Hey, hey fellow Monkies, did you miss me? I for one missed Monk, although I didnt realize how much until I saw tonight's episode, which was hilarious and, at times, heartbreaking. Monk seemed more vulnerable than ever when he spoke in front of Julie's class on career day. And while it was funny to watch the kids taunt him with those laser pointers, Monk's embarrassment was palpable. He's a man with a disease, not an amusing quirk, and hes really working hard to overcome it. His macho competition with the murderer, astronaut Steve Wagner (how come astronauts never have names like Lipschitz?) did wonders for Monk's meek disposition. Even though he declared himself a "muss" (half man, half wuss), Monk found the

cajones to stand in the path of a plane to catch the bad guy. Now that's progress! Dr. Kroger (Stanley Kamel) must be one hell of a therapist. I liked the fact that we knew from the outset that Wagner was the murderer (and not just because he was the best-known guest star, since let's face it, Jeffrey Donovan is far from being famous). I know I've been griping for weeks that I can pick out the murderers just by perusing the roster of guests. But one of my faithful readers, Tara, wrote in that I was missing the point: "I doubt that within the first two minutes of every episode you have predicted how the murder/crime would be solved and how the characters would interact, as that is the genius of the show." Well Tara, if you read my Insider with Jason Gray-Stanford, who plays Lt. Randy Disher on the show, then you know he agrees with you. He said the Monk writers pride themselves on writing howdunits, not just whodunits. Maybe all those years of Columbo have eaten away at my brain. As for exactly how Wagner did it, well, it was pretty convoluted and far-fetched. For his plan to work, the USPS actually had to deliver a package on time; in reality, his victim would still be very much alive. Raven Snook