"At this point, he pulls a gun, fires one round right through the guy's heart, kill shot!"
- Captain Stottlemeyer
|Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus|
July 18, 2003
Lolita Davidovitch as Natasia Lovara
|Monk Season 2|
|Season 1||Season 3|
When a circus ringmaster is murdered by a high flying acrobat at a restaurant, all leads point to his vengeful ex-wife. But before Monk can find out how the pretty trapeze artist could have committed the crime with a broken foot, he must get Sharona to overcome her fear of elephants.
At a quaint sidewalk cafe, in the middle of the night, Sergei Cluvarias and his young date Ariana sit enjoying a late meal. When the maitre d' asks Sergei to put out his cigarette, Sergei shows a bad temper and worse manners, yelling "This is how it started in Nazi Germany!" The otherwise quiet evening is suddenly interrupted when a mysterious masked figure dressed as a ninja leaps down into the cafe from the rooftops above, and, without warning, draws a .454 Ruger Casull and shoots the luckless ringmaster dead with a killshot from 30 feet away. The ninja then makes a quick escape by leaping onto the restaurant awning, performing an amazing in-air somersault, and diving into the street to run off.
The next morning, Adrian Monk, Sharona, Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher are investigating the crime scene. For a moment, Monk can't concentrate, because one of the patrol officers hanging around the crime scene is wearing mismatched socks. Stottlemeyer sends the cop away to direct traffic, and Monk ties together a handful of clues: all of the sugar cubes are missing from Sergei's table, but the sugar cubes are present at all of the other tables; sawdust on the ground; a somersaulting ninja with incredible marksmanship; and a gun that is used on safaris to stop elephants - all signs that a circus must be in town.
The investigation shifts to the Dratch & Denby Traveling Circus. It turns out Sergei was the circus' ringmaster. The sugar cubes leads Monk to identify the circus's horse trainer, Ariana Dakkar, as Sergei's young date. As Monk questions Ariana, he learns that she suspects Sergei's jealous ex-wife - Natasia Lovara, "The Queen of the Sky" - of the murder. In fact, Monk learns from Ariana that Natasia had tried to kill Sergei six months ago, however she was never arrested or charged because of a lack of evidence.
As he continues to follow the clues to Sergei's murder, Monk makes another startling discovery: Sharona may not be as fearless as she seems. As it turns out, she does have one phobia: a deadly fear of elephants. When Monk finds Sharona in a tent and dismisses Sharona's fear as silly, telling her to just "suck it up," she becomes enraged by his insensitivity.
Meanwhile, Stottlemeyer and Disher suspect the circus's leopard and panther wrangler, Nikolai Petroff, who owns a .454 Ruger Casull revolver. They go to interview him while he's feeding the leopards. When they ask him to show the lockbox he stores his gun in, they find that someone has smashed the lock and stolen his gun.
Monk and Sharona go to interview Natasia. She is a skilled acrobat, and a former trick-shot artist to boot, meaning she is certainly more than capable of pulling off the high-flying and shooting feats displayed by Sergei's killer. Moreover, she doesn't even try to hide that she hated her ex-husband and is now happy that he is dead. But when Monk asks her to come with them for questioning, she pulls her chair away from the table, and reveals her left foot in a cast. Sharona then starts nagging Monk about what he said and continues doing the same thing to him, continously saying "suck it up".
Petroff is detained for questioning. He has admitted to being Ariana's ex-boyfriend, and was also training to be a trapeze artist himself. Monk continues to suspect Natasia, but Disher has confirmed that she fell on her foot from a trapeze two weeks earlier at a show in Kansas City, in front of a crowd of witnesses. She did not go to the hospital because she is a Romany Gypsy, whose people don't believe in hospitals. Since there is no proof that her foot is actually broken, Monk convinces Stottlemeyer to have it X-rayed. But much to his dismay, when the results come back, it is indeed shattered, so there is no way she could have been the ninja.
Monk tries to win Sharona back with flowers and apologies, but she refuses to forgive him until he makes an effort to empathize with her fear, the way she does with his every day.
Meanwhile, back at the circus, Natasia is approached by Edgar Heinz, the circus' elephant trainer. Heinz confides in Natasia that her "secret" is safe with him, as he would never do anything to hurt the one he loves. But Natasia, it seems, isn't held back by such petty matters of the heart.
