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Mr. Monk and the Very Very Old Man

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Mr. Monk and the Very Very Old Man is the fifth episode of the second season of Monk.

SynopsisEdit

Captain Stottlemeyer takes a page from the Book of Monk in order to determine why anyone would want to murder the world's oldest man. The two are aided in their investigation by Karen Stottlemeyer.

PlotEdit

As the elderly residents of the Malden Retirement Home relax after dinner, just down the hall, a shadowy figure dressed as a security guard enters the room of Miles Holling, the world's oldest man who is just one day shy of his 115th birthday, throws him down onto his bed, and suffocates him with a pillow.

Captain Stottlemeyer's wife Karen, who once profiled Holling in a documentary film she made, suspects that the elderly man's death was no accident: for one thing, he was found dead in the bed, but Karen is aware that Miles slept in a chair because he was afraid he'd never wake up again if he slept in the bed . There was also a book over his chest, like he'd been reading, but Karen knows that Miles couldn't read because he was almost blind. Leland is skeptical, believing that he likely died of natural causes. For the sake of marital harmony, Leland agrees to have Monk look over the scene, promising to investigate further if Monk believes there was foul play. To his consternation, Monk agrees with Karen.

Monk notices that Holling's walker was in the middle of the room. How then did he get to his bed without it? Also Holling was 5'1" (1.5m) tall so he could not reach over the bureau to pull the shades down.

Caught, Stottlemeyer asks Malden's town mayor Steven Rudner to order Miles Holling exhumed for an autopsy. The mayor agrees, over the objections of his deputy mayor, Dennis Gammill. While waiting at the cemetery, Stottlemeyer visits the grave of Darren Leveroni, a high-school valedictorian killed five years ago by a hit-and-run driver. Of all Stottlemeyer's cold cases, it is the one that has affected him the most deeply. When one of the gravediggers asks him if the Leveroni homicide was his case, Stottlemeyer touches the gravestone and corrects him gently, "it still is." Stottlemeyer drops by Monk's apartment, informing him that the autopsy has confirmed that Holling was murdered. He also admits that Karen has kicked him out of the house. Monk offers him room, and Stottlemeyer is lonely enough to accept. The two men immediately start to clash, but both of them are resolved to make it work, for the sake of their friendship. Stottlemeyer even brings up the Leveroni case, and wonders how someone could go so long without the urge to confess ("it's the cop's best friend").

Miles Holling's elderly son, Hiram, tells Stottlemeyer and Disher that his father had no enemies, but in the last two weeks he was getting anonymous death threats over the phone. The calls are traced to a payphone at the train station, and the clue is a dead end.

Between his marital troubles, the failure to solve the Leveroni homicide, and the fact that "my hippie wife's a better cop than I am," Stottlemeyer is in a deep funk and has no more confidence in his abilities as a detective. This only gets worse when Monk notices a rather obvious clue: that on the night of the murder, a security guard named George Rowe checked in, and misspelled his own name. He and Monk go to Rowe's house, and find him beaten to death, and his security pass stolen (or rather, Stottlemeyer does; Monk leaps onto a table and refuses to budge when he realizes that one of Rowe's pet snakes is loose inside the house).

Sharona tries to mend fences between Karen and her husband, but Karen insists that Leland doesn't respect her or her work - for instance, he's never watched the movie she made about Miles Holling. Sharona takes a copy to Monk's apartment.

Monk's obsessive all-night cleaning eventually drives Stottlemeyer to sleep in his office, where he ends up listening to Disher's theory that a serial killer is targeting anyone who's made a world record of some kind. Stottlemeyer then irritably and sarcastically tells Disher that they might as well warn "the fat twins on the motorcycles" and "the guy with a beard of bees."

Monk and Stottlemeyer are probably the most mismatched roommates in history, and they are soon at each other's throats. After only two days together, Stottlemeyer goes berserk and declares that Monk's late wife, Trudy, deserves to be made a saint by the Vatican, for putting up with Adrian's impossible standards. He begins packing his clothes, declaring that Monk is the world's best marriage counselor: two days with him, and no husband in California would ever complain about his spouse again. He declares that he is going home, to beg his wife's forgiveness and do whatever it takes for her take him back. Monk diffidently reminds him what he must do: watch the movie.

The two men sit through the (incredibly boring) documentary on Holling. At least they are bored until Stottlemeyer notices something strange during Malden's bicentennial celebration on December 10, 1998. Miles Holling is the guest of honor, and he is chauffeurred to the town square by Gammill. Stottlemeyer observes and notices a rental car sticker on the car. At the ceremony, a time capsule is buried. The mayor announces that he's written a letter for future generations to see, and he's asked his family and staff members to do the same. He also announces that he has approached Miles and asked him to write his life story, a copy of which is going to be buried in the time capsule. Mayor Rudner makes a promise that if he's still in office in five years and Miles is still alive then, they're going to dig the capsule up so Miles can add a final chapter to his book, a promise that Miles agrees to. Stottlemeyer says the words usually reserved for Monk: "I just solved the case."

