|Season 3 (Monk)|
|Season 2||Season 4|
Monk takes a new medication that alleviates the symptoms of his obsessive-compulsive disorder but impairs his ability to solve crime.
A group of detectives have caught a biker named Dewey Albert on the street, about to arrest him for missing his bail hearing. While the cops are trying to cuff him, a blue sedan pulls up to a light at the nearby intersection. The driver's face is never seen as he grabs a pistol from the glovebox, and aims it at the police officers. Moments later, Lieutenant Disher and Captain Stottlemeyer arrive and get out of their car. As they are walking up to the first group of officers, the driver opens fire. Several bullets hit the police cars, shattering the windows. One bullet hits Stottlemeyer in the right shoulder, and another bullet shatters a store window. The driver then speeds away. Within seconds, patrol units arrive on the scene. Amidst the confusion, Dewey Albert jumps on his bike and takes off. Only after backup responds does Randy notice that Stottlemeyer has been shot.
Adrian Monk confesses to Dr. Kroger that he's despairing of ever getting better. In response, Dr. Kroger gives him a bottle of a new experimental medication for OCD, Dioxnyl, even though he knows Monk's hatred of pills. Before Dr. Kroger can go into further detail, a distressed Sharona bangs on the window and tells Monk about the shooting.
Monk rushes to the scene, where a distraught Randy is overseeing an investigative team. Monk looks carefully and sees a number of vital clues: the entry holes in the police car show the shooter was firing from ground level, likely sitting in the driver's seat of a car at the nearby intersection. Two officers who responded from the scene of a woman who had committed suicide just a few blocks away a few minutes prior to the shooting report seeing a blue sedan making a U-turn as they arrived on the scene, that then made a left turn in the direction of a reservoir. Monk determines that the car was the shooter's, and the reservoir is where he likely ditched the weapon. Randy theorizes that the shooter must be a friend of Dewey Albert's trying to keep him out of prison. Monk sees traces of leaked gasoline on the pavement and realizes that Albert could not have gone far.
While Monk and Sharona hang back, the police track Albert to a repair shop. But as they enter, Albert bursts out of a window to escape, and runs directly at Monk. Sharona grabs a tire iron and tosses it to Monk, but he is so horrified at its filthiness that he drops it, allowing Albert to run right past him.
Ashamed, Monk goes home that night and has a vision of Trudy, who tells him all she's ever wanted was for him to be happy. A depressed Monk, not wanting to take any chances, finally takes the pills.
The next morning, Monk is a different man, for better or for worse. When they visit the recovering Stottlemeyer in the hospital, Monk is relaxed, friendly, and afraid of nothing (including pissing other people off). He has developed a compulsive appetite, and seems incapable of paying attention to the case. When they arrive, Stottlemeyer is just getting off the phone with another officer who reports that Dewey Albert was caught hiding at his girlfriend's apartment, but he passed a polygraph test and had nothing to do with the shooting. Randy arrives to update them with some weird news: the pistol used in the shooting was found in the reservoir, and curiously, it was registered to Marlene Highsmith, the suicide victim who jumped from the balcony of her apartment only a few blocks away. Monk appears to hear nothing of this, instead focusing on polishing off the remains of Stottlemeyer's hospital meal.
Unknown to the police is that Marlene's ex-husband Lester Highsmith is the shooter. Later that day, Lester meets a friend of his, Scat, at a nearby bar to talk about an armored car robbery they are going to carry out at the end of the week. Lester reminds his partner that he is going to shoot the second guard, and he'll need another pistol for that job, as he had to get rid of the one he originally had.
Sharona drags Monk to Marlene's apartment. He pretends to look around, and at her suicide note, and says something is wrong. But what it is, he doesn't know, nor does he particularly care. When Sharona gets him to admit the truth about his new medication, she is appalled, since she didn't approve it. Monk insists that, with the help of the pills, he is truly happy for the first time since Trudy's death.
Monk continues to take the medication, and his behavior gets more and more extreme. Hazarding a meal in a fast food restaurant near his apartment, he meets a car salesman, and before long, is motoring along in a bright red Ford Mustang convertible.
