|Mr. Monk is on the Run, Part 2|
|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 telling him 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 also stays at a motel and his landlady tells him that number 10 and number 7 are pretty much the same besides the difference in numbers (he requested for his room to be moved due to it not being an even 10), and also brought about her puppy, Eurika. When Monk questions her about how she can allow her dog to move about without a leash, she explains that Eurika is fashioned 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 saftey patrol man, under the belief that he's looking at crime and murder stories for inspirations for a novel.
Back at the Police Department, most of the Department, in honor of Monk's passing, wore 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 of Monk he fished out was a dud, and hints that he suspects that Stottlemeyer may have faked Monk's death, stating he should stay for seven more days in case anything else is "fished up." Stottlemeyer agrees. Disher asks Stottlemeyer why he didn't look into it, to which Stottlemeyer mentions he was too busy, as he was turning over rocks and trying to get dirt on Rollins. He reveals to Randy that he dug into Rollins' case file and notices that he bought a second house in Catalina, a BMW, and has two offshore bank accounts, all on a Sheriff's salary, meaning that Rollins is obviously is on a person's payroll that is not in a court of law, and that Rollins is dirty.
While working the next morning, Monk notices one of the cars has been recently repainted and, connecting it with a recent newspaper story about a hit-and-run homicide, identifies the car’s owner as the killer. Before long, Las Vegas newspapers are reporting the amazing exploits of the "Car Wash Columbo."
Natalie sees the stories and excitedly, and angrily, goes to Stottlemeyer, who admits that they faked Monk’s death (she deduced it because he named himself "Leland", which Stottlemeyer even admitted that it was a stupid name when he hears of it, and was angered that he didn't tell her). He tells her that no one else knows, and Natalie can't tell anyone else, not even Julie or Kroger, because whoever set Monk up is both very smart and very resourceful.
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.
Stottlemeyer warns Natalie not to contact Monk, and she promises. 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.
Natalie finds Monk alive at the car wash late at night, and joyfully hugs him, pulls out a wipe and proceeds to kiss him all over his face. Unfortunately their reunion is cut short by Rollins, who appears with his gun, and with orders to kill Monk. But they manage to distract him, and grab his car keys.
After escaping in Rollins's car, they examine the papers in his briefcase. While on the phone with Stottlemeyer and Disher, Natalie finds a check for $10,000 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."
Monk examines the message, and puzzles out Dale's repeat references to "switching places" with him. Then he notices a shot of Dale's laptop screen in the background, which is open to a weather page for the small town of Riverton, California. Nunn said he had just got back from Riverton before Rollins shot him, and the newspaper says the Governor of the state is going there for a bicentennial parade. Monk realizes what Dale's plan is: a bomb has been planted in the governor's car; once he is dead, the Lieutenant Governor, who is also on Dale's payroll, will grant Dale a pardon from prison, thus setting him free while Monk is sent to jail.
Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher rush to Riverton just as the parade is going on. Monk deduces, due to noticing an electric-collar wearing dog's odd reaction when trying to pass underneath the banner, that having a remote detonation would be too risky, so the bomb has been wired to explode once the car passes an electronic boundary planted underneath a banner.
Monk is told to lie low, while Natalie runs to the banner to try and disable the trigger, and Stottlemeyer and Disher try to halt the parade. But Rollins is on the lookout for them, and his deputies seize Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher, as the parade moves on.
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, 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.
- 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.