Everyone's favorite obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk (Tony Shaloub) is back and ready for a brand new set of cases beginning January 9. If the opening installment, "Mr. Monk and the Other Brother," is any indication, fans are in store for another terrific season.
Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do, Sahara) gives an inspired performance as Adrian's delinquent half-brother Jack, Jr. It seems Jack has been doing some time in a local prison for auto theft. He manages to break out of prison but gets himself framed for murdering the prison's social worker. Desperate to clear his name, he turns to Adrian for help. Adrian wants to believe him and yet at the same time can't seem to get past Jack's tendency to compulsively lie about just about everything, making the truth even more elusive that usual to nail down.
L-R: Steve Zahn, Tony Shaloub, and Traylor Howard from Monk, "Mr. Monk and the Other Brother". Photo courtesy of USA Network
Monk's obsessive-compulsive tendencies have in the past been somewhat downplayed. But not this time and that's one of the real strengths of the show. The episode opens with Adrian Monk making pancakes for breakfast and, of course, they had to be perfect squares. When Jack breaks into Monk's apartment he's covered in mud. Soon Monk learns that Jack had to crawl through a sewer to escape which just drives Monk absolutely nuts. Several moments like those are scattered throughout the show that make it such a joy to watch. Shaloub, who has won three Emmys and been nominated for three more, turns in a stellar performance that should easily win him more awards.
With "Mr. Monk and the Other Brother" the second half of season seven of Monk is off to a great start. Tune in January 9 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central on USA.