Monk (2002–2009)
3 user

Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk 

While Natalie attempts to surprise Monk with the ultimate 50th birthday party, a janitor and a patent lawyer are killed during the launch of the first vacuum with a self-cleaning filter.


Tawnia McKiernan


Andy Breckman (created by), Peter Wolk

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Episode cast overview:
Tony Shalhoub ... Adrian Monk
Traylor Howard ... Natalie Teeger
Jason Gray-Stanford ... Randall Disher
Ted Levine ... Captain Leland Stottlemeyer
Virginia Madsen ... T.K. Jensen
John Carroll Lynch ... Kurt Pressman
Lex Medlin ... Richard Meckler
Aaron Linker Aaron Linker ... Little Monk
Annabeth Miller Annabeth Miller ... Mrs. Meckler (as Anna Beth Miller)
David Pires ... Brad Foster
Gregory A. Thompson ... Paul Wellman (as Gregory Thompson)
Jack Betts ... Cowboy Hank
Michael Coleman ... Uniform Cop #1
Michael Patrick McGill ... Uniform Cop #2
Sean Blodgett Sean Blodgett ... Dr. Z


Natalie is determined to throw a surprise party for Mr. Monk, even though he's certain that she can't do it. Meanwhile, a janitor is killed shortly before a businessman is poisoned. Mr. Monk is distracted during the case, because he's always on the look out for a surprise party being sprung on him, and also obsessed with a new vacuum cleaner! Captain Stottlemeyer finally sees some romance in the form of Virginia Madsen as T. K. Jensen. Written by Sharnhorst

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery



Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

16 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Seven years after this episode aired, Virginia Madsen (T.K. Jensen) would play a character that got involved with the Captain of a different police department in the series "Elementary". In "Monk" her character gets involved with SFPD police "CaptIan Leland Stottlemeyer" and in "Elementary" her character gets involved with NYPD police Captain "Thomas Gregson". See more »


Dr. Z says that sodium fluoroacetate is so "fast-acting" that it can kill within 10 seconds. In reality, the compound can cause symptoms within 30-60 minutes of ingestion. See more »


Adrian Monk: If you buy me something, then I have to pretend to like it. And then I have to remember to thank you, and then I have to return it, and it's a nightmare. It's a nightmare!
See more »


References Royal Wedding (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Birthday celebrating with Monk
1 October 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.

While, as far as previous episodes go, not as good as "Mr Monk is Someone Else", "Mr Monk and the Voodoo Curse" and particularly "Mr Monk and the Foreign Man", "Happy Birthday Mr Monk" is a better episode than "Mr Monk and the Critic", "Mr Monk Takes the Stand" and especially "Mr Monk and the UFO". At least the mystery here wasn't obvious, overstuffed and uninspired or excessively weird or silly. It may lack the pathos and consistent humour of the best 'Monk' episodes, but, short-comings and all, it's a decent and entertaining episode.

There are things that don't come off successfully. The least successful is Stottlemeyer's romantic subplot, this seemed more of an excuse to give the character something to do after taking too much of a back-seat in some of the later episodes, and it just felt too rushed and bland with the chemistry between Ted Levine and Virginia Madsen (also lacking warmth and having very little to do) was not particularly convincing.

Some of Monk's behaviour in the middle act is a little too cartoonish and overplayed, the morgue stuff was overkill. Yes, that joke about the blood was not funny, necessary or tasteful.

However, the mystery generally is one of the stronger faring ones of the season up to this point. It's not always plausible, but it was suitably twisty, didn't get too silly or weird and didn't feel like it was trying to do too much and not do enough with it. It starts off well with the single most grizzliest murder of the show (didn't think it was overdone though, 'Monk' is no stranger to brutal murders, the opening murder in "Mr Monk vs. The Cobra" and the murder with the elephant in "Mr Monk Goes to the Circus" were brutal too) and the second murder was done via a clever method, though some have questioned its plausibility in how more people weren't harmed. The identity of the murderer was not as easily foreseeable as in other episodes, not like (as far as Season 8 goes) "Mr Monk Goes to Group Therapy", "Mr Monk's Favourite Show" and especially "Mr Monk and the Critic".

Apart from the Stottlemeyer subplot and Monk being too cartoonish in the middle, the character moments were delightful. Loved how caring Natalie is towards Monk and understood Monk's aversion to birthday parties (relatable once the reason is given and it is not an over the top one for Monk's condition) and Natalie's persistence (seeing as if there is anybody deserving of a birthday celebration it's Monk). Personally liked the fake car and vacuum stuff. Particularly good is how Season 8 began showing Monk conquering some of his phobias and seeing him making progress. This was believable and it was right decision for gradual progression to be made rather than all being magically cured just like that in the final episode when Monk finally gets closure.

One of the best things about 'Monk' has always been Tony Shalhoub, who was as Monk consistently one of the best things about every episode regardless of what material is thrown at him.. 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.

Traylor Howard is sassy and sympathetic and Ted Levine does his best with beneath him material. The supporting cast are solid. The writing is amusing and thought-provoking.

Visually, the episode is slick and stylish as ever. 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 conclusion, decent but for a special episode it could have been better. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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