Picks and Pans Review: Monk

updated 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

MYSTERY

USA (Fridays, 10 p.m. ET)

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"He's scared of stuff—stuff and things," obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) says of his agoraphobic brother Ambrose (guest star John Turturro), who hasn't left the family house in 32 years. The Jan. 23 episode of this clever series could have played the neurotic-sibling situation strictly for laughs, but the comedy here has more than a hint of pathos. "You've always been the fearless one," Ambrose says, so he ends seven years of estrangement and asks Adrian to return to their small hometown and investigate a possible murder next door.

Turturro, who seems fully committed to every part he plays, makes Ambrose a sadder, more haunted version of Shalhoub's Adrian. It's rare to see brothers portrayed so convincingly, particularly on a show in the field of light entertainment. But don't be afraid: The episode has moments that are funny, pure and simple. When was the last time you heard a police officer ask a suspect for permission to search his pie?

For those who stick to the broadcast networks, reruns of Monk's USA episodes return to ABC starting Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. ET.

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