|Monk Season 6|
|Season 5||Season 7|
After his disappearance into the ocean, Monk emerges on a deserted beach, having survived thanks to a bulletproof vest. Stottlemeyer meets him, giving him cash and clothes, telling him to get out of San Francisco and lie low until they can figure out what Rollins is up to.
Randy comforts Natalie in her home, as she looks over a retrospective collage that she and Julie have made. Randy tries to tell Natalie that Stottlemeyer had no choice but to shoot Monk, and Natalie refuses to accept this. Stottlemeyer drops by, reluctantly taking the heat of Natalie’s anger. When she says that she’s taken out a loan to ensure that Monk gets the funeral he deserves, Stottlemeyer dares to suggest that she might have gone too far, and she throws him out of the house.
Rollins is still hovering around the city morgue, examining all the incoming John Does and all too aware that Monk’s body has not been recovered, as well as contacting a mysterious man whom he tells about his suspicions.
Monk has taken a job at a car wash near Sparks, Nevada, posing as a Hispanic under the alias of Leland Rodriguez. His natural perfectionism means it takes him 20 minutes to detail a car, much to the exasperation of his boss. Monk is staying at a motel, where he requests to be moved from room 7 to room 10. His landlady tells him that the rooms are pretty much the same besides the difference in numbers, accompanied by puppy, Eureka. When Monk questions her about how she can allow her dog out without a leash, she explains that Eureka is fitted with a specialized electric collar that activates when she bumps into a "fence" of electromagnetics that give her a slight jolt. She also suggests to Monk that he check out a newspaper story about a hit-and-run homicide of a safety patrol man, under the belief that he's looking at crime and murder stories for inspirations for a novel.
Back in San Francisco, most SFPD officers, in honor of Monk's passing, are wearing black armbands on both arms (in homage to the fact that he needs things to be even). Rollins waits for Stottlemeyer in his own office, and reveals that the body fished out was a dud, wondering why Stottlemeyer wasn't also down at the morgue to identify the body. Rollins then states his intention of staying for seven more days in case anything else is "fished up". As soon as Rollins leaves, Disher asks Stottlemeyer why he didn't go to the morgue, to which Stottlemeyer replies he was busy digging up dirt on Rollins. It turns out that Rollins has just bought a second house in Catalina, a new BMW, and has two offshore bank accounts, all on a sheriff's salary.
While working the next morning at the car wash, a Ford Expedition pulls in. Monk finds a scratch on one of the doors, revealing that the Expedition was originally silver and has been repainted red. On the underside, he finds a scrap of a highway worker's orange vest (a small orange flag). Monk identifies this car as the hit-and-run car.
Back in San Francisco, Natalie is boxing up Monk's possessions for shipment. She mentions to the mover Monk's position as a detective, and the mover tells her about the amazing exploits of the "Car Wash Columbo," a quirky fellow who, despite taking a full hour to wipe down every single car, and not using the same rag twice, just solved a big hit-and-run single handedly. Natalie looks at the article, and quickly realizes that the profile of the person the mover just described is identical to Monk's profile, and realizes that Stottlemeyer is hiding something.
Furious, Natalie heads to the police station to confront Stottlemeyer while he is interrogating a suspect. Stottlemeyer reluctantly admits that he gave Monk a bulletproof vest and hence he survived his fall into the water, even though it looked like he did not. Looking at the newspaper article about Monk (under his assumed name) solving the hit-and-run, Stottlemeyer is shocked to see that Monk picked a name that is little more than a dead giveaway. But Natalie is still demanding answers as to why he's been protecting Monk, and Stottlemeyer admits that Rollins framed Monk for shooting Frank Nunn, and there was simply no way he could let his friend get locked away forever. And Rollins is not working alone: he's obviously been paid to do this by someone, possibly someone out of the Governor's office. Stottlemeyer warns Natalie that it is not safe to see Monk, because whoever hired Rollins to frame Monk is very clever and resourceful.