Stottlemeyer and Monk go to confront Gammill. Stottlemeyer notes to Gammill that five years ago, on the day the time capsule was buried, Gammill showed up in a rental car at the burial ceremony. But Stottlemeyer finds it odd that Gammill, as the deputy mayor, would be caught driving a rental car in his own town. Gammill claims that he drove a rental car because it was a nice occasion. Monk then asks Gammill: where was the sky blue Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan he did not drive that day?

Stottlemeyer reveals that a witness saw a blue Oldsmobile Cutlass leaving the scene of the Leveroni hit-and-run on December 2, 1998, eight days before the ceremony. Stottlemeyer also remembers asking the DMV for a list of registered owners of sky blue Oldsmobile Cutlasses. That list didn't have Gammill's name on it even though the request was made through his office. Gammill shrugs, suggesting clerical error. When Monk asks him what has happened to his car now, Gammill claims his car was stolen and he had reported it to the police. Stottlemeyer then notes that research shows that Gammill later joined Alcoholics Anonymous, suggesting that he had a drinking problem. 

An irritated Gammill refuses to speak any further and gives his attorney business card to Stottlemeyer. Stottlemeyer and Monk decide to leave, just as the Mayor shows up. Gammill waves a mocking goodbye.

Just outside Monk remembers something. He and Stottlemeyer rush back in and Stottlemeyer grabs Gammill's wrist, revealing that he has a snake bite on it. Monk points out that there was a snake loose in George Rowe's house when he was killed. They ask the mayor for permission to dig up the time capsule. Gammill tries to object again, but the mayor overrides him, since, given Miles Holling's death was proven to be murder, he is inclined to give Monk and Stottlemeyer the benefit of the doubt.

Here's What HappenedEdit

As the time capsule is dug up, Monk explains what happened: As the Mayor asked all of his staff and family to write letters to future generations to put in the time capsule, Gammill did so. Gammill evidently thought no one would read it until one hundred years had passed. But at the end of the ceremony, the mayor promised Miles Holling that in five years if he were still in office and Holling was still alive, they would open up the capsule and add another chapter to Holling's life story.

In his paranoia Gammill couldn't let the capsule get opened up, so he had to make sure Miles didn't live to see his 115th birthday. He first tried frightening the man to death, but when that didn't work, he resorted to killing the security guard George Rowe to get his security pass and uniform, which he used to get into the nursing home to kill Miles. When the capsule is exhumed, Stottlemeyer reads Gammill's letter: he confesses to the hit-and-run of Darren Leveroni and begs God for forgiveness. Reading it, Monk and Stottlemeyer reiterate what they said earlier about confessions, with the roles reversed ("The urge to confess"/"it's a cop's best friend").

Gammill explains he thought he hit an animal and that he had been drinking, much to the current mayor's disgust. He is then arrested. (It's implied that while he feels horrible for what he did but then his instinct for self-preservation and paranoia resulted in committing two more premeditated murders.)

Among the letters, Sharona also finds a love letter Karen wrote to Leland, though she didn't mean for him to ever see it. Leland has gained a new appreciation for the importance of his wife's work, while she is touched that he saw, and enjoyed, her movie. They reconcile lovingly, and Stottlemeyer and Monk are equally glad to be rid of each other.

Throughout the episode, Leland has been baffled by Monk's insistence on having the coffee table in his study askew, when everything else in his apartment has to be perfectly straight. In the tag, the explanation is given: when Adrian and Trudy lived there, she would often pull the table in to put her feet up, so he could rest his head in her lap.

TriviaEdit

  • The exchange between Monk and Stottlemeyer, when Monk wants to know what time Stottlemeyer will be home so he can fix dinner, is a tribute to a particular scene from Neil Simon's celebrated stage play The Odd Couple, which the episode as a whole is a parody of.
  • This episode marks the last "live" appearance of Stellina Ruisch as Trudy Monk; her pictures continue to be seen in Monk's apartment until Melora Hardin replaced Ruisch in Season 3.
  • Actor Bill Erwin, who plays Miles Hollings' son, Hiram, is actually four years older than Patrick Cranshaw, the actor who played Miles.
  • The method where one of the characters solves both a new case as well as a previously cold case due to a video was later reused in the series finale two parter.
  • George Rowe's pet snakes were named "Larry, Moe, and Curly", which were the names of The Three Stooges.
  • Even though Darren Leveroni's gravestone reads 1997, the murder was in 1998.

QuotesEdit

Stottlemeyer: I mean, how can you live with yourself? You gotta tell someone.
Monk: The urge to confess...
Stottlemeyer: It's the cop's best friend.


Stottlemeyer: I thought you were afraid of heights.

Monk: Snakes trump heights. It goes, Germs, Needles, Milk, Death, Snakes, Heights, Crowds, Mushrooms, Elevators...
Stottlemeyer: Okay, okay, I don't need the entire list.


Stottlemeyer: Monk, I'm going to say something I've wanted to say for a long time.

Monk: What is it?
Stottlemeyer: I just solved the case.


Stottlemeyer: (reading) "On December 2nd, 1998, I killed Darren Leveroni with my car. May God forgive me because I will never forgive myself. Signed, Dennis Gammill." (breathing heavily) The urge to confess...

Monk: It's the cop's best friend.

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