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Monk Season 5
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"Mr. Monk Is on the Air" is the thirteenth episode of the fifth season of Monk.

Plot Edit

At 99.9 KBSC radio, jockey Max Hudson and his two radio sidekicks, Little Willie (a short person) and J.J. (a joke machine) are broadcasting their live morning show, and interviewing an actress starring in a movie opening that week.

Meanwhile, a private security service car pulls up outside a house in an upscale neighborhood, meeting a gas company technician, who reports a gas leak inside. Due to the door being locked, they break in by using the guard's baton to shatter a window panel, also triggering the house's alarm systems due to it having a high level of security. They notice upon seeing a photo in the foyer that they are in Max Hudson's house. They then hear voices - the sound of the radio playing. The two men follow the sound of the radio up the stairs to the master bedroom, where they find Max's wife Jeanette on the bed, dead.

Back at the radio station, Max, J.J. and Willie are going to a commercial break and the operator at the control panel tells Max that a cop is on the line who needs to talk to him. Max takes the call about his wife's death in the backroom, but before he answers, he rehearses to himself the lines he will say.

About a month later, Kevin Dorfman is helping Adrian Monk wash his dishes when he gets a visit from Jeanette Hudson's sister Linda Riggs. It seems that according to the coroner's report, Jeanette turned on the gas fireplace in the bedroom, went to sleep, and was asphyxiated. Linda, however, is not convinced, and believes that Max murdered her. Whatever his personality is like on the air, Linda confides, he has a violent temper (and was once arrested for assault), and Jeanette was scared to death of him; plus divorcing her would have cost Max big time, around $30 million.

Later that day, Monk and Natalie Teeger meet Linda Riggs at Max's house. As they approach the door, Natalie confides to Monk that she also dislikes Max's program. She also points out to Monk that it seems impossible for Max to have committed the murder - when Jeanette died, Max was live on the radio, and the day before, he was at a party in Los Angeles, so he hadn't been home in two days. Monk points out that he promised to look into the matter because Linda was using all his Kleenex. They also get to see that Max's radio personality extends into his personal life. Case in point: the welcome mat on his stoop that says "GO AWAY" on it. A neighbor passes by and tells them that Max left a few hours ago, and Monk attempts to do an "opposite joke" on the neighbor's dog with no success.

Linda then uses a house key of her own to get in. The three then head upstairs to the bedroom where the body was found. As they enter, Linda mentions having heard Max joking about Jeanette's death on the air. Disgusted, Natalie admits that she feels uncomfortable whenever she is in a store or restaurant and Max is on the air.

Entering the room, Monk notices that a shoe is missing from Max's closet, a brown Romano loafer, size 10.5, before Natalie directs him back to the crime scene. Right away, Monk notices several suspicious clues: the first is when he notices dried leaves in the fireplace, an indication that the fireplace has not been used for several months (if ever). Also, the smell of gas when the flue is opened is overpowering (when he opens the flue, he stumbles around and Natalie has to close the valve and open a window to let fresh air in), so how could Jeanette not have noticed it? Monk is also suspicious when Natalie checks the inventory report and notes that there were no matches or lighters anywhere in the room. Finally, Monk looks at Max's calendar on the desk, and notices something else that is interesting: Jeanette died on July 15, two days before their 10th wedding anniversary, and Linda notes that they always did something special, but curiously, for this year, nothing has been planned or erased. To Monk and Natalie, this suggests that Max knew she wouldn't be alive by this point, enough evidence to suggest murder.

The problem is, Max was on the air at the time Jeanette died - absolutely elsewhere. How could he have done it? The next day, Monk and Natalie go to Max's radio station to figure this out. While they're waiting in the control room to be buzzed in, Monk tries to fix a sign on an inflatable dummy the crew calls "Mr. Limpey" that reads "Chairman of the F.C.C." Natalie tries to stop Monk from fixing the sign, but this turns into an arm-wrestling match as Natalie tries to grab Monk's pen. The small match ends when Monk inadvertantly swings and stabs "Mr. Limpey", deflating him (much to the dismay of the radio crew).

Monk and Natalie are then summoned into the studio for their time slot. While they are in the studio, Monk and Natalie become easy targets for mockery by Max, Little Willie, and J.J. - Natalie especially, but also Monk's habit of using handwipes (though he straightens a microphone to create lots of static feedback to stop them from making one pretty derogatory comment about Natalie). Max insists that Monk ask his questions while they are live. He denies involvement in his wife's death, but Monk is sure of his guilt. This interview doesn't go so well, and ends when J.J. tells Monk that the last person to wear his headset had head lice, and Monk is sent running out of the studio. Natalie scorns Max before she leaves.

Convinced of Max's guilt, Monk and Natalie take their theory to Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher. Apprently, they also have learned Jeanette had recently started taking maximum dose sleeping pills at Max's suggestion. Monk's theory is that Max, knowing Jeanette wouldn't be waking up, hired an accomplice to sneak into the house, turn on the gas, and close the bedroom door. While Monk is explaining his theory, he is interrupted frequently when Randy cracking up in the background. Randy finally admits to having heard their botched attempt at talking to Max on the air. Natalie is offended to find that Randy listens to Max, and it is clear that she still hasn't gotten over having been insulted live on the radio.

