Today's cuppa: hotel coffee and lots of it
While I slog though the biannual Television Critics Association Press Tour in beautiful Pasadena, Calif., you can take a look at my syndicated feature story on the beginning of the end for USA Network's "Monk" on Friday, Aug. 7 — tomorrow, we take a similar look at the season premiere for "Psych," which airs the same night.
and all, prepares for the end
Friday, Aug. 7, the USA Network comedy-mystery series “Monk” returns for its
eighth season, which has been announced to be its last. For executive producer
and frequent episode director Randy Zisk, it’s a bittersweet moment.
sweet and sad at the same point,” he says. “I feel like we’re going through
what the show goes through, which is heart and humor, right now.
obviously want to tie up some loose ends, but we also wanted to continue with
what’s worked so well for us, which is having both heart and humor.”
the past seven seasons, Tony Shalhoub has played Adrian Monk, a former San
Francisco Police Department homicide detective who lost his position due to his
the unsolved murder of his wife, Trudy, in a car bombing — a crime possibly
aimed at Monk — he had a nervous breakdown, causing his disorder to worsen and
turn him into a recluse.
with the help of his nurse, Sharona (Bitty Schram) — the character left during
season three — and now with his assistant, Natalie (Traylor Howard), Monk has
been able to re-enter the world and help police Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted
Levine) and Lt. Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) solve crimes as a private
Hoberman is the creator of “Monk,” and he executive produces with Zisk and
writers Andy Breckman and Tom Sharpling.
to how neat a bow he and his fellow producers wanted to put on the end of
Adrian Monk’s story, Zisk says, “Not that neat. Andy Breckman created the
character with David Hoberman and Tony Shalhoub, and the character has really
grown in these eight years, so the one thing that’s consistent is his
got different struggles now, but we definitely want to see a character who
still goes through what everybody else in the world goes through. The stories
are written in New Jersey,
“Monk” is shot in Los Angeles (where it headed after a brief sojourn in Toronto),
I was first told this is how they want to set up the show, I said, ‘It’ll never
work. I don’t know how we can have you guys so far away from us.’ But in
reality, it’s worked out because Andy Breckman gives us such room to do what we
want on the production side.
scripts are always on time, and they’re always really great. After directing so
many other shows, I realize how lucky we are that the scripts are on time, and
not only on time, but I don’t know how they keep coming up with ideas."
will be happy to hear that she returns for an episode later in the season. Fans
may recall that she left to remarry her ex-husband and return to New Jersey with their son.
be directing,” Zisk says. “We’re all excited about that. It’s all being worked
out now. I don’t want to say too much, but what I know of it, it’s going to be
one of the most fun episodes we’ve ever done.
really excited about it. It’s been so great. It’s going to be a blast to have
first, there’s the season premiere. As for a hint, Zisk says, “Elizabeth
Perkins plays a TV star who was a child star on a TV series that was Monk’s
favorite show, that he never missed. Now, 30 years later, whatever it is, he
runs into her, and there’s a crime that he’s involved with, and he gets to meet
his childhood star.
called ‘Mr. Monk’s Favorite TV Show.’ “
will the show’s most enduring mystery be solved?
Zisk says, “the one case he’s never been able to solve is Trudy, his wife. So
we’ll see what happens with that, but I don’t want to say too much.
loves the story line with her, bringing her in for a little bit each season,
and seeing Monk deal with that. People love to see how he still wears his
wedding ring, and how he is still attached to her. There’s something so
endearing and so sweet about that.”
final episode shoots in October.
Zisk, “We’ve had a great run, and it’s going to be very emotional.”
so-called “last” episode of “Scrubs,” which didn’t even turn out to be the last
episode, featured Sprinkles cupcakes on set.
to whether the real last episode of “Monk” will go in a similar culinary
direction, Zisk says, “We’ll make sure to have Sprinkles cupcakes. It’s been a
pretty great run.”