|Mr. Monk Is on the Air|
February 2, 2007
Jarrad Paul as Kevin Dorfman
|Monk Season 5|
|Season 4||Season 6|
At 99.9 ABSC 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 the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, meeting a gas company technician, who reports a gas leak inside. With the door locked, they break in by using the guard's baton to shatter a window panel. They notice upon seeing a photo that they are in Max Hudson's house. They hear sounds of a radio upstairs and head up the steps to investigate, finding 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 may have killed 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 at the house. Monk notices that Max's radio personality must extend into his personal life, as he has a welcome mat that says "GO AWAY" on it. They head upstairs to the crime scene. 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: first, Monk notices dried leaves in the fireplace, and knowing that fire would have burned them, he realizes that it has hardly ever been used before, so why would Jeanette be using it? He also notices that 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 ventilate the room), so how could she not have noticed it? Monk is also suspicious of the fact that there are 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 they always did something special, but Monk notices that this year, nothing has been planned or erased, meaning he knew she wouldn't around, and that he must have killed her.
The problem is, Max was on the air at the time Jeanette died - absolutely elsewhere. How could he have done it? Monk and Natalie pay Max a visit at the radio station. While waiting in the control room, Monk tries to fix a sign on an inflatable dummy the crew calls "Mr. Limpey" that reads "Chairman of the F.C.C." It turns into an arm wrestling match with Natalie, and ends when Monk inadvertantly stabs Mr. Limpey with a pen, deflating him. They enter the main room to question Max. He denies involvement in his wife's death, but Monk is sure of his guilt. Max insists that Monk ask any questions on the air, where both Monk and Natalie become easy targets for mockery by Max, Little Willie, and J.J..
Monk and Natalie go to the police station to get advice from Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher. Monk mentions that Jeanette had recently started taking sleeping pills at Max's suggestion. His theory is that Max hired someone to sneak into the house, turn on the gas, and close the bedroom door. While doing so, he is interrupted frequently by Randy, who happens to be a regular listener to Max's program. Natalie takes offense at the fact that Randy listens to a jockey who is degrading towards women. Stottlemeyer says that Max's alibi is airtight: he was at the radio station on the morning she died, and at a party in Los Angeles the night before. Monk's accomplice theory has one hole in it: how did the killer 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. She learns that that is a ventilation window from the basement, which only opens about eight inches.
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 Uncle Miltie. 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 joke, 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. 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. No flashback is necessary, as what happened replays itself for us: when Max yells out the phrase, "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.
Unfortunately for Max, the dog took one of his shoes on his way out of the house, and Monk made the connection. The case is closed, and Max Hudson is arrested. 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.