|Monk Season 5|
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"Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert" is the eighth episode of the fifth season of Monk, and the 69th episode overall. The episode guest-stars Brad Hunt, Tamara Feldman, and the bands Novillero, Munkafust and Trusty.
Monk and Natalie visit a major rock concert (an environment as far from Monk's comfort zone as he could possibly be in) to search for Stottlemeyer's son Jared. But while they are there, a roadie turns up dead in one of the port-a-potties. Although his death appears to be an accidental overdose, the dead man's girlfriend angrily refuses to accept that such a thing could be accidental and ropes Monk and Natalie into investigating.
The night before the San Francisco Band Jam rock concert, Trafalgar roadie Greg "Stork" Murray makes his way across the grounds to singer Kris Kedder's motor coach. Stork pounds incessantly on the door, and then turns when he sees Kedder approaching. Stork promptly produces an advance copy of Trafalgar's latest CD he admits to receiving from a friend. Kedder claims that the cover art was his idea, and Stork quickly accuses him of ripping him off and stealing the copyright to his song "Peggy's Gone to Memphis". Kedder tries to bribe Stork $5,000 to drop the matter, but Stork is not a corruptible guy. As Kedder leads him to a secluded area out of sight from the public, Stork warns him that he won't be getting away this time - he's written copies of the sheet music for his song and sent them to himself by registered mail. Kedder thinks Stork is bluffing, but realizes he isn't when Stork pulls out a cell phone and starts to dial a copyright lawyer. Kedder promptly grabs a beer bottle and smashes it over Stork's head, killing him. As Stork dies, Kedder takes a shot from his asthma inhaler, and nervously looks around to make sure nobody has noticed him.
Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger arrive at the police station the next morning, looking for Captain Stottlemeyer. Natalie wants him to reimburse them for a $34 dry-cleaning bill for the shirt and jacket Monk ruined during his previous case. Stottlemeyer gives Natalie the brush-off, informing them that while he sympathizes with them, he is not the person with the authority to handle reimbursements, as Lieutenant Disher is the disbursement coordinator. Unfortunately, Randy isn't showing up for work, as he called in sick with the flu. Stottlemeyer refers Natalie to the assistant disbursement coordinator, but when she asks who that person would be, he merely points out that they don't have anyone in that position.
Just then, Stottlemeyer gets a call from his ex-wife. When he hangs up, he mentions to Monk and Natalie that his son Jared has skipped school and might be at a rock show that is in town this week. He prepares to head up to the grounds to go look for Jared. Natalie offers to help out, and Stottlemeyer accepts. Monk also offers to help, but only when they arrive at the Band Jam itself does he realize he just misinterpreted the phrase "rock show" as meaning "geology exhibit". As they walk towards the entrance, Stottlemeyer complains about having to miss a whole day's work trying to locate Jared. Monk immediately wants to head back to civilization, but with them having come in the captain's car, he is forced to wait in the parking lot.
Natalie and Stottlemeyer enter the grounds and provide a very old photo of Jared to the bouncer at the main entrance. The official provides them backstage passes to allow them to search the entire grounds. They make their way through the crowd. Stottlemeyer imagines that he is having a conversation with Natalie, even asking her if she thinks he's avoiding Jared on purpose because he feels guilty about the divorce and the fact that he's dating Linda Fusco, but Natalie doesn't give a reply, and they split up.
In the parking lot, Monk attempts to control a couple of rowdy tailgate parties that have sprung up around him with no success, and he realizes that his attempts are hopeless. When a couple starts making out on the hood of Stottlemeyer's car, Monk is disgusted and decides to head home. He speaks to the chief bouncer (the very one we saw Natalie and Stottlemeyer talk to earlier), who directs him towards the pay phones. As Monk makes his way through the crowd, constantly unsure if he's going the right way, he gets hit in the face by a blue beach-ball. He swats it to over to another girl, and continues through the crowd, only to get hit by the boomerang ball for a second time. Monk gets frustrated with the thrower, so much so that he unwittingly walks into a portable toilet a few feet to the left of the pay phones and shuts the door behind him.
