|Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum|
August 9, 2002
Dennis Boutsikaris as Dr. Morris Lancaster
|Monk Season 1|
After being discovered in Trudy's old house, Monk is temporarily institutionalized. Once committed, he stumbles upon a four-year-old murder. Along the way, Monk is aided by various other patients at the hospital, including a man Kevin Nealon who mirrors those around him.
In an odd lapse of judgment, Monk finds himself in the wrong apartment, trying to make dinner for his late wife. The authorities, rather than pressing charges, place Monk in the Medford Psychiatric Institute for two days of observation and evaluation under the Institute's director, Dr. Morris Lancaster, one of the best in the country (he's appeared on CNN).
While in the asylum, Monk is initially relieved to be receiving such intensive treatment, which he believes is doing him a great deal of good despite the renovation work going on. However, things get a bit sticky when Monk's roommate, an ex-cop named John Wurster, takes him on a tour of the asylum. Wurster tells Monk about a murder that was committed in the medical supply room several years earlier. Supposedly, a patient named Bill LaFrankie shot and killed the former director, Dr. Conrad Gould, in the medical supply room, in order to steal some morphine, and then killed himself via overdose, found by the cops the next morning in the woods. But in a twist, Wurster tells Monk that the official case had several big holes in it, and thus in his mind was unsolved. For one thing, the gun was never found. Also, Wurster says that LaFrankie was his previous roommate, and he was a devout Buddhist, and wouldn't hurt a spider. He was also afraid of needles.
Lancaster insists that Monk not "play detective" while in his care, but Monk's investigative impulses are irresistible after learning of the murder four years prior. At 3:45 AM, Monk overhears Jane, a female patient who has a tendancy to lash out at other people, going into a screaming fit, causing one of the doctors to try and phone Dr. Lancaster to come subdue her. One of the patients, Manny (who has an obsession with Santa Claus), hears sounds from the roof and sees Santa on the roof and takes a picture of him.
During a psychiatric review with Dr. Lancaster's patients, after Monk explains why he is present at the hospital, Manny states he saw Santa Claus the previous night around 4 AM, and he was about to slide down the chimmney when his cell phone rang (Monk was quite interested when he heard this.), and he even took a picture of him. Unfortunately, his camera has turned up missing, and Monk then asks for the exact time that he saw Santa on the roof. Manny responds that it was at 3:47 AM exactly, as he noted it. Monk also learns that Manny had also been assigned to that room the previous week, and one of the patients, Mr. Richter, was unhappy about it, as he was on the waiting list for that room for eleven years. After directing him towards the chimney, Monk notices that there is a rag hanging from the side, and after retrieving it, he also discovers that there are footprints other than his own on the rooftop. Monk also places the rag in an evidence bag, although he tells Manny that he plans to expose Santa's existance after finding more proof in order for him to comply.
Manny also explains that he has a newspaper clipping of Dr. Gould's murder, and he was even quoted in the article, albeit anonymously. Monk also notices something odd with one of the article clippings, but can't place what it is. He then arranges for the Art Room to become the Medical Supply Room so he can reenact Dr. Gould's murder. With John playing LaFrankie and Manny playing Dr. Gould, they reenact the murder, and Monk then notices another crucial clue: Someone opened the cabinet with a set of keys, but the picture for the headline clearly shows that Dr. Gould's keys are still in his pocket. Monk then begins to suspect that the true culprit was one of the hospital staff, possibly Dr. Lancaster himself. Unfortunately, Oliver, one of the orderlies walks in on the scene review, and Monk is later brought before Dr. Lancaster and scolded for mocking Dr. Gould's death (despite his claims that he wasn't.). Monk then notices that the fishing hook is missing from Dr. Lancaster's rod. Unfortunately, Jane Gordon storms into Lancaster's office and claims that Monk stole her necklace. Monk denies stealing it, but he then finds it in one of his pockets, despite having absolutely no recollection of stealing it.
Jane later apologizes to Monk for yelling at him, and explains that she was like him and thought she was seeing things that weren't there, and that, while trying to use a payphone, she saw LaFrankie running with the gun, but in her mind she saw Lancaster with the gun, apparently projecting her rage at Lancaster into LaFrankie, as she apparently hated him for "helping her." Monk is becoming weary of possibly slipping away and is giving medication prescribed by Lancaster.
Here's What HappenedEdit
When Sharona arrives to check on her boss, Dr. Lancaster informs her that Monk's condition has been deteriorating. After showing Sharona and Monk a drawing of Trudy that he doesn't even recall drawing, as well as not finding the piece of fabric that he definitely recalls finding with Manny on the roof, as well as noticing that Lancaster had a substance similar to soot on his boating shoes, Monk suggests his suspicions to Sharona, and asks her if he's losing his mind.
Sharona decides to do some sleuthing of her own, requesting for a librarian named Chet Abrams to search through Gould's records by convincing him that Ross Kelton felt he was cool and would let her do research as a favor. She researches old documents and discovers that Dr. Lancaster indeed had a strong motive to commit the crime: He was intensely jealous that Dr. Gould had been promoted ahead of him. With the help of some glow-in-the-dark paint and a photo of Trudy, Sharona passes the information on to Monk. Unfortunately, she ends up having to show the photo to Dr. Lancester for it to check out, and Lancaster gets some of the paint on him when he looked at it, which he discovers after reviewing files from the closet and turning off the lights for the night.
Lancaster makes a last-ditch effort to dispatch of Monk and destroy the evidence of his crime. Locked in a padded room in a straitjacket, Monk has only a few minutes to pull a Houdini-style escape and call Sharona to alert the police. Just as Monk predicts, Lancaster has stepped out onto the roof, clad in a Santa suit. Monk confronts him, and explains that Lancaster wanted Dr. Gould's job. He hid himself in the medical supply room, waiting for Dr. Gould to show up. When the doctor entered, Dr. Lancaster shot him three times. He stole some drugs, intending to frame a patient for the murder. For a fall guy, LaFrankie fit the bill. Lancaster doped him up, killed him, and dumped his body in the woods, where the cops would find him the next morning. However, there was another problem: Dr. Lancaster happened to use a gun that was registered in his name. He dropped it down an unused chimney before the police arrived. Years went by, and the gun never was discovered. But now, the hospital is undergoing renovations, and they threatened to expose the gun. Lancaster didn't want a construction worker to find the weapon, so he arranged to have Manny, the Santa Claus nut, moved into a room overlooking the chimney. Then he went up to the roof in a Santa suit to "go fishing" for the gun, knowing that Manny's reports would be cited as pure lunacy.
Just then, Lancaster recovers the gun, and is about to dispatch Monk and Manny, but when he tries to pull the trigger, the gun doesn't fire. Monk reveals that the gun has been completely oxidized over the years that have passed since the murder. The police, along with Sharona, arrive just in time to save Monk and detain Lancaster.
Later, Monk calls Sharona, this time from the right apartment.
- The note that Sharona left reads as follows:
- MONK -
- IN OCT 1988 BOARD
- OF DIRECTING APPOINTED
- GOULD NEW DIRECTOR
- OF THE INSTITUTE
- LANCASTER PROTESTED
- WROTE NUMEROUS LETTERS
- DENOUNCING GOULD.
In reality, the doctor's plan would probably never worked out. They would have found his fingerprints all over the crime scene. The lack of blood and gunpowder on the clothes of the patient (who apparently killed Dr. Gould and then evidently overdosed himself) also would have been suspicious.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- The majority of "asylum" exteriors for this episode were shot at The Shouldice Clinic in Toronto, Canada, -a clinic specializing exclusively in the repair of hernias.