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Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger

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Monk Season 1
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Season 2


Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger is the seventh episode of the first season of Monk.

SynopsisEdit

A billionaire computer mogul is shot dead while mugging a couple outside a movie theater, and a uniformed officer later is seen fleeing the scene. It appears to be a midlife crisis gone horribly wrong–until Monk uncovers the truth about both the murder and about "Fraidy Cop".

PlotEdit

Billionaire computer mogul Sidney Teal leaves his house at nightfall, telling his wife Myra that he's on his way to another lecture. Outside, his chauffeur has a car ready, but Teal says he'll drive himself.

So Sidney climbs into his Ford SUV, and drives into San Francisco. He parks his car in a back alleyway. Once there, he puts on a false mustache and black sweater, and hides behind a dumpster. Meanwhile, ex-cop Archie Modine and his date exit a movie theater and walk across the parking lot, looking for their car. Just as they're starting to search, Sidney steps out with a knife in hand and says "Give me your money. Don't be a hero!" To Sidney's surprise, Modine pulls a revolver, and suddenly shoots him three times, killing him on the spot. Footsteps are heard fleeing the scene.

Meanwhile, Sharona Fleming is having financial difficulties, as shown when she tries to cash a check only to find it has bounced. She confronts Adrian Monk, just as Monk accidentally breaks his table lamp, and urges him to be a lot more hard-nosed when it comes to collecting his fees, knowing all too well that he loves detective work and would do it for free if she wasn’t there to stop him. For instance, she wants Monk to confront Leo Otterman, a businessman who Monk helped out and who hasn't paid them. Fortunately, the argument is broken up by a phone call about the Sidney Teal shooting.

When Monk and Sharona arrive at the scene, the crime scene has become a circus. Captain Stottlemeyer walks Monk through the sequence of events as Modine's statement goes. Monk immediately notices a suspicious detail: Teal was wearing kneepads and elbow pads, like he was planning to go rollerblading afterwards.

Modine is an ex-cop from Palo Alto, and swears that the shooting was self-defense, and his date, plus a couple of residents in the nearby apartments all can vouch for him. Suddenly, Modine’s date, while being interviewed by Lieutenant Disher, says something interesting: there was a uniformed cop positioned in the alleyway who turned and ran away when Modine shot Teal instead of running towards them. The press latch onto this and hound Stottlemeyer about it, but Stottlemeyer insists that no real SFPD officer would flee the scene of a crime in progress.

Monk quickly dives into the case. The police are inclined to dismiss Sidney Teal's demise as a prank gone wrong: a reclusive billionaire seeking thrills after getting bored with his life, or cracking under the unique strains of being immensely rich. When Monk and Sharona interview Myra, she supports this story, saying her husband was going through a mid-life crisis. However, this contrasts from what Monk notices from looking at all of the photos on Sidney's piano, which show that the most exciting thing Sidney Teal has done in the last three years has been go to Disneyland. When returning to the car and about to drive off, however, Sharona's car stalls and ends up breaking down, causing her to curse up a storm. Sidney's chauffeur then helps them repair the car. During the repair work, the chauffeur describes Sidney Teal as a "pussycat" and possibly one of the loneliest guys out there: in fact, he couldn't even fire a gun without freezing up. This in contrast to Myra, who he describes as being with the personality of a "tiger."

Stottlemeyer and Disher are under fire from the press and the mayor’s office, who are both demanding to know the identity of the runaway cop, or as the newspapers call him, “Fraidy Cop.” They manage to retrace his route, and determine that he was seen fleeing west towards Dolores Park after the shooting, until he flagged down a taxi at 19th and Guerrero. He then threw up in the backseat (although the police have ID'd his blood type from the vomit). The cab dropped off at a bar near St. Mary's Cathedral, where he was seen sitting in a booth drinking bourbon and crying. He was last seen at midnight being picked up by an older woman in a brown station wagon, believed to be his mother.

While at Teal's office, Sharona notices flowers from Phi Beta Tau, Teal's fraternity in college. Monk then remembers seeing a Phi Beta Tau insignia on Modine's keychain, making him conclude that Modine and Teal were in the same fraternity in college, and that Modine and Myra are having an affair. For Sharona, that is good enough to declare the case closed and collect their fee: Teal must have discovered the affair, and was actually trying to murder Modine. But Monk isn't convinced: though he wouldn't fire a gun, Teal owned one, which he didn't bring to the "mugging," and the knife he held was hardly a serious weapon. Most puzzling of all are the elbow and knee pads.

Modine admits to the affair in questioning and filing a false report claiming he didn't know Teal, citing his protectiveness of Myra. When speaking about the developments at a press conference, Stottlemeyer is again hounded by the press about Fraidy Cop, to such an extent that he declares that any reporters asking questions on that angle will be banned from future press conferences for a year.

Monk’s refusal to close the case gets Sharona angry (demanding that he recant by three, and later clarifying that she meant by the count of three when he checks his watch to see when three-o'clock is going to occur due to misinterpreting it as such), and she quits. Without her, Monk is cut adrift, and goes back to looking over the clues to Trudy's murder. But without Sharona's guidance, he finds himself going over the same dead-ends again, not remembering what he's done before. He is also nearly gunned down by a drive-by shooter in a yellow Mustang; he only evades the fatal gunshot because he stoops down to scoop up a wipe he drops at the last second. When the SFPD investigates the shooting, they managed to find the Mustang, only to discover the car had actually been stolen from the actual owners, leaving behind a dead end regarding Monk's mysterious assassin.

