Season 3 Episode 10

Mr. Monk and the Red Herring

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 21, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
510 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Monk ends up hiring a new assistant, Natalie, but she has been the subject of a brutal attack involving the attempted theft of...her daughter's beloved pet fish.

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  • Monk's Back

    After a mid-season hiatus, brought in partly because of Bitty Schram leaving the show and partly because of USANetwork's wacky scheduling (although it's becoming more common to have two half-seasons with longer gaps on cable), we get the new episodes.

    This is almost like a new season opening, since not only do the credits have to change to reflect the addition newcomer Traylor Howard, but they take the chance to put in some new footage as well. The theme song remains the same.

    This episode is primarily intended to get the character of Sharona and her son out out and new Monk Assistant (tm) Natalie Teeger and her daughter Emily in. The producers and writer/creator Andy Breckman take no chances (Breckman has not surprisingly been responsible for some of the show's best episodes) and pull out all the stops. Natalie is put in danger but also gets to show her toughness by kiling her attacker. The only gripe here is that even in the opening sequence, there's a bit too much focus on the significant "clue" of the episode.

    We then get caught up on Sharona - naturally, they can't show her since Bitty Schram left the show for whatever reasons *ahem*, but semi-regular Dr. Kroeger brings us up to speed. Fortunately, we're spared the last three months of Monk's easily-imagined panic. Unfortunately there's no good way to explain Sharona's departure - the fact she'd just leave Monk and head off with her louse of an ex-husband just doesn't work. However, there's probably not a better explanation that could have worked - there's nothing else quite so life-upsetting that would have caused her to leave.

    Moving along, Monk gets introduced to Natalie and her daughter. It's not quite clear how distinctive Natalie is from her predecessor, which is further hurt by the fact she has to do and serve some of the same functions that Sharona did. She has to be tough both to deal with Monk and the folks they go up against when Monk can't. She has to have a kid so the writers can do the occasional Monk-as-father-figure bit.

    Overall, the two actors mesh pretty well- as noted, the writers pretty much toss in everything but the kitchen sink so Natalie gets the viewers' sympathies. The bit with the science teacher is about the only time they go a bit overboard, even it eventually pays off providing the solution to the mystery at the science fair.

    Tony Shalhoub reigns it in a bit so we don't have some of his more annoying "Monk-isms." He doesn't collapse into a sobbing fit or freeze in panic or anything and he has some moments of inspired "heroism" as far as saving the fish and all.

    Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford are in good form here, even if they don't have a whole lot to do. But they do provide a good solid backboard for the main characters of this episode. The whole Stottlemeyer-thinks-Randy-is-a-dope thing is getting a little old - if he doesn't think much fo Randy's intelligence, why does he keep him around? They don't seem to be buddies or anything.

    The mystery isn't too mysterious, in part because director Randall Fisk focuses on the "big clue" a bit too much, and in part because probably they didn't want the mystery to detract too much from the story they wanted to tell - getting Sharona out and Natalie in.

    Overall I'd give this pretty decent marks. They're going to have to do a bit more work with Natalie to make her a character in her own right - she seemed a bit too Sharona-esque and not so much her own woman. Say what you will about Sharona's...'unique' dress style, at least it made the character stand out. Natalie didn't really have anything to latch on to here, but they can do more and hopefully they will.moreless
  • Exit Sharonna, enter Natalie

    It is quite stunning how hard the ratings have sky rocketed with Natalie's debut and not without reason. Throughout the whole episode there is an energy and livelyness that is new for Monk. Instead of the passive role Sharonna displayed, Natalie seems more of an equal to Monk. She seems strong, confident and isn't afraid to confront Monk. This I also consider the downside of their relationship. Although I never really liked Sharonna, who struck me as incredibly shallow with Meets the Godfather as an ultimate low, she did care for Monk alot which made me appreciate the character. I'm really looking forward to seeing Natalie's and Monk relationship develop and hoping for that same friendship portayed by Sharonna and Adrian.

    Natalie's debut is ofcourse the most important aspect of the episode and thus the mystery itself wasn't al that interesting and, even by Monk standards, very predictable. However that doesn't matter at all. There are a number of very funny moments, the fire extinguisher scene killed me, and the writers did very well introducing all the changes. What really set this episode apart for me were the dramatic scenes. The parrot scene is easily one of my favorite and most touching Monk scenes so far and the choise between the rock and the fish was some very good writing.

