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Season 3 Episode 9

Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Aug 20, 2004 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
260 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

After Captain Stottlemeyer is shot in the shoulder by an unknown assailant, a somewhat rattled and very angry Disher is left in charge of the investigation. Although Monk is almost as distressed as Disher, he provides very little help with the investigation, even allowing a suspect to get away. Feeling depressed and helpless, Monk decides to try a new medication that controls his OCD and eliminates his phobias but also makes him insufferably egotistical, unempathetic, and oblivious to the details that are so vivid to the "normal" Monk. Meanwhile, the suspect Disher has been pursuing is proven innocent, and the bullet taken from the captain's shoulder is traced to a gun belonging to a dead woman. Stottlemeyer impatiently checks himself out of the hospital with his arm in a sling and arranges to interview the new suspect with the help of Monk, Sharona, and Disher. Monk arrives late, dressed in a loud Hawaiian shirt and talking like a "cool cat" from the 1950s. "The Monk," as he calls himself, contributes nothing useful to the interview and discovers nothing when he does his Zen routine in the dead woman's apartment. Undeterred by Sharona's insistence that the medication is making him sicker, he drives off in his new red Mustang. Only when he's made a fool of by some college kids does he realize that "the Monk" is no more normal--and a lot less competent and compassionate--than his usual self. Returning to the dead woman's apartment, he figures out what was wrong and how to prove the suspect guilty of more than one crime, and Sharona triumphantly throws the pills in the dumpster.moreless

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  • And the Emmy Goes to...

    Tony Shalhoub assumes center stage here for the season "finale" (or half-season finale, or whatever USA is billing these things as) in what is clearly a performance intended to garner him an Emmy performance.

    Shalhoub basically plays three different characters here. First is his normal "Monk" persona. We see only a little of that here - a bit at he beginning after he leaves Kroger's office and at the end when he solves the case. It's well done as always, particularly when he "resets" as it were and figures out the clue at the apartment.

    Then there's "beaten" Monk. We've never seen Monk like this before - desperate and self-hating at his own condition. Unfortunately, this is rather out of nowhere - Monk didn't seem this desperate in the preceding episode so this kind of comes out of nowhere (and apparently disappears just in time for the end of the episode). Oddly, this is similar to something similar on the other show I review - Justice League, with Wonder Woman. Suddenly she has anger-management issues. No hint of it before, and it's gone by the end of the episode. It's a flimsy excuse to hang a extreme characterization on so that the character can "fix" it in one nice neat 21- or 42-minute package. Couldn't they give us 30 seconds to give us a scene of Monk's OCD making his life miserable? A scene like his being unable to play his clarinet with Willie Nelson because someone used the mouthpiece (in Red-Headed Stranger)?

    And there's "The Monk." Obnoxious, grating, the exact opposite of the self-hating Monk - this one is the self-focused version that doesn't think of anyone but himself. Even at the end he goes back to "normal Monk" out of self-concern - he can't make contact with Trudy any more and he's shunned. There's no indication that he finally realizes his lack of caring toward Stottlemeyer and the others. This selfishness isn't obvious, but it tends to mute the tragedy at the end.

    Giving Tony Shalhoub all this to do suggests this'll be the episode the producers submit to the Emmy category. Which seems a little odd that they have such a "engineered" episode to highlight Shalhoub given he's capable of winning Emmys without this kind of thing.

    The lack of subtlety seems a little odd given that one of the writers was Tom Scharpling, who has done some of the more humorous and touching episodes of the series - Red-Headed Stranger (one of the top vote-getters in the preceding marathon/poll) and T.V. Star. Maybe it's the bad influence of Chuck Sklar, doing his first Monk script and whose previous works include such subtle fair as The Michael Richards Show. This episode just seemed very, very heavy-handed.

    Giving us Melora Hardin as Trudy again seems to be a case of trying to force her on us as if they can convince us to accept the new actress. We haven't seen Monk doing his pillow-ritual before and it's a pretty obvious gimmick to show Monk's loss.

    Having Monk "lose" Trudy and going back to normal to regain her also means he isn't doing it because of his friends. Which is a shame because all three of the regulars get a chance to shine here after being omitted for whatever reasons from the previous episode. Disher does best - this is the first episode this season where he isn't a near-complete buffoon. Yes, his claiming Stottlemeyer is his "partner" is a bit overboard but reasonable given the circumstances.

    Sharona actually acts like a nurse, and in theory you'd think there'd be some kind of issue between her and Kroger. And...is Kroger supposed to be handing out medicine? Or doing so and then not checking up on his patient for the rest of the episode? They make out Kroger to be an incompetent just to come up with a way to "cure" Monk temporarily.

    Stottlemeyer doesn't have a lot to do other then get shot in a fairly serious moment - otherwise he just does "horrified reaction" a bit. But there's a comforting interaction between the three of them that helps to stabilize the audience against the erratic New Monk.

