"Mr. Monk and the Leper" is the 10th episode of the fifth season of Monk.
|Monk Season 5|
|Season 4||Season 6|
Late at night, Natalie Teeger sits in her car outside a dimly lit bar in a shady neighborhood, while Adrian Monk walks into a dimly lit bar where he is meeting someone. Monk goes to a booth at the far back of the bar, and meets the shadowy man, who refuses to to show himself in the light. He introduces himself as Derek Bronson, the CEO of Bronson Technologies, as Monk remembers. He says that everyone thought he was killed seven years ago in a ballooning accident. But he actually landed on an island west of Guam, lived there for a few years, and then came back. He didn't come back as soon as possible because he got sick. Monk is confused, until Derek moves his face into the light and reveals the truth: he is a leper.
Monk is next seen running out of the bar, flailing his right hand like crazy. Natalie frantically tries to unlock her car, but is confused as to which buttons do which. Desparate, Monk just runs back to his apartment.
The next morning, Monk is seen at his apartment, scrubbing his right arm with soap like crazy, trying to get all leprosy traces off him, and, to Natalie's exasperation, tries lighting his hand on fire. She finally calms him down and convinces him that shaking Derek's hand is not a bad thing. In fact, she mentions that Derek has upped the amount of money that he wants to pay Monk.
Monk and Natalie pay a visit later that day to Dr. Aaron Polanski, a dermatologist (someone who specializes in skin diseases). He explains that leprosy is in fact rare and not contagious (he's only ever seen one other case of it up close), and there is in fact a cure, in spite of Natalie's claims that Bronson is allergic to the antibiotic. While they're visiting, Natalie notices some photos of Randy Disher on the wall and Dr. Polanski confirms that he's seen Randy before.
Although still hesitant, Monk agrees to meet Bronson again in the bar, but takes a seat two booths away. Bronson tells Monk that there will be a probate hearing in a week. He was having an affair, from which there was leftover letters, which would "destroy his wife" and after being declared legally dead, lawyers could go through his files and would find the letters. Bronson finally revealed the job: he wants Monk to break into his house and steal the letters, and return them to him. After giving Monk a map and the security codes, as well as pleading with him, Monk finally accepts.
Natalie and Monk break into the house and make their way up to the home office, after removing the love letters, they are confronted by Bronson's wife, Mandy, who claims she knew about the affair for years, and wants to see Derek.
The two Bronsons meet in a garage where Mandy demands Derek to come home. Derek refuses, saying that no one can see him in his current condition, until it is revealed that his will left all of his money and posessions to his nephews. In order to save his wife from eviction, he needs to prove that he is in fact still alive. Catching Monk eavesdropping, he is able to coerce him in to testifying at the probate hearing. Captain Stottlemeyer seems incredulous when Monk and Natalie tell him the next day about what has happened. Natalie also asks Randy about Dr. Polanski, and Randy reluctantly admits that the photos come from a case where he was working undercover as a teenager with acne.
What none of them know is that the man that they believe is Derek Bronson is in fact a secret lover to Mandy. That night, he is seen playing the piano at her house, and at the end of his piece, she shoots him.
The next day, Monk is brought to the probate hearing to testify. The lawyers to Derek's nephews are quick to point out that Monk's story is somewhat weak since his meetings with Bronson happened in dimly lit locations. To test whether or not Monk is honest, the probate judge asks Monk to turn away from him and describe his shirt. Monk not only describes the shirt but also exposes that the judge himself is sleeping with his stenographer. Impressed, the judge makes a ruling based on Monk's word.
Stottlemeyer and Disher, meanwhile, are summoned to an apartment where a pianist named Mr. Steiner has been reported missing by his landlady, who believes that he's been murdered. In searching the apartment, they uncover some interesting evidence that appears to tie the missing pianist to the Bronson case: a gym bag containing a makeup kit and a book on skin diseases, and a note on his calendar that shows that he has been to Mandy Bronson's house.
