Monk (2002–2009)
8.5/10
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Mr. Monk Goes to Jail 

When an inmate is poisoned to death hours before he's due to be executed, Monk is brought in to solve the case and finds himself as the prison's newest resident.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Sylvia Fairbourn
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Spyder Rudner
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Warden Christie
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Lody
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Second Nazi
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Talk Show Host
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Rastafarian Cook (as James C. Mathis III)
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Medical Examiner
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Ray Kaspo
John Bellucci ...
Abernathy
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Storyline

When a man who was scheduled to be executed is killed before his execution. Monk goes to the prison to help. However, Monk is so turned off by how filthy the prison is and upon hearing that he would have been dead anyway tries to leave. But Dale "The Whale" Biderbeck whose murder plot Monk solved, who is also in the same prison calls him and tells him that he is a suspect but Monk knows that the motive that he is suspected of is not motive enough for him to kill. So he asks Monk to solve the case in exchange for giving Monk information on his wife's murder. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

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Plot Keywords:

pay phone | payphone | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Details

Release Date:

5 March 2004 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Danny Trejo previously starred with Tony Shalhoub in "Spy Kids". See more »

Goofs

An inmate is looking for the remote control to change the channel. The TV is not operated by a remote control and the remote control that Monk finds does not match the TV. See more »

Quotes

[Monk is investigating a prison]
Adrian Monk: I'm out of here. This place is like a prison.
Sharona Fleming: It IS a prison.
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User Reviews

 
Mr Monk and the murdered prison inmate
22 July 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – 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.

"Mr Monk Goes to Jail" is not quite a 'Monk' classic and there are slightly better episodes of Season 2, but that it is still a great episode (that personally have always had a fondness for) is testament to how strong a season Season 2 is, one where the only disappointment (also the first not-so-good episode of 'Monk' from personal opinion) was "Mr Monk and the Missing Granny". Issues are few, though have always felt that the climax is rushed as well as the summation/here's what happened scene that also doesn't quite make as much sense as it ought to have done (interesting and different).

However, the mystery is still interesting and well paced, advantaged by the prison setting, and the why and who dunnit aspects are not as obvious as they can be, didn't see the motive coming actually at all. Making much more of an impression are the character moments and the character interaction, which were often even more memorable than the mysteries anyway. The pat down sequence is classic 'Monk', while Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck's exchanges and taunting with Monk evokes chills and sees how repulsive a human being the character is (and we are not just talking about his size here). Just wish there was more of it, but it was crucial to the story, was interesting and was the start of Trudy's death being resolved, though it took until Season 8 before it was properly.

Sharona and Monk's chemistry as always is a joy, they work so well as a team, but the episode is at its best in the interaction between Monk and Spyder, Spyder is an interesting character and the who stole the watch subplot was surprisingly well done.

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.

Ted Levine and Jason-Gray Stanford are underused but amusing. Of the guest stars, Danny Trejo fares best with a believable change of the terrifying to sympathetic. Trejo's introduction is genuinely intimidating and one is touched by his sympathetic side and entertained by some hilarious moments with Monk and the watch subplot. Tim Curry is also excellent as Dale, maybe not quite having the gross-out factor of Adam Arkin's interpretation in "Mr Monk Meets Dale the Whale", but the memorable lines and exchanges are there (such as the chilling final line) and, while not subtle perhaps (then again he is not a subtle character we're talking about), Curry is very menacing and clearly enjoys himself, positively relishing gleefully his exchanges with Shalhoub. Kathy Baker is good though with not much to do.

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.

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.

Overall, a highly enjoyable season finale if rather rushed at the end. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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