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Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather

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Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather is the fifth episode of the third season of Monk.

SynopsisEdit

Monk infiltrates an organized crime family as he tries to get to the bottom of an apparent mob hit.

PlotEdit

In a San Francisco barber shop, the barber and his customer are chatting amiably about baseball. Behind them, a mobster walks through and into the back room carrying a suitcase, without a blink from the others. In the back room, he empties the suitcase, which is full of cash, and two other guys start to count the cash.

Outside, in the shop, a man sitting in another chair gets up, walks overto  the gumball machine, and tries to yank the machine out. There is a sudden clattering sound and the customer looks over and tries to figure out what the newcomer is doing. Suddenly, there is gunfire. The guys in the back try to draw their guns to defend themselves as they are shot dead in a hail of automatic fire.

Elsewhere, Sharona is haggling with her auto mechanic about the price of the latest repairs to her car. When Monk offers to take a look at the damage himself, Sharona throws up her hands and agrees to pay.

As they leave the mechanic's shop, a limousine pulls up, and two large men get out: "Fat Tony" Lucarelli, and his associate, Vince. Fat Tony summons Monk for a meeting with his uncle, mafia don Salvatore Lucarelli. Monk is too afraid to say no, while Sharona unexpectedly finds herself flirting with Tony. Salvatore wants to hire Monk to find out who killed the five men at the barber shop, one of whom was a distant relative. He offers to triple Monk's usual fee, but Monk refuses.

Outside, Sharona says that they can't afford to turn down work, but then they are hastily gathered up by an F.B.I. van, and brought to a meeting with Agent-In-Charge Colmes.

Colmes sees Salvatore's offer as a golden opportunity for Monk to go undercover, and wants Monk to accept the job because they haven't been able to get close to the Lucarelli family yet. Monk says that he can't do that: if he finds out who the killer, or killers, were, Salvatore will have them murdered. Colmes makes Monk an offer: if Monk agrees to spy on the Lucarellis, Colmes will pull some strings with the Commissioner, and get Monk reinstated to the police force. Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher try to get Monk not to accept, but Monk can't refuse. Stottlemeyer's reluctance to let Monk go into the Lucarelli family mostly comes a result of the fact that the last agent who tried to infiltrate the family was killed, as well as knowing that Colmes usually sets people up so that even if they succeeded, he backs out of his deal.

Monk, Sharona, Stottlemeyer, and Disher go to the crime scene. Monk notes that no money was taken from the numbers game being run in the back - meaning it wasn't a robbery, but Stottlemeyer notes to Monk that the mobsters use bullets instead of emails to exchange messages. He also learns that according to ballistics reports, all five victims were killed with a single Ingram MAC-10. The gumball machine appears to have been ripped out so that the killers could escape out the back door to avoid being spotted by cops out front. Monk also spots an unfinished crossword puzzle on the table, and figures that someone else was in the barbershop.

Meanwhile, Sharona accepts a dinner date with Tony, who charms her with the story of how he lost his former fat (and his moniker), and confesses to her that, though he knows what his uncle does for a living, he's got nothing to do with the family business, and would like nothing better than to set up a little bookshop for himself.

The investigation turns up a witness, Phillip Bedard, an employee of the U.S. Mint. He tells Monk that although he didn't see the massacre happen, he did see three men go inside the Barber Shop before hearing gunshots fired. Bedard recounts a jacket one of the men was wearing and the symbol on the back, which Monk recognizes as belonging to a Chinese gang. Monk decides it's time to pay a visit to the gang's leader, Jimmy Lu.

After Monk talks to Jimmy Lu, he determines Jimmy and his gang had nothing to do with the massacre. Unfortunately, while Monk is attempting to rest in exhasperation that Lu is doing more than 100 pushups, a Molotov cocktail is hurled through the window and sets the hideout on fire. Colmes is furious with Monk's blunder, but Monk decides to revisit the crime scene.

Something has been bothering him since the beginning of the case, and he meets with Disher, Stottlemeyer, Sharona and Salvatore Lucarelli at the barbershop. He resurveys the scene, and then spots something in the crime scene photos that only Monk would ever see: the gumball machine is missing.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Monk and Sharona go to Phil Bedard, the witness. They note that he has claimed that he was never inside the barber shop and just saw the gang members go in. But Monk has noticed that Bedard is an accomplished crossword solver, and found a finished puzzle on the table in the barber shop. And, there is a photo of Bedard from the day before the massacre of him blowing up a big bubble of gum made of at least five gumballs, a photo taken right in front of the barbershop.

The day before the shooting, Bedard stole five double-headed pennies from the Mint – rare coins, worth about $200,000 each. When he noticed that he was being followed by Mint security (they are known to follow employees from time to time), he panicked. He ducked into the barber shop, and hid them in the coin slot of the gumball machine, figuring that he'd come back to get them when he was safe.

