Monday, September 14, 2009

What I’m Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 8, Episode 5 “Mr. Monk Takes the Stand” (B+)

This episode isn’t anything special necessarily, but it’s still fun and, most importantly, effective. Jay Mohr is great at playing seedy (part of the reason he seems particularly uninteresting on “Gary Unmarried” since he’s not playing seedy), and therefore having him as the cocksure lawyer determined to take Monk down on the stand is an inspired casting choice. It’s also quite entertaining, and rather unusual, for things to begin in the middle of the action. It’s also very smart since opening the episode with Monk’s traditional “here’s what happened…” allows him to sum up the case without needing to introduce it. Revealing what may have happened through flashbacks is an impressive device, and here it’s utilized magnificently as the pieces are assembled despite the lack of an introduction. Seeing both Natalie and Monk object in court was amusing. Mohr’s takedown of Monk was almost reminiscent of Steven Weber’s cruel words about Trudy, but fortunately this is a less grave, serious affair, and Mohr’s an obnoxious but generally harmless guy. The case itself is nothing special, but like the second episode of this season, it’s cool when two seemingly unrelated murders turn out to have been committed by the same person. Randy’s side plotline trying to defend the kid he knew didn’t commit the crime was a nice additional touch to supplement Monk’s central story.

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