|Monk Season 4|
|Season 3||Season 5|
While Adrian Monk is waiting for his regular appointment with Dr. Kroger, he telephones Natalie, who is out running errands for him, one of which has been getting a brand new frame for a photo of Trudy. Stopping in a diner for a quick coffee, Natalie is stunned to see a blond woman who looks alarmingly like Trudy! The woman enters the diner and sits in a booth with an older man. Natalie eavesdrops as the man, Zach Ellinghouse, tells the woman he hadn't heard from her in years, and the woman explains that, while she was working on a news story, she was targeted by a dangerous extremist group, and was forced to fake her death to protect herself and her family. Her old partner, Zach's daughter Janice, recently died, and "Trudy" has had to come out of hiding to retrieve a key that belonged to her.
In session with Dr. Kroger, Monk is in high spirits: he tells Dr. Kroger that he's finally getting better; his OCD is under control, and he's finally letting go of the pain of Trudy's loss – he will always love her, and he still misses her, but her death is not the same open wound it's been for the last eight years. He's improved so much that the SFPD has given him favorable signs before his next reinstatement hearing. For Dr. Kroger, it is quite an emotional moment, for his patient to have finally put his life back together.
Monk is in such a good mood that Natalie can't find a way to break the news about what she saw. Instead, she decides to be absolutely sure. Tailing "Trudy" to another meeting with Zach Ellinghouse, Natalie snaps some pictures, but Trudy spots her and confronts her, taking her film and telling her that Adrian must not know that she’s still alive.
For the first time in a long time (perhaps ever), that Monk accepts Captain Stottlemeyer's invitation to his annual house barbecue. Leland is just as pleased with his friend's progress, and says he is now ready to back up Monk's reinstatement. In a rare moment, Stottlemeyer reveals some of his affection for his old partner, and says, "you're the man." Unfortunately, his eyes are on the grill, while Monk has ducked inside for more supplies, and a nearby Disher mistakenly thinks the tribute is meant for him. It isn't long before it goes to his head.
In his apartment, Zach Ellinghouse has another meeting with Trudy, where he tells her he has changed his mind: the key belonged to Janice, and he can't let anyone else have it. Desperate, Trudy makes a grab for the key, and as they struggle, Ellinghouse trips and falls over his desk, fatally stabbing himself on his memo spike. Realizing he is dead, Trudy flees the house.
When the police arrive at the crime scene, Monk comes along, and quickly notices some clues: the first is that the crime was probably not premeditated. He can't help but notice details that point to Trudy: the killer had small feet, wore Shalimar perfume, sweetened her coffee with a cinnamon stick, and a witness distinctly heard Ellinghouse saying, "What are you doing, Trudy?" Natalie is forced to confess what she saw. Reeling, Monk runs outside, and then, worst of all, sees Trudy lurking in the crowd of onlookers. He runs after her, shouting her name, but she climbs into a waiting car that drives away.
Stottlemeyer, Disher, and Natalie watch, helpless, as Monk sits at his desk, going through the old crime scene photos of Trudy's murder like a zombie. Dr. Kroger makes an emergency call to the apartment. He eases Adrian out of his stupor and asks him, rationally, whether he believes Trudy is still alive. Adrian says he can't be sure – "but if this is true, then nothing is true."
Desperate for answers, Monk goes to the cemetery. Somehow, his head clears, and he returns to Natalie, now sure that the woman they have been seeing can't be Trudy, because visiting her grave "still hurt".
Monk and Natalie talk to Trudy’s old boss, Sorenson, a newspaper editor. He shows them an article Trudy wrote with Janice Ellinghouse, a story about corruption in the local dockworkers’ union that relied heavily on an anonymous source. Looking at Janice’s things, Monk deduces that she was renting a locker at a nearby storage facility. Perhaps what “Trudy” is looking for is locked up there.
That evening, "Trudy" meets with her employer, a man named Jack Bollinger, in his dockside office. As they talk, she removes a blond wig from her head, revealing herself to be an actress. She says that things have gone too far, but Bollinger tells her she only needs to play her part for a little longer.
Monk and Natalie stake out the storage facility, and see "Trudy" and Bollinger drive up. Monk realizes what's been going on: Bollinger must have been the anonymous source that helped Trudy and Janice send the union's leaders to prison, allowing Bollinger to take over. After Janice Ellinghouse died, Bollinger feared that something identifying him as the snitch would be found among her effects. Zach was going to donate her papers to a university library, so Bollinger hired Cameron to impersonate Trudy, the one person Zach might entrust the key to.
Natalie calls Stottlemeyer, but Monk can’t wait. Overcome by the woman's resemblance to Trudy, he walks into the storage locker as she and Bollinger are searching it, as if in a trance. Bollinger can't find the incriminating evidence about his involvement in the rest of the group's imprisonment due to there not being any labels on it, so he decides gasoline on it with the intention of burning them. While she stares, baffled, he tells her that he still loves her, and doesn't care about what she's done. Panicking, Bollinger pulls a pistol on Monk.
As the fake Trudy pleads with Bollinger to stop, Stottlemeyer and Disher screech to a halt. Bollinger takes a shot at them, thinking they are union pals seeking revenge, and Stottlemeyer shoots back. Bollinger is struck in the chest, fatally, and as he falls, his pistol goes off, shooting the fake Trudy.
Monk holds the woman as she dies, and she promises to tell Trudy, when she sees her, how much her husband still loves her. Monk must endure the pain of watching a woman who looks like Trudy die in his arms.
A few days later, Natalie and Monk are taking a walk. Natalie is disappointed that the police commission turned him down for reinstatement yet again, but Monk says he can't honestly blame them, the whole incident with the fake Trudy having returned him to his "normal" state.
Natalie asks how he knew the woman she saw wasn't the real Trudy. Monk explains that, when he visited Trudy's grave, it "still hurt," so he knew she was really gone. In a way, he's relieved: Trudy may be gone, but her love for him remains unchanged.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- This was the first Season Four episode produced, though it was the sixth aired.
- The Trudy impersonator is played by Melora Hardin, who also plays the real Trudy.
- Monk says that last time he spilled something was during an earthquake in 90's, but in Mr. Monk Gets Married, he mentions throwing out his answering machine because he accidently spilled some coffee on it.