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Mr. Monk Buys a House

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Mr. Monk Buys a House is the first episode of the 7th season of Monk.

Mr. Monk Buys a House
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Production
Episode No.

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Season No.

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Airdate:

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Written By:

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Directed By:

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Cast
Main Cast:

Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk
Bitty Schram as Sharona Fleming
Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger
Ted Levine as Leland Stottlemeyer
Jason Gray-Stanford as Randy Disher
Stanley Kamel as Charles Kroger
Hector Elizondo as Neven Bell

Guest Star(s):

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Chronology
Preceded By:

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Followed By:

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PlotEdit

At a suburban house, private nurse Cassie Drake (Katherine Kendall) is on the phone talking to the niece of her patient, 89-year-old Joseph Moody. (Jack Carter). She tells the niece that Joseph is in great condition thanks to the new medication she's started Joseph on just this morning, though she panics when she learns that the niece will be coming over in about 40 minutes to visit her uncle.

After Cassie hangs up, she asks Joseph to try to remember exactly what happened in 1968 at the Hampton Street Depository. She reminds him that he was talking about his incredibly big secret relating to those events earlier that morning. Joseph (who has senility and is wheelchair handicapped) rambles on and on about his past life, including his neighbor's crabapple tree and how he can't find his hat, and finally, Cassie tells him that he had his chance. She wheels him into the foyer and then up the stairs. Joseph is still rambling and doesn't realize that his life is in danger until Cassie has already wheeled him halfway up the stairs, and he complains to Cassie that he doesn't go up to the second floor because it is too dangerous for him. She merely says she can't risk Joseph telling others about his secret. At the top landing, Cassie releases Joseph from the wheelchair, stands him up, and then she pushes him. He falls down the stairway and is killed instantly.

The next day, in another part of the city, a young mother is watching her daughter practice Chopin Prelude in A major on the piano, which is interrupted when two police officers show up to inform the mother that they've received yet another noise complaint. Although the guy who filed this complaint has refused to release his name, but the officers say that they figure it's probably from the same nut as the one who filed several previous complaints against her.

The scene cuts to Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger, who are watching from next door. Monk is exasperated at the inability of the cops to arrest the mother, and it becomes obvious that Monk is at the end of his rope. Natalie can't even hear the piano playing at all, but Monk insists that he can hear it. He breaks down and admits that he tried to call Dr. Kroger, who died a few weeks ago from a sudden heart attack. Even Monk can't believe it, remembering that Dr. Kroger seemed just fine and untroubled the day before. Natalie reassures Monk that they'll find another therapist but Monk admits he was really messed up before he met Dr. Kroger, due to the catatonic breakdown he had following Trudy's death. It is also clear that Monk hasn't been satisfied with either of the other two replacement therapists he's met (the one recommended by Natalie's brother has chairs in his waiting room that are too low to Monk's standards, and the one they saw just the day before has an eyepatch over one eye), and when the girl's piano playing increases in volume, Monk opens the window and starts screaming at her again.

In an attempt to take his mind off the girl, Monk goes to the police station and starts looking for an open homicide case. To his dismay, however, all of the case files he looks at are closed. A few desks over, Lieutenant Disher quizzes Captain Stottlemeyer, who is studying for the maritime exam. Stottlemeyer mentions that he plans on purchasing a boat within a week assuming that the loan he's taken out to buy it goes through. It turns out that both Stottlemeyer and Disher know Morse code as Stottlemeyer asks Randy to skip a question about it. Stottlemeyer points out that he knows Morse code because his sons are both Boy Scouts, and Randy claims that he knows it because he was an Eagle Scout.

After a few minutes, Monk discovers the case file on Joseph Moody, which he notices is apparently still open. However, Randy tells him that the case has actually just been closed, written off as an accident. Monk is suspicious, having a hard time believing that an octogenarian in perfect health could just die from a mere fall. He insists on going to the scene of the "accident". Stottlemeyer and Disher accompany him, though Stottlemeyer is concerned about the possibility that Monk might be getting bored.

Monk, Stottlemeyer and Disher are next seen at Joseph Moody's house. Monk notices that the house is for sale and starts focusing on the fixtures while Joseph's niece, Pamela Moody, explains that she was driving up to the house to visit at around the time of her uncle's death. Stottlemeyer notes that Joseph had a private nurse, Cassie Drake, who said to the police that Joseph was taking a new medication called Tribiteral (utilized for asthma treatment), which she claimed made him disoriented. He notes that she said that at around 10:30 AM, Joseph walked up the stairs and fell, breaking his neck. Randy is skeptical, and mentions that he thought Joseph couldn't walk, but Pamela admits that her uncle could walk short distances. She breaks down crying, and Monk tries to get more information about the house from her.

