|Mr. Monk and the Panic Room|
June 25, 2004
Willie Garson as Leo Navarro
|Monk Season 3|
|Season 2||Season 4|
Record producer Ian Blackburn is working late at night in his home studio, alone except for his pet chimpanzee, Darwin. He takes a call from his wife, pop star Chloe, then hangs up and ruminates about how nothing good in life lasts. Suddenly the intruder alarm sounds, and Blackburn quickly leads Darwin to his private panic room and shuts the door.
Police cars screech to a stop outside. The officers make their way into the house, announcing themselves. Finding the panic room door locked, they cut a hole in the steel door with a blowtorch. Inside, they see Blackburn, shot dead, and Darwin standing over him, holding a revolver. One officer asks if they should read Darwin his rights, and Darwin shakes his head while shrieking.
At Sharona’s house, she is patching up her son, Benjy, who got into a fight at school trying to defend another kid from bullies. She chews him out, saying there is never any excuse for getting mixed up in violence. Then she takes a call, while Monk finishes the bandaging.
Stottlemeyer calls Monk to the Blackburn house, to see if he can offer any explanation besides the obvious one. Monk is stumped: the panic room is completely inaccessible from the outside, and there was no one else in there except Blackburn and Darwin. Moreover, Blackburn was shot four times, including twice in the back, which rules out the possibility of suicide. But Sharona is instantly taken with Darwin, and appalled to hear that, as the most likely “suspect,” the animal control authorities need to put the chimpanzee down.
Out of respect for her, Stottlemeyer agrees to test whether a chimp can fire a gun. He takes Darwin with him to an empty interrogation room, puts an empty pistol on the table, and tries a variety of bizarre (and hysterical) antics to agitate the chimp into picking up the gun. What he doesn’t know, is that Randy has handed him a loaded gun by mistake. As Randy, Monk, and Sharona run down to the locked room and yell through the glass that the gun is loaded, Stottlemeyer starts acting up even more. There is a shot, and Monk, Sharona, and Randy dive to the ground as the glass shatters. Stottlemeyer walks out, carrying the gun (and remarkably composed), and says, “The case is closed.”
Sharona urges Monk to keep investigating. He does so, reluctantly. They interview the security expert, Kurt Wolff, who designed and built the panic room, and he assures them that it was impossible for anyone to get in. Blackburn’s widow, pop star Chloe says that Ian had a depressive personality, and she can easily believe that he wanted to kill himself. Monk notices signs that Chloe is having an affair – a place setting for two – but Chloe seems to lack both motive and opportunity: she was worth much more money than her husband, and was definitely on tour when he was killed.
When the animal control authorities insist on taking Darwin away, Sharona becomes desperate. She breaks into the animal shelter and rescues Darwin. The next day, Stottlemeyer and Disher come to her apartment and reluctantly arrest her, saying she left traces behind. Darwin, however, is nowhere to be found and she refuses to tell them where he is. Before leaving the house, she sees Benjy and tells him she was wrong, it is important to stand up for people who can’t defend themselves.
Monk visits Sharona in jail, and asks her to cooperate. She says she can’t. Monk returns home, and finds that Sharona has stashed Darwin there, tearing apart his apartment. Outwardly calm, he telephones Dr. Kroger, asking him to make an emergency house call. Shortly after Dr. Kroger arrives, Monk’s landlord also arrives, saying that pets aren’t allowed. He removes his hat and steps forward to grab Darwin, who goes berserk and starts shrieking. Monk notices that Darwin calms down when the landlord puts his hat back on, indicating that Darwin is afraid of bald men. Monk says he's solved the case.
Monk, Stottlemeyer, and Disher look over the panic room while Kurt Wolff seals it for them. They say that they overlooked a vital clue: Blackburn was carrying a tape recorder, switched on, when the alarm sounded, which he carried into the panic room and dropped, so it must have recorded the shooting. They cannot touch it now, since it is damaged, but will be back in the morning with a technical expert.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Sharona is released from jail, and meets Monk, Stottlemeyer, and Disher at Blackburn’s house at night. Monk explains that Wolff (whose head is shaved) is Chloe’s lover. They met when he handled security on one of her tours, and they schemed together to kill Blackburn, since Chloe preferred murder to an expensive and messy divorce. Wolff built the panic room with a secret entrance, inside the built-in refrigerator. On the night of the murder, he snuck into the house through the secret crawl space and tripped the alarm to lure Blackburn into the panic room, where Wolff was lying in wait with a revolver.
The idea was to stage a suicide, but the plan went wrong: Darwin jumped Wolff, allowing Blackburn to seize the gun, and in the struggle Wolff ended up shooting Blackburn four times, meaning the suicide coverup was not an option. The best he could do was to place the gun in Darwin’s hand, to frame him for the murder. Because Wolff was bald, that's why Darwin acted distraught when he saw a bald man from animal control: He mistook him for his owner's murderer.
While they lie in wait, Wolff crawls into the panic room through the secret passage, meaning to retrieve the tape recorder, and is caught. Monk confesses that Wolff shouldn't have bothered, they already checked, and found nothing on the recorder.
Sharona, Benjy, and Monk, go to the animal shelter to bid goodbye to Darwin, who is being transferred to the San Francisco Zoo (a shot of a newspaper shows that Chloe has been arrested for murder).