|Monk Season 8|
|Season 7||THE END|
Monk finds his return to the police force to be more challenging than he expected when he becomes involved in the case of a serial killer.
Captain Stottlemeyer calls Adrian Monk to his office for some important news. Monk assumes the worst, and Stottlemeyer's choice of words for a preamble are badly chosen: the Department has decided to no longer employ Monk as a consultant... before he can finish, Monk storms out of his office in despair, and Natalie directs a few sharp words at Stottlemeyer and Disher, before following Monk. Stottlemeyer is forced to chase Monk down in the hallway and tell him the news is good: Monk has been reinstated to the police force! Stottlemeyer hands Monk his badge back, and says, "welcome back, Detective."
Monk is nervous and excited for his first day back. As Natalie sends Monk off to work, complete with a packed lunch and his sidearm, she reveals that she has an interview for a glamorous job with a concert promoter. As Monk and Natalie say goodbye, Monk laments that this could be the end of their partnership.
At police headquarters, Monk receives a warm welcome from his fellow officers. Stottlemeyer has even arranged for Monk to sit at the same desk he used years before.
At the morning roll call, Stottlemeyer welcomes Monk back, and gets down to tell his detectives that they have caught a break on the case of the "Pick Axe Killer", the new serial killer in the city. A woman who lived down the hall from victim #5 has provided a description of the killer and supplied details to a sketch artist.
Afterward, Stottlemeyer has Monk's old desk brought up from storage. Monk hangs up his photo of Trudy and settles in, but Stottlemeyer informs him that he promised the review board he would keep him on desk duty for a few days, and then move him over to another squad. He explains that it's protocol and he can't hold Monk's hands anymore. Monk agrees and Stottlemeyer has a patrol officer, Russell DiMarco, set up Monk's computer and hook him into the hotline. DiMarco is a big fan and asks for one of Monk's wipes as a souvenir. Monk is clearly uncomfortable with the computer.
Later, Monk spends his time stacking pencils and incessantly polishing his badge. A signal goes off and Monk is unable to figure out what it is. He finally manages to get the call and put his headset on. The caller says he knows who the Pickaxe Killer is. Monk tries to log the call on the computer and keeps putting the caller on hold. Monk is cut off when an excited DiMarco bursts in to inform him that the Pick Axe Killer has been arrested. Monk tries to put a good face on it but is clearly upset that the case was closed without his help.
That night, at City Hall, Stottlemeyer calls a press conference to announce that they arrested the Pick Axe Killer, a man better known as Richard Mathis, without incident at his house. Monk is at a bar with other cops and are watching the conference. Stottlemeyer introduces Mikhail Almonov, the window washer who is the "hero of the hour". Mikhail tells the press about what he saw - he claims he was on the Burkman Building doing a job when he saw a car going around the square below. He saw a pickaxe in the driver's car, and wrote down a license plate number that he gave to a traffic cop. He'll get a $500,000 reward and the cops discuss whether he'll retire. Monk insists he would retire and inform the other cops that he'll be riding with Detective Louis Doyle the next week. When one of his fellow officers asks about Natalie, Monk insists she's probably miserable.
A week later, Monk is further disappointed when he is removed from desk duty, and assigned to a homicide detail in another part of the city. His new boss, Sergeant Danny Weaver, is a good cop in his own way, but he's no Stottlemeyer; neither is his new partner, Detective Lewis Doyle. Hanging out in a bar with his squadmates, Monk feels more alone than ever.
Monk also finds that his new duties include not just homicide investigations, but also responding to more mundane emergency calls all over the city - one comes from a middle-aged lady, Mrs. Edith Capriani, who says that a man named Mr. Barton tried to kill her in her bed by smothering her. Mr. Barton is inside and Edith claims he's going berserk. Monk goes in the front while Doyle covers the back. Inside, Monk draws his gun and tries to break the door down. He finally realizes that it's unlocked and goes inside. The only thing inside is a cat, and Edith runs in to explain that Mr. Barton is a cat. As Monk goes to the window to call Doyle, he realizes that the Burkman Building, where Mikhail was washing windows when he spotted the Pick Axe Killer, is nearby.
Natalie is enjoying her exciting new job in the music business, and Monk gives her a call. Greetings are exchanged warmly, but their conversation is somewhat stilted, as they realize they don't have much to talk about.
Monk has suspicions about Mikhail's story, so he takes a break from his work with Doyle to investigate the location where Mikhail claimed to spot the Pick Axe Killer. Monk quickly establishes that it would have been impossible for Mikhail to see the killer from that vantage point, as the sun was in his eyes. Monk shares this information with Weaver when Weaver is out at the firing range, but it becomes clear that nobody wants to entertain any theories that might interfere with the successful closure of the highly publicized case. After all, the man they arrested confessed to all five murders, and they found remains of his victims in his attic.
That night, Russell DiMarco meets with Mikhail in a deserted parking garage. He gives DiMarco a duffel bag as they agreed, but then shoots DiMarco, takes the bag back, and runs away, leaving him for dead.
The police believe that DiMarco saw a crime being committed on his way home, tried to intervene, and was killed. But Monk notices a clue: a coupon clutched in DiMarco's hand, cut along the same rough outlines as a dollar bill. Monk theorizes that DiMarco was meeting someone to receive some kind of illegal payoff, and that someone tricked him with a wad of fake bills, and then killed him. Monk’s theory makes him a pariah, as cops are supposed to protect the reputations of their brethren. Weaver sternly instructs Monk not to even whisper his theory aloud until or unless he is 110% sure.
