In the video, Trudy confesses that she wasn't the perfect person Adrian always believed she was. In college, before they met, she had an adulterous affair with her law studies professor - Judge Ethan Rickover - that resulted in her becoming pregnant. She confesses that she was a fool, and she didn't love Rickover, but she loved being pregnant, and was heartbroken when the child, a baby girl, died shortly after she was born.
The reason Trudy is making the tape, she explains, is that now Wendy Stroud -- the midwife who attended the birth -- has disappeared, and Rickover, whom she hasn't seen or spoken to in more than ten years, has called her, out of the blue, and asked her to meet him in a parking garage. She says something about the meeting just doesn't feel right - "unless I'm wrong, which I probably am."
Watching the video is perhaps the hardest thing Monk has ever done in his life, but never more so than when Trudy finishes by saying that, if anything happens to her, she wants him to know: "you are not just the love of my life. You are my life."
Finally, after twelve years, Monk knows what happened: Rickover lured Trudy to the garage to kill her, afraid that she would reveal their affair, at the same time as he was hoping to be appointed to the Court of Appeals. The problem is, there is no proof.
Determined to find proof, Monk and Natalie drive to Sacramento to confront Rickover during his confirmation hearings in the state legislature. When confronted alone, Rickover denies any knowledge of what Monk is talking about, and says the poisoning must be affecting his judgment. Monk can barely control himself, but loses all restraint when Rickover desecrates Trudy's memory: at first he claims not to remember a "Trudy Ellison" among the thousands of students he taught at Berkeley, and when accused of seducing her, he breezily said that many of his female students became infatuated, even obsessed with him - apparently mental instability is one thing the Monks had in common. As he turns his back to leave, Monk goes berserk and lunges at Rickover, before he is dragged out by security guards.
At the hospital, Monk's condition is deteriorating quickly. Stottlemeyer comes to see him, telling him that he is technically under arrest for assaulting a judge. But Stottlemeyer also confides that Natalie filled him in, and that he will never rest until evidence is found to expose Rickover. Monk believes that Rickover has covered his tracks too well, and will get away. Monk makes his oldest friend promise to kill Rickover; Stottlemeyer does, but Monk can tell right away that he is lying.
At Monk's apartment, Natalie and Steven are morosely packing up his things. When Natalie uses one of Monk's wipes, she suddenly feels faint and starts seeing spots. Then she realizes a crucial detail: when they confronted Rickover at the Capitol, Monk dropped a wipe, and Rickover picked it up for him - but he used his pen, meaning he knew better than to touch it with his fingers. Kazarinski added the poison not to any of the food in Natalie's shopping cart, but to the wipes.
At the hospital, Monk pores obsessively over the newspaper clippings about Rickover's recent elevation to the Supreme Court. When a nurse comes in to take a blood sample, she notices the clippings and mentions she has been following the story. Monk says the man is an adulterer, and the nurse says that shouldn't be a big deal - adultery isn't really such a shocking offense anymore. Monk realizes that she's right, and that Rickover must have had some stronger motive for killing Trudy.
Having found the source, the hospital is now able to synthesize a cure for the poison that can be given to both Natalie and Monk. Stottlemeyer is ecstatic to hear the news, but then Disher gives him the bad news: Monk has drugged his police guard and stolen his pistol. Stottlemeyer and Disher immediately rush towards Disher's car and drive as fast as they can to get there, but unfortunately have to drive incredibly recklessly in order to get through the torrential thunderstorm that is pouring down, since Randy evidently sold his portable siren in a yard sale earlier. After crashing through various things, they eventually get stopped by a delivery truck. Stottlemeyer is forced to fire his gun in the air to get the driver to move the truck.
In the backyard of his home, in the driving thunderstorm, Rickover comes outside, dressed for the rain, and freezes when he sees Monk there, pointing a pistol at him. Monk throws him a shovel from his garden shed, and orders him to dig.
Guessing where Monk has gone, Stottlemeyer and Disher rush to Rickover's home and find the two men there, as well as two cops that presumably were summoned by Rickover. Monk refuses to lower his gun until Rickover is finished.
Here's What HappenedEdit
When Monk and his colleagues visited Rickover a few days earlier, they overheard his wife saying that he would never move away from their home in San Francisco, even if it meant commuting to Sacramento. Monk also noticed that a heavy sundial in the backyard was placed right in the shade of a large tree - a spot that made no sense.
Stottlemeyer and Disher finally convince Monk to lower his gun, and Disher takes over the digging from Rickover. He only goes a few more inches down, when he finds what Monk expected: a skeleton.
Twelve years ago, in 1997, Wendy Stroud (the midwife whose disappearance Monk and Leland were investigating when they heard about Trudy's murder) found religion and told Rickover that she would no longer hide the truth: that she had assisted at the birth of his and Trudy's illegitimate child. When Wendy told him she planned to go to the press, he killed her and buried her corpse in his yard. Then, realizing that the only person who could connect him with Wendy's disappearance was Trudy, he had her killed as well. Twelve years later, when Dr. Nash was transferring the clinic's old paper records to computer files, he must have come across some reference to the child, and confronted Rickover in secret - so he had to die too.
Trapped, Rickover confesses. Monk raises his gun again, beside himself with hatred. Stottlemeyer and Disher try to calm him, as he bellows at Rickover that he killed three innocent people, and for what? "For a job?! FOR A JOB?!" Rickover looks stunned, as if he has never had his crime put to him in such stark terms before.
