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Mr. Monk Goes to a Fashion Show

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Mr. Monk Goes to a Fashion Show is the tenth episode of the fourth season of Monk.

PlotEdit

In the men's department of a clothing store, Adrian Monk has a problem: he can't find his shirts. When the attendant is confused, an exasperated Natalie Teeger explains: not only does Monk only buy one make and model of shirt, he only buys those passed at the factory by "Inspector # 8." After an exhaustive search, the attendant locates some #8s, but Monk says something must be wrong. The shirts she has approved are not up to her usual standards.

Monk becomes unable to focus on anything else, even his next murder case. He is able to focus long enough to peg the victim's wife as the killer.

Later, Monk and Natalie track down Inspector #8, Maria Ortiz, at the factory. She recognizes his name from the fan letter he once wrote her and begs for his help: a year ago, her son, a delivery boy named Pablo, was arrested for the murder of a fashion model named Clea Vance. Shortly after the murder, the victim's roommate, Natasia Zorelle, called the police and accused Pablo of stalking her. The clincher is that the police found a lot of forensic evidence that placed Pablo at the crime scene. With Pablo facing a potential life sentence, Maria has been unable to concentrate on anything except her prayers for him. He was a delivery boy

Monk reviews the case file and is skeptical that any mistake has been made. Nonetheless, having some faith in Pablo, Monk and Natalie interview him in prison. He admits that he made deliveries to Clea Vance's apartment but swears that he never met her, much less killed her. However, Monk notes Natasia Zorelle's testimony. As they are leaving, Monk is still unsure, but he suddenly notices something in one photo that casts doubt on Pablo's guilt: the body fell right next to an emergency exit door with a large warning sign that reads "Do Not Open - Alarm Will Sound". Monk realizes that, to avoid setting off the alarm, the killer had to take a circuitous route to leave the room, but Pablo, who is illiterate in English, couldn't have known that an alarm would sound if he'd opened that door.

Monk and Natalie reexamine the forensic evidence at the crime lab with Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher. The forensics technician who handled the investigation into Clea Vance's murder, Howard "Gordo" Gordon, assures them that it's a "slam dunk" – Pablo's DNA definitely matches the hair samples found at the crime scene and on the victim's body. He mentions that he is also retiring at the end of the week, which makes Stottlemeyer suspicious, given how Gordo is only 46 years old. Gordo claims that he's been investing in real estate. Monk and Natalie, realizing that they aren't going to get help from Stottlemeyer and Disher, give up, and go off to question Natasia Zorelle. At the mention of Natasia's name, Stottlemeyer and Disher are piqued and they decide to tag along out of curiosity.

Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher head down to a fashion house, and meet renowned fashion designer Julian Hodge. Monk strikes up an unexpected familiarity with Hodge, who, despite all their other differences, shares the detective's obsessive eye for detail (he is also germaphobic, as he asks for a wipe at one point).

Hodge takes an instant dislike to Natalie (and vice-versa). When he insults her about her blouse, an exasperated Natalie immediately believes Hodge is the killer. Interestingly, Hodge takes an immediate interest in Julie, who happens to be tagging along when they go to the beach to question Natasia. Despite her youth, he asks her if she would be interested in appearing in one of his shows.

When questioning Natasia alone, Monk pokes several holes in the story about Clea Vance's stalker - namely, the fact that Pablo never made any phone calls or emails to her.

Ecstatic, Julie begs her mother to agree, and Natalie reluctantly does, despite the holes Monk has found in Natasia Zorelle's story, which are making Monk begin to think Hodge is hiding something.

That night, Hodge shows up at Natasia's house. She isn't surprised to see him after Monk's questioning of her at the beach, though Hodge is pretty sure that Monk doesn't yet know about their secret. She is concerned when she notices that he isn't smoking. Hodge admits that he's not smoking because cigarettes can leave a very noticeable odor, and he doesn't want Monk to know that he's been here. He tells her that, through no fault of her own, because Monk is on to him, she has to "go."

The next morning, Natasia is dead, sprawled across a mattress in her apartment. Gordo declares suicide as the most likely cause of death, having apparently overdosed on sleeping pills. He figures that Natasia must have gotten depressed with all the memories about the murder coming back up, but Monk quickly proves otherwise: although Natasia's fingerprints are the only set that have been lifted from the drinking glass that was in her hand when they found her, she is also wearing lipstick, but there is no lipstick impression on the edge of the glass, meaning somebody else wiped the glass clean of his own fingerprints, then put it back in the victim's hand. It becomes clear to him that he's made someone nervous.

Monk and Natalie accompany Julie to the dress rehearsal for Hodge's next show. Prior to rehearsal, Hodge brings up Natasia's death and assures everyone that they will be dedicating the show to her memory. While Julie is trying on clothes, Hodge, who happens to be short-tempered, suddenly throws a big fit, saying that it's his "thing" that any woman who wears his clothes has to wear them perfectly and straight. Seeing Hodge obsessing over the neatness, Monk suddenly realizes another detail that has been bothering him about the crime scene photo: when Clea Vance was killed, her body landed with her limbs all in a contorted position, yet the buttons on her collar are all straightened out. He realizes that Hodge killed her, and then took the time to straighten out her collar, unable to resist the urge.

