|Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse|
September 25, 2009
Meat Loaf Aday as Reverend Hadley Jorgensen
|Monk Season 8|
At a little league baseball park, a team coach, Chauncey, tries to help encourage the boy at bat, 12 year old Petey Cunningham, to keep his eye on the ball. As Petey steadies himself with his bat, an elderly woman named Martha Murphy comes passing by on a power walk (carrying weights in both hands). Chauncey jokingly asks her to help them out, and Martha asks her if he's trying to kill her. She continues on, and with encouragment, Petey knocks a ball over the fence. One of the girls is sent to retrieve the ball, and finds Martha Murphy dead, struck over the head with the ball.
Three days later, Martha’s family members stop by to pack up her belongings. The husband finds something of real interest – a doll in a box, with a baseball on its left temple. It’s a voodoo doll, and it's postmarked for three days before Martha died.
The following day, Captain Stottlemeyer calls Adrian Monk in to investigate. He calls the discovery of the voodoo doll the most unnatural case he's had in his history on the police force. While Stottlemeyer is briefing Monk at the station, Monk is distracted by the fact that the squad room has been rearranged. After the room is restored to its original layout, Stottlemeyer continues briefing Monk. Lieutenant Disher confirms that the post mark on the box the doll was mailed in was legitimate, and it was mailed from a mailbox in Nob Hill.
They question the baseball team, who are not being charged with anything since it was most likely an accident. Monk learns that not many baseballs get knocked over the fence. With nobody able to explain how the voodoo doll seemingly predicted Martha Murphy's death, Natalie argues that the doll must have possessed real magical powers. Disher jokingly suggests to Monk and Stottlemeyer that they start rounding up witch doctors. They each give different theories as to how the ball incident was predicted: Disher believes that someone was hiding waiting with a pitching machine and waited for a home run to be hit. Stottlemeyer theorizes that it was suicide, but Martha had an insurance policy with a no-suicide clause in it, so she needed it to look like an accident - she waited for a home run to be hit, grabbed the ball, and managed to fracture her own skull. Natalie quickly picks apart all of their theories. Not even Monk can figure out what is going on.
Just then, Randy gets a call from a police sergeant reporting the discovery of a second voodoo doll. They meet the officer in the apartment of a golfer named Ralph Farris. The officer shows a newspaper clipping from a few days earlier. A few days ago, Farris was out golfing during a thunderstorm, and (in what Stottlemeyer claimed "single-handedly proved Darwin's theory") got struck by lightning, and was killed instantly. Ralph lived alone, so the officer notes that when the super came by to start packing up his belongings, he found a package, containing a voodoo doll with a paper lightning bolt sticking out of its head.
Like with Martha Murphy, the doll was mailed a few days earlier. Monk is stumped - try as he might, he can't explain how anyone could have arranged either of the deaths. Meanwhile, Natalie is spooked, and Monk is surprised to find himself taking the lead.
The next morning, Natalie shows up at Monk's apartment and tells Monk that they're going on a vacation to Santa Barbara. She even calls Stottlemeyer, but Monk points out that he unplugged the phone she is using. He forces Natalie to admit that Stottlemeyer called her an hour ago to report a third doll related death.
At an upscale house, Stottlemeyer and Disher are talking to Angeline Dilworth, a paramedic and the niece of the latest victim, 64 year old Robert Boyd (founder of a cell phone company). After she calms down, Angeline tells them that she was alone in the house when her uncle had his fatal heart attack, and she tried everything she could (she is also a paramedic). Stottlemeyer notes that they found nitroglycerin pills and Angeline confirms that her uncle had a heart condition, in part the reason why she moved back. The medical examiner asks Stottlemeyer for the okay to take the body away, but Stottlemeyer wants Monk to see the scene intact, and is getting impatient. When Monk and Natalie arrive outside, Natalie refuses to head inside, and Monk is forced to soldier on, superstitions not having an effect on him.
When Monk arrives inside, Stottlemeyer is baffled to find that Monk is the braver of the two. He and Disher brief Monk on Boyd, and explain what they know happened: it turns out that Boyd was obsessed with the voodoo killings and was following the case and news. He'd even put up a lot of good luck charms around the house. This morning, he checked his mail, opened a box with a voodoo doll depicting him with a broken heart, and his heart promptly stopped.
Monk notices a small hole in the story: Boyd put up a horsehoe over his doorway the wrong way, and he informs Angeline that the horseshoe should be facing the other way so that the good luck stays in the shoe. Natalie refuses to enter the scene, and barely has Monk had a look when she decides to head home.
All the dolls have been traced back to the same shop in the Haight: Reverend Hadley Jorgenson's Voodoo Boutique. Stottlemeyer and Disher go to question Jorgensen at his shop, which is doing a thriving business now, thanks to the sensational newspaper stories about the "voodoo killings." Stottlemeyer shows one of the full page advertisements that Jorgensen has taken out in the newspaper to capitalize on the sudden upsurge in demand for his merchandise, and suggests that Jorgensen has an obvious motive - publicity - but admits that he can't think of a way to call the three deaths "homicides".
Meanwhile, Monk goes to check on Natalie. He finds her on her stairs in an almost catatonic state. He doesn't know what is wrong with her, and then she silently points a finger towards the kitchen. Monk goes into the kitchen, and finds a box with another voodoo doll in it. As he holds the doll up to take a closer look at it, its head falls off.
