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Mr. Monk Takes A Punch is the fourth episode of the seventh season of Monk.


Late one night, a mysterious individual breaks into a boxing gym. He walks over to a punching bag. Holding the flashlight in his mouth, he takes out a pair of scissors and uses them to cut a vertical incision along one of the seams in the bag. He then removes some stuffing, plants a miniature bomb inside the bag, then replaces the stuffing and sews the bag up.

Early the next morning, professional boxer Ray Regis and his trainer Louie Flynn arrive at the gym for their routine morning workout. As they enter, they discuss the heavyweight championship that they're competing for on August 25th, in which Ray will fight against current heavyweight champion Carlos Hiraldo, whom he lost the title to five years ago. Although Ray lost that previous championship, he's eager to get another shot at reclaiming the title. They are interrupted when Eddie, a washed-up and drunken old boxer, stumbles out of the locker room, having obviously been sleeping there all night. Regis gives him some money, and Eddie gives Regis some words of advice. He takes a demonstrative swing at the heavy bag to show Ray how he should do it, accidentally triggering the bomb and killing himself.

Later that morning, Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger are called to Captain Stottlemeyer's office. As they enter, they notice a series of photos on Stottlemeyer's wall, which he says is stolen art they are looking out for on the suspicion that someone is purchasing in the city limits. Stottlemeyer asks Monk about his current physical abilities, pointing out that he was on his high school track team. It turns out that a few weeks ago, a private consultant in San Diego working for their police force in a similar occupation to Monk's was chasing down a suspect when he had a heart attack. The consultant and the city are suing each other, and just today, a statewide directive has been issued from the governor's office to all police forces, stating that effective a week from now, all civilian crime scene field consultants must pass a mandatory physical fitness test or be disqualified from further work. The test requires the candidate to run a half mile in four minutes, run up and down ten flights of stairs, do twenty pull-ups, and scale a six foot high wall.

Monk tries some practice runs at a local track, and the experience is so debilitating that he seriously considers giving up detective work rather than trying what seems to him impossible. While Monk is groaning in pain, Natalie gets a call about the attempt on Ray Regis's life.

At the gym, Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher are interviewing Regis and Louie, who have survived the blast unhurt, though clearly shaken. They note that the detonator is a sophisticated motion-sensitive switch used in car airbags. There is no doubt that Regis was the bomber's intended target - his schedule is very well known and he is always the first one to show up at the gym every morning, so the bomber was acting under the reasonable assumption that he'd be the first to take a swing at the bomb bag. Asked as to if he has any enemies, Regis admits he has none as of late, though he remembers how everyone disliked him after he lost the title fight five years ago. It is possible that some people are still upset about that loss, since Regis was the odds-on favorite and a lot of people lost money betting on him.

A CSI tech approaches Stottlemeyer with the remains of the punching bag in an evidence baggie, and notes that the bomber was practically a ghost, wearing gloves and slippers to cover his tracks. But Stottlemeyer looks at the bag and notices that one of the threads is twisted. This means the bomber licked it while he was stitching the bag up, meaning that it is covered in DNA.

Monk doesn't believe that he'll be able to ace the physical fitness test and prepares to go on welfare. But Dr. Bell tells Monk that he's not a quitter, by nature.

Later, Monk, Stottlemeyer and Disher are interviewing Louie in his office. Louie pours some coffee for Stottlemeyer. When Stottlemeyer notices the words "World's Greatest Dad" written on the side of his mug, Louie admits that he didn't do a very good job and his daughter died five years ago from surgery complications. Randy proceeds to show Louie a police mugshot, but Louie doesn't recognize the man on the picture. Stottlemeyer explains that the DNA found on the thread is that of a professional hitman named Charles Bach, better known as "the Iceman", whom the FBI suspects has killed 14 people. This means that someone with a lot of money has put a contract out on Regis's life. Louie insists there's no one who hates Ray that much, and he also confirms that he doesn't owe any money to the Marino crime family who often use the Iceman. Stottlemeyer suggests to Louie that he and Regis reconsider their statement about not having any enemies, because the Iceman is a professional killing machine, and they are certain he is going to try again during the title fight. Louie refuses to let Regis back out of the rematch, even though Stottlemeyer warns that his officers cannot protect Regis while he's in the ring. But while in the main gym, Monk notices some photos from the previous title fight and makes a deduction about a possible motive.

