Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie Review – The nostalgic return of a worthwhile character

By Lori Meek
Published: December 8, 2023
Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie Review
Tony Shalhoub in Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie | Image via Peacock


At the heart of it, we get a very human story about a character that’s been a part of popular culture for more than two decades.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a decade since the Emmy-winning series Monk took its final bow. A lot has happened since, including a pandemic that brought up an affinity for hand sanitizers in all of us. So Peacock’s aptly titled revival, Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie, is the nostalgic trip we didn’t know we needed. 

Tony Shalhoub reprises his iconic role as everyone’s favorite genius sleuth with legendary attention to detail for a new adventure. This time, however, it’s personal as the case involves his beloved stepdaughter, whom he only met at the end of the original series. 

Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie review and plot summary

When we first catch up with the quirky crime-solving genius, he’s a mere shadow of himself. To say Adrian Monk starts the movie in a dark place would be an understatement. Since solving his beloved wife Trudy’s (Melora Hardin returns as a fabulous ghost) murder all those years ago, he’s been struggling to function. His regular sessions with Dr. Bell (Hector Elizondo) don’t seem to do much good, especially as the good doctor wrote a book about several of his more difficult patients (plot twist: They’re all Monk). 

The pandemic didn’t exactly help Monk’s mental state. He lost a book deal and his ability to pay for his beloved stepdaughter Molly’s (Caitlin McGee) wedding to investigative journalist and bungee jumping enthusiast Griffin (Austin Scott). Trudy’s ghost is helplessly watching as Adrian’s mental health is in rapid decline. 

Before Molly’s nuptials, Mr. Monk reunites with his former crew – Natalie, now a successful real estate agent in Atlanta, and Randy (Jason Gray-Stanford), still working law enforcement as a sheriff in New Jersey. Former Captain Leeland (Ted Levine) has left the force in favor of more lucrative pastures; he’s taken a head of security job with the obscenely wealthy and space travel-obsessed Rick Eden (James Purefoy)

An unexpected murder ruins Molly’s wedding and forces our genius sleuth out of his rut. He now has to solve the seemingly perfect crime and bring the man responsible to justice. 

The movie offers plenty of fan service. It starts with a scene from the original series featuring Monk’s first assistant, Sharona, and several beloved characters reprising their roles alongside Shalhoub. Yet it’s also a fresh and compellingly relevant movie set in our post-Covid world where everyone, just like Monk, has turned into a germaphobe. 

However, there’s more than nostalgia to love about Mr. Monk’s Last Case. The movie poignantly tackles serious topics with wit, humor, and surprising sensitivity. It’s funny, but not a caricature.

Shalhoub has slipped back into his iconic role as if no time has passed, as did the rest of the returning cast. And James Purefoy is delightfully awful in the role of a villainous tech billionaire. 

Will there be more cases after Mr. Monk’s Last Case?

Mr. Monk’s Last Case is a witty and nostalgic return to what was arguably one of the best crime procedural shows of the early naughts. It also has all the making of a backdoor pilot for a series revival. And I’m okay with that. 

Worse shows and movies have seen remakes and revivals (see the dreaded Zoe 102 from earlier this year). Maybe the world needs more Monk, a show where mental health struggles and human stories take the front seat, to return. 

What did you think of Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie? Comment below.

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