9 exhibits like monk to see for those who like monk
Monk was right: it’s a jungle out there. And if you’ve spent quarantine watching every single one of Monk’s 125 episodes with a dedication that would make even the good detective proud, the only thing more frightening than the outside world could be figuring out what to watch next.
The US network’s process was a reassuring (if sometimes too real) re-run amid a global pandemic with many of us pointing to Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) and his stash of hand sanitizer wipes and saying, “I’m doing this.” But Monk isn’t the only TV detective who knows how to solve impossible cases and annoy everyone in the room at the same time. TV Guide has rounded up some of the best crime series to fill that monk-shaped hole in your life, from long-running classics to underrated gems.
End your surfing nightmare with TV Guide’s recommendations for every mood
Looking for more recommendations on what to see next? We have a lot of them! And if you’re looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on shows you love, we have these too.
Where to see: Amazon, NBC.com
If you like Monk the most when he’s moody, check out House. Fox’s long-running medical drama is a hospital unit where catching the “killer” means finding out what’s wrong with the patient (and it’s never lupus, except once). It’s a clever twist on the usual mystery show formula, and Hugh Laurie – as the brilliant but aggressive Dr. Gregory House – makes them inevitable. Like Monk, House is a modern day homage to Sherlock Holmes, from his sharp deductive skills to his drug use. Come and watch Hugh Laurie mock people while diagnosing strange diseases and stay for the Holmes and Watson relationship between House and his only true friend, Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard).
Where to see: Hulu, Amazon
OK, let’s clear that up: she’s bone. And it’s a nickname. Because she works with bones. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a world-renowned forensic anthropologist who solves crimes with bones and writes bestselling detective novels on the side, is the world of the monks of bones (women’s rights!), A socially awkward genius with a tragic past who can be difficult and demanding but always gets results. Brennan and her team of scientists work with FBI special agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to catch killers in cases ranging from quirky to “this time it’s personal”. The cases are fun but usually not as difficult to crack as Monk’s. The real selling point of Bones is the electrical chemistry between Deschanel and Boreanaz.
Where to see: HBO, HBO max
Monk’s phobias are often played for laughing, but at heart he is a very sad man. If you want to watch another sad man solve a crime, check out HBO’s new version of Perry Mason starring Matthew Rhys, the best sad man on TV. This 1930s Los Angeles Perry Mason dreams up a grainy genesis for the famous defense attorney, who in the first season mainly focuses on solving a gruesome case – and obviously facing his own demons. There are delays in storytelling, but the characters are well drawn and the mood is appealingly noir. And Matthew Rhys is just so good at being sad.
Where to see: Hulu
For more noir detective stories, this time with bonus teen drama, check out Veronica Mars. The UPN-CW series shows Kristen Bell as a high school and future college student standing in the moonlight as a private detective, picking up cases for her classmates and her detective father (Enrico Colantoni) while uncovering the secrets of the season. The biggest one emerging is the murder of her best friend Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried). If you’re looking for a complicated crime drama that requires more attention than Monk, Veronica Mars is the perfect marathon – at least for the first two seasons. The frustrating revival of Hulu is best ignored, and even season three has lost some magic, but Veronica Mars’ early years are unforgettable: a shrewd, dark exploration of trauma and privilege in a city where belongings lie are the throats of others.
Where to see: Peacock, amazon
There was a time when a Monk-Psych crossover would have been like putting the Avengers together for fans of the USA network. A crossover never happened (all we got were those promos) but if you’re missing Monk’s upbeat characters welcome charm and still haven’t seen Psych, let this be your signal from the blue skies. The cult favorite follows the irreverent charmer Shawn Spencer (James Roday Rodriguez), who uses his keen observation skills to bluff himself into an appearance as a fake psychological detective. Alongside best friend Gus (Dulé Hill), Shawn wins the Santa Barbara Police Department, including his love interest Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) and gruff detective Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson). Psych is Monk with even more laughs, obscure references in pop culture, and pineapple gags.
Where to see: Hulu
Everyone should love at least one network drama that went too soon. It keeps you humble. And you could do a lot worse than ABC’s Stumptown, which was unexpectedly canceled due to delays in COVID-19 production after it was previously extended for a second season. The Portland-based show, based on the comic book series of the same name, features Cobie Smulders as private investigator Dex Parios, a marine veteran with PTSD and gambling debt who also tries to support her brother (Cole Sibus). A messy, smart bisexual woman, Dex is a cool twist on the typical detective on TV, and Smulders is very good to see in the role. The fact that the ensemble is full of favorites like Jake Johnson and Michael Ealy only makes Stumptown cuter.
Where to see: Hulu
Sometimes you want to see a difficult genius inspired by Sherlock Holmes and sometimes you want to see Sherlock Holmes. The best of the recent wave of Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations is Elementary, which features Jonny Lee Miller as the modern day Sherlock in New York City and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson, a former surgeon hired as his sober companion, will star. It’s a sharp, well-made series with an exciting cast (stay tuned for Natalie Dormer) that weaves surprising new twists into the Sherlock Holmes canon, while still offering the usual convenience of a network process. Besides, Liu’s wardrobe is a dream as Joan.
Where to see: CBS All Access
This isn’t a detective show, but it’s an underrated gem that features Tony Shalhoub as a senator whose brain has been eaten by alien bugs. Between The Good Wife and The Good Fight, super-creators Robert and Michelle King created BrainDead, a one-season wonder about a documentary filmmaker (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who takes a job with her Senator brother (Danny Pino) and discovers Washington , DC, has been plagued by extraterrestrial insects that have taken control of some members of Congress. Very few people noticed a difference. It’s a charmingly weird political satire with a science fiction series, and it’s a fun clock if you want to see Shalhoub in a new light. Monk would not be able to cope well with these mistakes.
Where to see: IMDb TV (free with advertising)
Just one more thing – with Columbo you can refresh your TV detective story. The classic process aired on NBC from 1968 to 1978 and then returned less frequently on ABC from 1989 to 2003. The legendary Peter Falk plays Lieutenant Columbo, a clever, wrinkled murder detective who, like Monk, is repeatedly underestimated by murderers. Some of the best Monk episodes follow the Columbo model: the episode starts with revealing who did it, and the puzzle is how our hero will prove it, which he always does. Give it a try to see selfish killers learn what comes to them.