Monk Season 2
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Mr. Monk and the Three Pies is the eleventh episode of the second season of Monk. It introduces John Turturro as Adrian's elder brother Ambrose. For his performance, Turturro won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.


What could possibly make a cherry pie worth killing for? Monk finds out, with a little help from his estranged brother Ambrose.


During Tewkesbury's bicentennial fair, Pat van Ranken enters several tickets for a raffle contest, the prize of which is a homemade cherry pie. However, an old woman, Gladys Dohan, wins the pie instead. He follows her back to her car, demands the pie, and when she attacks him with pepper spray, he kills her. While the police dismiss the homicide as a carjacking gone wrong, Adrian Monk remains suspicious.

While he is looking over the crime scene, Sharona gets a call from Adrian's estranged brother, Ambrose. Ambrose, an agoraphobe who has not left the Monk family home in thirty years, thinks that van Ranken, his next door neighbor, murdered his wife Rita. The brothers have not spoken for seven years - Adrian is still mad at Ambrose because he never called or wrote after Trudy died. Adrian and Sharona visit the Monk home, and Sharona sees that Ambrose is obsessed with the belief that their father will return one day: he has saved thirty years' worth of mail and newspapers in filing cabinets, and always sets a place for their father at the dinner table. He is employed writing instruction manuals for appliances and tools, of which he is very successful. Despite his eccentricities, Sharona can tell that his intellect is on par with Adrian's - he has a similar prodigious memory, and has taught himself to speak and write seven languages.

Ambrose says that, two nights ago, he heard van Ranken and his wife arguing, then what sounded like gunshots. Three hours later, van Ranken drove his truck away and was gone all night. The next morning, Ambrose called the house looking for the wife, and van Ranken said she had flown to Argentina. Suspiciously, he denied leaving the previous night, saying his truck has been parked in the same place all summer. Adrian dismisses his brother as delusional, but as they are leaving the house, he notices the dead spot on the grass under van Ranken's truck, proving that it has been moved recently.

Adrian and Sharona visit van Ranken, on the pretext of taking back a bag of flour that Rita borrowed from Ambrose. Adrian looks around and catches van Ranken red-handed in several lies about his wife's whereabouts. For instance, on his pickup truck is a parking permit for a local state park that suggests that he got there just before closing time, and one of Rita van Ranken's shoes is in the garbage can.

The next day, Adrian and Sharona follow van Ranken to the fair, where he takes part in a potato sack race and deliberately trips in order to win second prize: another cherry pie (he only gets in by taking a ripped sack). Later, they see him rooting around in it, looking for something, apparently without finding it. Back at the house, Ambrose remembers seeing in the newspaper that the woman killed in the carjacking was photographed carrying a cherry pie when she left the fair. Ambrose remembers that Rita baked three cherry pies to give away at the fair, and there must be something in them, or one of them, worth killing for. Stottlemeyer is skeptical, but admits that there was no pie in the car when the police got there. However, the airline records confirm that Rita van Ranken boarded a plane to Buenos Aires on the night of the murder.

The third and last pie is given away at bingo the next day. Despite his purchase of twelve tickets, Adrian loses the pie to van Ranken. But before he can leave the fair, Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive and ask for permission to search it.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Pat van Ranken got into a fight with his wife on the fatal night, which became violent, and van Ranken shot her with an automatic pistol. Midway through disposing of her body, he was interrupted by someone from the fair, coming to collect the pies, so he gave them. When he returned to cleaning up the kitchen, he realized that, though he shot her four times, one of the shell casings was missing, and must have landed in one of the pies. He tracked down the pies on the off-chance that they might have contained a shell.

Sharona roots through the pie, but does not find the shell, causing Stottlemeyer to leave in disgust.

Adrian returns to Ambrose, who is setting the table for dinner (three places, two for the brothers and one for their absent father). Adrian doesn't want to stay, and finally vents his anger at Ambrose failing to call or write. Shocked, Ambrose says that it wasn't because he didn't care, it was out of guilt: Trudy was running an errand for him to the drugstore on the day she was killed; Ambrose breaks down crying, believing it was his fault she died, since she wouldn't have been in that parking garage if it wasn't for him. Taken aback, Adrian tells him it wasn't his fault, and the brothers embrace tearfully.

Since the fourth shell casing is still missing, van Ranken and Adrian both recreate the night of the murder in their respective kitchens, and both come to the same realization: the shell casing didn't land in the pie, but in the bag of flour - the bag that is now back at Ambrose's house. Adrian and Sharona rush to Tewkesbury.

Van Ranken goes to the house, trying to get the bag of flour back, but Ambrose points out that the recipe van Ranken named doesn't call for flour. Abandoning the trick, van Ranken tries to force his way into the house, and, when Ambrose locks the doors against him, sets the house on fire. While it is burning, Ambrose looks through the flour and finds the casing.

Adrian and Sharona arrive in time to see flames licking out of the house. He rushes inside to save his brother, knowing full well that he couldn't leave the house by himself. On the other side, van Ranken is waiting with his pistol for Ambrose to come out, but Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive and arrest him, telling him that they just found his wife's body buried in the local park only 20 minutes ago. The woman who flew to Argentina is his girlfriend, and they also hint that they plan on arresting his girlfriend as soon as she gets home.

With Adrian's encouragement, Ambrose finally goes outside. Fire units arrive in time to save the house.

Later, Ambrose and Adrian go to Trudy's grave to pay their respects.

Background Information and NotesEdit