Monk Season 1
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Season 2

Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum is the sixth episode of the first season of Monk.


After being discovered in Trudy's old house, Monk is temporarily institutionalized. Once committed, he stumbles upon a four-year-old murder. Along the way, Monk is aided by various other patients at the hospital, including a man who mirrors those around him.

Plot SynopsisEdit

In an odd lapse of judgment, Adrian Monk finds himself in the wrong apartment, trying to make dinner for his late wife Trudy. He calls Sharona for advice, and learns that he's in the wrong apartment. Then, the police arrive, having been summoned by the real homeowners.

The police, rather than pressing charges, place Monk in the Medford Psychiatric Institute for two days of observation and evaluation under the Institute's Director, Dr. Morris Lancaster, one of the best in the country (he's appeared on CNN).

While in the asylum, Monk is initially relieved to be receiving such intensive treatment, which he believes is doing him a great deal of good despite the renovation work going on. However, things get a bit sticky when Monk's roommate, an ex-cop named John Wurster, takes him on a tour of the asylum. Wurster tells Monk about a murder that was committed in the medical supply room four years ago. In the fall of 1998, the previous director, Dr. Conrad Gould, was working late when a patient named Bill LaFrankie ambushed him in the medical supply room and shot him three times in the chest. He then stole some morphine from a supply cabinet, then fled the scene. The next morning, the police found his dead body in the woods nearby. He apparently had overdosed on the drugs he'd stolen.

But in a twist, Wurster tells Monk that the official case had several big holes in it, and thus in his mind was unsolved: For one thing, the gun was never found. Also, Wurster says that LaFrankie was his previous roommate, and he was a devout Buddhist, who wouldn't hurt a spider. He was also pathologically afraid of needles.

Lancaster insists that Monk not "play detective" while in his care, but Monk's investigative impulses are irresistible after learning of the murder four years prior. At 3:45 AM, Monk overhears Jane, a female patient who has a tendency to lash out at other people, going into a screaming fit, causing one of the doctors to try and phone Dr. Lancaster to come subdue her. One of the patients, Manny (who suffers from an obsession with Santa Claus), hears sounds from the roof and sees Santa on the roof and takes a picture of him.

During a psychiatric review with Dr. Lancaster's patients, after Monk explains why he is present at the hospital, Manny states he saw Santa Claus the previous night around 4:00 AM, and he was about to slide down the chimney when his cell phone rang, and he even took a picture of him. Unfortunately, his camera has turned up missing, and Monk then asks for the exact time that he saw Santa on the roof. Manny responds that it happened at exactly 3:47 AM, just two minutes after Jane's screaming fit. Monk also learns that Manny had also been assigned to that room the previous week, and one of the patients, Mr. Richter, was unhappy about it, as he was on the waiting list for that room for eleven years. After directing him towards the chimney, Monk notices that there is a rag hanging from the side, and after retrieving it, he also discovers that there are footprints other than his own on the rooftop. Monk also places the rag in an evidence bag, although he tells Manny that he plans to expose Santa's existence after finding more proof in order for him to comply.

Manny also tells Monk that he was at the clinic when Dr. Gould was killed, and was even quoted anonymously in the newspapers. Monk also notices something odd with one of the article clippings, but can't place what it is. To find out a possible answer, Monk then arranges for the Art Room to become the Medical Supply Room so he can reenact Dr. Gould's murder. With Wurster playing LaFrankie and Manny playing Dr. Gould, they reenact the murder, and Monk then notices another crucial clue: Someone opened the cabinet with a set of keys, but the picture for the headline clearly shows that Dr. Gould's keys are still in his pocket. Monk then begins to suspect that the true culprit was one of the hospital staff, possibly Dr. Lancaster himself.

Unfortunately, Oliver, one of the orderlies walks in on the scene review, and Monk is later brought before Dr. Lancaster and scolded for mocking Dr. Gould's death (despite his claims that he wasn't.). Monk then notices that the fishing hook is missing from Dr. Lancaster's rod. Unfortunately, at that moment, Jane Gordon storms into Lancaster's office and claims that Monk stole her necklace. Monk denies stealing it, but he then finds it in one of his pockets, despite having absolutely no recollection of stealing it.

Jane later apologizes to Monk for lashing out, and explains that she was like him and thought she was seeing things that weren't there, and that, while trying to use a payphone, she saw LaFrankie running with a weapon, but in her mind she saw Dr. Lancaster with the gun, apparently projecting her rage at Lancaster into LaFrankie, as she apparently hated him for "helping her." Monk is becoming weary of possibly slipping away and is given medication prescribed by Dr. Lancaster.