Stottlemeyer points out that Monk's accomplice theory has one hole in it: how did the accomplice get into the house? Natalie suggests that Max copied his house key, but Stottlemeyer shoots her theory down, noting that the security company's diagrams show the house as being wired and monitored 24/7. Not a single person entered or left the house at any point that night. However, Natalie notices one window is labelled as open on the diagram, but Stottlemeyer points out that it's a ventilation window from the basement, which only opens about eight inches, too small for any person to fit through.

Randy theorizes that one possible accomplice is Little Willie, as he is a little person and he is so loyal to Max that he does anything for him (including eating his own weight in bologna). However, Stottlemeyer isn't very convinced that a little person could fit through an awfully small space. Monk insists that they have to check out every possibility.

Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher go downtown to a bookstore where Max and his sidekicks are signing copies of Max's new book Max Hudson: Sex, Lies, and Radio. While waiting, another guy belches rather loudly. Randy mentions that he is a guy known as the "Burpinator". Natalie sarcastically suggests to Randy that he introduce her to the regular. Stottlemeyer and Disher step ahead and pull aside Little Willie to question him. He mentions that the night Jeanette died, he was also on the air. As for the day before, he was with his wife and his family. They hold him long enough for Randy to put his hands around Willie's head, and then walk over so Natalie can measure the diameter. It comes out at 10 inches, meaning that Willie is not a likely suspect.

Monk, meanwhile, goes over to Max and questions him again. Max confides in Monk that Jeanette’s death wasn’t really an accident, but that it was suicide. Monk still isn’t buying it. He knows it was murder.

That night, as Monk is vaccuming the apartment, Natalie pleads with Monk to call Stottlemeyer, but Monk believes that he doesn't have any proof. Unfortunately, it's a brick wall - Max is refusing to talk to Monk unless Monk comes back on the show, and Monk doesn't want to risk getting humiliated again. He tries to show Natalie how he isn't a funny person by playing a videotape of some old home movies.

In the middle of the night, Kevin knocks on Monk's door. He mentions that his uncle was a comedian who worked with historical comedian Milton Berle. He produces a joke file that his uncle left him, which contains a lot of field-tested jokes that Monk can use when he talks to Max on the air again.

The next day, Monk and Natalie go back to the studio during one of Max’s radio shows, and Monk, armed with some of Kevin's jokes, is itching to go on the air. Monk asks a few questions, and then starts telling his horrible jokes. Max turns on Monk, who gets roasted, but then the conversation drifts to the topic of Monk's own marriage. When Monk describes the circumstances of Trudy's death, Max piles on the jokes. At that, Willie and JJ look shocked, indicating that even they see a line, and Max is crossing it. At least they offered their condolences to Monk. One joke too many ("you should have called me in to help with the case – I'm great with jigsaw puzzles!"), causes Monk to go berserk and lunge over the table at Max. Security guards rush in and drag Monk out.

Monk and Natalie meet Stottlemeyer and Disher back at Max's house. They all agree that what Max mentioned about Trudy was beyond what they could tolerate (Disher mentions that he and Stottlemeyer listened to the whole thing on their car radio and couldn't even drive listening to it). Stottlemeyer helps bring his shaken friend back down to Earth: 1) He's proud of Monk for his effort to confront Max, and 2) Max's baiting of Monk makes it clear that he is guilty, and if there is any way of proving it, Monk can do it. Monk begins to go over the case again in his head, but is distracted by the sounds of Max's next-door neighbor playing with his dog. Looking over the fence, they see the neighbor and the dog tussling over a chewed-up loafer - the same kind missing from Max's closet. As they question the neighbor, he says that Max agreed to housesit his dog while they were on vacation in Hawaii.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Max is called to the house and confronted by Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer, Disher and Linda Riggs. Monk has figured out that, in the month before Jeanette died, Max was training the dog (a Jack Russell Terrier, a very smart breed of dog) to kill her. Max could be a hundred miles away from the house, and the murder would still come off, as long as the dog could hear his voice.

Max claims that there's no proof, but that's when Stottlemeyer speaks into a walkie-talkie and gives a command. The scene immediately cuts to next door, where a police officer is holding a portable radio while talking to the neighbor. He starts playing Max's show from the day of Jeanette's death. When Max's voice shouts, "Jiggle me timbers!" on the tape, the dog takes off. It darts through the dividing hedge, makes its way up the driveway, enters the house through the basement ventilation window, runs up the stairs to the bedroom, and turns the flue handle to the on position with his paw. It then leaves, even closing the door behind him by kicking it with his legs. Monk uses his foot to push the flue handle back into place.

Max's mistake, Stottlemeyer points out, is that the dog he trained to commit the murder stole one of his shoes and took it up as a new chew toy. As he is handcuffed, Monk dares him to find a joke in the situation, and Max can't. In a melancholy way, Monk has made his point: some things just aren't funny.

At night, Monk watches his wedding video.

QuotesEdit

JJ:(Seeing Monk and Natalie fighting over Monk's pen) Fight, fight, fight!


(Monk stabs "Mr. Limpey" with his pen by accident, and the crew exclaims out loud out of disapproval.)

JJ: He killed Mr. Limpey! He's a maniac!

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • Steven Weber is the second of Tony Shalhoub's co-stars from Wings to appear on the series, after Tim Daly appeared (as himself) in "Mr. Monk and the Airplane."
  • Weber also appeared in the short-lived television series Stark Raving Mad as an obsessed fan stalking Shalhoub's character.
  • Danny Woodburn, who plays Little Willie, would end up co-starring with Tony Shalhoub in the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, with Woodburn doing the motion-capture work for the character Splinter and Shalhoub supplying the voice.

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