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|Monk Season 2|
|Season 1||Season 3|
It's unholy matrimony as Monk and Sharona pretend to be married to get the goods on a con man.
Antiques dealer Raymond Toliver is examining his latest acquisition, a 19th century writing desk donated by the estate of Joshua Skinner, a 49'er who struck it rich during the Gold Rush. He finds an old letter in a concealed compartment, and, after reading it, excitedly shares its contents with his partner, Dalton Padron.
In the letter, the long-dead Skinner confesses to murdering his mining partner, Gully Watson. He says that one night in the winter of 1849, he and Gully had just finished off the last of their ration of beef jerky, and Skinner was about to shoot one of the mules and skin its meat for supper, when Gully came running out of the mine, screaming with excitement and joy. He had struck an enormous vein of gold. While most 49ers died broke or hungry, Gully and Skinner had enough that they were set for life. However, gold changes peoples' minds. As they were loading up the mules, Skinner promptly turned on his partner and bludgeoned him with a shovel. History swallowed Skinner's story that Gully had died of an allergic reaction resulting from a bee sting. Gully's fortune became Joshua Skinner's fortune. He never spent any of the fortune, except what it cost to build his house. The kicker: everyone is asking where Skinner hid it. The truth, Skinner says in the note, is that it's always been right in his house. He ends the letter with his "Where is the gold? The answer is in the journals."
Dalton and Raymond agree that it is a hell of a story, and Raymond mocks at how the lure of gold can turn someone's partner and friend into a cold-blooded killer. By way of agreement, Dalton picks up a sewing machine and bludgeons Raymond to death when he turns his back, telling his corpse that he actually agrees with the belief that the lure of gold can turn someone's partner and friend into a murderer.
A few days later, Monk and Sharona are recording a new message for Monk's answering machine when they get a late-night call from Randy Disher, asking for their help with a personal matter. They find him sitting in Stottlemeyer's office, drinking heavily (something that is made very clear that it was an exceptionally unusual action for him to do) and a nervous wreck. He tells them that he has a problem: his mother, Maria, has just gotten married, to none other than Dalton Padron. Randy has reasons to be suspicious: Dalton is thirty years younger than she is, and they met less than two weeks ago. Even more bizarre, Dalton told Maria that they were having problems.....only the day after their wedding, and they need counseling. Therefore, they are actually spending their honeymoon at the Waterford Institute, a therapy retreat. Randy has checked Dalton out, and his record is clean, but is sure something is very suspicious. Randy loves his mother, but she is not a prize in marriage, either physically or financially, so he wants Monk and Sharona to investigate.
They visit the antiques store, which Dalton is managing alone. While Dalton is distracted by Sharona, Monk peeks at his desk and sees a visa application: Dalton plans on moving to Ecuador in two weeks' time, and he is claiming to be unmarried. Monk tells Sharona that the only people who move to Ecuador are those who don't plan to come back, as there is no extradition agreement with the United States.
Sharona has a bold plan: she and Adrian go to the Waterford Institute, posing as another couple with problems. Even for a fake marriage, theirs is probably the worst union in history: Monk pretends to be a cowardly mop salesman with Sharona posing as his alcoholic wife. And among other things, Monk insists on taking their room's only bed, while Sharona occupies a camping tent on the floor – but it fails to deter the saccharine optimism of the retreat's director, Dr. Julie Waterford.
On a tour of the retreat, leased from Skinner's estate, Dr. Waterford shows the guests pictures of Joshua Skinner, and the collection of his journals in the library. When Monk and Sharona follow Dalton around, they see him taking an inordinate interest in the journals. Monk manages to steal Skinner's letter by having Sharona fake an argument and get close enough to snatch it, and realizes what Dalton is up to. However, later, Dalton snatches the letter back and burns it. Reasoning that they can't expose him without risking him doing something violent, Monk and Sharona are determined to comb through the journals and find the gold themselves.
At first, this seems a hopeless task for both parties – there are several hundred volumes to Skinner's memoirs, but each one is filled with seeming gibberish. If it is a code, neither Monk nor Dalton can make sense of it.
Dalton becomes wise to his tormentors and tries to kill them by staging a cave-in at Skinner's old mine, when Monk and Sharona wander inside (Monk only goes into the cave so he can escape a staredown with a coyote). When they are inside, Dalton removes one of the bracing timbers, causing the cave-in. After Monk recovers his pen light, they eventually find the exit. While inside, they receive call from Randy asking about their progress, though Monk has to quickly disconnect him, saying they are trapped in a cave (when Randy calls back later asking about what "trapped in a cave meant," Sharona lies and says that they were in "cave therapy").
Eventualy, Monk and Sharona get a signal and are rescued by the local sheriff, Ronald Mathis, who tells them that there is no way that they can prove Dalton guilty of sabotage - the bracing timbers were over 150 years old and were bound to give way. Monk and Sharona have no choice but to keep searching for the gold.
Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, the police have received a missing persons report for Raymond Toliver. Making the link with Dalton, Randy goes to the antiques store, alone. Inside, he opens an armoire and finds a trash sack stuffed with Toliver's bloody remains. He jumps into his car and speeds toward the retreat. He calls his mother, telling her to get out of the house immediately, but Dalton is listening on the other line.
After an exhaustive search through a pile of journals in their room (and realizing that several of the journals are identical, some of them verbatim copies of the Bible), Sharona gives up and gets ready for bed, and tosses the volume she's reading onto a crooked shelf in their room – where it see-saws, outweighing the thicker book on the other end. Monk realizes that Joshua Skinner left out a telltale comma: "Where is the gold? The answer is, 'in the journals'."
Alerted by Disher over the phone, Sheriff Mathis joins up with Monk and Sharona and they go to arrest Dalton, freeing Maria after he has tied her up in a bathroom. They find Dalton breaking one of the grandfather clocks after being led here by another one of the journals.
Here's What HappenedEdit
To an assembled crowd, including a handcuffed Dalton, Monk explains what happened: Skinner didn't trust the banks, so he hid his illegitimate fortune in plain sight. He was a chemist as well. He melted down the gold, mixed it with black ink, and inscribed it into the journals. What he wrote was unimportant - he just had to use up the ink. To demonstrate, Monk tears out a handful of pages, sets them alight, and lets them burn in a small pot – leaving behind ashes and rivulets of molten gold.
By the astonished calculation of one of the other guests, there must be roughly $6 million worth of gold in the journals. Dalton takes advantage of their distraction to seize Mathis's gun. Locking them inside a closet at gunpoint, he loads the journals into the trunk of his car, and starts to pull away from the retreat, but is halted by Disher, who has parked across the driveway. After handcuffing him, Randy runs to the closet and releases the prisoners.
The next day, the Sheriff tells the others that the gold will go to Gully's living relatives. Randy is a hero to his mother, though she declines his offer of a ride in favor of going home with her new beau, the Sheriff.
Dr. Waterford catches Monk and Sharona as they are leaving the retreat, preparing a long speech about how, no matter what the difficulties, she believes they could have a happy marriage. Sharona admits that they're not really married – to Dr. Waterford's immense relief.