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Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever is the twelfth episode of the third season of Monk.


When Monk is taken into protective custody after witnessing a Chinese mob killing, he's brought to a remote cabin in the woods where he uncovers another murder.


When Natalie stops outside a dance studio and goes inside to pick up Julie, Adrian Monk waits outside. While he is trying to adjust a bent car antenna, he suddenly hears a gunshot. He looks down an alleyway and sees drug lord Tommy Winn shooting another gang member in cold blood. Tommy looks up and sees Monk, but runs away when he hears police sirens.

As the sole witness to a gang murder, Monk is immediately placed in protective custody by the F.B.I., and taken to a remote cabin in the woods to hide until it is time for him to testify. This testimony will put Tommy Winn behind bars and keep him there. Natalie and Stottlemeyer accompany him, along with Agent Grooms. Monk won’t go anywhere without Natalie, and Stottlemeyer doesn’t trust Grooms to protect his friend, and pokes fun at Groom's concerns (which comes as the result of the fact that Tommy has had two other witnesses killed) by suggesting that he's afraid of a sharpshooting raccoon with a high-powered rifle. Natalie is unhappy with the fact that they are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a price put out on Monk's head, and accuses Monk of having bad karma.

Unfortunately, they have brought the wrong water along, and Monk only drinks Sierra Springs, so he and Natalie go into the general store to stock up on supplies. Monk is given a card and the phony name "Frank Conway" so that no one will question his identity. While they are stocking up, Monk tries to claim that he's a hunter, though a local woman, Kathy Willowby, informs him that hunting season doesn't start for three months. Kathy's husband, Martin, a local avid fisherman, tells her to leave Monk alone. Kathy asks the store manager to turn up the radio, since Martin hates country music - he won't let her play it in the house. The store manager gives Martin a set of new bass lures that he has been inquiring about, and Martin takes two sets (the second one for his lucky fishing hat).

Finishing up, Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Grooms drive to the cabin, which has been used for 30 years. The one-room cabin in the woods is enough to make Monk freeze up in horror, but Natalie and Stottlemeyer help him ease in. Monk and Stottlemeyer later sit out in the backyard, which is on the direct opposite side of a lake from the Willowby's cabin (at one point, Martin calls out to Monk from across the water). Stottlemeyer mentions it's his birthday, which will be the very next day, and talks about how he was the youngest officer to make the rank of detective... and now his career has stalled.  Instead of being the Deputy Commissioner like he planned, he's just "the guy who knows how to find [Monk]."  Monk assures him he appreciates having him there; Stottlemeyer insists he had to come, he doesn't trust the FBI to keep Monk safe.  Monk suggests that he could have sent Lieutenant Disher instead, but Stottlemeyer chuckles and says Randy is too busy back in San Francisco: "poor kid thinks he's in love."

Back in San Francisco, Randy is enjoying dinner with his new girlfriend, Hayley. They open their fortune cookies, and Randy’s says a friend will save him from a “dirty death.” Outside the restaurant, Hayley narrowly saves him from being run over by a garbage truck.

Late at night, Monk can’t sleep. Stottlemeyer occupies the top bunk of their bed, and his foot keeps flopping down. Monk resorts to tying the leg to the bedpost. Across the lake, in the Willowby cabin, Martin is taking a bath, while Kathy creeps up on him, carrying a radio. She turns on the radio, playing country music, and Martin starts complaining for her to turn the music off. Kathy tells Martin to do it himself, and throws the radio into the tub, electrocuting him to death. Monk hears the scream from the cabin, and gets over to the window just in time to see the lights flickering. He wakes Stottlemeyer up in a panic, and Stottlemeyer falls out, his leg still attached to the bed.

The next morning, Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer watch Kathy through binoculars. Monk is certain that Martin is dead, as she's bought about 20 bags full of ice and a brand new radio. She is also listening to country music quite loudly, even though Monk remembers from the conversation he overheard at the store that Martin didn't let her play it in the house. Natalie suggests that Martin isn't home, but Monk insists that Martin hasn't come out of their cabin all morning, his boat is still moored at their dock, and he did not drive off in their only car. To test Monk's theory, Stottlemeyer calls up the Willoughby cabin under an assumed name, claiming to be looking for Martin. They catch Kathy in a lie right away as she claims that he is on the lake fishing...when they can all clearly see that his boat is in the dock. It's clear as day that she killed Martin and is trying to make his death look like an accident. Natalie is aghast at this - murder seems to follow Monk everywhere he goes.

