Synopsis: A drunken Stottlemeyer uncovers a murder and summons Monk to Las Vegas. The following morning, gone is the Captain’s intoxication and so is his memory. They retrace his steps in the hopes of remembering what made him conclude that Vegas casino owner Daniel Thorn murdered his wife when the police reports her death as an accident. Their personal investigation proved to be fruitful as they discover how Thorn committed the murder. However, without incriminating evidence the police could not reopen the case. The answer lies with Stottlemeyer - will he ever remember what he saw?
Episode Summary: Las Vegas casino owner Daniel Thorn (James Brolin) and his wife Sheryl make their way to a fundraising benefit. Upon reaching the lobby full of paparazzi, she realizes that she had left the tickets at the penthouse. To everybody’s horror, they watch as her scarf gets caught between the elevator doors consequently strangling her to death.
A drunk Captain Stottlemeyer gives Adrian an unusual call in the middle of the night. He claims to have solved the case involving the strange death of Thorn’s wife. Fulfilling the Captain’s request, Monk flies to Las Vegas with Natalie to help Stottlemeyer. The Captain who is in Vegas attending a bachelor’s party has one drink too many and now, though already sober, is unable to remember what made him cry murder. He could not even remember calling Monk. They return to the scene of the crime – the private elevator. The lift goes straight up to the Thorn’s penthouse. They learn that only Daniel or Sheryl can activate it, since it requires their thumbprint to function. Looking at the file, Monk becomes suspicious upon noticing the upside down thumb impression Sheryl made. Moreover, he finds a broken nail that was dug into the leather elevator bar.
Monk and Natalie attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Sheryl Thorn’s hospital to take the opportunity of questioning Daniel Thorn. Their harmless conversation turns sour when Monk declares that Sheryl’s death is no accident. His accusation is backed by the discovery of the missing tickets in Daniel’s coat pocket. According to several witnesses, it was those tickets that prompted his wife to ride the elevator, which lead to her demise.
In an attempt to jog his memory, Stottlemeyer retraces his steps and is forced to recreate his embarrassing karaoke rendition of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”. In return for his discomforting public singing is a vital piece of information that he divulged to one of his female fans. However, as it turns out all Leland said was that “they don’t match”. After that excruciating stunt, it seems that it is Natalie who has gathered more useful information. She learned from the bellboy that Daniel is having an affair with a showgirl named Teresa Telenko.
When that lead turned out to be a dead end, Monk and Natalie decide to reenact the elevator mishap. Unfortunately, the reenactment becomes all too real when Daniel summons the elevator and Monk’s scarf gets caught between the doors. With Natalie’s help Monk manages to survive the scary ordeal. They confront Daniel about what had just happened and one detail that did not fit with Sheryl’s strangulation. Reports say that his wife managed to cry for help, but based on Monk’s experience that would have been impossible given that he could hardly breathe, much more speak. With this Daniel shows his true colors and subtly makes threats on Monk. He uses the age-old belief that in Vegas the house always wins.
Randy Disher could attest to that. He had just lost his whole savings account in a game of blackjack. Afraid of his friend’s brewing gambling addiction, Leland calls on Monk’s help. Thirty-five thousand dollars in debt, Adrian steps up to the plate and helps the troubled lieutenant win his money back. Equipped with an exceptional memory, Monk glides through the game. His brilliance does not go unnoticed as Daniel Thorn comes to watch to add pressure on the high-stakes game. His strategy backfires when Daniel unwittingly comments on having friends hiding in the ceiling. Though Mr. Thorn was talking about security cameras placed to catch cheaters, Monk connects this statement with the case and figures out Daniel’s almost perfect murder.
On the way down to the fundraiser, Daniel strangled his unsuspecting wife to death while his lover Teresa Telenko hid in the access panel. They hoisted the dead body up the access panel and Teresa took Sheryl’s place unbeknownst to the paparazzi. Making it known to onlookers that the tickets were left at the penthouse, Teresa boarded the elevator to get the tickets. The accident proved to be convincing since everybody saw that the scarf got caught and all heard the woman’s cry for help. When that act was over, Teresa retrieved Sheryl’s dead body from the access panel. She laid the body on the floor and presses the woman’s thumb on the keypad, which explains why the thumbprint was upside down. By the time the elevator reached the penthouse, Teresa had already hidden and all that was left was Sheryl’s lifeless body.
Regrettably, there is no evidence to back this story and Thorn’s clout on Las Vegas is too strong that it will be impossible for these San Francisco visitors to hold an investigation. The key lies in Stottlemeyer only he was too drunk to remember the incriminating evidence that he saw. Thorn had enough of this that he has his men drag Monk out of the casino, accusing him of counting cards. Without any proof, there’s nothing any one of them could do about the murder. Luckily, the bellboy finds Stottlemeyer before they leave town. He hands him the jeans that he threw out the window and into the bushes during his drunken stupor. With the jeans is a tabloid that jogs the Captain’s memory. He remembers seeing the picture of the lifeless Sheryl and comparing it with a picture of her minutes before the tragic accident. It was those pictures that lead to his declaration that “they don’t match”. The photos show the woman wearing different earrings, which backs up their theory that the person who everybody saw board the elevator is not Sheryl. Stottlemeyer redeems himself and learns that he could be brilliant only when drunk.
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