    The first 2 seasons of Monk were very dissapointing and it baffled me that this show made it to 8 seasons but now I can see why. Season 3 has been consistantly good and with the introduction of Natalie I'm sure Monk will keep going strong.moreless
  • Following the resignation of Sharona; Monk has to solve the mystery of a double break - in and find a new assistant.

    You say yes, I say no You say stop and I say go go go, oh no You say goodbye and I say hello Hello hello I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello Hello hello I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello.

    Sorry, i can't discuss the replacement of someone without bringing up that song by the Beatles. Anyway, over the past 38 episodes of the acclaimed series Monk; we've gotten to know Sharona Flemming quite well: She cared for Monk and despite having a nasally New Jersey accent that could strip wallpaper, she was a valuable cast member. In this episode Sharona has left the defective detective leaving a feeble letter that she's got back together with her ex - husband. Following a period of wallowing, Monk is approached by the sweet and widowed Natalie Teeger who's been broken into twice for unknown reasons and with the hope that she'll fill the position, Monk takes on the case. This episode is considered a rebirth for Adrian Monk; after having a nurse for many years and still showing no signs of improvement, it's time for him to progress beyond a babysitter and to an actual partner. The mystery for the episode takes a backseat to the introduction of the Natalie character and her gradual bonding with Monk. What makes her persona different to Sharona's is her marriage ended in divorce which gave her a prickly manner but Natalie's ended in tragedy as her husband was killed while fighting in the Army which gives her a fragility and earnestness that wasn't found in the former. The mystery itself is a basic red herring plot device where one particular character is described or emphasized in a way that seems to throw suspicion upon that character as the person who committed the crime: later, it develops that someone else is the guilty party. Tony Shaloub has well and truly mastered the role of the agitated and lonely Adrian Monk but this time emphasizing that he really is nothing without Sharona by his side. Traylor Howard has the visual and audible upper hand over Bitty Schram who played Sharona but Schram really got lost in the role and the chemistry with her and Monk was natural while Howard often gives the sense that she's taken this role to make a few bucks, i hope she consolidates her performance in the future. This is a good opening chapter in the new life of Monk.moreless
  • New Character!

    Natalie Teeger is one of my favorite character. She is so tough woman, single mom. She didnt complain about money or anything. Shanoonna is so fussy and complained lot about bills, moneys, and everything. I dislike Shannona very much. Natalie is good role model for young adult or single moms. She tried to get Monk to be tough for his age. I love this episode and I started to watch Monk lot cuz Natalie is new cast of MONK. I love her character. It make me calm and spirited. I learned that Natalie is widow and teenage daughter. Great Episode! love it!moreless
  • Not bad, not great.

    The case itself was interesting enough, the job interviews were funny. That said, the "explanation" for Sharona's exit is pathetic. She goes back with her ex-husband? What is that? We never saw anything to suggest they were on good terms again. The only substantive interaction we ever saw is the last time they were going to back together and his only real motivation at the time was to get back into the good graces of a rich uncle who'd cut him off. Now she's moving cross-country to get back with him? For what? As for Traylor Howard, if someone has to replace Bitty Schram, I guess she's okay. Natalie Teeger on the other hand is completely uninteresting to me.moreless
Tony Shalhoub

Tony Shalhoub

Adrian Monk

Traylor Howard

Traylor Howard

Natalie Teeger (episodes 39+)

Jason Gray-Stanford

Jason Gray-Stanford

Lt. Randall Disher

Ted Levine

Ted Levine

Captain Leland Stottlemeyer

Tony Armatrading

Tony Armatrading

Mr. Franklin

Guest Star

David Purdham

David Purdham

Lyle Peck

Guest Star

Amy Aquino

Amy Aquino

Mrs. Bowen

Guest Star

Emmy Clarke

Emmy Clarke

Julie Teeger

Recurring Role

Stanley Kamel

Stanley Kamel

Dr. Kroger

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • When Mr. Monk told the woman he was interviewing that she could not smoke in the house, she got up and left. Why didn't she just take her lit cigarette with her? Also, wastebasket would not have flamed up that quickly but would have smoldered for a little while.

    • When Monk and Natalie enter the the museum's women womb exhibit, Monk stops and Natalie says Doctor Monk.

    • When Mr. Franklin is looking up "Larry Tilburn" he's not on an Internet search engine; the computer isn't even logged in.

    • Science fair exhibits are not permitted to use open flames, let alone unattended ones.

