Synopsis: When a political candidate was almost assassinated, the mayor orders Captain Stottlemeyer to enlist the help of Adrian Monk. Monk was a top-notch homicide detective until his wife’s murder left him traumatized and unbalanced. His unusual behavior has caused him to lose his badge. Now, with the help of his nurse Sharona Fleming, he works as a private consultant for the San Francisco police while he battles his obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Episode Summary: A group of police officers stand on one corner of the room while they silently watch Adrian Monk (Tony Shaloub) observe the crime scene. Monk turns his head to the dead victim, Nicole Vasques, sprawled on the floor under the kitchen table, her face down. He turns his eyes up as though he had solved the mystery and utters the stove. A detective points to where the kitchen stove sits, but Adrian Monk was talking about his stove. He’s afraid that he had left it on. Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram), his private nurse, assures him that it is turned off. The detective in-charge interrupts them with his conclusion. He believes that it was a burglary gone sour. Adrian disagrees, stating that who ever killed the woman only made it look like it was a burglary. He walks over to a lamp and touches it with his finger. Adrian continues with his assessment; telling them that the killer wore the victim’s slippers to avoid leaving shoe prints. As though unconsciously, Adrian repeatedly touches the lamp only stopping when Sharona claps her hands to call his attention. Like waking in a trance, he continues, stating that the killer was waiting for the woman for at least an hour and that the man was smoking. Adrian sniffs the curtains and identifies the cigarette as Newports. The detective argues that the victim could be a smoker, but Monk quickly invalidates this having learned that the victim was a Dutch Calvinist. Still troubled with his stove left on, he stops mid-sentence and asks Sharona again to verify that it was turned off. To this, Sharona gives Adrian a piercing look. He resumes and tells them that the killer hung around looking for something after murdering the 25 year-old victim. What he was looking for, Adrian does not know. All he knows is that the killer checked Nicole’s computer and that he could have erased a file. From his observations, he believes that the killer is tall about 6’3’’ or 6’4’’. Now, Adrian has concerned himself about the pilot light of his stove, which irritates the detective in-charge of the case. Sharona pulls Adrian to one corner to remind his boss that he is currently working on a case as a private consultant and that he should forget about the stove and focus on the job at hand. To put him back in focus, she adds that the police department would think he is crazy and therefore would make it impossible for him to get reinstated or for them to even ask his services as a consultant. The detective interrupts them asking how he arrived with his conclusions. Adrian shows his brilliance with his observations and stated simple facts such as the keyboard being wiped clean, the computer chair lowered all the way when the victim is short. Impressed with these, the detective asks for Monk to wait for the coroner, but Adrian has his stove on his mind and rushes out of the crime scene. After he has left, the police can’t help but wonder that the neurotic man they’ve been watching is the famous Adrian Monk. And just to show us how disturbed this man is, we see him start his morning wiping off a smudge on his window, counting as he brushes his teeth and talking to himself. His closet is full of neatly hung long-sleeved dress shirts of the same style. Above it are pairs of identical shoes, carefully lined-up. In his drawer are socks with each pair in a separate re-sealable zipper storage bag. Above it is a picture of him and his wife on their wedding, which shows that he had at one point in his life appeared normal.
In his therapy session with Dr. Kroger, Adrian informs him that he is very pleased to have been called in as a consultant in a Santa Clara homicide case. Suddenly, Monk turns his eyes to a pillow on the couch. The doctor notices Adrian’s irritation but ignores it and goes on to ask Monk if he feels he is ready to go back to the police force. Dr. Kroger realizes that Adrian is clearly bothered with the pillow and tells him that it is all right for him to go and fix it. Monk tries to convince the doctor that he is not bothered with it. They move on to talk about his dreams. It seems that Adrian had been dreaming about his dead wife again. The only thing he has been dreaming for years. He switches the subject back to the pillow, somehow realizing that the doctor might be testing him. Alas! Monk could no longer hold his annoyance. He stops their conversation and fixes the pillow.
The killer disguised as a painter enters an abandoned apartment. He walks to the window, aims his rifle at the mayoral candidate down below, but shoots the bodyguard instead. Chaos ensues, the cheering is replaced with cries of panic, but in the midst of this pandemonium, the campaign manager Gavin Lloyd looks up and gets a glimpse of the assassin.
