Harvey Disher is on his quaint country farm, tending his prize show pig, Nadine, when his neighbor, Jimmy Belmont, approaches him and offers Harvey $10,000 in cash. Harvey refuses the money and threatens to turn Belmont in to the sheriff. Belmont appears to concede, promising to get rid of the unknown crop he is growing down in the gulch, and pleading with Harvey to give him one day to fix things, without having to call the sheriff. Harvey agrees.
That night, Belmont attends a square dance in town, when suddenly the lights flicker for a few seconds, causing the music to come to a dead stop. The lights then come back on, but Belmont gets everyone's attention by immediately telling Sheriff Margie Butterfield that he thinks he heard a gunshot. Butterfield, and her deputy, Lenny Hatcher, go out to take a look, and see something disturbing: Nadine, run over by a truck. Butterfield remarks that Harvey will be heartbroken, when Hatcher notices something even more disturbing: Harvey's truck has plowed into the electric fence at the far side of the road, and Harvey is sitting behind the wheel, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, apparently by his own hand.
A few weeks later, in San Francisco, Harvey's nephew Randy storms into a dark apartment in the dead of night, and rousts a suspected drug dealer out of bed. When the lights come up, however, Randy is embarrassed to find that the "suspect" is an innocent old man, and he has also terrified the guy's wife. Confused, Randy looks at the note where he wrote the suspect's apartment number, and realizes he read it upside down. In the meantime, the real dealer has heard the ruckus below and escaped the building.
Disgusted with himself, Randy turns in his badge. Captain Stottlemeyer encourages him not to quit: the disaster was contained, since the suspect in question was caught the next morning, and the elderly couple have agreed to settle their case out of court. Stottlemeyer reminds Randy that he's devoted ten years of good, hard work to his career, but Randy refuses to listen. He says that Harvey, his uncle, left Randy his farm in his will. Randy was planning to sell it, but instead, he's decided to leave San Francisco and "work the land," although Stottlemeyer is skeptical that this will work.
A few weeks later, Randy calls Adrian Monk. He says that he has some suspicions about his uncle's death, and asks Monk to come to the farm and look around. Monk couldn't be more reluctant, but Natalie pushes him to go.
Monk arrives at the farm on a Greyhound bus, and is promptly told off by a rude bus driver. Harvey's farmhand Oates is hammering some nails as he installs a new fence when he sees Monk standing on the road carrying two suitcase and having a staredown with a mad cow.
Randy is still asleep, even though it's midday, listening to a self-motivational CD, when Oates comes into his bedroom and informs him that Monk has arrived. Later, as Monk is watching Randy unload bales of hay off the truck, it's clear that Randy is incompetent as a farmer: he seems to have forgotten to feed the cows, and doesn't know about a tractor that's been broken for the past few days. Oates has a hard time believing as well that Harvey would kill himself.
Randy takes Monk out to the scene of Harvey's death. Harvey's truck is still there, as Randy has refused to let the police tow it away.
What seems to have happened, according to the police, was that Nadine wandered out of her pen, Harvey accidentally ran over her while driving home, lost control, ran into the electric fence, and was so distraught at what he had done that he shot himself, with a rifle mounted behind the driver's seat.
But Randy, for all his self-doubts, is still a detective at heart, and has noticed several holes in this story: for one thing, why did Harvey shoot himself with a rifle from the back gun rack when there was a pistol cached under the driver's seat that would have been easier to reach and use? And how did Nadine get out of her padlocked pen when she was locked up 24/7 and Harvey was the only person she let near her?
Sheriff Butterfield arrives while Monk and Randy are examining Harvey's truck to inform Randy that he will have to fix his fence soon because deer are milling all over the road, and in fact we see two just standing a short distance away. She says that she and Hatcher were on the scene only a few minutes after Jimmy Belmont said he heard the gunshot, at around 8:00 p.m. The ground was wet from the automatic sprinklers, and there were no footprints or tire tracks, meaning Harvey was completely alone when he was shot.
Monk is suspicious: could Belmont really have been able to hear the gunshot from more than a half mile away in a crowded and noisy dance hall? To test it out, Monk goes to the next dance (and gets whisked into the line by Sheriff Butterfield), while Randy is supposed to fire a rifle into the air from next to Harvey's truck, at a prearranged time - only he's forgotten to bring the ammo for the rifle. The test is a flop, but while at the dance hall, Monk asks attendees about whether they ever heard the gunshot, and finds two developments that seem to suggest that Belmont is the killer: for one thing, Belmont was the only person who heard the gunshot at the dance hall, and equally suspicious is the fact that Belmont never attended one of the town dances in ten years before the night Harvey was killed.
With Randy temporarily stuck in a self-loathing funk, Monk disguises himself as a Mexican farmhand looking for work, and gets hired on at Belmont's farm. He is quickly exposed by the fact that he can only speak Spanish at a high school level, but not before discovering that Belmont is secretly growing a field of marijuana behind his regular crops, or that there are four salt blocks missing from Belmont's supply shed. Monk confronts Belmont, saying that he's discovered a motive to silence Harvey Disher, but Belmont says he was absolutely elsewhere at the time Harvey died, and Monk can't prove anything.
