Natalie was born to Robert and Peggy Davenport, of Davenport Toothpaste, the "third largest toothpaste manufacturer in the world." She grew up in a wealthy family, but became estranged from her parents.
Natalie played varsity basketball for 4 years in high school. The summer after she completed high school, she worked in a shopping mall where her boss "liked her a bit too much." In one year, she traveled to Greece as an exchange student, and frequently visited a nude beach.
Mitch was a fighter pilot for the U.S. Navy who was shot down over Kosovo in the 1990's. Natalie has told Julie that Mitch died heroically, but the official Navy story is actually that Mitch was trying to run away from his plane crew after the crash. The details are still murky, and Natalie is not sure which version to believe.
After Mitch's death, Natalie worked in a variety of odd jobs, since she refused to go crawling back to her parents for help. While Mitch was still alive, she lived in Las Vegas for two years, working as a blackjack dealer, and was a self-confessed gambling addict. She worked in an office for two weeks before she quit, unable to stand the same routine every day.
She spent time in jail in Vermont for throwing a man through a window in order to protect a friend.
While employed as a bartender in a dive, Natalie killed a burglar in self-defense who entered her home at night and grabbed her. Because that was the second break-in she had had, she approached Adrian Monk and asked for his help. He became interested in her case, and eventually offered her a job as his assistant, to replace the recently-departed Sharona Fleming. Though she declined, she later changed her mind when Monk acted heroically to save the life of Julie's pet fish, "Mr. Henry", which was a gift from her father (In fact, the original fish died years before, and Natalie has been replacing it every year to prevent Julie finding out). In grabbing Mr. Henry, Monk not only overcame his own phobias, but also risked allowing a thief to get away with a priceless artifact. Natalie was so impressed by his choice that she accepted the job.
Relationship with MonkEdit
Natalie is confident and fits in well with her employer and friend, Monk, and his circle of colleagues.
Since becoming Monk's assistant, she has become an extremely devoted friend, as well as a devoted assistant. On several occasions, Natalie says explicitly that she loves him, though she might mean that in a platonic sense. (Monk: "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa")
Despite their platonic relationship, there have been instances where other characters have implied that Natalie may have suppressed romantic feelings for Monk through gestures and comments, such as asking them both if they were married/dating. When the two denied the comments, the person who asked would look suspiciously at Natalie, as if they thought there was something more in her denial. In other instances, Stottlemeyer and Disher would give each other looks as if they thought they saw something in her reactions to Monk's situation or how she talked about him. Natalie's family has also given similar reactions, as well as characters from various episodes. While this may be a coincidence of Howard's acting style, it is definitely a noteworthy aspect of Natalie's relationship with Adrian Monk.
In "Mr. Monk and the Genius", during a stakeout, when they are about be discovered, and in a frenzy trying to figure out what to do, Natalie yells out "We should kiss!", but then quickly corrects herself.
Natalie accompanies Monk to a nightclub in "Mr. Monk is Someone Else". Adrian, portraying deceased mobster Frankie DePalma, tells Lola, Frankie's mistress, that Natalie is his girlfriend.
She is also aware that Julie looks up to him, in much the same way that Sharona's son Benjy did.
Family and RelationshipsEdit
Natalie has a brother, Jonathan, whom she rescued from his murderous new wife, Theresa. This act sparked a reconciliation with her family, as Adrian and Natalie have a friendly brunch with her parents in a later episode.
Monk's brother Ambrose has a crush on her, and she has dined at his house at least once.
In 2008, she re-acquainted herself with an old comrade of Mitch's, Navy medic Lt. Steven Albright. (Mr. Monk Is Underwater) A year later, she and Steven were dating steadily, and Natalie prepared to introduce him to Julie, possibly because they were, or would soon be, engaged to be married. (Mr. Monk and the End, Part 1)
In the novels by Lee Goldberg based on the series, Natalie carries on an on-again, off-again romance with a firefighter named Joe Cochran, whom she first meets when Julie asks Monk to investigate the killing of a beloved firehouse dog. The two are strongly attracted to each other, but Natalie decides not to grow too close to another man in a dangerous job.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- One does wonder how Natalie is able to afford to change vehicles on a fairly high frequency when Monk pays her a rather meager salary. From season 3 through halfway through season 5, she drives a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee. For the second half of season 5, she drives a Buick Lucerne. For the length of season 6, she drives a 2006 Ford Escape. For the first half of season 7, Natalie drives an Audi A3. For the episodes "Mr. Monk and the Miracle," "Mr. Monk's Other Brother" and "Mr. Monk on Wheels," she drives a Nissan Sentra, and from "Mr. Monk and the Lady Next Door" through the end of the series, she drives a Hyundai Genesis.
- In the non-canon novel "Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants" (it's rendered non-canon due to the events of "Mr. Monk and Sharona"), Natalie has the opportunity to meet Sharona, who evaluates her relationship with Monk. Sharona theorizes that Monk initially latched onto Natalie because he likes things to stay the same, and Natalie was, like Sharona, a single mother with a 12-year old child. But she goes on to say that Natalie has a different personality, and has managed to make her own, different relationship with Monk, an impressive achievement.
- During Season 5, Traylor Howard was pregnant, so she spent several episodes with boxes, newspapers and the like in front of her stomach to hide the pregnancy. Specific episodes include:
- She has a tattoo, apparently in a discreet location.
- Natalie has appeared in more episodes (87) than Monk's previous assistant, Sharona Fleming (38).
- Natalie is often seen wearing Christian Louboutin shoes as shown by the trademark red sole. Christian Louboutin shoes are expensive (some pairs in excess of $1,000), so she either has a jones for shoes (similar to Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City) or wears knockoffs.
- Although Natalie claims she kept Mitch's last name to avoid being associated with the Davenport toothpaste company after Mitch's death, there probably wasn't a need to explain this. In reality, most married women who do adapt their husband's surname will keep that surname even after their spouse's death. It would be more normal to assume that Natalie would keep Mitch's surname unless she remarried.