|Monk Season 1|
An amusement park ride turns deadly when Stottlemeyer's former partner gets on a Ferris wheel with a mysterious informant. When the ride comes to a stop, the informant has a knife in his chest. The lieutenant, who has a history of police brutality, is suspended, but is there actually more to the case than is apparent?
Captain Leland Stottlemeyer drops off his former partner, Lieutenant Adam Kirk, at a local carnival, where Kirk is to meet an informant. Stottlemeyer insists on staying to cover Kirk in case he gets in trouble, but Kirk insists he's fine and tells Stottlemeyer to go home and get some sleep. He apparently is on such a good first-name basis with Stottlemeyer that Stottlemeyer has to remind Kirk to address him as "Captain" when they're in public.
Stottlemeyer drives off while Kirk walks into the carnival. He takes a sip from a flask of alcohol in his pocket before he is approached by the informant, John Gitomer. Gitomer says he has information about an upcoming drug deal of purple haze, including the names and locations. He insists, however, that they take a ride on the Ferris wheel before they talk.
Kirk and Gitomer get on the Ferris wheel and the operator, Kitty Malone, starts up the ride. Mere seconds later, Gitomer starts screaming for help, as though he’s being attacked, while Kirk tells him to calm down. Kitty can see their car swinging back and forth like there's a struggle. She stops the ride when Kirk's car gets back to the loading platform, and Kirk stumbles off, baffled and shaken up. Suddenly Kitty yells for help, and Kirk turns around just in time to see Gitomer collapse in his seat, dead, a knife sticking out of his chest.
Kirk has a history of police brutality, having been suspended once before, and was recently accused of beating a confession out of alleged killer Leonard Stokes. Therefore, as the police investigate the scene, Stottlemeyer talks to Kirk and asks him if he's been drinking or taking drugs, because he knows that the police will demand Kirk submit to a blood test. Stottlemeyer also is aware that Internal Affairs is going to try their best to use Kirk's past cases to destroy his credibility, and asks Kirk to provide his own explanation. The ragged Kirk insists that he never even touched Gitomer. Stottlemeyer counters that there were bruises on Gitomer's chest, to which Kirk counter-argues that Gitomer inflicted them on himself.
Since Stottlemeyer has faith in Kirk, Lieutenant Disher suggests that they turn to Monk for help. Stottlemeyer is skeptical because Monk is going before the review board for reinstatement in a day.
The next day, Monk goes before the review board. Although Monk believes he is ready, the board members state that they need the opinions of Stottlemeyer and a couple other witnesses before they make their decision. He is so confident in the potential that the board will reinstate him that he offers to drive Sharona's car instead, only to smash it into a light pole.
When Kirk is arraigned a few days later, his lawyer petitions for him to be bailed out on his own recognizance. Afterwards, Stottlemeyer and Disher approach Monk and Sharona to ask them to investigate. Monk is reluctant: he knows Kirk’s history, and is inclined to believe that Kirk lost control and stabbed Gitomer, but he gives in and agrees when Sharona tells him that Stottlemeyer can be counted on to put in a good word if he clears Kirk. Once they give in, Stottlemeyer gives them a stern warning about what they're going to do: their investigation is going to have to be unofficial and off-the-books, because Internal Affairs is in charge of the official case and they do not outsiders poking around and asking questions.
Monk and Sharona interview Kirk at his house. He admits that the thing he hates most is not being suspended but the fact that he is to testify in a week against Leonard Stokes, an alleged murderer he arrested 14 months earlier. Kirk is now certain that Stokes will walk because he accused Kirk of beating a confession out of him. Gitomer's death will make Stokes's case legitimate. He goes back through his version of the story at Monk's suggestion: he got a call from Gitomer, who had previous arrests for crimes like car theft and drug possession, and Gitomer said he wanted to meet at the carnival, probably because it was a busy place with lots of people standing around. Gitomer told him he had information on a massive shipment of purple haze, but he would only talk if they went on the ferris wheel. As Kirk explains, they got on the wheel, and Gitomer suddenly started throwing himself around and screaming, “Help! Help! He’s gonna kill me!” The operator shut down the ride, and Kirk got off, and he'd barely walked ten feet when he heard screaming, causing him to turn around and see Gitomer lying dead in his seat. He has no idea where the knife came from.
