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"Mr. Monk and the Lady Next Door" is the 12th episode of the seventh season of Monk, and the 105th episode overall. It guest stars Gena Rowlands as Marge Johnson, the titular "lady next door."


At the Guinness World Book Museum, a security guard is patrolling the museum after hours, when all of a sudden, he hears a noise. He turns his flashlight, which shines onto John Keyes, who is towing a wagon. Keyes admits that he's been casing the place every night for the past week and tells the guard that he should be asleep by now. The guard immediately reaches for his pistol, but Keyes promptly grabs him and shoves him into a control panel, activating the museum exhibits in a shower of sparks. After a short struggle, Keyes throws the guard over a railing. The guard falls and is impaled on a swordfish exhibit.

The next morning, Adrian Monk is with Natalie Teeger waiting to cross a street, as they walk to the police station to pick up their paychecks, and wondering why she's been complimenting him all morning. He wonders what she's up to and she revokes her compliments. When a broken crosswalk light doesn't change, Monk insists on staying but she crosses the street anyway and leaves him while she gets their checks at the police station. An older woman, Marge Johnson (Gena Rowlands), comes by, and notes that this walk light is always broken. She insists on crossing and tells Monk to be a pirate. Marge takes his arm and walks him across, and he reluctantly gives in. He offers to carry her bags and they go to meet Natalie at the police station.</p>

When Monk arrives at the police station, Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher quickly figure that he was assisted by Marge. Stottlemeyer tells Monk that Marge is no stranger to every single cop at the station, because she comes in very frequently to complain about things. Right now, she is complaining about John Keyes, her next door neighbor. Keyes recently bought a new set of drums, and he has been practicing them nonstop, even late at night when she's trying to sleep. The desk officer gives Marge the same message that he's told her before: Keyes has been given two warnings and has received a citation, so they can't do anything further about the drumming until his scheduled court date, and tells her that the judge might issue an injunction if she can wait patiently. Monk overhears and comes to Marge's defense, telling her to have the dispatcher forward her calls to him so he can take care of it. She touches him repeatedly, and offers him a candy.

The team is called to the museum to investigate the night guard's murder. The museum curator, Miles Franklin wants them to leave the corpse on the swordfish for their exhibit, but Stottlemeyer, shocked by the curator's insensitivity, points out that the dead guard had a name and a family. It initially doesn't seem like the guard interrupted a robbery, as no money was stolen from the cash register, until Randy notices that Togo Kamala, an egg eating robot, is missing. Randy gives his crazy theory on what he thinks happened - that the robot became sentient. However, Monk quickly finds a few clues to help them along: he finds traces of hydraulic fluid on the floor, and realizes that Togo was leaking oil. Monk also sees tire tracks on the floor, indicating that the killer brought a wagon along, meaning he must have been working alone (if there were more men involved, they would have had enough combined strength to carry Togo out). He also notices that the plaque in front of the Togo exhibit is brand-new, in spite of the fact Togo has been on display at the museum for years. The curator tells him that a jealous egg eater from Berkeley by the name of Winston Kasinsky broke in about two months earlier and vandalized the display in front of the Togo exhibit, so they had to replace the sign. Stottlemeyer recognizes this as a potential motive. They're interrupted when Marge calls Monk for help: Keyes is at his drumming again (and is drumming so loudly that Monk can clearly make it out even though he's on a phone). What no one knows, however, is that Keyes is also the museum thief.

A few minutes later, Monk visits Keyes and asks him to stop drumming, but Keyes is less than impressed. However, he agrees to take a break. Marge thanks Monk for his help and invites him inside so she can make him lunch. Monk notices she wrote a cookbook and Marge talks about her sister who said she couldn't do it. Then she discusses her dead husband, and the song she only plays once a year on his birthday. Monk notices that she had a son and Marge explains that he died when he was three years old and would be about Monk's age now if he were still alive. As they sit down to eat, Monk realizes he hasn't washed his hands. As they eat, Marge offers to write a letter asking for Monk's reinstatement and notices he's separating his mixed vegetables. She mixes them back together and he eats them, and then talks about the museum case.

Stottlemeyer and Disher go to question the egg-eating professional, Winston Kasinsky. He and his overly supportive wife Gloria live in a home filled with chicken and egg memorabilia and trophies to Winston’s prowess. Winston says he’s over his anger about his rival egg eater and preparing to break the record. However, he has an alibi that checks out: he was at an all-you-can eat chicken buffet on the night in question. When Stottlemeyer becomes skeptical about the possibility that Winston can eat 80 eggs in six minutes, Winston is more than glad to demonstrate in front of them.

That night, at a jewelry store in a different part of the city, a store manager named David Elliot is checking inventory when Keyes comes in through the back door, wearing a ski mask. Keyes produces a pistol, and orders Elliot to load certain jewels from the inventory into a bag. Elliot complies, though he begins to wonder how the thief knows exactly where everything is. He then looks at the man's eyes and recognizes Keyes. Caught, Keyes takes off his mask and admits that the mask is uncomfortable anyways. Elliot promises Keyes that he won't tell anyone, so Keyes promptly shoots him, finishes looting the store, then flees the scene.</p>

The next morning, Marge visits Monk at his apartment and starts redecorating, and gives him a scarf as a gift. Natalie arrives and is surprised that Marge has been able to get Monk to redecorate. She soon discovers that Marge has already helped Monk with his shopping and cooking. When Marge discovers that Julie is sick, she tells Natalie to go home and Monk agrees. A happy Natalie cautiously makes for the door but Monk insists she go. Once she's gone, Marge shows Monk a newspaper clipping about a 12% decrease in crime rates, with Monk's name in the article, and offers to make a scrapbook for him.