Monk quickly calls Stottlemeyer to report the doll. Before they arrive, he tries to ask Natalie for information about the doll and the package, but Natalie is too catatonic to answer. He notices two clues: first off, the package was mailed from Pacific Heights. Also, the sender misspelled Natalie's last name on the shipping label, "Teager". Natalie finally states that the head being cut off indicates that she will be decapitated. Monk tries dismissing it on the grounds that the head could have broken in shipping, though he then notices that the head was surgically cut with a scalpel.
Monk tries to reason with Natalie, and she explains to him why she believes in voodoo; when she and Mitch were living in an apartment in South Carolina near Mitch's base, one of their neighbors claimed to be a voodoo priestess. The woman warned Natalie that her husband was in danger, but Natalie, disbelieving, said nothing - and the very next day, Mitch was shot down. Stottlemeyer and Disher show up at the house to take the doll.
Since Natalie refuses to leave her house, Randy is assigned to guard her there. That night, Natalie can't sleep - she freaks out when she sees her ceiling fan in her bedroom rotating. That morning, Randy tries to get some gingerbread cookies out of the cookie jar but can't find an opener, as Natalie has thrown out all of her sharp utensils. He eventually uses a spatula as an opener, and momentarily spooks Natalie when he bites off the cookie's head.
Monk confers with Stottlemeyer at the police station about the case. Stottlemeyer mentions that now the mayor has gone public despite Stottlemeyer's warnings, and now there are copycats sending voodoo dolls in the mail to their friends. Both are baffled: the handwriting on all of the packages is identical, meaning that the same person sent the dolls, but the FBI has found no connection at all between Natalie, Martha Murphy, Ralph Farris, and Robert Boyd. Not only is Jorgensen their only reasonable suspect, but he's also no longer a suspect - he's got a solid alibi for all three deaths.
Monk notices another clue: the still-unidentified sender wrote the delivery addresses for the four packages on labels instead of writing directly on the boxes. When Stottlemeyer asks Monk about Natalie, Monk mentions that he's learned that she is wearing a dog funnel around her neck. They agree that there is one possible solution.
Fearing for her life, Natalie agrees to let Jorgensen perform a ritual to rid her of the curse. But the ceremony quickly goes awry when a nervous Natalie drinks a potion he's prepared, when she was only supposed to apply it to her skin. The potion is toxic, and Monk calls for an ambulance. Monk is surprised to recognize one of the arriving paramedics as Angeline Dilworth. Jorgensen exchanges greetings with Angeline, who happens to be one of his customers, before Natalie is rushed to the hospital.
While Monk is riding along in Jorgensen's van, following the ambulance, he remembers Angeline mentioning that it's a small world. He then realizes something else about Angeline: she wasn't only Robert Boyd's niece, but Monk remembers seeing her in paramedic uniform in a newspaper photograph for an article about Ralph Farris's death. When Jorgensen confirms that Angeline has bought a few dolls from his shop, Monk solves the case.
Here's What HappenedEdit
The only person who has been murdered, by voodoo or otherwise, is Robert Boyd, Angeline's uncle. The first two deaths were nothing more than the freak accidents they appeared to be, and Angeline just used them to disguise the murder of her real target.
To create the voodoo effect, Angeline first mailed several empty packages to herself, to get them postmarked. Then she waited patiently for the right types of accidents to occur - specifically, the ones that could not possibly be interpreted as either natural causes or homicide, and also lived alone. Each time Angeline was called to a fatal accident scene, she learned the victim's address and stole his or her house keys. Then she customized a package and doll from Jorgensen's shop. The next time she went off duty, she broke into the deceased person's house, and planted the doll in plain sight. This happened with both Martha Murphy and Ralph Farris.
After creating the illusion of supernatural forces at work with two victims, she poisoned her uncle. It wasn't hard: being a paramedic, Angeline utilized an untraceable drug to make it look like Boyd had a heart attack. Angeline also planted the various good luck charms around her uncle's house, to give the appearance that he was superstitious.
Reverend Jorgensen is profoundly disappointed, since he will likely never sell another doll now that Monk has solved the case.
Inside the ambulance, Natalie glances up from the gurney and realizes that Angeline is the culprit when she notices that Angeline has misspelled her name as "Teager" on the patient chart, just like the misspelling on the shipping label. She stares fearfully at Angeline, who catches on to her. She attacks Natalie, and Monk, seeing the two women struggling inside the ambulance, tells Jorgensen to ram it. Jorgensen does, sending the ambulance skidding off the road and grinding to a halt. Having subdued Angeline, Natalie emerges from the back of the ambulance, then collapses into Monk's arms.
Later, Natalie is relieved that her superstitions turned out to be nothing, and Monk teases her for being so irrational - even as he touches every parking meter he walks past them. He also tells Natalie that the reason Angeline sent her a doll was because when he pointed out the upside down horseshoe in the initial investigation, she realized he was on to her and tried to divert his attention.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- In this episode, a major plot point is Natalie's fear of voodoo. However, in Mr. Monk and the Wrong Man, when Monk complains he can feel a stabbing sensation (after seeing Max Barton's tattoo of a knife going into Monk's face) and compares it to voodoo, Natalie says "There's no such thing."
Monk: We live in the real world. It is governed by science, physics, laws of nature. There is always, always a non-Voodoo explanation for everything.