Traylor Howard played Adrian Monk’s lifesaver of an assistant Natalie Teeger from 2005 to 2009. But Monk fans know that. What they may not realize, however, is that Howard joined the show as a packaged deal. She started bringing her infant son to the set soon after accepting the role.
Now, Monk was in full swing by the time Traylor Howard showed up. She took over for fan-favorite assistant Sharona (Bitty Schram) following Season 3. And Howard didn’t fully grasp the gravity of the situation.
“I was naive when I took on this part, I didn’t realize the cult following of the show and Sharona. I didn’t know it was such a big deal,” Howard told the McClatchy-Tribune. It wasn’t until the press stuff started coming out that I realized, ‘Gosh, I hope it goes OK.'”
Things went better than “OK” for Howard. Monk fans quickly took to her dynamic with their favorite obsessive-compulsive detective. Tony Shalhoub played Adrian Monk to a tee for eight seasons. And if you remember the brilliant crime solver, then you know that he was almost entirely dependent on his assistant. Well, his assistant and his therapist.
As a result, Traylor Howard factored heavily into the show. The Natalie Teeger role kept her busy. So busy, in fact, that being a single mom meant bringing her son along.
“I have a little boy who’s almost 3. He’s been on the set since he was born, and everyone’s so lovely with him. And it’s been a huge impact on his life. He’s a really social, curious little boy. I think, ‘God, I’ve got to get another job so he can be in this environment again,'” Howard continued.
Joining a Show Like ‘Monk’ Midway Was New for the Natalie Teeger Actor
Traylor Howard had plenty of acting experience by the time she brought her son to the Monk set. But most of it came on projects like Bram & Alice, where she was involved from the beginning.
According to her, starting a show from the beginning is a different animal entirely. For one, you never know if the pilot episode will get picked up. The show may be over before it even begins.
“Because I was so naive, and I’d been at the startup of other shows, which is very hard because you have so many elements. You’re trying to find the right tone of the clothes and the hair and the sets and the characters. A lot of times, they get canceled and never get up and running,” continued Howard.
She explained that joining a show like Monk was actually easier than her past roles, despite the pressure that came with her addition to the cast. The USA show was a well-oiled machine when she got there.