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Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy

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Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy" is the fifteenth episode of the fifth season of Monk.

PlotEdit

Late at night, a street musician named Cyrus looks over his meager earnings from the night, and decides to walk home, unaware that he is being followed. When he turns into an alley, a shadowy figure hits him over the head, and then, with the contents of a bag he has carried with him, proceeds to murder Cyrus in six different ways, crossing each off a checklist.

That same night, at about 1:30 in the morning, Natalie and Monk are looking over a murder scene with Stottlemeyer and Disher. A woman named Jean Garnett was found dead inside a gas station. Evidence indicates that she worked for a pharmaceutical company, was attending a medical conference in town, and that she ran from the scene of her murder somewhere else, before collapsing. A pair of glasses that are definitely not hers were found nearby, meaning they must belong to the killer.

While Monk looks over the scene, Natalie hands her purse to him so she can use the bathroom. While she is in there, her cell phone rings, and she shouts to Monk to answer it, expecting a call from a United Airlines copilot of some kind. Monk fumbles with the phone, taking too long to figure it out, and the caller hangs up. Aggravated, Natalie berates her boss for never learning how to use a cellular phone.

Abruptly, they are all called away by the Deputy Commissioner, who tells them that Cyrus's body has been found, and it looks like a serial killer might be on the loose in San Francisco. When they meet the Deputy commissioner, he has some other bad news that he uncomfortably tells them: the Mayor has gone over his head and called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who are now in command.

Before Stottlemeyer can object, an enormous, indescribable vehicle pulls up outside City Hall, and F.B.I. Agents Thorpe and Keao march out. Thorpe makes clear that Stottlemeyer and Monk are under his command now when he says, "Here's my definition of 'tandem': I tell you to do something, and you do it." His first order of business is to order the medical examiner's office to drop all other cases and conduct a rush autopsy on Cyrus's body.

At the morgue, Monk is distracted examining the body of Jean Garnett, and Agent Thorpe sternly orders Monk away. She doesn't matter – the entire department must catch this killer within the next 36 hours, as a note left on Cyrus's body says that the killer plans to strike again at 1:00 PM in the afternoon of the day after next.

Making clear that he is giving Monk the benefit of the doubt, Thorpe invites Monk along to view the murder scene. Within a short time, Monk gets himself banished from the agents' prize vehicle (a mobile crime lab and command post), when he mistakes the plasma screen television mounted on the wall for a blackboard (when cleaned, a hole is burned in the monitor).

Monk spends a day at Natalie's home in a funk. Julie, who is working on Natalie's laptop, offers to teach him a few basic computer skills. By that night, Monk is back at his own apartment, proudly playing Solitaire on the borrowed laptop.

The next afternoon, he brings the laptop to a communications center set up at the station, and plugs it in along with the other officers. During the meeting, the anonymous "Six-Way Killer" calls the station to taunt them. Stottlemeyer takes the call, drawing it out long enough for the FBI to trace it. Unfortunately, Monk, in the middle of the meeting, intercepts an email from one of Julie's friends, and responds to it. Wires get crossed, and a short time later, a SWAT. team storms a house, scaring a slumber party of innocent teens, including Julie, near to death.

Furious, Agent Thorpe calls Monk an immature child, whose job is now to step out of the way and let the "real men" do their job. He kicks Monk off the investigation and orders him to go home.

In session with Dr. Kroger, Monk morosely says that Thorpe has convinced him that he'll never get back on the force – there's no place for a "dinosaur" like him in modern law enforcement. He even said he would guarantee that reinstatment would never happen. Dr. Kroger reminds Monk that he's never needed technology before to be the phenomenal detective he is. He's put dozens of criminals behind bars without ever having to actually type on a computer (electronics only were used in minor cases). Monk's mind, his intuition, his ability to feel the essentials of a case – these are his most powerful weapons, and they are things that not even the best technology can duplicate.

Riding along in the mobile command post, Stottlemeyer echoes this belief to Agent Thorpe: he knows firsthand that Monk can be difficult sometimes, but his mind is the greatest asset any police department can have to track down their suspects. Thorpe scornfully informs Stottlemeyer that their command post alone carries about $500 million worth of state-of-the-art crime-fighting equipment – "are you trying to tell me that your funny little friend is smarter than all of this?" Without flinching, Stottlemeyer answers, "yes."

The medical examiner calls with a preliminary on the autopsy, determining which wound was fatal, and which were post-mortem. Thorpe tells him to keep at it, and determine the exact order of the wounds. When he is done, he finds that the bludgeoning only knocked Cyrus out. The suffocation is what killed him, and everything else was post-morten. In the meantime, the preliminary analysis is fed into the F.B.I.'s computer, which spits out a psychological profile indicating that the Six-Way Killer may have a deep, personal hatred of street musicians.

