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Case Closed: Here's Where Monk and His Friends Left Off Ahead of the Reunion Movie

As we prepare for Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie, some may be wondering where Monk and the gang left off in their last episode. 

By Cassidy Ward

From 2002 to 2009 Tony Shalhoub portrayed an eccentric private detective dealing with the realities of mental illness and personal loss, in Monk. At the series’ introduction, viewers learn that Adrian Monk was once a homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department before his wife, Trudy, was tragically killed in a car bombing. Years later, her murder remained unsolved.

After eight seasons and 125 episodes, the series came to a close in December 2009 with a two-part finale titled “Mr. Monk and the End.” In it, Monk uncovers new clues about Trudy’s death, gets poisoned, and recovers a lost part of his family he never knew existed. It was a fitting end for the series, wrapping up character arcs and tying up loose plot threads, but it wouldn't be the last time we see Mr. Monk on screen. Monk and the gang are coming back for one final ride in the upcoming film Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie, premiering on Peacock December 8, 2023.

RELATED: Mr. Monk's Last Case Plot Details Shared By Series Creator Ahead Of Peacock Premiere

The movie will pick up in the present, and in a version of the real world complete with the global COVID-19 pandemic, a public health crisis that should have a serious impact on the way Monk navigates the world. A lot might have happened to the characters over the last fourteen years. So, before we get a chance to catch up with them, let’s take a look at where they left off.

What Happened to Monk and the Gang at the End of Monk?

Monk TV Show Cast

Monk’s last case before his upcoming Last Case was the most important of his career: the murder of his beloved wife twelve years prior. But solving it wasn’t as easy as the cases he’d cracked before, because this time Monk found himself in the murderer’s crosshairs. And he’s not alone, longtime friends, partners, and confidants (not to mention series regulars) Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard) and Lieutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Standford) have Monk’s six as he chases down a powerful killer.

By the time the credits roll, some of the characters’ lives have been changed forever while other things remain comfortably the same.

Where Was Sharona at the End of Monk?

Close up of Bitty Schram as Sharona Fleming

Played by Bitty Schram, Sharona served as Monk’s nurse in the early days after Trudy’s death. Later, she served as his assistant, helping Monk to navigate the world while carrying the burden of various psychological ills. Sharona left San Francisco and the series in the middle of season three but returns toward the end of the show's run to close out her arc. While back in town and back onscreen, Sharona starts up a relationship with Disher. More on that in a moment. Mr. Monk Solves Trudy’s Murder (With Help From His Friends)

Zeroing in on Trudy’s killer puts Monk at risk himself and earns him a spot at the top of the kill list. Unbeknownst to anyone, a hired hitman poisons Monk with an unknown compound. Unless someone can figure out what it is, Monk is not long for this world.

Poisoned, and with only days to live, Monk starts to put his affairs in order. Knowing his time is up, he finally opens a Christmas present from Trudy, one he’s been saving since her death. Inside, he finds a videotape revealing some uncomfortable details from Trudy’s past and the identity of her killer.

Natalie Teeger Follows Monk to the End

Traylor Howard

Monk’s second assistant, Natalie, understands him in a way others don’t or can’t. See, she too has lost a partner and knows the pain it causes. Believing Monk to be on a swift journey toward death, Natlie spends the end cleaning up Monk’s apartment in advance of his inevitable demise. During the cleaning effort, she uses one of Monk’s sanitizing wipes and begins to feel ill effects.

Having inadvertently identified the poison, a synthetic toxin based on ricin, doctors are able to create an antidote and save both Monk and Natalie’s lives.

Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, SFPD

Ted Levine

There is, perhaps, no relationship more complex than that between Stottlemeyer and Monk. Once upon a time, they were partners in the Homicide Division of the SFPD. Later, Stottlemeyer was Monk’s watch commander where he had the unfortunate duty of suspending Monk until such time as he was emotionally ready to return, something that never happened.
Still, the two of them found a way to work together, unsteady at first but rock solid later on. Once Stottlemeyer learns Monk has been poisoned, he throws together a task force with the goal of finding the would-be assassin and discovering the source of the poison (something Natalie takes care of, as previously mentioned).

Stottlemeyer doesn’t ask for or receive permission for this task force but, as head of the SFPD Homicide Division, he follows his gut, and the rest of the department follows his lead. When the dust settles, Stottlemeyer remains head of the Homicide Division.

Randy Disher Pulls Up Stakes

Jason Gray-Stanford

While Stottlemeyer is hunting down the assassin, Disher runs a second team searching for the person at the top, the one who hired the killer and is responsible for Trudy’s death, and a few others. He figures it out just after Monk does and rallies the troops to back Monk up when he confronts his wife’s killer face to face.

Meanwhile, Disher has covertly accepted the role of Chief of Police on the other side of the country in Summit, New Jersey. And that’s not his only secret. The fledgling relationship with Monk’s first assistant, Sharona, is more serious than anyone supposed. The two of them end up moving in together.
Monk’s New Life

The poison is identified, an antidote is created, and Monk recovers. Having solved Trudy’s murder, Monk finds that he remains unhappy, now because he’s lost the long-standing motive for all of his actions. Now there is a gap in his life he’s unsure how to fill.

That gap gets filled for him when he realizes that Trudy’s child, believed to have died shortly after birth, is alive and well, having been adopted. Monk finds the child, a 26-year-old journalist named Molly, and the two of them form an unconventional but entirely real family. We see some improvements in Monk’s mental well-being, demonstrated by his willingness to sleep in the middle of the bed (he previously always kept Trudy’s side untouched) and he floats the idea that he might retire. Molly, however, convinces him that his gifts are needed, and that he should keep on.

Mr. Monk Shelters in Place, a COVID Short

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk

Whatever events have transpired for Mr. Monk, Captain Stottlemeyer, Chief Disher, and Natalie in the intervening 14 years are anyone’s guess, but we did get a brief glimpse back in 2020.

The only glimmer into the world of Monk released since the show went off the air was a 7-minute short called “Mr. Monk Shelters in Place,” released by Peacock during the height of COVID-19 quarantines. After an introduction from Seth McFarlane, viewers were treated to a view of, as the title suggests, Monk sheltering in place during the first wave of the pandemic.

It’s clear from the short that Monk still struggles with a fear of germs, only made more severe by the ongoing global health crisis. He washes his hands a lot, pauses to clean a spot on the mirror, and washes his hands some more. He wears latex gloves to put socks onto awkwardly gloved feet. He washes fruit in the dishwasher and microwaves his mail, totally normal pandemic stuff.

He also connects over video chat with familiar friends. Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher all make an appearance in split-screen video chat windows from within their respective bubbles. Monk, meanwhile, stands six feet from his monitor, just to be safe.

We learn precious little during the brief over-the-air catch-up sesh, but we do learn something. Natalie got COVID, developed antibodies, and has been donating blood. Randy is still in Summit, New Jersey and is still Chief of Police. Everyone has been wearing masks and they have been making a lot of false arrests. Get it together, Randy. Stottlemeyer has little to add, except that he’s living the dream… the only problem is, it’s a dream cooked up by Stephen King.

Hopefully, things have improved for Monk and the gang over the last three years. We’ll find out when Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie, hits Peacock December 8, 2023.

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