|Monk Season 1|
Mr. Monk Meets the Candidate is the series premiere of Monk.
Mr. Monk investigates an assassination attempt on mayoral candidate Warren St. Claire and learns there's more at play than meets the eye, especially after discovering secrets involving the candidate's wife and campaign manager.
Former San Francisco police detective Adrian Monk is called in by a friend in Santa Clara's police department to investigate the stabbing of a woman named Nicole Vasques in her home. He's distracted because he is convinced he left his stove on. The local police think that the victim's death was the result of a burglary gone wrong, but Monk manages to find a few clues: the first is that the killer wore Vasques's slippers to avoid leaving footprints. The killer also apparently was waiting for her for about an hour and was smoking cigarettes (Monk points out that Vasques was a Dutch Calvinist, ruling her out as the smoker). Monk also observes that the killer is about 6'3" and probably deleted something from the computer: he lowered the chair because the victim is 5'4", and he wiped the keyboard clean of fingerprints.
Monk is later in session with Dr. Kroger, talking about "going with the flow". He is temporarily distracted by a misaligned pillow on one of the couches in the office.
In the heart of downtown, a painter parks his van on a busy street. We never get a good look at his face as he grabs some tarps and a paint bucket, then walks across the street and enters a hotel. He rides an elevator up to floor that is undergoing renovation. As the painter gets off the elevator, he puts slip covers over his shoes. He makes his way down the hallway, and ducks under the tape blocking off one of the rooms under refurbishment. Once inside, he secures the door with a chain.
The painter then walks over to the window, sets down his bucket, then unravels his tarp, revealing that he is carrying a Weatherby Fibermark rifle. He loads bullets into the weapon, then wraps the drawstring on a pair of window blinds around the barrel, and takes aim at a campaign rally going on down below for mayoral candidate Warren St. Claire.
Down below, St. Claire is giving his rousing speech to the crowd. Meanwhile, his campaign manager Gavin Lloyd sits down with St. Claire's wife Miranda, who insists that she is getting lockjawed from smiling so long. Lloyd assures her that she'll have to get used to that, as he plans to take Warren all the way to the Promised Land, and not just to Sacramento, but all the way to the White House. At the conclusion of St. Claire's speech, Miranda joins him on stage. The band begins to play and balloons are released into the air. On cue, that is when the painter suddenly opens fire on the stage. The first bullet strikes St. Claire's bodyguard Jason Ronstadt, killing him instantly. The second bullet hits the stage and the third bullet hits the ground, narrowly missing Miranda. Lloyd frantically points out the shooter's location to the cops on security detail, just as a newspaper photographer snaps his photo.
We cut to the police station, where Captain Leland Stottlemeyer is updated on the case by his second-in-command, Lieutenant Randy Disher (credited in this episode as "Randy Deacon"). As Stottlemeyer prepares to give a statement to the media about the police investigation, he is interrupted by the arrival of Deputy Mayor Sheldon Burger. Despite Stottlemeyer insisting that he has every available detective on the case, Burger tells him that the incumbent mayor has ordered him to bring Monk in to investigate.
After a meeting with St. Claire, his wife, Lloyd, and substitute business manager Jesse Goodman, Monk is brought to the room where the shooter was hiding. He notices a few interesting clues: the first is that the blind cords are twisted, indicating that the shooter used them to steady his rifle. It also indicates he might be an ex-Green Beret, since this is in their field manual. Monk also observes a few other interesting things: the shooter wore slippers to avoid leaving footprints, he is about 6'3" tall, and he smokes Newport cigarettes. In other words, he begins to suspect the shooting is the work of the same guy who killed Nicole Vasques.
Monk talks to a campaign volunteer named Jake, but a computer search fails to produce Vasques's name. Monk and Sharona then tells Warren St. Claire to Jason Ronstadt's funeral, where he delivers a touching eulogy. As Sharona begins to speculate that St. Claire himself arranged for the shooting to happen so that he could raise his standings in the polls, or Miranda arranged it to collect on Warren's estate. Things turn comedic, though, when Monk accidentally drops a keychain belonging to Trudy into the coffin, and in trying to grab it with a paperclip and dental floss, accidentally hooks the corpse's hand, causing it to lift up as if in response to St. Claire's salute. Later, as Miranda is leaving after confronting Monk, he notices her flirting with Jesse Goodman, and deduces that they may be having an affair.
A forensics check confirms some of Monk's suspicions: the shooter used hollow-point bullets that deform on impact, but one of them was recovered intact and was identified as coming from a British-manufactured Weatherby Fibermark rifle (in reality the weapon is manufactured in the United States). It's a type of weapon used by paramilitary groups. Monk still insists that the Vasques murder and the assassination attempt must be linked together, but Stottlemeyer doesn't see any connection.
Later, after Monk observes Miranda giving a reading to some school kids, he gets a call from Jake, who has evidence for him. Jake offers to come over to Monk's house to drop it off. As he's hanging up, Gavin Lloyd notices him on the phone and asks him if he is on a personal call. Jake gives a small "no".
