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Mr. Monk Is the Best Man

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Monk Season 8
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Season 7 THE END

Mr. Monk Is the Best Man is the thirteenth episode of the eighth season of Monk.

PlotEdit

Monk and Natalie are at the police station to pick up Monk's paycheck, when T.K. Jensen arrives, dressed elegantly for a special dinner, celebrating her and Leland Stottlemeyer's six-month anniversary. Seeing Stottlemeyer pacing his office, talking to himself, and other clues, Monk swiftly realizes - aloud - that Stottlemeyer is planning to propose marriage to her. Everyone is ecstatic, but tries to hide it as Stottlemeyer comes out. He sees right through them and glares at Monk, and says he might as well do it then and there. T.K. intercepts him as he starts to kneel, and says she wants to hear the whole speech, as he planned it, when they are alone. He asks, "is that a yes?" Teasingly she says, "you'll just have to wait to find out," but gives him a kiss that is as good as a yes.

A few months later, Stottlemeyer is on a cloud, (on the account of him getting married in 9 days), even over the scene of his next case, a grisly, burned corpse found in a public park. Disher speculates that the man was a derelict - an empty liquor bottle was found nearby - who was shot and burned as a lark by some local thugs. But Stottlemeyer notices some signs that it was more deliberate.

Still on a high, Stottlemeyer calls Monk and Natalie to the station, where Leland asks Monk to be his best man. Adrian is overwhelmed, and promises to fulfill his duties perfectly. Amused, Leland says his most important job is not to lose the ring. Monk promises that he won't, and indeed, once he clenches his fist over the ring, it remains closed throughout the following days.

T.K. drops by the station, asking Leland for a favor: her long-time best friend and maid of honor-to-be, Stephanie Briggs, has been arrested for speeding. Since it's her third speeding offense, she has had to spend the night in jail, and her car was also impounded. Leland is a little piqued, but promises to do what he can. Stephanie is released a short time later, and Leland takes the opportunity to retrieve his tuxedo, that Stephanie had just picked up for him when she was pulled over.

Later that evening, Leland and T.K. go back to his house to spend the evening together, but when they enters, they find that someone has broken in and ransacked the place. The two spend the night at T.K.'s apartment instead, but Leland confides to Monk that T.K. was shaken by the incident.

At the crime lab, Monk is busy rearranging the mixed flower arrangement when Stottlemeyer calls him over to check out the victim's shoe. Monk is still holding the ring. He tells Disher to be at the bachelor party at 6:00 PM. sharp, and from the way the dead man's shoes wore down, he determines that their victim was tall and bowlegged. Monk finds a neatly cut thorn, and a piece of Styrofoam lodged in the treads. Monk notices the mixed flower arrangement's vase, and realizes that the Styrofoam is from a flower display and the victim was a florist.

Stottlemeyer tells them that TK is having second thoughts about the wedding because of the break-in. She has also made a rule that he can't bring the gun in the house.

While in the park, T.K. receives an ominous call on her cell phone from an electronically disguised voice tells her that he is the one who broke into Leland's house, and he promises to come back for more, maybe when they're home. Scared, she asks Stottlemeyer if he has to deal with this sort of thing all the time, and he promises her no. She thought that she knew what it meant to be a cop's wife, but finds herself having second thoughts.

On the night of Leland's bachelor party, at Monk's apartment, everyone is doing their best to appear like they're having a good time (which is flat-out impossible, when Monk was in charge of planning it, which means that there is a port-a-potty in the bathroom, pizza with literally nothing (not even cheese or sauce) on it, and enough beer that it is necessary to appoint Disher as "Designated Drunk"). Monk then tries out a joke about Stottlemeyer's previous failed relationships, but it doesn't go well. Monk then hands out the selected movie: Bachelor Party. Nobody is particularly happy at the choice. Midway through the movie, a drunken Disher comes staggering in and asks them if they know who owns the Ford Crown Victoria police unit out front, specifically, the one that is painted charcoal and has flames painted on its windshield. They race out and find that someone has firebombed Stottlemeyer's car.

The next day, Stottlemeyer and Disher go over the files and the captain explains that TK freaked out and they stayed at a hotel. There are no witnesses to the firebombing and no usable evidence. Stottlemeyer wonders why his stalker is playing cat-and-mouse games. Disher suggests the brother of a man they put away, but he's deceased. An officer gives them a report on the murder victim. The report notes that a florist clerk named Charlie Doyle has been missing since before the murder. Stottlemeyer tells Randy to check it out while he tries to save his coming marriage.

Monk, Natalie, and Disher go to a flower shop named Affinity, where the missing person worked. The owner, Joy, confirms that Charlie Doyle has been missing since the same time that the body turned up. When asked to see the man's records, Joy admits that she employed him "off the books," and didn't ask for anything from him in the way of identification or history. While they are talking, she shares her private belief that everyone has a flower that fits them perfectly. She picks one each for Natalie and Randy, then, after some difficulty, hits on the perfect kind for Monk to wear as a buttonhole: a plastic one from a pen. Disher asks for a photo of Charlie, but Joy says that he didn't like having photos taken. Monk finds Charlie's station and realizes that they can lift prints off the rubber gloves he used on the job.

At the wedding rehearsal, Leland is introduced to T.K.'s family and friends, while his own side of the aisle is much smaller, consisting mostly of police colleagues, along with Jared and Max, his two sons. Half-jokingly, Stottlemeyer repeats his own wish for a simple ceremony with just the two of them on the beach. T.K. smiles and says she is indulging her parents' dream. During the wedding preparations, Disher tells Monk and Natalie that the FBI has identified the dead man as Martin Kettering, a former "10 Most Wanted" criminal and a fugitive for the last twelve years. He was a member of an ecoterrorist group called the Earth Avengers, responsible twelve years ago for some condominium bombings in Denver, Colorado that killed three people. The three other members of the group are still at large.

