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Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink

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Monk Season 5
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Season 4 Season 6

"Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink" is the seventh episode of the fifth season of Monk, and the 68th episode overall.

PlotEdit

Dr. Charles Kroger arrives at his office like on any other morning. But as he approaches his waiting room, he hears voices coming from inside. Dr. Kroger opens the door to his waiting room to find Adrian Monk and Harold Krenshaw arguing over who should get the 8:00 AM session. He breaks up their argument, and wonders how they got into the waiting room; Harold admits that the door was unlocked. He is more concerned to find that the door is slightly ajar. Dr. Kroger, Monk, and Harold enter the office, and find Teresa Mueller, the building's cleaning lady, on the floor, stabbed to death.

Apparently, someone walked in on Teresa while she was cleaning the office and scattered around some of the patient files. Monk quickly rules himself and Harold Krenshaw out as suspects. Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher question Dr. Kroger, pointing out that the door was not jimmied, meaning the intruder had a key. Dr. Kroger admits that only he himself and Teresa had keys to his office, but Stottlemeyer and Disher point out to Dr. Kroger that he keeps a spare set of keys in his receptionist's desk. It seems that an intruder lifted that key and made a copy, then broke into the office to steal a file. Dr. Kroger is surprised to find the police suspect one of his patients did it. He is reluctant to give the names of any patients with motives until Stottlemeyer tells him that if one of his patients is responsible, Dr. Kroger is legally obligated to provide assistance to the police investigation. Dr. Kroger admits that there is one patient who has threatened him in the past - a paranoid schizophrenic named Joseph Wheeler, who thought Dr. Kroger was talking about his ex-wife behind his back and threatened to break into his office several months earlier to prove it.

Unfortunately, feeling ashamed at not seeing the possible consequences, Dr. Kroger decides to retire. He reassures Monk that he will refer him to another therapist as soon as possible. This causes Monk to start going through an accelerated version of the five steps of grief (in order denial, anger, compromise, depression and finally overcoming it), which Dr. Kroger describes to Natalie as Monk acts out each step. But when Monk goes back through the five steps all over, Natalie thinks that he is stuck on a recursive loop.

Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher later question Joseph Wheeler at the toy store where he works. Wheeler doesn't know anything about the murder, and when asked about the threats he made, he admits that he was in the middle of a divorce at the time. When they find that Wheeler's alibi checks out, they rule him out as a suspect.

Needing to talk to someone, Monk returns with Natalie to Dr. Kroger's office, with Natalie in the doctor's chair. The attempt fails miserably. As they are about to walk out, Monk notices some vacuum marks on the carpet, indicating that the carpet had been partially cleaned when Teresa was killed. Monk quickly realizes that the killer walked in on Teresa and killed her when she was midway through cleaning the office. While they are leaving, Francis Merrigan (Gordon Clapp), who owns an importing and exporting business based in the same building, walks in on them, admitting that in the aftermath of the murder, it is always necessary to be cautious if a door is slightly ajar. He admits that he is glad that Dr. Kroger is leaving, given the nature of his patients. Monk notices that Merrigan is carrying a milk carton, which he claims to be using for his coffeemaker.

That night, Monk and Harold stake out Dr. Kroger's house, arguing from across the room and also managing to avoid being noticed by Dr. Kroger. They carefully conceal themselves while spying on the doctor. All of a sudden, someone throws a rock with a threatening note through the window and an SUV is seen speeding away. But neither of the patients, although rivals, could have thrown the rock.

When Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive, they believe the incident reinforces the theory that one of Dr. Kroger's patients was responsible. As they interview the rest of the Kroger family, we learn that their family is really messed up, especially with their rebellious son Troy, who has apparently made Charles take a paternity test three times at Troy's request, and has been arrested by Randy in the past

Monk believes that Teresa Mueller's killer might have thrown the rock through the window as a diversion to make the police look elsewhere. Monk also recognizes the rock, though he can't remember where. While they are talking, Dr. Kroger tells Monk that he has set him up with a new therapist, a Dr. Jonah Sorensen.

In his first session with Dr. Sorenson, Monk is rather uncomfortable by the fact that Dr. Sorenson is missing his right arm (from a boating accident two years ago), and tries to hide it from his eyesight by holding a coaster to his left eye. As he laments about how the office feels different from Dr. Kroger's office, he finally remembers where the rock came from.