Minutes later, Jake is driving his car over to Monk's apartment when he comes to a stop sign. A squeegee man suddenly runs up to the car and starts to clean the windshield. When Jake reluctantly rolls down his window to hand the squeegee man some change, the guy lethally smashes Jake's head against the wheel, pushes Jake into the passenger's seat, then gets in, and drives off.
Sometime later, Jake's car is found in a ditch by the side of a road. Stottlemeyer believes his death was an accident, and speculate that Jake was driving down the hill at high speed, missed the turn, and flew off the road and slammed head-on into a tree. However, Monk proves otherwise: for instance, the windshield is only clean on the driver's side. He concludes that Jake was actually killed at the stop sign on Cole Avenue and 17th Street, as he was on the way to Monk's apartment, not to mention that the corner has a homeless shelter where illegal squeegee men wash windshields for spare change.
Monk faces a crisis when Sharona quits after he reluctantly exposes her latest date, Carl Brewer, as yet another Mr. Wrong. Without her, Monk stays indoors and is unable to participate in the case.
Meanwhile, at a police garage, the remains of Jake's car are being analyzed. Wedged under the passenger seat, in Jake's hat, the police find a printout of some old records, with Nicole Vasques's name printed on it. She quit two months earlier, which is why no computer checks found her.
Sheldon Burger begs Sharona to help Monk get back to work, promising her a favor if she does. Monk returns to the case. Watching news coverage of the shooting, he notices some odd aspects: namely, the size of the crowd that showed up, which makes him wonder, why did Gavin Lloyd set up the rally in the Financial District on a weekday? In fact, Monk also learns that Lloyd was fired from a North Carolina senatorial campaign after he was suspected of embezzling funds.
Later, while Monk is walking down the street, he is nearly run down by someone in a car (in fact, the only reason he isn't killed is because his OCD state forces him to go back in the other direction to touch a Stop sign post that he missed, just narrowly missing the collision) Monk escapes, but in his OCD state, he can't resist touching and counting every parking meter on the way, and thus can not identify the person's license plate number.
Monk and Sharona later talk to Gavin Lloyd to find out why he held the rally downtown. They also have found out that he took Nicole Vasques aside for a while one day and she never came back to work on the campaign after that. He doesn't know anything more, though, about Vasques. While talking, Monk finds some scraps of shredded paper in the trashcan. Upon reassembling them, he finds that they are for a boarding pass Miranda St. Claire booked for a flight from San Francisco to Chicago O'Hare.
Monk and Sharona go back to Jesse Goodman and accuse him of having an affair with Miranda, Monk pointing out that Goodman's watch is set two hours ahead to Central Standard Time, indicating he's been to Chicago recently. Goodman admits it, but says that he wouldn't want to hurt Warren for that. He doesn't ask any more questions and departs. Just after Goodman leaves, Sharona gets a phone call, saying that the assassin has been found.
Monk and Sharona join Stottlemeyer and Disher at an apartment building. Stottlemeyer explains that the FBI has done a profile check and produced a name: an ex-Green Beret named Ian Sykes, who stands 6'5" and purchased a scope for a Weatherby Fibermark rifle recently. Monk and Sharona wait in the stairs while Stottlemeyer, Disher, and a team of uniformed and plainclothes officers raid the apartment. They find Sykes, but to their dismay, he is in a wheelchair. He admits that he did recently buy a scope for a Weatherby Fibermark rifle, but it was a gift for his father, who is hunting in the Rockies.
The police leave, disappointed. Just as they are about to drive away, Monk notices Stottlemeyer's shoes are scuffed. Stottlemeyer asks why Monk is suddenly so interested in this, and Monk explains that Sykes's shoes were scuffed up, too, meaning he is not handicapped at all. Stottlemeyer hurriedly tells Monk and Sharona to leave while he calls up the SWAT team.
Upstairs, Sykes gets up from his wheelchair and looks out the window, just in time to see the police gearing up. Down below, multiple marked police cars screech to a halt in front of his building and a SWAT team runs towards the entrance. Meanwhile, Monk and Sharona dart across the street to their car. Sharona thinks Stottlemeyer wants them out of the way while he takes all the credit for himself. She then finds her cell phone battery is dead and tells Monk she's leaving to find a phone to check in on Benjy. Sharona starts to leave while Monk watches the police arriving in front of Sykes's building.
While Monk is watching the police activity at the corner, he suddenly sees Sykes fleeing down the fire escape. Monk attempts to follow, but his fear of heights gets the better of him when he attempts to climb a ladder to head Sykes off. Sykes climbs down the ladder, says "excuse me" to Monk, and walks away.
Stottlemeyer is furious, and orders Monk taken off the case, believing that Monk can never be reinstated to the police department as long as his many phobias compromise his fellow officers' safety. Monk is crushed, but realizes something: Sykes did not recognize Monk when he climbed past him down the ladder and when first interrogating him, meaning he was not driving the car that tried to run Monk down.