Monk and Sharona next meet Stottlemeyer at the carnival, bringing Benjy along as cover, since Monk isn’t supposed to be on the case. Sharona, however, is convinced that Stottlemeyer only has Monk on the case in order to parade him before a jury. They approach Stottlemeyer, and seconds later, a photographer shows up. She gets them to pose for her and takes their picture, then hands them the claim ticket.
Sharona takes Benjy on the bumper cars while Monk and Stottlemeyer analyze the photos from the night of the murder. Immediately, they notice the first clue upon finding a picture that the photographer took of Gitomer as he walked in: his sweatshirt was zipped all the way up, despite the fact that it was very hot that night. The two men then head over to the Ferris wheel to take another look. There is a brief moment of panic when Stottlemeyer sees the Internal Affairs detectives walking their way. He resolves the issue by stealing a passing child's balloon to sell the story that Monk is here on his day off. After conversing with the detectives, they split up and Monk tries his best to act like he's having fun, with no success. At one point, Benjy asks Sharona for a dollar so he can enter a contest where he can win a boombox if he correctly guesses how many jellybeans there are in a jar. Monk gives him the correct answer (8,385) without even seeing the jar, and Benjy ecstatically walks off with the grand prize. Sharona demands to know how Monk did it, but he insists it was just a lucky guess.
Once Stottlemeyer gets rid of the Internal Affairs detectives by sending them to a bar that he claims Kirk is known to frequent, he and Monk go to interview Kitty Malone. But Kitty has nothing to add: two guys went up, one of them yelled for help, she stopped the ride, and one of them had a knife in his chest. Monk looks closely at the seat, and finds one half of a tarot card wedged in it, which might be a clue.
Monk and Sharona next go to Gitomer’s seedy apartment. Monk quickly notices something strange: there's a cord with a small hook hanging from the ceiling fan in the living room. Then Sharona finds something else: a gym sock stuffed with batteries. Monk realizes with shock that it is the type of improvised weapon that inmates sometimes fashion into clubs. The sock has a small tear that matches up with the hook. When Monk turns on the fan he observes that Gitomer must have used the battery-stuffed sock to self-inflict the bruises on him.
Questioning the landlord about Gitomer’s unusual habits leads them to the Luna Lounge, a dance club down the street. Monk learns that the tarot card is used as a claim ticket for bags. Monk and Sharona retrieve Gitomer’s bag and search it.
Stottlemeyer goes before the commission board, where he heaps praise on Monk’s genius and observational abilities, but the board asks him for a straight answer, whether he believes Monk is ready to come back to the police force.
In Gitomer's bag, they find a phone number leading them to the recently released Stokes, whose confession and trial has been thrown out due to Kirk's impending case regarding Gitomer. They interview Stokes on his way out of prison, and mention that he apparently called Gitomer several times from the phone bank in his cell wing on the day of the murder. Stokes claims he knows nothing. Monk notices that Stokes has a Straight & Sober pin from his alcoholics anonymous group.
When Stottlemeyer comes out of the commission board hearing, and sees Monk and Sharona waiting, he is forced to admit that he answered no. Ultimately, he feels that Monk isn’t ready to carry a gun, or have his partner depend on him under fire. A deeply upset Adrian silently storms off, and Sharona calls Stottlemeyer a backstabber.
Angry with Stottlemeyer, Monk starts obsessively cleaning Sharona’s apartment, and is actually disappointed when he solves the case.
Here’s What HappenedEdit
As Monk and Sharona drive to the carnival, Monk gives the summation to Stottlemeyer over the phone:
Leonard Stokes arranged to frame Kirk from prison, to get his confession thrown out before his trial. Stokes arranged for John Gitomer to make it look like Kirk beat him up. Before meeting Kirk, Gitomer used the homemade club to give himself some nasty bruises (hence explaining the sweatshirt, which was zipped up to conceal the bruises). But Gitomer didn’t know the whole plan. He was the real patsy. Kitty Malone, the Ferris wheel operator, is actually Stokes's girlfriend. Monk knows that because she was wearing the same Straight & Sober pin on her jacket that Stokes had on his shirt. As soon as Kirk disembarked from the wheel, and had his back turned, Kitty ran up and stabbed Gitomer in the chest.