That night, Natalie goes on a date with Dr. Polanski. While they're making out in his car, Dr. Polanski offhandedly mentions that he himself used to have leprosy. Natalie doesn't take this very well. While that happens, Monk is stuck at Natalie's house babysitting Julie (or, rather, Julie is babysitting Monk). When he looks at the label on a ketchup bottle, he suddenly realizes that he's been duped: the security panel in the Bronson house had a label identifying it as coming from a security company that was founded in 2003. If Derek hasn't been home in seven years, how did he know the code to his own alarm system? Before Monk can ponder this, Natalie comes rushing in and begins washing her mouth out with soap, horrified at learning that she was making out with a leper.
Here's What HappenedEdit
The next day, Monk and Natalie sneak back to the Bronson estate looking for evidence (with Monk slightly unsettled to see that Natalie is now drinking a bottle of mouthwash). Monk has figured out what happened: Derek Bronson has been dead since 1999, when Mandy murdered him for his money and disposed of the body. She was aware that after seven years, Derek would be legally declared deceased and Mandy would be left penniless. In order to keep this from happening, Mandy seduced a pianist who had performed at her house and convinced him to impersonate Derek. Furthermore, the two picked Monk as their patsy because they knew that he was an honest man, and they decided to have Derek be a "leper" so that Monk would be hesitant to look at the guy and not get a good enough look at his face to see that it was an imposter.
While they're snooping around, they suddenly hear a loud hissing noise. Monk and Natalie follow the noise out back, where they find Mandy inflating a hot air balloon. She temporarily departs to take a phone call. Monk and Natalie approach the balloon and find the imposter Derek's body in the basket, loaded down with weights. Monk guesses that Mandy plans to use the balloon to dump the body in the ocean, like she probably did to her husband seven years ago.
Meanwhile, Randy visits Dr. Polanski to remove the embarrassing acne pictures of him from the wall (a process that also involves ripping out part of the wall the photo was attached to). When Randy offhandedly mentions Natalie in conversation, Dr. Polanski reveals that he's just discovered himself that 'Derek Bronson' was an imposter: apparently, the leper colony he supposedly was living at since 1999 closed down two years ago. Randy suddenly remembers that the missing pianist had a book on skin diseases and a makeup kit in his apartment. He puts two and two together and the two immediately depart for the Bronson estate.
Mandy returns to the hot air balloon, and Monk and Natalie try to make an escape in the balloon. She opens fire with a pistol, sending up several bullets that puncture the balloon, causing it to leak air and gradually plummet towards Earth. She continues firing until Randy and Dr. Polanski arrive. While Randy arrests Mandy, the balloon basket hits the ground, throwing Natalie and the imposter's body out. Monk hangs on to the balloon until it hits a cliff and plummets into the sea, leaving Monk dangling precariously from a cliff ledge until Dr. Polanski arrives to help him to safety.
At the end, Natalie prepares to go on a date with Dr. Polanski, although she is obviously still nervous about knowing he once had leprosy, with Monk obviously avoiding him. Julie comes out and introduces herself and pleasantly shakes hands with Dr. Polanski, despite being aware of his condition. Monk is left looking at his hands, wondering if he overreacted.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- When looking around the apartment, Disher plays a slower, simplified version of the original Monk theme on the piano calling it "background music."
- The episode was originally broadcast in Color and Black and White in homage to "Moonlighting": it followed a typical "Moonlighting" plot with its twists and turns particularly being hired by someone who is not who they say they are to provide false testimony. To commemorate this, two introductions were shot: one hosted by Tony Shalhoub for the black-and-white version; and one hosted by Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford for the color version. The plot also includes an implausible chase sequence at the climax of the episode. In addition Stottlemeyer and Disher seem to be aware of their existence as fictional characters, to the point of playing and whistling their own incidental music, as mentioned above.
- The hole Disher leaves on the wall after tearing his photo off is missing from the next shot, and all but the first picture have returned to the wall after they were clearly shown falling.
- The scene was originally supposed to simply show Disher swiping the photo off the wall. However, the set designer ended up gluing the picture to the wall instead, and thus Jason Gray-Stanford improvised Disher's confused reactions and further futile attempts to get it off.