Adrian Monk is a homicide detective from the San Francisco Bay Police Department (SFBPD). He was forced to leave the force due to his compulsive disorder (OCD), which was severely intensified by the death of his wife, Trudy Monk. After some time, he began currently working as a consultant for the SFPD. His character is loosely based on Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.


Early LifeEdit

Monk was born on June 4, 1959. His family grew up in Marin County, California. His parents were very strict and far from warm or affectionate. His father, Jack Monk, a textbook writer, left the family in July of 1972 after going to pick up some Chinese food. Adrian spoke to him again in "Mr. Monk Meets His Dad". According to "Mr. Monk In Outer Space", he spoke to his brother Ambrose as well but left him collecting his mail saying that he would pick it up in one of his Volkswagen. For all of his childhood, he also had various bad experiences with Christmas: Notably, in 1964, his mother was sick, his older brother Ambrose locked himself in the basement to avoid Christmas, his dad was "dad", and Monk himself received a Christmas gift from his dad consisting of only one walkie-talkie, to which Jack Monk coldly stated that Monk would have been better off with one anyways as he didn't have any friends. This contributed, in part, to his hatred of the Christmas season in his adult years. When he left, Ambrose and Mrs. Monk were nearly comatose, leaving it up to Adrian to hold the family together; cooking the meals and doing the shopping.[1]

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981. While there, he acquired the nickname "Captain Cool" because he would often spend his weekends defrosting the refrigerator in the student lounge. It was there that he met the love of his life, Trudy. He met her at the library when another student asked her for her phone number and Adrian let her write her number down on piece of paper using his back. Due to his "very sensitive skin," he was able to figure out her phone number. It took him over three weeks to call her, which he later said was the bravest thing he ever did. [2]

Adrian and Trudy were married for seven years before her untimely death. A car bomb exploded while she was in a parking garage. Trudy was not killed outright, but lingered long enough to speak a few last words to the EMT: "bread and butter," the words she would always say when she and Adrian would be separated on the streets.[3]

Devastated at her loss and his inability to solve her murder, Adrian's phobias and compulsive behaviors reached a new extreme. He received a psychological discharge from the police department, which only furthered his depression. For three years, he was virtually catatonic, never leaving his apartment. Eventually, his former colleague, Leland Stottlemeyer, hired a private nurse, Sharona Fleming, to try and coax him back into his life.[4]

For some time following Trudy's death, Adrian would read a collection of poetry by Ralph Emerson every night.

Monk is still mourning his wife Trudy, who was killed by a car bomb in 1997. He has not yet fully solved the case, although he has discovered that the car bomb was built by Warrick Tennyson for a six-fingered male. Monk has devoted the last nine years of his life to finding the man who killed his wife, and to consulting with San Francisco police detectives on various cases. A con was set up where a woman pretends to be Trudy in one episode, in order to gain access to a storage locker in her co-worker's possession. At the end of that episode, the impostor Trudy is caught in between a gunfight and mortally wounded. The impostor dies in Monk's arms. He has several phobias, including germs, heights, crowds, milk, and glaciers. Besides dealing with his OCD, Monk's assistants also appear to have a hands-on role in organizing his consultancy work.

His former assistant, Sharona Fleming, quit after several years of loyal service to her boss to go back to New Jersey and remarry her ex-husband. He suffered depression following her departure, but rebounded upon the arrival of her replacement, Natalie Teeger.

While his obsessive attention to minute detail cripples him socially, it makes him a gifted detective and profiler; he has an uncanny ability to reconstruct entire crimes based on little more than scraps of detail that seem unimportant (if noticed at all) by his colleagues.

Although he may appear defenseless, he has on more than one occasion been able to physically stand up for himself against his enemies, when provoked into a fight.[5]

Though it is stated in the pilot that his obsessive compulsive disorder is a result of his wife's murder, he still shows signs of it in flashbacks where he is with Trudy or before he met her, even as a child. It is strongly hinted that his parents were very strict and over-protective, which may also have contributed to his disorder. It appears that Monk had his symptoms mostly under control for much of his life, but lost control of his OCD after Trudy's death.


Monk has a brother, Ambrose, who is older than him by two years. Ambrose has only left his house twice in his (adult) life due to his extreme agoraphobia. Their father, Jack Monk (originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania), abandoned the family when Monk was around 8 years old, which had a profound impact on their respective illnesses; the chaos and emotional instability brought about by their father's sudden absence created in them a pathological need for order and self-control. While Ambrose still believes in their father's return (to the point of setting an extra plate at the dinner table in case he comes back and keeps all his mail), Adrian has refused to forgive him.

Monk's mother died in 1994, though it is unknown why. Adrian and Ambrose never hear from their father until the episode "Mr. Monk Goes Home Again", where he leaves a note on Ambrose's door, saying he is proud of Ambrose for leaving the house.

In Mr. Monk's Other Brother, it is revealed that Monk's second brother, Jack Jr., is an escapee from prison.

Monk's father returned to San Francisco in 2006, where he was arrested for running a red light and resisting arrest. He was bailed out by Adrian, who did not forgive him for leaving at first, but after solving a murder involving Jack's boss, they bonded again.

