|Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike|
July 14, 2006
Chi McBride as Mayor Ray Nicholson
|Monk Season 5|
|Season 4||Season 6|
The largest garbage strike in San Francisco history has just begun. Trash is piling up everywhere, and the sanitation union's boss, Jimmy Cusack, is promising a prolonged work stoppage. It's a nightmare scenario for Monk , and it's only made worse when Cusack is found dead in his office of an apparent suicide. Suspecting foul play, the sanitation union suspends all negotiations with the city, and hires Monk to look into Cusack's death. If Monk agrees with the police that Cusack's death was a suicide, the union promises to return to the bargaining table.
Monk and Natalie head to Cusack's office to inspect the crime scene. Cusack was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head, holding a gun in his right hand. Monk desperately wants to rule the death a suicide, but clues at the crime scene seem to indicate otherwise. For one thing, Cusack was left-handed, even though he's wearing a brace on his left hand that indicates a recent injury. For another, there are signs that someone else was in the office earlier that night: scuff marks on the desk where someone put his shoes up, and all the cashews missing from a bowl of mixed nuts.
Nevertheless, Monk, eager to end the garbage strike, lies and tells reporters that Jimmy Cusack died by his own hand.
The next day, Natalie confronts her boss. She knows him too well by now to miss the signs that he's noticed foul play, and gives him an ultimatum: he comes clean, or she quits. Monk does so, and tells Captain Stottlemeyer that Jimmy Cusack was probably murdered. The Captain begins a full-on murder investigation, and the garbage strike continues.
Monk is called in for an interview with Mayor Ray Nicholson, and freezes when he sees that the Mayor's shoes are scuffed, and that Nicholson has a compulsive yen for cashews. Not only that, but the Mayor complains about having lost his umbrella, when an unidentified umbrella was found in Cusack's office!
In the rotunda of City Hall, Monk confers with Stottlemeyer in an excited whisper: he's not sure Mayor Nicholson is "the guy," but he was definitely in Cusack's office the night he died. Unfortunately, they happen to be standing in the famous "Whispering Spot" which transmits their voices directly across the rotunda to a group
The strike worsens as the Mayor is now labeled the primary suspect in Cusack's death. Monk examines the crime scene again, and realizes what happened:
Here's What HappenedEdit
In an attempt to end the strike, Mayor Nicholson entered Cusack's office and shot him in the head, then placed the gun in his right hand. But seeing photos of Cusack on the wall, he realized that Cusack was left-handed, so he had to improvise. He ran to a local drugstore and brought a wrist bandage, then returned to the office and wrapped Cusack's left hand, making it seem like Cusack was forced to use his right hand to shoot himself. When he left the office for the second time, he left his umbrella behind.
But when Monk follows the trail to the drugstore, the clerk who was on duty shows them the receipt, which the customer left behind, and is 100% sure that, whoever the man was who bought the wrist bandage, he was not the Mayor of San Francisco. The mayor is innocent, and, for the first time, Monk is wrong!
The disorder and smell from the mounting piles of garbage are having an increasingly bad effect on Monk's rationality, not to mention his crime-solving abilities. In fact, Dr. Kroger has discovered that Monk is disposing of his garbage by mailing large boxes of it to him. The next morning, Natalie calls Stottlemeyer and Disher in a panic, to show them Monk, who has commandeered a garbage truck and is attempting to clean up
San Francisco single-handedly. When Natalie reminds him that he has a case to solve, Monk gives a maniacal laugh and says he already has. It all came together, he explains, after he saw a flyer for an upcoming Alice Cooper concert, showing Alice sitting in a wing chair similar to the one Cusack was found in!
Here's What HappenedEdit
Alice Cooper, like all rock stars, is an avid collector of antique wing chairs, and was consumed with jealous rage after reading about Cusack's, so he broke into Cusack's office, beat Cusack up, and shot him to death - unfortunately, he put a bullet hole through the chair, which is why he didn't take it.
As Monk throws the switch on the truck's compactor, the compartment overflows and buries Monk in bags of garbage, sending him completely around the bend.
Exasperated, Stottlemeyer takes Monk to a "clean room," in a computer factory: hermetically sealed, soundproofed, and 100% dust and germ free. Monk's head clears, and within a few seconds he solves the case.
Here's What Really HappenedEdit
Monk remembers that according to the drugstore receipt, the man who bought the wrist bandage also bought a pack of Belgian Gold cigarettes. With his head clear, Monk remembers that during the intial investigation, union accountant Ron Nealy was smoking a pack of cigarettes with the label "Belgian Gold". Nealy makes more sense as a suspect than either the Mayor or Alice Cooper: Stottlemeyer remembers Nealy saying that $300,000 had vanished. If Nealy was skimming from the union's pension fund, he was bound to get caught when the strike was enacted - the accounts would have been audited as part of the negotiations. To avoid being caught, Nealy had to kill Jimmy Cusack and blame him for the money.
Borrowing from Monk's earlier theory, Nealy shot and killed Jimmy Cusack and made it look like a suicide. Midway through, he realized that he had made a big mistake: he had put the gun in Cusack's right hand and Cusack was left-handed. Nealy hence had to make an emergency trip to a nearby drugstore to buy a wrist bandage. As he left the office, he grabbed the Mayor's umbrella. Also borrowing from Monk's earlier theory, the Mayor was in Cusack's office on the night Cusack was killed (that being confirmed by the matching scuff marks and the cashews). Earlier that night, hours before the shooting, the Mayor and Cusack were meeting in secret, trying to find a way to settle the strike. This was an unofficial communication, since the two sides officially were not talking. He forgot his umbrella when he left. The Mayor could never admit that he was in that office on that night because Cusack's death would have otherwise been considered political suicide.
After Nealy is arrested, the strike ends, and Monk is the union's new hero, having solved Jimmy Cusack's murder, ended the strike, and saved their pension fund from Nealy's skimming. They return to work, ending one of the worst crises Monk has ever had to endure.
- San Fransisco has a huge garbage strike which slowly drives Monk a little crazy.
- The mayor of San Fransisco becomes a suspect in the murder of the sanation depatments leader.
- Monk manages to solve the murder becoming the union's hero.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- On the Monk Cast Favorites Marathon, this episode was shown as one of Tony Shalhoub's favorites.
- In the clean room, Stottlemeyer plays with the yo-yo he received during his anger management therapy in "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Marriage."
- Ronnie and Morris previously appeared in "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife", in which they were filling in for Tully, Monk's regular garbageman.