Lieutenant Randall Disher (note that in this episode he’s listed as Lt. Deacon in the credits) enters Captain Stottlemeyer’s office to inform him that the mayoral candidate St. Claire had just issued another statement regarding the incident. Troubled that Warren St. Claire would soon start blaming the police department, the Captain decides to issue his own statement on the department’s behalf. The deputy mayor Sheldon Burger interrupts their conversation to inform them that the bodyguard passed away. In addition, he expresses his concern of not getting to the bottom of this. Sheldon tells Stottlemeyer that the mayor has requested for the police force to enlist Adrian Monk’s help.
Sharona, who could not believe that the mayor personally asked for Monk, drives him to their meeting place. Rapt with the current development, she tries her very best to ignore Monk’s frantic display of fear from traffic, but fails. Finally, they arrive. Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) and Lt. Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) meet them at the lobby. The Captain shakes Monk’s hand. Immediately, Sharona hands Monk a wipe. Stottlemeyer briefs them of the situation as he leads them to the conference room. Captain Stottlemeyer took away Monk’s badge three years ago, though he quips that there is nothing that would give him more pleasure than to see him reinstated. However, he adds that Monk is obviously not yet ready. A bit annoyed, Monk comments on the captain and his wife having problems. The captain at first denies it, but his curiosity of how Adrian learned of this gave him away. Apparently, Monk noticed that the captain cut himself shaving, something his wife would have caught. Also, his necktie is tied differently and that he is staying at a hotel as confirmed by the coffee cup he is holding.
At a conference room, they discuss the police’s plan on limiting the mayor’s public appearances to the alarm of his campaign manager. They attempt to go over anybody who might hold a grudge at him. His wife makes plain that there are too many to count, which makes isolating the killer almost impossible. Monk who was ordered only to observe and not to utter a word has occupied himself with fixing campaign paraphernalia. Before anyone could notice, Adrian had rearranged the pins on the campaign board. The captain tries to stop Monk before anyone becomes aware of what he has done, but he fails miserably. Miranda St. Claire, the candidate’s wife, sees and yells at the defective detective. Now, all eyes are on Monk. Gavin, who painstakingly color-coded the board by voting precinct, scolds him for his actions and requests him to back off. Adrian and Sharona try to calm them as they attempt to explain that he could put the pins he displaced back to where they were. Adrian and the frustrated Gavin struggle at the board, but Sharona tells Monk to release it. Alas! The board flips and the pins went flying. They spent the rest of the meeting watching Adrian put together the board. Captain Stottlemeyer informs them that Monk used to be with the police force, but was given a psychological discharge. Sharona corrects them that it was only a temporary suspension and that Adrian is up for a review the following week. She explains that his disorder was triggered by a single traumatic incident - the death of his wife Trudy. A car bomb caused her demise. The candidate’s camp start to feel awry with the police bringing in the unstable detective, but Captain Stottlemeyer assures them that Monk’s involvement is actually indicative of how seriously they are taking the case. At last, he finishes fixing the board to Gavin’s astonishment.
Adrian Monk and the police check the apartment where they believe the shots originated. They watch silently as Monk observes the room. He paces, then smiles and points at a curtain drawstring. The killer used it to steady his shot. He asks the captain to use the rod like a rifle and from there he concludes that the killer must have been 6’3’’ or 6’4’’ just like the one in Santa Clara. Monk believes that both cases are connected. In disbelief, the captain was quick to disregard his conclusion, but Adrian explains that the odds of both men of the same height committing a crime on the same week are astronomical. Moreover, both of them wore slippers and smokes Newports. Stottlemeyer is unmoved especially when Monk suddenly suffers from vertigo after having a glimpse of the ground below.
Monk and Sharona visit the candidate’s campaign headquarters to check if Nicole Vasques was an employee only to find that she is not on their database. They then attend the funeral of Jason Rondstadt, the fallen bodyguard. They watch from the balcony as St. Claire gives his eulogy. Sharona tells Adrian that she thinks that the killings are all St. Claire’s doing to which he disagrees. He is firm in his belief that the two cases are connected and that the culprit knew both victims. Adrian is overcome with his obsessive compulsiveness and starts looking for his keys. He searches his coat frantically only to find it in his suit pocket. Relieved, he starts playing with it until it falls on the hand of the dead bodyguard. To make things worse, St. Claire is almost done with his eulogy and they prepare to close the casket. Adrian needs to retrieve the keys, because the key chain belonged to Trudy. He creates a fishing line using a paperclip and some dental floss. Give Tony Shaloub a mullet haircut and he could be MacGyver. While the people silently pray for Jason, Monk lowers his makeshift fishing line. Just when St. Claire gives a final salute to Jason, Monk inadvertently hooks one of his sleeves. The people gasp as the dead man’s arm is raised as if in response to St. Claire’s salute.
