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Mr. Monk and the Big Reward

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Season 3 Season 5

Mr. Monk and the Big Reward is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of Monk.

PlotEdit

At the MacMillan Museum in San Francisco, we see a sign outside advertising the museum's newest acquired treasure from the Cromwell Collection, the Alexander Diamond, which is said to have been worn by Queen Elizabeth at her coronation. A tour guide is seen describing the diamond as he leads a group through the gallery. No one knows what exactly the diamond is truly worth, but this is what we do know: Lloyd's of London has insured the diamond for $20 million.

That night, two thieves break into the museum. One of them gets in by hiding in a rolltop desk in another room, wearing a hoodie and a plastic face mask. He crawls out, cuts a few wires to the security lasers, then lets in his accomplice. They try breaking the display case with their tire irons, but when that fails, one of them unlocks a nearby cabinet and shatters the glass with a mace. They then take the diamond and flee.

The next morning, Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger are having money troubles because they haven't had a homicide case in three weeks. These financial problems reach a turning point when they are buying groceries at the supermarket and they run short on money (Monk also mentions how he never liked cashing his paycheck when he was on the force). Natalie suggests to Monk that he ask Captain Stottlemeyer for a raise.

When Monk and Natalie arrive at the police station, Lieutenant Disher is taking a statement from Warren Landis, one of the MacMillan Museum's security guards. Landis is very reluctant, stating he's been questioned several times already, but Randy reminds him that the police are questioning everyone who was at the museum during the robbery (and we see that every other police detective in the squad room is also taking an employee's statement, even Stottlemeyer). So Landis reiterates what he's said before: he never left his station on the main floor when the robbery occurred, not even to go to the bathroom. At that point, Randy excuses himself to get a drink from the water cooler, and informs Monk and Natalie about the robbery. He mentions that the Robbery division is short-staffed, so they've asked the Homicide detectives help out with taking statements from museum employees. Monk immediately asks Randy why he hasn't arrested Landis for drug possession. He points out that Landis has red phosphorus stains on his fingertips, which means he is operating a crystal meth lab. To check it out, Randy takes Landis into one of the interrogation rooms.

Monk and Natalie confront Stottlemeyer as soon as he comes out of his office. But Stottlemeyer tells them that unfortunately, the police department's budget is strapped, and in fact, they have just received another temporary hiring freeze. Natalie complains to Stottlemeyer that Monk's normal consulting fee isn't stretching far enough, and asks for a raise. Failing that, she asks him to have the department put Monk on a retainer, instead of hiring him on a case-by-case basis. Stottlemeyer reminds her that he doesn't have the authority to grant requests like these, but, aware what Monk's brain is worth to the police department, promises to propose it to the higher-ups.

When Monk and Natalie turn around after questioning Stottlemeyer, they see Landis being led to the holding cells in handcuffs. Randy informs Monk that he was right: in the interrogation room, Landis was denying everything, twitching and nervous. When Randy threatened to get a search warrant and started to dial on the phone, he claims Landis cracked and gave up a meth lab in his basement.

When Natalie learns that Lloyd's of London is offering a $1 million reward for the diamond, she excitedly persuades Monk to take the case, believing that, with Monk's talent, the reward is as good as theirs.

Outside the MacMillan Museum, we see an elderly man, retired Scotland Yard Inspector St. Claire, standing around as a van pulls up and its driver, a tech geek named Rufus, climbs out. Rufus claims to be delivering flowers, but St. Claire sees through the facade and deduces that Rufus is another bounty hunter, noting the satellite dish on the roof of his van and the fact that he's got a 555 telephone number on the side of his van, an obvious phony. Moments later, a motorcycle arrives, driven by another bounty hunter, Dirk, who ignores Rufus informing him that he's parked in a handicap space. The three decide to pursue the diamond together, as that is after all what they are each looking for. They go upstairs to the security office, where they get identification cards from a desk, and observe the gallery as Monk and Natalie examine the crime scene.

Whatever their individual talents, the three other detectives are quickly outclassed by Monk. Monk notices the robbers' tire irons lying on the floor next to the diamond's display case. He figures that the thieves must have tried to use them to break the diamond's display case, but the glass failed to shatter - instead, the irons merely scuffed the glass. This means that obviously they had to have used a different weapon. Monk notices that there are glass shards on the inside of a nearby cabinet housing an iron mace. He deduces that they grabbed the mace inside the cabinet, shattered the glass, retrieved the diamond, and replaced it. As the cabinet has to be opened with a key, one that only the employees have access to, Monk deduces that the robbery was an inside job.

A guide tells Monk and Natalie that at around 2:30 p.m. on the day before the theft, he heard someone saying "my womb" over and over. Monk and Natalie conclude that the statement probably could be some kind of mantra. They open up the top of a rolltop desk in the room adjacent to the gallery where the diamond was displayed, and they find a footprint on the inside of the desk. Monk figures that one of the thieves had a short stature or was able to scrunch up inside, indicating a trained contortionist. A unique necklace found lodged inside suggests that the man was a practitioner of transcendental meditation. As they are leaving, they bump into the other bounty hunters (who have been pretending not to notice them), though Monk and Natalie can clearly see through their cover, especially since Rufus attempts to plant a tracking chip in Monk's pocket.

Meanwhile, a woman named Jennie Mandeville comes in to the police station saying she would like to confess to doing something bad. Upon entering an interrogation room, Jenny states that she is claustrophobic and wants to move rooms. Randy reminds her that unfortunately, all of the rooms are the same size. She admits that she robbed a bank in Sausalito, so Randy turns on the tape recorder. It turns out that she stole a pen from the bank. He lets her go.

