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Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion

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Monk Season 5
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Season 4 Season 6

Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion is the sixth episode of the fifth season of Monk.

SynopsisEdit

Monk and Natalie go to UC Berkeley for Monk's college reunion and uncover a complex murder plot against one of his former classmates.

PlotEdit

Late one night, retired nurse Katherine Rutherford leaves her fifth floor apartment and heads down the hall to the elevator, only to find an 'Out of Order' sign over the button console, forcing her to take the stairs. Unbeknownst to her, a man just beside her rips off the notice, and follows her. At the top of the stairwell, he asks her if she is Katherine Rutherford from the UC Berkeley clinic. When she confirms this, he tells her that unfortunately, she knows his wife too well. Before she can ask what he means by "unfortunately", he suddenly grabs her and shoves her down the stairs to her death. He stops midway down the steps, pulls a necklace out of his pocket, and breaks it, scattering beads all over the floor. He then checks that she is dead and takes off.

Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher stop by the scene to investigate. Randy notes that Katherine was wearing a necklace that broke, she slipped on the beads, and broke her neck. Stottlemeyer is skeptical: why didn't Katherine use the elevator? And if she slipped on the beads, why did none of them rolled away when she fell? He then finds an intact portion of "her" necklace and places it around Katherine's neck, only to discover that its circumference is too small to fit her. Stottlemeyer orders the death upgraded to a homicide investigation. At the same time, one of the cops recovers a lapel pin with the number 25 on it from underneath the body. Randy recognizes the pin but cannot remember where he saw it.

The scene cuts to Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger, who are at the University of California at Berkeley to attend Monk's 25th college reunion. Monk is currently fussing with an identical lapel pin to the one recovered at the crime scene. Exasperated, Natalie suggests that he just stand at a slight angle rather than obsess about the pin. She is skeptical that Monk will be able to last the weekend without her, noting that he last saw most of these people when Trudy was alive, and she recalls how it was difficult for her to attend parties or see her friends after Mitch's death. Monk assures Natalie that he's positive he can do without her. When Natalie pulls Monk's registration form out of her purse, she is highly amused to discover that Monk has signed it with the nickname "Captain Cool". Monk leaves Natalie guessing as to what this might mean, even though he tries several "cool" poses, and she leaves.

While Monk is waiting in line to hand in his registration form, he runs into Dianne Brooks, Trudy's freshman roommate. They catch up on each others' lives, and Monk learns that Dianne's husband Kyle is dying to meet him. When Dianne asks Monk if he's dating anyone, Monk gives her a fervent "No." She also fills out her registration form on Monk's back when she realizes she's forgotten to fill it out. 

At the welcoming ceremony, a woman, most likely the reunion coordinator, explains briefly what the lapel pins are for. Monk later feels like an outsider in the campus as he realizes that most of the "friends" only remember Trudy and none of them remember him, so mingling proves to be difficult to him.

Meanwhile, Natalie returns to her car and she realizes she took a set of keys that Monk might need. She asks a fellow couple that has just arrived in their car to hand the keys over to Monk. The husband just stares blankly at Natalie until she uses Monk's nickname "Captain Cool," at which point he recognizes who he is supposed to head to. As Natalie is preparing to leave, she overhears the husband offhandedly tell his wife that Monk got the name "Captain Cool" because he spent every weekend defrosting his refrigerator. Meanwhile, Monk is catching up with another former classmate, although he has a few different philosophies from Monk (namely about moving on with their dead wives). Monk watches said acquaintance leave, just as Natalie appears and gently puts her arm around his in a reassuring way.

At the police station, Randy is looking over the evidence. Upon realizing something, he barges into Stottlemeyer's office, having suddenly realized why the lapel pin at the crime scene looked familiar: it's a reunion pin and it turns out Monk has been wearing his all week. Even more interesting is that Randy notes that Katherine Rutherford was a nurse at Berkeley's clinic for twenty years. The obvious answer is that the pin was the killer's, meaning Monk is unaware that there is a killer attending the reunion.

