Monk: Sharona (Bitty Schram) Returns for Last Season Episode

MonkUSA’s Monk may be leaving the air after its eighth season wraps up, but there is a bit of good news in store for longtime fans.

Monk centers on Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub), a brilliant San Francisco detective who has a breakdown following his wife’s murder. After a three-year absence, Monk returns to the force to help do what he does best: solve crimes. Of course, for someone suffering from severe OCD, that’s no easy task — but it’s usually Monk’s OCD that ends up helping him solve the case. Series performers also include Jason Gray-Stanford, Ted Levine, Traylor Howard, Stanley Kamel, Bitty Schram, Emmy Clarke, Kane Ritchotte, and Hector Elizondo.

The show premiered in 2002 and was a surprise hit for the USA Network. One of the most endearing aspects of the show was the close relationship between Monk and his practical nurse/assistant, Sharona Flemming (Schram).

Schram left the series in the middle of season three due to a contract dispute, though producers insisted they just wanted to “take the show in a different direction.” Her spot in the cast was filled by Traylor Howard as Monk’s second assistant, Natalie.

Sharona’s absence was explained by having the character move back to New Jersey with her son, after remarrying her ex-husband Trevor Howe. She is mentioned but not seen at the end of season six when everyone believes that Monk has died. She apparently sent flowers and attended the funeral with her son, Benjy.

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In the novel Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants by Lee Goldberg, the character returns to San Francisco after her husband has been accused of murder. Monk eventually clears him and Sharona returns to her husband with the knowledge that her eccentric friend is being well cared for by Natalie. It’s a bit of closure that TV viewers didn’t get — until now.

Schram is reprising her role as Sharona for an episode of the Monk TV show’s final season. It’s unknown how the writers will reintroduce her but one scenario invloves Natalie and Sharona exchanging war stories about the detective.

Shalhoub is excited about his former co-star’s return. The two ran into each other last April when Kamel (Dr. Kroger) passed away.

Shalhoub said, “We couldn’t think of a better way to help wrap up the series than with the return of Bitty’s character. Bringing some closure to Sharona is long overdue.”

Season eight of Monk is expected to premiere this Summer. Shalhoub says the writers are hard at work wrapping up unresolved storylines. It’s unknown where in the final 16 episode run Schram’s appearance will fall but it’s certainly a nice way to help end the series.

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71 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Hanna says

    I liked Sharona because she had a tough edge, but I like Natalie for her naive sweetness. It will be so great to see Bitty back. I think she was unfairly dumped. As much as I love Monk and hate to see it go, they are running out of ideas. The last episode didn’t even follow up on one of the MAJOR clues, which was a disappointment.

  2. CW says

    This has been such an entertaining show, and I’ll miss the cast of characters and especially Tony Shalub. I liked the Sharona character very much because she was never mamby pamby and had lots of energy. The Natalie character has grown on me tremendously and I enjoyed the sight of Monk being embraced and having someone close, so it is OK by me if they wind up together in the finale. I’d love it, in fact!

  3. anonymous says

    well , it is not exactly being cancelled tony said that that have no more ideas and it would better for the show to end … :(((( that is so sad .. i’ll really miss it ! cos they all had an excellent sense of humour and it was just not solving cases without referring to the character’s personal feelings …they should go on for 10 seasons , differently monk would be unhappy !
    n the last thing i wanna say i liked sharona sometimes but i have to admit she was too bitchy to monk , she was laughing at him and i didn’t like it all … natalie is more sensitive , sweet and takes care of adrian more than sharona did … she respects him ! i wish she gets a little jealous in the show when she ll see sharona (just my opinion , but i want monk after solve’s trudy’s murder to end up with natalie , traylor is such a cuttie) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Monk-Manic says

    The final episode of Monk should be: One mystery of closing in on Trudy’s killer, is that armed people seem to get off close range shots at him, but do not stop him, and thus are killed themselves. The captain and the other police can not go with Monk to follow up on an obscure lead, but says he will try to get some retired officers to meet him there. Of course, Monk is not wrong, and he does find Trudy’s killer, but he is in full body armor and impervious to Monk’s 9 mm pistol. Just as the killer is about to shoot Monk, there are two loud bangs, and the killer is tossed back across the room. The photographic shot then switches to a close up of two smoking .44 magnums (as in Die Hard), which the focus then moves back to the faces of Clint Eastwood and Michael Douglas (sorry Carl Malden was unable to make it). Mike says to Clint, “Glad you talked me into carrying the magnum”. To which Clint replies, “Always bring a tool big enough to do the job” (or some other quotable Dirty Harry line), then he reaches down and says “Com’on Clyde, let’s go home”, and picks up the orangutan and walks out.

  5. Petra says

    I’m pretty sure Tony Shaloub said he wanted to go out on top. Plus, he’s played Monk for 8 years — that’s a long time to play a character — especially one with fear of everything, including milk! :) Anyway, I’m hoping that in a few years, he might decide to do a TV-movie of Monk like they did with Columbo. That way every two or three years, we could have a new Monk and yet Shaloub and the other actors could work on other projects as well!

  6. Petra says

    At first, I was unhappy with Sharona being replaced and did not want to watch Natalie. But I have to admit, over time, she has grown on me and I now like her better than Sharona. For those saying Sharona was mean and nasty, that was how she dealt with Monk. It was part of the humor of the show!

  7. joan says

    I enjoyed Sharona and the way the character helped Monk become part of her family. I have also adjusted and enjoyed all of the work Natalie and her daughter have done to help Monk also. The show has given my family a lot of laughs and some clever times guessing what would be next for the police – Both the Captain, and Lt. D. They were well written and acted out with human connections throughout their envolvement with Monk.
    Not having Kroger was sad, but things have moved well with his replacement. I look forward to seeing the endings – I only wish there were 26 weeks instead of only 18.

  8. says

    Monk is such a great show!! I hate to see it go! Eventhough I liked the Sharona character, I much prefer Natalie. Sharona was too nagetive for my taste. Natalie seems to suit Monk – never makes fun of him like Sharona used to. Thanks to the entire cast for many WONDERFUL hours of entertainment!!!!!!

  9. JV says

    Sharona was odious. Her character always treated the Monk character like an errant child. The Natalie character and Monk have a very fine chemistry. Why bring Sharona back? Cut her off like the wart she is.

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  11. Peter from Lebanon says

    I was a dedicated fan before Bitty left the show. Then, I rarely watched. Nice to see you again Bitty – I also enjoyed your character in A League…….

    Good luck to the cast. Thanks for the entertainment.

  12. Michael Patrick Hamilton says

    Regarding the return of Sharona Flemming’s character, played by Bitty Schram, in an upcoming episode of the final season of Monk, I have just one word . . . HOORAY!

  13. Terri says

    I stop watching after Sharona left; her and Monk had great chemistry! I still do get to enjoy them; I have seasons 1, 2 and 3 on DVD.

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