Monk and Natalie, followed by the other three bounty hunters, trace the necklace back to a meditation center on the beach. The man who runs the center doesn't seem to hear them, but Monk notices a short pair of pants on a clothesline and figures which cabin they are to go to. When Dirk, St. Claire, and Rufus come by moments later, the owner also points them in the same direction. Monk and Natalie arrive at the cabin, followed by the three bounty hunters, where they find the cabin's inhabitant, Danny Chasen, on the floor – or, to be more precise, his recently-murdered body.

Later, Stottlemeyer reads the coroner's report to Monk and Natalie. It turns out Danny Chasen was poisoned by someone who spiked his tea with ammonia. There's no doubt that Chasen was a participant in the heist, as forensics has matched his DNA to hair samples found in the rolltop desk. The diamond, however, is still missing, as it was not on the body, nor was it in or near Chasen's cabin. Monk figures that it's probably in the inside man's possession. When Natalie uses the attractive phrase "ka-ching," again, Monk gets annoyed and gets Stottlemeyer to sternly inform Natalie that with one of the robbers dead, the robbery is to be treated as a homicide investigation, meaning they can no longer withhold any information from anyone without repercussions.

When Monk and Natalie leave the office, they notice the mysterious Jennie Mandeville being escorted out of the station again, having once again come in to "confess" to something. Randy tells them that this time, she came in saying that she accidentally killed her roommate, and flushed him down the toilet. He took her into the interrogation room, where once again, she insisted on changing rooms, and was quick to figure that the "roommate" was a hamster. Monk and Stottlemeyer are amused, although Monk notices that Jennie doesn't look unstable.

In session with Dr. Kroger, Monk explains that if he won the reward, he would hire Dr. Kroger full time and put him on a retainer 24/7. Dr. Kroger believes that he would move to an island in the middle of nowhere, where there is no phone service, and no dock, a metaphorical island only accessible in the imagination. Suddenly, Rufus shows up behind the window with his voice software, momentarily scaring Dr. Kroger. Monk then brings up his visit to the meditation center where he found Danny Chasen's body, and Dr. Kroger reveals that he went there once, but it was a long time ago, back when Jennie Mandeville, the founder, was still alive. She has been dead for 28 years. With that, Monk suddenly solves the case.

Monk excitedly calls Natalie, telling her he's solved the case – but makes the mistake of doing so in the street, where one of Rufus's distant listening devices picks him up. By now, the other three detectives have given up all pretense of finding the diamond on their own, and are simply dogging Monk's footsteps.

Monk and Natalie race on foot through the streets (as the bounty hunters have slashed one of the tires on Natalie's car), they rush into the police station, panting for breath, but manage to ask the desk officer to tell them where Randy is. They find Randy in the observation room and Monk asks him which interrogation rooms he took "Jenny Mandeville" to when she visited to "confess" to fictional crimes. The bounty hunters come in after them, and corner Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher in the room. Dirk blocks the way out. As they argue, Dirk turns to the door and breaks off the key, trapping them inside. He then proposes that, as "adults," they can each content themselves with a four-way split of the reward. Natalie begins to tell him what she thinks of that, but Stottlemeyer gets everyone to calm themselves down so Monk can explain what has been going on.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Monk explains that "Jennie Mandeville" is not the mystery woman's real name. It's actually an alias she thought of, picked up off a plaque at the retreat when she went there to poison Danny Chasen on her boyfriend's instructions.

Stottlemeyer asks, and Monk explains, that her boyfriend is Warren Landis, the guard Randy arrested for drug posession. Now Randy remembers that they brought him directly from the museum to the station for questioning, as he complained that he hadn't had a chance to go home yet and change. Monk concludes that the diamond was in Landis's pocket the whole time while Randy was questioning him.

Monk also remembers that Landis was chewing a big piece of gum just before Randy took him away to be interrogated, but when he was being led down to the holding cells in handcuffs afterwards, there was no piece of gum in his mouth. Monk concludes that Landis panicked in the interrogation room: Randy had him on the drug charges, so Landis knew he was about to be arrested, meaning he was going to be searched by the booking officer. So when Randy turned away and started to make a phone call, Landis discreetly stuck the diamond to the underside of the interrogation table with his chewing gum. He then called his girlfriend from jail and told her where he had hidden the diamond. He even told her exactly which interrogation room to find the diamond in. That was the reason why she kept coming in to confess to all of these fictitous crimes, and the reason why she kept asking to switch rooms, because she was trying to get into the room where the diamond was hidden.

With the case solved, everyone turns their attention to the interrogation room where the diamond remains. Except, at that moment, Gladys Menchen, a cleaning lady whom Monk has been harassing throughout the episode to be more thorough, enters the room and starts to clean. Trapped in the observation room, the police and the detectives can only pound on the glass and yell. Hearing faint noises, Gladys thinks Monk is following her again, and irritably starts to follow his advice, cleaning the underside of the table – where she finds the diamond: "Ka-Ching!"

The next day, we see Jennie Mandeville in handcuffs. Stottlemeyer mentions to Monk and Natalie that she came in again seeking to make a confession, and this time they got her to confess to killing Danny Chasen. Natalie bitterly reads the news story about Gladys flying to London to collect the $1 million-dollar reward in person. But Stottlemeyer has a consolation prize for Monk: the department has agreed to put him on retainer, guaranteeing him a minimum of 16 homicide consultations per year, for the next 2 years.

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • On the Monk Cast Favorites Marathon, this episode was shown as one of Stanley Kamel's favorites.
  • The terms of Monk's retainer are an inside reference to the number of episodes (16) per season of the show.

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