Monk and Natalie are next seen in the college cafeteria. Monk is eager to just leave, but Natalie refuses to let him go when he's been looking very forward to his reunion. He uneasily admits to her that amongst his peers, he was unremembered for anything aside from being "the guy with Trudy." While they get lunch at the salad bar, Natalie is stopped when she notices Monk's name is on a spit shield, and Monk explains that they didn't have any sneeze guards to protect the food when he was here. She initially thinks that he had donated them all, but he uneasily admits that it was more from a lawsuit that took up his spare time.

Dianne Brooks spots Monk and comes over. She eyes Natalie suspiciously, under the impression that Natalie is Monk's girlfriend. Monk and Natalie deny it, although Natalie is highly amused by the suggestion. Over lunch, Kyle mentions that he went to community college, and now he works for Dianne's father. They show Monk and Natalie photos of their house which they have just moved into, and their dog, a bull mastiff named Tangerine. Monk is curious: he asks and confirms that Dianne had a poodle in her senior year named Tangerine. Kyle admits that he found the dog at the shelter, where it coincidentally had the name Tangerine.

Monk and Natalie are next seen walking down one of the dormitory corridors. Though neither of them know about Katherine Rutherford's murder, Monk is overly suspicious of Kyle Brooks: for one thing, how could someone have two dogs of completely different breeds 25 years apart that just happen to share the same name? And if Kyle has been extremely anxious to meet Monk, how come he is unaware of Monk's reputation as a homicide detective?

Natalie then tries to distract Monk by suggesting he show her his old dorm room. He prepares to show her....only to be stopped when he notices a tie hanging from the doorknob. He explains that his roommate claimed it meant, "Don't come in! I'm reorganizing my closet!" much to Natalie's amusement, especially when she correctly guesses that the roommate's girlfriend would help him "reorganize". Just then, Monk recognizes an old friend in the student lounge: the fridge he's defrosted before. He checks it and finds it has frosted up again, and he asks for a spatula, pan and Bible.

The scene cuts to Monk defrosting the fridge with a hairdryer, a dustpan, and spatula, while Natalie is napping on one of the couches. Midway through, Stottlemeyer walks in, obviously having spent a lot of time looking for them and only stumbled upon them by accident. When Stottlemeyer asks who "Captain Cool" is, Monk and Natalie trade stares until two students pass by and notice what Monk is doing. Monk admits it might be him, and Stottlemeyer gives an "I thought I'd never ask" look as Monk resumes defrosting.

Stottlemeyer debriefs Monk and Natalie on the Katherine Rutherford case. Monk admits that he wouldn't notice if someone was missing a lapel pin, since the killer could have just easily replaced it (because the coordinator told everyone of the replacement pins in a box in the lobby). Randy approaches them and tells them that he thinks he has found a possible suspect: a guy named Henry Kalimarakis. Monk remembers him as an athlete on the swim team, and he held a grudge against her because his dreams to participate in the U.S. Olympic swim team were shattered after he tested positive for steroids. Katherine was the nurse who administered the test. Natalie is skeptical, wondering how someone could hold a grudge for almost 25 years. Stottlemeyer responds the he would and did.

Monk then shows Natalie the library, which is special for him because it is the place where he first met Trudy. He explains that he was reorganizing the stacks when she came in, asking for the second volume of Trevor Rosenthal's biography of Alexander Pope. Her would-be boyfriend Drew came in while she was talking to Adrian. He had forgotten her phone number, so he wrote it down on Adrian's back. Ultimately, Adrian remembered her phone number due to his sensitive skin. He also wonders why she went with him instead of the boyfriend, who is now a famous heart surgeon. Natalie reassures Monk that Trudy made the right choice.

Outside, Monk and Natalie are next seen looking at the information kiosk, all cluttered with flyers and notices, when they are approached again by Dianne Brooks, who feels horrible having learned about Katherine Rutherford's murder. She mentions that the police are all over the campus questioning people. Suddenly Kyle appears behind them with an elderly woman named Gertrude, who he calls "Trudy". He offers to take them to Rocco's (Monk goes reluctantly due to Kyle in essence persuading him to go, as he has bad memories of that restaurant, describing the lonely hot dog in the window that rotates on a rotary the last time he went).

