Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) was once a rising star with the San Francisco Police Department, legendary for using unconventional means to solve the department's most baffling cases. But after the tragic and still-unsolved murder of his wife, Trudy, the devastated Monk became obsessive-compulsive. His psychological disorder has caused him to develop an abnormal fear of virtually everything: germs, heights, crowds ... even milk. Monk's condition cost him his job, but he's back as a police consultant despite the unique challenges he encounters in his everyday life.
These challenges lead Monk to hire a personal nurse, Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram), who is always there to offer her assistance, even with the simplest of tasks (including organizing his sock drawer). Sharona is Monk's own Girl Friday, an unlikely Dr. Watson to his Sherlock Holmes. Her less-than-subtle prodding helps keep the defective detective on track in his investigations, as well as in his efforts to convince Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) to allow him to return to the force.