Tony Shalhoub: 'We waited right amount of time' for 'Monk' movie

Tony Shalhoub returns in "Mr. Monk's Last Case." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 5 | Tony Shalhoub returns in "Mr. Monk's Last Case." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Editor's note: This story contains spoilers for the movie "Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie."

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Tony Shalhoub said the new movie Mr. Monk's Last Case, streaming on Peacock, comes at the right time, years after the Monk series ended in 2009.


"We waited the right amount of time," Shalhoub, 70, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.

The film picks up detective Adrian Monk (Shalhoub) preparing for his stepdaughter Molly's (Caitlin McGee) wedding. When Molly's fiance dies, Monk suspects foul play and proceeds to solve the case.

Monk creator Andy Breckman wrote the film. Breckman, 68, said NBC entertained a possible TV movie as early as 2009. USA, NBC and Peacock are all divisions of NBCUniversal.

"Either the budget came in and it was a little north of where they were comfortable, or the timing wasn't right," Breckman said. "I'm just glad we got a chance to revisit him now."


Monk ran for eight seasons on the USA Network with a new case every week. Shalhoub reprised the role in 2020 for a public service announcement sharing COVID-19 information, which Shalhoub said reinvigorated interest in the character.

"The response to that was so strong," Shalhoub said. "That triggered the whole forward movement to the movie."

Prior to Monk, Shalhoub had memorable film roles in Men in Black, Big Night and Galaxy Quest.

Shalhoub continued to make movies during and after Monk before landing another series role on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Shalhoub won three Emmys for Monk and one for Maisel.

After 14 years away from Monk, save for the 2020 short, Shalhoub said it took time for him to get back into character. Monk has obsessive compulsive disorder, which leads him to details other investigators miss.

"Luckily, we had a lot of prep time when we were discussing the script, casting and reading through scenes," Shalhoub said. "I was able to live with it for a number of weeks prior to the start of filming."

The film catches up with Monk at a low point. He is planning to die by suicide, overdosing on pills, after Molly's wedding, even though he sees visions of his late wife, Trudy (Melora Hardin), begging him not to.


Breckman said the film leaves Monk in a more hopeful place by the end.

"The ending resets the character a little bit and puts him in a more positive frame of mind," Breckman said. "I hope he doesn't go into that dark a place again. I don't know how you'd survive going there twice in your life."

The ending of the movie also leaves Monk with a new companion, a rescue dog he adopts reluctantly.

"That's maybe one of the first rules of screenwriting in Hollywood," Breckman said. "If you introduce a dog in the movie, the dog has to survive and the dog has to go home with your main character."

Viewers don't get to see Monk deal with the day-to-day responsibility of walking and cleaning up after a dog. Shalhoub imagined the dog would trigger a lot of Monk's neatness anxieties.

"I imagine it fodder for a lot of comedy," Shalhoub said.

After Monk solves the murder, he's also visited by the ghosts of victims whose murders he solved throughout the series, thanking him. Alas, Breckman said, they could not afford to fly 125 past guest stars back to Toronto to reprise their roles.


"They represented all of our victims," Breckman said.

Despite the title Last Case, Breckman and Shalhoub hope Monk will be called back into action once again.

"We left the door open intentionally," Breckman said.

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