Monk confronts Regis in private at a recording studio, where he is dubbing some lines for a deodorant commercial. Monk manages to ask for a few moments alone with Ray, despite the manager telling him that the commercial has to be on the air by September 1st. As Monk prepares to talk to Ray, they are interrupted by a loud racket from the studio, as the sound engineer runs some blooper reel footage from a busted take of the commercial. In it, the owner of the mansion where the spot was filmed returns from abroad and goes berserk at finding cameras in his home, screaming at them to shut off and also threatening them.

Monk reveals that he knows Regis threw the fight five years ago. To prove it, he produces some photos of Louie from the fight, specifically pointing out the crucifix he wears around his neck. It turns out Louie has a compulsive habit of tucking his crucifix under his shirt collar whenever he's lying. Monk then produces a printout from a Swiss medical journal, revealing that after the title fight, Louie's daughter, suffering from a rare illness, was flown to Geneva for some experimental surgical operations in Switzerland, but they did not work to save her. Monk's deduction that Regis bet against himself, then threw the fight to raise money to save Louie's daughter stems from the fact that the operations cost over $2 million, and Regis's share of the prize money for the fight wouldn't cover it. He says that if he figured this out, so might other people, including the mob, who must have lost a lot of money betting on Regis, and who might have decided to return to collect. Regis is crestfallen, believing that now that his secret is out, he will be disqualified from boxing ever again. But Monk says that he believes Regis did a noble thing, and he promises to keep their secret safe, on one condition.

In an unknown location, the Iceman is on the phone with his employer, who is incensed that Regis isn't yet dead. The Iceman reassures his employer that Regis won't finish the fight, and asks his employer to have his payment ready.

The next morning, Regis shows up at Monk's door at the crack of dawn, grateful enough to Monk that he insists on training Monk to pass his fitness exam. Regis fights one of the toughest uphill battles in history, working not only against Monk’s lack of fitness, but also his obsessive habits. Gradually, however, Monk improves.

Meanwhile, Stottlemeyer and Disher question Frankie Marino, a local mob boss and the Iceman's former employer. He asks them if they are wearing wires. After Randy unconsciously proves that he isn't by dropping his pants and unbuttoning his shirt, they get down to business. Frankie tell them that the Iceman has recently gone freelance, though Stottlemeyer notes that Frankie has been known to hold a grudge. He also says they don’t have a reason to kill Regis. At the last moment, they managed to change some of their bets, and actually turned a tidy profit on his loss. However, Frankie has heard that someone was shopping around for a contract on Regis’s life, insisting that he had to be dead by the end of the month. This makes no sense, when the big fight is scheduled five days before the end of the month. Stottlemeyer and Disher are stumped.

The day of the fight, the Iceman gets into the Bay Arena by posing as a McSherry's Catering delivery services guy, using a food cart to sneak in a case containing a rifle. That night, Stottlemeyer has police on high alert, patrolling the crowded stadium, and insists on having one of his officers stick to Regis as his corner man. But Regis refuses to trust an officer he doesn’t recognize, and asks for Monk. Again, Monk is out of his depth hanging out near a boxing ring.

As the fight begins, the Iceman heads upstairs, ties up the spectators in one of the first class booths, takes his rifle out of its casing, assembles it, then prepares to aim at Regis. At one point in the fight, Monk runs into the ring to adjust Regis’s sock (so both are even), and in the confusion as the referees rush in to move him out of the way, a crowd of people spoils the Iceman’s shot.

