|Season 5 (Monk)|
|Season 4||Season 6|
Monk's estranged father, Jack returns at Christmas time, but all is not merry with the Monks.
Ben Glaser, the co-owner of the Tiger Bay Trucking Company, drives a borrowed tractor trailer rig out to the ranch of his partner, Kenneth Woods. Kenneth is wearing a horrible tie, which he says was given to him by Jack Monk, his secret Santa, at the Christmas party. Ben remarks that he thought Kenneth was going to fire Monk soon, but Kenneth remarks that he didn't have the heart, with it being the holidays and all. Then Kenneth gets to the point and shows Ben some papers from the office. He accuses Ben of faking invoices for replacement parts for their trucks - buying old, used parts instead and pocketing the difference - which means, not only is Ben stealing from their company, but he's endangering the lives of their truckers. Kenneth threatens to call up the company's Chicago office to cross-check the invoices.
Ben denies Kenneth's accusations, but Kenneth opens the hood of the truck and points out the worn out parts of the engine – then his necktie gets caught in the still-running engine, choking him. Ben starts to pull out his knife to cut him loose, then stops, realizing that fate has handed him a way out of his troubles. As Kenneth continues to choke, and tries to gain a foothold on the tire, Ben decides to help fate along by pulling Kenneth's feet out from under him.
A week later, in San Francisco, Natalie gets a call for Adrian Monk: his father, Jack, has been arrested and is asking for his son. Thirty-nine years after abandoning his family, the elder Monk wants two things: forgiveness, and Adrian's help in fixing his traffic ticket ("But, if you can only do one, I'll take B"). Jack explains that he quit his job as a textbook writer and became a trucker, and he'll be fired if he doesn't make the next leg of his run in time. Monk is so disgusted that he can barely speak to his father, but, with Stottlemeyer's urging, he not only agrees to fix the ticket, but also accepts Jack's invitation to accompany him on the rest of his run.
While they make their way to Phoenix, things are awkward at first between the two Monks. Jack says that he never planned to leave; but while he was driving home from picking up Chinese food, he opened a fortune cookie that said, "Stand by your man." Realizing how unhappy he was with his job and his family, he just kept on driving - for whatever good that explanation is.
Seeing Jack's license, "Jack Monk, Sr." Adrian is stunned to learn that he has a half-brother, Jack, Jr., a successful orthopedic surgeon in Baltimore.
At the next stop, Adrian breaks down and calls Natalie in the middle of her Christmas party, saying the whole trip is a flop: his father doesn't love him, they have nothing in common, and he wants to go home. Natalie urges him to stick it out, adding that no one at the Christmas party is quite sober enough to drive to Arizona to get him (Monk asks for Julie, but she protests that she doesn't have a driver's license, causing him to burst into tears and hang up).
Reluctantly rejoining his father on the road, Adrian looks at the itinerary for the route, and notices something strange: after driving direct from Midland to San Francisco, their route zig-zags back and forth across the Southwest United States: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada. When Adrian asks what they're carrying, Jack replies that they are carrying toys: last week, Ben Glaser announced that he had found religion and offered any driver $5,000 to deliver toys to a series of orphanages he was in as a child.
When Adrian suggests that they could save time by taking another freeway, Jack calls up the home office and makes the suggestion, but Ben tells him to stick to the route given: he says road construction is causing significant delays on the shortcut. Valerie, Ben's assistant, also asks Jack if he's seen Kenneth Woods lately, and Jack says he hasn't.
But when they make their first stop (with Adrian playing the elf to his father's Santa Claus), the "toys" in the box prove to be a hastily-bought assortment of junk, and the kids are almost universally disappointed, with at least one orphan declaring her hatred of Santa Claus and the North Pole. Adrian insists that something has to be wrong: the load they're carrying is rather tiny for such a big semi truck, and he's learned that Ben Glaser never went through this orphanage.
Angry, Jack says that Adrian is jeopardizing his job by investigating his boss, and explodes that his family was always impossible, and Jack is glad he ran out on them. Hearing that, Adrian decides to walk home rather than spend another minute with his father.
Some time later, two hunters are preparing to go on a hunt, but then they notice Kenneth Woods' body in a ditch before they get very far, prompting them to investigate.
Continuing on the route by himself, Jack checks into the home office again. Ben's secretary tells him that some hunters found Kenneth Woods' body in a gulch, and the police are questioning everyone (in fact, we see two local detectives questioning Ben when Jack calls in). She even tells Jack he was found wearing the tie he gave him at the Xmas party. At the next truck stop, Jack has a casual conversation with another trucker, who says that the freeway Adrian suggested is wide open.
