Goodbye Mr. Monk

I knew I would cry. The final episode of the USA network’s detective series Monk aired last Friday and I couldn’t get myself to watch it until today. It was like a good book I never wanted to end.

I knew when I sat down to watch the two-part episode I taped that I would cry and I was right. Based on the quality of the show, the acting, writing and directing, I also knew the last show would not disappoint and I was right. It seems it was the most watched series finale in basic cable history with a viewing audience of 9.4 million. And, the gift that life gives Adrian Monk in the last episode is a reminder to all of us that life is worth living, even when we think it’s not.

I can only give you glimpses of why the show has meant so much to me. I was deeply moved by the depth of his love for his late wife Trudy. The back story to the series includes her murder. The show was remarkable in its ability to find ways to let us see and, most importantly, feel how deeply he loved Trudy and how deeply she loved him. I liked the show too because here is a man battling with enough phobias to fill a stadium yet he still finds a way to take part in life. I like too that Monk was a sensitive man who really allowed himself to feel his life, even though some his feelings gave him such a hard time of it.

There is another thing I loved about the series. It really is about the characters.  So many shows and movies today are all about action and special effects and the conduits for the aforementioned are the characters who might as well be digital people, plugged in to ride the robot or fire the space weapon or some such nonsense. Monk was about people. I’m going to miss the Captain, Randy, Sharona, Natalie,  Ambrose and, most of all, Monk.

And, if you’ll permit me a bit of nearly inexcusable self-indulgence, I take pride in a fact that has no meaning to anyone but me. The even-more-than-brilliant actor who plays Monk, Tony Shalhoub and I, are exactly seven days apart in age. Does that have any real meaning? No, probably not. But I like that it’s true anyway.

If this missive is ever read by someone who took part in making Monk a reality, the actors, producers, writers, those who worked on the set and all others,  thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for creating a show that brought so much to my life and the lives of so many millions of others. If you are not feeling good about yourselves, you’re not paying attention.

Goodbye, Mr. Monk. I’m going to miss you.