Hollywood Actors Who Were in ‘Monk’ Before Rising to Fame

Hollywood Actors Who Were in ‘Monk’ Before Rising to Fame

Vivian Mwikali
September 08 2022 - 07:26pm

Thank God for streaming services because we can watch reruns of our favorite shows. Monk is one of them- a drama show that has become a cult classic.

Monk fanatics might be surprised to spot some familiar faces while re-watching that were not noticeable when the series premiered.

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What is ‘Monk’ About?

Tony Shalhoub played the show's protagonist Adrian Monk, a former cop with obsessive-compulsive disorder and uncountable phobias. Though he continued to investigate cases in San Francisco, his colleagues and overworked assistants at the police department strived to ensure his sanity as he came to terms with the death of his wife, Trudy.

The show premiered in eight seasons and 125 episodes from 2002 to 2009. It also boasts numerous Awards and nominations, including Primetime and the Golden Globe. 

Fans and critics alike praise the mystery comedy-drama series, warranting its score of 8/10 on IMDb, 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and 93% on Google Review.

Without further due, let's look at some familiar faces spotted in the series that were not so familiar back then.

Melora Hardin

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Years before landing a recurring role on the popular sitcom The Office as Michael Scott’s crazy girlfriend and boss, Merola Hardin played Trudy Anne Monk, Adrian’s long-lost wife. 

Trudy was killed in a car bombing, causing Adrian’s mental breakdown. His wife’s murder prompted him to quit the force to become a private detective. 

Initially, the role was portrayed by Stellina Rusich throughout the 1st and 2nd seasons before Hardin took over. The showrunners thought Hardin was more fitting for the role because she was more capable of performing in intricate flashbacks and hallucinations.

Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo always thrives in roles involving criminal activities or playing someone that you don’t want to mess with. Before his iconic presence as Tortuga on Breaking Bad, Trejo was featured in an episode of Monk titled 'Mr. Monk Goes to Jail.'

The actor played Spyder, an inmate convicted of murder. He was Adrian's cellmate when the latter was going undercover in prison. Trejo's character and Adrian became unlikely friends as the private detective was investigating a homicide. 

It wasn’t hard for Trejo to get into character because he once served years in jail.

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Ken Marino

Ken Marino is famous for starring in MTV’s The State and the TV shows Children’s Hospital, Marry Me, Party Down, Burning Love and Black Monday. 

The actor, comedian, director and screenwriter appeared briefly on Monk as Lester Highsmith, a cop and former partner to a murder victim. Catch him in the episode 'Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine.'

Angela Kinsey

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The Office fans associate Angela Kinsey with her role as the strict uptight accountant on the sitcom. What many may not know is that Kinsey appeared on Monk in the episode “Mr. Monk and the Naked Man.”

She played Arlene Boras, the episode’s villainess. She was an X-ray technician who planned to cash in on a client, Peter Magneri’s death, by giving him false X-ray results showing a healthy heart. She intended to bet against the Magneri company and short-sell the Magneri stock, where she would stand to make a lot of cash once Magneri passed away.

Jim O’ Heir

Years before Jim O’ Heir became famous while starring in Parks and Recreation alongside Amy Poehler, he had a low-key role on Monk as a park ranger. His role was so minor that it’s not credited, but a keen fan would be able to spot him.

David Koechner

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Today David Koechner is one of the most sought-after comedy actors. Before landing a recurrent role on The Office as Michael Scott’s dysfunctional loud-mouthed friend, he starred in the comedy film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy alongside The Office co-star Steve Carrell, and Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd.

Koechner played the murderer Joey Krenshaw on Monk in the episode titled 'Mr. Monk and the Daredevil”.

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman scored a recurring role on Monk as Marci Maven, Adrian's biggest fan. Marci wasn't obsessed with the lead character alone but also with Brad Terry and F. Murray Abraham. Fortunately, her obsession didn't manifest in murderous ways, as she even helped Adrian with his investigation sometimes. 

Marci often changed the object of her infatuation after finding out Brad was a killer and Monk was quite irritating. 

Throughout her time on Monk, Silverman was establishing her career as an actress and stand-up comedian. She was also working on her show, The Sarah Silverman Program.

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Rainn Wilson

A third member from The Office to show up in Monk is Rainn Wilson. Fans of the sitcom know him too well as Dwight Shrute, number two in command to Michael Scott. 

In Monk, Wilson played Walker Browning in the episode “Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame”. Walker was a tech nerd who murdered a professional baseball player and his wife to get more money on a foul ball he caught at a game.

Nick Offerman

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Yet another Parks and Recreation star to get some early experience on Monk. Before starring as Ron Swanson in the comedy series, Nick Offerman played Jack Whitman, a zealous volunteer for Adrian's second assistant Natalie's campaign for the school board. 

Though Jack came across as loyal and supportive, in reality, he was a killer trying to cover up his wife's murder by gaining access to documents that went missing in the campaign.

Alfred Molina

Alfred Molina was already relatively known before guest starring in Monk. He definitely turned heads when he played the villain, Dr. Otto Octavius, in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 in 2004. Three years later, he featured in the episode “Mr. Monk and the Naked Man” (same episode as Angela Kinsey) as Peter Magneri, the target of Kinsey’s character dubious tricks. 

Interesting fact, Molina was one of the finalists for the part of Adrian Monk alongside Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub. If Molina had been cast as Monk’s lead, he would have had the same initials as his character.

Diedrich Bader

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The episode “Mr. Monk and the Naked Man” featured a number of familiar faces, including the comedian Diedrich Bader of Outsourced, The Drew Carey Show, American Housewife, Better Things and Veep. 

Bader went by Chance Singer on this show’s episode- a nudist who lived in a beach trailer. Chance feuded with Molina’s character Peter Magneri, who wanted nudist hippies off the beach. Adrian was often uncomfortable around Chance because of his nudity and even walked into the ocean when Chance hugged him.

Jennifer Lawrence

We saved the best for last! Jennifer Lawrence's minor role as a mascot in Monk episode 'Mr. Monk and the Big Game' was her first ever speaking on-screen role and her big break. Adrian coached a basketball team while trying to solve a murder case. The detective then interviewed Lawrence's character before she strapped on her catsuit to entertain the crowd at a pep rally.

Who knew that such a juvenile role was the beginning of Lawrence’s rise to international fame, not to mention her numerous accolades?

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