On the set of Monk in 2004, tensions were running high. Alleged contract issues resulted in the production of at least one episode of Season 3 with most of the show’s primary cast members absent and ultimately led to the permanent removal of a fan-favorite character from the drama.
Sharona Fleming, played by Bitty Schram, had been a fan favorite since the pilot because to the tough love she delivered her OCD-plagued boss, and viewers were never happy when she left the program halfway through the season.
What Happened to Sharona in ‘Monk’?
Bitty’s final episode as a series regular was Season 3’s “Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine.” Upon the return of the police procedural five months later, Sharona had inexplicably “moved back” to New Jersey to be with her ex-husband, and Natalie Teeger was introduced as Monk’s new assistant.
“Monk has decided to go in a different creative direction with some of its characters,” USA Network clarified. “Bitty will not continue with the cast and we thank her for her notable contributions and wish her the very best.” The actress’s management team released a statement denying rumors that contract disagreements led to her abrupt departure.
“Bitty Schram and USA Network have amicably decided to go their own separate ways,” Untitled Entertainment said. “She wishes everyone connected with the show continued success and looks forward to pursuing the various opportunities before her.”
Sharona Appeared in One Final Episode
Thank goodness the showrunners talked Bitty into making a quick appearance in Season 8 to wrap up her storyline. “It was honestly like I never left,” the Felicity alum did admit in a 2009 interview. “It’s a bizarre phenomenon, but it’s true.”
Tony Shalhoub who portrayed Adrian Monk said, “It was great. It felt like we just picked up right where we left off and we didn’t miss a beat. And the only difficulty for me was that I look a lot older and Bitty looks exactly the same.”
Bitty affirmed that the conclusion of Sharona’s story had met with her approval. “For me being back on the show, I was really happy to do it and I thought it ended really, really well,” she shared. “I was very, very pleased with it and very pleased to be working with everyone again on that show, I really was.”
When asked why she stopped watching Monk after she left, Bitty claimed it had nothing to do with the show’s creators or cast. “When I was on it, I didn’t really watch it because it’s hard for me to watch,” she confessed.
“Like, it’s just hard for me to watch anything. I honestly have never really even watched some other things I’ve done,” she explained. “I don’t like doing that to be honest… It’s just my neuroses.”
Sharona was absent from the series finale, but it was revealed she had relocated to Summit, New Jersey with Lieutenant Randy Disher, who had taken over as chief of police there. Right now, you can watch all eight seasons of Monk on Amazon Prime.
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