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Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny

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Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny is the thirteenth episode of the 2nd season of Monk.

SynopsisEdit

A law student offers to get Monk reinstated to the police force in exchange for his help in finding the kidnappers of her beloved grandmother.

PlotEdit

Middle-aged law student Julie Parlo is returning home to her beloved grandmother, Nana Parlo, after a morning jog when she sees two masked people carrying her grandmother out of the house, bound and gagged, still in her rocking chair. Before Julie can call for help, the kidnappers load Nana and her chair into a van and they speed away.

Julie goes to Adrian Monk for help. Monk is willing to help but Sharona, hard-nosed as ever, demands to know how Julie can afford to pay Monk's consulting fee. Miserably, Julie admits that she doesn't have much money but offers Monk a different kind of compensation: she is on close terms with one of her professors, a nationally famous legal mind who can help Monk exploit some loopholes in the disability laws and get himself reinstated to the police department. Sharona is skeptical but Monk eagerly accepts.

With Monk's encouragement, Stottlemeyer and Disher and a police team take up post in Julie's house, standing by for when the kidnappers call back. While they are waiting, Julie passes around some homemade pastries. Sharona is surprised at how good they are, and Julie confesses that her real dream was always to open a bakery.

The kidnappers call the house, and Julie picks up the phone, pretending to be alone (a pretense made difficult by the fact that Disher, who is hyper-allergic to cats, can't stop sneezing because of the dander from a lost cat that Julie found a few weeks earlier). The ransom demand is extremely bizarre: they want Julie to buy turkey dinners for all of the homeless people in the Mission District, making sure they are distributed to the poor by having two officers go themselves.

Befuddled, the police obey the demand, with Monk and Sharona on ladling duty, as well as Disher disguising himself as a homeless woman as part of the "stake out". Sure enough, the kidnappers' second call leads Julie to a place where she finds Nana, alive and well.

Nana is unable to identify her kidnappers, she did seem to recognize their voices, and listened to Opera. In addition, she stated that they never harmed her. In fact, they gave her all the pizza she ever wanted. The police's only clue is a photo of Nana taken during her captivity that was sent to Julie. In the background is a graffiti drawing of a symbol connected with the Lightning Brigade, a well-known radical group in the 60's. The group's former leader, Ron Abrash, now a lecturer at Berkeley, is brought in for questioning, but he claims to know nothing (Monk, by now, is so sure of his reinstatement that he is hanging around the police station to an obnoxious level, and takes part in Abrash's interrogation – "What, are you guys playing 'good cop, crazy cop'?!"). However, Monk, mostly out of compulsion due to Abrash's sleeves being uneven, requested that he roll up his left sleeve, which revealed that he actually had a tattoo of the Lightning Brigade's logo, which they then deduce that Abrash, as well as the Lightning Brigade, was in fact innocent of the crime (the tattoo had three slashes for thunder, each carrying a specific meaning, whereas the "logo" found at the house only had two slashes, none of which carried any significant meaning.). Afterwards, Nana was discharged from the hospital, and Julie is interviewed by the news, where she states that Monk doubts that the Lightning Brigade was ever actually involved, and vows that he will find those responsible and bring them to justice. Meanwhile, in a house playing opera music, a mysterious man turns off the TV set.

Even Monk has doubts when Julie admits that she doesn't know the famous legal mind whose name she dropped; instead, she has a team of her classmates working on Monk's "case." Further doubts arise when Monk meets Julie's crack team, none of whom strike him or Sharona as particularly sharp (One of them was studying Spanish so he'd take his bar exam in Peru, apparently unaware that he'd have to only practice law in Peru as a result, and another ended up sending two people to be executed due to not reviewing all the facts). Yet they manage to convince Monk that he can earn his reinstatement through a loophole in some recent disability legislation: all he has to do is pass a basic written test on police procedures. Unbeknownst to them, however, a mysterious person is watching Monk, and then Monk ends up receiving an anonymous note telling him to go to the third floor of the library alone, as he shouldn't trust them. He attempts to do so, but Sharona catches up with him, citing that her being around is going to be "as alone as [Monk] can ever get." Monk doesn't find their contact, although he does find a book slightly ajar on the bookshelf as well as a book ladder nearby, so he attempts to put the book back on the shelf. Suddenly, the bookshelves behind Monk then collapse dominoes-style right as he is doing it, and Monk narrowly escapes death by grabbing onto a horizontal pole above. Stottlemeyer states that this action means that the person responsible was most likely getting worried about getting caught, and thus means they are getting closer to capturing the culprit.