Monk rushes back to Dr. Kroger's office just as Dr. Kroger is packing up. Monk shows Dr. Kroger exactly where the rock that was thrown at his house came from: it came from the courtyard. Monk asks, and Dr. Kroger confirms, that only two people have access to the courtyard: himself and Francis Merrigan. They sneak across the courtyard to Merrigan's office. Peeking through the window, they find powdered milk dust on several of his shelves. Monk immediately remembers how when he and Natalie were in Dr. Kroger's office the day before, Merrigan walked in on them and he was carrying a milk carton. He had claimed that he was using the cartons for supplying a coffeemaker, but right now, there is obviously no evidence that Merrigan even has owned a coffeemaker, meaning he must have been lying to them about the carton's use. Monk realizes that Merrigan has to be a drug daler - powdered milk is made from lactose, which drug dealers use to cut heroin. Dr. Kroger suggests to Monk that he not talk about Merrigan, for a good reason: Merrigan opens the door, and points a Vektor CP1 handgun at them. The two are tied to chairs and loaded into the back of Merrigan's box rental truck.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Inside the truck, Monk gestures for Dr. Kroger to reposition himself on the right side of the truck. After he moves his chair over to that side, Monk points out that a figurine in the back of the truck is cracked and broken. He notes that he believes Teresa Mueller broke the figurine.

Monk then explains how Teresa got involved: he remembers that during the crime scene investigation, he asked Randy if he had checked the vacuum bag. Randy had said that the bag was completely empty. This made Monk suspicious - Dr. Kroger's office was the last office Teresa cleaned, as she cleaned the building from the top floor on down, so how could the vaccum bag be empty if she had been vaccuming rugs all night?

On the night that she was killed, Teresa accidentally broke one of the figurines while she was cleaning Merrigan's office. The heroin was stashed inside the figurines, and spilled when it fell and broke. She didn't think much of it, and vaccumed up the powder and put the figurine back together, and then continued on to Dr. Kroger's office. Merrigan came back to his office and saw the broken figurine. He realized that Teresa's vacuum bag was filled with that heroin. He also knew Teresa's routine, and caught up to her in Dr. Kroger's office. He confronted her, searched the vaccum bag, and found the heroin. He knew he couldn't let her go once he found it, so he stabbed and killed her with a letter opener that was lying on the table. He then rifled through the files and scattered them all over the office to make it look like the killer was a disgruntled patient. When he learned that Monk was skeptical, he threw a rock at Dr. Kroger's house to further throw the police off.

Meanwhile, Natalie realizes that Monk is missing. She asks Stottlemeyer and Disher (who are playing a game of chess) if he has seen Monk. Harold, meanwhile, happens to be following Merrigan's truck and he calls the police to explain that he has the truck in sight, bringing them to the warehouse that Dr. Kroger and Monk are unloaded at. As Monk and Dr. Kroger watch, Merrigan and his accomplice search through the vaccum bag's contents, intending to destroy any evidence of their drug trafficking scheme. Harold sneaks into the warehouse, and notices a spare pistol, which he picks up. As he sneaks around, Dr. Kroger and Monk gesture for him to shoot Merrigan, but Harold is distracted by the figurines on the shelves. He accidentally makes some noise as he reorganizes them and gives himself away. Merrigan trains his pistol on Harold, and the commotion gives Dr. Kroger a distraction to use his mouth to untie his restraints.

Just then, Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive and Merrigan opens fire on them. While Stottlemeyer and Disher take cover, Dr. Kroger grabs a piece of pipe and prepares to swing it at Dr. Kroger. Merrigan turns on Dr. Kroger and aims his pistol. Just as Merrigan pulls the trigger, Harold runs out in front of Dr. Kroger. The bullet hits Harold in the chest, just below the shoulder, leaving Dr. Kroger unharmed. While Stottlemeyer and Disher handcuff Merrigan and his partner, Dr. Kroger tends to the wounded Harold, who tells Monk to "beat that!", much to Monk's dismay.

During a session a few weeks later, Monk questions Dr. Kroger about the words "No Hope" written at the bottom of his patient file, which he looked at briefly while first investigating Teresa's death. Dr. Kroger explains that those two words are actually "N. Hope", in reference to Monk's father, who was born in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Monk also admits that he now has a new fear of blankets, and panics when he learns that Dr. Kroger doesn't have a name for it.

ProductionEdit

According to Hy Conrad, the main premise of the episode had to be changed several times. Although the concept of a vacuum cleaner containing incriminating evidence towards a serious crime was going to be used from the start, the exact circumstances were different: Initially, it was to cover up a particularly brutal murder where the victim was hacked to death, the killer cremated the body parts in a self-cleaning oven, and then sucked up the ashes with a vacuum cleaner. However, this was rewritten because they realized such a plot would have been too gruesome. They then settled on having the victim simply discovering the incriminating evidence inside the vacuum cleaner and being killed as a result. They also decided to have her killed while in the middle of cleaning Dr. Kroger's office in order to give some personal involvement for a series regular. This also gave them an opportunity to also fulfill simultaneously another thing they planned to do: Give Dr. Kroger an episode centered on him.

In addition, they also had several ideas for how to actually have Dr. Kroger be involved in the crime. They initially had him aiding Monk in trying to solve the case, although this was shot down early on due to it otherwise ruining the concept of doctor-patient detachment. As a result of this, they also had Kroger resign to keep him away from actually directly aiding Monk in solving the case, and during the climax of the episode, Monk and Kroger were not allowed to directly investigate the interior of Merrigan's office, instead observing it from outside.

SourcesEdit

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