What Monk and Natalie do not know is that the reason Kyle is insisting on them going to Rocco's with them is part of an insidious plot to kill Dianne. This is confirmed when he makes a call on his cell phone that night at his hotel room. He tells the person on the other end, implied to be his girlfriend, that the only thing he has left to do is play a game of touch football with them.

The next day, and the final day of the reunion, Natalie suggests to Monk that they go see a chess club meet, only for Monk to ask if she's ever actually been to a chess club.

Down at the clinic, Stottlemeyer is looking at Katherine Rutherford's employment file. The clerk recognizes Stottlemeyer from somewhere, but can't place it until Stottlemeyer explains that he was at the campus for an anti-nuclear protest a long time ago. Randy then arrives to inform Stottlemeyer that he crosses out Henry as their suspect: for one thing, he joined the Olympic swim team as an alternative. Also, he died in 1995, and there was no record of him ever returning to the United States after moving to Europe in the 1980s, and.... at this point Stottlemeyer interrupts him to point out that he would have started with the second fact first, and only be interested in that fact. As there is no record of complaints against Katherine from anyone on the campus, their business in the clinic is done. A deliveryman comes up and drops off a wreath in memory of the late nurse. Stottlemeyer notices the name tag on the wreath before they take off.

Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher are next seen interviewing Dianne Brooks. It turns out Dianne sent the wreath in question. Dianne reveals why she feels indebted to Katherine: in her senior year, she was overwhelmed and got very depressed (Monk recalls that her mother also died that year). She claims she got depressed enough that she wrote a suicide note and attempted to overdose on sleeping pills. Katherine was worried, broke down the door to her apartment, and was able to call an ambulance just in time to save her.

Suddenly, Kyle appears and asks if they would play some touch football, as some guys on campus have challenged him (although in actuality, he challenged them). Randy also volunteers to play, until he is reminded that he is supposed to be solving the homicide case. Before they begin, Dianne hands Natalie her earrings, which Natalie places in her purse. Monk is appointed quarterback by Kyle. After some difficulty, he eventually picks up the football, and despite his not playing football (he's not a fan of contact sports for obvious reasons), he shows surprising agility allowing for him to win a point for his team. Kyle then dedicates Dianne to be the quarterback for round 2, telling her to keep her eye on him. She then throws the ball towards him, only for it to sail over him and shatter the protective glass on a kiosk map behind him. Kyle quickly apologizes, claiming that the sun was in his eyes.  Dianne is shocked - she accidentally broke the same window in her senior year.

Monk and Natalie are next seen at the reunion dinner. Natalie has changed into a simple black evening dress. As they watch a slideshow on a big projector from their own table, Monk taps Natalie's shoulder and points to Kyle, standing with Dianne by the bar, mentioning that Kyle had deliberately missed the ball. Natalie is exasperated that Monk can't stop thinking about Kyle. She doesn't have any explanations for Kyle's behavior, but Monk is pretty sure it isn't eccentrism. Monk says he's eccentric but Kyle was up to something. Unbeknownst to anyone, Kyle slips a drug into Dianne's champagne glass.

At that point, Stottlemeyer steps up onto the dais and interrupts the show to ask the audience for information on the case. However, everyone in the crowd - except for Monk, Natalie, Kyle and Dianne - starts booing at him when the projector suddenly displays some very embarrassing pictures of him in riot gear attacking protestors at an anti-nuclear warfare demonstration. Stottlemeyer tries to assure the audience that one picture alone won't be enough to describe what he's like, at which point the slideshow begins showing even more compromising pictures, like one where he's got a guy pinned up against a chainlink fence. He is forced to admit that their protest permit expired at noon (12:06 is shown in a photo of Stottlemeyer pointing at the clock tower). Monk and Natalie continue to stare at the photo, shocked, as Stottlemeyer sheepishly thanks the audience for their "help" and walks off stage. Meanwhile, Dianne suddenly starts feeling drowsy. Kyle helps her to her feet and leads her out, telling Monk and Natalie that they'll be back later while repeating of her recent depression.

