Pretty disappointing start to the new season. Tony Shaloub is brilliant as ever, but the writing for this episode was a step back to the first season. The comic opportunities of placing the Monk character in Manhattan are obvious, but the writers chose to go with the obvious and stay there. No subtlety at all. And San Franciscans acting like country hicks in New York? Not exactly believable. I can only hope the return to SF next episode brings a return to sharper writing.
Agreed on all your points, Jason.
I couldn’t help but snort in disgust in using a well-known plot element like “the six-fingered man”. Any good, modern, character would have reacted to that as “Sheesh, you mean: Just like in Princess Bride?”
Did you notice, in one of the opening scenes, where Monk and Sherona are talking on the sidewalk, some extra/bypasser stops, smiles, and looks straight into the camera? When/if you see it again, look closely at the background for that opening scene.