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Adrian Monk is the main character of the USA Network series Monk. He is considered a legendary detective in the San Francisco area and even some places beyond, renowned for his incredible observational skills and record-setting homicide case solvings. On the other hand, Adrian Monk is plagued by the death of his wife Trudy Monk due to a car bombing, and the formerly happy man with a few quirks was transformed into someone incredibly sad and depressed, whose OCD, fears, quirks, and need for cleanliness were multiplied tenfold. This causes everyone, even his friends at times, to become annoyed, angry, or dismissive of his talents. As Monk describes his obsessive compulsive nature, "It's a gift and a curse." His obsessive-compulsive nature may cause obvious problems in his day-to-day life, but it is also in fact a major boon for his crime-solving skills, as it gives him a remarkable talent for noticing things that stick out or don't add up about a crime.

For example, an older story was told about one of the first cases Monk worked for the San Francisco P.D.: A woman was found dead from an overdose of sleeping pills. The police, examiner, and even coroner all ruled her death a suicide, but Monk took a single look at the crime scene and instantly declared it was a murder, for one simple reason; There were no glasses of water at the scene (She had taken so many pills, but apparently had not drunk any water to wash them down).

Adrian Monk requires an assistant to aid in his day-to-day life, providing emotional support for Monk, drive him around, help him with his fears, give him wipes, and help him investigate homicides. His two main assistants were Sharon Fleming and later Natalie Teeger. He considers his best friend to be Leland Stottlemeyer, Captain of the San Francisco Police Department who regularly hires Monk (who used to be Stottlemeyer's partner on the force before Trudy's death brought about his mental breakdown) as a private consultant, and they will often go to extremes for each other. In addition to his assistants, Monk sees a therapist weekly (first Dr. Charles Kroger, then after he died, Monk began seeing Dr. Neven Bell for the rest of the series).

While some of Monk's fears are relatively common, such as heights, disease, and closed spaces (though he eventually manages to overcome that last fear), others of them are uncommon or irrational to the point of being ridiculous, such as naked people, underwear, and even milk.

Monk can appear to be a cowardly person at times due to his phobias but Monk isn't afraid to tell suspected murderers to their face that they're the ones that did it, and always comes through for his friends, whether it's helping Sharona overcome her fear of elephants, saving Natalie from the back of a dump truck, revealing the truth about Stottlemeyer's murderous girlfriend to him, or gaining back Randy Disher's lost gambling money. Monk absolutely hates any slights against his deceased wife, and isn't afraid to get physical revenge on anyone associated with the murder or anyone who makes light of her death in the slightest. Monk is completely driven to solve his wife's murder throughout the series. It was the only case he was never able to complete, until the series finale when he at long last solved it.

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