It seems Monk wants to buy the house, and he is more convinced into doing so when he learns that the walls are soundproof and learns that Joseph kept the house spotless up until his death. Stottlemeyer draws him off to the side to tell Monk that while looking for a new therapist to replace Dr. Kroger, he shouldn't be making big decisions, and he should go home and get some sleep, but Monk goes ahead and buys the house on the spot.

A few days later, Monk and Natalie go to the office of Dr. Neven Bell (Hector Elizondo), a brilliant therapist and teacher, one of the best in the city. She tries to comfort Monk by pointing out that Dr. Bell's first name, Neven, is a palindrome, though Monk says it's not a perfect one (since the first N is capitalized). Dr. Bell comes out at exactly 11:00 AM on the dot and shakes hands, and even has wipes and Summit Creek, the right brand of bottled water on hand. Dr. Bell fills a glass of water halfway, and gets to work. Monk notices a painting from Dr. Kroger's office, and Dr. Bell admits that he also misses Dr. Kroger, a close colleague and personal friend of his. Dr. Bell tries to find out why Monk isn't sleeping, and when Monk mentions that the girl only started playing piano a year ago, Dr. Bell correctly deduces out of thin air that Monk has only been bothered by her piano-playing for the past five weeks. Monk is astonished, and Dr. Bell explains - the girl is playing Chopin, Dr. Kroger liked Chopin and played it in his waiting room all time, and Monk has only been bothered by the music since Dr. Kroger died. He suggests Monk is buying the house to deal with Dr. Kroger's death. Monk, however, doesn't feel comfortable, and denies any connection between the music and Dr. Kroger. He gets up to leave, but then realizes he can't leave early or Natalie will kill him. They just sit quietly.

Later, Monk goes to a hardware store to buy fixtures, where he tells a clerk all about his problems, not least the fact that his new showerhead doesn't have 100 holes in it. After a few minutes, the exasperated clerk leaves. A few feet away, another handyman, "Honest" Jake Phillips (Brad Garrett), approaches Monk. Unlike the first clerk, Jake sympathizes with Monk's problems, pointing out that he is also very particular about his showerhead (his girlfriend calls him "obsessive" about it), and offers to drill a few extra holes into the head. Before he leaves, Jake gives Monk his business card (with his too-good-to-be-true motto, "No mess too small or too dirty").

Later, the workers are moving Monk's items in and Monk tries to help as much as possible, even though he irriates them with his draconian directions on how to move his fragile and extra-fragile items, and eventually asks for them to take a few minutes off. He shows Natalie around the house. Though she's impressed, she wonders how he's coping with the fact he's no longer living where he and Trudy lived, mostly because Monk isn't a big fan of change. She warns Monk that he is responsible for any problems with the house (after all, old houses are more likely to have problems than new ones), however, she accepts Monk's decision. Monk is especially thrilled about how quiet the new house is, and also takes delight in the claw footed bathtub in the ground floor bathroom. Natalie proposes a toast... but is interrupted because Monk cannot help being bothered noticing that the dining room light fixture is off-centered. When he moves the table to center it under the lamp, it's no longer centered on the rug. Natalie quickly leaves as Monk tries to center everything.

Monk is next seen showing Honest Jake the problem. Jake sets up his stepladder, and unscrews the protective cover for the attachment as he prepares to install a parallel support beam, only to find a problem: frayed wiring, which is a serious fire hazard. Jake explains that this means he will have to remove one of the walls to run a new electric line through the ceiling to the fixture. When Monk mentions that the wall in question is his third favorite, Jake reassures him that he works like a surgeon, and likens the job to the simplicity of appendix surgery. When Monk asks about the likely messiness of the job, Jake assures him that when he is done, it will look like he never even was in the house at all.

The scene immediately cuts to Jake hacking down the wall very messily, only to discover another problem: the primary water line pipes are almost completely corroded, and are bound to burst anytime. Jake explains that he will have to remove the section of the wall he has just cut down, plus the adjoining wall and the half of the floor next to it. When Monk asks about the other half of the floor, Jake says that will also need to be removed.

