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Mr. Monk Bumps His Head is the eleventh episode of the fourth season of Monk.


When Monk wakes up in an unfamiliar town with amnesia, can he solve a local murder mystery and find his way home?


Monk and Natalie go to a truck stop late at night to meet a man claiming to have information about Trudy's murder. Monk asks Natalie to wait in the toilet since the man insisted on Monk coming alone. She does so, reluctantly.

Monk meets the man, Teddy Mulligan, who demands the reward money Monk is offering. Monk produces the money but insists on getting the information before he hands it over. Mulligan hands him a photo of a man with six fingers on his right hand but Monk quickly notices details proving that the photo is a fake. Mulligan attacks Monk, hitting him over the head with a pipe and grabbing the money. He loads the unconscious Monk onto the bed of a semi truck and runs. As the semi drives away, Natalie comes out, calling after Monk.

When Monk wakes up, the truck is parked in Purnell, a rural town in Wyoming . The truck driver finds Monk and tells him no riders are allowed. As they talk, he realizes Monk has amnesia. Feeling sorry for him, the trucker gives him a five dollar bill and wishes him luck.

As Monk walks along the town street, it becomes clear that he may have forgotten who he is but hasn't forgotten what he is: catching sight of an askew rear view mirror on a snazzy BMW 5-series sedan, he starts to adjust it but is accosted by the car's owner, young local bigshot named Roger Zisk. A snapshot of his personality is offered by his remark: "My wife bought me this car, and I don't let her touch it!"

Monk wanders into a diner in search of a meal. Inside, a pretty young waitress, Debbie Barnett, is full of sunshine and happily humming the Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson song "Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" under her breath - leading her best friend and fellow waitress to wonder if she's got a new boyfriend. Debbie's high spirits extend to Monk, shepherding him into a seat, serving him breakfast, and, when he says he only has the five dollar bill, comping his check. He thanks her and takes her suggestion that he go see the Sheriff for help in finding out where he came from.

But barely has he sat down to an interview with the town sheriff, Carl Bates, when he is snapped up by a local woman, Cora Little, a lonely (and hinky) middle-aged woman, who "recognizes" him as her newlywed husband, "Jerry." Monk is taken "home" and tries to ease back in to his life (as described by Cora) as a husband and roofer.

Back in San Francisco, Natalie's quick thinking has allowed the police to track down and arrest Mulligan through the serial numbers on the bills Monk was carrying. Mulligan confesses to attacking Monk and loading him on the truck but isn't sure whether Monk was alive or dead when the truck drove away. Since Monk has not tried to contact them, Stottlemeyer guesses that, if he isn't dead, Monk must have lost his memory. Dr. Kroger, when consulted, says that such amnesia is rare but if Monk has it, then he will be dangerously disoriented.

The next morning, Monk is trying to coax himself up a ladder onto Cora's leaky roof. He has only made it to the second or third step when he sees something strange: Roger Zisk driving past the house at high speed, then suddenly veers off the road and plows into a bee farm.

Later that day, Monk insists on going back to the diner to pay Debbie for his meal. When he arrives, Debbie is gone and her friend says that she left a note saying she moved to Denver to be with her boyfriend. Her friend is baffled as to why Debbie wouldn't say goodbye first and even though he has no sense of identity, Monk immediately becomes suspicious: the note was written by a left-handed person, but Debbie was right-handed.

Monk goes to Debbie's house, dragging a reluctant Cora along, and finds evidence that there has been a murder: all of Debbie's stuff is still there, including her beloved pet bird, and scuff marks on the floor show a struggle in the living room, which is missing a rug. In a corner of the room, as though it was flung there, Cora finds a home pregnancy test with a positive result. Astonished, Monk says he thinks Debbie has been murdered - causing Cora to burst out laughing.

Monk shares his theory with Sheriff Bates as he is taking a damage report from Ned, the owner of the bee farm. Ned reports that five of his honeycombs and 20 feet of his fence were destroyed when Roger's car smashed through them. Sheriff Bates suggests to Ned that he do something about the bees at Lookout Point up in the hills, where kids are getting stung by hornets every day. While Ned complains about how Roger deserves to have been stung as he is a spoiled brat, Sheriff Bates explains to Monk that Roger was apparently drunk. Monk notices a few holes in the story: for one thing, when he saw Roger drive past Cora's house, minutes before the crash, he dodged a fallen tree branch with perfect reflexes. Furthermore, why would Roger be drinking at eight o'clock in the morning? Furthermore, if the windows of his car were rolled up, why did Roger get out of the car and expose himself to the bees?

