|Monk Season 7|
|Season 6||Season 8|
In an alley, three homeless men, The Professor, Ike and Reggie are drinking, and singing their own derivation of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." They ask about their friend Willie T, who is supposed to be coming back whiskey. Willie suddenly comes running in with a shopping cart, panicking, saying that someone is trying to kill him. His friends don't believe him, but then Willie spots a car at the end of the alley, says that that is his pursuer, and runs off again. His friends jokingly tell him to run like the wind.
He never returns that night. The next morning, Willie's three friends go searching for him. They find his shopping cart in a junkyard. Then they spot a piece of clothing sticking out of a refrigerator box. They open the door and find Willie inside, dead.
At Adrian Monk's apartment, Monk and Natalie are preparing for Christmas in their own way. Monk puts up a cardboard cut-out of a Christmas tree ("no muss, no fuss") while Natalie is cooking chicken soup to take to Captain Stottlemeyer, who has been laid up with crippling back pains for the last two weeks.
The three homeless men appear at Monk's apartment, wanting to hire him to find out who killed Willie. They have been to the police, who didn't believe them. They have scraped together everything they have - $14 in recyclable bottles and cans - to pay him. Monk can barely contain his horror at having three homeless men in his apartment, but Natalie shares her chicken soup and insists that Monk take the job, in the spirit of the season.
At the junkyard, the homeless men explain their discovery to Monk (who refuses to get out of the car). The police believe that Willie crawled inside the fridge for warmth, accidentally locked himself in, and suffocated. But Monk looks at the interior of the fridge through a pair of opera glasses, and sees only one handprint made by Willie - if he had died inside the fridge, he would have been clawing around. He wasn't panicking at all, as he was already dead.
Monk and Natalie go to the police station, where they are surprised to see Lieutenant Disher is on a roll filling in for Stottlemeyer. Though preoccupied with administrative duties, he accepts Monk's word and agrees to re-open the investigation into Willie's death. When Natalie says that Stottlemeyer hasn't been answering his home phone, Randy informs them that Stottlemeyer is there, insisting on working despite his bad back.
Indeed, Stottlemeyer is at the station. But he has been reduced to interviewing petitioners at the front desk. Currently, he's taking a petition from an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Parisi, who want to withdraw a complaint they filed two weeks earlier for vandalism when someone painted a picture of a fountain on their door. Mrs. Parisi mentions that she had a stubborn breathing problem, but then she remembered hearing on the news about the miracle fountain at the Franklin Park monastery, a fountain that supposedly cures anyone who drinks from it. When she took a drink from it, her breathing problems were gone within a few days, like a miracle.
Stottlemeyer limps into Randy's office, and is dismayed to see that all the open homicide cases for the week have been closed, without his help. Since he's not needed, he decides to go home. Concerned, Natalie asks him if everything is all right, and Leland says, just peachy - except for the facts: that his back refuses to heal, he is broke and behind on his alimony, he hasn't had a date in two years, and his eldest son wouldn't pick up the phone when his father called him - "Merry Christmas," he concludes.
When Stottlemeyer goes home, he finds the same picture of the fountain has been painted on his door.
The next day, the captain goes to the monastery, and talks to a woman, Katie Doyle, who believes in the miraculous powers of the fountain. She says that she was nearly crippled in a car accident years before when she busted a hip, but one sip from the fountain, and she was healed, and she went on the news to spread the word. Stottlemeyer also questions one of the monks, Brother Andrew, who admits that the monastery is not charging admission, or making money in any other way off the fountain. In fact, the new sanctity of the site has canceled their plans to build a new set of classrooms in that spot. Feeling that he has nothing to lose, Stottlemeyer cups a handful of water from the fountain, and drinks it.
At the recycling center, Monk is furious to be told that three of the bottles are Canadian and non-redeemable, and therefore the "bums" are short fifteen cents. Natalie, chuckling, says she has invited Monk's three clients to Christmas dinner. At Monk's apartment.
Stottlemeyer goes to his pharmacist, Owen McCloskey, to have his prescriptions refilled. He mentions the hype about the fountain, and Owen admits that he's not a particularly religious man. When Stottlemeyer points out that the crucifix hanging over his window suggests otherwise, Owen reveals that that was placed up by his partner, who helped him open the pharmacy ten years ago. He went to church every week, until the day he embezzled $80,000 from the store and vanished.
The next morning, Stottlemeyer wakes up in bed and reaches for his cane... only to realize that his back is completely healed. Later that day, he returns to the monastery, tosses his cane and his medicine bottles onto a growing pile of same beside the fountain, then enters the monastery.
At Monk's house, the three homeless men are sitting down to dinner with Monk, Natalie and Julie. The Professor says grace, thanking the Lord for what little they do have, including their new friends, and the food they are about to eat. They appear not to notice, or else care, that their chairs have been coated in plastic wrap, and Monk is fanning an air freshener towards them.
Conversation over dinner is awkward at first, until one of the men ask about the case. Monk says the medical examiner looked closer at Willie's corpse and determined that he was suffocated before he was put into the fridge, most likely with a plastic bag. The three men say that Monk's services are the best $14 they've ever spent, and Monk - ignoring Natalie's frantic shushing - decides to raise the issue of the three "bum" bottles. But, mid-complaint, Monk looks at the Canadian bottles and suddenly notices something interesting: they are bottles of the same chalk-based health drink that Stottlemeyer was trying for his bad back. The bottles came from Willie's cart, meaning that Willie went through Stottlemeyer's garbage at some point on the night he was killed.
Monk and Natalie go to the station to explain their lead to Randy. Randy, now sporting a mustache, which he says "goes with the territory", tells them they are too late, and Stottlemeyer has left.
