After eight seasons and more than a hundred cases, the drama with a three-word descriptor: Obsessive, Compulsive, Detective, finally solved its final mystery, and its most important one. At long last, we finally got to see Adrian Monk figure out the mystery behind his wife's murder.
Over the course of its run, Monk slowly evolved from a tightly-constructed mystery show into a more entertaining character study. What was once a downer show about a man dealing with a debilitating illness (who also happened to be a detective genius) turned into much lighter fare. The murder mysteries weren't as difficult to solve in later years and I'd say some were pandering (Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg, anyone?), and Monk's tics became more of a comedic annoyance than anything else. However, it was also a more fun show to watch as Tony Shalhoub's performances got better and better each year. The finale captured the spirit of the latter years of Monk - the "whodunit" was handed to us on a silver platter in the first few minutes of the two-hour finale while the rest of the show concentrated on Monk battling his OCD (and an assassination attempt via poison) while searching for the truth.
I had mixed feelings about this episode because after eight seasons, I was hoping for a more suspenseful mystery, given the importance Trudy's murder meant to the show. But, as stated above, Monk moved away from that style of show years ago. Instead, we learned in the first part of the finale that Judge Ethan Rickover (Craig T. Nelson), who was mentioned in an earlier episode but never seen, was in fact the one who ordered the hit on her, and was now gunning for Monk. And unless I'm mistaken (and that's certainly possible because I haven't seen every episode of the show) they introduced a key piece of evidence in that we'd never seen before. I'm speaking of a Christmas gift that Trudy (Melora Hardin of The Office) gave her husband the night before she died - a box containing a videotape of her confessing past sins and suspicions about her future.
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