|Season 4 (Monk)|
|Season 3||Season 5|
Natalie puts herself in jeopardy to pursue a case while Monk is sick in bed with the flu.
Natalie is at Monk’s house, helping to re-paper his walls. Julie whines that she’s hungry, and Natalie tells her to be patient, the pizza they ordered will be there soon. As Monk demonstrates to Julie the wonders of his leveling tool, the doorbell rings. Natalie answers it to the pizza man, who quickly hands her the pizza and her change, and leaves. After he’s gone, Julie says the pizza is cold, and Natalie notices that the man overpaid her $50 in change. She runs down to the delivery car, and finds the pizza man dead behind the wheel, beaten to death.
Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive with an investigation team. It is confirmed that the victim, a boy named Julio Alvarez, was beaten to death with a baseball bat. The killer apparently took the weapon with him. Monk is baffled: how did the killer get Julio to stop when there are no houses or businesses in the area? Before he can answer that, however, he is distracted when he sneezes. As incredible as it seems, he has managed to catch a germ, and is coming down with the flu. Stottlemeyer and Disher are also forced to break off when the deputy commissioner arrives. He pulls Stottlemeyer off the case, saying that a judge named Jillian Garr, who is a close friend of the mayor's, has gone missing after failing to show up for a fundraiser. Every senior officer in the department is being mobilized to carry out the search, including Stottlemeyer.
The next day, Natalie tucks Monk in bed, but he is too distracted by his condition to pay attention to her questions about the murder. Julie proudly gives him a get-well card with a musical chip that plays "Polly Wolly Doodle." Monk thanks her, but the never-ending tune soon drives him crazy. He tries putting it away in a drawer, but he can still hear it. When he is sure Julie is gone, he stuffs it in the mattress. Eventually, he has Julie compose to him a "living will," and even resorts to throwing it away.
Since Monk is out of action, Natalie goes by herself to the police station, but everyone is caught up in the search for Judge Garr. The most Disher can do for her is to give her the pizza boy’s name, and the address of the parlor where he worked. She also notices from the police file on the pizza delivery boy, Julio Alvarez, that he did not look anything like the man who delivered the pizza to the apartment.
Meanwhile, Stottlemeyer and Disher are also due out to investigate a potential suspect in Judge Garr's disappearance or murder: a guy named John Delancy whom she ruled against a few weeks ago. Apparently, he went berserk and had to be restrained. The only other thing known about him is that he also hit her car as she was leaving the courthouse. Whether it was intentional or not is disputed despite three witnesses seeing it, because she neither reported it, nor did she press charges against him.
Natalie then goes over to Pizza Castle, where Julio worked, to find out where whether he did indeed go over to her house, or at the very least, verify that he got all of the receipts for his delivery run. Her attempt at getting the store manager to cooperate ends up failing when on the phone, Monk asks the guy for the Center for Disease Control's location. Nonetheless, another employee allows her to get the receipts anyway due to wanting his murder solved.
Stottlemeyer and Disher track Delancey to a private golf club. They can't get by the snooty receptionist until he has to leave the podium due to his beeper buzzing. They then find his table on the seating chart, where they encounter a man at the table, but he denies any knowledge about Judge Garr or any incidents against her. Stottlemeyer asks the man if he likes "tie food" and dunks the man's tie in his porridge. Then Randy informs him that they've made a mistake and they're at the wrong table. Stottlemeyer then apologizes and gives him his own tie as a replacement, until he learns that Randy is mistaken again, and the man they were talking to was Delancey all along. He then returns to the table, and after asking for his tie back, he ends up tightening it and then asking about the missing Garr. Delancy admits that he lost his temper, even though Judge Garr's ruling did cost him $2.5 million, although he never intended to hurt her as he was simply "pissed off." In questioning, he gives the real reason why Garr never pressed charges against him: she was making out with another man in the car. When he hit her, the man also jumped out of the car and ran, causing Disher and Stottlemeyer to conclude he most likely didn't want to be seen and it was most likely due to the fact that the man in question was married to someone else.
At the same time, Stottlemeyer visits Monk and asks for his opinion on the missing judge. Based on credit card receipts, and Delancy's statement, including a Valentine's Day trip to Oakley, Idaho, they have evidence that Garr was in a relationship with someone. In between telling Stottlemeyer to take out his used Kleenex, Monk theorizes that Garr's secret lover is unmarried, since he would have stayed home for Valentine's Day if he was married. This seems to suggest that the lover is someone she couldn't see socially because he had a conflict of interest – a lawyer, or a party to one of her cases.
Natalie retraces Julio Alverez’s route from the night of the murder, asking his customers if they saw anything suspicious. The first family confirms that they did see Julio that night. Then she reaches the second stop, the house of a guy named Reggie Dennison. When he answers the door, Natalie is about to ask him about Julio when she suddenly notices that Dennison is the guy: he has a distinct discolored bruise under his right thumbnail, just like one the pizza deliveryman she saw had, and he also was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses to hide his face. Sensing that Dennison recognizes her, Natalie hurriedly changes her story, claiming to be looking for a lost kitten, then retreats.
