|Mr. Monk and the Miracle|
November 29, 2008
Tracey Walter as The Professor
|Monk Season 7|
|Season 6||Season 8|
PlotEditIn an alley, three homeless men, The Professor, Ike and Reggie are drinking, and singing their own derivation of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." They ask about their friend Willie T, who is supposed to be there with whiskey. Willie suddenly comes running in, panicking, saying that someone is trying to kill him. His friends don't believe him, but then Willie spots a car at the end of the alley, says that that is his pursuer, and runs off again. His friends jokingly tell him to run like the wind.
He never returns that night. The next morning, Willie's three friends go searching for him. They find his cart in a junkyard, and spotting a piece of clothing sticking out of a refrigerator box, they open the door and out tumbles the luckless Willie's dead body.
At Adrian Monk's apartment, Monk and Natalie are preparing for Christmas in their own way. Monk puts up a cardboard cut-out of a Christmas tree ("no muss, no fuss") while Natalie is cooking chicken soup to take to Captain Stottlemeyer, who has been laid down with crippling back pains for the last two weeks.
The three homeless men appear at Monk's apartment, wanting to hire him to find out who killed Willie. They went to the police, who didn't believe them. They have scraped together everything they have - $14 in recyclable bottles and cans - to pay him. Monk can barely contain his horror at having three homeless men in his apartment, but Natalie shares her chicken soup and insists that Monk take the job, in the spirit of the season.
At the junkyard, the homeless men explain their discovery to Monk (who refuses to get out of the car). The police believe that Willie's death was just an accident: he crawled inside the fridge for warmth, accidentally locked himself in, and suffocated. But Monk looks at the interior of the fridge through a pair of opera glasses, and sees only one handprint made by Willie - if he had died inside the fridge, he would have been clawing around. He wasn't panicking at all, as he was already dead.
Monk and Natalie go to the police station, where they are surprised to see Lieutenant Disher is on a roll filling in for Stottlemeyer. Though preoccupied, he accepts Monk's word and agrees to re-open the investigation into Willie's death. When Natalie says that the Captain hasn't been answering his home phone, Disher says that the Captain is there, insisting on working despite his bad back.
Stottlemeyer has been reduced to interviewing petitioners at the front desk. An elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Parisi, say that they want to withdraw a complaint they filed two weeks earlier for vandalism. Someone painted a picture of a fountain on their door. Mrs. Parisi mentions that she had a stubborn breathing problem, and remembered hearing on the news about the miracle fountain at the Franklin Park monastery, and when they went to this fountain, Mrs. Parisi took a drink from it, and within a few days, her stubborn breathing problem was cured - it was a miracle.
Stottlemeyer limps into Randy's office, and is dismayed to see that all the open homicide cases for the week have been closed, without his help. Since he's not needed, he decides to go home. Concerned, Natalie asks him if everything is all right, and Leland says, just peachy - except for the facts: that his back refuses to heal, he is broke and behind on his alimony, he hasn't had a date in two years, and his eldest son wouldn't pick up the phone when his father called him - "Merry Christmas," he concludes.
When Stottlemeyer goes home, he finds the same picture of the fountain on his door.
The next day, the captain goes to the monastery, and talks to a woman, Katie Doyle, who believes in the miraculous powers of the fountain. She says that she was nearly crippled in a car accident years before (having busted her hip), but one sip from the fountain, and she was healed. Stottlemeyer also questions one of the monks, Brother Andrew, who admits that the monastery is not charging admission, or making money in any other way off the fountain. In fact, the new sanctity of the site has canceled their plans to build a new set of classrooms in that spot.
Feeling that he has nothing to lose, Stottlemeyer cups a handful of water from the fountain, and drinks it.
At the recycling center, Monk is furious to be told that three of the bottles are Canadian and non-redeemable, and therefore the "bums" are short fifteen cents. Natalie, chuckling, says she has invited Monk's three clients to Christmas dinner - at Monk's apartment.
Stottlemeyer goes to his pharmacist, Owen McCloskey, to have his prescription refilled. He mentions the hype about the fountain, and Owen says that he's not a particularly religious man. When Stottlemeyer points out a crucifix hanging over his window, Owen says that belonged to his partner, who helped him open the pharmacy, about ten years ago. He went to church every week, until the day he embezzled $80,000 from Owen and vanished.
The next morning, Stottlemeyer wakes up in bed and reaches for his cane... only to realize that his back is completely healed. Later that day, he returns to the monastery, tosses his cane and his medicine bottles onto a growing pile of same beside the fountain, then enters the monastery.
At Monk's house, the three homeless men are sitting down to dinner with Monk, Natalie and Julie. The Professor says grace, thanking the Lord for what little they do have, including their new friends, and the food they are about to eat. They appear not to notice, or else care, that their chairs have been coated in plastic wrap, and Monk is fanning an air freshener towards them.
Conversation over dinner is awkward at first, until one of the men ask about the case. Monk says the medical examiner looked closer at Willie's corpse and determined that he was suffocated before he was put into the fridge, most likely with a plastic bag. The three men say that Monk's services are the best $14 they've ever spent, and Monk - ignoring Natalie's frantic shushing - decides to raise the issue of the three "bum" bottles. But, mid-complaint, Monk notices a clue on one of the Canadian bottles.
Back at the station, Natalie and Monk ask where the Captain is. Monk explains to Randy that one of the Canadian bottles was of the same chalk-based health drink that Stottlemeyer was trying for his bad back. The bottles came from Willie's cart, meaning that Willie was going through the captain's garbage on the night he was killed.
