There was a bit of a fake out. TPTB ran a “Trudy Marathon” on the last day, suggesting that you could piece together clues and figure out the answer to the overriding question: who killed Monk’s wife Trudy?
But they had not plotted the mystery that well, and so had to introduce “the guy” in the 2-part finale. Whenever in need of a bad guy who seems like a good guy, Craig T. Nelson is the go-to guy. That casting was the major clue to the whodunit.
But the fact that the finale mystery wasn’t brilliant did not detract from the excellence of the finale. I really thought Adrian might die through the middle of the episode. And the interactions between the core characters were beautifully in sync with their own histories.
Bringing in Trudy’s daughter for Monk was a nice plot point. But the best was that Natalie and the Captain and Monk are off to another crime scene at the end. It’s what they do. It’s where we would want to leave them. Randi going off to marry Sharona in New Jersey, well, that’s just begging for a spin-off.
I don’t spend much time on Twitter, but I went on just when the finale finished. There were over 800 tweets in 3 or 4 minutes--it became a trending topic. The majority expressed a genuine sadness for the series ending, and many reports of crying! I never felt the presence of “the community” more than in that moment. What an incredible shared experience. The new Randy Newman song—with his signature nostalgic chords--to the montage of moments at the end was exactly what the fans wanted. (The other series that ended with a great montage was Miami Vice.)
A character that elicits such an emotional response from a large viewing community is a very special type of artistic creation. Congrats, Tony Shalhoub and team.