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Mr. Monk Joins a Cult is the eleventh episode of the sixth season of Monk.


While out shopping, Natalie and Monk spot the parents of a recently murdered girl named Amanda Clark, and Monk begrudgingly takes the case – before the Clarks even ask.

Monk and Natalie visit the crime scene - a picnic table at a highway rest stop - with Stottlemeyer and Disher. Monk speaks to Tom Donovan, the man who found Amanda Clark. Donovan says he saw Amanda being forced down and stabbed by a group of people – one of whom was clearly the leader. When the killers spotted Donovan they took off in a silver van, leaving Amanda with ten stab wounds and a symbol of a sun carved into her chest. As he was driving Amanda to the hospital, Donovan heard her say, "He found me. Father found me." Then she died.

According to Stottlemeyer, Donovan's story checks out. Amanda had left a cult called Sibling of the Sun over a year before her death, and had apparently been so terrified that 'Father', the leader of the cult, would find her that she changed her name and went into hiding, working off the books as a prostitute. Donovan was able to pick Father, formerly a used car salesman named Ralph Roberts, out of a lineup, but there still isn't enough evidence to charge the cult leader. The problem is, Father has about a hundred witnesses to back up his alibi for that night, and almost as many lawyers ready to sue the police. Since the police won't send anyone in to infiltrate the cult, Monk offers to go undercover, an idea Stottlemeyer swiftly rejects. It's agreed instead that Natalie, who won't pose such as easy target for the cult, will be the one to infiltrate it.

There's just one little problem: the Siblings of the Sun don't want Natalie. When she approaches the Siblings at one of their recruiting stations, they quickly lose interest in her when they find out she has a daughter. Before Natalie can do anything about it, Monk steps in and the cult leaders whisk him off to their private ranch.

On the ranch, Monk gets a tour of the grounds, which are filled with serene cult members, and speaks with Brother Zach, who had been stationed in front of Father's cabin the night of the murder on security detail. Brother Zach tells Monk that he is sure Father never left his cabin that night – he claims he could hear Father talking to God all night, and even heard his microwave beeping.

Stottlemeyer is concerned when Natalie arrives at the station alone and announces that Monk has joined the cult - and it turns out he has good reason to be. Back at the Siblings of the Sun ranch, Monk seems to be falling under Father's spell. Soon he is wearing yellow and selling flowers at the airport, just like all the other cult members. When Monk visits Father's cabin, Monk notices that something Father was trying to use was unplugged. Father had trouble ending over so Monk volunteered to plug it in for him, and finds a syringe cap on the floor. But when Father confronts Monk about being a police-planted mole, all Monk can focus on is being allowed to stay at the ranch. He begs Father to let him stay at the ranch, where he doesn't have to think, and professed his loyalty and gratitude.

Father lets him stay, with one little proof of gratitude: Monk's savings. To prove his allegiance to the Siblings of the Sun, Monk visits the bank with several of the other cult members. Just as he is handing over a check for $32,000, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher pull up and force Monk into their car. They bring him back to Natalie's house, where with Dr. Kroger's help they try to deprogram him. Natalie attempts to feed him chicken pot pie, but he forces his mouth closed. Stottlemeyer experiences failure to convince Monk, with even softly kicking his shin not working, and Disher unwittingly ends up being nearly converted when his attempt to get Monk to realize the cult is garbage (by the text of the cult's book) gets deflected back on him. Dr. Kroger is finally able to get through to Monk by reminding him of Trudy. Moments later, Dr. Kroger's beeper goes off and Monk realizes something; he's solved the case.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher pay a visit to Tom Donovan's office that night. Monk accuses Donovan of murdering Amanda Clark. Father's had an alibi for the night of the murder, an alibi he couldn't reveal for fear of ruining his image as the Eternal One - a doctor was paying him a secret visit to give him a shot for his back pain – that explains the syringe cap Monk had found, and the beeping sound Brother Zack had mistaken for a microwave. Monk's theory has been corroborated by Father's doctor, which leaves only one question: why would Donovan lie and pretend he'd seen Father stabbing Amanda? The answer? To deflect the blame off himself.

Donovan's wife refuses to believe that her husband is guilty of murder, and hands Stottlemeyer a traffic ticket her husband had just received in the mail, which includes photos of Donovan with Amanda sitting in the passenger seat with her seatbelt on. Donovan claims that the photo was taken on the way to the hospital, but when Monk examines the car he notices that there isn't any blood on the seatbelt. He announces that the photo was actually taken before Amanda was stabbed – in fact, it's the reason she was stabbed. Donovan had hired Amanda's services as a prostitute, and as they were driving, they blew through a red light with an automatic photo camera. The camera took a picture recording the car's license plate, as well as a photo showing Donovan and Amanda Clark together. Immediately, Donovan knew his wife would see the photos because he was driving a company car, because the ticket would be mailed to the office, so to come up with an explanation for why he had another woman in his car, he murdered Amanda and then pretended to try to drive her to the hospital. He knew about her history with Siblings of the Sun, so he pinned the murder on them.

Donovan says there's no proof, only for Monk to show that in the traffic ticket picture, Amanda has her seatbelt on, meaning that if the picture was taken after the attack, the seatbelt should have blood on it. When Monk extends the seatbelt to examine it, there is no blood on it.

After revealing the truth about Donovan, Monk gets a chance to set the record straight about one more thing: Father's supposedly perfect health. When Father and some of the Siblings find Monk and Natalie on the street and thank them in person for clearing Father's name, Father says that if there's anything Monk needs, he'd be happy to do it. Monk then asks Father to bend down and tie his shoe, which he is unable to do due to his back problems. This exposes Father's deception about him being the "Eternal One". Monk also declines Father's invitation to return to the ranch and walks away, leaving some stunned Siblings - and his cult days - behind him.