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Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $31.99 Last Price: $49.95 Buy now! 3rd Party 35.79 In Stock
Release Date: January 30th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2004

Monk: Season Three

Overview -

It’s a jungle out there, and if you’ve got an unsolved murder on your hands, there’s only one guy that can crack the case. The world’s greatest Obsessive Compulsive Detective returns for Monk Season Three. The third round starts strong, but a midseason casting shakeup gets a little mumpy as we have to get used to new characters and routines. Thankfully fun creative murders and guest stars keep this Emmy-winning show entertaining. KLSC gives the series another excellent Blu-ray release and for a Recommended addition to the collection.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4 Blu-ray Set
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Length:
640
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.78:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
January 30th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Once a show has a great first season with a knockout second season, the onus for the third season is to maintain the course without slipping into mediocrity. For Tony Shalhoub’s Monk, Season Three gets that demand half right. The show is far from mediocre maintaining inventive and entertaining crimes that need solving by our famous detective and his pals. However, a mid-season casting shakeup proved to be pretty jarring and risked upending the goodwill the series already built. 

Picking up where the dramatic final episode of Season Two left off, Mr. Monk (Tony Shalhoub) Sherona (Bitty Schram), Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine), and LT. Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) fly to New York to get essential information about the death of Monk’s wife Trudy (Melora Hardin). But murder follows them to the Big Apple and only Monk can crack the case. And many more cases after that. But when Sherona has to step down, Monk will have to find someone patient enough to keep up with all of his little and not-so-little peccadillos. 

When it comes to mystery shows and crime series like this, I tend to dread it when a series gets to the third season. It always feels like the Jump the Shark moment where the stories either get too outlandish or the cases become so routine it’s not interesting anymore. I always look at Castle as a recent example where the focus of a crime novelist using his abilities as a writer to help the NYPD solve murders moved to focus almost exclusively on solving the murder of his lady partner’s mother. It was a weak throughline thread and the in-between cases became sillier and implausible. It’d be like if Monk stopped caring about his deceased wife’s case and focused on Sherona’s dating life. Thankfully that didn’t happen for Season Three. The death of Trudy and her unsolved murder is a frequent them, but it doesn't weight down the show.

However, what did happen this season was almost as disastrous. With the big ratings numbers and the ever-growing number of Emmy nominations and wins, the cast of side characters felt they deserved a little extra piece of the earnings pie and demanded a pay raise. While negotiations worked out (more or less) for Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford, poor Bitty Schram was given the axe. I’m a little fuzzy on the details, I’ve found some conflicting info about why, what, and how things went down, but she was ultimately let go. That meant Monk would need a new assistant/nurse to annoy. Enter Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger. 

Now casting changes happen and sometimes they work out for the better. And Howard’s Teeger proved to be a fine addition to the cast. But the part I didn’t like about this casting shakeup was the rather unceremonious exit for Bitty Schram’s Sherona. It’s not the replacement but how they replaced her that’s bothersome. Sherona is just casually written out in a frustratingly uncharacteristic way that just felt disrespectful to the character and more specifically of Shchram herself. And because of this shakeup, it feels like the show had to hit a bit of a reset button. Monk and Teeger have to figure out their own working dynamic on top of fitting her into the interactions with Stottlemeyer and Disher. By the end of the season, a lot of those bumps got ironed out and things got back to work for Season Four. All the same, I’ve wondered how the show could have run without this casting change.

As a whole, Monk Season Three remains a great watch. We have some fun episodes with a great cast of guest actors as our victims and/or murderers of the week. One of my favorite episodes is Episode 14 Monk Goes to Vegas where Monk has to figure out how Stottlemeyer solved a murder while drunk as a skunk - but can’t remember the evidence. Along for the guest spot ride is the entire band Korn, Larry Miller, and Steven Williams (all in the same episode). We also get to see James Brolin drop by as well as Philip Baker Hall, Carmen Electra, Glenne Headly, Mako, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Nick Offerman, and even Tony Shalhoub’s real-life wife Brooke Adams! Get the wipes, clean your hands and discs, and sit back for a very fun third season. 




Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Monk
returns for Season Three on Blu-ray with another four-disc release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. As with the previous releases, the sixteen-episode season is spread throughout four Region A BD-50 discs. All four discs are housed in a standard multi-disc case with an individual tray reserved for each disc - no stacking. The inside of the insert features the episode listing. Each disc loads to a static image main menu with standard navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

Following past seasons, Season Three returns for another series of excellent 1080p 1.78:1 transfers. Each episode maintains the same excellent range of details for facial features, set design, and every one of Monk’s identical tweed suits. This season moved around a bit more than past runs so we get to see bits of New York City as well as Las Vegas in all their early-mid 2000s glory. Otherwise, the show mostly keeps to some lovely exterior shots of San Francisco for it’s scenic interest albeit with a fun deviation for a case that takes place on a highway. Film grain is healthy throughout without appearing overly noisy or intrusive. Again this is a much better-looking presentation than what I’ve spotted on various streaming options and a lot better than what the old DVDs rolled with. Colors are nice and vibrant with great primaries and healthy human skin tones. All around, this is another winning release.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Again KLSC sticks with the DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio options and the tracks for each episode are nice. More or less they get the job done Since the dialog is the main focus, sound effects and scoring are secondary to the overall mix. There are just enough ambient effects to give the various locations a feeling of activity and imaging for an engaging soundscape. Shots of downtown New York, and Las Vegas casinos, there’s plenty of hustle and bustle to make the mixes feel bigger but not the immersive impact of a full 5.1 track. Still pretty great stuff. Dialog is clean and clear, as I browsed through a selection of my favorite episodes on each disc I didn’t notice any abnormalities or issues of note.

Special Features

Ranking:

As has been the case with the past sets thus far, the bonus features selection is relegated to archival bits and pieces that were available on the previous DVDs. It’d been cool to see some new stuff come along, but as we saw with KLSC’s Columbo set, the hurdles of getting the authorization and clearing legal for new extra features can get complicated fast. What’s here is fine, basic EPK sort of stuff without being too exciting.

  • Favorites (SD 5:11)
  • Life Before Monk (SD 3:08)
  • Quirks (SD 3:56)
  • Monk - Character Profile (SD 5:55)
  • Natalie Teeger - Character Profile (SD 5:13)

After a very good first season and an excellent second outing, Monk returns for a good but bumpy third season. It’s not the cases or the episodes that are bumpy necessarily, but the abrupt and clunky departure of Bitty Schram and the entry of Traylor Howard felt like a bit of a series reset. Not a complete overhaul, but it is weird when a cast has to get to know each other all over again and establish new character routines. A bump in the road, but one that smoothed out by the end of the season. KLSC keeps going strong with these Blu-ray releases offering up a superior visual experience than streaming or the old DVDs and sports some clean audio to match. Recommended

Order Your Copy of Monk Season Three on Blu-ray