Monk, although exposed, successfully retrieves the keys. St. Claire seems to be understanding and forgiving unlike his wife who appears to be upset with Monk from the beginning. He upsets her even more when he starts questioning her about Nicole Vasques. She makes her revulsion clear by stating that Monk will not work in San Francisco when her husband gets elected. Her attitude and the fact that St. Claire is worth $150 million heighten Monk and Sharona’s suspicion.
At the police station, they learn about the type of rifle that was used. Monk requests Randy to crosscheck the weapon against the one used in the homicide in Santa Clara. Stottlemeyer makes it clear that the two cases are different. Nicole Vasques who worked at the DMV was a nobody compared to the mayoral candidate. This time, it was Monk who was unmoved.
Monk decides to investigate Miranda. He and Sharona follow her at one of her public appearances where she reads a story to children as part of her husband’s campaign. In a crowded room, the germ phobic Monk is mortified and is even more disgusted when a little girl starts to cough. His phobia intensifies when he becomes aware of a boy wiping off snot. He tries to calm himself, pulling up his sweater over his nose and taking a seat. Then he watches in shock as a boy picks his nose, looks at the unsightly find and to Adrian’s horror the boy puts his finger in his mouth. Adrian screams and disrupts the publicity stunt.
Miranda who cannot seem to shrug the troublesome detective agrees to a questioning. However, the interrogation was a dead end. Monk and Sharona get called in a crime scene. Jake, the person who helped them earlier look for Nicole Vasques in St. Claire’s campaign database was found dead in what seemed to have been a single-car accident. Monk and Jake were to meet at his house that afternoon after receiving a phone call from him stating that he found something related to his earlier inquiry. Unfortunately, the documents are already gone. Captain Stottlemeyer already annoyed at Monk’s presence at the scene of the accident becomes even more irritated when he argues that the accident was staged. To confirm his assumption, Monk tells him specifically where the real crime was committed. Seeing that the driver side’s windshield is clean, he believes that Jake was killed on his way to his house where he must have passed the street where the homeless wash windshields for spare change. Astounded, Captain Stottlemeyer concedes.
Sharona entrusts Adrian to a police officer as she leaves for a date. Sharona discusses her work with her date. She tells him that her job is both the worst and the best she ever had. Meanwhile, Adrian watches the news as he continues to make the chicken pot pie whose recipe he got from Sharona’s son Benjy. Something in the footage of the assassination attempt bothers him. He rushes to the restaurant where Sharona is. The lovely dinner date ends abruptly as Monk joins the couple. Sharona tries to pick up the pieces by telling Monk about her date. Carl turns out to be a Rhodes scholar, a magna cum laud who now works as an entertainment lawyer. One of his clients is Francis Ford Coppola. He tells them that Coppola is suing a tabloid for slander. To this Monk crudely makes it known that all of these are lies, pointing out that Oxford has no magna cum laud and that Carl could not be a lawyer stating that newspapers are sued for libel and not slander – something a real lawyer would know. Furious, Sharona scolds Adrian for having ruined her date. She tells him that it is ok to lie on the first date and that she has done it herself. In fact, she did not even tell Carl that she has a son and that she used to dance in Atlantic City. What kind of dancing, she did not specify, to Monk’s disappointment. Sharona has had it with him and quits. Depressed, Monk walks back home and revisits Trudy’s unsolved murder. He dreams of her waking up, looking at him with a warm smile on her face.
Lt. Disher hands over to Captain Stottlemeyer the document Monk was looking for in Jake’s car. They found it exactly where Monk had asked them to look. The document contained the name Nicole Vasques who turns out to be a former part-time volunteer for the St. Claire campaign.