A sudden coughing fit overcomes Monk, and he drops his gun onto the sundial. Rickover snatches it up. Stottlemeyer and Disher raise their own guns, anticipating a shootout - but instead, Rickover shouts, "You take care of her!" and he shoots himself, finally ending the saga of Trudy's death.
It is over. Monk and Natalie are given the cure, and recover from the poison. A few days later, Monk has his next session with Dr. Bell, and confesses that, somehow, he is still unhappy. Dr. Bell says that is only to be expected: for twelve years, the need to find Trudy's killer has driven him, and now that that is finished, Monk is naturally unsure of what to do next. He advises Monk not to force things, but to take some well-earned rest and see what happens next.
Finally, Monk puts the lid on his file box with Trudy's case in it, and Natalie writes "CASE CLOSED" on the side with satisfaction. While he is gathering up the evidence from the related homicide of Wendy Stroud, he finds an obituary that was printed after her presumed death, and reads that, on the same day that Trudy's child allegedly died, Stroud delivered an orphaned baby girl to an orphanage for adoption. Stunned, Monk realizes the meaning of Rickover's last words: though Trudy never knew it, her daughter is still alive.
With Stottlemeyer's help, Monk tracks down the girl, Molly Evans, who is now 26 years old and working as a movie reviewer. When told about her past, she becomes eager to meet Monk, and a bond of devotion instantly forms between them. She wants to hear everything he remembers about Trudy, and he is only too happy to share it with her.
Now feeling he has everything he needs, Adrian tells Molly that he wants to retire from detective work and devote the rest of his life to "watching her grow up." Laughing, Molly tells him she is already mostly grown-up, then becomes serious and tells him that he has a gift, and she thinks he should continue to use it "to help the other Trudys out there."
Throughout the episode, there have been hints that Randy has been hiding something: plane tickets to Newark (New Jersey), whispered phone conversations with someone that end in "I love you" and furtive signs that he is planning to leave San Francisco. When confronted, he admits that he has accepted a job as Chief of Police in Summit (east of Newark), and that he and Sharona are moving in together. Delighted, everyone wishes him the greatest success, especially Stottlemeyer.
At Monk's apartment, Natalie is stunned to see her boss taking on the habits of a normal person. He is sleeping in the center of the bed; he has exchanged his usual collared shirt and buttoned-up blazer for a more casual look comprising a dark long-sleeved T-shirt and an open sports jacket; and, most amazingly, he and Molly have a date to go to the movies that evening. For Natalie, it is quite an emotional moment, seeing him starting to rejoin the ranks of normal, happy people (though there are limits: they will be going to Theater Number Ten, regardless of what is playing in it). Then Stottlemeyer calls, wanting Monk's help with a new case. Before they head out of the apartment, Monk stops and doubles back to the kitchen, to make extra-sure that the stove has not been left on.
The episode ends with a montage of several funny scenes from past episodes, and then dissolves to a montage of the present:
- Stottlemeyer gets ready for work, exchanging a fond kiss with his wife, before heading out. On his way, he notices a pillow embroidered "Leland + Trudy" on the couch, and reflects that he has stepped into his friend's shoes in having found the love of his life.
- Randy, in full police uniform, carries a box of his stuff into his new office in New Jersey and places it on his new desk, on which a photo of Sharona already has pride of place.
- A noticeably relaxed Monk (still dressed in his casual outfit) and Natalie meet Stottlemeyer at a crime scene, and they head in together. This is the final time we see Adrian Monk on screen.
- And that'll do it for another season of MONK. Season 8 Until then, remember, that each of us has a comedy and a drama, and it is those comedies and dramas that make life on all the sweeter.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Trudy's remark that she plans to replace the tape with a digital watch is ironic, given that Adrian wears the last watch she gave him long after it stopped keeping good time. (Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife)
- The last lines of the episode pay tribute to the first lines of the series, in "Mr. Monk and the Candidate," when Monk interrupts his contemplation of a crime scene to wonder aloud if he left his stove on at home.
- The montage of past episodes features scenes from, in order of appearance:
- Mr. Monk and the Candidate
- Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan
- Mr. Monk Goes Back to School
- Mr. Monk and the Three Pies
- Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike
- Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival
- Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure
- Mr. Monk and the Red Herring
- Mr. Monk and the Election
- Mr. Monk and the Panic Room
- Mr. Monk Takes a Punch
- Mr. Monk on Wheels
- Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink
- Mr. Monk Goes to the Office
- Mr. Monk Is on the Air
- Mr. Monk Is Up All Night
- Mr. Monk Meets His Dad
- Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa
- Mr. Monk and the Paperboy
- Mr. Monk Gets Drunk
- Mr. Monk and the Miracle
- Mr. Monk Buys a House
- The Summit PD police car that Randy walks past on the way to his office is authentic, including the motto, "Honor, Courage and Fidelity."
- The part about one of the characters managing to solve both a current case as well as at least one cold case – of which the matter of the cold case in question heavily affected them – via a videotape was similar to how Leland Stottlemeyer and Monk solved the cases about the deaths of Miles Holling and Darren Leveroni, in Mr. Monk and the Very Very Old Man.
- Although the TV series ended with this episode, the novelizations continued beyond this point. Disher, in the novel Mr. Monk on Patrol, once hired Monk and Natalie Teeger for acting as temporary police officers, due to the Summit PD having a shortage of staffed police officers as well as controversy due to Summit's entire local government being arrested for extensive corruption increasing crimes in the area, as well as Disher becoming regent Mayor of the city.