8 surprising little things you never knew about Monk

The TV detective has a strange link to Seinfeld.

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Image: The Everett Collection

It doesn't take keen detective skills to know a few things about Monk right off the bat. He's got obsessive-compulsive disorder. He lives in San Francisco. He's essentially based on Sherlock Holmes. And Tony Shalhoub is brilliant in the role.

But we dug up some details that might even surprise those who watch the detective series with regularity. Let's examine the facts.

1. Kramer was originally supposed to be Monk — and Monk was almost Kramer!


Monk was originally pitched as a bumbling Inspector Clouseau–like detective to ABC. Michael Richards, no stranger to pratfalls and best known as Kramer on Seinfeld, was attached to star in the comedy. When Richards backed out of the project, ABC decided to kick it from network television over to cable. In a surreal piece of casting coincidence, Tony Shalhoub had auditioned to play Kramer on Seinfeld. In some alternate universe, their roles are reversed.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

2. Sorry, that's Canada, not San Francisco.


While, yes, some iconic, obvious shots of San Francisco are inserted for authenticity's sake, the bulk of the scenes were filmed in other cities. The pilot episode, seen here, was shot in Vancouver, as you can tell by those majestic evergreens. The rest of season one was shot in Toronto. Later seasons shifted production to Los Angeles.

3. The first season theme song won an Emmy. And then they tossed it.


The show's composer Jeff Beal crafted a jazzy instrumental for the original theme song, as performed by guitarist Grant Geissman. It won the 2003 Emmy for Best Main Title Music. Then, the producers ditched it. Legendary songwriter Randy Newman, hot off all those Pixar films, penned "It's a Jungle Out There." It was somewhat divisive at first, but "Jungle" took home the 2004 Emmy Award for Best Main Title Music. Winners all around!

4. It's probably the only time you'll hear Snoop Dogg cover a Randy Newman song.


In the early season six episode "Mr. Monk and the Rapper," Snoop Dogg, the primary guest star of the hour, also re-recorded "It's a Jungle Out There" for the opening credits. Randy Newman is more hip-hop than you thought.

5. There was a little spin-off about a little Monk called 'Little Monk.'


In 2009, the USA Network premiered an online microseries called Little Monk, which showed Adrian Monk as a tween. He solves "crimes" at his school, cases like a bandit throwing rubber balls at people and foul play at a Geography Bee. Aaron Linker, who portrayed the young Monk, pops up in one Monk episode, in a flashback during "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk."

6. There are 19 novels, two of which became episodes.


Those looking for more Monk mysteries should turn to their local bookstore. There are 19 books in the Monk series, published between 2006–2015. There were not adaptations of the show. In fact, it went the other way. Two of the first three, Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse and Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, were adapted into episodes, "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing" and "Mr. Monk and the Badge."

7. Monk only drinks one kind of bottled water. Until he doesn't.


Like we said, Monk is obsessive. That carries over into his choice of beverage. Monk will only drink Sierra Springs bottled water. It's occasionally a plot point, like when he dragged dozens of bottles with him to Mexico, raising the suspicions of the border police. Sierra Springs is a real brand of bottled water. In season six, however, Monk switches to the fictional brand "Summit Creek," perhaps to avoid the product placement. There is some narrative explanation, however. In season four's "Mr. Monk Gets a Bump on the Head," Monk… well, bumps his head and forgets his favorite brand. A diner waitress brings him Summit Creek, which he enjoys.

8. It was the first basic cable series ever nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Comedy.


It lost to The Office — the original British version.

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DZee 35 months ago
Who's idea was it to put Monk on MeTV ....some new Generation Z hire? Fire them!

You claim to be "America's #1 Classic Television Network?" Here's a hint....Monk is NOT a classic TV show....it's not dramatic nor funny either... it stinks.....it stinks badly.

