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Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy

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Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy is the eighth episode of the second season of Monk.

SynopsisEdit

When the publisher of the high-powered glamour Sapphire Magazine is strangled to death on his exercise weights under mysterious circumstances, all clues lead to the infamous swinging party palace, Sapphire Mansion, and the playboy behind the magazine. But while a weekend behind the gates of the legendary estate may be every man's fantasy, it is Adrian Monk's worst nightmare.

PlotEdit

Dexter Larsen is the publisher of the men's magazine Sapphire, and he has it all – money, luxury cars, the run of the notorious Sapphire Mansion, and scores of beautiful women competing for his attention. But it is all about to come to a screeching halt when one Saturday, Elliot D'Souza, the CFO for the magazine's publishing company, meets Dex for a private meeting. In Dex's office, D'Souza explains to him that the magazine has been operating at a loss for quite some time – thanks in no small part to Dex's extravagance – and he's pulling the plug. He does, however, agree to let Dex have a few days to think it over, at Dexter's suggestion. But Dexter doesn't want the plug pulled.

The next morning, D'Souza is working out in his private gym, alone, when Dex calls speakerphone, asking him once more if he'll change his mind. D'Souza refuses to change his mind. Dex then ends the call, although not before cryptically stating "It's your funeral." D'Souza tries to tell him that he doesn't need to be mellodramatic, but is cut mid-sentence when the barbell he is bench-pressing with crashes down on his neck, killing him.

D'Souza's secretary, Miss Luden, is certain that what happened to her boss was no accident, and calls Adrian Monk and Sharona Fleming in privately, telling him she suspects Dexter Larsen may have done it to keep D'Souza from shutting down Sapphire. Examining D'Souza's gym, Monk feels there is something wrong with the room, but he can't put his finger on what, although he notices some interesting details, such as the fact that the clock is about 40 minutes slow, and all of the pens and staplers are facing the same direction. Moreover, the room was locked from the inside, and D'Souza was alone when he was killed. He reluctantly looks at an expose on D'Souza on page 53 of an issue of Sapphire Magazine due to not wanting to see naked people in it (Miss Luden asks if he is religious when witnessing him hesitating and humming nervously, to which Sharona replies that "[Monk] is [religious] now")

Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher are satisfied with the official verdict that D'Souza's death was an accident, but when they learn that Monk suspects Dexter Larsen, they both leap at the chance to accompany Monk and Sharona to Sapphire Mansion.

The gang questions Dex at his house about the morning of D'Souza's death. Dex feigns innocence, but Monk catches him in a number of lies: he says he was in bed with his girlfriend, Sapphire girl Amber Post, all night and all morning, when he called D'Souza, apparently from his cell phone – but wouldn't he have just used the phone on the nightstand? Also, the earring Dex which claims Amber left in the bed that Saturday night is meant for pierced ears, and Amber's ears are not pierced. Finally, Monk questions the other guests and learns that Dex insisted that his celebrity pal Danny Bonaduce stay the night at the mansion to avoid driving home drunk on the night before D'Souza was killed, when Danny himself insists he was sober that night.

Looking in the garage, Monk notices the battery missing from one of Dex's Mercedes, and cigar ash in Bonaduce's car. Then Dex comes in and produces his ace in the hole: a set of nude photos of Sharona, taken back when she was a single mother struggling to make ends meet. Dex threatens to publish the photos if Monk doesn't agree to drop the case.

While Amber is interrogated at the police station, and refuses to change her story, Stottlemeyer and Disher turn to Monk for help. Insincerely, Monk admits he was wrong, and D'Souza's death was nothing more than an unfortunate accident. Wondering why Monk would drop a case he was so close to solving, Sharona pressures him for answers. Reluctantly, Monk tells her about the photos and Dex's threat to publish them. Sharona is mortified, and insists that they return to the mansion to try and get the photos back.

Monk and Sharona crash a large party, where Amber has been crowned Sapphire's Girl of the Year. As they wander around separately, Monk meets Noelle Winter, one of Dex's Sapphire Girls from the 1980's. Noelle has nothing but kind words for Dex, who recently purchased an apartment for her, and sent her on a promotional tour of Europe. Noticing his wedding ring, she asks Monk politely about his wife – and before long, an entire throng of partygoers are listening, teary-eyed, to Monk reminiscing about Trudy (some even decide to leave the party and go home early).

Separately, Sharona is surprised to see Amber Post, the woman of the hour, off by herself, crying softly. The two women bond when Amber shows pictures of her four-year-old daughter, and worries that she'll be ashamed of her mother when she grows up. Sharona says that she's also done some things she's not proud of, but the important thing is dealing with the present.

Sharona then finds an entrance to a basement workshop – a memento of Dex's previous career as an electronics inventor – she finds Dex working on a project, who knows why she's there. Sharona demands the photos, but Dex smugly refuses to turn them over to her. Sharona storms back to Monk and tells him to "nail the creep."

At home, Sharona takes Benjy aside and, without giving him details, says she's done something embarrassing which may come to light, and it may be painful for him. Benjy assures her that he can handle it, and not to let a "bad guy" off the hook because of him.

With Sharona's blessing, Monk re-enters Elliot D'Souza's gym, trying again to figure out what is wrong with the crime scene. Then he hears strums of someone playing the "Fur Elise" on a piano coming from below. Monk and Sharona check and find that the apartment in question belongs to Noelle Winters. Monk learns that Dex had found the apartment for her, but he apparently never told Noelle that she was right under D'Souza's penthouse, and also that Dex had sent her away almost immediately after she moved in. Looking around, he sees the imprint of a ladder in the carpet, and solves the case.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Dex is exasperated to find the police waiting for him when he comes home. Stottlemeyer, Monk and Sharona are in his dining room, and they produce a search warrant authorizing them to look for proof that he killed D'Souza. He is more exasperated to find one of his Carvasia statuettes sitting on the table. Dex tries to pick it up, but it won't budge, as if it is glued to the table. Monk offers to try out, and he lifts the statuette easily. They then push a chair aside to reveal Randy underneath the table, holding a giant electromagnet. Stottlemeyer notes that the magnet was in Dex's toolshop, covered in his fingerprints. Monk reveals that he never knew that some magnets are powerful enough to lift a car, and the magnet they found is the weapon that killed D'Souza:

Dex's background as an electronics designer meant building a strong electromagnet was easy. The magnet he built required a car battery, which he took from his own Mercedes. As he couldn't risk being seen in one of his own cars, he took Bonaduce's keys and borrowed his car for the murder. As he had found Noelle Winters' apartment for her, he had copies of all her keys. Dex had sent Noelle to Europe, so he knew the apartment wasn't occupied when he broke in. He knew about D'Souza's workout routine, and he set up a ladder, holding the magnet to the ceiling of Noelle's apartment. Dex then called D'Souza to make sure he was in position, then activated the magnet, pulling the barbell down on D'Souza's neck. This also explains why the clock was 40 minutes slow and why all of the staplers and metal objects were facing towards the center of the room.

Dex scoffs, saying it doesn't prove anything, since he has an alibi. Then his alibi witness, Amber, enters. With Sharona's encouragement, she has decided to tell the truth: that Dex offered to make her Girl of the Year if she would lie and say he was with her, at the time he was really at Noelle's apartment, killing D'Souza. Feeling proud of herself, she tosses down her prizes, saying she doesn't need them.

Dex is arrested. In his office, Randy finds the photos and negatives of Sharona, and, with her watching, burns them. But she asks Randy if he sneaked a peek first, and Randy, without answering her question, walks away.

TriviaEdit

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