Monk (2002–2009)
5 user 1 critic

Mr. Monk and the Red Herring 

Monk is having a hard time finding a new assistant, and Natalie might be just what he is looking for. But first he has to take her case and solve the mystery of the intruder who seems inordinately interested in her daughter's pet fish.


Randy Zisk


Andy Breckman (creator), Andy Breckman

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Shalhoub ... Adrian Monk
Traylor Howard ... Natalie Teeger
Jason Gray-Stanford ... Lt. Randall Disher
Ted Levine ... Captain Leland Stottlemeyer
Tony Armatrading ... Mr. Franklin (as Anthony Armatrading)
David Purdham ... Lyle Peck
Amy Aquino ... Mrs. Bowen
Emmy Clarke ... Julie Teeger
Adam Wylie ... Pet Store Owner
Raymond O'Connor ... Clemm
Stanley Kamel ... Dr. Charles Kroger
Alan Heitz ... Human Corpuscle
Eileen Grubba ... Mother
Parker Goris ... Fire Safety Kid
Brooke Baumer ... Applicant #1


Monk is in denial about Sharona leaving him. But Kroeger convinces him to accept the fact that she is gone and that he needs to find a new assistant. So he tries to interview candidates but none are to his liking. Natalie Teeger, a single mom shows up. She says a man broke into her home and she killed him. While the police choose not to arrest her, they think that it was just a random act. But she doesn't think so, that's why she came to Monk. Monk looks around and thinks the man was trying to steal her daughter's goldfish. That's when she joins him and helps him. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

21 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


The "scissor murder" in self defense at the beginning cites very accurately the murder in Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954). See more »


When Monk is trying to use the fire extinguisher, the first thing he does is extend the nozzle then pull the pin. However, while he is trying to pace off the proper distance, the nozzle varies between folded and extended. See more »


Human Corpuscle: Hello, I'm a white corpuscle. I'm an important part of your body's defense system. I travel through your bloodstream and I fight bacteria and diseases. Would you like to know more about me?
Natalie Teeger: No. I'd like to know less about you.
See more »


References Scooby Doo, Where Are You! (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

Exit Sharona, enter Natalie
1 August 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 and the Red Herring" is most notable for being the episode that introduced us to Natalie Teeger, a very short notice replacement for Sharona Fleming, after Bitty Schram left following contract issues. It is very sad to see Sharona go, especially since the it was very hard to buy the explanation provided for her leaving (though at least they provided one), too out of the blue and didn't make sense considering it went against what was shown in the previous episodes. The good news is though that the replacement is not a bad one considering the circumstances.

Since it is her first episode, Natalie is not quite an interesting character yet, her personal life is established well but there is not yet much to the character personality-wise that sets her apart from Sharona. This is more to do with the writing though than Traylor Howard, who actually does very well, one misses the sass and no-nonsense nature of Sharona but Howard makes Natalie down to earth and sensitive and she clicks very well with Tony Shalhoub's Monk. Even at this stage, there is a preference for how Natalie deals with Monk's quirks and problems, seeming a little more caring and sensitive than Sharona.

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.

Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford are amusing, and it is always fun to see them together and how Stottlemeyer interacts with Monk in a seesaw kind of chemistry. The supporting cast are all fine, if not any standouts.

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 hilarious wry humour, lovable quirkiness and tender easy-to-relate-to drama is delicately done. The quirks are sympathetically done and never exploited or overdone.

Regarding the character moments, faring best were the hilarious fire extinguisher scene, the touching one with the parrot and a pretty tense one involving a decision between the rock or the fish. The mystery is fun and engaging, if with a little too much emphasis on the big clue and the previously mentioned plot inconsistency during the otherwise pretty clever and not too silly summation is head-scratching.

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.

Overall, very good episode and a worthy if not perfect introduction to Natalie. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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