In need of an additional pair of hands, Jake calls over his partner, a Hispanic plumber named Ramone (Ivo Nandi). The work is so destructive that Monk and Natalie are left cowering on the stairs as Jake and Ramone continue to tear down the walls to get at the pipes. Natalie tries to reassure Monk that home renovations are always very messy and he didn't have much of a choice. She offers to let him stay at her house, but Monk refuses. In the dining room, Jake and Ramone stop hacking down the wall when Jake finds some wires of an unknown origin. He instructs Ramone to find their source, and Ramone picks up a handheld saw and goes into the living room to cut out a small block of wall.

Monk and Natalie instinctively curl up as Ramone starts cutting into the wall, in fear of being accidentally pierced by the blade, and Monk notices a tire track on the step above him. After Ramone has cut the hole, Monk notices even more tracks on the steps. He follows them up and finds a miniscule rip in the wallpaper. Monk finds Joseph Moody's wheelchair in the garage, and when he brings it in and rolls it against the steps, he realizes that the tracks match up perfectly with the wheelchair. He also finds a piece of wallpaper lodged in the frame that matches the rip in the wall. Furthermore, in the wheelchair's back pocket, Monk finds a bottle of Tribiteral, the medication Cassie said Joseph was taking and which she claimed made him disoriented. Natalie notes that the bottle hasn't even been opened. Monk tells all that Cassie lied about Joseph walking up the stairs, and she actually wheeled him up.

That night, Cassie Drake is seen entering her house with groceries. After setting her grocery bag down on the floor, she is momentarily startled when she turns on the lights and finds Jake, her boyfriend, sitting in an armchair, obviously having been waiting for her. Jake catches up with her on what she's been doing since she killed Joseph (sympathizing on how her new night shift job screwing up her biological clock), and Cassie is curious as to how Jake was able to get in. Jake admits that he broke in through the sliding glass door in the back. When Cassie asks Jake about the progress of his work, Jake regretfully tells her that they have a problem: Monk has bought Joseph Moody's house, and he's caught onto her, and Jake can't take the risk that Cassie might rat him out. Cassie swears to Jake that she didn't have a choice and didn't want to kill Joseph, as he would have told everyone about his big secret. Unbeknownst to Cassie, Jake grabs for an awl on his toolbelt. As she continues trying to defend herself, Jake suddenly stabs her in the chest, then twists the awl so that the wound won't close, then throws her to the floor and lets her bleed to death.

The next morning, Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher are seen walking up to Cassie Drake's house, following up on Monk's suspicions about Joseph Moody. As they approach the door, Monk complains to Stottlemeyer and Disher about how Jake is finding problems left and right (unbeknownst to Monk, Jake is also Cassie's killer). He actually makes Stottlemeyer promise to tie him down and shoot him in the leg the next time he tries to buy an old house. Randy begins knocking on the door, but when he gets no response, he taps a seemingly random rhythm that Stottlemeyer realizes is Morse code. He taps a reply to Randy's message, and Natalie chastises them for their lack of knowledge on proper Morse code, pointing out that her late husband Mitch was a Navy pilot. Stottlemeyer knocks again, and then pulls on the door, which they realize is unlocked. He cautiously pulls the door open the rest of the way and they find Cassie's dead body on the floor, with the living room ransacked.

After the police and a forensics unit arrive and secure the scene, Stottlemeyer informs Monk that the medical examiner has determined that the murder weapon was a knitting needle, which they can't find. Although Jake has staged the scene to make it look like Cassie walked in on a burglar, Monk sees through the facade and notices an interesting clue: several of the cabinet drawers were pulled out and flipped over, but their contents are just piled up on the floor, indicating that Jake didn't really rifle through the contents, and came by to kill her. Things get interesting Randy finds an envelope with $4,200 - all of it in $20 and $50 denominations - in the closet. Analyzing the bills, Monk notices two clues: all of the bills are in 1960s currency, and some of them even have sequential serial numbers. Stottlemeyer prepares to run a trace of the money, and offers for Monk to come along. Monk declines, saying he should go home to see what remains of his house.

Monk goes back to his house to start cleaning up as Jake continues destroying the house. Jake stops long enough to give Monk some excellent news: Ramone is getting married! He then warns that he's got bad news: found some mold and Monk has no choice but to let him go to work removing it. He only gives in after Jake warns him about how the mold will spread and eat his house apart from the inside-out, making the house look even worse. As Jake drills into the underground utilities with a jackhammer, Ramone gives Monk and Natalie a scrapbook he has found in the attic. They look through it, Natalie notes that the scrapbook contains little more than an assortment of incredibly boring news articles (including articles on weather forecasts and the painting of fire hydrants). They are both confused: why would Joseph Moody be saving such material like this? Monk starts to say something, but stops midway, as he doesn't have an answer. What Monk and Natalie do not know is that Jake is also Cassie's killer.

