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Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan is first episode of the third season of Monk.

Synopsis[]

When Monk travels to New York City to investigate his wife's murder, he gets tangled up in a baffling case involving the shooting of a foreign ambassador.

Plot[]

After receiving a tip from Dale "The Whale", Adrian Monk flies to New York City, accompanied by Sharona Fleming, Captain Stottlemeyer, and Lieutenant Disher, all with the same mission – to find Warrick Tennyson, who Dale said was “involved” in the murder of Monk’s wife, Trudy. Unfortunately, the taxi ride doesn't go well, since Monk is so busy cleaning all of the cab's instruments, causing the driver to declare that he'll keep driving if he ever sees him again. Monk also momentarily becomes separated from the group outside their hotel in an attempt to give a dropped belonging back to someone. He also admits that, even by San Francisco's standards, New York City was too crowded and noisy.

They then arrive at the hotel (which had been chosen by Monk

Andy Breckman in a cameo appearance as a spectator in the three-card-monty game.

because it was the cleanest in the city), although the concierge informs them that they only have a three room suite due to being booked. They then get into a minor argument as to who will sleep with who in the third bedroom before eventually distracting Monk to guard the luggage carrier and also noting it's uneven. As this is occurring, the new Latvian ambassador and his two bodyguards come in and makes his way while bumping into Monk, also overhearing him say something.

Minutes later, gunshots ring out as the ambassador and his bodyguards are gunned down in one of the elevators. The shooter runs out of the hotel covering his face, and bumps into Monk as he flees.

The NYPD arrive and take command of the crime scene. It's pretty clear that the elements of the city are greatly distracting Monk (specifically, he can hear the traffic outside, namely the police sirens, despite being far indoors), although he ultimately manages to get back on track when Stottlemeyer and Sharona both remind him that they are there to find Trudy's killer.

Monk notices some clues: the ambassador’s coat is damp, but his bodyguards’ are dry, yet Monk remembers that the ambassador's coat was dry just moments before the shooting, and that the ambassador was apparently killed after the bodyguards, because he is on top of them (with Monk and Stottlemeyer reasoning that had the ambassador been the primary target of an assassination, he would have specifically targeted the ambassador alone, and the gun used is the wrong sort to use in an assassination). Although Stottlemeyer says they are there to find Tennyson , their liaison with the NYPD, Captain Walter Cage, asks for their help in solving the ambassador’s murder, which could have dire political implications. In fact, their meeting with the D.A.'s office to negotiate the meeting with Tennyson has been cancelled ahead of time, to pressure them into working in the investigation.

Since Monk is the sole witness who could identify the killer, he and the others are taken to Cage's precinct to sit Monk down with a sketch artist. Cage takes Stottlemeyer into his office and tries to make calls requesting for the DA to let them see Tennyson, but she won't budge. When Cage notices Stottlemeyer about to look at file folders on his desk, he then grabs them and hurriedly puts them in a shelf, arising Stottlemeyer's suspicions about what's in the folder.

Meanwhile, Monk, albeit with some difficulty due to Monk's rather perfectionist view on things, ultimately manages to get the sketch artist to successfully draw the suspect's ear. However, Monk then admits that while he can identify the man, he can only do so by the shape of his left ear.

While this has been going on, Randy has bought "Rolex" watch that supposedly tells accurate time, but turns out to be anything but accurate - indicating that Randy is obviously not familiar with the term "street corner salesman" (case in point: when he tells them about its ability to tell the time in various parts of the world, he says that "it's 5:30 here; in Denver, 3:30; in California, 12:17; and in Paris, France... "time has stopped.").

Stottlemeyer's efforts to negotiate with the District Attorney fail. The DA is not willing to let anyone visit Tennyson, who's agreed to testify in a major racketeering probe. However, after some pressure from Stottlemeyer, their office has conceded to let Monk visit on the condition that he solve the murder case of the Latvian ambassador first. Monk realizes that essentially means that they have no other choice but to solve the case.

Monk and his group retrace the ambassador's movements that day; his last stop before arriving at the hotel was at a small bar/restaurant near Central Park. There, they talk to Vladimir Kazinsky, one of his aides, about whether the late ambassador felt anything off. Kazinsky denies it; if anything, the ambassador had been in very high spirits during the meeting in the bar. Monk, after checking his ear lobe to see if he was the assassin, also remembers the ambassador say something that sounded like, "she’s now gone meatless," and asks Kazinsky what it means, only for the man to not recognize it even with Monk's various attempts at altering the pronunciation.

While Stottlemeyer and Disher head back to the precinct to do some snooping around, Monk and Sharona depart for Brooklyn to question a Latvian exile named Elmer Gratnik, who wrote threatening letters to the ambassador and had severe distaste for his policies. Gratnik makes no secret about his disgust for the departed ambassador by saying that he didn't assassinate him as "only great men are worthy of being called assassinated." None of Gratnik's buddies know anything about the murder, but his chess opponent recognizes the ambassador’s words as "Šis nav mans mētelis," which means "this is not my coat," in an obscure Latvian dialect. After analyzing Gratnik's ear (after he throws off his hat in frustration at losing a chess game), Monk rules them out.

Meanwhile, Stottlemeyer is suspicious of Cage’s continued dancing around the subject of Tennyson. He breaks into Cage’s office and examines his records, with Randy watching out for whether Cage is coming near, although Randy nearly blows their cover when his watch goes off and he can't disable it (due to the instructions being written only in Korean), although not without finding out that Tennyson is dying in a hospital and has only a few days left to live. Because he’s being questioned in connection with a Federal racketeering case, the District Attorney is not giving anyone the location of the hospital. When Cage returns, Stottlemeyer confronts him about his withholding information. Cage admits to the lack of communication, but says that they can still interview Tennyson if they solve the ambassador's murder. Leland visibly snaps at this point and shouts at Cage that the only case he gives a damn about is Trudy's murder ("My friend's wife got blown up! You understand? And it killed him, too!") Reluctantly, Cage counters that they need "juice" to get access to Tennyson, ammo that only will have if they crack the ambassador's murder. ("Captain, it's not just your best shot. It's your only shot.")

