|Monk Season 2|
|Season 1||Season 3|
Monk is convinced he knows who is behind a recent string of mail bombs that have been exploding around San Francisco. The only problem: his primary suspect is in a coma. Meanwhile, Sharona is visited by her ex-husband Trevor Howe and makes plans to move back to New Jersey with him.
Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher are interrogating a suspect on the street when Brian Babbage runs his car repeatedly into theirs, gives them the middle finger, and then drives off. Stottlemeyer and Disher prepare to give chase. Randy is incredibly excited, since it will be his first ever car chase, but as soon as he confides this to Stottlemeyer, Brian's car is hit by a pickup truck and careens into another car, leaving Randy dumbstruck.
Four months later, Adrian Monk is in session with Dr. Kroger, and is dismayed when he learns that Dr. Kroger will be away in Costa Rica for the next few weeks.
At an upscale suburban house, a mailman drops off a parcel by the mailbox, but a CGI cutaway of the package shows us that it is in fact a bomb. The house's owner, Amanda Babbage, picks up her mail while talking on the phone with a friend of hers. What we hear of the conversation makes it clear that she is involved in some kind of probate dispute. She hangs up as she cuts the string on the package, and it explodes, killing her instantly.
Monk and Sharona are called to the crime scene just as the body is being wheeled away. Stottlemeyer is bitter because the crime scene is being handled by the ATF, who are not only in charge, but "aren't shy about saying so." He is also angry because Agent Grooms, the lead investigator, is treating the SFPD in a condescending manner. He has brought Monk in to make it easier for them to show up the ATF.
The motive for killing Amanda appears simple: she and her two brothers were all arguing over the division of their late father's substantial estate. The father contributed to the dispute by changing his will constantly before his death. While Amanda and her younger brother Ricky finally agreed to divide it equally, Brian felt he deserved the lion's share.
Monk inspects the remains of the bomb, and finds two interesting clues: the string used on the bomb's package was elegantly tied, and the mailing label shows that it was forwarded from Amanda's old address, to which it had been sent. Amanda moved into her current address two months ago, indicating that the suspect is someone who doesn't know she had moved.
Ricky arrives at the house. When Monk sees the poor job that Ricky did tying his surfboard to the roof of his car, he is convinced that Ricky is not the bomber. Ricky also confirms that he knew his sister's new address, since he visited a few weeks earlier.
Monk says Brian is the obvious suspect, but Stottlemeyer explains that Brian can't have done it. The package was mailed a few days earlier, but Brian has been in a coma ever since his attempt in May to bait Stottlemeyer and Disher into chasing him. However, Monk continues to insist that Brian is their man, since he couldn't have known Amanda's new address, and when he sees the elegantly tied laces on Brian's shoes in his hospital room.
In the meantime, Stottlemeyer and Grooms interrogate Ricky but he doesn't break. Grooms becomes skeptical and derisive when Monk, backed up (albeit reluctantly) by the Captain, tells him he suspects Brian.
At Benjy's birthday party, the doorbell rings, and Sharona is shocked to see her ex-husband, Trevor Howe, appear. He says he's turned his life around and wants Sharona back, and to be a father to Benjy again.
Since Dr. Kroger has gone on vacation, Monk is reduced to talking to the still-comatose Brian ("He's a good listener," Monk says). He confesses his fears that Sharona will leave him.
Monk and Sharona go to Brian's house, where his housemaid, Maria, lets them in. In Brian's bedroom, Monk finds some strange things: the first is a page with a list of lawyers, from which Brian has circled one particular name. Monk is baffled: the list is a list of the "Best" and "Worst" criminal lawyers. If Brian was involved in a probate dispute, why would he be hiring a criminal lawyer? Furthermore, Brian could afford to hire decent attorneys, so why would he choose the worst name on the list (a guy who happens to be a notorious hack)? Even stranger, inside the walk-in closet, Monk sees bottles of ketchup glued to the ceiling, some of which have fallen to the floor.
As he and Sharona come downstairs, he notices Maria opening another package. Recognizing it as another mail bomb, Monk grabs it and throws it into a toilet, shutting the bathroom door on it just as it explodes, shielding them from the worst of it. Monk is temporarily deafened by the blast.
Grooms believes the attempted bombing is proof that Brian is innocent, but Monk says Brian must have sent it to himself to throw off suspicion to which Stottlemeyer reluctantly backs him up. He is again told that this is impossible, since the package was also mailed a few days ago.
Trevor asks Sharona to quit her job and move back to New Jersey with him, while he starts his new job. Despite her loyalty to Monk, she agrees, believing that Benjy needs his father in his life.