Meanwhile, a bored Sharona, who has taken a job as a cashier in a lamp store, reads Sidney Teal's autobiography and reads about an incident during his college years, when he and his date, Angie DeLuca, were menaced by a mugger in a parking garage. Sharona interviews Angie, who can only remember that the mugger approached them with a knife, and shouted "Give me your money! Don’t be a hero!" before Teal heroically fought him off. Angie was impressed, since she’d never thought of Sidney as a physical type. Excited, Sharona rushes back to Monk with the information just as Monk finishes making a pathetic attempt at confronting Leo Otterman, and he solves the case.

Here’s What HappenedEdit

Monk, Sharona, Stottlemeyer and Disher confront Myra and Modine in the Teal mansion, in the company of a uniformed police officer. Monk explains that the detail that has been nagging him from the beginning were the elbow and kneepads Sidney was wearing when he was shot. With the new information, he now knows that Sidney wasn't planning to mug Modine or kill him, but actually going out because he thought he was going to have a bit of fun, perhaps roll around on the pavement. He thought he was going to impress Modine's date. Monk goes on to explain that the events leading up to Sidney's death began with the attempted mugging of Sidney and his date.

Sidney and Modine were fraternity brothers and close friends in college. Sidney wasn't much of a ladies' man, and when he had a big date with Angie DeLuca, he wanted to impress her. So he asked Modine for advice and they ultimately agreed to carry out a very harmless prank. In said prank, Modine donned a ski mask and hoodie, then pretended to attempt to "mug" Sidney and his date. Subsequently, the mild-mannered Sidney "got to look like Superman" for a few minutes, and the two friends had a big laugh afterwards.

Twenty years later, Myra and Modine started their affair. After a year, Modine decided life would be perfect with Sidney dead. So he thought of a brilliant idea: he remembered the favor he did for Sidney in college, so he approached Sidney in a diner, and convinced him to perhaps return the favor. Modine's thinking was spot on, and Sidney agreed enthusiastically to the chance to relive one of the best nights of his life, not knowing that Archie meant to shoot him.

It worked perfectly. Modine had two layers to the motive: first, it would look like a pure self-defense killing of a billionaire who'd had a nervous breakdown; and if the worst came to worst and anyone discovered his affair with Myra, Modine just had to confess to having an affair, and then it would appear Sidney was trying to kill him, and thus his death would still be legitimate self-defense.

Modine says there is no proof, but Monk reveals there was a witness to their plan: Sidney Teal always went the extra mile. Not knowing that he was being set up for his own murder, he hired an actor named Joseph Moratta to play a uniformed patrol officer. His plan was that after Modine "fought off" Sidney, the "cop" would rush out and commend Modine for his heroism. Moratta was stationed in the alley within sight of Modine and Sidney. But when Modine shot Sidney, Moratta instead panicked and ran off. Hence, Moratta is the so-called "Fraidy Cop" the press have been latched onto. Monk explains that he came to the conclusion that Fraidy Cop wasn't a real cop when he remembered Stottlemeyer saying that no officer would ever flee the scene of a crime. On cue, Monk then points to Moratta, who happens to be the uniformed officer standing in the room with them.

Myra, seeing that the game is up, hurriedly swears that whatever happened was all Archie's idea, and she knew nothing. In rage, Archie draws a gun and takes aim at her, and Disher tackles him. In the struggle, a stray shot is fired, and Moratta takes off running again, to the delight of the press and the aggravation of Stottlemeyer.

In the end, Monk and Sharona get their money from Leo Otterman, thanks to some leverage from Moratta. Except, seconds later, when Moratta removes his sunglasses, Otterman recognizes him, sending Moratta running. As he watches, Monk remarks that, had he not had a tendency to flee when confronted, Moratta would have made a good officer.

GoofsEdit

  • When the drive-by-shooter pulls up in the yellow Mustang, the passenger's side window is clearly rolled up both before the shot is fired and while the car is speeding away.
  • If Archie Modine shot a man three times without warning, he'd probably have his gun permit suspended pending further investigation into whether the shooting was justified or not.

Background notesEdit

  • The scene where Monk goes to Kathy Street's address to interview her in Trudy's place was originally made for "Mr. Monk and the Candidate", but it was cut from that episode for whatever, and instead placed into this episode. Because of this, the setting was strangely fitting for cold weather instead of the normal weather. This was rectified within the episode when Sharona is seen in the lamp store looking bored: the DJs talking about Fraidy Cop say, "You know what I heard: Every officer is being issued some new equipment—a white flag and a diaper! But they better do it up tight, ‘cause there’s a cold snap coming!"
  • The song that plays as Sydney Teal drives into San Francisco is George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone."
  • Monk: The Official Episode Guide states that the premise of "hiring someone to pretend to try to mug you to impress your date" was adapted by David Breckman from a Saturday Night Live skit.
  • It's been pointed out that Sharona is being a little bit rude by heckling Stottlemeyer over Monk's consulting fee at a crime scene, of all places, especially when the dead person is someone with a high profile like Sidney Teal, to the point that some people think it would have been more appropriate if Stottlemeyer told Sharona to make an appointment to see him in his office at a time when he could think straight and deal with the money issue, as opposed to when he's busy dealing with a crime scene. Some also point out that Sharona should probably have been the one to track down Leo Otterman to make him pay. The logic is that that seems like a job for Sharona to do because it is more of the administrative aspect of Monk's detective work, which Monk obviously is not cut out for. And since Monk does not like conflict, but Sharona is able to deal well with conflict and confrontation, then this would have been one way that Sharona could have helped Monk out.

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