Learning that Sharona quit on Monk and that he is nowhere to be found, the deputy mayor Sheldon Burger personally drops by Sharona’s house to persuade her to return to work. Sharona strikes a deal with Sheldon, telling him that he has to make do when she asks him for a favor – whatever that might be.
Sharona who knows Monk too well heads to the cemetery where she finds him by Trudy’s grave playing their song on the clarinet. She informs him about the new development and that he was right all along. They return to his house and re-watch the footage of the attempted assassination. Although he cannot seem to pinpoint what’s bothering him with the video, he is curious as to why Gavin had set up the campaign on that venue where there are very few people. Sharona updates him about Gavin’s past when he used to be a hotshot political genius, but his career went downhill after being suspected of embezzling funds.
Adrian goes for an unusual walk where he touches and counts all the posts he passes. Engrossed with his obsessive compulsiveness, it took him a while to realize that somebody is trying to run him over. He runs, though still unable to shake off counting the posts, he struggles and manages to escape.
He and Sharona visit Gavin Lloyd at the campaign headquarters to ask him about Nicole Vasques who once volunteered to help with bookkeeping. Monk notes that according to the bookkeeper, Gavin had a talk with Nicole and never came back to work after that. Gavin tries to convince them that it is not unusual for him to talk to the volunteers and casually notes about Jake’s tragedy. Monk notices a pile of shredded documents in the trash and semi-consciously puts them back together while he asks him about the venue of the rally. Gavin provides a suitable answer then notices that Monk had started to piece together the shredded document. Quickly he takes it away from him stating that what he is reading is confidential.
They turn to their other suspect, Jesse Goodman, Warren St. Claire’s right hand and who appears to have a close relationship with Miranda St. Claire. Monk asks about Goodman’s traveling after noticing the luggage in his office. Goodman makes an excuse that he went upstate to his family cabin in Rockaway Lake to clear his thoughts to which Monk invalidates by pointing out that his watch proves he hasn’t been up north. In fact, he was back east in Chicago with Miranda St. Claire. The information he gathered from reading the shredded itinerary found at Gavin’s office. Mr. Goodman concedes and explains that he and Miranda had an intimate relationship, which ended last night in Chicago. He tells them that his only motive was to hurt Warren St. Claire by having an affair with his wife.
Sharona receives a call saying that the police found the assassin. They identify him as Ian Sykes, a 6’5’’ former member of the Special Forces. According to the F.B.I., Sykes purchased a scope for a Weatherby Fibermark rifle, the same weapon used in the attempted assassination. Captain Stottlemeyer and his team raid his hiding place only to find a man in a wheelchair. Disappointed and apologetic, they all leave. Soon, Monk realizes that Sykes’ shoes are scuffed up and creased, an indication that he has been using them. Quickly, Stottlemeyer calls for the SWAT team and tells Monk to stay in a safer place as the SWAT squares in Sykes building. Sharona whose cell phone went dead leaves Monk to find a phone to call Benjy. Why she suddenly finds the need to call her son, I have no idea. The ever-observant Monk sees Sykes flee through the fire escape. He tries to get the police’s attention, but to no avail. Sykes swiftly runs away unnoticed as he jumps over rooftops. Left with no other choice, Monk tries to catch him by himself. He goes for the fire escape, wiping each bar he is about to hold. Regrettably, he is overcome with his fear of heights and is left paralyzed as Sykes crawls down around him.
Like a scared cat stuck on a tree (sounds like a Liz Taylor movie), the police had to rescue Monk and he has the displeasure of making a statement of what transpired. Though not in the position to make believers off the captain and the lieutenant, he tries to tell them that Sykes is not the person who tried to run him over. Irritated that Monk let their prime suspect flee (as if the police was doing great surrounding the building when Sykes is not even inside it) Stottlemeyer scoffs at him for having the nerve to get reinstated despite his interfering phobias and takes him off the case. Be careful Monk, you wouldn’t want to infuriate former “Buffalo Bill”. He might just skin you alive! Clarice (Jodie or Julianne, take your pick) might not be available to save your skin, no pun intended.
Monk, who clearly has the habit of revisiting his wife’s murder case whenever he is upset, visits the garage where the car bomb exploded. Brilliant as he is, it is unfortunate that he cannot seem to crack his wife’s murder unlike all the other cases he easily figured out, just like the St. Claire case. He has finally solved the case, but he is not telling how he figured it since he has lost his credibility after the earlier embarrassing incident. All we know is that Benjy’s running over a garbage can and an echo gave him the answer.
