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USA Insider Monk

Tony Shalhoub on How Monk Navigated His Character’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Adrian Monk is returning with a movie on Peacock this December. Find out what he thinks made the character so great to begin with.

By Stephanie Gomulka

Monk star Tony Shalhoub is giving an inside look at some of the inspiration to his beloved character. The private homicide detective with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and numerous phobias ranging from germs to dentists will soon be back in Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie.

The Emmy Award winner spoke to USA Insider about the return of Adrian Monk and how one of the co-creators’ own experiences with OCD shaped Adrian Monk into the beloved character fans know and love.

Actor Tony Shalhoub on the Success of Monk

Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger, Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, Ted Levine as Leland Stottlemeyer, and Jason Gray-Stanford as Randy Disher

A lot of possible factors play into a show successfully entering the “zeitgeist,” according to Shalhoub.

“So much of, I think film and television… when it’s successful, it’s so much about the timing,” Shaloub told USA Insider. “I’ve always thought that. Why do certain things — why do things catch fire? Why do certain things only, you know, last a year or less?”

RELATED: Monk Creator, Producers Say To Watch These Episodes Before Mr. Monk's Last Case

The actor worked on the USA Network drama for eight seasons from 2002 to 2009 accumulating a lot of positive critical and fan attention the whole time. The actor attributes the time the show came out to much of its success.

“I don’t know that the show would have worked four years earlier,” Shalhoub said. “I don’t know that it would have caught fire had we waited four more years.” Adding, “It found the right slot, on the right network, at the right moment.”

How Many Emmys Did Tony Shalhoub Win for Monk?

Monk Tv Show Best Moments4

Shalhoub garnered 3 Emmy wins for his portrayal of Adrian Monk.

The “sweet spot” between the “more poignant, serious side of this character” and funnier sides of Monk was something they wanted to find when they first started working on the series, according to Shalhoub.

One of the shows co-creators, David Hoberman, had OCD when he was a child and it informed aspects of the show and Monk’s character, Shalhoub said. He also noted they viewed Hoberman as their “north star” during production. 

“We would always run ideas by him,” Shalhoub explained. “He was always the voice that, you know,l kept us…from sending up the disorder. Always respecting it. He was, he was really, really vigilant about that.”

Trying to honor the disorder and break stigma surrounding OCD is something they tried to keep in Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie as well, Shalhoub said.

The actor views the character of Monk as someone who turned his disorder into an asset.

“A superpower really,” Shalhoub called it.

Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie premieres on December 8th on Peacock. Stream all eight seasons of the show now.

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