Review: Monk - Mr. Monk and the End (Part 2) (series finale) Season 8, Episode 16

The pressure of writing the last episode must be tremendous. Especially for a long-running show like Monk. The writers have to tie up loose ends, satisfy viewers' desire for the characters, and leave fans with a sense of closure. Closure, in fact, is the word Dr. Bell used with Adrian. Monk was looking for it and so were we.

But the ending is tough. There have been some shows that have stumbled badly at the end. Seinfeld, for instance, was a real stinker. But the memory of Newhart, which harkened back to The Bob Newhart Show may be the best-ever. Now, in the broader scheme of things, Seinfeld was a much better series than Newhart; in every way but the ending. Which brings us back to Monk. How did the writers navigate the Monk finale? Follow me after the jump and I'll tell you all about it.

As Larry David might say on Curb Your Enthusiasm, "Pretty, pretty good." The Monk finale was pretty, pretty good. It delivered closure, all right. The mystery of Trudy's murder was finally wrapped up. It was Judge Rickover, an ex-lover of Trudy's from her college days. He'd become a prominent judge twelve years later when he killed Trudy to keep secret that they'd had an affair that resulted in a child. Rickover had the midwife killed, too.

When Adrian figured it out and confronted the judge in the rain, holding a gun on him and forcing him to dig up the proof -- the midwife's body -- the drama was tense. Would Monk pull the trigger? He could have. Monk thought he was dying, but he didn't. Ultimately, Monk's vengeance was greater because he shamed the judge by telling him that he had killed three people -- the doctor, too -- all for a job. A job!

Shamed and knowing the jig was up, the judge took the pistol and killed himself. Craig T. Nelson very good in this role, the perfect foil because he can play smug, overconfident jerks like this guy. When Monk tried to sock him for insulting Trudy, you could relate.

It was great that it was Natalie who figured out about the wipes being poisoned; it showed that in all her time with Monk, she'd learned a thing or two. But curing Monk and solving Trudy's murder wasn't enough. Something was missing.

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