Monk is an all-White, comedy-drama-crime show that centers around Adrian Monk, a former detective for the San Francisco police department (SFPD). Monk has 312 phobias and has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which he cleverly refers to as “a gift and a curse.” While Monk’s phobias and OCD are used as comedic relief, he utilizes what some may call his mental issues as his strengths, solving murders by noticing the smallest clues no one else sees.
In season 4, episode 16, Monk is summed for jury duty, which he’s reluctant to attend. Before being chosen for the jury, Monk says that the U.S. legal system is the best in the world, which I’d argue that it is not, as it was built on White supremacy. In the court case, a Black man was being charged with robbing and stabbing a White man in the thigh. Although all the evidence seemed to point towards the defendant, and the rest of the jury believed him to be guilty, Monk thought differently. He examined each piece of evidence and slowly but surely persuaded his fellow jurors that the defendant is innocent because the plaintiff’s story did not match the evidence. During Monk’s process of examining the items, he asked a juror to put a pair of the plaintiff’s blood-stained jeans because according to Monk, he and the plaintiff were of similar build. I disagree with his comparison. However, even though this demonstration started to persuade other jurors of the defendant’s innocence, in my opinion, this was unrealistic. The jeans the plaintiff wore in court appeared to be of a smaller size than the jeans the juror put on. Also, I’m not sure how likely someone is to put on someone’s blood-stained clothing.
As the episode continued, Monk suspected there to be a dead body in a dumpster in front of the courthouse and yelled to his assistant, who happened to be outside of the deliberation room’s third-story window, to call the captain of the SFPD. Of course, Monk was right, and while the police were investigating the scene outside of the courthouse, Monk was still communicating with his assistant through the deliberation window. This too seemed only for TV and meant solely for comedy, because the security guard outside of the deliberation room did not stop Monk from yelling. Furthermore, the judge of the trial saw Monk talking with his assistant from the window and did not remove him from the jury. Despite courts having the ability to remove a juror for a “good cause” (ex: misconduct) after the deliberation has begun, the judge did not take action against Monk and only told him to stop communicating with outside people.
During the climax of the episode, it was revealed that one of the jurors not only murdered the individual found in the dumpster but was there to help her fiancé, who was being transferred into federal custody at the courthouse, escape so that they could run away to Bogotá, Colombia. In this scene, the murderer pulled out a gun hidden in her travel coffee cup. This was one of the main improbable things to occur in the episode because even though she handed her cup to an officer at the security checkpoint and did not have to pass it through the x-ray machine, I find it ironic that the officer did not notice the weight of the cup. In addition, the officer kept tilting the cup but apparently didn't feel that no liquid was moving inside. Another huge unrealistic part of the episode was the murderer taking control of a secured elevator by flipping a simple light switch next to the elevator, enabling it to stop on her floor. But I guess that’s what you call “TV magic.”
Overall, I believe there to be aspects of reality and fiction throughout the episode. Monk demonstrates the need to pay attention to every detail. If it wasn’t for his unique perception, not only would another innocent Black man have wrongfully been imprisoned, but the murderer and her fiancé could have escaped. He turned his mental illness into his greatest strength, showing that one can control their “curse” and turn it into their gift.