|Mr. Monk Goes Home Again|
July 15, 2005
John Turturro as Ambrose Monk
|Monk Season 4|
|Season 3||Season 5|
On Halloween, at Beach's Market, a clerk is getting an order on the phone and gives some groceries to a delivery boy who takes care of the order. Meanwhile, an armored car driver pays for his food and makes small talk with the cashier, and then leaves. A man, Paul Gilstrap, notices the driver. Carrying a small shopping basket, Gilstrap follows the driver out of the store. Before the guard reaches his armored car, Gilstrap asks for a light for his cigarette. Suddenly, gunshots ring out across the parking lot, and the clerk goes over to the window. She sees Gilstrap, partially obscured by a white Nissan Altima parked next to the armored car, emptying a gun into the driver. Gilstrap manages to wipe his prints off the gun before dropping it and running away.
Monk and Natalie are called to the crime scene. Monk notices several strange clues: for one thing, the driver was shot with his own gun (a Glock 17), but why are there no defensive wounds to suggest that he resisted before he was shot? Also, the police aren’t sure how much money was taken from the armored car, only that it was empty. As they talk, Stottlemeyer chases away a pigeon that is nibbling the remains of the Neptune candy bar the guard dropped. Near the body, Monk finds the fresh stub of a clove cigarette, supposedly used to help people quit smoking but which almost never works. He figures that it's the shooters.
Then Natalie receives a phone call from Ambrose, who has a message for Monk: their father is coming home.
Julie reluctantly agrees to go trick-or-treating in Ambrose’s neighborhood while Adrian and Natalie meet Ambrose for dinner. They all meet Ambrose in the house, and he is instantly taken with Natalie. They cooperate to clean up the house for the elder Monk's big arrival, though Ambrose insists that their father's study is off-limits (and has been for thirty years). Ambrose intermittently excuses himself to answer the door to trick-or-treaters. On one, he opens the door to Gilstrap, who is disguised as Frankenstein's monster. "Frankenstein" says nothing, but he growls, and grabs at the bowl of candy Ambrose holds, and knocks Ambrose out when he tries to resist. Adrian and Natalie come running down, and scare Gilstrap away.
Stottlemeyer and Disher reluctantly answer a call to Ambrose’s house, even though no one can explain why the incident isn’t more than a Halloween prank. However, Ambrose isn't so sure because he remembers that the attacker was wearing fancy dress shoes. As they leave, Randy casually takes a candy bar from Ambrose’s bowl, but Ambrose tells him to put it back, saying he has precisely calculated the amount of candy he will need, and he is close to getting it perfect; last year, he had only a single piece left over after Halloween. Befuddled, Randy puts the candy bar back. Stottlemeyer promises to buy him a Snickers bar as they leave to go talk to the cashier about the shooting. They also note that the driver was off-duty at the time and the truck was empty, like the shooter didn't do his homework.
After they leave, Ambrose takes Adrian up to the attic, to ask if he and Natalie are involved, or if she is seeing anyone. Surprised, Adrian realizes his brother has a crush on his assistant.
At the police station, Stottlemeyer and Disher take a statement from the cashier, who has been interviewed by a sketch artist. Disher notes that the sketch looks a lot like Kiefer Sutherland, and suggests actually putting the words "Not Kiefer Sutherland" on the poster to not disturb the actor. The cashier notes that the shooter (Gilstrap) bought eight candy bars, and also mentions something else - the shooter never looked in the back of the truck at all.
While they set the table for dinner, another group of trick-or-treaters arrive, and one of them recognizes Julie from school. Natalie agrees to let her go with them, as long as she is back in time to meet Adrian’s father.
While the group of kids is passing through a playground, they are also attacked by Gilstrap, in the Frankenstein mask, who chases them away and looks through their candy bags.
Adrian is called to the playground, and looks around. He questions the kids, and realizes that only those who went to Ambrose’s house had their candy stolen. He also finds a clove cigarette of the same kind that was found at the crime scene.
Adrian insists that there must be some connection, even if he isn’t sure what it is; Ambrose bought his candy from Beach's Market, where the guard was shot.
Julie asks Adrian to accompany her for some last-minute trick-or-treating, and he agrees reluctantly. They cover a few more houses, including one owned by Paul and Mary Gilstrap. When Adrian politely refuses candy for himself, she tells him chocolate is good for his health; she herself eats a Neptune bar every night before bed or she can't sleep. Adrian says they have to turn around to get back in time, but in the Gilstraps’ yard, he sees a pigeon lying dead.
He calls Stottlemeyer and Randy back, telling them that it is the same pigeon that was nosing around the guard’s body – he recognizes its markings – and now it is dead. He insists they do a necropsy.
While they are waiting at the house, Ambrose shyly asks Natalie out. She demurs, saying it would be awkward to get involved with her boss’s brother. Trying to let him down easy, she says she "maybe" would be interested in getting together sometime.