Furthermore, Monk notices that Roger has Willie Nelson records in his car, and recalls that Debbie Barnett was singing Willie Nelson song to herself at the diner a few days earlier.

Monk is later trimming plants when Sheriff Bates shows up and informs him that they found some dried up blood in Roger's car, like he must have injured himself the night beforehand. The sheriff asks Monk to come along as he goes to question Roger Zisk at his parents' fertilizer store. Roger, whose face and body are covered with ugly swellings, asks them to explain why any sober man would deliberately crash his car into a bee farm, and they have no answer. Monk also mentions something else about the crash that seems to suggest that it was deliberate: the tire tracks from Roger's car suggest that Roger actually drove past the bee farm, made a 180 degree turn, stopped completely, and then drove through the fence. He also denies any involvement in Debbie Barnett's apparent death.

At home, Monk excitedly tells Cora that Sheriff Bates "likes his style," and offered him a job as a deputy. Cora reminds him that he is a roofer by trade, and then tells him they are overdue to consummate their marriage. She takes him upstairs to her bedroom, but he can't do it - as she kisses him, he remembers something: "Trudy," even though he's not sure what that name means to him. Disappointed, Cora lets him go, saying there's no rush. When Cora mentions offhand that they could go to Lookout Point where all the teenagers get frisky, Monk recalls that the sheriff mentioned that many of the teens were getting stung by bees. Monk believes he has solved the case.

In San Francisco, the police's nationwide search has found the trucker, who remembers Monk, and where he dropped him off. With that, Stottlemeyer, Natalie, and Disher hop on a plane to Wyoming courtesy of the FBI.

Monk is called by Sheriff Bates to a gully. Debbie Barnett's body has been found at the bottom, rolled up in a rug. Since the gully is swarming with hornets, he and the other deputies on the scene all have to wear protective beekeeping suits. The Sheriff asks Monk why he thought Debbie's body would be found near bees. With his beekeeping suit covered in bees (that are apparently attracted to his fear), Monk gives the summation.

Here’s What Happened[]

Roger Zisk was having an affair with Debbie Barnett. On the night she disappeared, Debbie met Roger at her house and showed him the pregnancy test. When he (unsurprisingly) refused to do the honorable thing, she started to storm out, threatening to tell his wife, and he threw her head into a wall, killing her. Then, he rolled her body up in her rug, wrote the farewell note, and then drove her body to the gully and dumped it there. But he had forgotten that the place was crawling with bees, which must have been disturbed by him dumping the body, and stung him several dozen times in the few seconds between when he let go of the rug and when he was able to jump back in his car and lock the doors.

As Roger looked in his mirror at the ugly swellings he'd received, he realized he was in trouble: with the town getting ready to clear the bees out of the area, Debbie's body was going to be found at some point or another, and Roger feared that the authorities would have made the connection between him and her. They would have remembered that the morning after Debbie vanished, Roger showed up at work covered in bee stings. That morning, he conceived a hasty plan: he crashed his car into the bee farm, and got stung several dozen more times to cover up the source of the original stings.

Sheriff Bates drives Monk back to town, planning to get a warrant for Roger's arrest. As Monk gets out, he sees Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher waiting for him. Seeing them, his memory gradually returns, and he remembers: Natalie works for him, his job as a detective in San Francisco, and his marriage to Trudy.

Monk says his goodbyes to Cora, telling her there are no hard feelings, and she admits that he probably wouldn't have worked out as a roofer anyway. Sheriff Bates tells Monk that his offer is still open, but Monk declines, saying his heart is in San Francisco.


  • Tony Shalhoub earned the 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Adrian Monk in this episode.


  • Monk is looking for information on a six-fingered man, after being told by Warrick Tennyson that such a man hired Tennyson to kill Trudy, in "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan." The real six-fingered man, Frank Nunn, is finally encountered in the season 6 finale "Mr Monk Is On The Run Part 1."
  • Ned (the beekeeper) is played by Michael Shalhoub, Tony Shalhoub's brother, in his second appearance on the show, after "Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny."
  • Roger Zisk's BMW is initially shown with a Platte County, Wyoming license plate on the front, but in immediate subsequent shots has California plates on both the front and rear.
  • When Monk is delivering the summation while bees swarm all over him, those are real bees. To cause it to happen, a professional bee wrangler caged a queen bee and slipped into Tony Shalhoub's shirt, and the other bees all clustered around. The bees that swarm Roger Zisk when he crashes his car at the bee farm are CGI'ed in.
  • Roger Zisk's name is more than likely based on producer Randy Zisk.