‘Mr. Monk’s Last Case’ Star Tony Shalhoub Convinced Hector Elizondo to Un-Retire for the Reunion Movie

The Peacock movie brings back the beloved sleuth — and his shrink — 14 years after the finale of the USA series

Tony Shalhoub and Hector Elizondo in "Mr. Monk's Last Case"
Tony Shalhoub and Hector Elizondo in "Mr. Monk's Last Case" (CREDIT: Peacock)

Tony Shalhoub is back as Adrian Monk in “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie,” which premieres Friday on Peacock. The movie brings back most of the cast of characters, including Monk’s ever-patient shrink Dr. Neven Bell.

The film catches up with the obsessive sleuth 14 years after the hit USA show wrapped. Monk’s first case in over a decade involves a suspicious death that feels like murder, but can’t be proven.

The movie brings back most of the cast of characters, including Monk’s ever-patient shrink Dr. Neven Bell.

Hector Elizondo, who plays the psychiatrist, had actually retired, so Shalhoub had to convince the 86-year-old actor to return for a few scenes.

“He’s basically retired for all intents and purposes,” Shalhoub told TheWrap in a recent Zoom interview. “He’d stopped acting and was enjoying his downtime and we roped him back into it. I said, ‘Hector, ‘You gotta come and we can shoot you out in one day.’”

Shalhoub said his scenes with Elizondo are some of his favorite moments in the movie: “Once he got to look at the material, he signed on, and we were just blessed to have him back.” The Emmy winner admits he had his own doubts about doing a reunion movie so long after the fact.

TheWrap: What was it like to return to this character after so long?

Tony Shalhoub: It turned out to be great, great, fun, and quite gratifying. But, going into it, I have to admit, I was a little bit concerned. Would we be able to recapture it? Would I be able to find the voice of the character, again? 14 years is a long time. And I’ve done a number of projects, of course, in between there.

And also, full disclosure, I sometimes have a difficult time with reboots. They can be a little hit or miss. People think they want to revisit a story or a group of characters and then come to find out that they really don’t. I was concerned that maybe our show was just of that decade. But once we got into it, probably by the end of the first day, it really started to all come back and feel like the right thing at the right time.

We see Monk go through COVID in the movie. And that he got a little obsessed with the rapid testing. And he still carries his own Purell dispenser everywhere.

I like that visual a lot. We see that going through COVID was a massive setback for him. I feel like he is in even a worse place when we find him than in the pilot when he’s trying to solve the murder of his wife. Monk had a lot of ups and downs during the eight seasons. But I think with “Mr. Monk’s Last Case,” we find him in a really troubled spot and I think we’re in uncharted waters here.

And you also brought back your wife, Brooke Adams, who has a small role

We have the flashback to begin, but the first scene involves Brooke. It was appropriate because she had done five, possibly six, different characters over the seasons, so it was kind of great that she comes in again and kicks it all off.

And then the flashback is from the pilot with Sharona (original cast member Bitty Schram). Did you build the entire movie from that?

I think what [writer and co-producer] Andy [Breckman] wanted to do was remind people how the story began. And then for those people who were not that familiar with the show, who were just curious and checking in on it, we wanted them to have that first scene to kind of buoy the character in the story. So we start with the opening scene of the pilot.

“Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie” premieres Friday on Peacock.

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