Captain Cool

The college nickname of Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub), a former police detective turned freelance investigator on the crime drama MONK/USA/2002-2009. Monk is single, germophobic, afraid of the dark, crowds, heights and milk.


Adrian earned his nickname when he attended the University of Berkeley (graduated in 1981) because he was obsessed with defrosting the refrigerator in his dorm building.

Years later, when he went to his 25th reunion, he discovered the dorm freezer covered with ice and so Adrian quickly grabbed a spatula and pan to clean it up once again.

 Note:  After the death of his wife Trudy Anne Monk (1962-97) who was killed by a car bomb, Monk began to fall apart. He got fired from his job as detective with the San Francisco police when he began to manifest an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Until he can get his anxiety problems under control, he won‘t be able to return to active duty. Meanwhile, Monk hires himself out as a private consultant and uses his detective skills to solve crimes.

His attention to detail and his Zen/Sherlock Holmes like demeanor enables him to read people and the environment, to see what others do not. Monk’s talisman is a set of keys that belonged to his wife’s car. He holds them close until he can discover the true facts behind her death. She was killed in an underground parking lot (Section B-5).

Monk occasionally will play his clarinet at the foot of his wife’s grave. Monk celebrates August 8th as an anniversary. It was the first time he met Trudy. He met Trudy at 4:30 on a Tuesday. She was missing a button on her blouse.

Adrian regularly visits his psychiatrist Dr. Charles Kroger on Monday, Friday and every other Wednesday. When Kroger died Adrian visited Dr. Nevin Bell, one of Kroger’s colleagues, for consultations.

Monk’s sidekick and “Girl Friday” is a practical nurse named Sharona Fleming who monitors Monk’s progress and helps him cope with stressful situations. For instance, when Monk walks down the street, he will compulsively begin to touch and count each and every parking meter he passes. And meal time has a strict order: Tuesday is always chicken pot pie night. Effectively, Sharona plays Dr. Watson to Monk’s dysfunctional Sherlock Holmes.

A germaphobic, Monk also must have a ready supply of moist towelettes on hand in case he touches something dirty; and he also only drinks bottle water (he insists on Sierra Springs brand).

Besides having to contend with Monk’s idiosyncrasies, occasionally Sharona has to survive a visit from Ambrose Monk, Adrian’s older brother who still lives in the same house at 1740 Oak View in which both he and Adrian grew up more than thirty years ago.

Ambrose, an instructional manual writer, who said “I am as God made me” has issues, among them being a pack rat and an agoraphobic.Ambrose blames himself for his father leaving their home and he waits patiently for his return. The kids on the block say of Ambrose “That’s where the special man lives.” Ambrose can speak 7and half languages including German and Mandarin Chinese.

Ambrose had not left the house for 32 years. He maintains the house in hopes that one day his dad will return (which he finally did). It was only when the house caught fire that Ambrose (aided by Adrian) left the house and broke his chain of voluntary confinement.

Ambrose avoided calling Adrian for seven years because he felt guilty that she died while on a errand for him to pick up some cough syrup he needed.

In 2009, Monk learned that he had a half brother, Jack Jr. who had escaped from prison. Jack broke into Monk’s apartment to manipulate his brother to help him find the person who framed him for murder. Adrian solves the crime and Jack goes back to prison – but for how long?

After Sharona left town to remarry her ex-husband, Monk hired Natalie Jane Teeger, a widowed bartender with an 11 year-old daughter as his new assistant. Although not a nurse, Natalie has the needed patience and compassion to be Monk’s assistance. Natalie comes from a wealthy family (Davenports) but is estranged from her parents because they did not support her marriage to her husband, Mitch.. The Davenports earned their fortune with toothpaste and mouthwash.

When the San Francisco Police Department gets stumped on a case, they hire Monk as a consultant. Monk’s liaisons with the force are Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, Monk’s former boss (who had to fire Monk) and his chipper “Boy Friday” assistant, Lieutenant Randall Disher.

Adrian graduated in 1981 from University of Berkeley in California. He shared dormitory room #303 with his roommate who used a tie on the doorknob as a “do not enter/disturb” signal.

It was at college that Adrian met his future wife, Trudy while he worked in the library. She came in one day (Tuesday at 4:30 – she was missing a button on her blouse.) looking for a book by Alexander Pope (Volume 2).

And although that section of the library was being reorganized and all the books were stacked in large piles on the tables, Adrian’s photographic memory enabled him to find the exact book that Trudy needed. Bedazzled by Trudy, Monk summoned the courage to call her three weeks later.

Trudy was dating some one else at the time, but she soon fell in love with Adrian. “I love you. Well, were in big trouble. because I love you too.” –

Adrian was so fastidious that whenever he saw a weed growing anywhere on campus, he took the time to pluck it.

In later years, Adrian would even wander through a supermarket and pull all of the expired products off the shelves and wheel them up to the check out counter.

When Adrian attended his 25th college reunion, we learned of Adrian’s “superpower” (per Natalie). Namely, if someone used his back as a surface to write a note, Adrian could discern the letters and numbers as a person pressed pen to paper. This is how Adrian got his wife’s college phone number when a rival suitor used Adrian’s back to write down Trudy’s number.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Police, Private Eyes

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