Monk returns this Friday, July 18th to kick off its 7th season, so I dug right into the screener SideReel received for the premiere episode.
I was definitely tantalized by many a teaser for the season including this first episode of "Monk Buys a House" in which, yes Monk buys a house - (a little strange for a man who's terrified of many things perhaps?), plus the many fun guest stars Monk has to offer this season including Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond and 'Til Death) in the premiere.
I was also curious to see how they would handle the sad passing of Monk cast member, Stanley Kamel, Monk's therapist Dr. Kroger.
Often it's difficult for a show to work with the leaving or loss of a cast member, but as I saw in the Monk season premiere, they deal with it very respectfully and smoothly, including good transition moments of mentioning how much they all miss him, plus a dedication of the episode in loving memory of Stanley Kamel.
It pretty much worked flawlessly as a natural plot progression as Monk is always dealing with personal issues as well as his work cases, so his personal issue this episode was dealing with the loss of his beloved friend and therapist and the difference that's made in his life as, well, to put it kindly, a nervous wreck.
This also intertwined nicely with his new house and case which leads us to our first guest star, Brad Garrett! Garrett plays a handyman who ends up as a very interesting and surprising storyline in the episode.
It was great to see Monk, Natalie, the Captain, and Randy back in action, and while they start out hanging around bored in the office, what comes of this makes for yet another fun and tricky, and always a little personal, Monk case.
The only thing lacking was the usual amount of Randy ridiculousness as it was toned down a bit this time around, but it's certainly promising to return full-fledged, and I think Natalie fans will be pleased to see her take full part in this episode as she's definitely become a more and more important role for over the episodes.
The season premiere provides just the closure I hoped for with Dr. Kroger, the intriguing and always surprising twists of the episodic case, and some great new opening plot lines for the season which I'm certainly looking forward to.
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Photo courtesy of tv.yahoo.com