|Mr. Monk Gets Fired|
July 16, 2004
Glenne Headly as Karen Stottlemeyer
|Monk Season 3|
|Season 2||Season 4|
Paul Harley has a surprise for his mistress, Larysa Zeryeva. He blindfolds her and leads her to his garage – she's thinking it's a new car, a quid pro quo for keeping her mouth shut to Harley's ex-wife about certain assets he kept hidden during their divorce. But when she takes off the blindfold in the garage, she finds no surprise waiting for her. But Harley tells her that there is a surprise, and (surprise!) he bludgeons her with a tire iron. Then he cuts up her body with a chainsaw.
At police headquarters, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer makes an announcement to the Homicide division. His wife, Karen, will be filming a documentary about life behind the scenes in the division. It was the Public Relations division's idea.
As Leland is congratulating a sergeant about a robbery case, Lieutenant Disher comes up to him, telling him that the fire at a wig factory on 24th Street looks like arson. The fire marshal says that there were two points of origin and a test for artificial accelerant came back positive. The question is, who would torch a wig factory? Randy suggests the owner to be responsible (for the insurance), but Stottlemeyer shoots that theory down, since the owner died in the fire.
Just then, Stottlemeyer's overbearing and arrogant new boss, Commissioner Brooks, walks in to the room. He asks Stottlemeyer why he is following a story in page 22 of the magazine and not the front page story: "Body Headless, Police Clueless!" As Brooks is leaving the station, he is mobbed by reporters looking for answers to the torso murder, and as he gets into his car, someone snatches his hat and runs away.
Stottlemeyer makes the decision to hire Adrian Monk, which is a decision Brooks ridicules. At the coroner's office, Monk examines the torso and deduces some important clues to the identities of both the killer and the victim: the victim was in her late twenties, from one of the Baltic states, probably Lithuania. The killer was left-handed, and an expert mountain climber. However, Monk's detective work is soon overshadowed by a colossal and very damaging blunder: obsessed with cleaning some crumbs off of a computer keyboard, Monk accidentally erases several years worth of forensic records.
Stottlemeyer tries to do damage control, assuring the Commissioner that most of the files were backed up, but the Commissioner refuses to be mollified (the Commissioner already has an axe to grind against Monk, who made him look foolish when he testified against the Commissioner’s friend in a corruption investigation). So not only is Monk off the case, but he is also pulling Monk's detective's license, despite Stottlemeyer's protests that doing so to Monk is a virtual death sentence.
With Monk unemployed, Sharona takes back her old job as a nurse at a hospital. Stottlemeyer and Disher meanwhile, home in on Paul Harley as their prime suspect, after his ex-wife files a missing persons report for Larysa, who was her housekeeper. Larysa fits Monk's profile of the victim, and Harley fits the profile of the killer, but the District Attorney refuses to issue an indictment until the torso is positively identified as Larysa's. While they are questioning Harley at his house, Disher tells Stottlemeyer that Monk is in the garage.
In the garage, Monk is searching around for clues when Stottlemeyer finds him there. He notes that the garage has been thoroughly scrubbed down with bleach. Stottlemeyer mentions that the house is actually like a hospital, surgically cleaned such that Monk could almost live here. When Monk asks if Paul Harley is the guy, he learns that Harley isn't only the guy, he is confident that he has gotten away with the murder (to the point of rubbing it in the police's faces). They have a lot of evidence, but cannot arrest him until they can identify the torso as Larysa Zeryeva. Disher then arrives down in the garage, saying that not only is the ex-wife 100% certain that Paul killed Larysa, but she also has some photos. A photo of her with her hair cut short is the most recent photo. Just then, Paul Harley also comes down to the garage and recognizes Monk from the news. Monk immediately asks Paul some questions, like if he cut Larysa up in the garage and if he owns a chainsaw. Harley denies having a chainsaw, until Monk tells him that he has a spare blade for a chainsaw and a space on his pegboard for a chainsaw. He amends his statement, saying he threw it out. Monk sternly reminds Harley that the police only need a tiny amount of DNA to connect the torso to his house. Just then, Disher receives word that the Commissioner just pulled up, and so Monk is escorted out via a back way.
With Monk out of action and the Commissioner riding him hard, Leland unloads his frustrations to Karen, unaware that the camera is still rolling. To add to his frustrations, the Commissioner's hat has been snatched a second time, and he is demanding that Stottlemeyer find this "Mad Hatter" on top of everything else.
Monk, meanwhile, applies for a new job as a fact-checker for a magazine. He is more horrified than happy when he actually gets the job. Sharona comes by to check on him, and he unloads his heartbreak to her: he needs his job as a detective back; he can't look at a newspaper without wanting to be in on the case, even the stupid "Mad Hatter" story... and that is when Monk solves the case!
Here’s What HappenedEdit
At the police station, the Commissioner is angry to see Monk and Sharona there with Stottlemeyer, and Karen filming in the background. Stottlemeyer is gleefully smiling, saying that they are waiting for the Commissioner. Monk is here as his guest. Thanks to Monk, they have an arrest warrant for Paul Harley ready to roll at any time.
Monk gives to the camera his summation: Paul Harley killed his girlfriend Larysa Zeryeva, cut up her body, and dumped it into the Bay. After the torso was found, he cleaned his house obsessively and compulsively until any trace of her was gone. He also destroyed any papers related to her, and found one paper that scared him half to death. It was a receipt from the Hair Outlet on 24th Street, the wig factory that burned down. Harley knew he was in trouble, because Larysa had cut off most of her hair a month before she was murdered and sold it to the wig factory. He broke into the outlet, killed the owner, and then he rifled through the sales receipts until he found what he needed. Then he burned the place down in an attempt to destroy the evidence. Luckily, some of the records survived the fire, so the police know exactly who bought Larysa's hair: Commissioner Brooks. Paul Harley was grabbing the Commissioner's hat, but he wasn't after the hat. Rather, he was trying to grab the Commissioner's toupee, which was made from Larysa's hair.
The Commissioner insists that he doesn’t wear a toupee. Stottlemeyer asks Monk whether he’s sure, and Monk says 100%. Stottlemeyer grabs the Commisioner’s hair and gives it a tug – and nothing happens. Monk amends to 74%, and the Commissioner starts to storm out, assuring Stottlemeyer that he’s just flushed his career down the toilet. But Sharona says that "74%’s good enough for me!" and jumps the Commissioner, yanking at his hair until it rips loose. The police collect the toupee as evidence, while the Commissioner, humiliated at having his baldness caught on film, asks whether there’s any way Karen can edit it out. Stottlemeyer agrees, on one condition: giving back Monk's investigation license.
To conclude Karen's film, we see her filming her husband and Randy during the arrest of Paul Harley for the murder.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- The medical examiner reappears as an important character in Season Four's "Mr. Monk Goes to a Fashion Show."
- The name of Karen's film is called "Cinema Verite!" Seven years later Molly Hagan, who played the interviewer in this episode, played a part in a movie by the same name which premiered on HBO in 2011.
- It said that Larysa Zeryeva's hair was cut for the new commissioner's tupe. It was cut, not ripped, so it is not quite possible to find enough hair follicles for typical DNA analysis (however, analysis of mitochondrial DNA could be used).
- Larysa Zeryeva is not typical Baltic name. It is of Slavic origin.