A couple minutes later, Monk steps out of the port-a-potty. Natalie, now wearing sunglasses to blend in, spots him and rushes over, exasperated. She is amused that Monk thinks he was in a phone booth, and starts to lead him away as Monk suddenly realizes (much to his horror) that he was talking into the toilet bowl. Monk and Natalie are walking by the last port-a-potty when a repairman breaks open the door and Stork's dead body falls out right at their feet.
Sometime later, Monk and Natalie are conversing. Monk is somewhat shaken by his trip into the port-a-potty, which he likens to a torture device. Natalie sympathizes with him, mentioning that she once read about how the Spanish Inquisition locked people in outhouses as a form of torture (also known as an iron maiden). Monk is eager to leave, but Natalie stops him, reminding him that they haven't yet found Jared.
Monk and Natalie then get a new distraction in the form of an attractive young woman named Kendra Frank, Stork's girlfriend and sponsor at Narcotics Anonymous. It turns out that Stork's death has been ruled an accidental drug overdose. But Kendra refuses to believe the story: she knows that Stork had been off drugs for 17 months and she doesn't believe he could have relapsed. Natalie reminds Kendra that Stork had a needle and a syringe sticking out of his right arm when they found his body, but Kendra insists that this impossible: she recalls that Stork was pathologically afraid of needles, was the only roadie she has ever met who didn't have a single tattoo on him, and she remembers how he missed a South America tour a year ago simply because he refused to get a vaccine injection. In an attempt to provide a reasonable explanation, Natalie suggests to her that Stork may have overcome his fear of needles, but Kendra angrily refuses to accept that her boyfriend could overcome such a strong fear overnight. On the verge of pleading, she hands them Stork’s tour jacket. Monk thumbs through the jacket pockets and finds some random knick-knacks, including a backstage pass and a map of the grounds. Kendra is further angered when Monk finds a time written on the map and tells her that Stork visited an acupuncturist that morning at 7:30 AM.
Monk, Natalie and Kendra go to the acupuncture tent, where they interview Annie, the woman who handled Stork's appointment that morning, as she is tending to another patient. During the interview, Monk tries to straighten the needles on Annie's current patient, only to cause the patient to have a pained reaction (and earning a stern glare from Natalie). They learn that "Stork" (implied to the viewer to have actually been a disguised Kris Kedder) was Annie's first customer that day. She positively identifies Stork when Kendra supplies a photo of herself posing with him. During the appointment, Annie notes that he dropped a custom-made earring that he forgot to pick up, and shows it. Kendra immediately recognizes it as a gift she made for him. Annie claims that "Stork" apparently didn’t say much apart from a story about how he met Eric Clapton. He also talked about how he was giving up and wanted to get high and had gotten over his fear of needles, and lastly asked where he could find some heroin. He paid her and left, but not before helping a girl who was having trouble blowing up her blue beach ball. Monk figures that the beach ball in question is the one that has been hitting him ever since he entered the grounds. It now seems like the overdose story is true, and Monk, Natalie and Kendra trudge off, disappointed. As they leave, Monk compulsively touches a 400 watt heat lamp and burns the tips of both of his pointer fingers, even as Natalie tries to restrain him.
Monk and Natalie go to the first-aid tent, where a medic prescribes Natalie an ointment for Monk's fingertips (for the remainder of the episode, Monk is wearing band-aids on his pointer fingers). Despite the conversation with the acupuncturist, Monk is still suspicious about the circumstances of Stork's death and he begins to suspect that Kendra is on to something. Monk and Natalie reexamine the body, and notice a few holes in the overdose story: for one thing, the port-a-potty the body was found in was erected on a very muddy patch of ground, so why is there no dried mud on Stork's boots? This suggests to Monk that someone else carried his body in. Monk notices a lack of other track marks, and takes interest in the rubber strap that was found on Stork's arm. The medic confirms that he does work with a lot of drug addicts, given that the music industry is an easy place to find them. Monk decides to try something out, so he puts the strap around Natalie's right arm. With some difficulty, she is able use her left thumb to thread a knot. The medic then confirms that to tighten the knot in the strap, the user then pulls on one of the loose ends with their teeth. Natalie refuses to do this to herself, but this gives Monk another crucial clue: how did Stork tie off his own arm without leaving any teeth marks?
