"[Howie] Mandel (above) along with Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winning Monk star Tony Shalhoub, are on,...'Mr. Monk Joins a Cult,' which continues the show’s sixth season this Friday at 9:00 pm on USA Network (episodes also repeat on USA Sunday night before returning to NBC beginning March 3rd).-- From FilmStew.com.
Cleverly cast guest star Mandel plays the leader of a cult, a la Jim Jones, but perhaps not as edgy or evil,...Anton Cropper, a former first assistant director on Monk for five seasons, directed 'Mr. Monk Joins a Cult' and describes the episode as a bit darker than most.
For the opening episode, Shalhoub asked the writers to check out the 1981 Canadian movie Ticket to Heaven, about a man who gets drawn into a cult but manages eventually to come out of it and get deprogrammed. 'In a lot of ways, Monk is like the cult leader,' suggests Shalhoub. 'They're both really great at kind of reading people and discovering what their vulnerable places are. But the cult leader goes much further and manipulates and brainwashes his followers, including Monk.'
'This episode ('Mr. Monk Joins A Cult') is definitely true to the Monk style,' Shalhoub maintains. 'It certainly has it comic beats, but it's very serious too. Young people get drawn into these cults, kids who are living on the street and so forth… This episode can hopefully really impact people.'"