    • When Monk is pacing off the distance for the fire extinguisher, the nozzle varies between folded and extended, even though the first thing he did was extend the nozzle.

    • When Julie's fish is flopping on the ground, you can see the string pulling it.

    • I don't think that they realize how carefully icemen are studied and analyzed. Despite the fact that this was a humourous little tangent, if there was some puncture wound that would cause an alternate end to our cave-friend, they would have known about it long before this.

    • When Monk is chasing the perpetrator, they go down several flights of stairs before the man trips and the fish goes flying. Monk picks it up, takes a few turns in the hallway, and ends up in the science room he'd just left before taking those stairs.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • Stottlemeyer: You mean that's just a regular rock? Son of a bitch, I stood in line for a half-hour just to touch this stupid thing.

    • Applicant #3: Mr. Monk, can I be honest with you?
      Monk: I wish you wouldn't . . . .

    • Applicant #2: What would my hours be?
      Monk: Nine a.m.
      Applicant #2: Until?
      Monk:: Until one.
      Applicant #2: One p.m.?
      Monk: Until one of us dies.

    • Dr. Kroger: Your new assistant is out there somewhere.
      Monk: God help her.

    • Monk: You're a doctor. Can't you make her come back?
      Dr. Kroger: What would you like me to do? Fly back to New Jersey and drug her, bring her back here?
      Monk: No. But thank you. (Pause) She's pretty smart. She'd probably escape.

    • Dr. Kroger: Didn't she sell her house?
      Monk: Yes.
      Dr. Kroger: And she moved back to New Jersey.
      Monk: Yes.
      Dr. Kroger: And she remarried her ex-husband.
      Monk: I'm not sure I like where you're going here.

    • Stottlemeyer: It's a goldfish.
      Monk: Technically, it's a crimson marblefish.
      Disher: Is it extinct?
      Stottlemeyer: If it was extinct, we wouldn't be looking at it, would we?

    • Stottlemeyer: Well, does anybody have any ideas?
      Disher: Maybe it swallowed something. Like a diamond.
      Stottlemeyer: Does anybody besides Randy have any ideas?

    • Natalie: Are you a man?
      Monk: Yes.
      Natalie: Then you can lie. That's what men do.

    • Human corpuscle: Hello. I'm a white corpuscle. I'm an important part of your body's defense system. I travel through your bloodstream and I fight bacteria and diseases. Would you like to know more about me?
      Natalie: No. I'd like to know less about you.

    • Monk: (reading note from dead perp's pocket) "2:30 Sea of Tranquility." What is that? A club?
      Stottlemeyer: No, I don't think so. Who'd want to go to a club called the Sea of Tranquility? Besides you.

    • Monk: (about a Neanderthal skeleton) This man didn't freeze to death. He was murdered. There's a puncture wound in the side of his skull.
      Natalie: It was over 30,000 years ago.
      Monk: Well, there's no statute of limitations on murder. I think I know what happened.
      Natalie: Detective Monk, why don't we solve my case first and then we'll come back here later and figure out what happened to Og, okay?

    • Natalie: You really are the worst liar in the world.
      Monk: I tried to tell you that.
      Natalie: An honest man. Who'da thunk it?

    • Lyle Peck: (guiding a group of children through the Miracle of Birth exhibit) Step carefully through this opening into the womb, and then we're going to take a left up the fallopian tubes.

    • Monk: What about your wife's niece? The one that's a nurse? She never called me.
      Stottlemeyer: Yeah, uh, Monk here's the thing - I love her.
      Monk: I understand.

    • Monk: And you recently started dating again.
      Natalie: How did you know that?
      Monk: It's patently obvious. I happened to notice these in your coat pocket. Birth control pills. (Pause as Natalie looks at Julie and back at Monk.) Um. I'm sorry.
      Natalie: I can't believe you said that. In front of my daughter? What's wrong with you? Do you have zero social skills?
      Julie: Mom, it's okay, I'm not a baby.

    • Julie: Wow, [Monk's] like Velma in Scooby Doo!

    • Monk: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! My mistake! These are not birth control pills. These--these are TicTacs. Little pink and green TicTac candies. But don't eat them. They're--they're special adult--you know (blows to indicate extreme bad breath)--TicTacs.

    • Natalie: He [Stottlemeyer] said you were the best cop he ever met. I guess he's never seen you put out a fire.