That night, however, Monk sneaks back to the restricted area with the intention to photograph the marijuana plants. However, Belmont during this time is burning his secret field to get rid of the evidence. When a cloud of smoke drifts close to Monk, he panics, thinking he's inhaled reefer.
A short while later, Oates finds Monk chaining himself up to a piece of farm machinery, having a self-induced panic attack as he thinks he has inhaled some of the reefer fumes. But then the farm's automatic sprinklers come on, as they do every night at eight o'clock, and Monk solves the case.
He explains the solution to Oates, who is frankly amazed. Their obvious next move is to call the sheriff, but they both hesitate; Randy has been in such low spirits (and, as Oates frankly says, isn't cut out to be a farmer either), that maybe he should be given the chance to solve the case on his own.
Monk tiptoes into Randy's bedroom, and whispers the solution into his ear while he is sleeping, disguising himself as the motivational CD Randy listens to every night.
Here's What HappenedEdit
When Randy wakes up the next morning, he announces he's solved the case, and calls Sheriff Butterfield, Monk, and Belmont to the scene of the crime. When Butterfield scolds Randy for not maintaining the fence due to the deer constantly sneaking into the road, Randy explains that the deer is what helped him solve the case:
Belmont had lured Harvey up to the scene of the "accident," somehow. When Harvey was walking back to his truck, Belmont struck him from behind with a tire iron, put him in his pickup truck, and shot him point-blank in the head. But then he had to make Harvey's death look like a suicide. To give Harvey a "motive" for "suicide," Belmont either killed or drugged Nadine, and left her carcass on the road. Then Belmont propped Harvey's body behind the wheel, backed up the pickup truck, and wedged salt licks under the truck's rear driving wheels before he left. Then he left the keys in the ignition, turned the ignition on, and put the transmission in drive, so that the rear wheels would spin but the truck would not roll forward. When the sprinklers came on, the water dissolved the licks, causing the truck to roll forward and crash into the fence. When the lights flickered, Belmont would be half a mile away in front of witnesses.
Butterfield says that it would explain why deer have been milling over the road near the scene - they have been licking the salt. Belmont says that there is no proof, but then Randy has an epiphany of his own, and realizes that the truck has not been touched or moved since the murder. He uses Monk's pen to pull the keys out of the ignition, and breathing on it, reveals a fingerprint. He says that if the print turns out to be Belmont's, it will prove that he was the last person to operate the truck. Belmont is subsequently arrested.
Disher returns to San Francisco, and asks to withdraw his resignation. Smiling, Stottlemeyer says he never turned it in, and welcomes Randy back to the force. However, Stottlemeyer ends up confused and feeling awkward when Randy decides to literally sleep on the case to "find out how it was done." He probably will never know how Monk fed him the answer.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Brooke Adams, Tony Shalhoub's real-life wife, makes her third guest appearance on the series (of five in all), and plays her third character.
- Discontinuity: in "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever," Randy said all his uncles were already deceased.
- This is the second time Disher ended up quitting from the SFPD for reasons relating to his perceived inability to solve cases, having previously quit the force in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist". Likely, in this case, it's just that Randy feels embarrassed at the mistake he made in the opening drug bust.
Disher: Unless I'm wrong... which I probably am...
Adrian Monk: (seeing the farm) That's a lot of dirt...
Margie Butterfield: Loosen up! What are you afraid of?
Adrian Monk: Well... pretty long list.
Oates: I can't quite get a handle on you, son. One minute you're handcuffing yourself to a piece of farm machinery, sobbing like a schoolgirl, and the next, you're putting all the little pieces together like Sherlock Holmes. I mean, which is the real Adrian Monk?
Adrian Monk: Well, I like to think that a man is made up of many different...
Oates: I think it's the schoolgirl.
Adrian Monk: Yeah, you're probably right.
Raul: (talking to Monk) Usted se va a quedar en el barrancón, ahí guarda usted sus cosas. Luego arregla el techo. Luego se lleva la vaquilla allá, con el veterinario. Luego le ayuda a Miguel a limpiar la bodega. ¿Entendió?
Monk: (counting the chicken food) 96... 97...
Javier: ...usted anda como burro en primavera, mano. Todo, todo, jodido, vé.
Javier: Ni familia ni nada, hace como seis meses que no veo a mi vieja.
Javier: Ando como burro en primavera. ¿Me entiende? (scolding chicken) Para dentro, para dentro.
Monk: Si. Si.
Javier: Estamos jodidos aquí. Estamos bien jodidos.
Monk: Si. Si. Javier, Javier.
Monk: ¿Javier vio jamás, ahm, usted al señor Belmont luchar con...?
Javier: No te entiendo. No te entiendo.
Monk: No, no. ¿Señor Belmont lucho con señor DIsher? ¿Luchar o discutir?
Javier: No. Yo nunca vi nada de eso.