Edwards helps 'Monk' solve mystery

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFMCNS) -- When most people watch an episode of the USA Network TV show "Monk," they see an obsessive-compulsive detective, but may never realize the hundreds of people it takes to bring this character to life.

In the same way, many people see an F-16 fly over Dodger stadium during pre-game ceremonies and forget about the thousands of people it takes to get the plane in the air.

Even more impressive is when these two entities cross paths, as was the case for Team Edwards and NBC Universal Sept. 8 and 9 here.

More than 16 squadrons assisted in the filming of the award-winning show "Monk," partnering with NBC to highlight their missions in unconventional ways on Edwards' flightline.

"Three weeks ago Andy Breckman, the show's writer, contacted us about filming an upcoming episode of "Monk" at Edwards," said Master Sgt. Larry Schneck, superintendent of the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs Entertainment Liaison in Los Angeles.

The episode was originally going to feature an F-16, but when the chance arose to use the new F/A- 22 Raptor and promote some of the Air Force's most modern airpower, it was an opportunity that couldn't be passed up. After all, Sergeant Schneck said, future members of our Air Force might watch the show.

Edwards' people immediately went to work. It required a total team effort to bring something of this magnitude together in such a short period of time, said John Haire, Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs, chief of media relations.

Filming on both days took about 12 hours. Nearly 50 Edwards' members served as extras on the set and were filmed in the background doing their jobs. Many different career fields were used ranging from security forces to maintenance, and it added authenticity to the scenes, said Tony Palmieri, director of photography.

As Airmen and actors worked side by side they created an unconventional work environment with hundreds of people, each person performing a specialty distinct to their job, but each equally integral in the film making process.

"It was really cool to see how our every-day jobs fit into the inner workings of the filming process," said Staff Sgt. Kirbie Delmo, 412th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft metals technology journeyman.

As excited as the Airmen were participating in the production, the cast and crew were just as excited to be able to join the Air force mission for a day.

"Everyone at Edwards was tremendously nice and very accommodating," said Anthony Santa Croce, producer. "We can't thank you enough for helping to make our show even better by using the 'real deal' aircraft and base. It has been a treat for our cast and crew to be a part of Edwards these last few days."

Excited by the support, time and attention offered to the production by Edwards' people, the cast of Monk took time after filming was complete to pose for pictures and sign autographs for more than 200 people at the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum on Sept. 9.

"Even though we are here filming at Edwards, we also want to let our troops serving overseas know that we are very grateful and wish them well," said Tony Shalhoub, who plays the detective Adrian Monk. "We offer support and prayers that everyone comes home quickly and safely."

This episode is scheduled to air in January 2006.