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Goodbye Monk: Series Finale Recap and Review

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Over the course of eight seasons, San Francisco's obsessive-compulsive detective, Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub), solved over 100 cases, but there was one he simply couldn't work out. Twelve years prior to the finale, Adrian Monk's wife, Trudy (Melora Hardin), was murdered. Mr. Monk, the greatest detective in the city, couldn't figure out who did it even with help from his assistant Natalie (Traylor Howard), San Francisco Police Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), and Lieutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford). The series finale finally revealed the answer to Monk's biggest case.

The two part finale was fast-paced and had a lot of questions to answer to complete the series. As for the murder itself, Trudy was walking in the parking garage. Once she turned on her car, it exploded. Before she died though (as we learned in the finale), Trudy left a Christmas present for Monk. For twelve years, Monk just left the present there, unable to open it. After another case leads him back to the Trudy murder, Monk gets poisoned and is told if he can't identify where he got in contact with the poison, he would die (because without knowing where it came from the doctors would be unable to identify it).

Giving up hope, Monk decides to open the present Trudy gave to him. It's a tape. On it, she confesses that she had an affair with her professor (before she was with Monk) and gave birth to his child, who soon died afterward. The professor, who had been nominated for a position as a judge was the guy. The judge killed Trudy and the midwife who delivered Trudy's baby. Monk escapes from the hospital and confronts the killer, who ends up revealing that the child is still alive, showing where the remains of the midwife was and kills himself.

It's a happy ending for everyone. Monk is cured (the poison was in the wipes) and remains close to Trudy's daughter, now 26. Captain Stottlemeyer is happy and married. Natalie has a boyfriend in the Navy. Randy gets a job offering in New Jersey and it is revealed that he is moving in with Sharona (Bitty Schram), a regular in the first couple seasons of the show.

I really liked the series finale. I like happy endings and if Monk ended up dying, I would have felt cheated. I liked knowing the solution to Trudy's mystery and I thought it was really clever. As with any series finale, many hardcore fans won't like the solution, in this case possibly because all the clues from the previous seasons didn't help solve the case. For me, that wasn't relevant.

Monk was a very interesting show that I looked forward to watching every week. The cases were interesting, the writing was clever, the acting was superb, and the show was overall really fun and entertaining. It's a shame it had to end, but everything does. At least there are always reruns and DVDs.

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  • Dave

    At first I didnt like the fact all the answer where given via tape and that clues from the previous seasons werent used. But having just wahced monk season 1-8 again. I liked the ending

    the clue of why trudy was in the garage was already given to us and the other issue was the 6 fingered man ( granted in season 6 they forgot about warrick made the bomb and said 6 finger man did). Something felt right about monk getting the answers from the women he always loved and see him break because she wasnt perfect was done well.

    Overall I though Monk was a fantastic shows granted some weak eps but out of 135 afew isnt bad.

    They did have afew inconsistencies as monk said he didn’t like to fly yet went all on plane twice. Sometimes they had monk feel a certain way just to set up the episode such as in mr monk takes medicence he was all like I am tired yet nothing in the previous episode showed much to this build up.

    then in mr and mrs monk he was getting better but again nothing was shown in eps before them to show this build up.

    In one ep randy said he didnt have an uncle but later on he does ^^:

    also later episodes were less about the mystries.

    But dispite my small nags an excellent show was done with monk 🙂

  • derwin beasley

    When I first watched monk I was scared of it when my mother watched it, little did I know this would be my favorite show and a part of my life. I would drive from d.c to Baltimore every Friday to see my mother and I made sure I got there just on time for monk. The peace of mind this t.v serious brought me still exist today. I’m happy Trudy’s murderer was found and I’m thankful for Tony’s effort in making monk exist. So sad to see this great group of people go I will miss you and wish you all the best of luck

  • Roberto A Guzman

    I know that every one who have seen the complete serie is a fan of mystery books, can you related the episodes of Monk with anothers ones of other mystery writer? for example ” Monk goes to circus” thats similar of “Murder in the Nile” etcs.

  • May

    I felt cheated by the finale. I invested years in watching Monk and the ending is a big disappoinment. First, they met and fell in love in college in the past episodes, but in the finale, Trudy said the affair was when she was in law school (after college) before they met. Also the judge guarded the secret of Trudy’s being alive by killing the midwife when she decided to come clean but even after Monk and the police would have discovered the bones of the midwife, the secret could have been kept a secret because bones cannot talk and there were no records of the birth certificate; it’s umbelievable to have a cold-blooded killer judge to have a sudden change of heart to suddenly let out the secret that the daughter was alive before committing suicide. I always liked the show until the finale, the writer could have at least made an effort to research the background and made a better ending.

  • Marilyn

    I’m surprised so few people noticed the glaring error in the final episode–see Loren’s comment (#2 above). The affair took place in 1982, well over a year after Adrian met Trudy (they graduated in 1981). You’d think the writers would have checked that fact and added a couple of years to the daughter’s age.

  • Natalie

    I taped the last episodes and have watched the final one at least 5 times already. Monk will really be missed – no other shows like it.

  • YellowOne

    As a first time full episode viewer, I felt the finale was perfect. It offered just enough background to get a first time viewer interested and involved, yet left enough to question how it was going to end. I’m a huge fan of watching series finales, “just to say I watched it,” but this was by far the most rewarding finale I’ve ever watched.

  • JenJen

    When Monk said that Molly lived in Monterey County, he claimed that Molly was only 20 minutes away. I live in Monterey County…it may be 20 minutes away by helicopter (and that’s a stretch), but it is at least an 1 1/2 hour drive in perfect traffic conditions.

  • TvEye

    The shirt hint was that he no longer had his top button done, I believe.
    I wanted to like the finale, and did in some respects, it was a disappointment to me. Monk spent so much of both hours at death’s door and totally ineffectual. The solution to the poisoning method was so obvious in the courtroom scene, I couldn’t believe Natalie, if not Monk, didn’t notice then.
    While I’m pleased that (spoiler alert) they didn’t kill off Monk, the missing sort-of stepdaughter thing was not as satisfying as It should have been. Maybe I just hoped, after all those years, once he solved Trudy’s death, Monk would get to completely move on. It was ok, but I wanted more.

  • Rather enjoyed the season finale. I did like how it all linked it especially with long time viewers knowing it was “The Judge” and closing up all the loose ends.

  • The finale was exceptional. Every emotion was covered. The biggest hint to Monk’s future was his shirt. For the entire series, he wore the same clothes. In the final scenes, he has on a completely different shirt. He was getting better which is what people wanted to see. He was such a sad character that you wanted to see him happy. Finally, once the cast settles into new roles, I expect a few TV movies in the future.

  • Loren

    I love Monk, but they made a mistake. I watched the re-runs before the final and the episode where Monk went to his 25 year reunion, class 0f 81 (he knew trudy) but in the finale, she said, it was before she knew monk(the affair and baby), 1983 (i think) when she had the baby. Otherwise, I love happy endings. Bye Bye Monk.

  • Did you miss the week before? That episode had Captain Stottlemeyer and Trudy (another one) getting married.