Mr Monk's Last Case
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk and Caitlin McGee as Molly Evans in Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie courtesy of Peacock

Judging by the title alone, Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie might sound like the end for Tony Shalhoub’s beloved germaphobe detective. But according series creator Andy Breckman — and Shalhoub — the door is still open for Monk to return.

“I did leave the door open,” Breckman told MovieMaker following the sequel film’s streaming release on Peacock in December. “That was intentional and very self-serving. I do have an idea for a for a follow up piece. I haven’t even told Tony my idea yet. I’m kind of keeping it in my pocket. And we’ll see — it’s up to the fans and up to the network. If it was up to me, we’d be in production tomorrow.”

Mr. Monk’s Last Case Revisits Beloved Character After 14 Years

Mr. Monk’s Last Case picks up 14 years after USA’s much-loved comedic police procedural series Monk ended in 2009. The original show, which began in 2002, followed Adrian Monk (Shalhoub), a detective who loses his job on the force when he develops a severe case of obsessive compulsive disorder after his wife, Trudy (Melora Hardin) is murdered. But Monk’s OCD actually heightens his ability to solve crimes, and he continues to work as a consultant for the police with the help of his assistant, Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howland), Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), and Leiutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford).

“I’m optimistic. People really are responding to this movie and there seems to be real enthusiasm for it. So I have to say, I’m very hopeful about about continuing the journey,” Breckman said.

The sequel film finds our hero in dire straits post-pandemic. His mental health suffers a serious blow when his book deal has falls through and he has to give back the advance which he was hoping to use to fund the wedding of Trudy’s daughter Molly (Caitlin McGee replaces original actress Alona Tal in the movie). But when someone close to Monk is murdered, he springs back into action to solve one more case, which re-awakens his love of detective work.

All of the key players from the original cast returned for the sequel film except for Monk’s original assistant, Sharona, played by Bitty Schram. Shalhoub and Breckman even convinced Hector Elizondo to come out of retirement to reprise his role as Monk’s therapist, Dr. Neven Bell.

“There was only one hurdle in reassembling the cast. Hector Elizondo, who plays Dr. Bell, Monk’s shrink, had since retired,” Shalhoub told MovieMaker. “When we first heard that, the idea was floated that, well, maybe Monk has got a new gotten a new shrink in that 14 year interim. And I said, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no, please. We’ve got to sweet talk Hector into coming back. He’s got to come out of retirement.’ Andy had written the scenes. They were two of my favorite scenes in the whole movie. And fortunately, he agreed to rejoin.”

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The idea for Mr. Monk’s Last Case began after Shalhoub’s wife directed him in a four-minute Monk short film for Peacock’s At Home Variety Show in 2020 called Monk in Quarantine. Shot in Shalhoub’s New York City apartment, it showed audiences how Monk was coping during the pandemic — and provided an opportunity for a reunion with Levine, Howland, and Gray-Stanford, all of whom appeared on a Zoom call with Monk.

“During Covid, everyone was wondering and worried about Monk. The great thing about the character Monk is people love him, and they also worry about him the way you would a relative that isn’t doing as well as he should be,” Breckman said.

Shalhoub was pleasantly surprised by his ability to embody Monk once again in Mr. Monk’s Last Case, even though so much time had passed since he last put on that brown blazer.

“The whole idea was to revisit Monk post-COVID, in the aftermath of what that might have done to him, really set him back on his heels. And so Andy worked up a treatment, which he pitched, and we all just thought it was a great idea. Really the first compelling reason to revisit these characters,” Shalhoub said.

“It was surreal on some level, but it was really fun. It came back quickly. It came back easily on that first day. I was kind of dreading the first day, frankly, because I didn’t know if I could recapture it. Physically, I certainly look different, and maybe my voice has changed even, I don’t know. But boy, once we got into that first day of shooting, it all just kind of coalesced. And we were off to the races.”

So, is he open to playing Monk again in the future?

“Oh, alright,” he laughs.

Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie is now streaming on Peacock.

Main Image: Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk and Caitlin McGee as Molly Evans in Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie courtesy of Peacock.