    • Natalie: (letting herself in) Are you okay? What are you doing?
      Monk: (measuring) It says eight feet. Stay back.
      Natalie: They mean approximately.
      Monk: No, it's not. It doesn't say "approximately." You have to trust the label makers. Professional label makers.
      Natalie: Give me that! (Grabs fire extinguisher.)
      Monk: (as Natalie puts out fire) You're too close!

    • Monk: Ahh! Ohh! You smell that? What is that?
      Natalie: It's a pet store. Have you ever been in a pet store?
      Monk: No.
      Natalie: What have you been doing?
      Monk: For one thing, I've been avoiding pet stores.

    • Monk: (reading instructions on fire extinguisher) "Hold upright. Pull ring pin. Stand eight feet from flame." (Walking backwards) One, two, three, four, five. . . .

    • Natalie: Mr. Franklin, if you want to call that little girl and tell her that the fish that she's been talking to and praying to for the last six years is dead, then you know what, go ahead. I'll dial it for you.

    • Natalie: (to Monk on the phone) I'm calling to see if you still need that assistant. (pause) No, I can't come tonight. (pause) Because I can't leave my daughter. (pause) Okay, okay. Calm down. How big is the spider?

    • Natalie: (about the parrot) What happened to him?
      Monk: His wife died.
      Pet store clerk: That's right. We had a female in there with him, but she died about a year ago. How did you know that?
      Natalie: Why not put another female in there with him?
      Monk: Won't work. He'll never feel the same about anyone else.
      Pet store clerk: That's right. How did you know that? We put another female in there with him, but I'm afraid ol' Sergeant Pepper is going to grow old and die alone in this little cage.
      Natalie: (to Monk) What was her name?
      Monk: (sadly) Trudy.

    • Natalie: Fetus ahead!

    • Monk: Maybe I should have mentioned this earlier. But I--give me a second--I have a number of phobias.
      Natalie: You? No!
      Monk: Oh, yes. and one of them--near the top of the list, actually--is the miracle of birth.

    • Natalie: What do you call a guy who studies fish?
      Monk: An ichthyologist.
      Natalie: That's what you are.
      Monk: No, I'm not.
      Natalie: Yes, you are.
      Monk: I really don't think I am.
      Natalie: For the next five minutes you are.

    • Natalie: (as Monk heads for the emergency exit) We have to go [back] through the pelvis.
      Monk: I think this is going to be a caesarean.

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode's opening credits are different from the previous episodes of the season; they have been edited to remove any clips that included Sharona in the scene. Replacing those scenes are a couple with the new assistant Natalie.

    • Tony Armatrading (Mr. Franklin) is credited as Anthony Armatrading.

    • The end credits omit Bernadette L. Speakes, listed on the official site as Applicant #2, and give that role to Rachel Winfree, listed on the site as Applicant #3. In order to include both actresses and avoid assigning two cast members the same role, the listings here follow the official site.

    • This episode explains Sharona's absence and introduces Monk's new sidekick, Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard), and her eleven-year-old daughter, Julie (played by thirteen-year-old Emmy Clarke).


    • Scissor Attack; In the opening scene when Natalie stabs the intruder with a pair of scissors, there is more than a passing resemblance to Hitchcock's 1954 classic, Dial M For Murder, in which Grace Kelly kills her attacker in exactly the same way.

    • Julie Teeger: He's like Velma in Scooby Doo.
      When Monk figures out that Natalie hid her money in a coffee can, Julie rightly compares him to Velma, a brainy character in the cartoon detective show Scooby Doo who always gets everything right.

    • Pet Store Clerk: Yeah, it's Sergeant Pepper.
      The name of the Monk-like parrot who's mourning his dead "wife" refers, of course, to the Beatles song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" from the band's 1967 album of the same name. One line of the lyrics reads, "We'd like to take you home with us, we'd love to take you home"--exactly what many viewers wish Monk would do with the parrot. The parrot's behavior suggests that he's an African lovebird, but I've been informed that he's really a sun conure, which is native to Malaysia.

    • Title: Mr. Monk and the Red Herring
      The term "red herring" originally referred to a salted, smoked herring, so-called for its reddish-brown color (c. 1420). In 1884, it was first used figuratively for a false lead (so-called because fugitives supposedly used red herrings to divert bloodhounds from their trail). Logic teachers and composition instructors use the term to refer to a logical fallacy that distracts the reader or listener from the real issue. Mystery fans will recognize it as a seeming clue that misleads the reader or viewer, and often the protagonist as well.

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