Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck was a wealthy financier, and a longtime enemy of Adrian Monk.
Biederbeck's other distinguishing characteristic was his gross obesity, which gave him his nickname. Though he was apparently obese for most of his life (because of overeating), when he first bought his luxury apartment, he weighed 422 pounds and could still walk (and on a good day, he could see his toes). But after his mother died, he had a complete breakdown, he would call restaurants and order everything on the menu. His physician stated that Biederbeck "topped out" at 927 lbs, though he later decreased his weight to 804 pounds (approximately 360 kilos). He was still unable to walk, leave his bed, or fit through the doorway of his bedroom. Unlike many rich men, Biederbeck went to extreme lengths to avoid publicity (to quote Leland Stottlemeyer, he bought entire newspapers for the sole purpose of "keeping his name out of them").
A few years before she was killed, Trudy Monk wrote an unflattering article about Biederbeck, calling him "the Genghis Khan of world finance." Biederbeck responded by suing her and the newspaper that published the story for libel suit, knowing that he couldn't win, just to torment her. The suit lasted a whole year, and the legal costs forced the Monks to sell their first home, which Biederbeck snapped up and used as a warehouse for his extensive pornography collection. Adrian Monk called it the worst year of Trudy's life - which would also turn out to be one of her last, since she was killed a short time later. For this reason, Monk hates Biederbeck intensely.
In 2002, Biederbeck became the primary suspect in the slaying of Judge Catherine Lavinio, who had issued a costly antitrust ruling against him. Several clues left behind identified him as the killer, but the police were baffled because he couldn't leave his bedroom. However, Monk eventually deduced that Biederbeck had recruited his personal physician to commit the murder, and then leave clues behind, both to confound the police and to taunt them - in Monk's words, Biederbeck wanted them to know he had done it, and gotten away with it. But he didn't: the doctor turned state's evidence on Biederbeck, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to prison. Before being arrested, he then tried to strangle Monk in revenge for foiling his plot, but his immense girth left him unable to reach up to Monk to do so. Monk then took the opportunity to add insult to injury by deliberately leaning towards him as he's doing so.
A year later, Monk visited Dale in prison and was upset to find that he had adjusted to life behind bars quite easily: as immobile as ever, he still enjoyed the use of his luxurious furniture, a television, racy photos on the wall, and an inmate to feed him mountains of specially delivered takeout food. The only thing he lacked was a window. After a condemned prisoner, Ray Kaspo, was poisoned to death less than an hour before his execution, suspicion fell on Biederbeck, to whom the dead man owed $1,200. Both he and Monk knew that Biederbeck wouldn't kill anyone over such a petty sum (as he said with a laugh, "I wouldn't bend down to pick up $1,200 - I mean, even if I could") but until the killer was caught, the prison refused to install Biederbeck's window. He offered Monk a deal: find the killer, and Biederbeck would share what he knew about Trudy's murder.
After Monk solved the case, Dale revealed that Trudy was, contrary to Monk's belief, indeed the intended victim of the car bomb. He sent Monk to New York City with the name of the man who built and planted the bomb, Warrick Tennyson. As a plane headed east, Biederbeck smiled to himself as he was able to see it with his new window, "Bon voyage, Mr. Monk."
Monk found out that Biederbeck was telling the truth, not realizing that it was part of a larger, more sinister scheme. As Biederbeck hoped, Tennyson provided Monk with the tantalizing clue that the man who hired Tennyson had a six-fingered hand. During this time, although still unable to walk, he has managed to become somewhat mobile, albeit through the necessary use of a wheelchair. Three years later, Biederbeck hired this same six-fingered man, Frank Nunn, to plant a bomb in a car carrying the Governor of California. Shortly before the assassination, Biederbeck had a former guard of his, Sheriff John Rollins, kill Nunn and frame Monk for the crime. Biederbeck planned to kill the Governor, and then have his crony, the Lieutenant Governor, pardon him, setting him free while Monk was sent to prison. But Monk foiled his plot, and Biederbeck lost everything: his furniture, telephone, and laptop were confiscated; his special meal deliveries and manicure appointments were cancelled; his window was blocked up; and he was reduced to sleeping in a cramped bunk bed and eating prison food in the cafeteria with the other inmates.
Monk visited Biederbeck, to tell him that Nunn's papers had mentioned a mysterious figure known as "The Judge" who had hired Nunn to kill Trudy. Biederbeck claimed not to know anything about The Judge's identity. Since the Governor had refused to commute Biederbeck's sentence (even before the assassination plot), it was unclear when, if ever, Dale would be eligible for parole. The exposure of his plot also ensured that his sentence would be that much more punishing.
In 2009, The Judge was finally identified and exposed. It was not made clear whether Biederbeck had ever learned of his identity, but it remains a strong possibility, since his information was good enough to identify Nunn and Tennyson as being connected with her murder.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- The name "Beiderbeck" is derived from name of the jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke.
- All of the actors portraying Biederbeck had to wear fat suits.
- Biederbeck is one of the few antagonists to appear in more than one episode, and has the most repeat appearances (3) of any (with the possible exception of Harold Krenshaw, who is not really an antagonist).
- Biederbeck also makes a brief appearance in the non-canon novel "Mr. Monk Goes to Germany," by Lee Goldberg. Monk telephones Biederbeck from Germany when he suspects that one of Dr. Kroger's colleagues, a psychiatrist with a six-fingered hand, is the man who killed Trudy. Since the doctor was giving a lecture at Berkeley in the same week Trudy was killed, thanks to a grant from one of Biederbeck's foundations, Monk suspects Biederbeck of being the killer. Biederbeck smugly refuses to confirm or deny Monk's suspicions, but later Monk proves that the doctor is not Trudy's killer (the novel was written before, but published after, the airing of "Mr. Monk Is On The Run," and Goldberg's foreword acknowledged the discontinuity).
- In Goldberg's novel Mr. Monk Gets Even, taking place in 2012, Biederbeck escapes from custody after undergoing a surgical operation to remove his excess fat, and frames Stottlemeyer as the accomplice to his escape. In the course of the novel, Stottlemeyer refers to him by the new nicknames "Dale the Frail" (when he is left extremely weakened by the surgical procedure) and "Dale the Fail" (after Monk catches him yet again).
- The events of the series left open the possibility that Biederbeck knew the identity of The Judge, but ultimately this possibility was not explored.
- Three different actors play Biederback in each of his three appearances.
- Just how Monk is considered the Sherlock Holmes of the present-day story, Dale can be considered the James Moriarty to him, albeit just fat.