    The mystery isn't much, the murderer hardly seems worth Monk's efforts even if he were cured, and how did the police miss the "big clue" while powdering for fingerprints? We also get a variant denouement of the mystery, as Monk delivers it from a speeding car.

    Overall, in a season where the worst episodes were those early ones intent on giving Tony Shalhoub his acting "moment," Takes His Medicine basically spins his "moment" out into a full episode. If you thought "Lobby...lobby...lobby..." (Blackout) or Stottlemeyer jumping up and down to taunt a monkey (Panic Room) was the height of hilarity, then you'll love this one. Otherwise sit back and enjoy the strong steady performance of the other regulars and the subtle ease with which Shalhoub does "normal Monk" ("He's my captain too" says more then a dozen overbearing scenes) without the overacting of his other two incarnations here.moreless
  • After getting depressed about letting a suspect get away, Monk is given some pills that cure his OCD. However he loses his ability to solve crime and becomes arrogant to everyone.moreless

    Overall, "Takes His Medicine" is an excellent episode and a special one too. For one thing, it's Bitty Schram's last episode as Sharona for a contract dispute would get her fired and ring in a new assistant...named...ugh...Natalie. But that's another story. Also, the plot's special too with Monk getting cured for a while which it's a MONK episode all around.

    Tony Shaloub does a nice job as Monk pulling off the many faces of the character in this episode. Yet, however his "beaten Monk" is too sudden and I think rather that if his scene with Dr. Kroger came after the scenes with Stottlemeyer getting shot and Monk investigating and letting the criminals get away, that it might have been more effective showing how OCD makes Monk's life miserable. Also, "the Monk" makes him very selfish and he doesn't seem to care about changing for his friends, only for Trudy (Trudy's not a bad thing), but he should have done it for others too. Bitty Schram is also very effective as Sharona being the both supportive and critical nurse as what makes their relationship work which we see for the very last time. Ted Levine doesn't get much to do as Stottlemeyer, but Jason Gray-Stanford gets some nice work in as Disher showing his effectiveness as a cop. The supporting cast is good with only Melora Hardin as Trudy as a real standout, but they all do their jobs. Overall, the mystery was very good and once again we get to solve it along with Monk although not too much is solved over the course with Monk's OCD taking over almost the whole episode and the gags with Monk are fine and not too long.

    Overall, nice finish to the first half of the third season and the finale to the original series which starting the next half things start changing quickly not much for the better. One of Monk's greats.moreless
Ken Marino

Ken Marino

Lester Highsmith

Guest Star

Jeremy Roberts

Jeremy Roberts


Guest Star

Nate Mooney

Nate Mooney


Guest Star

Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin


Recurring Role

Stanley Kamel

Stanley Kamel

Dr. Kroger

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When talking to Dr. Kroger, Monk appears to have an aversion to taking medication but he had no problem doing it in "Mr. Monk Goes To The Asylum."

    • When Monk rubs chalk powder an the placemat to see the original suicide note there is no other writing, but in the flashback where the husband is writing a fake suicide note he is clearly writing on the same placemat as his wife was. If this were true both notes would show up in the chalk powder

    • Psychiatric medications don't start working overnight. They need to be built up over a few weeks before they have any noticeable effects. Also, a (good) psychiatrist would have started Monk at a low dosage, which would gradually be increased over several months until the right balance was found, eliminating his problems and phobias but still allowing him to do his job.

    • The water pistol Monk uses is jet black, possibly with a brown handle. Because of child-safety laws, all toy guns have to be brightly colored or have a bright orange cap on the tip of the barrel so children will be safe when holding one. However, this particular pistol is missing both of these features.

    • Monk asks Sharona for a copy of the woman's suicide note and sees that it's in red ink. How can he tell the color if it's a copy?

    • When Monk is talking to the car salesman, he has a large ketchup blotch on his shirt pocket. He sees it, but he doesn't remove it. A few seconds later, it's gone. Even if he had rubbed it off, there would still be a spot on his pocket.

  • QUOTES (28)

    • Monk: (to Sharona) It's a conundrum. (Chuckles.) Conundrum . . . conun- . . . conundrum. It's a funny word.

    • Monk: There's something wrong with this [suicide] note.
      Sharona: What?
      Monk: I don't know. (Tosses the note back.)

    • Monk: How're you doing, Toy Store?
      Disher: What did you call me?
      Monk: "Toy Store." Your name's Disher. Dish, plate, Plato, Play-Doh. Where do you buy Play-Doh?
      Disher: Toy store.

    • Monk: (eating the remains of Stottlemeyer's sandwich) I'm hungry. Is that a crime?