Adrian and Julie return, and they all sit up waiting for the elder Monk to arrive. When he doesn’t, Adrian and Ambrose argue, Adrian telling Ambrose to face up to the reality that their father is never coming back. Ambrose yells back that Adrian has never had any faith. In fury, Adrian storms upstairs and into their father’s study, which Ambrose has kept off limits since the day their father left. Ambrose sits on the floor in a sulk, eating through his leftover candy.
Adrian angrily starts to clean the room, when Stottlemeyer calls him. He tells Adrian that the pigeon in question was poisoned. Acting on this, they performed a post-morten on the armored car driver and found that he also had been poisoned, and he was already dying when he was shot. Stottlemeyer notes that the driver was poisoned with a chemical called tetrachlorodrine: it's a very deadly poison, even stronger than arsenic. The poison in the driver's bloodstream came straight from the lab and was still undiluted. Stottlemeyer and Disher are currently at the lab that produced the tetrachlorodrine, and Stottlemeyer mentions that the plant manager has told them that some of the chemical was stolen recently, yet they didn't know about the theft until today when they caught the guy putting it back. The guy was Paul Gilstrap, one of their computer repairmen, but he denied everything, and with no evidence, they were forced to release him. Adrian immediately solves the case.
Adrian rushes downstairs, yelling at Ambrose not to eat the candy because it has been poisoned. He finds an empty Neptune bar wrapper, and Ambrose mentions that the bar seems to have tasted funny. Adrian tells Natalie to call an ambulance, but Ambrose says it is no use: tetrachlorodrine has no antidote, and he will be dead in five minutes.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Ambrose is rushed to the hospital, with Adrian, Natalie, and Julie riding along in the ambulance. Ambrose says he doesn’t want to die without knowing the reason, and Adrian explains:
Paul Gilstrap wanted to murder his wife. He worked at a laboratory that made tetrachlorodrine. He stole some of the chemical, and used a syringe to inject the chemical into the Neptune candy bars that Mary ate every night. However, he couldn't just poison one candy bar, as that would have made people suspect him.
In order to camouflage the motive for her death, he poisoned several candy bars, went to the store, and put them back into circulation. The plan would be that his wife would now look like just another victim of an anonymous serial killer. But the plan went wrong when a scientist caught Gilstrap trying to return the poison to the lab. Now the plan had been ruined: he knew that he would be the primary suspect if anyone died from tetrachlorodrine poisoning, so he had to hide all traces of his botched plan.
Gilstrap panicked and returned to the store, as he now had to get all of the poisoned candy bars out of circulation. He got all but two of the death bars: one had just been bought by the armored car driver, who had already taken a bite. Gilstrap was in deep trouble - if the driver simply dropped dead, the police would have run an autopsy that would have found the poison. Gilstrap acted fast. He followed the driver back to the car, and approached him just as the poison activated and he collapsed to the ground. Gilstrap quickly grabbed the driver's gun from the holster, and shot him repeatedly, having assumed that no one would ever think of looking for poison in a man who had been shot five times.
The other candy bar went to Ambrose's house, and Gilstrap has been trying to retrieve the incriminating bar ever since.
The ambulance is still 20 blocks from the hospital, and it doesn’t look like Ambrose will make it. He says he’s sorry for driving their father away, but Adrian insists that it wasn’t his fault. Then Adrian notices that there is still an unopened Neptune bar in the candy that the paramedic gathered up and brought with them. Adrian examines the wrapper from the one Ambrose ate, and finds that it expired 11 months ago – meaning it is the one Ambrose had left over from last year, and the other Neptune bar - the uneaten one - is the one with the poison. Everyone collapses, laughing with relief - at worst, the only thing Ambrose would suffer from due to eating the candy bar was a stomachache.
Gilstrap returns home, carrying his Frankenstein mask, to find Stottlemeyer and Disher waiting for him. Stottlemeyer produces an evidence bag containing the one poisoned candy bar that he missed.
Ambrose returns home after being checked out at the hospital. Natalie has accepted a dinner date with him on Friday night. When they reach the front door, they are stunned to find a note from their father there, saying he came by the house but no one was there. He also says he is proud of Ambrose for finally leaving the house.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Second (of three total) appearances of Ambrose.
- The poison used in this episode, tetrachlorodrine, is entirely fictional.
- The events of this episode are strangely never referred to in "Mr. Monk Meets His Dad".
- This episode had a different ending theme from usual.
- The scheme that Paul Gilstrap intended to use to kill his wife (adulterating candy bars with a poisonous chemical, and putting them back into the stores, to make his wife's death look like the random victim of an anonymous serial killer) might offer some insight into a possible theory as to what was behind the Tylenol murders that happened in Chicago in 1982.