Randy - who is now sporting a mustache, which he says "goes with the territory" - tells them they are too late, the Captain has gone.
At the monastery, Monk and Natalie ask for Stottlemeyer, and are stunned to be told that he is now "Brother Leland," having joined the order. Monk, but not Natalie, is allowed to enter the precinct, where he finds Stottlemeyer in the library. Leland has taken a vow of silence, and Monk cannot speak up, as he is constantly "shushed" by another monk. The two men try to communicate with charades for a few seconds, then Stottlemeyer gives up and hands Monk an envelope, and sends him off.
At Natalie's house, Julie opens the envelope and finds the Captain's badge, and a letter explaining that the fountain has healed him, both physically and spiritually. He is resigining from the police and going away to a monastic retreat for two years.
Monk can't bear the thought of his friend being gone, but Natalie say they should be happy for him. In fact, Natalie reasons, what would Monk have to lose by taking a drink from it himself? She drags him out of the house.
Elsewhere, the pharmacist, Owen McCloskey finds Katie Doyle in his shop, packing a suitcase. She tells him she can't go on with the "scam" about the fountain anymore, because some genuinely sick people are coming to it now, who she knows won't be healed. McCloskey grabs hold of her, telling her she can't back out now, and then kisses her.
At the fountain, Natalie is trying to coax Monk into taking a drink from the fountain. He resists, then notices something odd: of all the medicine bottles in the pile of discards, more than half are from the same pharmacist - McCloskey. Monk realizes aloud that there must be some kind of fraud going on, and Katie, who is hovering nearby, seizes on his remark, telling him that McCloskey was her fiance, and confesses what is really going on.
Armed with the truth, Monk and Natalie disguise themselves as monks and slip into the chapel, where Stottlemeyer is chanting along with the choir. Sitting behind him, they are forced to harmonize the summation to hide it in the sounds of chanting.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Nine years ago, Owen McCloskey discovered his partner was embezzling money, killed him, and buried his body at the monastery where the fountain is now. Years went by without the body being found, but when McCloskey saw a newspaper article announcing that the monastery planned to dig up the fountain and build some new classrooms, McCloskey had to find a way to stop the builders from finding the body. He created the ultimate hoax: a miracle fountain.
The hoax was very simple, but brilliant: McCloskey tampered with his unsuspecting customers' prescriptions. Instead of giving them medications, he actually administered placebos that failed to relieve their conditions, or in some cases, made them much worse. After some time, he went to his marks' houses and hand-painted an image of the fountain on their front doors, sending them to the fountain. Katie was stationed at the fountain to tell McCloskey which customers had been to the fountain. Once a person visited the fountain, he would re-fill their prescriptions, this time with real medication, making it seem as though the fountain had cured them.
McCloskey's plan was never discovered until the night Willie T. was killed, when their two worlds collided. Willie was collecting bottles from Stottlemeyer's yard. He must have looked up, and he saw McCloskey painting the "DRINK" sign on the Captain's door. When McCloskey noticed Willie T., he immediately came at him with a gun and Willie took off running. McCloskey chased him down, killed the luckless Willie, and then stuffed his body into the refrigerator box, in order to keep the truth about the fountain a secret.
Disappointed, Stottlemeyer leaves the cloister with Monk and Natalie. "So much for miracles," he says. Monk remarks that the fountain hoax was a remarkable success; and as it was now considered sacred ground, no one would want to dig it up.
The Professor, Ike, and Reggie watch with satisfaction as McCloskey is arrested and led out of his shop, and the police was granted permission to dig up the fountain the next day. As a special thank-you to Monk, they present him with a jar of their "homemade" gravy. Monk recoils, but Natalie tactfully accepts on his behalf.
Stottlemeyer also watches the arrest with Disher. To Randy's surprise, the Captain says that, even though the fountain turned out to be a hoax, he still felt "something" happen when he drank the water, and he truly feels healed. As if to prove his point, his cell phone rings, and Stottlemeyer delightedly takes a call from Jared, and offers to pick him up at the airport so they can spend the weekend together. As he talks, he hands Randy a safety razor (an implied order to get rid of the mustache).
In the last scene, late at night, Monk goes alone to the monastery. He fills a glass from the fountain, but hesitates. It is unknown whether he ultimately drinks from it or not.
Old Woman: It was a miracle... Write that down!
Leland Stottlemeyer: Hmm.
Katie Doyle: It was a miracle!
Natalie Teeger: Do you guys want to sit down?
Bums: Yeah! Thanks.
Adrian Monk: No! That couch doesn't work, none of these chairs work. How 'bout we sit on some newspaper: Julie, go get some newspapers!
Adrian Monk: You wasted a trip.
Natalie Teeger: Why do you say that?
Adrian Monk: Because they make their own gravy.
Natalie Teeger: Who makes their own gravy?
Adrian Monk: Bums.
Natalie Teeger: Bums make their own gravy, what does that even mean?
Adrian Monk: You don't want to know.
Bum: Mmm, I love this gravy. Usually, we make our own.
Adrian Monk: Huh. Interesting. Did you hear that, Natalie? That's an interesting fact.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- This is the 4th Monk Christmas Special.
- Randy mentioned having a mustache before in "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake," and a picture of him with one was seen in "Mr. Monk Goes to a Wedding."
- Monk refers to the episode "Mr. Monk and the Leper," when speculating that Natalie might be going to hell for kissing a leper.
- At the foot of his cardboard tree, Monk places the unopened present that Trudy gave him before she died, which previously appeared in "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa" and "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa." This parcel plays a crucial role in the series finale, "Mr. Monk and the End."