Monk and Sharona drive to the carnival to confirm their theory, and find Kitty stabbed dead behind a garbage can, meaning Stokes has killed her to cover his tracks. But her body is still warm, so they realize Stokes must still be in the park, and Monk sends Sharona up in the Ferris wheel to look around – not realizing that Stokes is hiding in the wheel. As he climbs over the frame towards Sharona, Monk reluctantly (and slowly) tries to climb up towards her. Fortunately, Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive in time to shut down the wheel and get Stokes to surrender.
Kirk is reinstated to the police force. Monk watches jealously, but is forced to admit that there is some justice behind Stottlemeyer’s belief that he’s not completely reliable in a dangerous situation. Kirk and Stottlemeyer both thank Monk for his help, and, with the ugly situation behind them, Leland advises Monk to keep working at his reinstatement, since it will come eventually.
After repeat pestering, Sharona finally gets Monk to explain how he won the jellybean contest, by taking one of his shoes hostage: Monk admits that as they walked into the carnival, he noticed a pile of garbage and also observed that several jellybean boxes had been tossed as well. There were six boxes, and the labels said each box had 1,400 jellybeans, which means there were 8,400 beans altogether. Reasoning that the guy running the booth ate a handful or two results in 8,385 beans as the final answer.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Hrant Alianak reappears as the criminal judge from "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale."
- According to the Official Episode Guide book, the murder was originally supposed to involve two guys getting on a chairlift, possibly at a ski area, and one of them ending up dead with a knife in his chest when they get to the top. The idea was rewritten into the Ferris wheel of the final episode once the producers found they couldn't justify Monk traveling out of San Francisco, not to mention they were shooting in the summertime.
- The same guide mentions two snafus happening during filming the carnival, which they erected on an asphalt parking lot: the first was that it was one of the hottest weeks in Toronto at the time, and people were passing out in the 100 degree heat. They also apparently miscalculated the number of extras needed, originally only getting 50, which gave the impression the carnival had been rented out for a private event, and only getting 350 more extras later.
- This is the first use in the series of Monk's trademark line, "It's a gift... and a curse," although this episode's version uses "blessing" instead of "gift."
- The rank bars on Monk's uniform indicate that he was an Inspector (Detective) at the time of his suspension.
- Kitty Malone was not wearing anything to cover her fingers during the murder. Couldn't the police have run fingerprint tests and been able to identify her as the killer (or at least that she had held the knife)? In the summation shot, if you look closely, Kitty is wearing a glove on the hand she holds the knife in.
- How was Stokes a member of the same chapter of the sobriety group as Kitty when he had been confined to prison for the past 14 months? Even if they met at meetings before he went to prison, he would have attended meetings and gotten his 3-year pin in prison while his girlfriend got her color-coded pin from the chapter in the outside world.
- Considering he was able to concoct such an elaborate plan to escape from prison, Stokes must have been at least somewhat intelligent. Why then did he wait until he had been in prison for 14 months to carry out his plan? And why was he dumb enough to hide in the Ferris wheel after killing his girlfriend?
- How did Stokes get into his cab on the Ferris wheel? Watch the sequence carefully. Sharona gets in and Monk rotates the wheel so Sharona's cab goes about three to four positions up from the ground. Then Stokes climbs out of the cab directly across the wheel from her. That means his cab was straight up at the top of the wheel when Sharona got in. The Ferris wheel isn't running when he makes his escape. So how did Stokes get to the cab on the top of the Ferris wheel without anyone seeing him before Monk started the wheel?
- Sharona is a former nurse. Even though when they arrive, Kitty is probably dead, it is a violation of common medical policy that she would leave a possibly dying woman there instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive before looking for Stokes.
- Monk, of course, is an excellent detective, but is he really the only person able to conduct a rudimentary search of a crime scene? If the Gitomer killing happened in real life, the police would have thoroughly searched the Ferris wheel during their initial investigation. It seems, if anything, given that the accused, Kirk, is a cop, that they would have been extra-thorough. However, they were unable to find the oddly-cut tarot card wedged in the Ferris wheel's seat.
- After dropping Adam Kirk off, Stottlemeyer supposedly drives away. However, it is easy to see his car's antenna still there. Perhaps he actually is parking the car and is planning on monitoring Kirk's back just in case something goes wrong.