Monk: Season Three Blu-ray Review: Bigger Stakes and More Colorful Characters

Having previously reviewed Season One and watching Season Two during its original broadcast, I have to say that after revisiting Season Three, I think it is the best season up to this point in the series run.

Buy Monk: Season Three Blu-ray

The obvious omission is the departure of Sharona (the delightful Bitty Schram) which is sad because she really did ground and care for Monk, had great comic timing, and had her own fully realized story. But Traylor Howard’s Natalie Teeger, who remained by his side for the remainder of the series, is a great addition, one who obviously respects him, but also on her own terms. She doesn’t always put up with Monk’s usual (and unusual) behavior; she refuses to help him unless he actually pays her (which is important considering she, like Sharona, has a child to take care of). Basically, Natalie fits right into the show’s now-iconic cast.

This third season has bigger stakes, more colorful characters (including the Mafia and a possibly murderous chimpanzee), and more emotional and physical pathos, whether it’s Monk starting new medicine (one that definitely alters his personality), and in perhaps the best episode of the season, “Mr. Monk and the Kid”, where he opens his heart to a very cute two-year-old boy named Tommy. Sharona has her own pivotal episode before her departure, “Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf”, where Schram has her chance to shine. She’s really amazing in the episode and it was refreshing to see someone other than Monk deal with issues for a change.

As with other seasons, the guest stars in Season Three are also first-rate: Brooke Adams (Shalhoub’s real-life wife), James Brolin, Nicey Nash, Mako, Glenne Headly, Nick Offerman, Philip Baker Hall, Carmen Electra, Nick Offerman, and many more, who provide hilarious (and sinister) characters into the mix.

Special features consists of these featurettes: Favorites, Life Before Monk, Quirks, and character profiles for both Monk and Natalie Teeger.

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