|Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale|
July 26, 2002
Jennifer Pisana as Sue Ellen
|Monk Season 1|
When a local judge is found murdered, all the evidence points to one man: an 800 lb reclusive tycoon named Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck. How can a man who hasn't left his bed in eleven years be responsible for the murder?
The opening scene shows a large silhouette against a window with a baseball bat held over his head. The police get a 911 call from the house where a judge named Catherine Lavinio screams that a man is in her house. There are screams and then nothing more. The judge is found bludgeoned to death in her bedroom the next day.
Monk is called in. At first he can't understand why, since the case seems straightforward: the intruder broke into the house while the judge was in her kitchen, chased her upstairs and beat her to death, then came downstairs to disconnect the smoke alarm when what she was cooking started to burn. The baseball bat was left behind, and bears the initials "D.B."; a passing neighborhood girl saw the intruder through the window when he disconnected the alarm; and the judge even identified her attacker by name: Dale J. Biederbeck III, a very rich and very vengeful financier.
The mystery: Biederbeck, also known as "Dale the Whale," weighs upwards of 800 pounds, so monstrously fat that he cannot rise from his bed, or even fit through the doorway of his bedroom, which he has not left in 11 years. This is confirmed when the police and Monk go to interview Biederbeck and his personal physician, Dr. Christiaan Vezza. Dr. Vezza explains that when Biederbeck first bought the apartment he lives in, he weighed 400 pounds and could still see his toes on a good day. When his mother died, Dale began binge-eating, topping out at 800 pounds 11 years ago.
Biederbeck cheerfully admits to hating Judge Lavinio, who issued an antitrust ruling against him that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. He also taunts Monk, whom he has met before, over Trudy's cryptic last words. Monk is convinced that Biederbeck is the killer, despite all the evidence. Dr. Vezza also takes an interest in Sharona.
Monk suspects that Biederbeck may be faking his immobility. Since a criminal judge refuses to issue a search warrant, Stottlemeyer has the idea of sending Sharona undercover as Biederbeck's nurse, although Monk strictly forbides her to do so. However, Biederbeck sees through her and delights in goading her with some details from her life in Miami, and also the full details of his feud with Monk: a few years ago, Trudy wrote an unflattering article about him, so he sued her and Adrian in a costly libel suit. Ultimately he lost, but succeeded in bankrupting the Monks with legal costs, forcing them to sell their first home. For his finale, Dale gleefully lifts the front of his pajamas, showing Sharona that his obesity is not faked (and sending her hurtling from the room in paroxyms of nausea). The next day, while hurling, she angrily states that she quit her job, and Monk, deducing the reason why she was hurling most of the morning, reminded her that he told her not to go to Biederbeck's apartment. She then explains that yes, he is indeed as obese as he appears. However, she recovers enough to remember one thing she saw in Biederbeck's apartment: videotapes of the judge, mostly news footage.
Over an emergency session with Dr. Kroger, Monk confides that he hates Biederbeck, who tormented Trudy over a whole year, what would turn out to be one of the last years of her life. He is worried that it is corrupting his judgment.
But then, noticing Dr. Kroger eating leftovers, Monk realizes that several aspects of the crime scene were staged: the judge ate out on the night she was killed, and brought her leftovers home, so she wouldn't have been cooking, which meant that the killer must have cooked the meal with the intention of setting off the smoke alarm. Monk and Sharona then ask the only witness to the crime, a neighborhood girl named Sue Ellen. The neighborhood girl eventually explains that she saw a "very fat man" standing on a chair to disconnect the smoke alarm while walking her dog, although not before getting Monk to drink three glasses of lemonade just to get her to answer each question. When Monk and Sharona visit Dr. Vezza's clinic, and he mentions that he's just celebrated his 37th birthday, Monk solves the case.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Monk, Stottlemeyer, Sharona, and Disher confront Biederbeck and Vezza. Monk reveals that Vezza killed the judge on Biederbeck's orders. After entering the house, he committed the murder first, then staged the crime scene: he faked the 911 call (he's a great impressionist, and practiced the voice using the videotapes of the judge), and set off the smoke alarm so he could be seen through the window, wearing a fat suit. The idea was to leave behind clues pointing to Biederbeck, the one person who couldn't possibly have done it.
He made two mistakes: first, the chair he stood on to disconnect the alarm would have broken under the weight of a man as heavy as he appeared; second, he claims to have been named after Christiaan Barnard, a famous heart surgeon, who wasn't famous until 1967, two years after Vezza was born.
It is revealed that "Vezza" is in fact a defrocked surgeon named Glenn Sindell, who was facing 15 years in prison for manslaughter and reckless endangerment (he killed a child by operating on her while intoxicated). He jumped bail and eventually came to work for Biederbeck, who knew his secret and could make him do whatever he wanted.
Biederbeck laughs off the idea that he can be connected to the crime, but Vezza/Sindell gladly agrees to testify against his former boss. In rage, Biederbeck tries to sit up and strangle Monk, but can't lift himself high enough, with Monk inching closer and closer, as if to add insult to injury.
During a walk, Monk confides to Sharona the meaning of Trudy's last words to him.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- This episode is the first appearance of "Dale the Whale," who will become a recurring villain on the series, though he is played by different actors in later appearances.
- This episode is also the first of several based on the "He/she couldn't possibly have done it" premise. Later examples would include "Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus," "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect," "Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas," "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut," and "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend."
- Sharona uses Monk's special wipe to wipe her hand after Dale touched it.
Benjy Fleming: (on Monk) Can I bring him to school? Like, for show and tell?
Adrian Monk: (first time spoken in the series) I don't know how he did it. But he did it.
Dale Biederbeck: (lifting the front of his pajamas) Totally al fresco!
Sharona Fleming: In case you're wondering, yes, he really is that fat, okay? He's ORCA! He's horrific!
Dale Biederbeck: Listen, by the time my lawyers get through with you, you're not gonna know which end is up! There's not a prison in the country that can hold me!
Adrian Monk: There are very few shopping malls that can hold you. But, nonetheless, we're gonna give it a try.