|Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger|
October 11, 2002
|Monk Season 1|
Is country superstar Willie Nelson a cold-blooded murderer? The police think so–but Monk has other ideas.
At a rehearsal for his latest concert in San Francisco, Willie Nelson performs "On the Road Again" for technical testing. Afterwards, Nelson is approached by one of his managers, who informs him that both of his shows are sold out, and his driver has been given directions to the radio station where Nelson is to give an interview tomorrow morning. Nelson leaves, and confronts Sonny Cross, his road manager, accusing him of embezzling $400,000 worth of money. He warns Cross that if he doesn't pay it back, he may not return to Austin.
The next morning, Sonny is dropped off at the radio station by chauffered car. He gets out, still talking on his cell phone as he approaches the door. He sees a note instructing him to use a side entrance. As he enters the alleyway, a jockey is seen inside sleeping on a couch. Suddenly two gunshots are heard from outside, rousing the jockey. He races outside, and finds a woman, Wendy Mass, screaming for someone to call for help, and Willie Nelson is standing over Sonny's dead body. Willie informs the jockey that Sonny has been shot, and the jockey asks him about what has happened.
Everyone, including Stottlemeyer, is irritated by the fact that Monk refuses to accept the obvious: Willie Nelson is a killer. But both Monk and Trudy were big fans, and Monk can’t believe bad of him. He also notices something suspicious: Cross entered the alleyway because a note pinned on the door told him to use the side door; however, the note was addressed “J. Cross”; Sonny’s real first name was Jason, but Willie and seemingly everyone else has forgotten this.
While Monk grows closer to Willie, he reveals that he plays the clarinet, and Willie invites the detective to play with his band during a live radio broadcast. Monk is ecstatic, even as the evidence against Willie mounts. Monk even wonders whether Ms. Mass, the blind woman, could be involved, but this seems impossible: Cross was shot twice, the first time at close range, and the second time was at long range, a shot impossible for a blind person to make. Ms. Mass also identifies Willie in a lineup as the voice that threatened to kill her if she didn't keep quiet. Also incriminating against Willie is a surveillance tape mounted to a building next to the radio station. In the tape, Ms. Mass enters the alleyway, followed by the soon-to-be-late Sonny Cross, and then by Willie Nelson, and it's clear that they were the only three people there, and the alley was a dead end because construction has blocked it at the other end.
He briefly does a guest appearance as a clarinette player, but he ended up not playing at all after, in an attempt to demonstrate how to play the instrument to Monk, one of the band players placed the mouthpiece in his mouth, forcing Monk not to play due to his reluctance of allowing himself to touch things other people have touched.
Benjy, after hearing about their meeting with Ms. Mass, asks to interview her for a school report on disabled persons (He was going to interview Monk, but as he says, “It only has to be two pages. Mr. Monk is a whole book.”) Monk and Sharona tag along as Benjy asks her some basic questions about her past life, and how she gets by nowadays. She explains that she lost her sight in a car accident that also killed her parents.
Monk delves deeper into Cross’s past, and learns that he had been fired multiple times by singers for embezzling and an alcohol problem. He even served some jail time in Florida for vehicular manslaughter. That is when Monk solves the case.
To prove his theory, he recruits a streaker who has been recently arrested for disrupting two police press conferences with his nakedness. When the streaker runs by Ms. Mass, sitting in the park, she turns her head in astonishment, revealing that she can see (to Sharona’s shock and embarrassment, she recognizes the streaker as her promising new boyfriend, Justin, who apparently has not told her everything about himself).
Here's What HappenedEdit
Sonny Cross was the drunk driver that killed Wendy Mass's parents and robbed her of her sight. About a year before the murder, Mass slipped and fell inside a supermarket and bumped her head. The blow to her head unexpectedly reconnected one of her optic nerves, restoring the sight in one of her eyes. Knowing that Sonny toured a lot, she kept her restored sight a secret, and waited for him to come to San Francisco so she could kill him in revenge (or as she puts it, true justice) – which is just what she did. She lured Sonny into the alleyway by posting that note on the door. When Sonny saw her, she pulled out a gun, and said, "You killed my parents. This one is for them." She shot him once, and made sure the second shot was from 20 feet away, a shot that no blind person could have made. Unfortunately, Willie showed up after hearing the gunshots, and she had to protect herself by pretending he was the killer. Monk explains that the first clue that led him to connect the two was when she was undergoing questioning: On the day of her questioning as a witness, Stottlemeyer arrived with his right arm in a sling, and she shook his hand in the way she should with someone with an arm injury, and that was before Stottlemeyer even mentioned the arm injury.
Mass is grateful to Monk; she doesn’t regret killing Sonny – who served only 18 months in prison for killing her parents and blinding her, which she viewed as not being true justice – but was torn up about Willie having to take the blame. She accepts the fact that she’ll have to go to prison, and asks only one thing: that her cell has a window. Stottlemeyer promises to talk to the D.A. about extenuating circumstances.
Exonerated, Willie performs a special favor for Monk: they go to Trudy’s grave and perform Willie’s breakthrough song "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" to her.
- Willie Neleson is revealed to be a suspect in murder.
- Despite his dislike for moderen musi, Monk addmits he likes Willie's music.
- Monk decides Willie is inoccent for murder and trys to prove it.
- Willie invites Monk to play with him on the radio.
- Monk plays his clarinet at Trudys graveside whie Willie plays the guitar along with him.
- When Monk visits Willie Nelson's trailer, Monk asks if Nelson if he smells something in the trailer, to which Nelson responds with "No, and neither do you." This is a reference to Nelson having a well known affinity for marijuana.
- When Monk's clarinet was touched by someone else where he was doing the recording with Willie, Monk tries to whistle in an attempt to pass it off as him playing.
- The fingerprints, which Ms. Mass left on the note which she posted to drag the victim into the alley, along with the ones of the duct tape used to tape the note would be enough to convict her for murder. It is shown clearly in a flashback that she did not wear gloves while posting it and did not wipe away any fingerprints.
- Much the same way, police procedure also calls for a suspect to be tested for gunpowder residue to see if they recently fired a gun. A lack of gunpowder on Willie's hands would cast doubt on his guilt.