The F.B.I. sets up a stakeout: they sweep the city, clearing all musicians off the street, except one: Randy, wearing the instruments of a one-man band, and yodeling his famous "Don't Need A Badge" track rather badly, and forgetting most of the lyrics. However, Stottlemeyer tells Thorpe that there are two flaws in his plan: one, the first person to attack Randy may not be their serial killer. It might be him (this being because the Captain is pretty offended by the way he is referred to in the song). Also, he thinks that this stakeout is a complete waste of time. When Thorpe asks him if he said something, Stottlemeyer says that Monk technically is right. He has never read one of these psychological profiles that literally meant "squat" (nothing) especially made by one of these gizmos.

Elsewhere, Monk and Natalie are passing in front of the city's Natural History Museum. Monk moans that he might as well call the M.E., and have himself stuffed and mounted, so he can be put on display "along with all the other relics." Natalie, trying to lighten his mood, treats his suggestion mock-seriously, saying they'd have to wait another day or two, since the M.E.'s office is too busy with the Six-Way Killer. Monk stops dead in his tracks, having solved the case. He asks Natalie what time it is. When she replies that the killer's deadline is 15 minutes away, he tells her they need to hurry.

Elsewhere, the FBI has just tackled a harmless young man approaching Randy while reaching into his pocket – for what turns out to be a harmonica, since he wanted to be an accompanist. Humiliated, Thorpe is in an unusually receptive mood, when Natalie texts Agent Keao and summons them to the morgue, to hear Monk out.

Here's what happenedEdit

There is no serial killer stalking San Francisco: Cyrus's murder and the Six-Way Killer business was just an elaborate diversion designed to draw the police's attention away from the murder of Jean Garnett.

On the night she died, Jean Garnett had a dinner date with a doctor she met at the convention. Afterwards, he drove her to the park, where something went wrong. Monk says they may never know exactly what (though, according to the flashback, the doctor had a little too much to drink, became amorous, and then turned violent when she refused and tried to get away from him). Whatever happened, he beat her to death, though she managed to run to the gas station before she collapsed and died.

Now the doctor had a very big problem: at dinner, she had eaten a distinctive dessert. During the autopsy, the police would find Garnett's stomach contents. They would trace them back to the restaurant that she had been at with the doctor that night, and they'd be able to identify the doctor because he had most likely paid with a credit card.

But, if the doctor could distract the police for 36 hours – the time it would take for the contents of her stomach to be completely digested, postmortem – he would most likely be safe. So he picked out a victim at random, killed him in six conspicuously bizarre and gruesome fashions, taunted the police, and spun them into a frenzy with fears of a non-existent serial killer.

Nobody says aloud that the FBI fell for the ploy, hook, line and sinker, and dragged the SFPD after them. Nobody needs to.

The medical examiner extracts the contents of Ms. Garnett's stomach and, in a twist of poetic justice, it is Natalie who provides the final clue, bypassing both F.B.I. agents: seeing flower petals and real gold flakes, she recognizes them as ingredients in a special cake, billed at a particular restaurant as "The World's Most Romantic Dessert."

Staking out the hotel where the medical convention is being held, the F.B.I. and the police confront a Dr. Leven. Seeing his missing glasses held up in an evidence bag, Leven panics and makes a run for it. It looks like he will get away, but Stottlemeyer snatches away Agent Keao's precious PDA and flings it, catching Levin square in the back and knocking him to the ground. Smugly, Stottlemeyer admits to Thorpe that he was right: one of the F.B.I.'s fancy "gizmos" did catch the killer, although it was because the gizmo hit Dr. Leven, not because it identified him.

At Natalie's house, under Julie's supervision, Monk pens apology notes to each of her friends for having inadvertantly sent the SWAT team to the slumber party. Seeing how long it is taking Monk to handwrite each one, Natalie offers the use of her laptop, only to be politely, but firmly, refused.

