by Natalie Finn | Fri., Nov. 14, 2008 5:05 PM
After six years of getting his hands dirty and then vigilantly scrubbing them clean, Monk is gearing up—probably pretty carefully—for his last case.
USA announced Friday that it has picked up its Emmy-winning detective series Monk for an eighth and final season that will air next summer.
The "Characters Welcome" network has ordered up 16 episodes, and E! News is hearing that the finale will clue Monk in on who killed his dearly departed wife Trudy, the tragedy that turned him into the OCD-addled mystery-solver who cable audiences have come to love.
"We want to build to a spectacular conclusion for this wonderful show," said Jeff Wachtel, executive VP of original programming for USA Network.
"By many measures, Monk is the most successful series in the history of basic cable television—and it was certainly the original tentpole of our 'Character' brand. Our fans have been extremely dedicated and season eight should prove to be a very satisfying reward."
Monk, which marked its 100th episode last month, averaged 5 million viewers per episode in 2008, so the series definitely isn't being put out to pasture on a downswing.
On whether playing such a neurotic, tic-ridden character has rubbed off on him over the years, three-time Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub told USA Weekend in June:
"I think I had low levels of those kinds of quirks, as a lot of people really do, but it's definitely grown over time. I'm not really the kind of actor who brings my work home with me so much, normally, but I sort of feel infected by this character in a way. I think about things that I normally wouldn't otherwise."