|Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival|
August 2, 2002
Stephen McHattie as Lieutenant Adam Kirk
|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 carnival to meet with a confidential informant, John Gitomer. Gitomer says he has information about an upcoming drug deal of purple haze. He insists on taking a ride on the ferris wheel before they talk. Once they are up on the wheel, Gitomer starts yelling for help, as though he’s being attacked, while Kirk tells him to calm down. The ride stops, and Kirk stumbles off, baffled. Then the ride operator yells for help, and Kirk turns around to see Gitomer fall down in his seat, with a knife in his chest.
Kirk, who has already been accused of police brutality several times before, is put on indefinite suspension. But he swears that he never touched the kid, and Stottlemeyer approaches Monk for help. Sharona urges Monk to agree, since he is up for reinstatement with the department, and Stottlemeyer can be counted on to put in a good word if Monk takes the case. Monk is reluctant: he knows Kirk’s history, and is inclined to believe that Kirk lost control and stabbed Gitomer, but agrees. When he interviews Kirk, Kirk mentions that the worst part of this incident is not being suspended but because he is to testify against alleged killer Leonard Stokes next week. What makes it so bad is because Stokes accused Kirk of police brutality, and this incident makes his case.
They meet Stottlemeyer at the carnival, bringing Benjy along for cover, since Monk isn’t supposed to be on the case. Stottlemeyer also steals some balloons from a passerby to give to Monk when they see Internal Affairs men there. They look at souvenir photos taken on the night of the murder, including one of Gitomer that shows him with his sweatshirt zipped all the way up, despite the heat on that night; then they interview the ride operator, Kitty Malone, who 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.
While they are at the carnival, Benjy asks Sharona for a dollar so he can enter a contest to guess how many jellybeans are in a jar. Monk gives him the right answer 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.
Investigating Gitomer’s seedy apartment, Monk finds an improvised club made from batteries inside a gym sock, that attaches to a string hanging from the ceiling fan. Questioning the landlord about Gitomer’s habits leads them to a dance club down the street, where Monk realizes that the tarot card is used as a claim ticket for bags. They retrieve Gitomer’s bag, and find a phone number leading them to the recently released Stokes, whose confession and trial has been thrown out due to Kirk's case. They interview Stokes on his way out of prison, and he claims to know nothing.
Stottlemeyer goes before the Police Commission, 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. When Stottlemeyer comes out, 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 his buddy 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. Stokes had another accomplice: Kitty Malone, the ferris wheel operator, is actually Stokes's girlfriend. As soon as Adam Kirk got out of the wheel at the bottom, Kitty stabbed Gitomer in the heart.
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. Seeing that her body is still warm, 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 holding one of his shoes hostage.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Hrant Alianak reappears as the criminal judge from "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale."
- 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)?
- 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?
- Sharona is a former nurse. Even though when they arrive, Kitty is probably dead, it is probably 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.