In the meanwhile, Stottlemeyer's search for Jared hasn't been lucky. However, he does find Randy. He makes a call from a few feet away on his cell phone to surprise Randy, who pretends to cough to pass himself off as sick. Stottlemeyer pretends to be ashamed to have woken Randy up, and shows himself to be unconvinced by Randy's attempt to pass off the performance on-stage as a broken stereo, then sneaks up to him and surprises him. After a feeble attempt to explain himself, Randy gives up and assists Stottlemeyer. They eventually locate Jared elsewhere in the crowd. As they are leaving the grounds, Stottlemeyer informs Jared that he's been grounded for the next two weeks. Monk, Natalie, and Kendra catch up to them, and Monk informs Stottlemeyer of his suspicions that Stork was murdered.
Stottlemeyer looks inside the port-a-potty while interviewing an onsite repairman. Monk is surveying the crime scene from the nearby hillside and communicating with Stottlemeyer by two-way radio. Down by the metal barriers erected around the port-a-potty, Natalie reassures Kendra that Monk doesn't always view crime scenes this way. The repairman confirms to Stottlemeyer that the port-a-potty was locked from the inside (since they had to jimmy open the lock), meaning it was not a repairman who posted the handwritten "Out of Order" notice attached to the door. Monk theorizes that the lock must have been rigged. Stottlemeyer finds some fresh scratch marks on the locking mechanism that confirm this. He also finds a piece of a guitar string on the floor, which Jared identifies as a high D string from a 12 string guitar. Jared and Randy recognize the guitar as a very rare type, used by a number of singers, like Kris Kedder. Monk theorizes that Stork was killed elsewhere, then the killer (Kedder) put the body inside, tied the string around the deadbolt on the lock, and ran the string through an air vent on the right hand side of the unit to lock the door from the outside.
At the first aid tent, Stottlemeyer and Disher speak with the medical examiner, who tells them that a preliminary analysis shows that Stork suffered internal hemorrhaging, though whether he was bludgeoned or he fell will be unclear until the autopsy is completed. Stottlemeyer, meanwhile, thanks Jared for identifying the guitar string. Jared, however, is not entirely reconciled with his father, especially after finding a "Runaway Child" poster with the old photo of him on it.
Backstage, Kris Kedder is strumming "Peggy's Gone to Memphis" (which, unbeknownst to anyone, is actually Stork's song) on his guitar for a small group of women when Monk, Natalie, and Kendra show up, having traced the guitar string back to him. Kendra is disgusted with Kedder's dismissive attitude towards Stork's death. Kedder feigns innocence, but Monk quickly determines that he has to be "the guy" - the guitar string used to rig the deadbolt on the lock came from a 12 string guitar, and not only are they very rare, but it turns out that Kedder is the only person on the grounds to own such a guitar (even though Kedder claims he doesn't lock his guitar case). Furthermore, Monk points out to Kedder that he's got mud on his boots, like he's been around the port-a-potty the body was found in. Kedder counter replies that he sees some on Monk's shoes. Monk quickly reminds Kendra that she was going to take him and Natalie to the camper trailer Stork lived out of. Kedder tells them that the door is locked, but Kendra points out that she has a spare key. Kedder asks to tag along, claiming that he's curious. What Monk, Natalie, and Kendra do not know is that Kedder's real intention is to search for an envelope with the incriminating sheet music copies that Stork told him about right before he was killed.
Kendra takes Monk and Natalie to Stork's trailer. As they enter, Kedder takes another shot from his asthma inhaler. Natalie comments that it smells mint-flavored, and Kedder mentions that his inhaler is a Danish import. Monk is astonished that Stork would live in such a trailer, but Kendra smiles and admits that Stork actually loved camping out in the trailer in between performances, and she sometimes went with him on these trips. Monk finds an A to Z rhyming dictionary on a table, and Kendra confirms that Stork always aspired to be a songwriter, but he was also pretty shy and wouldn't play her any of the stuff he wrote.