Depressed, Monk has another "session" with Brian. As Monk putters around the room, he picks up Brian's watch and notices a small trace of glue on it. Then he knocks over a potted plant, spilling dirt on the floor. He grabs a vacuum from the closet and unknowingly unplugs Brian's respirator in order to use the vacuum. When Brian flatlines, Monk hurriedly replugs the respirator and applies CPR, managing to restart Brian's heart.
Ricky is released on bail, and Monk and Sharona meet him as he is arriving home. Ricky has heard from Brian's doctors that the mishap unexpectedly "jump-started" Brian's brain, and he is now breathing without assistance, and will likely regain consciousness soon.
As they are looking around Ricky's apartment, Monk notices some peeling wallpaper, and says he's solved the case. Just then, Ricky starts to open another package, supposedly a box of his favorite Cuban cigars. As Monk realizes what it is and shouts out a warning, Ricky throws it away in a panic and it lands in Sharona's arms. While she stands frozen in place, Monk manages to defuse it with only a few seconds to spare.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Monk gathers Stottlemeyer, Disher, Sharona, and Grooms together at a mailbox, and, with the help of a gung-ho mailman, Tamil Swarma, explains that Brian found a way to send bombs through the mail months after he deposited them.
Before the accident, Brian went around town in the middle of the night, and broke into several mailboxes, where he planted the mail bombs. He planted them in a location where they could not be noticed by anyone else, with just enough adhesive that after some time, the glue would dry up, the bomb would fall down, and get picked up with the next day's mail. Monk's clue was the ketchup bottles - they weighed about the same as the packages, and Brian was testing how long the glue would last before they fell down.
By the time the bombs were collected and delivered, Brian planned to have a cast-iron alibi. When Grooms points out only an idiot would put himself into a coma on purpose, Monk agrees that the coma was not part of his plan. Instead, Stottlemeyer notes, Brian planned to get himself arrested, and be in jail at the time the bombs were delivered. This explains why he then tried leading Stottlemeyer and Disher on a car chase. He figured he would be in jail for seven to eight months, enough time to throw suspicion off him while the bombs were delivered. He even picked out a bad lawyer to make sure he would not get off. The crash was accidental, but thanks to the coma that resulted, Brian quite accidentally found the most perfect alibi in the history of crime.
When Grooms demands proof, Monk arranges a little trap. The now-conscious Brian is told in the hospital that both his sister and brother were killed. Maria brings his mail by, including a package that has already been partially opened and designed to look like the other bombs. Seeing it, Brian panics and dives to the floor, shouting that it's a bomb. Then Monk, Sharona, Stottlemeyer, Disher, and Grooms appear from behind the curtain. Brian's reaction proves his guilt, and to his surprise he is arrested for just Amanda's murder.
Trevor brings a cab to Sharona's house, but she says they are not leaving: she's seen plane tickets with a stop-over in Detroit, proving that Trevor's only aim was to show her and Benjy to his rich uncle to get back into his pocket.
Monk waits on Dr. Kroger's doorstep on the day he is expected back; Dr. Kroger, seeing Monk, tells his cabbie to just keep driving, but Sharona joins Monk, and he says "I'm living a dream."
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Trevor makes one more appearance on the series, in "Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf." After that appearance, he is used as a plot device to explain Sharona's abrupt departure from San Francisco.
- On the Monk Cast Favorites Marathon, this episode was shown as one of Jason Gray-Stanford's favorites.
- Technically, Brian Babbage's plan would never have worked due to the fact that all outbound mail goes to a main post office from the local post office and then placed through scanners to determine the contents, which would have inevitably exposed the bomb inside. In addition, in 2007 (four years after the airing of this episode), a new regulation was adopted that forbids sending via outbound mail any packages weighing over 13 ounces and only having stamps as decoration, which was partially adopted due to a similar mail-bombing spree conducted by the Unabomber.
- When protesting Monk's insinuation that Brian Babbage (who at the time was in a coma) was "the guy", Stottlemeyer yells "Monk, he's a vegetable! He's not even a vegetable! He hopes one day to be a vegetable!" Jack Monk would later say something similar to Monk in Mr. Monk Meets His Dad when admitting that he lied about Monk's half brother Jack Monk Jr. being a skilled heart surgeon and was in reality "a putz."
Stottlemeyer: Monk, he's a vegetable! He's not even a vegetable! He hopes one day to be a vegetable!
Stottlemeyer: Monk, give me something else. Any theory besides the coma guy? If you were to tell me that Howdy Doody was behind this, it would make more sense!
Adrian Monk: (hard of hearing) Howdy Doody?! Why would Howdy Doody be sending people mail bombs?! Wasn't he a puppet?!
Tamil Swarma, Mailman: The U.S. Post Office unwittingly became the messenger of evil. Who'd a thunk it?