Natalie rushes onstage and marches Julie off immediately. When Hodge asks Monk for an answer as to what is happening, Monk accuses him of killing Clea Vance and Natasia Zorelle. When Monk points out the first victim's straightened out buttons and Hodge's obsession with perfect outfits, Hodge scoffs, saying that straightened-out clothes are not proof of anything.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Later, Gordo meets Monk, Stottlemeyer and Disher in the room where Clea Vance was killed. Monk explains that there had been a fashion show in the building a year ago, and Clea showed up drunk - Monk remembers that when they were talking to Hodge at the fashion house, he mentioned that Clea showed up wasted and nearly "ruined" his show. Monk believes now that Hodge was infuriated by Clea showing up drunk, and in a fit of rage, he beat her to death. Then, somehow, he managed to frame Pablo Ortiz for the crime. The cincher is that they've just found some new hairs in an out-of-the-way corner behind a radiator, as there was a health inspection the day before the murder and a flypaper fell back behind a radiator during the fight. Because Clea Vance had long hair, they know the hairs cannot be from her. Gordo takes the samples to the lab, while Monk hopes that these new hairs will be enough to convict Hodge.

The night of the current show, Natalie looks around the house and finds that Julie has run away to appear. She and Monk end up having to crash Hodge's show, and Natalie boldly marches on stage to remove Julie. Julie, feeling ashamed of herself, apologizes and they dismount the stage together.

During the after-show party, Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher confront Hodge, who pretends innocence. Gordo arrives and Stottlemeyer makes him confirm under oath that the hairs belong to Pablo Ortiz. Stottlemeyer promptly declares Gordo under arrest on charges of accesory to murder and falsifying evidence. Gordo also pretends innocence, until Stottlemeyer explains that a background check on Gordo revealed that he did make a lot of money in the past year, it didn't come from real estate investments.

Here's What Happened (2)Edit

When Clea Vance was killed, Gordo was the lab technician who did the forensics work on the investigation, which meant that he was one of those who handled trace evidence, which included logging it and running it through the computer. When the killer's DNA samples came through, he ran them and the DNA matched perfectly for Julian Hodge. For whatever reason, instead of doing his job and handing the information over to the investigators, Gordo decided that he could make an easy payday. He approached Hodge in secret and solicited an offer: for a price, he'd bury any evidence that could incriminate Hodge. Gordo's thinking was spot on: Hodge knew he was trapped, and with all of the overwhelming evidence against him, he had no choice but to accept.

Even though Gordo had agreed as part of the deal to bury the evidence incriminating Hodge, he still needed someone to take the fall for the murder. Hodge suggested Pablo Ortiz, a sometime delivery boy to Clea Vance's apartment. Hodge seduced or hired Natasia Zorelle to help him, and got her to accuse Pablo of stalking her roommate. The police arrested Pablo, took hair and blood samples from him, and sent them to Gordo. All Gordo had to do from here was stick the labels from Pablo's blood samples onto Hodge's blood samples. Once this happened, Pablo didn't stand a chance.

Gordo says they have no proof, only for Monk to reveal that in fact the hairs he gave Gordo - the hairs that Gordo swore belonged to Pablo - were actually his own. He planted them at the crime scene, aware that Gordo was never going to test them.

Hodge and Gordo are arrested. As he's led away in handcuffs, Hodge makes one last spiteful remark about Natalie's dress sense, and she delights in describing his new wardrobe options in prison ("I hope you like orange").

Outside the county jail, Monk and Natalie watch as Pablo is released and tearfully reunites with his mother.

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • Gordo appears, though not addressed by name, in Season Three's "Mr. Monk Gets Fired."
  • The way in which Monk proves that Natasia's death was not suicide is reminiscent of his first case as a detective, described by Stottlemeyer in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival."
  • The "fan mail"- the first and only one Monk's ever wrote according to him- sent to Maria Ortiz reads this:

From the Desk of Adrian Monk

Dear Inspector #8,

I wish to express my deepest and warmest thanks for your stunning performance as a clothing inspector. It’s a pleasure to deal with someone who possesses such artistic integrity. Your job aptitude is something to be admired and inspired by. Every item which passes your inspection is impeccably produced and presented. The buttons are perfectly straight. The stitching is even and orderly. There are no hanging or pulled strings, marks, or wrinkles. The finished product is perfectly folded.

Your job aptitude is something to be admired and inspired by. Every item which passes your inspection is impeccably produced and presented. The buttons are perfectly straight. The stitching is even and orderly. There are no hanging or pulled strings, marks, or wrinkles. The finished product is perfectly folded.

Thank you again. My appreciation knows no bounds.

Sincerely,

Adrian Monk

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