Kedder notices the incriminating envelope he is looking for over one of the windows, but since Monk is looking over this section of the trailer, he can't snatch it without being noticed. Luck is on his side here, for at that point, Natalie spots a photo of a little girl, which draws Monk's and Kendra's attention away from that part of the trailer. Kendra identifies the girl in the photo as Margaret, Stork's little daughter, who currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her mother, who divorced him. As Monk, Natalie and Kendra are looking at the photo, Kedder quietly grabs the envelope with the incriminating sheet music copies, and tucks the envelope under his shirt. He then slaps himself over the head when he realizes he's late and needs to go perform, and promises to "catch" them later. Monk stops him and questions his use of the phrase, but Kedder then runs off.
But as soon as Kedder is gone, Monk senses that something has been taken. He asks Natalie and Kendra if either of them touched anything. Both women shake their heads, but Monk points to the spot where the envelope Kedder just took had been. Though it's gone, Natalie finds a blue-colored registered mail receipt, and she notes that Stork apparently sent something to himself. This jolts Kendra's memory: she remembers accompanying Stork to the post office six months ago, when he was mailing sheet music to himself, as part of an "insurance policy". She doesn't know what song he was protecting, but Monk says he knows what it was: "Peggy's Gone to Memphis," the song that Kedder was singing when they started to question him. Kedder hadn't written the song, but Stork had written it about his daughter: Peggy is a nickname for "Margaret" and Stork's daughter lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Kendra realizes with horror that Kedder has snatched the envelope, and Monk realizes that that envelope is all they need to arrest him.
Monk, Natalie and Kendra race out of the trailer and make their way through the crowd, trying to get to the stage and retrieve the envelope as Kedder performs the stolen song. However, they are too late - in front of their own eyes, Kedder puts the envelope on a flamethrower and torches it, which burns the paper beyond usability. Monk and Natalie look at each other in disbelief.
As Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher rendezvous, Monk explains what happened (a process made harder by the fact that Novillero is up and playing their song "The Laissez-Faire System" at full volume, causing Stottlemeyer to repeatedly mishear him.).
Here's What HappenedEdit
Stork wrote "Peggy's Gone to Memphis," which Kris Kedder stole from him. Stork confronted Kedder that night, and Kedder killed him in a panic. Then he put Stork's body into the port-a-potty, and attempted to make it look like Stork had overdosed, tying off Stork's right arm and injecting a hypodermic needle and syringe, and placing a handwritten "Out of Order" sign on the door to delay the discovery of the body. However, midway through staging the crime scene, he discovered Stork's straight and sober pin, and realized that he had made a colossal blunder. As Monk remembers learning from Kendra, Stork had been off drugs for almost a year and half, and he was afraid of needles.
Kedder was aware that nobody would easily believe that Stork overdosed, unless he made it look like Stork had reverted back to drug usage and had gotten over his fear of needles. The next morning, Kedder disguised himself as Stork by donning Stork's bandanna and wearing a pair of sunglasses so that no one would be able to pay attention to his face, and he went to the acupuncturist's tent. To support his cover story, Kedder asked Annie about where he could find heroin.
After the appointment, Kedder returned to the port-a-potty and planted the map in Stork's jacket pocket to lead whoever did find it to the acupuncture tent. Then he locked the door by tying a string from his guitar around the dead bolt, running through the air vent, and then closed the door, pulling on the wire from outside the vent. The string snapped, locking the door from the outside.
Stottlemeyer mentions to Monk that they don't have enough evidence to secure a conviction: the guitar string could easily have been taken by someone else, and Kedder has burned the incriminating sheet music. But then Monk sees the blue beach ball being tossed through the air over the crowd - the very one that had been hitting him earlier - and he suddenly remembers something else Annie had told him when he, Natalie, and Kendra questioned her: while he was still disguised as Stork, Annie saw Kedder blow up a girl's blue beach ball. Randy points out that there will be millions of fingerprints on the beach ball, but Monk reveals that the proof is inside the beachball: Kedder has asthma, so he has to use a very distinct inhaler. Natalie points out that the inhaler is mint-flavored and is very unique (she remembers that when they were searching the trailer, Kedder said that it was imported from Denmark). Monk points out that when the guitar string, the fact that Annie can confirm to seeing Kedder blowing up the ball while he was impersonating the victim, and the fact that the air inside the ball could be traced to Kedder's inhaler, are all added up, they decide they have enough evidence to make an arrest.
Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher immediately take off, chasing the ball through the crowd, but every time one of them gets close to the ball, the person holding the ball immediately throws it to someone else, extending the chase. While they do that, Monk attempts to make an announcement from the stage, only to get booed off by the crowd. While on the stage, he fails to notice Kedder grab a screwdriver from a utility worker's toolbelt, now aware that Monk is on to him. After a harrowing chase, the ball lands at the top of the scaffolding for one of the loudspeakers, and Jared climbs up a ladder to grab the ball. Just then, Kedder climbs onto a ladder a few feet away from Jared. He intends to use the screwdriver to deflate the ball and destroy the last piece of evidence that could tie him to Stork's murder. Leland arrives at practically the same time, and he tries reasoning with Jared to throw the ball to him, even as Kedder tries to dissuade Jared at the same time. Jared is visibly torn. Kedder smugly asks Jared if he doesn't trust cops, but Jared, after a tense moment, says that he trusts his father, and throws the ball to Leland. Kedder scoffs "Punk!" at Jared as Randy handcuffs him and takes him away.
As Kedder is led away in handcuffs to a police car, Stottlemeyer instructs a uniformed cop to make sure the beach ball doesn't accidentally get deflated before it gets to the crime lab. Randy has gotten his hands on a Kris Kedder T-shirt, which Natalie comments will be worth a fortune after Kedder is convicted. As Monk and Natalie walk back to the car, Stottlemeyer stops with Jared at a photo booth to get a few photos of him for the next time he takes off. The episode ends with them taking three photos: one of Jared and Stottlemeyer with straight-faces, one of them with Randy in the middle with a goofy expression, and one of just Jared and Stottlemeyer sitting together, happy smiles on their faces.
- Novillero stars as themselves. They are the third band seen on the stage, and whose performance is interrupted when Monk attempts to make the announcement about the beachball from the stage.
- The song that plays as Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer arrive and are making their way through the parking area a song that previously was used in "Mr. Monk Gets Stuck in Traffic".
- Terry Fradet had previously appeared on Monk as an inmate in the prison library in "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail". James Logan, who plays a roadie, previously appeared in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Office."
- This is one of several episodes that show how murders happen wherever Monk goes with unusual frequency. In sharp contrast to "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever", Natalie's body language and the tone of her voice suggests that she is already willing to help Monk investigate.
- Side-by-side, Natalie and Kendra almost appear to be close in age, with Natalie being a few years older. The age difference is much larger in real-life: Traylor Howard (Natalie) was 39 years old at the time of filming and Tamara Feldman (Kendra) was 25 years old.
- Natalie and Kendra are both wearing outfit that match their hair color. Natalie, who is played by Traylor Howard, a blonde, wears a white t-shirt and brown shorts; while Kendra, who is played by Tamara Feldman, has dark black hair, a black t-shirt, a black sleeveless Trafalgar jacket, and black pants.
- Although Kendra merely claims to have been a close friend of Stork's, it's heavily implied that she was his girlfriend. For one thing, Kendra seeks out Monk and Natalie not too long after the body is discovered, fully aware that he couldn't have overdosed, which implies that she knew the victim better than anyone, even Kedder. Then, the photo Kendra hands to Annie when she, Monk and Natalie are at the acupuncture tent is a photo of herself and Stork posing, and you can see that he has a light smile on his face and she is grinning in the photo. There is another photo of Kendra and Stork posing together that can be seen on the wall behind her when they are in Stork's camper. Also, Kendra has a very musing tone of voice when she grins and says, "Yeah! He loved it! Between gigs he’d take off, camp out. Sometimes I’d go with him." Monk seems to be aware of this as he immediately asks her, "What did you do if one of you wanted to be happy?"
- If you look closely at the logo on Stork's jacket, it reads "Trafalgar - 2001-2002 World Tour".
- This is one of the few cases where an episode takes place over the course of an entire day, instead of being stretched out to cover several days.
- It's implied that this isn't the first time that Randy has attempted to fake illness to get out of work. In Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist, Stottlemeyer suspects that Randy is reluctant to take sick leave to go to the dentist for a very much legitimate toothache is because he is saving up sick days so he can use them on days that he isn't actually sick on.
