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Obsessed: Top 5 Guest Characters on MONK

Abe Fried-Tanzer - August 6, 2009


USA's oldest scripted series, MONK, opens its final season on Friday, August 7 at 9pm. In the last 16 episodes there's an incredibly large pool of talented guest stars: Elizabeth Perkins; Jay Mohr; Dylan Baker; Meat Loaf; Bernie Kopell; Daniel Stern; Alex Wolff; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje; Eric Balfour; Rena Sofer; Vincent Curatola Wallace Langham; Kelly Carlson; and Reed Diamond. Former assistant Sharona, played by Bitty Schram, is also slated to return at the end of the series. Such lineups are hardly new for MONK, which had many memorable guest stars during its first seven seasons.


As MONK premieres for the last time, we take a look back at some of the greatest guest characters that came into contact with one brilliant obsessive-compulsive detective.


David Ruskin (played by Stanley Tucci)

Episode: Mr. Monk and the Actor

About the Character: David Ruskin was an actor's actor who needed to get as deep into the role as he possibly could. For past roles, he checked himself into rehab without ever having had a drink, and with Monk, he really got into his head and became the detective. He even kicked Monk out of his own home because he needed to get some rest before solving the case in the morning.

Why He Was Great: It was almost impossible to distinguish the two – they looked and acted exactly the same way. David Ruskin truly was Monk, and the only thing more entertaining than one Monk is two Monks.


Ambrose Monk (played by John Turturro)

Episodes: Mr. Monk and the Three Pies; Mr. Monk Goes Home Again

About the Character: Monk shunned his brother after Ambrose didn't attend Trudy's funeral, but the two reunited when the shut-in sibling spied a crime from his window. Their upbringing caused Ambrose to develop similar tics, and seeing the two of them together was a real delight. And though he's not a detective, Ambrose still possesses the same determination and brilliance to solve a tough case.

Why He Was Great: It was hard to imagine what any sibling of Monk's might be like, and Ambrose definitely exceeded expectations.


Marci Maven (played by Sarah Silverman)

Episodes: Mr. Monk and the TV Star; Mr. Monk and his Biggest Fan

About the Character: There aren't many people who would make cut-out dioramas and Photoshop pictures all in tribute to Monk. Marci Maven was obsessed with the obsessive-compulsive detective, and her eternal devotion to him didn't stop her from horrifying him with hugs and showering him with just a bit too much love. Marci eventually caved when the two ended up in a dangerous situation, and the inevitable end to her love affair occurred.

Why She Was Great: Anyone who can make Monk that uncomfortable by being nice to him deserves some recognition.


Hal Tucker (played by Andy Richter)

Episode: Mr. Monk Makes a Friend

About the Character: Hal definitely didn't consider Monk a true pal, and, in order to cover up a murder, he went out of his way to convince the detective that the only thing he was interested in was Monk's friendship. Hal's feigned excitement at doing boring things with Monk was amusing, and it gave Monk some brief hope that he might not be alone in the world. Ultimately, Hal left quite an impression on Monk – the detective still wanted to hang out with him even after he realized he was a cold-blooded killer.

Why He Was Great: After all, Hal almost had us convinced that he really wanted to be Monk's best bud.


Harold Krenshaw (played by Tim Bagley)

Episodes: Multiple. He even returns for Season 8 on August 21.

About the Character: Monk's recurring nemesis was a rival patient with just as many issues who went to the same therapist and obsessed over beating Monk at everything. Harold tried everything from taking a bullet for Dr. Kroger, attempting to hurt Monk through his position on the city council, and stalking Monk and Natalie to learn the name of Monk's new therapist.

Why He Is Great: When MONK started, did you ever think that any character could even come close to out-obsessing Monk? Didn't think so.


Monk faced many other noteworthy guests, including: a nudist (Diedrich Bader); Captain Stottlemeyer's deceptive girlfriend (Sharon Lawrence); and a cruel disc jockey (Steven Weber). Who are your favorite MONK guest characters?


Abe Fried-Tanzer is a student at New York University majoring in cinema studies and journalism. He makes it his priority each year to see every Oscar-nominated film and watch every new television pilot, and writes reviews and awards predictions on his personal movie and TV blogs.