Monk (2002–2009)
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Mr. Monk Goes Back to School 

When English teacher Beth Landow falls from the clock tower at Trudy's former high school, Monk is called in and quickly disproves the police theory of suicide. The trail of clues leads to ... See full summary »



(creator), (teleplay) | 3 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Randall Disher
Arleen Cassady
Benjy Fleming
Iverson, Grounds Keeper
Erica Yoder ...
Bobby Brewer ...
Kyle (as Bob Brewer)
Chane't Johnson ...
First Teacher
Second Teacher
Lunch Lady
Fire Marshal


When English teacher Beth Landow falls from the clock tower at Trudy's former high school, Monk is called in and quickly disproves the police theory of suicide. The trail of clues leads to a science teacher but he has an iron-clad alibi. Monk becomes a substitute teacher in the hopes of solving the case. Written by WyattJones

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

20 June 2003 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Filmed at the same place as High Anxiety (1977). Both movies feature deaths from the tower. See filming locations. See more »


Sharona parks in a handicap spot and Monk questions her doing so. She says "I think we qualify". It doesn't matter it a person qualifies or not. Unless your car is equipped with a handicap tag (hung inside the car) or has a handicap license plate, parking in a handicap spot will get your car ticketed or towed. See more »


Coach Patterson: Expect me when you least expect me!
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It's A Jungle Out There
Performed by Randy Newman
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User Reviews

Back to school with Mr Monk
16 July 2017 | by See all my reviews

'Monk' has always been one of my most watched shows when needing comfort, to relax after a hard day, a good laugh or a way to spend a lazy weekend.

After a very good Season 1, where the weakest episode "Mr Monk and the Earthquake" was still above decent, Season 2 gets off to a great start with "Mr Monk Goes Back to School", one of the season's best episodes. 'Monk' was always a show that was remarkably well-established and settled early on, and with "Mr Monk Goes Back to School" one sees noticeable changes that work immediately rather than taking time to get used to.

One of the best things about 'Monk' has always been the acting of Tony Shalhoub in the title role. It was essential for him to work and be the glue of the show, and Shalhoub not only is that but also at his very best he IS the show. Have always loved the balance of the humour, which is often hilarious, and pathos, which is sincere and touching. It is remarkable here that right from the first episode to when the show ended that one likes him straight away, even with his quirks and deficiencies that could easily have been overplayed, and also that he is better developed than most titular characters of other shows at this particular stage. Who can't help love Monk's brilliant mind too?

He is very well supported by a sharp and no-nonsense but also sympathetic Bitty Schram, whose Sharona makes for a worthy and entertaining partner for Monk's sleuthing and somebody with a maternal side. There is always a debate at who's better between Sharona and Natalie, personally like both in their own way and consider them both attractive though as of now leaning towards Natalie as the better acted and more attentive of the two. The two are so enjoyable together and the best detective duo of any show in recent years from personal opinion.

Also by a very amusing, and sometimes even funnier than that, Ted Levine, what a difference from his Buffalo Bill in 'The Silence of the Lambs', the loyalty, friendship and annoyance towards Monk coming across wonderfully. Jason Gray-Stanford is growing in confidence and comic timing with each episode, as is the chemistry with the other three leads. Andrew McCarthy plays his role with wry wit and unpredictability.

It's not just the cast though. Another star is the writing, which is also essential to whether the show would be successful or not and succeed it does here. The mix of hilarious wry humour, lovable quirkiness and tender easy-to-relate-to drama is delicately done but extremely deft, of which some of the funniest writing of the whole show is in this episode. The character moments are such a joy with the principal cast are always.

Actually found the Trudy stuff very nice touches, while the Sharona telling off the kid for his treatment of Monk, all of Monk's classroom antics (never less than very funny), Derek's battle of wits law of physics boast and Monk's moment with the coffee are great moments. Oh and the murder is one of the cleverest of the whole show and the solution is one, despite being sure of who the perpetrator is, that is a genuine surprise.

Visually, the episode is shot in a slick and stylish way, and the music is both understated and quirky. While there is a preference for the theme music for Season 1, Randy Newman's "It's a Jungle Out There" has grown on me overtime, found it annoying at first but appreciate its meaning and what it's trying to say much more now.

In summary, wonderful and one of the season's and show's best. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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