Having run the trace, Stottlemeyer and Disher have been led to the Hampton Street Depository. They interview a depository worker, who reveals that the money they discovered was part of a stolen shipment back in 1968. Stottlemeyer remembers the renowned robbery very well, even though he was very young. The depository worker gives them the basic details about the robbery: on December 24, 1968, three gunmen rammed a stolen milk truck through the east gate, shot two guards dead, and made away with over $4 million in cash. Stottlemeyer notes that two of the robbers were career criminals. Although caught and sentenced, they died in prison without ever ratting out their third accomplice, who got away cleanly. Not a single penny from the robbery has been recovered until this morning with the discovery of the money from Cassie's house. The worker they talk to agrees to check the employment records to see if Joseph Moody's name comes up anywhere.

Simultaneously, Monk and Natalie also discover Joseph Moody's connection to the depository robbery. Monk notices that the articles were glued in and the glue is peeling after all these years. When he turns the articles over, Monk notices that all of the boring articles are actually the backsides of pages with stories about the depository robbery on the other side, and realizes that the only reason why Joseph would be collecting articles on the robbery would be if he was the robber who was never caught. He casts a look at the tire tracks on the stairs, and Monk and Natalie notice Jake's toolbelt, or more specifically, the bradawl inside the belt. Monk picks it up with a handkerchief, and they notice traces of blood on the blade, and he realizes that it is the murder weapon. He realizes what Jake is really up to, but he is too late. They turn around and see Ramone and Jake standing there... and Jake is holding a pistol on them. Jake says to them that he'd like to make a confession: he really isn't called "Honest Jake".

Here's What HappenedEdit

Monk and Natalie are next seen sitting in the bathroom, each shackled by one leg to the bathtub, as Jake and Ramone continue tearing up the walls, Monk explains that Joseph Moody was the third robber at the depository, and he stashed the money somewhere in the house. 40 years later, when Joseph came down with dementia, he started blabbing his big secret to his private nurse. Cassie killed him before he could tell the secret to anyone else, but she told Jake, her lover, who has been using the guise of a handyman to cover up the fact that he is searching for the money.

Natalie comments that Jake isn't the worst contractor she's ever met. She manages to grab a hammer and they try to crawl away, pulling the bathtub with them. Monk takes the hammer, but instead of using it to break their restraints, he pounds a protruding nail into place, because it is driving him crazy. Natalie notices that Jake still hasn't fixed the off-centered light. Suddenly, Monk notices something in the wall. Jake and Ranome both notice it at the same time, and start breaking down that section of the wall. Jake realizes that the dining room light fixture was not centered because of the presence of a false wall.

Jake and Ramone viciously tear down the false wall and find packed sheets of unwrapped depository money. Ramone asks Jake about his plans with his share. Jake says that he's going to do the same thing that he going to do with Ramone's share: spend it. He fatally shoots Ramone point-blank, then continues tearing away at the wall. As he's doing that, Monk and Natalie crawl into the hall behind the false wall. Just as Jake finishes removing the last of the wall and finds the rest of the money, Monk and Natalie push the wall with their feet, and it starts to give way. Jake tries to run, but he is too slow and the wall falls on top of him and knocks him out.

Natalie initially thinks that Jake is dead, until Monk points out that he's still breathing, and realizes that they need to get help before Jake wakes up. Natalie tries screaming for help, but Monk remembers Joseph's niece mentioning the soundproof and realizes that no one knows where they are. At Monk's suggestion, they crawl down the hallway towards the front door, still pulling the tub (or rather, Natalie is, as she is crawling on all fours as Monk is now standing up and walking slowly, trying not to get any more dust on him; Natalie is groaning with every tug). As they reach the foyer, Natalie realizes that they won't be able to make it up the steps leading to the door, and she improvises. She crawls across the living room to the fireplace and Monk hands her some rags. As Jake begins to regain consciousness, Natalie places the rags in the fireplace and ignites them with a lighter.

Stottlemeyer and Disher have been waiting by their car at the depository, unaware of the hostage situation at Joseph's house. The depository worker informs them that Joseph Moody worked at the depository for nine years, and he retired a few weeks after the robbery. This allows them to figure that Joseph was the inside man in the robbery, and he must have hidden the money in his house. The depository worker points out Joseph's old house a few blocks away, and Stottlemeyer and Disher see the first indication that something might be wrong - smoke being emitted from the chimney in a very unique pattern. They try to interpret the smoke signals in Morse code. Disher guesses that someone is trying to advertise a soda place, but Stottlemeyer quickly realizes that Natalie is saying "SOS", meaning that she is in grave danger. They scramble into their car.