Here's What HappenedEdit

When Sharona arrives to check on her boss, Dr. Lancaster informs her that Monk's condition has been deteriorating. After showing Sharona and Monk a disturbing drawing of Trudy that he doesn't even recall drawing, as well as not finding the piece of fabric that he definitely recalls finding with Manny on the roof, as well as noticing that Dr. Lancaster had a substance similar to soot on his boating shoes, Monk suggests his suspicions to Sharona, and asks her if he's losing his mind.

Sharona decides to do some sleuthing of her own by going to a college Dr. Gould donated his papers to. She gets a librarian named Chet Abrams to search through Gould's records by convincing him that Ross Kelton felt he was cool and would let her do research as a favor. She researches old documents and discovers that Dr. Lancaster indeed had a strong motive to commit the crime: he was intensely jealous that Dr. Gould had been promoted ahead of him. With the help of some glow-in-the-dark paint and a photo of Trudy, Sharona passes the information on to Monk, with Wurster pointing out the glow in the dark ink lettering on Trudy's photo, causing Monk to break into Dr. Lancaster's office to review files, specifically that of LaFrankie. Unfortunately, when she delivered the picture note, she ended up having to show the photo to Dr. Lancester for it to check out, and Lancaster gets some of the paint on him when he looks at it, which he discovers after reviewing files from the closet and turning off the lights for the night.

Dr. Lancaster then rushes back to his office to find Monk there, searching his files. Monk has just found that LaFrankie's file reads that he was afraid of needles, meaning he obviously couldn't have killed Dr. Gould for a drug run, much less overdose himself. Dr. Lancaster knows Monk has caught him, so he calls security under the pretense that he was being attacked. When Monk informs him that he knows Dr. Lancaster committed the murder and how he did it, Dr. Lancaster then tells him that it won't matter as the public won't listen to "a man with an IQ of 17." He has Oliver escort Monk to the Quiet Room and places him in a straitjacket. Dr. Lancaster then tells Oliver to inject Monk with a particular drug under a specific dose, although Oliver is hesitant, because the dose requested far exceeds the amount necessary for Monk's body type, but goes along with it anyways due to him still being a graduate student and thus unable to refuse Lancaster's command.

Monk has only a few minutes to pull a Houdini-style escape, knock Oliver out, and call Sharona to alert the police. Just as Monk predicts, Dr. Lancaster has stepped out onto the roof, clad in a Santa suit. Monk confronts him, and explains that Dr. Lancaster wanted Dr. Gould's job, while Manny, not quite aware of "Santa" not actually being Santa, attempts to go to Lancaster.

To commit the murder, Dr. Lancaster hid himself in the medical supply room, waiting for Dr. Gould to show up. When the doctor entered, Dr. Lancaster ambushed Gould and shot him three times. He then stole some drugs, intending to frame a patient for the murder. LaFrankie made a perfect fall guy. Lancaster lethally doped him up, killed him, and dumped his body in the woods, where the cops would find it the next morning. However, there was another problem: Dr. Lancaster happened to use a pistol that was registered to him. He dropped it down in an unused chimney before the police arrived. Years went by, and the weapon never was discovered. But now, the hospital is undergoing renovations, and they threatened to find the weapon. Dr. Lancaster didn't want a construction worker to find the weapon, so he arranged to have Manny, the Santa Claus nut, moved into a room overlooking the chimney. Then he went up to the roof in a Santa suit to "go fishing" for the pistol, knowing that Manny's reports would be cited as pure lunacy. Throughout this time, Manny continues to try to get Santa's attention, although he eventually notices after nearly slipping that "Santa" wasn't actually Santa and tries to warn Monk (unaware that Monk already knows).

Just then, Dr. Lancaster recovers the pistol, and, after feigning surprise at the discovery, is about to dispatch Monk and Manny, but when he tries to pull the trigger, it jams. Monk reveals that the firing pin and the metal components in the weapon have been completely oxidized over the years that have passed since the murder. The police, along with Sharona, arrive just in time to save Monk and detain Dr. Lancaster, also derisively calling him "Santa" when telling him to surrender. Monk then remorsefully tells that, his crimes aside, Lancaster was truly the best doctor he ever met, and also jokingly tells him "Merry Christmas."

Later, Monk calls Sharona, this time from the right apartment, in order to make sure he was indeed at the right apartment. After she confirmed he was, he also admitted that he was considering promoting her before going back to sleep.


  • The note that Sharona left reads as follows:






  • In reality, the doctor's plan would probably never worked out. They would have found his fingerprints all over the crime scene. The lack of blood and gunpowder on the clothes of the patient (who apparently killed Dr. Gould and then evidently overdosed himself) also would have been suspicious.

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • The majority of "asylum" exteriors for this episode were shot at The Shouldice Clinic in Toronto, Canada, -a clinic specializing exclusively in the repair of hernias.

Dennis Boutsikaris also played a similar profession in the film The Dream Team starring Michael Keaton.