December 14, 1997
|Out of universe information|
Trudy Anne Monk was Adrian Monk's wife.
Trudy Monk was born in Los Angeles in 1962, to Dwight and Marcia Ellison. She attended the Ashton Preparatory School on a scholarship and graduated valedictorian in 1977, at the age of 15. Her best friend, Arleen Cassidy, went on to become headmaster of their school. ("Mr. Monk Goes Back to School")
Trudy did not date very much in high school, expecting to know who the right man would be once she found him.
While attending the University of California, Berkeley, Trudy was seduced by her law studies professor, Ethan Rickover, even though he was married. Trudy would later confess that she had been a fool to give in to Rickover's advances. She became pregnant by Rickover, and gave birth to a baby girl on January 2, 1983. Rickover, to conceal the affair, hid the child and deceived her into thinking the child had died at birth. Trudy, who had loved being pregnant more than she had ever cared for Rickover, was heartbroken. ("Mr. Monk and the End, Part 2")
A short time later, Trudy Ellison met Adrian Monk while he was working at the university library. Writing down her phone number to someone, she used his back as a writing desk, and his perfect memory allowed him to extrapolate her phone number. Adrian would later say that picking up the phone and calling her was the bravest, most frightening thing he ever did in his life. ("Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion")
The two began dating, fell in love, and married on August 8, 1990.
After leaving university, Trudy worked as a freelance reporter, often exposing crime and corruption. She once partnered with another freelance reporter, Janice Ellinghouse. Their old editor, Sorenson, called Trudy the best journalist he had ever known. One particular article, Pier Pressure, exposed the corruption within the Dock Workers Union that was made famous for ousting its president, who was normally untouchable by the law, out of power, and even went as far as to list all of the payoffs made in that union. They had help from a lot of hard work and a secret informant (later revealed to be the then-second-in-command Jack Bollinger) ("Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk")
In Adrian's words, Trudy "enjoyed poetry, was often barefoot, and kept every promise she ever made." ("Mr. Monk and the Blackout") She wrote many poems herself, and Monk kept the last one she ever wrote in his wallet as a keepsake years after she had died. ("Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy")
In 2009, when Adrian's best friend, Leland Stottlemeyer, became engaged to his girlfriend, Trudy "T.K." Jensen, he asked if Adrian was pained or resentful that Leland was marrying a woman with Trudy's name. Monk said, absolutely not, because "everyone should have a Trudy in their life." ("Mr. Monk Is the Best Man")
Biederbeck Lawsuit and Trudy's Last YearsEdit
In 1993, Trudy wrote an unflattering article about financier Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck, calling him "The Genghis Khan of world finance." Biederbeck responded by suing her, and the paper that had published the story, for libel. Though he ultimately lost, as he knew he would, the suit lasted a whole year, which Adrian later called the worst of Trudy's life.
Adrian would find her sitting in her car, crying to herself because she didn't want Adrian to see her; the legal costs forced the Monks to sell their first home, which Biederbeck, to spite them, bought up and turned into a warehouse for his porn collection. Since then, Adrian has harbored an intense hatred for Biederbeck because of the pain he caused Trudy. ("Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale")
In 1997, Ethan Rickover, by then a judge, was nominated for the federal Court of Appeals. Wendy Stroud, the midwife who assisted at the birth of his and Trudy's child, and who had secretly delivered the baby to an orphanage, saw Rickover's name in the news and confronted him, saying that she had found religion and would no longer lie to protect him. Rickover killed her to shield himself from scandal, and then schemed to kill Trudy as well, since she could connect Stroud's disappearance with him.
In December, 1997, Rickover contacted Trudy after years of silence, and asked her to meet him in a parking garage. Uneasy, Trudy recorded a message to Adrian, telling him where she was going and why, and that, if anything happened to her, she wanted him to know that he, Adrian, was her whole life. ("Mr. Monk and the End, Part 2")
On December 14, 1997, inside the garage, Trudy was alarmed to see someone advancing on her, and ran to her car, not knowing that a bomb had been planted under the passenger seat - ten pounds of plastic explosive, powered by ten 20-volt magnesium batteries, detonated remotely with a cellular phone, triggered by criminal Frank Nunn, who watched Trudy enter her car from above. ("Mr. Monk and the End, Part 1")
Mortally wounded, Trudy lingered for approximately twenty minutes after the bomb went off. ("Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing") According to the coroner's inquest, her last words were "bread and butter." This was one of her favorite sayings when she and Adrian walked down the street holding hands, and had to part hands to let someone or something else pass between them. She was telling Adrian that she had to let go for now, but they would never be parted for long. ("Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale")
Trudy's farewell message, which she had hidden in a small Christmas box, remained unopened for twelve years after her death. ("Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa," "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa") Consequently, no one knew exactly why she had been in that parking garage.
