|Monk Season 8|
|Season 7||THE END|
To woo the lone holdout on the reinstatement committee, Monk accompanies Lt. Disher on a scouting trip with the man's troublesome son--where nature isn't the only thing the troop has to fear.
Adrian Monk wakes up like any other day, but there's something special about it. Monk admires his police uniform and heeds the little notes his assistant Natalie Teeger left for him: to smile (but not too much), to be yourself (but too yourself). Monk is about to be considered for reinstatement yet again. He arrives at his hearing 6 hours beforehand, and when the hearing panel finally arrives, two of them appear to be on his side, thanking him for his service, solving cold cases, and complimenting his doctor, Neven Bell. However, there's one holdout, Frank Willis, who is unsure if Monk has the temperament or necessary judgment to carry a badge and gun.
Monk and Natalie head to a crime scene, where an armored car was robbed and a guard was shot. Monk notes weirdly cracked open nutshells, bullet casings, and that there would be fingerprints on the coins the robbers used to pump the meter and avoid attention. Randy Disher shows up in full camping gear, announcing that he was going on a camping trip over the weekend with the "Buddies in Blue" program, which outreaches to kids. Disher says that Frank Willis' son is going on the trip, so Monk decides that's it a good opportunity to schmooze Willis to get him on his side for reinstatement.
On the day of the camping trip, Monk meets Frank and his son, Brian Willis. Frank is an absent-minded father, and is not very well-liked by Brian. Brian also rejects Monk's schmoozing attempts, dismissing them as too obvious and ineffectual.
Back in San Francisco, Leland Stottlemeyer is grilling one of the bank robbers' girlfriends, but she remains quiet and alerts her boyfriend to dump the evidence up by Spider Lake, the very same campsite which Randy, Monk, and the gang are at. One of the campers finds shell casings around the area, and uses one to make a fishing line. The bank robbers meanwhile arrive as well and stalk the campers from nearby bushes. Randy packs up the camp for the night, placing their food above ground to avoid attracting bears. Randy and Monk have a chat, where Randy relates a story to Monk where he read a bumper stick after a fatal car crash, stating "Happiness is a choice." While Monk is asleep outside up against a tree, the robbers enter their camp and dump their food around the campsite. Monk wakes up moments later to see a bear in front of him, prompting him to scream like a little girl, alerting the camp as they run far away from the site. Brian makes fun of Monk for being scared and crying, while Monk also gets berated for making the bear situation worse by screaming.
While the campers are lost and away from the camp, the robbers take note of Randy's phone, seeing a picture with the kid's fishing line and one of the shellcases used that could incriminate them. They track down the campers and see that they caught another fish, with the shellcasing in its mouth. The robbers try to pay for the fish, but the kid who caught it refuses to hand it over, being proud of it. One of the robbers cracks open a nut shell, and Monk notices that it was the same way that the nutshells around the crime scene were opened. Monk realizes the shellcase in the fish is material evidence, and goes running after Brian to get the fish back.
Monk and Brian encounter the bear again, but this time Monk stays calm. He slowly takes the fish from Brian, thinking the bear wants it. When that doesn't work, Monk tells the bear a story.
Here's What Happened Edit
An armored car was robbed and a guard was killed and the police recovered some shell casings from the crime scene, and if they could match them was the casings found in the campsite, they'd have an airtight case. The robbers were target practicing up in Spider Lake, and someone spotted them, most likely a park ranger. They came back because they knew the shellcasings would tie them to the crime scene.
The bear walks away and Randy apprehends the robbers. Monk and Brian are now friends, and Brian tells his dad all about Monk's heroism, bravery, and detective work. At the hearing, Frank changes his mind and commends Monk for his work in the field. However, the two officers who appeared to be on his side don't think Monk is quite as ready. In denial, Monk remains happy that Frank recommended him and wants to celebrate with Natalie, Randy, and Leland. Leland says to wait until after lunch to tell Monk the real news.