Actors reflect upon 100-episode milestone

TRAYLOR HOWARD (Natalie Teeger)

What do you enjoy most about your character?

“I love that she gets to play with Tony (Shalhoub) so much. Even though she is really strong and independent, she’s got a soft side with Monk. She doesn’t ever steamroll him.”

How would you like to see your character evolve?

“Both Monk and Natalie are widowed, so they’re both kind of loners in that sense. But it seems like it’s been enough time for her to open up a bit and date, show that girly side. There was a time a little while back where she kind of went on a bit of a slutty streak, and that was fun. There was one episode, ‘Monk and the Leper,’ where I was making out with a guy who might have leprosy. I was eight months pregnant at the time, so it was pretty hysterical. The actor was like, ‘Whoa, shouldn’t you be home in bed?’ I was like, ‘Man, you must have manifested something bizarre to be working as a leper making out with an eight-months-pregnant lady.'” 

Your favorite “Monk” moment?

“When I first came on, there was an episode where a woman was strangled in an elevator by a really long scarf. Tony is fixated on making sure clues make sense and that everything is perfect, so we spent a good 20 minutes in that elevator wrapping that scarf around my neck, re-enacting exactly how she would have been strangled. … He’s just obsessed with details. He really is Monk.”

TED LEVINE (Leland Stottlemeyer)

What do you enjoy most about your character?

“His averageness. Stottlemeyer is someone with plain common sense, who has to complement Monk’s extraordinary sense. It’s a challenge to play an unremarkable character, and it’s really fun.”

How would you like to see your character evolve?

“I’d like to see him have more love interests. I’d like to see Glenne Headly (Stottlemeyer’s ex-wife) come back. She had a strange life as a videographer. Maybe she could come back as a documentarian or an in-depth news reporter.”

Your favorite “Monk” moment?

“There was a scene where Monk was trying to be reinstated to the department, and all he has to do is take a written test. It was one of those multiple-choice tests, and he becomes obsessed with drawing inside the lines of the bubbles with his No. 2 pencil. I thought it was beautifully played by Tony and the cop who supervised the test. Just beautiful.”

JASON GRAY-STANFORD (Randy Disher)

What do you enjoy most about your character?

“I love that our writers can throw anything in Disher’s direction, and the audience will buy it. Anything from drinking a 72-ounce Big Gulp because he has a fascination with getting free Pepsi to getting his garage band back together. The ridiculous becomes believable with him.”

How would you like to see your character evolve?

“Actually, what I wanted happened this season! I’d been bitching and moaning for a girlfriend, and it finally happened. In our 100th episode, actually, I’ve got a great girlfriend. I think Disher just needed to evolve and be comfortably in his own Disher skin for it to happen.”

Your favorite “Monk” moment?

“I know this is going to sound super-lame, but honestly hitting 100 episodes has been the highlight for me. I remember shooting the pilot and thinking, ‘OK, if this lasts a few episodes, maybe I can pay my rent.’ Making it this far has been a dream.”

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