- It seems odd that San Francisco's yellow pages would have a 24 hour copyright lawyer of some sort.
- There are numerous continuity errors with the songs that are played on stage during the episode. Among other things, the song being played on stage instantly changes from scene to scene, and there are two songs that play twice during the episode - the one in the background when Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer are walking through the parking lot is later heard again when the medical examiner is looking at the body, and the one that plays when Monk is standing in the parking lot is later heard again minutes later when Monk and Natalie meet Kendra.
- Although the events of the episode are supposed to take place over a 24 hour period, the lighting is inconsistent. In the scene where Monk is making his way through the crowd towards the pay phones, the lighting suggests that it is about midday. Minutes later, when Monk and Natalie see Stork's body fall out, the lighting suggests late afternoon or early evening. The lighting when Monk and Natalie first talk to Kendra clearly suggests late afternoon or early evening, as does the scene where they are intercepting Stottlemeyer as he and Jared are laving the grounds. However, intermingled with that, in the scene where Monk, Natalie and Kendra are questioning Kris Kedder backstage, it's completely cloudy and overcast, yet after leaving Stork's trailer, when Kedder is performing, which is barely supposed to be 20 minutes later, it's completely sunny without a single cloud in the sky.
- Natalie's shoes must be magical. She is wearing heels at the police station, flats during most of the investigation scenes at the rock concert itself, and tennis shoes when chasing after the beachball. It's very unlikely that Natalie would carry extra pairs of shoes in her purse, or that they stopped at her house so she could change pairs before driving to the concert.
- Not only would Kris Kedder be possible to indict based on the air inside the ball, but they would also have his DNA on the cap that prevents air from leaking out.
- The air inside the ball would probably not be enough evidence to arrest Kedder - more solid evidence would be necessary, like the fact that his fingerprints would be all over the port-a-potty. (This could be moot because Kedder could have said he was in there at some point before the body was found.) However Kedder's own actions in attempting to destroy the beach ball and his attempt to get to bribe Jared into not giving the ball to his father indicate that he had something to hide.
- After Kedder bludgeons Stork with the beer bottle, he takes a shot from his asthma inhaler. It should be noted that moments earlier, we saw two people walk by them, almost within viewing distance. Even though this area probably doesn't receive a lot of foot traffic, Kedder is taking a lot of risk by taking a shot from his inhaler before doing anything about the body.
- When Natalie finds Monk after he steps out of the portable toilet, her purse is over her shoulder, but as she grabs him by the arm and leads him away, suddenly it's on her elbow, and a split second later, just as Monk and Natalie see Stork's body fall out of the port-a-potty, it's back on her shoulder.
- As soon as Natalie runs up to Monk, you can see that her right thumb is extended. However, when the angle changes to pick up her reply ("But, Mr. Monk, that wasn't a phone booth!"), her thumb is suddenly no longer extended.
- When Monk, Natalie and Kendra question Kedder, Monk never asks Kedder to supply an alibi. The novel Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse establishes that police procedure requires detectives to ask for alibis when questioning anybody who might have had even the most minor involvement in a murder. Among questions that Monk would have needed to ask to verify that they had interviewed Kedder correctly would have included, "Where were you this morning between 7:00 and 8:00 AM?" as well as ones about Kedder's relationship with Stork.
- Kendra introduces Monk and Natalie by their full names when they talk to Kedder, yet there's no scene showing her learning this. However, when she first finds Monk and Natalie after the body is found, she says, "Excuse me! Excuse me! Hi. I heard some cops talking back there. They said you're some kind of detective?" which implies that she must have overheard someone mentioning Monk by name and may have asked one of these cops what Monk looked like.
- When Monk and Natalie are visiting the first aid clinic, to prove a point, Monk puts the rubber strap found on the body over Natalie's right arm, and she awkwardly uses her left thumb to create the knot. However, Natalie happens to be right-handed (given the fact that she wears her watch on her left hand). Since no one ever normally injects oneself in their primary writing hand, it would make more sense for Natalie to have put the strap around her left arm. Since the rubber strap and syringe were on the victim's right arm, it could also be assumed that the victim was left handed.