Natalie agrees not to go see Monk. But as soon as she leaves the station, she dumps Julie at a neighbor's house, packs a suitcase and buys a Nevada road map - all of which is observed by Rollins, in contact with his mysterious employer over the phone, who follows her car to Las Vegas.
A short time later, Stottlemeyer lets Randy in on the secret, just to get Randy to stop singing the extremely annoying song he wrote for Monk’s funeral.
In Sparks, it's closing time at the Waterwheel. As everyone leaves for the night, Monk is left behind to clean the washing rags. The boss sternly tells Monk to only clean the rags and to not try cleaning the washing machine. Shortly after the workers leave, Natalie arrives. Monk attempts to pass himself off as incapable of speaking English, but she joyfully hugs him, pulls out a wipe and proceeds to kiss him all over his face. Monk then asks her if Rollins followed her. At that point, Rollins appears with his pistol drawn, and with orders to kill Monk. But they manage to distract him, and grab his car keys. Monk promptly pushes a barrel at him (which rolls slowly and stops a few inches short of Rollins). Then Monk turns off the lights, and turns on the car wash machinery, allowing him and Natalie to get away. As Rollins stalks them through the darkened car wash, he grumbles to himself "I gotta call the Big Man, he's not paying me enough for this crap!" Monk overhears him and realizes Rollins is working for someone familiar. When Rollins rounds a corner, he happens to glance at Natalie and she blinds him by spraying him with a fire extinguisher, allowing her and Monk to pocket Rollins's keys and steal his car, so that Rollins is unable to follow them.
After escaping in Rollins's car, Monk and Natalie examine the papers in his briefcase. While on the phone with Stottlemeyer and Disher, Natalie finds a $10,000 check written to a phony Angel County charity, which came from a shell corporation, which is owned by another shell corporation, which belongs to a foundation owned by... Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck, Monk’s nemesis.
With Monk laying low, Natalie goes to visit Dale alone, in his luxurious cell at San Quentin. She says they know that Rollins is on Dale’s payroll (he used to be Biederbeck’s prison guard), and that they framed Monk. Biederbeck smugly refuses to confirm their suspicions, but asks her to record a personal message from him to Monk, with the video camera he knows she has hidden in her purse. While the camera is rolling, he gives a jaunty greeting to Monk, saying that soon, he'll be "out" and Monk will be "in." He repeats the phrase, several times throughout Natalie's painful visit with the whale.
Monk examines the message, and puzzles out Dale's repeat references to "switching places" with him. In the background of Dale's cell, Monk notices the laptop open to a weather page for the town of Riverton, California. Monk notices that according to a newspaper article, the Governor is going there for the town's centennial parade. At the spotting of the name of Riverton, Monk remembers an important piece of information: on the night he died, Frank Nunn said to Monk, "Don't screw with me, man. I held up my end. I just got back from Riverton, it's all set up, we're good to go." Monk concludes that Dale is plotting to kill the governor with a car bomb, after which the lieutenant governor, who is on Dale's payroll as well, will commute Dale's sentence, setting him free while Monk is convicted of murdering Nunn. Monk also figures what must have happened at the warehouse - Rollins had hired Nunn to plant the bomb that will kill the governor, and arranged to meet him there to give him the rest of his fee, and then turned on him and killed him. Monk also realizes that Nunn must have mistaken him for Rollins and was under the impression that Rollins had ripped him off.
Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher rush to Riverton on the day of the parade. Stottlemeyer and Disher tell Monk and Natalie to lie low, while they try to stop the parade and reach the governor's car. However, in the noise of the parade, they are ignored (at one point, Monk is trying to speak to Italian-speaking officers from Riverton's twin sister city, which isn't exactly helping things, as the Italian officers don't speak English).