Stottlemeyer and Disher call Monk and Sharona to interview Lester at his workplace. Lester works as a security guard for the Marshall armored car company. The phone records show that Marlene called Lester at work around 12:05 PM, shortly before her death and he punched out shortly after that. Lester says that, after talking with her, he rushed over to try and stop her from jumping, but was too late. He also claims that he couldn't even go near her apartment due to the police setting up roadblocks as a result of the shooting.
Stottlemeyer is not convinced, but Monk has nothing to add except flippant remarks about Marlene's death. Angered, Sharona pulls him aside and tells him to hand over the pills. Fed up with them, Monk hops into his car, announcing he's going to New Orleans for a few days. (Sharona protests that Mardi Gras isn't for nine months, but Monk assures her that "wherever the Monk is, it's Mardi Gras."
After playing in a hotel pool with a group of college kids (and driving them away with a pair of squirt guns), Monk, for the first time, begins to question whether he really likes the new "him." Returning to San Francisco, he nestles the pillow from Trudy's side of the bed, and realizes that his memories of her are becoming clouded and distant. That is the one thing he cannot bear.
Restored to normal after stopping the medication, he calls Sharona back to Marlene Highsmith's apartment. Looking at the suicide note again, he realizes what it was that bothered him: it was written in red ink, but there's no red pen in the kitchenette where it was found. Looking at the dining table, he sees the impression of the real suicide note in the placemat. He reveals it with a chalk rubbing, and, reading its contents, realize that the note reveals that an armored car robbery is going down... right at that very instant. The officers guarding the apartment call it in while Monk and Sharona rush out to their car.
Here's What Happened
While Monk and Sharona speed towards the scene in the Mustang, Monk fills in Stottlemeyer over the phone:
Two years ago, according to the note, Lester and Marlene robbed an armored car in Cincinnati, and Lester shot and killed the driver. Lester and his other accomplice were planning another job, but Marlene, consumed with guilt over the original robbery, killed herself rather than go through with it. Marlene's note confesses to the earlier heist, and gives the time and place of the next one.
Before she jumped, Marlene called Lester and left him a message, mentioning the suicide note. Lester knew that the details in the note would be enough to imprison him for life, so he had to get the note back before the police got to it. He immediately clocked out and rushed over to her apartment, but he was too late: she was already dead and a police car had already arrived on scene, meaning it would be impossible to grab the original note without being noticed. Lester realized he would need a very serious diversion to draw the police away. He drove a few blocks, pulled out his pistol, and when he saw the group of cops stopping Dewey Albert, he opened fire on them. As Lester expected, an "officer down" call summoned the officers guarding the suicide scene to the scene of the drive-by shooting. Amidst the chaos and confusion, Lester got rid of his pistol, returned to Marlene's apartment, destroyed the real suicide note, and wrote the fake one.
At the industrial park, Lester and his accomplice have finished loading the cash into their van. Just as Lester puts his pistol to the guard's head and prepares to shoot him, Monk and Sharona screech to a stop. While Sharona keeps her head down, Monk gets out and bluffs Lester for a few vital seconds with one of his water pistols. Just as Lester starts to bring up his pistol again, the police swarm the scene from all sides to arrest him and his accomplice.
Monk decides to throw his pills away, though he warns Sharona that if he does so, she'll never get to see "the Monk" again. That night, lying in bed, Trudy's memory is as real to him as if she were lying there beside him, and all is well.
Background Information and Notes
- This episode marks Sharona's last appearance as a main character, as Bitty Schram left the cast unexpectedly due to a contract dispute, forcing writers to write off her character along with Benjy, replacing her with a new character, Natalie Teeger (played by Traylor Howard). It wasn't until Season 8 when Schram returned for one episode to reprise her role as Sharona in Mr. Monk and Sharona.
- Though Monk never uses Dioxnyl again in the series, he does so several times in the novels by Lee Goldberg, to combat his fear of flying when it is necessary for him to travel. Likewise, Monk also needed Dioxnyl in Mr. Monk Goes to Germany in order to handle the evidence needed to implicate the psychiatrist for murder, having already deduced how he did it beforehand.
- On the Monk Cast Favorites Marathon, this episode was shown as one of Tony Shalhoub's favorites.
- The general idea of "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine" (Monk trying to solve a case on impaired detective skills) was later reused in the season 7 episode "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized".
- This is the only episode to include a scene where Monk is shirtless.
- The logo for the Bridgeview Hotel Monk goes to has a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. But the bridge seen in the background is actually the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.