Realizing that Ben lied to him about the supposed road construction on the faster route, Jack turns around and picks up Adrian on the roadside ("I knew you'd walk in a straight line. You always did"). As the two men eat a late-night Christmas dinner at a truck stop diner, they discuss the case. Adrian is sure that Ben is up to something, and that somehow this strange truck delivery has something to do with it, but until they can figure out what, and how to prove it, he thinks they should stick to the route and see what happens
The two Monks spend another day and a half on the road, gradually getting closer - since Jack is, with the possible exception of Captain Stottlemeyer, the one man on earth who knows the full catalogue of Adrian's quirks.
On their second day, Adrian notices that the truck is equipped with a GPS receiver, with an automatic memory that keeps track of the last 5,000 miles the truck drove. Adrian looks at their latest trip odometer and realizes that they have driven nearly that many miles... and that is when he solves the case! He yells at Jack to pull over immediately. Unfortunately, their defective brake line chooses that very moment to fail, without either of them noticing.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Ben Glaser was driving the truck Adrian and Jack are using when he paid his fatal visit to Kenneth Woods, and he was driving the truck when he dumped Woods's body, but now he had a problem: the truck's GPS would prove he had been to Kenneth's ranch that day and to the dumping site. He had to erase it immediately because the police would eventually look at it, by putting 5,000 more miles on the truck, so he cooked up a story and sent Jack on the bogus toy run.
Jack is astounded by his son's abilities, but asks how they can prove it. Adrian says that as long as they keep the odometer under 5,000 miles, they have all the proof they need... and then notices that the truck has been slowly rolling forward all the time, and, as Jack realizes their brakes are gone (end result of Glaser's fraud and embezzlement of the truck parts' budget) the truck picks up speed and careens down the hill, narrowly avoiding hitting oncoming vehicles.
As Jack steers desperately to keep the truck from crashing, he tells Adrian to look for a runaway truck ramp. When none appears, he begs his son's forgiveness for abandoning him and Ambrose. He laments that they are about to die, and he has failed as a father. When Adrian reminds him of Jack, Jr., Jack, Sr. says he lied: Jack, Jr. is an unemployed "putz" [or rather, a loser who "hopes one day to become a putz"] who lives in his father's basement, smokes marijuana all day long and steals money from his father's wallet. Jack made up the whole story about him being a doctor to tell his co-workers, simply because he wanted to have a son he could be proud of – not knowing he had one in Adrian.
Just then, Adrian spots a runoff, and Jack steers the truck to a controlled crash. Adrian looks at the GPS and laments that they ran over 5,000 miles, and the box has reset itself. Jack doesn't hear him: he realizes that Adrian, in the heat of the moment, called him "Dad" for the first time since they saw each other again.
Back at the home office, Valerie has cleaned out Kenneth Woods's desk. Glaser takes the box and gives a small eulogy to the grief-stricken employees, encouraging them to stick together in this moment of crisis.
He is interrupted when Adrian and Jack arrive in their truck. Ben berates Jack about the rule regarding passengers in the cab, and then he notices that they aren't alone. Also with them are the two Midland police detectives, who have an arrest warrant, and they mention to Ben that they've seen the sign-out sheets, proving that he was in the truck Jack and Adrian are currently driving, on the day Kenneth vanished.
Ben scoffs, even as he finds out that Adrian is a retired SFPD detective. He claims he went out fishing and says they can't prove anything without the GPS record. Adrian contradicts him: all along the route, there was a rattling sound in the truck's engine that both he and Jack noticed. They thought that there was something wrong with one of the truck's fan belts. They finally popped the hood open, and found a piece of Kenneth Woods's necktie still caught in it (Jack recognizes it because he gave it to Kenneth at the annual Christmas party). With no explanation as to how Kenneth's necktie found its way into the engine of truck that he had been driving, Ben has no answer, and he is arrested.
Watching as Ben is led away, Adrian turns and is surprised to see that his father has bought him a brand-new bicycle. With the elder Monk's help, Adrian learns to ride for the first time in his life.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- In the non-canon novel, Mr. Monk In Outer Space by Lee Goldberg, Natalie mentions that Jack also stopped by to see Ambrose after driving Adrian back to San Francisco.
- Strangely, events of "Mr. Monk Goes Home Again", where Jack was supposed to meet his sons are not mentioned at all in this episode.
- "Mr. Monk and the Bully" in a way contradicts this episode: it is shown in a flashback that Monk owns a bike, yet he didn't learn to ride it until "Mr. Monk Meets His Dad." A likely explanation for this is that Adrian simply owned the bike in an attempt to fit in with the other kids.
- The guest actress who played the waitress Sara Jo in the diner scene was Catherine Bach who famously played another waitress, Daisy Duke on "The Dukes of Hazard" from 1979-1985.
- Adrian meets his half-brother, Jack Monk Jr., in the future episode, "Mr. Monk's Other Brother."