As Regis gets through the third round, Monk reels from his sweat and asks Natalie to fetch a stick of deodorant. As she comes back at the start of round 4, he notices the rifle being aimed from the box, and also overhears a cocktail waitress mentioning that the people in the skyboxes didn't receive their food. He tells Natalie to call the Captain and make sure that they can't stop the fight, so the Iceman won't have a stationary target, and rushes up to the box alone.

Without realizing it, on his way up to the box, Monk performs the exercises required for the fitness test: running, dashing up a down escalator, and pulling himself over a balcony to reach the box, and then a divider.

In the ring, Regis decks Hiraldo with a left uppercut to the jaw and wins the title. As the Iceman prepares to pull the trigger, Monk falls on top of him and tackles him, causing his shot to deflect into the air. After a few seconds of struggling, the Iceman throws Monk off, and regains control of his rifle. But just as he's about to pull the trigger, Stottlemeyer and Disher burst in and shoot him.

Recovering, Monk is stunned to hear from Natalie that he made it up to the box in only 90 seconds; it seems Regis's training paid off. As the Iceman's body is wheeled away in a body bag, Stottlemeyer laments that while they saved the day, now they’ll never know who hired the Iceman. Then Monk looks at the stick of deodorant Natalie is still holding, and solves the case.

Here's What HappenedEdit

The Iceman was hired by Daniel MacGraw, the owner of the house where the deodorant commercial was being shot. MacGraw is a collector of stolen art, who vainly hung his stolen pictures all over his living room wall (Monk recognizes them from a bulletin board in Stottlemeyer’s office, and recognized them once he saw the commercial Regis was doing dubbing work for). His wife, who didn’t know the art was stolen, leased the house for the commercial shoot, and MacGraw became terrified that someone would recognize the art in the background. The commercial was due to air on the first of the next month, and MacGraw knew that if Regis died, it would be canceled. MacGraw is arrested, and as he's being led away, Stottlemeyer and Disher suggest that he should have kept all of his stolen materials in his basement.

While Regis is training for his next match, Monk and Natalie enter, still jazzed because Monk has aced the physical fitness test. Monk dares Regis to take a shot at him. They spar for a few seconds, and Regis (of course) decks him with one punch (although completely by accident, as he is requesting that Natalie assist him). Being a good winner, Regis lifts Monk to carry him out, Monk still mumbling that he's the beast.

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • Stottlemeyer makes reference to Monk’s history as a track-and-field runner in high school, first referenced in "Mr. Monk and the Marathon Man."
  • Monk says his purple jogging suit and headband were a birthday present from Kevin Dorfman, his annoying upstairs neighbor.


  • When Monk talks to the commercial producer at the dubbing studio, the producer walks over to Monk, saying, "He's a little busy now. This spot has to be on the air by September 1st." Notice that he's holding his glasses in his right hand, but when Monk flashes back to this moment as he's putting the pieces together, we see the producer, but he has his glasses on his face.


Ray Regis: Adrian Monk, the detective? He’s supposed to be the best.
Randy Disher: The best of the best. He’s kind of like a superhero.
Leland Stottlemeyer: He's good, but I wouldn't call him a superhero.
(Monk enters with Natalie, still wearing his purple jogging suit and headband, and stands with his fists on his hips)
Stottlemeyer: I guess I stand corrected.

Stottlemeyer: We're looking for Charles Bach.

Frankie Marino: Bach?
Disher: The Iceman? He's been on your payroll for ten years.
Frankie: Are you wearing a wire, Lieutenant?
(For answer, Randy unbuttons his shirt, then drops his pants around his ankles.)
Frankie: How about you?
Stottlemeyer: Nope.
Frankie: Okay, let's talk.
Disher: ...Why did I just get undressed?
Stottlemeyer: I don't know, Randy, everybody in the room is wondering the same thing.

Disher: You should have just kept it all in the basement.

Daniel MacGraw: It’s fine art, Lieutenant. It’s meant to be savored. I never imagined my bride would invite a TV crew into my house, while I was out of the country.
Stottlemeyer: So, you didn't tell her it was stolen.
Daniel MacGraw: In hindsight, maybe that's something I should have mentioned.