Sharona has come to collect on the deputy mayor’s promise and she succeeds. The following morning, Monk together with the police and St. Claire’s camp recreate the assassination attempt. Irritated with this exercise, all are quick to point out that he let the culprit Ian Sykes escape. Monk agrees, but adds that this reenactment will help him identify his accomplice and that the crime was not a failed assassination. It was Jason whom Sykes was targeting. Monk tells them that Jason found out about Gavin’s dirt and that he was embezzling St. Claire’s campaign funds. It was Nicole Vasques who first noticed the discrepancies and she confronted Gavin to alert him of her troubling discovery. Gavin unsuccessfully tried to buy her off and so he asks Jason to kill her for him, but he turned him down. Until finally, he found a professional killer, Ian Sykes. He killed Nicole and Jason. It was almost perfect, since the bodyguard’s death was assumed to have been a failed assassination attempt at St. Claire, but Gavin made one mistake. During the shooting, he was photographed pointing up at the sniper. Monk was curious and suspicious as to how Gavin was able to pinpoint where the shots came from. He tells him that at that time, there were around 400 balloons on the stage where he is at, which makes it impossible for him to have a clear view of the killer. Therefore, the only way Gavin could have known where the assassin was is if he hired the killer. Promptly, though not swiftly, Gavin argues that he did not see the guy, but rather heard the shots and went from there. Truth is, Monk was expecting this excuse and is the foundation for this little demonstration. He set Sharona to shoot a starter’s pistol in one of the buildings. To prove his innocence, Gavin is to identify where Sharona is. Sharona shoots the pistol and the shot echo. They try again with the same result. Clearly, it is impossible for Gavin to pinpoint Sharona’s location due to the echoing sound. Cornered, Gavin shamefully spills the beans.
They hear another shot, but it was not from Sharona. Noticing that Gavin’s actually been shot, the police hurry to put everybody to safety. Sharona hears the shots and sees that Sykes has positioned himself in the building where she is. She radios Monk about this and follows Sykes as soon as she sees him leave. Sykes stashes his gun in a pile of garbage and makes his way down. Sharona, who by now is in Lois Lane mode, follows him to the boiler room. Unfortunately, Monk has lost contact. As the police surround the building, Monk tells them that the guy knows their procedure too well and that he is not coming out of the building as they expect him to. Unaware that the radio’s no longer working, Sharona continues to update Monk as she silently follows Sykes down a tunnel. In the chaos of the search, Lt. Disher fails to notice Monk snatching his gun. Sykes hears the thud of the trapdoor and hides. Sharona walks through the sewer not noticing Sykes who hid himself in a recess. He sneaks up on her and takes her hostage. Monk who is making his way down the grime-riddled ladder hears Sharona’s scream. Realizing the real danger Sharona’s in, he shrugs off his phobia and drops down into the sewer water. Hearing another scream, Monk in the verge of throwing up struggle to follow. He locates them and hides, but a rat lands on his shoulder. Monk gives out a girlish scream. I’d scream too. Maybe do even more than just that. Sykes who has been dragging Sharona stops. She bites him and frees herself, but Sykes was too quick and catches her. Monk sees them and points the gun at him. Sharona begs Monk to shoot him as she struggle to hold on the ladder as Sykes pulls her down. Unfortunately, a sudden gush of sewage water flows on Monk causing him to lose the gun. Sykes successfully pulls Sharona, while Monk with great effort gropes for the gun that has sunk under the filthy water. He retrieves it, but Sykes had managed to shut the lights. Monk tracks Sykes through Sharona’s voice and shoots him.
St. Claire publicly shows his gratitude towards Mr. Monk and becomes an overnight hero. The following day, after hearing about Adrian’s achievement, Dr. Kroger informs him that he will talk to the department regarding his reinstatement. Upon hearing this, Adrian struggle to hold back his tears. On their way to the review board, Dr. Kroger makes sure that he understands that the task at hand will be very difficult. Monk makes his way to the elevator, but is met by a coughing woman. Right then and there, Dr. Kroger just knows that he is not yet ready. Monk meets Sharona and with his reaction immediately recognizes that it had not gone well, but she remains hopeful and assures Adrian that he will get it the next time.
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