Season 8 Episode 2

Mr. Monk and the Foreign Man

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Aug 14, 2009 on USA

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
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  • This one is truly special.

    In this episode, Monk meets a man he thinks is an annoying hippie down the street. He later discovers this man is not a hippie, but instead is a victim. He lost his wife at the spot he resided at, giving Monk a different perspective on the situation. Monk decides he's going to help this man find the killer of his wife, especially because Trudy was a victim of an unsolved case. Though the captain wants Monk to focus on another case, which is related to the death of a housekeeper, Monk insists on solving this case instead, even though most hit and runs go unsolved. They find out the van that killed the foreigner's wife was a van from a fancy restaurant. They go work there undercover as dishwashers and learn the man who killed his wife also killed the housekeeper. Then the climax hits, resulting in a funny and dramatic experience, leading to a happy ending that I refuse to spoil. Take the time to watch this as it's funny and emotional at the same time.
  • This is a very special episode, and a stride forward for Monk.

    Never before has Monk met a friend who was genuinely connecting with his personality. In many dimensions, the Nigerian Samuel feels afinity for Adrian, who desperately wants to solve the case, because he links it to his own wife's murder. Despite the objections from Stottlemeyer, Monk ignores the "hot" case of the dead housekeeper, instead wanting to search for the hit and run killer. The writing here is brilliant. A little offbeat, compared to Monk's best cases, but many aspects of this story work well. First, the way Monk complains of the flute music he hears outside his window, and the "stench" of incense. Second, the way he allows Samuel to reach into his life, letting him smoke, in a way, in his apartment, showing him Trudy's scrapbook. Third, the hilarious references to other television, (Friends? We don't get African TV here). Fourth, the confidence he shows that he is determined to solve the case, and the actual crime is well-constructed. The way in which Monk figured out the perp was on his cellphone, and so was the maid. Fifth, the way in which he confronted the couple in the restaurant, to find out why the cell phone was in the house, and that they knew the killer. Sixth, the ending scene in which Samuel wanted to kill Kenneth, while Monk held him down as if he was Trudy's killer. Seventh, the brilliant scene when Monk interrogates the slackers, to find out the word POISON was on the side of the van. I could come up with more, and this is not your average Monk show, but it works as a very, very, special episode.
  • Mr. Monk Makes a Non-Homicidal Friend

    Remember Trudy? Monk's dead wife? A pretty major plot element early in the series, recent episodes have increasingly employed her solely to give a mediocre episode more emotional weight. (I'm looking at you, "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa" and "Mr. Monk and the Genius".) This could've been a huge problem with "Foreign Man" and yet, like last week's "Favorite Show", the obvious pitfall is sidestepped by some above average writing.

    "Foreign Man" has Monk called in to investigate the high-profile murder of a housekeeper, but his interest in this case quickly wanes as he becomes involved in the investigation of the hit-and-run death of an African man's wife. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Samuel Waingaya is one of the better guest stars on the show in awhile, and it's pretty refreshing to see an episode where the "special guest star" actually isn't the murderer. For something spanning less than half an hour, his relationship with Monk is handled very well. We're also given an interesting look into the relationship between Monk and Stottlemeyer, a nice treat since that's something the show hasn't looked into in awhile.

    Predictably, the two cases dovetail in the end. While neither of the deaths are particularly clever, and it's disappointing just how boring and run-of-the-mill they are, admittedly the mystery of how the two fit together is well done. Still, this episode is less about the mystery and more about the emotion, and Monk and Samuel's confrontation with his wife's killer is satisfying.

    For everything this episode does right, there are a few noteworthy flaws. As mentioned before, it's not the sort of "perfect" crime I'd expect to see from a truly great Monk episode. Perhaps the "Monk confuses Samuel's wife with Trudy" element is played with an overly obvious lack of subtlety. And the increasingly consistent insistence on putting Monk in life-or-death peril of some sort seems a bit silly and forced.

    However, the good most certainly outweighs the bad here. The writers are clearly putting forth the effort to make the final season a significant improvement over the rather disappointing recent state of the show, and the fact that they're able to conjure up a nice, dramatic plot instead of the increasingly sitcommy material they've been relying on certainly makes me happy. As an effort to kickstart the obvious final season Trudy story arc, "Foreign Man" succeeds with flying colours. After all, knowing is everything.
  • Another solid episode.

    After last week's good season premiere, Monk returned with yet another entertaining episode. The premise was enjoyable, and it featured an entertaining guest spot by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje of Lost fame.

    What works about Monk is that the dialogue is legitimate and believable, but is still able to provide some real laughs (he's down to two bags a day), as opposed to Psych, which is just not realistic at all with all the bizarre things Shawn Spencer says.

    I flip flop between which show is better all the time, but right now Monk is kicking Psych in terms of quality and humor.
  • Beautifully written

    I haven't seen all of the episodes of Monk, but I do know the story of the series. This episode was such a nice, refreshing change into the character of Monk. There is definite growth in the character. He met someone who was going through the same thing he is (the man's wife was killed) and was able to make a friend while solving the crime. I really hope we get another episode with the foreign man, Samuel Waingaya, before the show ends. This episode is probably my favorite of season 8 so far. A well written episode that reminds you why this show is so amazing.