Monk (2002–2009)
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Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike 

A city-wide garbage strike throws Monk completely off his game as he tries to solve the murder of a union boss.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mayor Ray Nicholson (as Chi Mcbride)
Larry Cutler (as David Deluise)
Drugstore Manager
Union Vice President
Jimmy Cusack
Lonnie Colón ...
Alice Cooper
Dr. Charles Kroger
Ron Neely
Reporter #1 (as Darlene Kegan)


The San Francisco sanitation union has gone on strike, demanding better pay from the city. As a result, garbage collection has stopped and the streets are now lined with trash bags. Monk, naturally, has a hard time dealing with the stench. Things get worse, though, when union boss Jimmy Cusack is found dead in his office of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, bringing negotiations to a halt. Monk finds evidence of foul play, but the stench causes him to make outrageous accusations against the mayor, and even Alice Cooper. Written by dmcreif

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Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery






Release Date:

14 July 2006 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


When accusing Alice Cooper of the crime, Monk says he doubts that 'Alice Cooper' is even his real name. Alice Cooper's birth name is in fact Vincent Damon Furnier. See more »


When Captain Stottlemeyer and Lt. Disher drive up to stop Monk from trying to pick up all the garbage on his own, they park the car behind a huge line of piled up trash bags. The camera then cuts to Monk driving the garbage truck, and when it cuts back to the two getting out of the car all the garbage is gone. See more »


[watching Monk trying to clean up San Francisco's garbage single-handedly]
Lt. Randall Disher: He's like a vigilante. A garbage vigilante.
Captain Leland Stottlemeyer: You could say that, but don't.
See more »

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User Reviews

The strike may be "garbage" but the episode itself isn't
18 August 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 the terrific season opener in "Mr Monk and the Actor", the high standard of Season 5 continues with one of the funniest 'Monk' episodes "Mr Monk and the Garbage Strike". It is hilarious, with some of the most side-splitting-from-laughing moments of the entire show, and it is terrific in its own right. As said in my review summary, it is the complete anti-thesis of "garbage". "Mr Monk and the Garbage Strike" has a fun, very well-written and never too predictable or obvious mystery that keeps one guessing right up to the final solution (one of 'Monk's' most memorable) and entertained by how Monk deduces it all.

But it is the character moments where "Mr Monk and the Garbage Strike" most shines. The humour elements are emphasised here and they are classic 'Monk' and among the show's funniest. The character interaction and how everybody reacts to Monk is delightful too. Standout moments include the scene between Monk and Kroger talking about the garbage in the mail, Monk taking things into his own hands and trying to solve the problem himself (not everybody like this scene, but for me it's always been a 'Monk' highlight), when Monk accuses Alice Cooper of murder, the whisper spot moment and Monk's suggestion to the mayor of how to solve the garbage problem.

Basically, how Monk reacts to the consequences of the garbage strike (which anybody can sympathise with, speaking from personal experience with a garbage strike going on right now where I live and am studying, the consequences of garbage strikes look and smell absolutely repugnant), which was a perfect scenario to show his everyday quirks and problems. Natalie's line referencing karma was the only line that fell flat a little but not enough to bring the episode down.

As said many times, 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.

Natalie is down to earth, sympathetic and sassy, also being sensitive to Monk's needs and quirks which Traylor Howard does well bringing out. Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford have fun as Stottlemeyer and Disher as ever and one cannot not mention the brilliant cameo of Alice Cooper.

It's not just the cast or story 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 wry humour, lovable quirkiness and tender easy-to-relate-to drama is delicately done, particularly the last one. The quirks are sympathetically done and never exploited or overdone.

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. Oh and a good job is done with the different opening credits sequence to accommodate the changes made.

In summation, a terrific episode and a hilarious one. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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