Hiding to try and avoid Rollins, Monk sees one of the spectator's dogs whimpering, to the confusion of its owner. He remembers the owners of his motel in Nevada had Eureka, their dog, fitted with an electronic shock collar that was triggered by a radio barrier set up around the motel grounds. He realizes that another such barrier has been placed in a banner towards the end of the route, and will act as the trigger for the bomb in the governor's car.
Natalie rushes to climb up on to the lamppost and remove the trigger, but Rollins, watching from nearby, tells the local sheriff's deputies to seize her. Stottlemeyer and Disher confront Rollins to arrest him, but Rollins tells the sheriff's deputies that they are guilty of obstruction of justice and harboring a fugitive. In confusion, the Riverton deputies seize Stottlemeyer and Disher, as the governor's car continues toward the banner.
Monk – remembering his dream of failing to save Trudy – breaks cover and jumps into the Governor's car. Just before the governor's bodyguards grab hold of him, he pulls the key from the ignition, stopping the car before it passes the banner. Stottlemeyer wrestles free, removes the bomb from underneath the car (as Riverton did not have a bomb disposal squad), and defuses it. The day is saved, and Rollins is arrested. Monk collapses with relief.
Monk and Natalie go to visit Dale in his prison cell, which has been stripped bare: his furniture, laptop, and telephone are all gone, his window has been blocked up, and he is being forced to sleep in the cramped prison bunkbed. Monk also mentions that Dale's manicure appointments and meal deliveries have been canceled, and he is eating prison food in the cafeteria with the other inmates. Rollins has given a full confession to the District Attorney in the hopes of minimizing his own sentence, and the Lieutenant Governor has also been arrested and indicted. Thanks to their evidence, Dale has lost everything, and it is certain that he will never set foot outside the prison again (figuratively speaking).
Dale sneers that Monk still got the worse end of the deal: with Nunn dead, Monk will never know who killed Trudy. Monk says that the police went through Nunn's house after his death, and found papers referring to Nunn being hired to kill Trudy by a mysterious figure known as "The Judge." Monk has come to the prison in the hope that Dale might know something. But if Dale does, he's not telling. Monk and Natalie walk away, as Dale yells after them that whatever prison he's in doesn't compare to the one Monk lives in; but his insults roll right off Monk's back, and he and Natalie walk away, satisfied that justice has been done, and Dale's scheming is finished for good.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- The picture of Natalie, Monk, and Julie that Natalie shows to Disher is apparently the one they took on Christmas, at the end of "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa."
- Disher brings a vase of flowers from Sharona Fleming and her son, Benjy to Natalie's house, and mentions that they are flying in for the memorial.
- Third, and final TV appearance of Dale "The Whale," since the second season finale, "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail." In that episode, the conclusion hinted that Dale had his own, sinister reasons for giving Monk clues that led him to the six-fingered man's identity. This episode explains why.
- Dale does, however, reappear in the novel Mr. Monk Gets Even, where he managed to escape prison and framed Stottlemeyer for the deed.
- Ray Porter replaces Tim Curry as Dale, becoming the third actor to play the part, after Curry and Adam Arkin.
- The shoe is on the other foot: Scott Glenn and Ted Levine both appeared in the award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs, but with Glenn playing the F.B.I. agent on the trail of the killer played by Levine.
- Glenn also played Secret Service Agent Bill Burton in Clint Eastwood's film Absolute Power, in which he is forced to shoot Melora Hardin's character.
- Stottlemeyer should have disclosed the secret to Natalie somewhere other than the interrogation room. Given that there is a two-way mirror and speaker in the observation room, it wouldn't be surprising if Rollins was listening in.
- If Monk had figured out that Dale was going to assassinate the governor, how come no one sounded the alarm before the parade? If that were the case, security would have been increased at the centennial parade and every vehicle in the parade would be searched, and people attending would have been searched.
- Stottlemeyer declares Rollins under arrest on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Those aren't the only charges that are possible against him - it would also be possible to charge him with a number of corruption charges.