Tony Shalhoub reports that his “Monk” series troupe is just passing “the half-way point of the season” – in production of the eighth and final season for the USA Network show that’s earned him three Emmys for his portrayal of obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk. And, he says, “We’re already getting nostalgic for it. People are already looking at me with puppy dog eyes.”
He admits, “We all love to work, and we all love to have work, so to step away from something so strong and successful – of course there’s a risk involved.” Still, “I’ve spoken with the writers and I think we’ve all agreed there’s only so much you can mine out of this character. Nobody wants to move into the area where it starts to feel stale, or the quality starts to drop. Since everything does have to come to an end, we want it to happen in the right way, where we’re in control of it, not a situation where the plug gets pulled. I think it honors the audience this way.”
The eighth season premiere is coming up Aug. 7 and Season 7 will be released on DVD July 21. Among the highlights ahead, he says, is an episode featuring Elizabeth Perkins, “Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show.” “She plays a woman who was a child actor on Monk’s favorite series he watched when he was a child – the only series he watched, a ‘Brady Bunch’ kind of show. As an adult, she’s written a tell-all book that is not at all flattering, and Monk’s image of her is destroyed.” Also, they’ve just finished shooting “Mr. Monk Takes the Stand,” an episode in which Jay Mohr guests as a “super, super strong savvy defense attorney who’s never lost a case, who is defending a criminal Monk knows is guilty.”
MEANWHILE: Shalhoub tells us he’s too “invested and immersed in ‘Monk’ to think much about life after ‘Monk,'” and he’s keeping his options open. But what about reports that have him involved in a possible revival of “Lend Me a Tenor” with Stanley Tucci directing, and T.R. Knight and Alfred Molina in the cast? Their reading of the show awhile back was supposed to be hush-hush, but “Grey’s Anatomy” followers keeping abreast of developments in Knight’s departure from that show made it public knowledge.
Notes Tony, “It really is a funny play. We’re going to be doing another reading of it in a few weeks in NY. We’re all taking a hard look at it. No one knows if it’s going to happen for sure. Everyone tiptoes around it for awhile.”