A few minutes later, Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive, but Stottlemeyer reveals to Monk that they are actually here to question Marge about the jewelry store robbery. Stottlemeyer is duly impressed by the redecorating in Monk's apartment. Randy mentions that he and Stottlemeyer consider Keyes their primary suspect in the robbery: Keyes worked at the store in question until a year ago, when he was fired for stealing a necklace. He's also had some previous arrests for assault and burglaries, and they currently have detained Keyes and are questioning him at the station. Keyes smells like their primary suspect, but the problem is that he's got an alibi: he says that at 10:30 PM, when the robbery occurred, he was at home practicing his drums. His alibi checks out, because the phone records show that Marge called the police station at 10:35 PM to complain about the noise he was making. Stottlemeyer believes her and leaves.

Monk meets with Dr. Bell, who explains he has a transformative relationship. Dr. Bell notices he refers to his real mother as his "other mother" and Monk insists Marge is a better mother than his real mother. However, Monk begins to wonder if Marge has an ulterior motive. Dr. Bell says he has to trust people but Monk insists there's always a catch.

Monk goes to the jewelry store and brings Marge along, but starts to snap at Marge. She gets in the way, collecting items for his new scrapbook, and Monk coldly tells her that he’s trying to work. Stottlemeyer and Disher mention to Monk that the murder weapon was a .45 caliber handgun. They also figure that the robbery was an inside job, as the killer had a key to the store. Monk figures that the killer wore a ski mask because he was afraid he would be recognized by the victim, and figures that the killer worked at the store recently. They've also learned that the store gets resupplied at the start of every month, which was a few days ago, meaning the robber had inside information.

Marge recognizes a piece of jewelry similar to one her husband gave her. She shows Monk a photo of her husband with the jewelry and Monk notices that her son has a birthmark. He concludes that Keyes is her son and mother and son worked together. Monk explains that Keyes needed an alibi so they set up the whole noisy neighbor report, and Marge involved Monk to support her claim. Marge denies Keyes is her son but Monk angrily insists his theory is true.

At the station, Monk interrogates Marge and demands to know where the jewels are. He throws down the scarf and says he knew she was pretending, but Marge insists that Keyes isn't her dead son. Natalie arrives to inform them that Keyes made bail thanks to his real mother. Marge takes her scarf and leaves. Disher confirms that Marge's son Paulie died. Monk and Natalie go to Marge's house to apologize, and Marge says that she has no son… again. Monk wonders what Marge could possibly think of him.

Here's What HappenedEdit

As they walk by Keyes's house, Monk notices something on the pavement in Keyes's driveway and Natalie calls Stottlemeyer. When Stottlemeyer arrives, Monk points out what he found: traces of hydraulic fluid all across the concrete. Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer follow a trail of fluid up the driveway into the garage. Monk finds a small puddle of fluid, removes a canvas, and they find Togo, the egg-eating robot, dressed in Keyes's clothing and holding drumsticks. Monk explains what really happened: Togo was Keyes's alibi for the jewelry store robbery.

Keyes started playing his drums, and he played them loudly because he wanted Marge to complain frequently, so he'd have an airtight alibi. He stole the Togo robot from the museum, dressed it up, and fitted drumsticks into its hands. For the night of the robbery, Keyes positioned Togo in the living room next to his drumset, and programmed it on a timer. At exactly 10:30 PM, while Keyes was committing the robbery, the timer activated, and Togo started to operate (the drumsticks, and the egg-eating motions of the robot, combined to make it look like he was hitting drums). By also hooking a boombox with a prerecorded drum solo track up to the timer, the resulting racket was loud enough that Marge called the police station to complain. Because of the limited view, she couldn't realize that she was seeing a robot, not Keyes, through the window.

At that point, Keyes arrives and holds them up at gunpoint. After taking both Stottlemeyer's gun and Natalie's car keys, he prepares to shoot them when Randy arrives with the warrant. Having feared that the robot was sentient, he thinks the robot is the killer, and starts shooting at Togo. Stottlemeyer and Monk take advantage of the distraction to grab Keyes's gun and force him to surrender. Stottlemeyer tells Randy that Keyes and the robot were in on the robbery together. Just then, the robot drops its jaw as if to emit a scream without warning.

Some time later, Monk visits Marge, who is preparing to move to Seattle to stay with her sister. They both apologize to each other and Marge gives him his scarf back, telling him to stay warm. They hug and she tells him to remember he's a pirate.</p>

Additional FactsEdit

*Gena Rowlands was nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Marge Johnson.

  • Tony Shalhoub and Gena Rowlands had both worked in the 1998 film Paulie. In fact, Marge says her son was named Paulie, an obvious reference to the movie.
  • In the jewelry store, Monk and Marge have a dialogue with a nod to the movie Chinatown, with Monk ending the dialogue saying, "He's your neighbor and your son"
  • Winston Kasinsky is considered a suspect in the theft of the Togo Kamala robot because he believes he should be credited for the egg eating record, not Togo. The keeping of records for eating and drinking was discontinued in 1991 over fears of possible litigation.

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