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Friday the 13th brings a new mess of troubles for Monk

Cristina Kinon
New York Daily News (MCT)

You'd think an obsessive-compulsive with phobias would be hesitant to even step out of the house on Friday the 13th, but Tony Shalhoub, who plays such a character on USA's hit show "Monk," thinks the ominous date is appropriate for show's sixth-season premiere.

"It's a good omen for us, actually, since Monk is so off-center anyway," Shalhoub told the New York Daily News. "I think all of Monk's superstitions and phobias are a little stranger than the common ones that most people have anyway."

Shalhoub steps back into the gumshoes of the good-natured but troubled private detective Friday at 9 p.m. EDT in an episode with a returning guest star, comedian Sarah Silverman, who plays Monk's biggest fan.

"She's so great, and we just couldn't wait to bring her back," Shalhoub says of Silverman.

Viewers can expect numerous guest appearances this summer, by actors such as Diedrich Bader, who plays a nudist; Alfred Molina, who plays a rich guy, and rapper Snoop Dogg, who plays, well, a rapper.

For those who haven't seen the show, the idea of a guy who cuts his lettuce into perfect squares may seem daunting. It's a shtick that could get old fast, but Shalhoub has managed to keep Monk from being overshadowed by his quirks.

"A lot of it, I have to credit the writers," he said. "Just when we start to think we've figured everything out about these characters and their relationships, they throw a new curve at us. There's a certain open-endedness, too, to this character. And the more of a history we create for this guy, like in anyone's life, really, it becomes a cumulative kind of thing."

But sometimes, Shalhoub said, the writers come up with ideas that seem extreme even for a guy like Monk.

"We have an episode this summer where Monk hears voices in his head," said Shalhoub. "He's on a rooftop investigating something, and they wanted Monk to be hearing these voices in his head telling him not to go out there.

"At first I thought, `I'm not sure if this is within the world of Monk,' but I really try to give everything the benefit of the doubt, and nine times out of 10, if you really commit to it, you find a way to make it work."

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