Season 8 Episode 6

Mr. Monk and the Critic

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Sep 18, 2009 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
396 votes

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Episode Summary

Natalie suspects a theater critic is responsible for a murder, despite the fact that he was present to review her daughter Julie's play at the same time the victim died.

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  • Mr. Monk is Forgettable

    "Mr. Monk and the Critic" is, in a word, bland. I really wanted to like this episode better than I did. While we're given the interesting scenario of Natalie solving a case, the execution is anything but. This is the sort of episode that makes me wonder, have the writers finally completely exhausted the well of clever "perfect" crimes? A few moments of good comedy elevate this above last week's unspectacular affair, but it's still, ultimately, a standard forgettable later-season episode of Monk.

    Natalie's daughter, Julie (who seems to have grown up big-time since her last appearance), has scored a role in a musical at the community theatre, and Monk and Natalie are in attendance - as is ferocious local newspaper critic John Hannigan. And when Hannigan's review calls Julie's song "forgettable", Natalie stubbornly insists that he was, in fact, not in the theatre at all, instead being responsible for a murder committed nearby. (If you ask me, Julie's song actually WAS sort of forgettable, in all honesty, but whatever.) The writing wasn't quite all there, but I do have to commend Traylor Howard's performance here - she's definitely grown into this role reasonably well since those awkward earlier days, handling this Natalie-heavy episode wonderfully. As for the mystery, though...there's not much of one at all. This is just pathetic. There's absolutely no doubt as to who the killer is on our end of things (Dylan Baker's rather distinctive voice being partly to blame), and the ultimate solution is staggeringly weak. He just switched places with some other guy? Really? With as much as Natalie was looking up at him throughout the show, it's a pretty big coincidence that she didn't see anything. These "airtight alibi" episodes have really been going downhill lately. They used to be pretty brilliant, but this uses the blandest, most obvious solution possible. And their method of proving it? Unbelievable, if not outright illegal.

    I also have to mention my annoyance with the paycheck scene. I know Monk's pretty tight with money, but writing Natalie a purposefully bad check seems like a return to the unnecessarily mean-spirited Monk that plagued the latter half of season seven. If there's one element that I liked, it's the scenes with Monk falling in love with the theatre's amazing public restrooms (with a restroom attendant!), which are quite funny - sometimes it just works better when the show plays to Adrian's quirks like this, rather than making us suffer through a terrible, overwrought OCD scene when the world doesn't go his way.

    Those scenes aren't enough to redeem this episode, but they do help to make it a bit more watchable. It's unfortunate, though, that this final season, which started out promisingly, is slipping back into the mediocrity that plagued the last couple seasons. Maybe when we return to the Trudy arc, things will get back off the ground, but at the moment I am unimpressed. This episode was just forgettable. Believe me, I sat through the whole thing. Really. I wasn't out murdering some chick while it was on...moreless
  • Forgettable episode...

    Absolutely agree with JesseTehSkox. This was probably the lamest and most predictable Monk episode ever. The solution was clear at the moment the "critic" looked at his watch. I was hoping the story will get better and will turn out more clever, but that was it. I expected that the critic chose the seat and show because he knew about Natalie and Adrian beeing in the audience because of Julie, and they would make perfect witnesses (he mentioned beeing "a fan" of Monk), but no, not even that.

    Sad, since Natalie was great and Julie was really lovely, I hope we can see her a bit more for the last couple of episodes.

    My first review :-) I actually just wanted to say how I liked Julie in this episode, but the story was really terrible...moreless
Bernie Kopell

Bernie Kopell


Guest Star

Keith Robinson

Keith Robinson

Officer Darden

Guest Star

Erin Cahill

Erin Cahill

Callie Esterhaus

Guest Star

Emmy Clarke

Emmy Clarke

Julie Teeger

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When the Colonel and his daughter are taking their seats next to Monk, a shot from Monk's left shows the woman and the Colonel settling in their seats. The camera angle briefly changes to the right, in which the woman can be seen sitting again, and immediately afterward switches back to the left, showing the woman already settled in her seat talking to her father.

    • The actual mailing address for UC Berkeley's Theater & Dance department is 101 Dwinelle Annex, Berkeley, CA 94720. However, the undergraduate admission letter would not have come from the department. It would have come from the Admissions office for the entire campus.

    • When Natalie walks into the police station, she puts her purse down on the table twice.

    • At the newspaper office, while the critic is paying for his delivered food, Natalie's arms instantly go from by her side to folded in front of her.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Callie: This is probably the best night of my life. I could die right now. I really could.
      Hannigan: Funny you should say that.

    • Monk: I think this is my armrest, and that one's yours.
      Natalie: Mr. Monk, we're supposed to share.
      Monk: Where are we, Russia now?

    • Natalie: Why don't you just use the men's room like everyone else?
      Monk: I wish you could hear yourself sometimes.

    • Stottlemeyer: Where the hell's Randy?
      Natalie: Oh, I sent him out to get a newspaper.
      Stottlemeyer: You? You, you sent Randy out. Well, who are you, the new police commissioner?
      Natalie: The morning edition comes out at midnight. They're gonna review Julie's play.
      Stottlemeyer: For the love of god, he's a police lieutenant, not a bellhop. Maybe he is.

    • Disher: We, uh, found a date book in her apartment. She referred to a man by initial--J. Does that mean anything?
      Miranda: Maybe his name began with a J?
      Stottlemeyer: Did you just write that down?
      Randy: I put a question mark after it.

    • Monk: You've become obsessed with this review.
      Natalie: Look who's talking.
      Monk: That's true. Okay, I get obsessed too, but I can handle it. I've had years of experience.

    • Monk: What's this?
      Natalie: A check for $300. I'm hiring you, Mr. Monk. I need your help. I can't do it myself.
      Monk: Oh, this check's no good.
      Natalie: That's sweet of you to say, but...
      Monk: No, I mean it's literally no good. You can't cover this.
      Natalie: Sure I can. I just deposited my paycheck on Wednesday.
      Monk: Right. But I happen to know that that check is going to bounce. So this check is pretty much worthless.
      Natalie: You wrote me a bad check? How could you do that?
      Monk: I might ask you the same question.
      Natalie: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Your check was bad first.
      Monk: Natalie, there's no right and wrong here. It's all tangled up. One check, another check. It's like the chicken and the egg.
      Natalie: No, it's not. There... there's no egg here. there's no egg. This is all chicken.

    • Monk: All right. all right. I'll take a look. You can just owe me the money.
      Natalie: You owe me the money.
      Monk: Why don't we just call it even?
      Natalie: How is that even?
      Monk: Oh... If I have to explain that to you, I'm probably paying you too much.
      Natalie: You're not paying me at all.

  • NOTES (1)

    • International Airdates:
      Czech Republic: March 10, 2010 on TV Nova
      Slovakia: December 6, 2010 on Markiza
      Finland: June 16, 2012 on YLE TV1