Half an hour later, Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher are sitting by themselves in the remains of the dining hall. Natalie realizes that she's still in possession of Dianne's earrings. When Stottlemeyer notices the earrings, something clicks in his head and he asks her for one. He compares them with a forensic sample from the case file, and Natalie confirms that the earrings came from the same set as the necklace that was planted at the crime scene. At that point, Monk notices an RIP photo of Katherine Rutherford being displayed on the slideshow, and begins to put two and two together. When Randy asks, and Natalie confirms, that Kyle and Dianne arrived in San Francisco the day before the murder, Monk suddenly realizes that Dianne is in grave danger, and Kyle is planning to kill her.

Here's What HappenedEdit

As Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher hurry to the registration station, Monk explains what happened in a theoretical fashion:

When Kyle and Dianne recently moved, Kyle must have discovered a box of her old papers and letters which included Dianne's old suicide note, which she had kept in storage all this time. He realized that the note was a perfect cover for him to kill her without raising any questions since it was in her handwriting. The problem was, however, that the note referred to events that were no longer true, like the name of Dianne's dog as Natalie noted, breaking a glass pane at the Berkeley quad, and eating at a certain restaurant with certain individuals such as "Adrian and Trudy". So that the police wouldn't be suspicious when the note is discovered, Kyle, with Monk and Natalie as his unwitting accomplices, has been recreating events that the note described.

When Randy asked why he killed Katherine Rutherford, Stottlemeyer said he had no choice because she had seen the note when she thwarted Dianne's attempted suicide. The police would have released the note to the media and she would have recognized it.

In present time, Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive at the registration station, but they are too late - the registration sheets are all gone. To make matters worse, Monk doesn't have any cell phone number with which they could trace Dianne, nor does he know which hotel she and Kyle are staying at. Exasperated, Stottlemeyer points out to Monk that there are a couple hundred hotels in the city, and it will take at least five hours to search every one of them.

Suddenly, Monk remembers that when Dianne filled out her registration form, she signed it on Monk's back. Monk starts to physically remember what Dianne wrote, with Natalie pointing out to a confused Randy that Monk met Trudy through the same way. After some difficulty (partly due to Dianne having written in cursive, and partly due to Monk's tendency to read everything and getting confused about the "bottom" of the page where the hotel name was written down), Monk manages to identify the hotel as the Blakemore Hotel, located just up the street.

At the Blakemore, Kyle has managed to subdue Dianne, and forces her over the balcony railing, leaving her holding on by just her fingers. As Kyle is about to finish the deed, Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher burst in. Stottlemeyer arrests Kyle while Randy pulls Dianne back up to safety. Natalie finds Dianne's suicide note near her bed stand and shows it to her. Dianne realizes and glares at her husband, or rather, her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Later that night, on a deserted campus, Monk and Natalie walk by the bench where Monk first expressed his love for Trudy, and Monk remembers the event.

TriviaEdit

  • If you look at Dianne Brooks's suicide note when Kyle is reading the first page during the summation flashbacks, you will notice that Dianne is not an only child: she mentions having a sister named Ellen in the note.
  • Occidental College and UCLA were stand-ins for Berkeley. However, when the compromising pictures of Stottlemeyer are shown, in one photo he is pointing at the real-life Campanile clock tower.
  • When Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher are leaving the banquet hall to look for Dianne, Natalie is wearing strappy sandals. When they get into the courtyard a few moments later, she is wearing regular pumps.
  • Dianne Brooks says that she attempted suicide 25 years ago from depression over the recent death of her mother. That her suicide note mentions her dog, dinner with specific friends at a favorite restaurant, and her breaking a window, but not her mother seems highly improbable. However, if you freeze-frame the note, you can see that she mentions her mother at least once.

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