Monk (2002–2009)
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Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus 

When a ringmaster is murdered by an acrobat in a crowded restaurant, Monk suspects his ex wife is responsible. But with her foot broken and in a cast, how could she have done it?


Randy Zisk


Andy Breckman (creator), James Krieg | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Shalhoub ... Adrian Monk
Bitty Schram ... Sharona Fleming
Jason Gray-Stanford ... Lt. Randall Disher
Ted Levine ... Captain Leland Stottlemeyer
Lolita Davidovich ... Natasha Lovara
Lola Glaudini ... Ariana Dakkar
Mark Ivanir ... Edgar Heinz
Kane Ritchotte ... Benjy Fleming
Ilia Volok ... Nikolai Petroff
Steve Monroe ... Sgt. Myers
Marek Probosz ... Sergei
Stanley Kamel ... Dr. Charles Kroger
K.T. Thangavelu ... Radiologist
Daniel Faltus ... Maitre d'
Voki Kalfayan Voki Kalfayan ... Juggler


When a sarcastic and unpopular ringmaster is murdered by an acrobat wearing a face mask and a Ninja-like costume, Stottlemeyer suspects an animal trainer who not only has a motive (he's the former lover of the ringmaster's dinner date) but also owns the murder weapon. Monk, however, suspects the ringmaster's ex-wife, a trapeze artist billed as "the Queen of the Sky" who is also a sharpshooter. Unfortunately for Monk's theory, the trapeze artist, Natasia Lovara, has a broken foot, confirmed by X-rays. The mystery, as in "Billionaire Mugger" and "Dale the Whale," is not who did it but how it was done. Meanwhile, the everythingaphobic Monk alienates Sharona by telling her that her fear of elephants is irrational and advising her to "suck it up." Only when the elephant actually crushes its trainer's head in front of both Monk and Sharona does he begin to empathize with her and attempt to offer her the sort of comfort and understanding that she routinely offers him. Having been informed by... Written by WyattJones

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pay phone | See All (1) »


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

18 July 2003 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


The subplot of this episode ; Sharona being terrified of the elephant, is very similar to the episode in "Wings" (which Tony Shalhoub starred in) entitled "Oedipus Wrecks". Tim Daly who plays Joe is petrified of an elephant as well. See more »


The gun used by Natasha is referred to a .454 Ruger Casull, however this is incorrect. While Ruger does make a .454 Casull handgun, it's a double action revolver. The one used by Natasha is clearly a single action revolver. Only Freedom Arms and Magnum Research make a single action revolver in .454 Casull. See more »


Adrian Monk: Ahem. She missed the net?
Lt. Randall Disher: She never used a net.
Adrian Monk: She go to the hospital?
Lt. Randall Disher: No, she's a Romani gypsy. They don't believe in doctors. She set the bone herself.
Adrian Monk: So she never saw a doctor, which means a doctor never saw her. Captain.
Captain Leland Stottlemeyer: All right, Monk. Lieutenant, see if our Queen of the Sky will consent to an X-ray.
Lt. Randall Disher: Fine.
[walks out of the room, visibly unhappy at Monk]
Adrian Monk: Thank you.
Captain Leland Stottlemeyer: You're welcome.
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References The Elephant Man (1980) See more »


It's a Jungle Out There
Written by Randy Newman
Performed by Randy Newman
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User Reviews

At the circus with Monk
17 July 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee 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 the Circus" is not as good as the previous three episodes of Season 2 but is still a fun and intriguing episode, though perhaps one of the season's weaker episodes. Although they still have some amusing moments and both are incredibly well acted, the hostility between Monk and Sharona is out of character, neither have been this cruel and uncaring towards each other and Monk's OCD seems to have been neglected. Especially Sharona, who, like with the cigarette, shows some unprofessionalism.

As clever as it was, the final solution and how the crimes were committed were rather easy to guess early on, also figured out the business with the broken foot and thought that would have been more obvious earlier. The acting from the supporting cast is not too great, Lolita Davidovich oddly enough comes off best. She does her best with some inspired lines, apart from a very inconsistent accent that never sounds authentically Russian. Lola Glaudini lacks warmth and Mark Avenir is just as cold.

However, as much as it sounds like a negative review, there is a lot to enjoy about "Mr Monk Goes to the Circus". 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.

Bitty Schram is sharp and no-nonsense and brings a sympathetic edge when the material allows it and doesn't make Sharona out of character. Still love her and Shalhoub's Monk together, and there are plenty of amusing exchanges that serve as a good reminder as to why they are one of the best developed detective duos on television. Benjy is still cute.

Ted Levine is vastly entertaining and will always love Stottlemeyer seesaw (from loyalty and appreciation to frustration) chemistry with Monk. Jason Gray-Stanford is nice support too.

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. The mystery is an interesting one with a colourful circus setting and the elephant murder one of the show's cleverest and most gruesome.

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, good if not great. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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