There is a brief delay when Monk has to be talked out of walking down the aisle with T.K.'s father instead of Stephanie ("We're the exact same height! How often does that happen?"). Also, Leland is trying to think of a tactful way to veto Randy's notion of playing the wedding march with steel drums. But just as they reach the pulpit, a bomb explodes near the refreshment stand. No one is hurt, but T.K. runs out of the church in terror. Leland calls for her to come back, but she is gone.

At her apartment, Stephanie and Natalie console T.K., who has called off the wedding. She feels that she simply can't face the risk of being a police captain's wife. She confides that Leland has even offered to quit the force to be with her, but she refused. She knows too well that being a cop is in his blood, and he'd resent her for the rest of their lives if she made him give up his badge. Stephanie says she feels T.K. made the right decision, but Natalie rises to the occasion: she tells T.K. how she lost Mitch in 1998, but says, even knowing that, she wouldn't have given up the eight years they were married - or even eight minutes. All life is a risk, but it's worth it if you really love someone.

At the station, Monk is trying to comfort a broken Leland, who is swearing to hunt down the stalker that has ruined his life. Monk refuses to give up, or release the ring from his hand. He tells Leland that he won't lose T.K. - they belong together; she is "his answer." Stottlemeyer realizes that Monk is right, and asks him where he heard those words. Monk says, from Trudy - "my Trudy," he clarifies.

Stephanie drops by, offering what words of comfort she can, and uncomfortably admitting that she's canceling all the arrangements she made for the wedding, which includes taking back the garment bag with Leland's tuxedo, hanging in his office. But as soon as she leaves, Monk puts together some interesting details he remembers: Stottlemeyer's flower bouquet is from Affinity, which would be nothing apart from the fact that Martin Kettering happened to work there. Monk asks, and Stottlemeyer confirms, that Stephanie was pulled over and arrested for speeding on the same night Kettering was killed. When he asks where, Stottlemeyer blatantly realizes that she was pulled over while driving away from the crime scene.

Monk and Stottlemeyer rush outside to catch Stephanie as she is leaving and they confront her about her life before meeting T.K, accusing her of killing Kettering. Stephanie pretends confusion, but then draws a pistol from inside the garment bag and jams it against Monk's ribs. She orders Stottlemeyer to toss his gun into a nearby trash can, then hands the bag to him and marches the two men towards her car at gunpoint.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Stephanie is one of the three fugitives of the Earth Avengers to still be at large. After escaping the F.B.I. twelve years ago, she changed her name and made a success of her new life. Her secret remained safe until she encountered Martin Kettering in the flower shop. Since he had a go-nowhere job, he tried to blackmail her. It didn't work, and Stephanie didn't want to be discovered. Under some pretense, Stephanie lured Kettering up to a meeting point in the park. She paid him some money, but as soon as the money was in his hands, she pulled her pistol and killed him. She then took back the money, doused Kettering's body in alcohol and burned him to render him unrecognizable.

But as Stephanie was fleeing the crime scene, she got pulled over for speeding. Stephanie hadn't had a chance to ditch the gun, which was still in plain sight. Just before the cop who pulled her over stepped up to the driver's window, she stashed the gun inside the tuxedo bag. Unfortunately, it turns out that this was also Stephanie's third speeding offense, so she was arrested, the car was impounded, and Leland took the bag up to his office. Stephanie, after being released, became desperate. She knew that if Leland opened the bag, he'd find the gun, and she would have had to explain how it got there. She ransacked Leland's house, firebombed his car, and made the threatening phone call, all in an attempt to get T.K. to call off the wedding so that Leland would never open the bag.

Just as they reach her car, T.K. comes running up, telling Leland that she does love him and doesn't care about the risk. Then, Stephanie reveals the gun and orders T.K. not to move. Stottlemeyer tells her not to worry - the gun isn't loaded. Stephanie responds, "Oh, it's not?" and fires a live round into the air. She fails to notice the pistol lock empty, and Stottlemeyer proudly holds up the gun's magazine, which fell out into the bag. Stottlemeyer smugly informs Stephanie that she's been conned into firing the one bullet that remains in the chamber. Now unarmed, she is quickly taken into custody.

In the end, Stottlemeyer has his way: a simple ceremony on the beach, with just him and T.K., Monk as best man, Natalie as maid of honor, T.K.'s parents and Jared and Max as witnesses, and Randy providing soft musical accompaniment on his guitar. The two exchange rings (by this time, Monk's hand has cramped shut, and his fingers have to be pried open). But before the priest prounounces them man and wife, T.K. calls a halt, removes Leland's badge from his wallet, and proudly pins it on his breast pocket. The two kiss passionately, and lead the procession off the beach, Randy playing softly as they go.

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • The Minister is played by Michael Shalhoub, Tony Shalhoub's brother, who has also appeared in "Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny" and "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head."
  • The actors playing Jared and Max are uncredited.
  • It's revealed in this episode (specifically during Monk's failed attempt at a joke referring to Stottlemeyer's bad luck with women) that Karen Stottlemeyer was not Leland's first wife, as he had married before her, but he and the first wife decided to have an anullment.
  • The bathroom in Monk's apartment during the bachelor party is a reference to an article in the satirical journal The Onion about a Starbucks inside a Starbucks.
  • When Stephanie fires her sub-compact 9mm in the air and the slide locks back shows its a prop gun. Any gun needs an EMPTY magazine for the slide to lock back. If it was a proper weapon the slide wouldn't have slid forward.[1]

ReferencesEdit


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