|Mr. Monk Goes To Vegas|
February 18, 2005
James Brolin as Daniel Thorn
|Monk Season 3|
|Season 2||Season 4|
In Las Vegas, casino mogul Daniel Thorn and his beautiful wife Sheryl Thorn are preparing to leave their penthouse to attend a fundraiser. Sheryl mentions not being able to find her usual earrings, so she fastens on another pair instead. On their way out, she catches her trademark long scarf on a door, and her husband chides her for always getting it caught.
On the ground floor, the Thorns step out of their private elevator, where they are mobbed by paparazzi. Sheryl notices that she doesn’t have their tickets, and steps back onto the elevator. The doors close on the end of her scarf, and her husband shouts a warning. As the elevator travels up, Sheryl can be heard screaming for help from inside. When the doors open on the penthouse level, the cook finds her dead on the floor.
A few days later, Monk is awakened at night by a phone call from Captain Stottlemeyer in Vegas, who is attending another officer’s bachelor party. Stottlemeyer, completely drunk, excitedly tells Monk that Thorn murdered his wife, and he can prove it, and that Monk needs to get there right away.
The next day, Monk arrives in Sin City with Natalie, who mentions that she lived there for two years while working as a blackjack dealer. They rouse Stottlemeyer and Disher, who are hung-over in their room. Stottlemeyer has no memory of calling Monk, solving any murder, or even where his pants are.
Stottlemeyer gets a copy of the death report from the local police, and murder seems unlikely. Sheryl died of strangulation, and she was definitely alone when she stepped onto the elevator, and no one could have joined her afterward, since the elevator had a thumb pad that responded only to Daniel or Sheryl’s touch. Monk looks at the shape of Sheryl’s thumbprint, and notices it is at a funny angle, as though she turned her hand upside down to press it. Looking around, Monk notices a broken fingernail embedded in the leather rail opposite the door. He thinks that something must have happened in here that may have been murder.
Monk and Natalie go to watch Thorn groundbreaking a new hospital named in Sheryl's memory. When he hands his coat off to Natalie (not knowing who she is) in order to pose with a shovel, she goes through its pockets and finds the tickets to the benefit. Monk confronts Thorn, who pretends surprise and chagrin, saying it was a horrible misunderstanding gone wrong. But Monk and Natalie are now firmly convinced that there was a murder.
Monk gets Stottlemeyer to retrace his steps on the night he called, trying to find what he saw that clued him in. Meanwhile, Natalie chums up Lewis, a bellboy, while digging for dirt on Thorn.
Stottlemeyer leads Monk to the bar, where he is surprised to learn that he won the karaoke contest the night before. A woman sitting in the bar says she was there the night before, and Stottlemeyer was saying something in excitement – but she will only tell him what if he sings the song again. He does so, and she says he was saying, “they don’t match,” over and over again. Neither Monk nor Stottlemeyer has a clue what it means.
Natalie comes back, having learned from Lewis that Daniel Thorn has a mistress, a girl named Teresa Telenko who is a dancer at another casino. Monk and Natalie question Teresa, who suspiciously missed work on the night Sheryl Thorn died.
Monk and Natalie enter the private elevator to simulate the night of Sheryl’s death. When Natalie refuses to play the victim, as Sharona always did, Monk loops a long scarf around his neck, and closes it in the door. Above, Thorn presses the button to summon the elevator, and the scarf is yanked down, nearly strangling Monk before Natalie can cut him loose. When they arrive at the top, Thorn is angry that they seem to be making light of Sheryl’s death. He also says they’ve just proven how Sheryl was killed, but Monk points out that when he was strangling, he was rendered speechless – so how could Sheryl have screamed for help from inside the elevator?
When Monk and Natalie rejoin Stottlemeyer and Disher in the game room, they see Disher desperately trying to win back the money he has lost at the blackjack tables, using a Blackjack handbook that he thought would help him, but which in reality was printed by the casino in order to teach the reader how to lose. Monk’s photographic memory enables him to remember the cards as they are shuffled, and he decides to play a few hands, becoming amazingly proficient once he’s learned the rules. Stottlemeyer takes him aside, telling him that Randy has lost his life savings, and asking Monk to win it back for him. Natalie warns him about the dangers of gambling addiction, but Stottlemeyer pleads.
Monk takes his seat at the table, and Thorn drops by, deciding to make it more interesting by having the dealer add two more decks of cards to the shoe. Thorn jokingly warns him against cheating, indicating the security cameras and saying he has “friends in the ceiling.” With that remark, Monk solves the case.
Here’s What HappenedEdit
Monk delivers the summation even as he is racing through the hands at the blackjack tables, winning all of Randy’s money back:
The woman whom the press saw get off the elevator with Thorp was Teresa, disguised as Sheryl. Thorn killed his wife by strangling her with her scarf on the way down. Then, he and Teresa hauled his wife’s body up through the hatch, and Teresa took her place, just so everyone could see “Mrs. Thorn” alive for a few seconds. She then got back onto the elevator, lowered Sheryl’s body, and used her limp hand to press the keypad (hence the funny angle), after wrapping Sheryl’s neck in the scarf she had caught in the doors. By the time the elevator arrived back at the penthouse, Teresa was back on top of the car, and the scarf had dragged Sheryl’s body to the door.
Thorn says that they can’t prove any of this; Monk says there may be hair and rope fibers on the top of the elevator, but Thorn smugly informs them that they don’t have probable cause for a search warrant. He then orders security to throw Monk and his party out, accusing them of cheating. Stottlemeyer and Disher are sure to grab their winnings first.
While Monk and Co. are outside the hotel preparing to leave, Lewis returns Stottlemeyer’s jeans, which he threw out the window on a bet during the party. In the pocket, he finds a copy of a tabloid magazine about Sheryl's death and remembers the clue: in the two photos of "Sheryl" – one of her stepping off the elevator and one of her lying dead on the floor after the elevator stopped – she is wearing different earrings, meaning they are two different women. That is enough for a search warrant.
Monk is frankly amazed, since thousands of people, himself included, saw the magazine without noticing the clue. Stottlemeyer is not sure whether to be proud or not: apparently he can be as smart a detective as Monk, but only when he’s “drunk as a skunk.”
The gang watch as Thorn is dragged off in handcuffs, Disher confirming that they found hair and rope fibers on top of the elevator. Thorn smugly claims that he'll be out by tomorrow morning, but Monk jokes that he wouldn't bet on it. With Natalie’s help, Monk resists the urge to re-visit the casino tables.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Monk’s amazing skill at blackjack is reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman’s autistic character in Rain Man. Monk was compared to Rain Man once before, in "Mr. Monk and the Candidate." A third comparison of Monk to Rain Man happens in the novel Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop, when Paul Braddock goads Stottlemeyer, calling him a failure as a detective, leaning on Monk as a metaphorical crutch, claiming that "without his little Rainman," he's nothing.
Stottlemeyer: Which one of you idiots invited Monk?
Monk: What are you doing?
Natalie: Poking around.
Monk: You can’t do that!
Natalie: I can do anything I want, I’m cute.
Monk: (about Natalie being "cute") Boy, it’s like you have superpowers.
Natalie: It’s a gift.
Monk: And a curse?
Natalie: No, just a gift.
(after Stottlemeyer’s karaoke performance)
Monk: You were good.
Stottlemeyer: Shut up.
Stottlemeyer: So, that means, if I’m drunk as a skunk, completely plastered, I’m as smart as you?