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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.


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.


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.

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. Only at the end of the video do they find useful footage: there is footage from December 10, 1998 of Malden's bicentennial celebration, where a time capsule is buried at a public ceremony. Holling is the guest of honor, and he is chauffeurred to the town square by Deputy Mayor Gammill. Stottlemeyer observes and notices Gamill's car has rental agency stickers on it. The mayor announces that he's written a letter for future generations to see, and he's asked his family and staff 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.  The mayor gives a proposal to Miles - if he's still in office and Miles is alive in five years,  they'll dig the capsule up so he can add a final chapter to his autobiography. Hearing the mayor giving Miles the proposal, Stottlemeyer says the words usually reserved for Monk: "I just solved the case."

Here's What HappenedEdit

Stottlemeyer and Monk go to Gammill. Stottlemeyer notes to Gammill that five years ago, on December 10, 1998, 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, who has lived in Malden for more than 5 years, would drive a rental car in his own town. Gammill claims that he drove a rental car because it was a nice occassion. Monk then asks Gammill: where was the sky blue Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan he did not drive that day? Stottlemeyer reveals that he's just tied Gammill to the Leveroni hit-and-run: a witness saw an Oldsmobile leaving the scene of that crime, and Stottlemeyer remembers asking the DMV for a list of registered owners that didn't have Gammill's name on it. Gammill shrugs, suggesting clerical error. When Monk asks him what has happened to his car now, Gammill claims his car was stolen recently. Stottlemeyer then notes that Gammill later joined Alcoholics Anonymous, indicating he had a drinking problem. He gives his attorney business card to Stottlemeyer. Stottlemeyer and Monk decide to leave, just as the Mayor shows up. But as Gammill waves a mocking goodbye, Monk notices a snake bite on Gammill's wrist, remembering 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, inclined to give Monk and Stottlemeyer the benefit of the doubt.

As the time capsule is dug up, Monk explains what happened: Gammill was behind the hit-and-run five years ago, and he wrote a confession that he dropped into the time capsule (as the Mayor asked all of his staff and family to write letters to future generations to put in the time capsule). But five years later, Gammill knew that the capsule would be opened up so Miles Holling could add another chapter to his autobiography. 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 him. When the capsule is exhumed, Stottlemeyer reads Gammill's letter: he confesses to the hit-and-run 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").

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, Stottlemeyer 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.


  • 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.


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 7th, 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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