The next day, when he went to retrieve the pennies, he found that he couldn't get them out easily, so he tried to take the whole machine, ripping the chain out of the wall - and that's when all hell broke loose. He had no idea that the barber shop was a front for the mob, but found out when the customer in the chair pulled out a submachine gun. By a lucky chance, Bedard came out on top, managing to seize the gun, and he killed everyone in the shop. After everyone was dead, he took the machine and ran. Then he claimed to witness the attack so he could steer everyone towards Jimmy Lu and his gang.

Bedard admits it, but refuses to turn himself in, saying that no jury will convict him over the slaying of five wise guys. Since Monk is wired, he returns to Colmes, who informs him that the bug wasn't functioning. Monk and Sharona are stymied, but then Bedard runs to the F.B.I., begging to be arrested. He gives a fearful glance over his shoulder, and the others see Tony and Vince, giving Sharona a friendly wave.

The F.B.I. packs up its command post, being transferred to Denver, Colorado. As they are leaving, Randy reluctantly plays a conversation from a bug in Salvatore's limousine for Sharona: Tony and Sal, sharing a good laugh about the lies he has fed Sharona, along with the truth that Tony is one of Sal's most feared enforcers. Sharona is disappointed, but hardly surprised, and thanks Randy.

Stottlemeyer reminds Colmes that he and Monk had a deal. Colmes says the deal is off, since their sting didn't turn up any evidence against Lucarelli and rather they nailed a trigger-happy coin collector. The fact that Monk solved the case and found the killer, and risked his life for the F.B.I., means nothing to him. Stottlemeyer is tempted to punch the agent out, but Monk accepts his disappointment, plus he gave his revenge to him his own way: Packing one FBI surveillance van full with boxes, yet keeping the other half-full.

Background Information and NotesEdit

EpilogueEdit

  • Salvatore Lucarelli is a recurring character in the novels.
    • He reappears in a subplot of the Lee Goldberg novel Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop. By this time, he has been arrested for his various criminal activities, and is awaiting trial. However, the first judge that is to preside over his trial, Clarence Stanton, is shot to death, and Lucarelli becomes the primary suspect due to the gangland style M.O. By the time of this shooting, Monk has just been laid off by the SFPD due to budget problems. He is able to find several clues before being ejected from the crime scene that suggest that the killer is a woman. Monk and Natalie Teeger are shortly thereafter hired by the private investigations firm Intertect. They follow the Stanton case by reading the media. All of a sudden, Alan Carnegie, the judge who is the alternate to Judge Stanton in Lucarelli's trial, is shot to death in a similar fashion. Lucarelli is looking guiltier than ever, and ironically, Monk and Natalie are assigned to him. They interview him about his involvement at the jail, and then proceed to the other crime scene. Monk examines the second crime scene, and sees clues that the same killer, a woman, was involved. Since few Mafia chiefs employ female assassins, Monk begins to suspect his client may be innocent. A few questions to Rhonda Carnegie, Alan's widow, and Monk is able to peg her as the killer. As unhappy as he is with Monk's presence, Stottlemeyer has too much faith in his judgment, and arrests her for the murders.
    • Lucarelli shows up again in Mr. Monk Is a Mess, when Monk and Natalie are (wrongly) accused of stealing $500,000 in marked money from an FBI evidence room, money recovered from a sting operation against Lucarelli. Lucarelli is once again in jail facing trial for other crimes.
    • The novel Mr. Monk Is Open For Business features Salvatore Lucarelli and also features Fat Tony, as well as Albert's Barbershop, the barbershop where the massacre in this episode takes place. Here, Monk and Natalie are hired by criminal lawyer Daniela Grace to investigate the case of Henry Pickler, caught by police in the midst of disposing of the dead body of a drug dealer named Esteban Rivera. Rivera was shot in the head with a 9mm pistol, and his body was dumped next to Pickler's property to send a message to drug cartel leader Carlos Menendez, whose house is next door. It is discovered that the Menendez cartel is in a feud with Lucarelli's operations, and the dead man Rivera was last seen being plucked off a street corner in North Beach, Lucarelli's turf. Monk and Natalie are led to the barbershop and quickly determine that Fat Tony carried out the hit because he has a holster for a 9mm pistol, yet he's using it to carry a revolver and has some discomfort getting used to the new weapon, indicating that he's dumped the original pistol that fit in said holster. It is discovered that Pickler took the rap for Rivera's death and tried to get rid of the body because he'd killed his own wife eight months earlier and buried her on that lot, so as not to draw attention to himself. Fat Tony gets arrested when Pickler gets arrested for his wife's murder, then decides to turn state's evidence.

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