MeTV you are blowing it by putting on this crappola. We've been watching MeTV since it's debut on our cable system. But keep putting on shows like this and it's back to TV Land.
justjeff 35 months ago
Here's another thing you didn't know about "Monk"... I was at a local thrift store today (Saturday), and there were at least five seasons of "Monk" for sale on DVD (average price $4.95 per set). About four of those sets were *still sealed*.

To be fair, I went onto YouTube this evening and watched a couple of short clips of the show. I was unimpressed... IF the show *had* grabbed my attention, I might have even considered going back to buy up those DVDs on Monday... but NOT!

Now, before I anger those die-hard fans... Enjoy the show if you love it. I wouldn't take that away from you (unless I was programming MeTV...hehehe)

I'd still rather watch old test patterns or paint peeling...
tmac1951 35 months ago
Here’s the ninth thing you didn’t know about Monk, it’s such an old classic show that it belongs on METV.
Trouter3161 35 months ago
Like the show or hate it, Monk does NOT belong on me-tv. I hope the person or persons responsible for the addition of 'monk', as well as, 'in the heat of the night', and 'matlock', are terminated. They used to say 'Remember who brung ya to the dance'. Me-tv seems to have forgotten the, nothing after 1980, unwritten rule. That's what has gotten them where they are, but they won't stay there long with decisions like this.
tmac1951 Trouter3161 35 months ago
Couldn’t agree more
Mike Trouter3161 35 months ago
In Re: "The 'nothing after 1980' unwritten rule ..."
If the "rule" is unwritten -
- that means it's NOT a rule!

I wonder what would happen if MeTV would put some really old stuff on in prime time.
Like 77 Sunset Strip from the '50s, for instance ...
Then let's see who complains ...
narcoossee 35 months ago
I like Monk. he was a modern take on Columbo.
DZee narcoossee 35 months ago
"Modern." There's the problem. MeTV is supposed to be CLASSIC Tv.
MrsPhilHarris 35 months ago
Another Monk story. Enough already. 😵‍💫
tmac1951 MrsPhilHarris 35 months ago
A Monk story a day keeps the doctor………………somewhere!!!!
Mannixishot 35 months ago
Anybody know how the ratings are for Monk? I enjoy the series but still feel it's too recent to be on MeTV. It's also on a few other stations already.
tmac1951 Mannixishot 35 months ago
Anyone who watches MeTV is looking for old TV shows not Chicago PD, American Idol, or Monk!!! They probably do what I do, switch channels see what else is on, there are a lot of choices out there, or get on YouTube, most of the old shows have no commercials.
Trouter3161 tmac1951 35 months ago
That's exactly right tmac. When Monk comes on, I turn me-tv off. I'll have to give you-tube a try...thanks
tmac1951 Trouter3161 35 months ago
Barnaby Jones for one, full episodes, all seasons, and no commercials!!!!!!!!
Pdls 35 months ago
I never heard of "Monk" or "Little Monk".
Mike 35 months ago
The Monk novels:
The first 15 were written by Lee Goldberg, and the last four by Hy Conrad - both of him contributed many scripts to the series.
For much of the run, Hy Conrad was Monk's head writer on TV.
Also, Lee Goldberg wrote a number of Monk short stories for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (which came to be included in the novels).
So if you love the show - get the books!
WordsmithWorks 35 months ago
MeTV marketing is working overtime on this.
LoveMETV22 WordsmithWorks 35 months ago
Yes they are marketing their new addition vigorously.
WordsmithWorks LoveMETV22 35 months ago
That's an understatement.
lynngdance 35 months ago
Psych (also USA network, and also a quirky detective series) had a micro series as well, it was called “The Big Adventures of Little Shawn And Gus”
texasluva lynngdance 35 months ago

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One of our Bonus Movies will be: The Cassandra Crossing
texasluva lynngdance 34 months ago
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LoveMETV22 35 months ago
The TV detective has a strange link to Seinfeld.
9. The Cafe the Seinfeld characters used to meet at was called Monk's Cafe (fictitious name).
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