Background Information and Notes Edit

  • The deductive genius part of Monk's personality was inspired by Sherlock Holmes, and the obsession with neatness and order part of that personality may have been inspired by Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot.
  • Monk ran track in high school but quit after an incident at a track meet. At the beginning of the meet he bent down to tie his shoe and missed the starting gun.
  • He periodically blacks out from time to time and says things he would not usually say, without remembering his actions afterwards.
  • Monk is said to be allergic to tomatoes[6] (however, he eats a tomato in "Mr. Monk on Wheels" and shows no problems).
  • Monk has been arrested tree times, once when he walked into a house thinking it was his (Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum) and when he was framed for the murder of the man who killed Trudy (Mr. Monk Is on the Run, Part 1) and when he was arrested for obstruction of investigation (Mr. Monk gets stuck in the traffic)
  • Monk has been institutionalized at least once, in Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum.
  • According to the episode "Mr. Monk and the Big Game", Monk has solved 105 murders since the start of his career. This is every case he has ever worked on, barring his wife's.
  • In "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion", it is revealed that Monk was nicknamed "Captain Cool" in college. When Natalie mentions the name "Captain Cool" to a couple going to the reunion, she learns that Monk spent every weekend defrosting his refrigerator. He was a weird and nervous guy.
  • Monk refuses to drink tap water, or any bottled water except the 'Sierra Springs' brand; in the episode "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico," he nearly dehydrates because he does not have access to this brand in Mexico (Monk stated in the episode that he had had nothing to drink for 36 hours). Starting from season 6, Monk only drinks Summit Creek water (as confirmed by Marci Maven Monks biggest fan).
  • In "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert," when Monk, Natalie, and Kendra Frank are questioning Kris Kedder about the murder of roadie Greg Murray, Monk mentions that he plays the clarinet. In "Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger," Monk actually plays the clarinet with Willie Nelson.
  • The name "Adrian Monk" actually has 10 letters, which is Monk's favorite number.
  • Monk claims to wear the same thing every day but has been seen in different shades of brown, including brownish yellow. He also wears a sweater, and when in his home he takes off his blazer.
  • In the Season 3 episode "Mr. Monk and the Kid", Monk bonded with a toddler named Tommy, and is about to adopt him (the child previously having lived with a woman who was arrested for murder), but Monk realizes he couldn't adopt the child as his mental health issues prevent him from providing the attention and care a child needs. In the Season 3 episode, "Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra", Monk experiences a hallucinatory vision of Trudy that they should have had children during their time together, before his degeneration which began with Trudy's death.
  • It has been said by Monk that he does not drink alcohol, though he did have a sip of wine in "Mr. Monk Gets Drunk" on his and Trudy's anniversary. This is probably because it was Trudy's favorite wine and he is at the winery that they honeymooned at. He is able to get 'buzzed' after one sip, complete with a hangover the next morning, causing him to find that Larry Zweibel, the man who sat with him that night, apparently does not exist, but eventually, Monk is found to not have hallucinated. In the same episode, Monk inadvertently consumes an entire bottle of wine (under the pretense that he was drinking nonalcoholic wine) when he was trying to get Nicoletto, a suspect in the homicide investigation, drunk so he would spill details.
  • Monk was extremely reluctant to talk about his sex life with Trudy Monk during their marriage, to the extent that he even went as far as to sing showtunes during the remainder of his session with Dr. Kroger instead of talk about his sex-life when he was given the choice between the two.
  • Monk's OCD is almost never described on-air as such (the exception being in Mr. Monk and the Other Woman), even when a direct question is asked. He has been described as 'very particular' and 'very persnickety', among other things such as 'near sighted' in Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan when he closely examines Steven Leight's ear.
  • Monk apparently does not understand why some people deliberately lose in tennis when meeting a potential mate, as Benjy deduced that much when he tried to brush it off as being something that Benjy will understand when he gets older when he asked why Sharona was deliberately losing at tennis against a guy she just met in "Mr. Monk Takes a Vacation."
  • Monk takes 3 showers a day with a star-shaped nozzle, uses a 5 watt nightlight, and sleeps only on dark pillowcases.
  • The only TV Channel that Monk watches is Channel 10.[7]
  • Monk is the only character to be in every episode.
  • In the Season 6 episode "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man", Monk (while in session with Dr. Kroger) actually remembers his own birth. This may indicate he has an eidetic memory.
  • His name and his brother's name are both based on two cities in Texas (which coincidentally was also the place where Jack Monk, their father, started working shortly after leaving the Monk family).
  • Monk has a chipped tooth. He broke this tooth in Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist. He refuses to have it fixed due to the fact that his super mega phobia is the fear of the dentist.
  • Monk has rarely (if ever) experienced an adverse reaction to the frequently gruesome condition of homicide victims, though he is often distracted by any of his other phobias during the initial investigation phase.

References Edit

  1. "Mr. Monk and Little Monk"
  2. "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion"
  3. Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale
  4. "Mr. Monk and the Candidate"
  5. "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing"
  6. Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum
  7. Mr. Monk Is on the Run, Part 1