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • The six ways in which Cyrus is killed, according to the checklist, are:
    • 1. Bludgeoned over the head with a tire iron;
    • 2. Suffocated with a plastic bag tightened over his head;
    • 3. Injected with a small vial of a lethal poison;
    • 4. Stabbed four times with a knife;
    • 5. Shot twice in the chest with a revolver; and
    • 6. Crush(ed) by running over him with a car.
  • Randy sings "Don't Need A Badge," his single first introduced in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist."
  • In almost every shot, Natalie's lower torso is concealed by a table, a chair, a shopping bag, etc. Traylor Howard was in an advanced stage of pregnancy by this time.
  • In "Mr. Monk is Someone Else," Monk likewise mistakes a plasma TV for a blackboard, when he enters Frank DePalma's lavish hotel suite.
  • The episode appears to be a satire of modern crime shows which overemphasize the use of fancy technology to solve cases. The second season episode "Mr. Monk and the TV Star" is about the star of a show that is a spoof C.S.I. The episodes drive home the point that old-fashioned detective work like Monk's works better to solve cases.
  • The episode appears to take a lot of liberties with computers, such as not showing passwords when typed. Also, reorganizing cables as shown in the episode would not cause a call-tracing mix-up, while a hijacked signal would.
  • Some viewers have criticized Monk's obliviousness to technology. For example, he doesn't seem to know the first thing about the operation of a cell phone when he's seen Natalie and Sharona utilize them, and he is also a very smart individual, not to mention that he's spoken via cell phones with others. Another criticism has come from the impression that Monk doesn't appear to have ever used a computer: when he was on the force, Monk would have had to use a computer to submit arrest reports.
  • Many viewers have criticized this episode for the depiction of the FBI agents, especially Thorpe, claiming that he and the other agents treat Monk like an idiot, arguing with a scene where Monk accidentally writes on the plasma TV mistaking it for a blackboard. They act as if they expect everyone would know that the thing is a TV screen, not knowing that some people might mistake it for a blackboard if it was off.
  • Why didn't Stottlemeyer inform Thorpe that Monk could file discrimination charges on account of disability against him?
  • Exactly why did the mayor think it necessary to have the FBI investigate a potential serial killer homicide when the killer has only claimed a single victim so far? The only crimes that would be under FBI jurisdiction in San Francisco by default are bank robbery and federal crimes like weapons trafficking. Also, in real life the only time a murder falls under FBI jurisdiction is if A) the murder is committed during a federal crime like bank robbery, B) it is a political assassination or C) the killer crossed state lines during the act.
  • At the beginning of the episode, it was said that Jean Garnett's murder happened three hours ago in the park. But in the flashback, when the victim collapses at the gas station, there were some people there. It is very unlikely that they did not call the police or an ambulance earlier, or that the police would take such a long time to arrive.
  • As with several other episodes, many scenes are actually shot in Los Angeles. During the scene when Thorpe is speaking with the coroner from the command vehicle, the van is driving past the building in downtown L.A. where the Los Angeles Times newspaper has its offices.
  • Agent Thorpe obviously does not know the definition of "tandem", which is that the SFPD and the FBI should actually be working together, instead of the FBI bossing the SFPD around.
  • In a major city like San Francisco, it seems very unlikely that there would be just one medical examiner to handle all homicide cases. You would think that Dr. Walsh would simply be able to hand Jean Garnett's case off to someone else.
  • Agent Thorpe later returns in the May 2012 novel Mr. Monk is a Mess. It is revealed that his first name is Derek. In the novel, Thorpe and a partner, Phil Cadea, are falsely accusing Monk and Natalie of stealing marked money from a mob sting operation involving Salvatore Lucarelli from an FBI evidence locker room, after a woman named Michelle Keeling is found dead in Natalie's bathtub and some of the money is found under Natalie's mattress. As it turns out, the events of "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy" saw Thorpe get his serial killer unit shut down in disgrace. This began a career downturn for him, which led to Thorpe stealing money from an evidence locker with the help of a lover who worked as a clerk there. He mailed the money out to a postal box for him to pick up later. However, Natalie's mailman, Irwin Deeb, discovered the money first when the package burst open. Fearing that the money's owner will find him, Deeb began hiding out in the houses where he housesits for vacationing neighbors, Natalie's house included. Thorpe finds out and began breaking into the houses on Natalie's block looking for the money. He also killed a man named Joeren Burge when Burge accidentally walked in on Thorpe burglarizing his house.
  • This is the fourth episode where the SFPD is forced to overlook a particular case only to have it turn out to be directly related to the primary case, after Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife, Mr. Monk Gets Fired, and Mr. Monk Stays in Bed.

QuotesEdit

Natalie: (about Monk) He's just never seen an earpiece phone before.
Agent Thorpe: Where the hell's he been, in a coma?
Monk: In a coma... no. No, I wish.


Dr. Walsh: Blow to the back of the head, knocking him unconscious...

Natalie: Oh, no.
Dr. Walsh: Petichial haemmoraging, indicating suffocation...
Natalie: Oh, no.
Dr. Walsh: Small puncture wound, injected with poison...
Natalie: Oh, no!
Dr. Walsh: ...followed by four stab wounds, two gunshots to the chest, and tire tracks across the upper torso.
Disher: So the cause of death was...?
Dr. Walsh: Pretty much everything.


Stottlemeyer: You're wrong about Adrian Monk.

Agent Thorpe: Am I?
Stottlemeyer: Yep. I know he's a little strange, and he can be difficult. But I can tell you of at least twelve different cases where all of the evidence...
Agent Thorpe: Captain Stottlemeyer... you're looking at a half a billion dollars worth of equipment. Are you trying to tell me your funny little friend is smarter than all of this?
Stottlemeyer: (smiles) Yes, I am.


Monk: "Dear Kimberly, I am sorry I inadvertently sent the SWAT team to Kayla's slumber party and made you cry. I am sorry about the nightmares. It will never happen again. Adrian Monk."

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