At the monastery, Monk and Natalie ask for Stottlemeyer, and are stunned to be told that he is now "Brother Leland," having joined the order. Monk, but not Natalie, is allowed to enter the precinct, where he finds Stottlemeyer in the library. Stottlemeyer has taken a vow of silence, and Monk cannot speak up, as he is constantly "shushed" by another monk. In fact, Stottlemeyer has shaved his mustache, forcing Monk to use a quill pen to identify him. The two men try to communicate with charades for a few seconds, then Stottlemeyer gives up and hands Monk an envelope, and sends him off.
At Natalie's house, Julie opens the envelope and finds Stottlemeyer's badge, and a letter explaining that the fountain has healed him, both physically and spiritually. He is resigining from the SFPD and going away to a monastic retreat for two years. Monk can't bear the thought of his friend being gone, but Natalie say they should be happy for him. In fact, Natalie reasons, what would Monk have to lose by taking a drink from it himself? She drags him out of the house.
Elsewhere, the pharmacist, Owen McCloskey finds Katie Doyle in his shop, packing a suitcase. She tells him she can't go on with the "scam" about the fountain anymore, because some genuinely sick people are coming to it now, who she knows won't be healed. McCloskey grabs hold of her, telling her she can't back out now, and then kisses her.
At the fountain, Natalie tries to coax Monk into taking a drink from the fountain. He resists, then notices something odd: of all the medicine bottles in the pile of discards, more than half of them come from Owen McCloskey's pharmacy, the very pharmacy that Stottlemeyer goes to. Monk realizes aloud that there must be some kind of fraud going on, and Katie, who is hovering nearby, seizes on his remark, admitting that McCloskey was her fiance, and confesses what is really going on: there's a body buried underneath the fountain.
Armed with the truth, Monk and Natalie disguise themselves as monks and slip into the chapel, where Stottlemeyer is chanting along with the choir. Sitting behind him, they are forced to harmonize the summation to hide it in the sounds of chanting.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Nine years ago, Owen McCloskey discovered his partner was embezzling money, killed him, and buried his body at the monastery where the fountain is now. Years went by without the body being found, but when McCloskey saw an article in the papers announcing that the monastery planned to dig up the fountain and build new classrooms there. McCloskey had to find a way to stop the body from being found. He created the ultimate hoax: a miracle fountain.
The hoax was very simple, but brilliant: McCloskey tampered with unsuspecting customers' prescriptions. Instead of giving them medications, he actually administered placebos that failed to relieve their conditions, or in some cases, made them much worse. After some time, he went to his marks' houses and hand-painted an image of the fountain on their front doors, sending them to the fountain. Katie was stationed at the fountain to tell McCloskey which customers had been to the fountain. Once a person visited the fountain, he would re-fill their prescriptions, this time with real medication, making it seem as though the fountain had cured them.
McCloskey's plan was never discovered until the night Willie T. was killed, when their two worlds collided. Willie was collecting bottles from Stottlemeyer's yard and caught McCloskey painting the "DRINK" sign on the front door. When McCloskey noticed Willie T., he immediately came at him with a pistol and Willie took off running. McCloskey chased him down and killed him so he couldn't tell anyone about what he saw.
Disappointed, Stottlemeyer leaves the cloister with Monk and Natalie. "So much for miracles," he says. Monk remarks that the fountain hoax was a remarkable success; and as it was now considered sacred ground, no one would want to dig it up.
The Professor, Ike, and Reggie watch with satisfaction as McCloskey is arrested and led out of his pharmacy in handcuffs, while Randy informs Stottlemeyer that they've got a warrant to dig up the fountain. As a special thank-you to Monk, the bums present him with a jar of their "homemade" gravy. Monk recoils, but Natalie tactfully accepts on his behalf.
Stottlemeyer also watches the arrest with Disher. To Randy's surprise, Stottlemeyer says that, even though the fountain turned out to be a hoax, he still felt "something" happen when he drank the water, and he truly feels healed. As if to prove his point, his cell phone rings, and Stottlemeyer delightedly takes a call from Jared, and offers to pick him up at the airport so they can spend the weekend together. As he talks, he hands Randy a safety razor (an implied order to get rid of the mustache).
In the last scene, late at night, Monk goes alone to the monastery. He fills a glass from the fountain, but hesitates. It is unknown whether he ultimately drinks from it or not.
Old Woman: It was a miracle... Write that down!
Leland Stottlemeyer: Hmm.
Katie Doyle: It was a miracle!
Natalie Teeger: Do you guys want to sit down?
Bums: Yeah! Thanks.
Adrian Monk: No! That couch doesn't work, none of these chairs work. How 'bout we sit on some newspaper: Julie, go get some newspapers!
Adrian Monk: You wasted a trip.
Natalie Teeger: Why do you say that?
Adrian Monk: Because they make their own gravy.
Natalie Teeger: Who makes their own gravy?
Adrian Monk: Bums.
Natalie Teeger: Bums make their own gravy, what does that even mean?
Adrian Monk: You don't want to know.
Bum: Mmm, I love this gravy. Usually, we make our own.
Adrian Monk: Huh. Interesting. Did you hear that, Natalie? That's an interesting fact.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- This is the 4th Monk Christmas Special.
- Randy mentioned having a mustache before in "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake," and a picture of him with one was seen in "Mr. Monk Goes to a Wedding."
- Monk refers to the episode "Mr. Monk and the Leper," when speculating that Natalie might be going to hell for kissing a leper.
- At the foot of his cardboard tree, Monk places the unopened present that Trudy gave him before she died, which previously appeared in "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa" and "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa." This parcel plays a crucial role in the series finale, "Mr. Monk and the End."