Randy, meanwhile, enjoys another meal with Hayley, and they break open another set of fortune cookies. This time, Randy's says he will receive a gift from a rich uncle. Randy says this is impossible, since all of his uncles are deceased; then a messenger arrives with a tax refund from "Good Old Uncle Sam."

Stottlemeyer believes Monk's suspicions about Kathy Willowby, and they try to explain their beliefs to Agent Grooms. Grooms is furious when he learns that they called the Willowby cabin, and he goes so far as to disconnect the phone.

In the middle of a driving thunderstorm, Monk sees Kathy pushing Martin's boat out onto the lake, with the body loaded into it. He insists that they have to go to the lake and grab the evidence before it is destroyed. Deciding to check it out, Stottlemeyer waits until Grooms goes to the bathroom to wash up, and "arrests" the doorknob, and he, Monk, and Natalie get into the car, driving towards the cabin as fast as they can. Unfortunately, they get stuck in a pothole, and they are stranded in a thunderstorm overnight. To cap off their dismal evening, Stottlemeyer finds a surprise birthday cake that Natalie brought for him, which is now mush. As they are trying to ride the storm out, Stottlemeyer reminds Monk about the other occurrences where murders have happened where he goes - including the time he went on vacation, the time he took a plane to Newark, and the stage play.

With their ride disabled, Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer hike through the woods, trying to find their way to the Willowby cabin. After several hours, they find a stream to drink from, but Monk won't, until Stottlemeyer and Natalie convince him that Sierra Springs is actually bottled there, and the stream is the same as the water Monk drinks. They still have to lower him by his belt, so that no part of him except his lips touches the ground or the water.

In San Francisco, Randy and Hayley open a third set of fortune cookies. Randy’s says that a friend is in danger and only Randy can save him. Randy calls the cabin, and hears the phone has been disconnected. He rushes to his car and drives toward the woods, after which Hayley coolly nods to a pair of Chinese assassins, who follow Randy.

Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer make it to the Willowbys’ cabin as the local sheriff's deputy, Paul Coby, questions Kathy, who says Martin was killed in a freak accident – hit by lightning while out on the lake during the storm. However, on top of the lies Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer caught her in yesterday with their phone call, they're quick to pick her story apart: for one thing, there is a scorch mark from where the lightning hit, but why didn't it hit the lightning rod on the boat? Also, why didn't Martin take his lucky fishing hat or the new lures that he was so enthusiastic about purchasing? Kathy shrugs off their questions, but Stottlemeyer and Natalie start asking her if Martin had a life insurance policy with an indemnity clause that would pay double if Martin died due to an act of God, and she begins to realize they're onto her.

Just then, Randy arrives, having seen them from the other cabin. As he explains what brought him there, Monk looks at the fortunes and tells Randy they've been made by hand. Stottlemeyer realizes they have been set up, and pulls Monk to the ground just as the assassins start shooting up the cabin with automatic rifles. While everyone is taking cover on the floor, Monk notices a series of scorch marks in the pattern of an electrical cord leading from the radio's power cord leading from the outlet to the bathtub, and ice cubes in the tub. At the same time, Randy examines the fortunes, and he and Monk give their summations simultaneously (much to the annoyance of everyone in their presence):

Here's What Happened[]

Monk: Kathy dropped the radio into the bathtub while Martin was bathing, intending to make it look like an act of God so she could collect the life insurance money. But she was unable to fake the accident on the night she killed him, because the rain stopped early, so she kept his body preserved in ice for a day to confuse the coroner and make it impossible for him to determine the time of death. That night, during the storm, she put his body in the boat, cut it loose, waited a few hours, and then called the sheriff's office.

Randy: Randy realizes that Hayley contrived their meeting and relationship, and the Triads arranged the series of "coincidences" to get him to believe in the fortunes, before slipping him one that would send him to the cabin, since he was the only one besides Stottlemeyer and Agent Grooms who knew where it was.

As the hitmen continue shooting, Grooms, who has escaped the bathroom and made his way over, gets the drop on one of the assassins and shoots him. While Grooms is checking the man's pulse, the other hit man runs in his direction. Before he can aim at Grooms, however, Stottlemeyer emerges from the house and shoots him down. Inside the cabin, Kathy, shaken, stands up, and Deputy Coby promptly arrests her, telling her that in light of the other evidence, he's planning on ordering a full autopsy on Martin to determine the true cause of death.