Adrian's brother Ambrose believed that it was because of him, because he had asked her to run an errand for him earlier that day. In his misplaced guilt, he was unable to talk to or write to Adrian, or come to Trudy's funeral. This led to a seven-year rift between the brothers, while Adrian mistakenly believed that Ambrose did not answer his many phone calls or letters because he didn't care. ("Mr. Monk and the Three Pies")
After Trudy's death, her corneas were salvaged and donated to a Brazilian woman, Maria Cordova, who was losing her eyesight to a degenerative disease. Her sight was restored, and she had the date of Trudy's death tattooed on her arm as a memento. In 2007, Adrian unexpectedly ran across Maria Cordova, and became obsessed with finding her, until he realized that she had received Trudy's corneas. ("Mr. Monk Is Up All Night")
Trudy's parents never completely recovered from the loss of their only child. But Dwight continued with his work, while Marcia "decided to give the world another chance," and found important work as a grief counselor. ("Mr. Monk and the Game Show")
Monk's old partner, Joe Christie, said that Adrian "never laughed again" after receiving the news of Trudy's murder. ("Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month") The trauma of losing her caused Monk to suffer a complete mental breakdown, so severe that he was suspended from the police department, and did not leave his house for three years. Though he made a gradual recovery, and a return to detective work, his wife's murder remained unsolved for twelve years.
When she was alive, Monk's phobias and psychological disorders were kept in check, and he remained a relatively functioning person, and a remarkable detective. Even after she was gone, it was love for her that trumped everything, even his heightened fears. For instance, every single thing in his apartment had to be kept at precise right angles, except the coffee table, which Trudy would often tilt to put her feet up on, so he could rest his head in her lap; thus, the exact opposite was true: he would never allow it to be centered. ("Mr. Monk and the Very Very Old Man")
The pain of Trudy's loss was never far from Monk's heart. In 2003, his friend Leland Stottlemeyer noted that Monk still wore the wristwatch she had given him as a present, long after it had stopped working properly. ("Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife")
In 2005, when Monk was optimistic about his recovery and his chances for reinstatement, Natalie overheard a woman looking exactly like Trudy telling someone else that she had faked her own death to protect her family. Monk's world turned upside down when he found out, and, even though the woman was exposed as a fraud, Monk's reinstatement was denied once again, the pain of the episode having returned him "to normal." ("Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk")
Finding the MurdererEdit
If Monk had opened Trudy's present 12 years ago, he could have easily solved the case. Instead he lets that judge live comfortably for 12 years. In the end, the judge killed himself so that he would not have face the guilt.  To solve Trudy's murder, Monk would brave anything, and often did, including several things plenty of "ordinary" people are terrified of. In 2004, when Dale Biederbeck offered Monk clues about Trudy's murder in exchange for solving a petty case, Monk took the job, from a man he hated, which included going undercover in a prison, sharing a cell with a notorious multiple murderer, and nearly being killed by a gang of neo-Nazis.
In exchange for solving the case, Biederbeck gave him a pair of vital clues. The first was that Trudy, not Monk, was the intended victim of the car bomb; as he had always blamed himself for her death, Monk experienced an unexpected relief. Second, that one of the men "involved" in her death, Warrick Tennyson, could be found in New York City. ("Mr. Monk Goes to Jail")
In New York, Tennyson was interrogated, and confessed to being hired to build and plant the bomb, but that someone else detonated it. He also described the man who hired him as having a distinctive, six-fingered hand. Face to face with one of his wife's murderers, Monk coldly turned off the morphine drip which was preventing the dying Tennyson from suffering horrible pain. But, thinking about what Trudy would have wanted, he turned it back on a few moments later. ("Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan")
In 2008, Monk found the six-fingered man, Frank Nunn, who admitted to being hired to kill Trudy, but was killed before he could say by whom. However, after his death, papers were found in his house connecting Trudy's murder to a mysterious figure known as "The Judge." ("Mr. Monk Is On The Run, Part 1")
In 2009, after one of his and Stottlemeyer's cold cases led him (unknowingly) back to Trudy's murder, The Judge himself (Rickover) hired a hit man to poison Monk. But the plan backfired: believing that he was dying, Monk finally opened Trudy's last present to him, and listened to the message revealing her affair with Rickover and the circumstances of her murder. Monk pursued Rickover relentlessly, until he finally exposed him as the murderer of both Trudy and Wendy Stroud. Rickover committed suicide. ("Mr. Monk and the End, Part 1"; "Mr. Monk and the End, Part 2")
Puzzling over Rickover's last words, Monk realized that Trudy's daughter was still alive. Though he was initially afraid of meeting her, Natalie told him that Trudy had sent him a gift: "someone to love." She was right.
Though Trudy never knew her daughter, they shared many of the same habits. ("Mr. Monk and the End, Part 2")
Background Information and NotesEdit
- Trudy was played by Stellina Ruisch in the pilot episode and through the middle of the third season, though her appearances were limited to brief cameos, or appearances in photographs.
- Melora Hardin replaced Ruisch in Season Three's "Mr. Monk and the Game Show," first appearing in a more extensive flashback depicting her introducing Adrian to her parents.
- Hardin also portrayed Cameron, an actress masquerading as Trudy, in the episode "Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk".
- Adrian often imagines seeing and talking to her, particularly when he has just woken up.
- Young Trudy in "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion" was played by Lindy Newton.
- There is some conflicting continuity about when Trudy and Adrian first met and married. The above history is based in part on Season Five's "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion," which showed Adrian and Trudy meeting in college. But earlier episodes, such as "Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame," and "Mr. Monk and the Game Show," hold that Trudy and Monk met while he was already a detective with the SFPD, which would have occurred some years after graduation from college.