That night, Edith calls Monk and Doyle again. This time she says that Mr. Lawrence, who lives upstairs, has gone crazy. Monk thinks it's another cat, but he discovers that Mr. Lawrence is real when he breaks a window and starts screaming.
Stottlemeyer and Disher go to DiMarco's wake where his co-workers are gathered. They realize Monk is there when they discover that the fruit salad has been sorted. They find him in the bathroom making sure DiMarco didn't have a dog. Stottlemeyer says that so far, DiMarco has checked out clean, but they'll continue to do what they can. Monk finds a passport application to the Cayman Islands. Stottlemeyer takes him out and Monk talks to DiMarco's wife. He confirms that DiMarco was planning a trip the Cayman Island and had bought tickets a week ago. Doyle and Weaver angrily pull him away and Stottlemeyer quickly gets Monk out.
In session with Dr. Bell, who endorsed his reinstatement, Monk confides with wonder that he was actually happier as a private consultant. For twelve years, getting reinstated has been the only thing on his mind, and now that he has, he misses so many things, namely: his partnership with Stottlemeyer and Disher, Natalie's companionship and reliability, and most of all, the freedom to pick and choose his cases, and say what he thinks without fear of being censured.
If Monk has any hope of surviving in his new job, he needs to back up his accusations against Russell DiMarco. That night, Monk sits at his desk and polishes his badge... alone. The janitor, Sam, comes in and has a box filled with DiMarco's personal effects from his locker. Monk goes through it and finds a ticketbook with the imprint of some numbers on it. He uses the pencil to make out a plate number - 447-PCE, the license plate number of the Pick Axe Killer's car. He also finds a Little League baseball cap with the name of a team that Mikhail the window washer once played on.
Here's What HappenedEdit
The next day, Monk goes to see Mikhail, who says he's running later than usual and invites Monk along on his rising platform. He explains he gave two weeks' notice and then asks what Monk wants. Monk tells him that he's figured that Mikhail and DiMarco were on the same baseball team. When Mikhail realizes that Monk's partner is late and doesn't know about Monk's theory, he knocks him out and takes his gun.
Once Monk regains consciousness, despite his fear of heights, he explains what happened: while writing traffic tickets, Russell DiMarco came across the Pick Axe Killer's car, which he recognized from clues in the backseat. DiMarco had just found the most wanted criminal in San Francisco. Had he acted as a police officer should he would have been hailed as a hero and maybe even fast-tracked for promotion.
However, what he really wanted was the reward money which he was ineligible to collect because he was a police officer. He decided that half the money was better than none so instead he recruited Mikhail (they played on the same softball team) as a front man and fed him the information, planning to split the reward with him. But Mikhail got greedy and killed DiMarco to keep the reward for himself. The proof comes from DiMarco's ticket book, as DiMarco had written a ticket for Richard Mathis's car that he never submitted. Monk has solved the case, but now he’s got a major problem. Mikhail has pulled a gun and ordered Monk onto the scaffold. Monk called for backup before confronting Mikhail, but his fellow officers, including Doyle, already regard Monk as a nut and have taken their time in responding to his call.
Mikhail admits that Monk is right, and prepares to stage an accident to kill Monk. He puts on a harness and then starts shaking the washer platform back and forth. When that doesn't work, Mikhail raises one end and Monk starts to slide down. Monk hangs off the end of the scaffold by his hands, but manages to grab the control box and tip it in the opposite direction, spilling Mikhail onto his back, and just as he pulls out his gun to shoot Monk, he stabs Mikhail in the leg with his badge. Monk lowers the scaffold back to street level, where the other detectives, realizing that Monk was right all along, take Mikhail into custody.
A short time later, Monk turns his badge back in. He's disappointed that his return to the force didn't last, but now he knows that he doesn’t need a badge to be happy, and can go forward to keep on solving crimes on his own, unique terms. Smiling, Stottlemeyer says there is a nice surprise waiting for Monk in the hallway outside. Monk goes outside and sees Natalie, who's missed the excitement of working with Monk, and has quit her music job to resume her place at Monk's side.
- This episode was one of two episodes to be adapted from a Lee Goldberg Monk novel. Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse was adapted to the screen as "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing," while "Mr. Monk and the Badge" is adapted from the Golden Gate Strangler and Officer Kent Milner subplot of the novel Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu. The character of the Pick Axe Killer is based off of the Golden Gate Strangler, and Russell DiMarco was based off of Kent Milner. Mikhail Almonov was based off of Bertrum Gruber. The only difference is that the novel had additional time to explore the serial killer mystery, and a second serial killer investigation, in addition to Bertrum Gruber. This would be impossible to all fit into a 40 minute episode, so the episode only focuses on Monk trying to get other people to believe his theories about the DiMarco murder. The novel also has Natalie working for Monk during the entire investigation, and has Monk leading the Robbery-Homicide division due to a police strike.
- Monk expresses disappointment that Stottlemeyer's "surprise" is Natalie, saying he thought "it might be Joey Heatherton". Joey Heatherton has been mentioned several times before. In the season 3 episode "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room", Kurt Wolff mentions a job he did for a beautiful celebrity Monk instantly assumes it is Joey Heatherton. In the season 6 episode "Mr. Monk Joins a Cult," Stottlemeyer mentions her when he is talking to Monk at the highway rest stop where Amanda Clark was killed.