. It pretty much ruined all the progress Monk had made against his fears from the beginning of the show.

    This episode was simply cruel.

    It starts with Monk feeling better, telling Dr. Kroger that after reading one of Trudy’s poems he realized he’s left on Earth without her for a reason. It goes on with a less and less obsessive Monk, who actually goes to Stottlemeyer’s barbeque and enjoys himself and is in reach of getting reinstated with the captain’s and his shrink’s blessings.

    Alongside Monk’s recovery, Natalie accidentally runs into a woman who seems to be the late Trudy Monk, and talks to her, finding out that she had faked her own death. When “Trudy” is a prime suspect in a suspicious death the police is investigating, Monk finds out and has a relapse.

    Although “Trudy” turns out to be an actress hired to pretend to be Trudy, Monk’s relapse is complete when she dies in his arms.

    The episode is cruel for Monk, who loses his wife and his badge again. I can understand that Monk cannot get cured because the show would lose most of its originality, but I found it cruel that they made him get so close. It’s one thing to break through his fears by getting drunk or trying new medication, but this was different. The writers and producers played with our emotions. The only redeeming thought about the episode is that they may have tested the audience to see how would the show do if Monk were still a brilliant detective yet having his OCD under control. I for one would watch it. Monk’s quirks are very funny, and I’m sure they could keep some of them.moreless
  • Trudy Monk may be alive...and she's the suspect in a murder investigation.

    If you want to be pedantic about it you could say that there's not much of a mystery in this episode of a mystery show, but otherwise this is a well-acted piece which shows substantial things happening to characters we care about. While Monk's heartbreaking regression when he learns his wife may have faked her own death is beautifully played, the most touching scene comes early on when Monk's therapist is moved to tears by the progress his patient has made.

    All of the character work here is very well though-out, from Natalie's reluctance to tell Monk that she saw his wife alive to the b-story with Stottlemeyer accidentally telling Disher he's "the man." "Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk" manages to keep the viewer's heart in the throat for its whole length while maintaining a pretty funny tone as well. The scene in the graveyard with Monk congratulating a grieving widow on her husband's remaining dead is particularly witty. An investigation scene where Monk recognizes many signs of his wife's presence manages the same balancing act between poignant and hysterical.

    With any appreciation for Adrian Monk's character, it's hard to see how an episode on so pivotal a subject could be botched. Indeed, this material works so well that a cursory mystery involving crooked dockworkers and a storage locker key can be forgiven. If some of the plotting that gets him there can be kindly described as arbitrary, the climactic scene with Monk reliving his wife's death as the actress hired to play her passes away from a gunshot wound works splendidly. A sad little coda with Monk back to square one, his reinstatement to the police force denied and his old bad habits back with a vengeance, reminds us again of how much he's lost. Touching stuff.moreless
Sandy Francis

Sandy Francis


Guest Star

Liz Loza

Liz Loza


Guest Star

Beth Landau

Beth Landau


Guest Star

Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin

Trudy Monk

Recurring Role

Jarrad Paul

Jarrad Paul

Kevin Dorfman

Recurring Role

Stanley Kamel

Stanley Kamel

Dr. Charles Kroger

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The frame with Trudy's photo keeps moving from the counter to Natalie's chest.

    • On Trudy's "Things to do!" list, the word "mortgage" is misspelled as "morgage."

    • When Captain Stottlemeyer is explaining to Disher that he thought he was talking to Monk when he said, "You're the man," Disher goes from having his arms at his side to having his hands on his hips between shots.

    • In the kitchen when Monk is making potato salad, Natalie comes over to talk to him and he's scooping the potato salad from the bowl into a clear plastic square tupperware container. Natalie samples a piece of the potato salad and the camera cuts to a long shot with the square container on a counter some 10 feet behind Monk.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Monk: Hope is the worst.
      Natalie: No, hope is a good thing.
      Monk: You're very young.

    • Monk: Witness distinctly heard victim say: "What are you doing, Trudy".

      Monk: Trudy... That was Trudy's name.

    • Disher: If we were both drowning, who would you save?
      : I don't know, both of you.
      Disher: No. If you could only save one of us?
      Stottlemeyer: Well, I would probably save Monk because he can't swim and I happen to know you're an excellent swimmer.
      Disher: Suppose I was holding an anchor?Who would you save then?
      Stottlemeyer: Well, why don't you let go of the anchor?
      Disher: It's a family heirloom.
      Stottlemeyer: I'm leaving.

    • Natalie: Well, I think it stinks.
      Monk: What stinks?
      Natalie: The department decided not to reinstate you. They didn't even give you a chance.
      Monk: You can't really blame them. After what happened. I'm back to. . . .
      Natalie: What? Normal?
      Monk: Well, it's a kind of normal.

    • Disher: Oh. I'm sorry. Were you talking to me? It's just hard to tell sometimes.
      Stottlemeyer: Randy, you know how fragile Monk is, I have to stroke him all the time. But you're tougher than that. Come on. You're the man. Let's go.
      Disher: Oh. So everybody's the man?
      Stottlemeyer: No. Just you and Monk. You're my two men. Let's go.

    • Monk: My wife's buried back there. She's still dead. She's right where I left her.
      Woman: Okay.
      Monk: I am so relieved. I mean, I love her with all my heart, but, phew! Who's this?
      Woman: This is my husband.
      Monk: I'm sure he's dead, too. And he'll stay dead, don't worry about that. This is an excellent cemetery, they know what they're doing. Everybody here--probably dead. Nice talking to you.

    • Dr. Kroger: Adrian, I'm not going to believe anything until I hear it from you. Is Trudy alive?
      Monk: I don't know. But if it's true, then nothing's true. If this is true, nothing is true.

    • Stottlemeyer: Hey, Paulie. Red Alert. Tell Karen that we're almost out of beer.

    • Stottlemeyer: Listen, there's a few things that I should say that I don't. I mean, I've been working on a few things, myself. Well, you're not perfect, God knows, but you're still probably the best cop I've ever met and working with you has been one of the great honors of my life. You're the man. And I mean that. (Turns to his left, thinking Monk's there.)
      Disher: Right back at you, Sir. I love you, man.
      Stottlemeyer: Yeah, I love you, too.

    • Kevin: How many people are coming?
      Monk: I don't know. The captain has this barbecue every year, but I never felt like going.
      Kevin: Oh. So this is like your coming out party!
      Monk: Coming out party!

    • Dr. Kroger: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm crying. I'm sorry. It doesn't make you uncomfortable...?
      Monk: Yes, it does.
      Dr. Kroger: Hmmm.
      Monk: But what doesn't?

  • NOTES (0)


    • The song that Monk told Dr. Kroger he sang to himself, and which he sang while preparing food, was "A Lot of Livin' to Do" from the Broadway musical "Bye, Bye Birdie." It won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1961. In 1963 it was made into a movie, in which Dick Van Dyke reprised his Broadway role and Ann-Margret played a featured role. Jason Alexander and Vanessa Williams starred in a 1995 version that was made for TV. The musical remains popular among high-school drama departments as well.