    • Stottlemeyer: (as Monk is hugging him in his hospital bed) Oh, my God. What have you heard?
      Monk: What do you mean?
      Stottlemeyer: He never hugs anybody. What's wrong with me?

    • Sharona: It wasn't your fault.
      Monk: Yes, it was. It always is.

    • Sharona: I know you and Stottlemeyer go way back.
      Monk: Oh, yeah. We first met two weeks after I became a detective. He was my fourth partner.
      Sharona: You had three partners in two weeks?
      Monk: Yeah. They were all nice enough guys. But we just didn't really click, you know.
      Sharona: That's hard to believe.

    • Disher: Thank you.
      Monk: He's my captain, too.

    • Trudy: You can still smell me on that old thing [a pillow]?
      Monk: Yes, I can. It's your strawberry shampoo, and that lilac lotion you always wore.
      Trudy: You never even liked that lotion.
      Monk: I love it now. . . . I love it now.

    • Monk: I'm afraid of change. And I'm afraid of not changing. And I'm afraid of change. And I'm afraid of not changing.

    • Monk: You can't rush the Monk.
      Sharona: "The Monk"?

    • Monk: The Monk needs a little fresh air. I will see you cats and kittens outside.

    • Monk: Secret sauce. Fantastic. What's in that?
      Burger Girl: They don't tell us.
      Monk: So it's like a mystery. Ah. The Monk likes mysteries. I'm a detective.
      Burger Girl: I think it's Russian dressing.
      Monk: Oh, man. You just ruined it for me.

    • Monk: You've been a bad boy, Lester. Me and my posse had better have a word with you.

    • Sharona: (referring to Monk's Hawaiian shirt) What are you wearing?
      Monk: It's a little something called style. You wouldn't understand.

    • Stottlemeyer: (also reacting to Monk's shirt) Mother of mercy. What happened to you?

    • Monk: (to Stottlemeyer) You thought I was good before. Wait till you see this. Hey, you might want to take notes or something.

    • Monk: (to Sharona) You're a big L7. It's a square. That's what you are.

    • Monk: (to Dr. Kroger) Look at me. I'm--I'm helpless. I'm pathetic. I'm not even a man. Just a broken machine.

    • Monk: I could never work here. Couldn't wear the uniform. It's not my scene.
      Shift supervisor: I would never hire you.

    • Sharona: You're taking this stuff?
      Monk: They're great. You want one?
      Sharona: Why didn't you tell me? I'm your nurse.
      Monk: This is why. Because I knew you'd bring me down. You're bringing the Monk down, man.

    • Sharona: Is it you?
      Monk: I think so.
      Sharona: What happened to the Monk?
      Monk: Trudy didn't like him.
      Sharona: Neither did I.

    • Sharona: Adrian, you're sick.
      Monk: No, no, I'm well, and you can't stand it, can you? I'm doing fine without you. It drives you crazy.
      Sharona: Come on.
      Monk: I'm happy, Sharona, for the first time in years, and I love it. I love the Monk.

    • Monk: Your old man's bringing me down, man. That whole generation. . . .
      College Boy: He's younger than you.
      Monk: Word.

    • Monk: A stop sign is not a suggestion!
      Sharona: Yes, it is!

    • Disher: Hey, Lester. You remember my partner, don't you? You put a bullet in his shoulder. You got anything to say to him?

    • Sharona: Where are you going?
      Monk: New Orleans.
      Sharona: Why?
      Monk: Mardi Gras.
      Sharona: Mardi Gras? Mardi Gras's not for another nine months!
      Monk: You know what they say. . . . Wherever the Monk is, it's Mardi Gras.

    • Sharona: I missed you.
      Monk: I missed me, too.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Randy Zisk received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for his work on this episode.

    • For his performance in this episode Tony Shalhoub won the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series.

    • This is the last episode in which Bitty Schram appears as a regular character. Her character, Sharona Fleming, is written out of the series in the next episode, "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring."

    • Trudy is again played by Melora Hardin, who has taken over the role from Stellina Rusich.

    • Although this episode is billed by USA as the season finale, it's really more of a semifinale. New third-season episodes will resume in January, with seven more to come (sixteen in all) before the season really ends.

    • Meredith Lieber (Burger Girl) is credited as Meredith Roberts on USA Network's official Monk site. Lance Krall, the car salesman, played Floppy the Clown in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival" and the bingo card checker in "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies."


    • Monk: Are you sure you want to throw these away? Because if you do, you'll never see the Monk again.
      The plot of this episode resembles that of the 1994 Jim Carrey film The Mask, in which a man who considers himself a loser puts on a mask that transforms him into something wild and opposite from himself, much as the pills transform Monk. At the end of The Mask, a man and a woman are standing together and the man asks, "Are you sure you want to throw this away? Because once you do, you'll never see The Mask again," and the woman responds by throwing the mask away.