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Monk

Witty crime drama too highbrow for most kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Crimes are solved through smart (albeit quirky) detective work. Death, widowhood, and OCD are also strong themes here.

Positive role models

The main character suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and is easily rattled by germs, chaos, and changes in routine, but overall he's a kind, smart, and effective detective.

Violence

In each episode, a murder is committed and the crime scene -- including the dead body -- is featured.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Mild ("son of a bitch") and infrequent.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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).

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Premiere date:July 12, 2002
Cast:Bitty Schram, Ted Levine, Tony Shalhoub
Networks:NBC, USA
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written byGracesbigsis July 14, 2010

Great show, may be too much for little kids but fine for tweens

Monk is one of my favorite shows. It's not gory or graphic. The actors are some of the best I've ever seen. The writing is extremely clever and witty. Other than a few innuendos or "sex-affiar," as Monk would call it, related crimes, there really is no strong sexual content. The main characters show each other respect and demonstrate what it is to be a true friend. Monk has a lot of issues to work through and each episode will likely have a moment in which you're laughing at some of his antics, or at some of the reactions to his antics, and then grabbing a hanky for a touching ending scene. I would recommend this show to anyone over 11. The only real issues are that some of the bodies, while tastefully filmed so that they're not graphic, may be just a little more bloody than you might want them to be. The murders can be very creepy so I advise parents not to let young children watch this. The language is very mild but it's nothing most tweens haven't heard from other TV shows they've likely seen. I don't understand some of Monk's bad reception, personally. There are a LOT more violent crime shows out there and this one is full of heart, charm, and wit. It isn't about the murder mysteries. It's about a man who is trying to cope with his many psychological issues and it's about the people in his life who are willing to help him, no matter how difficult it gets. I think that's a very positive message.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byMedia Lover March 21, 2010

Very good

This show is great. Monk is a good influence, and its one of the only murder shows that is appropriate for preteens. My brother is 10, and he has no problem with this show. I love it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bydharvell April 9, 2008

This Show Has Potential

The characters are very well written, as is the plot line. The only real thing holding me back from whole-heartedly recommending this show is the graphic violence. This includes a scene where a woman is dismembered in a garage, blood splashing all over the windows. At that point, the show went off our TV for good. If they could find a way to portray the murders in a less graphic way, this show would be awesome.