Monk studies for the test and has no trouble answering any of the questions, and goes in to the station confident of passing. But when it comes time to sit for the test, his obsessive habits make it impossible to get past the first question without endlessly re-sharpening his pencil, refolding the booklet page, etc. Time is called, and Monk has failed.

He is so distraught that he locks himself in Stottlemeyer's office, refusing to talk to him or Sharona. Through the door, Stottlemeyer tries to reason with Monk, guessing that he unconsciously failed the test on purpose, since he wants to earn reinstatement fairly, not based on a loophole. But Stottlemeyer's own reason leaves him when he realizes that Monk has used Stottlemeyer's office chair to barricade the door. Stottlemeyer yells that the chair is an antique that his father gave him, and threatens to murder Monk if Monk has so much as scratched it.

In a daze, Monk opens the door, having just solved the case.

Here's What Happened Edit

Monk, Sharona, Stottlemeyer, Disher, and Julie confront Harold and Carol Maloney, a married pair of antiques dealers. Julie recognizes them as a couple who came to her house a week ago, saying their cat had gone missing, and they wanted to see if the lost cat Julie had found was theirs.

While there, Monk realizes, they must have seen Nana's rocking chair, which they realized was a priceless antique. The chair is, in fact, sitting in plain sight in the Maloneys' living room, which they proudly describe as having belonged to Thomas Jefferson (there is a carving of the Monticello on the back of the chair, and evidence that suggests he sat in this chair while drafting the Declaration of Independence), and worth more than a million dollars (to be exact, it costed two to two and a half million dollars, at the very least). The Maloneys' also planned to barter off the chair in an auction.

If the Maloneys had simply stolen the chair, that might have alerted Julie to its value, and they could not have sold it without questions being asked. Instead, they covered up the theft with the kidnapping and the fake ransom demand.

Julie swears that she recognizes the chair as hers, but the Maloneys innocently claim that they bought the chair at a yard sale, and produced documentation that seemingly proved it (although Julie claims that it was a forgery). It is their word against Julie's, with no documented proof on her side.

Dejectedly, Monk and company leave the house. Stottlemeyer and the others then question Julie as to whether she has any documented proof, to which she says she doesn't: Her nana bought the chair at a flea market 20 years prior, she doesn't remember which flea market it was at, and they don't even have photographs of the flea market. Monk suddenly realizes something: the Maloneys claimed they went to Julie's house looking for a lost cat, but Disher, whose allergies to cats were severe enough that he would sneeze up a storm if the house had a cat within a year, didn't sneeze even once when they were inside the house – meaning they don't have a cat at all, and went to the house simply to case the house before the theft. The proof? Julie pulls out a copy of the "Lost Cat" flyer she posted around town, which features a picture of the cat sitting in the chair.

In triumph, Stottlemeyer and the others march back into the house. Julie remains outside, calling Nana with her cell phone and gleefully informing her that she is dropping out of law school, now that they can afford to move to a bigger house, and open Julie's bakery (Implying that she intended to sell the chair).

At home, Monk sadly removes his police uniform from his closet rack and stores it in one of the drawers, presumably under the belief that it will be a long time before he'll even think about putting it on again. But once he's gone, Sharona, unwilling to let him give up, pulls it out and hangs it up again.

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • Rachel Dratch, besides being well-known as a regular on Saturday Night Live, is the sister of series writer and producer Daniel Dratch.
  • Ron Abrash is played by Michael Shalhoub, Tony Shalhoub's brother.
  • This is the first episode of Monk in which no one is killed, although an attempted murder on Monk was shown.

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