As they prepare to leave, Natalie reconsiders what she has been thinking about Monk's "bad karma" and people getting killed around him. Now, she realizes, it's good karma - these murders just happen, and Monk is there to catch them. She vocalizes this to Stottlemeyer, who is amused.

Background Information and Notes[]

  • The running joke throughout the episode is at how incompetent the FBI is in protecting its witnesses; Grooms stresses to Monk and the others to not draw attention to themselves, yet enters the woods wearing a three-piece suit at the bait and tackle shop; Natalie mentions reading that the last witness to stay in the cabin was killed (although not in the cabin itself); and when all the locals hear that they are staying in the cabin on the lake, they all say, "Oh, it’s the F.B.I. cabin." It should be noted that in real life, the FBI would also not be utilizing the same cabin "for thirty years" and would never inform all of the locals about it (unless they personally figured out what the cabin was for). However, it's possible that the locals figured it out by themselves, likely from seeing these faces appear on the news in major court cases.
  • Posters from various martial arts movies can be seen on the walls of Randy's apartment, as mentioned in "Mr. Monk vs. The Cobra."
  • Agent Grooms previously appeared in "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect," as an agent of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms). It seems that he recently transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • When Natalie remarks that people seem to get murdered wherever Monk goes, Stottlemeyer recalls the events of "Mr. Monk Takes a Vacation," "Mr. Monk and the Airplane," and "Mr. Monk Goes to the Theater." This also may prophetically reference later episodes where these occurrences happen, like "Mr. Monk Gets Drunk," "Mr. Monk Goes to a Wedding," "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert," "Mr. Monk Goes to the Hospital," and "Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs." Interestingly, other characters' reactions to this occurrence is different: Stottlemeyer's reaction when Monk insists on investigating the death of David Gitelson in "Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs" is similar to Natalie's in "Cabin Fever," yet in sharp contrast, when faced with a possible murder case in "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert," Natalie doesn't show any sign of objection. Natalie also criticizes Monk for this in the novels Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii and Mr. Monk is Miserable, where murders happen around Monk at such rates that they border on the realm of supernatural.
  • Monk's alias name is "Frank Conway." Tony Shalhoub co-starred alongside John Travolta as an attorney named Kevin Conway in the movie A Civil Action.
  • The witness protection program is actually run by the U.S. Marshal's Service. And Monk would also have been "spirited" away to somewhere that was not less than four to five hours driving distance from San Francisco, such as Nevada or Oregon, or more likely Colorado or somewhere east of the Mississippi River.


Natalie: You're the Prince of Darkness.
Stottlemeyer: No, he's not the Prince of Darkness. I've seen him vacuuming the ceiling. You wouldn't see the Prince of Darkness vacuuming the ceiling.
Natalie: I can picture the Prince of Darkness vacuuming the ceiling, to trick us! He's very tricky!
Monk: Stop calling me the Prince of Darkness, that's how rumors get started.

Natalie: Did you make a wish?
Stottlemeyer: Yes, I did.

Monk: What was it?
(Stottlemeyer just looks at him.)
Monk: ...Did it involve me?
Stottlemeyer: Yes, it did.
Stottlemeyer: Cake?

Monk: I've got to know. Are we lost? Tell me the truth, I can handle it.
Natalie: We're... (Stottlemeyer mouths, "NO!") ...not lost.

Monk: Oh, my God! WE'RE LOST!

Monk: Nature! I've got nature on my hand! Wipe...Wipe!
(Natalie hands Monk a leaf)

Monk: What are you doing? No! You can't clean nature with nature!

Deputy Coby: They're staying at the F.B.I. Cabin.
Stottlemeyer: Would you please stop calling it that?

Deputy Coby: Who the hell are they?
Stottlemeyer: Hit men from San Francisco!

Natalie: They’re here to kill Monk!
Kathy Willowby: Good!

Monk/Disher: (together) Oh, my God! I’ve got it! Here’s what happened...

Deputy Coby: My head's spinning. Which one are you listening to?
Stottlemeyer: Neither one.

Disher: Now I have to go back and arrest my girlfriend for conspiracy and attempted murder. She’ll probably break up with me!