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This has the best beginning I've ever seen on a Monk show. That's
because I am biased, being a big fan of film noir movies, those great
black-and-white crime films of the late '40s and early '50s.
The star of this show, actor Tony Shalhoub, greets us in a first-ever pre-introduction and explains that this show has all the elements of a film noir and so they filmed it in black-and-white. Sit back and enjoy, he says.....and I did. That opening segment has some of the best photography I've ever seen and it is truly great film cinematography. Monk meets a rich man who has disappeared for seven years and then tells (and shows himself, out of the shadows) as a man who has leprosy!!
After the commercial, we see the germ-conscious Adrian Monk freaking out and the film shifts to comedy for a bit until it settles into the story featuring deception, a femme fatal and all the other goodies of good noir.....yet, at the same time keeping it's comedy close by.
We also find Natalie getting a boy friend, a dermatologist played by Englishman Paul Blackthorn. He's the guy who played a terrorist in the series '24."
It got a little silly in the end and, for once, I had the crime solved before Monk figured it out. Kudos to the show for this unique black-and-white presentation. It was nice to see.
A copy of "Mr. Monk and the Leper" should be placed in a time capsule
and preserved for future generations. It is an ideal example of how
comedy and serious drama can interface with each other.
The opening scene, where detective Adrian Monk meets his new client, a man who stays hidden in the shadows, is deadly serious: The man says he is a leper, and we are shocked to hear that this dread disease can still be with us.
But then, comedy takes over. There are numerous laugh-out-loud scenes, for example the scene at the probate hearing, where Monk asserts that the supposed dead man is still alive. The Commissioner decides to test Monk's powers of observation, and asks him to turn around. Monk does so.
Commissioner: "Now... can you describe my shirt?" Monk: "Which one? The one you're wearing, or the one your secretary is wearing?" To the Commissioner's surprise (but not ours), Monk has noticed that the cute stenographer is wearing a man's shirt, obviously one she borrowed from her boss, after ripping her blouse during a sex romp on the office sofa. Monk even points out that the sofa cushions were replaced backwards, in haste.
Then, there is the scene where Lt. Randy Disher tries to retrieve a picture of himself that's on the dermatologist's wall. He tries to slip it off the wall, but that's not so easy. A struggle ensues: Randy against the wall of photos. It turns out that ALL the other pictures are loose, but the pic that HE wants is attached to the wall, which finally shatters when he tries to pry it loose. Funny stuff.
And of course, there's the unforgettable scene where Natalie is sitting in her date's car, and they are necking furiously... then he tells her that HE used to be a leper! The usually sensible Natalie freaks out, and later we see her drinking an entire bottle of mouthwash.
Dan N. (email@example.com)
'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
The previous episode "Mr Monk Meets His Dad" was very nearly a special episode, let down by a lacking mystery. "Mr Monk and the Leper" is a special episode, it is agreed one of the funniest and cleverest, plus it is perhaps the most interesting and unique of all the 'Monk' episodes. The mystery is much stronger here, it's not a tough one but it doesn't take a back-seat and is clever and engaging. Besides it's hardly the first time that the viewer is ahead of Monk in solving the case and isn't the last or worst, not enough to spoil the episode anyhow. It does agreed get a touch too silly at the end, but not in a way that spoils things too much.
One of the best things about "Mr Monk and the Leper" is the photography. 'Monk' has always been a well-made show visually, but "Mr Monk and the Leper" really stands out in this regard. It is perhaps the best-looking 'Monk' episode, so good that one has to check that it's actually a television episode and not a modern film-noir film that it's strongly reminiscent of. This is a compliment in the very best of ways, no other 'Monk' episode is like this which is what makes it stand out from the rest.
"Mr Monk and the Leper" is also one of the funniest 'Monk' episodes, not just from Monk but also Natalie and Disher have scenes that are among their finest. Standout character moments being anything that revolves around Monk's quirks/neuroses and how he deals with his situation with the leper, the probate hearing scene, Monk/the commissioner scene talking about the shirts, Disher with the pictures (one of his best ever scenes) and Natalie with the Listerine.
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. Jason Gray-Stanford and Ted Levine are good as usual as Disher and Stottlemeyer. The supporting cast are good.
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 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.
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.
Overall, unique and hilarious episode of 'Monk' and one of the best of Season 5, also in the top half of the whole show. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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