A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series includes subtle references to sex and drugs, as well as mildly violent scenes in which a murder is committed. The main character suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and is easily rattled by germs, chaos, and changes in routine, a fact that is sometimes played for laughs (albeit sympathetic ones).
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What's the story?
MONK is the story of Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub), a brilliant but quirky detective armed with a photographic memory and the ability to piece together even the weakest of clues. Monk, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), lost his job with the San Francisco Police Department when he couldn't get a handle on the phobias he developed after his wife's death. Now, with the help of his assistant, widow Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard), Monk works as a private consultant, helping solve cases the police department can't. In doing so, he hopes to convince his former boss, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), to allow him to return to the force.
Is it any good?
Monk is a thinking-person's television show thanks to fresh, intelligent writing and well-nuanced characters. Shalhoub's tender portrayal of his character's subtle idiosyncrasies is nothing short of amazing (he has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for his work on the show), and he easily wins viewers' affection. However, that very subtlety may make the show a little difficult for tweens and young teens to enjoy. They may have fun figuring out "whodunit," but the understated, Seinfeldian humor laced throughout will be lost on them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how detectives solve crimes. What kind of methods do they use to find the perpetrator? Another good discussion topic would be Monk's OCD. Can kids imagine what it would be like to have the disorder? How does Monk balance his OCD with his work? Do kids think they'd be able to do the same in his position?