Back in the house, Natalie is opening and closing the flue, hoping that someone sees the signals that she is sending up. Just then, Jake, face bloodied, but still very much alive and well, crawls out from under the rubble of the false wall, grabs his gun, and staggers across the foyer to the living room. He tells Monk and Natalie that if they like his work, they should tell their friends, but on second thought, he currently plans to retire. He raises his gun and prepares to shoot his hostages and eliminate the remaining witnesses to his crimes, but just as he is about to pull the trigger, Stottlemeyer and Disher burst into the house and arrest Jake just in time to prevent him from harming anyone else. As Disher leads Jake away, Stottlemeyer looks around the house for a few minutes in disbelief as he examines Jake's handiwork.

Monk has another session with Dr. Bell, and recalls a memory of his father taking him to a football game. Having learned that perhaps seeing Dr. Bell was the right choice, when their session time is up, Monk makes another appointment with him - two hours later that same day.

Sometime later, after Monk has moved everything back into his old apartment, he is reading when he hears the neighbor girl play her Chopin piece. Having come to terms with Dr. Kroger's death, he smiles and opens the window so he can hear it clearer. As he listens to it, the camera pans onto a small photo of Dr. Kroger and the screen fades out with the words "In loving memory of Stanley Kamel".

TriviaEdit

  • This episode was dedicated to Stanley Kamel, as this was the first episode to air from the time of his death.
  • When Joseph is being wheeled up the stairs, he is rambling about the Gregory Peck movie The Man in the Grey-Flannel Suit. The style in which he is killed is similar to the way a character was killed in the gangster movie Kiss of Death.

GoofsEdit

  • Cassie's position changes as Joseph falls down the stairs. As he starts to fall, she is standing closer to the wall but when Joseph hits the bottom of the stairs and breaks his neck, she has suddenly jumped a few feet away from the wall.
  • The Joseph that falls down the stairs is obviously a stunt double. Not that they could've helped themselves if they could, given the age of the actor who plays him.
  • When Natalie says, "I still don't hear it!" at Monk's apartment, both her hands and Monk's hands change positions between angle changes.
  • Safe-water markers are actually red-and-white horizontal stripes, not green-and-red horizontal stripes as Stottlemeyer says.
  • The niece's hands change position between shots when Monk is trying to get information about the house from her.
  • When Monk runs into "Honest" Jake Phillips at the hardware store, there is a bright blue electrical sign in the background that reads "Electrical" in reverse as Jake approaches Monk. A few shots later, when Jake is handing his business card to Monk, the sign has magically turned itself around so that we see it from the front, even though the camera angle is the same.
  • When Monk and Natalie are sitting on the stairs watching Jake and Ramone destroy the wall, close-up shots show Natalie sitting with her legs crossed while wider shots show her sitting with her legs bent at the knee side by side..
  • Jake should have been worried about trace evidence he could have left behind when he went to Cassie Drake's house to kill her, like fibers, DNA, blood splatter, footprints, and especially fingerprints (which there would be a lot of given that he isn't wearing gloves).
  • When Jake kills Cassie, she lands face down, on her stomach. Yet when Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher find the body the next morning, she is lying on her back. At first this appears to be a continuity error, but if you look closely, as Stottlemeyer is stepping over the body (after the scene is secured), there appear to be two pools of blood, one of which is a few feet away from the blood pool that surrounds the body, suggesting that Jake rolled the body over.
  • When the medical examiner's van is parking next to the police cars at Cassie Drake's house, the camera crew is reflected in the van's side panels, which doesn't help the fact that the van is also painted black, making the reflection clearer.
  • During the crime scene investigation at Cassie Drake's house, when Stottlemeyer kneels next to Monk, Monk's hand instantly changes position between shots.
  • Why didn't Monk or Natalie grab Jake's gun while he was unconscious, disarming him, before trying to summon help? And why didn't they try shattering the window to call for help, and for that part, fire rounds out the window? Someone would have noticed or heard them and called the police. Most likely answer is that both methods were out of reach, given the length of the chains.
  • As Jake notices that Monk and Natalie have spotted something and he starts kicking his foot at the wall, Natalie's hand changes position.
  • Some have argued that it's a factual error that Cassie Drake's front door opens outwards, claiming that front doors always open inwards. Actually, some houses are built this way. Not many, however.
  • Jake turns his head twice when Stottlemeyer and Disher burst in.

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