(This scene is not featured in all versions): Later that night, true to Monk's suspicions, the driver of the car that tried to run Monk down arrives at the docks near the San Francisco Bay, with Sykes, who has obviously been waiting for his arrival, asking what he needs. The driver proceeds to shoot him.
Forlorn, Monk returns to looking over the evidence of his wife Trudy's murder. Sharona and her son Benjy find him in the parking garage where her car was bombed. When Benjy crashes his skateboard in the garage, and Sharona yells at him, Monk hears the echo of their voices, and solves the case. However, he remembers that he is persona non grata with the police and the city, so Sharona calls in her favor with Sheldon Burger to get them to listen to Monk.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Monk re-assembles everyone as they were the day of the shooting, intending to single out the man who hired Ian Sykes to carry out the attack. He posits that Sykes wasn't attempting to shoot St. Claire at all. In fact, the person who got shot instead, Jason Ronstadt, was the person Sykes had been paid to shoot. Jesse Goodman is incredulous, so Monk suggests that perhaps Ronstadt was killed because he was the bodyguard who knew too much. Monk explains what happened:
Lloyd has been embezzling from the campaign again. Recently, Nicole Vasques was going over the books and discovered that some funds were going into a different account. She went to Lloyd and reported this to her, but he brushed her off. But he realized Vasques would not be easy to buy off, and he feared she would talk, so in time, he decided he needed to hire a hitman to kill her. Lloyd first approached Jason Ronstadt and asked him to do it, but Ronstadt turned him down. It probably agitated Lloyd to no end that he was in a world where he was surrounded by honest people. So he continued looking around until he found Ian Sykes. Sykes killed Vasques and made it look like a burglary, but there was one loose end now: Jason Ronstadt probably still remembered Lloyd soliciting him to kill Vasques. On Lloyd's orders, Sykes sniped Ronstadt at the rally. Having Ronstadt get shot in public was brilliant for Lloyd because he got a twofer: to the public, it would look like Sykes was trying to target St. Claire, thus giving him new support, and it eliminated the one person who could implicate Lloyd in the first murder.
Lloyd laughs it off, saying Monk cannot prove it. Then, Monk shows him a photo from the newspaper, showing that, seconds after the shooting, Lloyd was only person pointing in the direction of Sykes. Lloyd says he saw Sykes, and Monk points out that the balloons around the dais were blocking everyone's view. Lloyd says he must have heard the direction the shots came from.
To test him, Monk tells him that Sharona is in one of the surrounding skyscrapers with a starter pistol. She fires several shots, but the echo between the surrounding buildings makes it impossible for Lloyd to guess which building she is in.Just as Lloyd breaks down and starts to confess, a real shot is heard, and Lloyd goes down. Sharona sees Sykes in the next wing of the same building, firing his rifle at the dais (Monk dryly comments it is a "contract dispute"). Sykes then flees through the building's boiler room into the sewers, followed by Sharona who is taken hostage. Monk tries to convince the police to look for other exits but they stick to protocol to search the building beginning at the top. Monk then pick-pockets Randy's gun and heads to the basement to look for a secret exit. Overcoming his horror of the sewers, Monk follows Sykes down to the grimy depths and rescues Sharona, grazing Sykes in the head with a non-fatal wound.
Monk is celebrated as a hero in the press. Dr. Kroger praises his bravery and says it may be time to approach the department and recommend that Monk be reinstated. However, as Monk and Dr. Kroger part company, Monk proves incapable of entering an elevator with a coughing woman, causing Dr. Kroger to reevaluate his recommendation.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- According to USA Network, in the aftermath of this episode, Lloyd's shoulder wound is supposed to be fatal, while Sykes survives and gets convicted. However, since Lloyd is not seen again after he gets shot in the shoulder, it's also possible that he may have been rushed to a hospital instead and survived.
- Randy Disher's name is never stated in the episode, and he is credited as "Lt. Deacon."
- Benjy Fleming is played by Kane Richotte in this episode, and in the second and third seasons, but is played in the remainder of the first season by Max Morrow. This was due to the show being shot in different parts of Canada.
- Stellina Ruisch makes the first of several appearances as Trudy Monk; mid-way through Season Three, she was replaced by Melora Hardin.
- On the Monk Cast Favorites Marathon, this episode was listed as one of Traylor Howard's favorites.
- This is one of only three two-part episodes in the series. The others are "Mr. Monk Is On The Run" and "Mr. Monk and the End."
- The opening scene of this episode was the first featured in the montage of past scenes which closed "Mr. Monk and the End, Part 2." Likewise, the final lines of the series in that episode paid tribute to this opening, when Monk double-checks his stove before he and Natalie leave his apartment to investigate a case.
- There was originally going to be a scene in this episode where Monk goes over to Kathy Street's house after deducing that the note actually meant 5:30 Kathy Street, and interviewed her, only to realize that he ended up repeating himself when he got there. However, this scene was cut, although it was later used in Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger.
- Fred Ewanuick and Janet Wright played roles in this episode as Jake and Bonnie respectively. They both later played main characters on the Canadian hit TV show "Corner Gas".