When night falls, Natalie sees Dennison leave his house, load something in his car, and drive off. She sneaks inside and starts looking for clues. She calls Monk on her cell phone, and he manages to rally enough to take notice. The first thing Natalie sees is that Dennison has tried to burn something. Upon closer look, she finds a photo that appears to be of Dennison with another woman, but the woman's head is cut off. However, the words "Oakley Inn" appear on a window behind Dennison in the photo. Monk promptly asks Natalie if Dennison is a lawyer. Indeed, Natalie immediately sees that he has hung a law degree up on his wall, and baffled to learn that Monk knew that without setting foot in the house (unaware that the clue ties Dennison to the other case). Monk then tells Natalie to go to the bathroom. Noticing a strong smell of cleaning fluid from the bathroom, she goes in and finds it scrubbed unnaturally clean. She also notices that the shower curtain is missing. Monk tells her to look for traces of blood under the light switch, which “they” always forget. Sure enough, she finds a spot there, and Monk solves the case.
Here’s What Happened
Just then, Dennison returns home, and Natalie drops her cell phone as she backpedals. While she tries to hide and stay silent, Monk starts coughing explosively, drawing Dennison to the phone, which he picks up. Unaware that Natalie is no longer on the line, he gives the summation:
Dennison was Judge Garr's lover. That night, she visited his house, and at some point, they must have ordered a pizza. Just before Julio Alvarez arrived, a particularly brutal fight broke out. Dennison cornered Garr and beat her to death in the bathroom with a baseball bat. Moments later, Julio showed up. He must have seen Dennison attacking Garr, and tried to intervene, and in the heat of the moment, Dennison subsequently beat him to death as well. This put Dennison in a troubling position: the pizzeria knew Julio's route. If Julio went missing, the police investigation would have focused on his death and the cops would start asking enough questions that they'd determine Dennison as their suspect. To divert attention from himself, Dennison needed someone else to be the last person to see Julio alive. To do this, he disguised himself with a jacket, baseball cap and sunglasses, put Julio's body in the passenger seat, and drove Julio's car to deliver Natalie's pizza, which was the next stop on Julio's run. He then ditched the car and body in a location where it would be more easily found.
Monk (unknowingly) alerts Dennison to the fact that he made not one, but two mistakes: the first is the blood on the light switch (hearing that, Dennison quickly finds it and wipes it away); secondly, his fingerprints are all over the pizza box, which is now at the recycling center.
Natalie grabs Dennison’s phone and tries to call Monk. Switching lines, Monk absently tells her to wait, he’s on the other line... then realizes what has happened. Just then, Dennison finds Natalie and holds a knife to her throat, telling Monk not to call the police, or he’ll kill her.
Dennison drives her to the recycling center, bound and gagged. As he threatens her to help him find the pizza box, Monk arrives in a cab, still wearing his bathrobe, and tackles Dennison. As they struggle, Natalie runs to a forklift and dumps a load of shredded paper on Dennison, subduing him until Stottlemeyer and Disher arrive.
Unfortunately, they have no evidence to connect Dennison to the murders except the pizza box, which is buried in the huge pile of garbage. Dennison claims they've kidnapped him. Then Monk tells everyone to be quiet: he can hear faint traces of music. Julie’s card, which he stuck in the recycling bag, is still playing. Stottlemeyer and Randy locate the package. Natalie is impressed that Monk overcame both his sickness and his fears to come and rescue her. As Mitch always said, "The great ones play hurt." And Monk has played hurt to rescue Natalie.
A few days later, Monk is back to normal. Natalie comes by the house and finds him sitting on the porch of his building. Knowing he hates the outdoors, she asks him what is wrong. He says, nothing, he is just enjoying a beautiful day. She mentions that Dennison led the cops to Judge Garr's body and confessed to both murders. Inside his bedroom, Julie’s card has been restored to its place of honor on his dresser, and is still pinging merrily away.
- Musical cards don't play nonstop. They have to be opened up wide enough to activate the chip, and they will turn off once closed again.
- At the beginning of the episode when Natalie is looking for the pizza delivery man, she obviously has no clue as to where he might be going, as she is not following him. So it seems very strange that she manages to find him at a spot that is later identified by the police as a place where there are no homes and just some warehousing. If she were looking for a pizza delivery guy, she would surely stick to places he'd be likely to be delivering to, like residential neighborhoods.
- It seems odd that Natalie never considered possibly getting the manager to help by convincing him she was a friend of Julio's.
- The pizza box is obviously not the only thing that would connect Dennison to the murder. Natalie being able to identify Dennison as the man who came to her door, and not Julio, would also help.
- Monk puts the pizza box out with his other recyclable household waste. These boxes typically can't be recycled due to the food residue (cheese, sauce, grease, etc.) embedded/absorbed into them.
Background Information and Notes
- This is the third episode where the SFPD was forced to overlook a particular case only for it to turn out to be directly related to the primary crime, with it having earlier been done in Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife and Mr. Monk Gets Fired. It was done again in Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy. In this particular case, unlike in The Captain's Wife, this wasn't Stottlemeyer's fault, as he and the other top detectives are forced off the case by the deputy commissioner due to the judge's disappearance being considered a higher priority than the murder of a pizza delivery boy.
- Star Trek reference: One of the characters is named John DeLancie; the actor who played Q.
Stottlemeyer: For a germ, you're like Mount Everest.
Stottlemeyer: What is that?
Monk: It’s a humidifier.
Stottlemeyer: And that?
Stottlemeyer: Well, don’t they cancel each other out?
Natalie: Does that ever get to you? Seeing people dead?
Lt. Disher: Yeah, it did for awhile, but I got used to it.
Natalie: That must be awful, getting used to it.
Lt. Disher: Yeah, it was pretty awful. But I got used to it. (long pause) That's the worst part, you know. Getting used to it. Something you never really get used to.