The versatile Tony Shalhoub starred in this weekly, hour-long mystery series as Adrian Monk, an unorthodox but undeniably brilliant San Francisco police detective. Quitting the force after the death of his wife, Monk suddenly began developing profound and bizarre obsessive-compulsive tendencies, allowing his many phobias -- including a morbid fear of heights, germs, darkness, crowds, even dairy products -- to compromise his skills as a forensic investigator. Nonetheless, Monk flourished as a private detective with the help of his live-in nurse Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram) and the grudging assistance of his envious former SFPD superior Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine). A marvelous blend of high humor and deadly seriousness (in the two-hour opener, Monk had to chase a perpetrator into the sewer system, nearly causing him to go into a hissy-fit when his immaculate wardrobe picked up a stain or two), Monk debuted with much fanfare over the USA cable network on July 12, 2002.
by Hal Erickson synopsis