(Seasons 1 & 2)
starring Tony Shalhoub, Bitty Shram, Ted Levine
My sister turned me on to this brilliant series. (Thanks Liz! You were right... Jay and I both love it!) I've watched the first 2 seasons so far, and I'm looking forward to more.
Adrian Monk is a brilliant nut-case former police officer-turned-freelance detective with severe OCD. He is sadly hilarious and yet utterly believable. (Either Tony Shalhoub suffers from OCD in real-life, or he is a brilliant actor.) He makes you laugh, but you feel sorry for him. He is so lovable that you just want to give him a big hug (though that would absolutely freak him out), and at the same time ring his neck. I laugh all the more because I have a few OCD tendencies myself. (Shh!)
Sharona, Monk's long-suffering assistant, is hilarious in her own way. She is a divorced single-mother who dresses like a hooker much of the time, yet she is very likable and you can't help rooting for her. The police captain and his first right-hand-man are fun characters too.... they are not actually buffoons, but often seem so when the brilliant Monk frequently outwits them. There is plenty in this show to laugh about.
The cases Monk solves are often crazy, but he always put the pieces together somehow. Naturally, since the subject is murder, this is not a kids' show, though, thankfully, there is usually very little violence or gore (it mostly occurs off camera), and only the occasional mild profanity (after all, many of the characters are hardened police detectives and murderers).