Monk attempts to patch things up with Sharona by helping her overcome her fear of elephants. He brings her to meet Heinz's elephant Dede - but both are horrified by what happens next. Heinz practices an age-old routine with Dede, where he places a watermelon under her foot, gives a command, and the mammoth elephant gently places her foot on the melon without crushing it. But then, with another command from Heinz, Dede brings her foot down hard, smashing the melon into pieces. In the next part of the trick, Heinz fearlessly places his head under Dede's foot, again gives the first command, and the elephant gently places her foot on Heinz's head. But, unbeknownst to Heinz, there is a walkie talkie hidden near the elephant's ear, and on the other end of the walkie talkie is Natasia, who is at a booth across the midway. She gives the second command, and Dede brings her foot down on Heinz's head, killing him instantly and sending Sharona's fear of elephants into overdrive.
As he does his best to comfort a distraught Sharona, Monk realizes he's solved the case.
Here's What HappenedEdit
He, Stottlemeyer, and Disher, confront Natasia in one of the tents (Sharona has to excuse herself when they bring Dede in as a "witness"). At Monk's suggestion, Randy looks behind Dede's ear and finds the walkie-talkie taped there, proof that someone commanded Dede to kill Heinz. And he also mentions that with regards to the Sergei angle of the case, Monk admits that the question of if Natasia's foot was broken was not the question he should have been asking: he should have been asking, "when did she break her foot? He explains that Natasia had one motive for killing Heinz: he knew she had killed Sergei a few nights earlier.
Monk remembers that Natasia said to him that the first thing people learn is how to fall. Two weeks ago, she staged an "accident" to make everyone think she broke her foot. Her fear of hospitals came in handy (being a Romany Gypsy), so no one ever thought to check if she was in fact faking her injury.
On the night of Sergei's murder, she slipped her cast off, donned a ski mask, and followed her ex-husband and his girlfriend. She waited until they were in the crowded restaurant, as she needed witnesses to see the shooting. With every witness seeing her spectacular stunts, Natasia knew she'd be safe if everyone assumed she was crippled.
Natasia scoffs, asking for more proof. Monk mentions that he is pretty sure that her foot is broken, and he explains how she really broke her foot:
Natasia always knew she would be a suspect, and she knew that the police would have wanted an x-ray. As soon as she returned to the circus, she had her leg broken by an outside force. She put her leg underneath Dede's foot, and on her command, Dede crushed it. Natasia figured no one had seen her, as everyone was asleep (so she thought), except for Heinz, who must have woken up and looked outside, and seen her.
Meanwhile, Floppy, the clown that has been following Monk around and copying his movements, starts impersonating Stottlemeyer. Stottlemeyer, annoyed, arrests the protesting clown for impersonating an officer.
Natasia demands proof, when both she and Monk know that the walkie-talkie has been wiped clean of fingerprints. Then Monk asks her: did she remember to wipe down the batteries she put inside the walkie-talkie? The batteries are new, and she's probably forgotten that her fingerprints are there. Natasia makes a break for it, doubling Monk in the shins, hoisting herself into the seat of a nearby jeep and speeding out of the tent. Outside, she almost runs Sharona over, but is forced to brake when another elephant wanders into her path. As she is arrested, Monk runs outside and goes overboard trying to comfort Sharona, leading her to declare, "I've created a monster!"
Later, Sharona is shown feeding Dede and Benjy pets Dede. Monk stands nereby, and Sharona says that she thinks that she is over her fear. Monk says that they have to leave, because he thinks he stepped in something, Sharona assures him that he didn't, but they leave anyway, since Monk is insistent that he has. Sharona says while leaving, "But we just got here."
Background Information and NotesEdit
- In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival," Monk says, "too many clowns," indicating that he is coulrophobic. However, during the summation in the tent, he seems merely annoyed by the clown imitating him and Stottlemeyer.
- The name "Ruger Casull" appears to refer to the Ruger Super Redhawk revolver, which comes in a model that chambers the .454 Casull cartridge.
- The term "Romany Gypsy" used to refer to Natasia is somewhat tautological; Romany (or Romani, or sometimes Roma) is considered the correct name for the ethnic group formerly known as Gypsies.
(Monk announces that Ariana is preparing to become a U.S. citizen)
Ariana: How did you know that?
Monk: That pamphlet in your bag. You're studying the U.S. Constitution — something no citizen would ever do.
(Sharona tips over Monk's careful pile of magazines.)
Sharona: "S.I.U." You know what that means?
Monk: Yes, I know what it means.
Stottlemeyer: Randy, take that thing down to the lab straight away.
Monk: I wouldn't bother. She's too smart. I'm sure she wiped it down. Then again, that walkie looks brand new... which means she had to put batteries in it. You did remember to wipe your prints off the batteries, didn't you, Natasha?
Monk: What are you doing, you don't smoke.
Sharona: I do now.
Monk: You.. you can't smoke in here, this is a hospital for God's Sake.
Sharona: So? Suck it up.