While Monk and Sharona are making their way back to the station, Monk reluctantly rides on the A train, despite his terror of crowds, germs, and closed spaces. Sharona says she is proud of him, and Monk also agrees, with him also noting that, thanks to the hint provided by the exiles earlier, he knows that it was clear the murder had something to do with the ambassador's coat. But when they stop at Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets to change trains, Monk reels at the sight of a man casually urinating in a corner. He is so horror-stricken that he stumbles back onto the very train that he just got off. He eventually ends up on 49th Street in Manhattan, where he ends up playing a three card monte game, although despite winning twice in a row, the player accuses him of cheating. Monk also questions whether the gamer has a gaming license, causing the gamer to wisely try to subtly flee the scene by claiming it's at his apartment.

Lost in New York, Monk gradually goes to pieces. When Sharona, Stottlemeyer, and Disher finally track him down in Times Square, he has been “converted” by one of the street preachers (namely because he has misinterpreted the term "cleansing" to mean that God would clean up all the problems in the world by vacuuming or scrubbing, not the Rapture) and is yelling loudly about the impending Apocalypse. Sharona comes up to take hold of him, and is severely embarrassed when Monk calls her a "fornicator" in a loud voice.

Slowly regaining control of himself, he also informs Stottlemeyer about the suspected rigged game on 49th street. However, as Monk regains control of himself, he looks up at one of the big TV screens and sees a man, Steven Leight, being interviewed on the news about the recent murder of his wife, Beverly, in an apparent mugging. Monk insists that Leight is "the guy," whom he recognizes by his ear.

They then try to schedule a meeting, although Leight tries to evade them before arrival with the excuse that he was running errands. This forces them to confront him directly outside the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, he claims to have no idea what they're talking about and that he's told the NYPD his story about how his wife died several times before. Monk makes several observations about Leight that lead him to suspect that Leight wasn't faithful to his wife, though what that has to do with the ambassador's murder, no one can guess. Leight, obviously getting angered at Monk's insinuations that he was committing adultery, takes a mint and other tokens out of his pocket as they are talking to bribe them for his silence, and Monk solves the case.

The mint in particular is one Monk recognizes as coming from the bar that the ambassador visited before the shooting. They then return to the bar, and upon questioning the staff, realize neither Leight nor the ambassador have met before. However, when Monk notices the coatcheck attendant accidentally give a customer the wrong coat due to misreading the tickets, he figures out what had happened.

Here’s What Happened[]

Leight is brought to the bar by Captain Cage, and, after he denies remembering being at the bar, Monk gives the summation.

Monk explains that Leight killed his wife in Central Park, making sure there was no one nearby after luring her to a secluded area of the park, then took her jewelry to make it look like a routine robbery. Afterwards, he had a drink to steady his nerves before calling the police. The ambassador happened to be in the same bar, and received Leight’s overcoat by mistake from the bar's cloakroom due to the coatcheck attendant getting their coats confused.

When Leight got his coat to leave, he realized what had happened. His wife’s jewelry was still in the pocket of his coat, and he had to get it back. So he ran to the hotel just as it was starting to rain (knowing which specific hotel he was staying at because he found the key card to his room in the Ambassador's coat), followed the ambassador into the elevator, and killed all three men, switching the ambassador's (now wet) coat with his own.

Midway through the summation, Monk becomes distracted when he recognizes one of the bar’s busboys as "The Urinator" from the subway. Monk, upon being reminded of his speech, just barely manages to finish up the summation before cursing at the busboy again. A ballistics report arrives, confirming that Leight's wife and the ambassador were shot with the same weapon. Leight is arrested for the four murders. Monk attempts to borrow the handcuffs to arrest the busboy, but ultimately lets him go free after reluctantly agreeing with Sharona that only the murderer should be arrested.

Having cracked the case, Monk is allowed to visit Tennyson on his deathbed. Tennyson remembers being hired to build and plant the bomb that killed Trudy. When asked who hired him, Tennyson says he never knew the man's name, or what he looked like, since they met in a dark garage. It looks like Tennyson is a dead end, until he remembers one vital clue: the man had six fingers on his right hand.

Monk asks for a few moments alone with Tennyson. When the others are gone, Tennyson asks for forgiveness, but Monk cannot bring himself to give it. Instead, he says, "This is me, turning off your morphine," and does, ensuring that Tennyson will spend his last few days in agonizing pain. But a few tense moments later, he says, "...and this is Trudy, the woman you killed, turning it back on," and does.

The gang prepare to leave New York, having gotten at least one step further in solving Monk’s most important case. Around the same time, Disher ends up getting another watch from a street vendor: this time, it's one that tells Swiss time with their accuracy. Unfortunately, this one catches fire, revealing that it is another fake watch. Also, due to them being picked up by the rude cabbie from earlier, Stottlemeyer is forced to handcuff Monk and force him in the back seat to allow the cabbie to take him.

Continuity[]

  • Three seasons later, in "Mr. Monk Is On The Run," Monk comes face to face with the six-fingered man, who admits that Tennyson built the bomb, but he detonated it. Dale "The Whale"'s reasons for sharing part of the truth with Monk also become clear.
  • In the novel Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii, Monk mentions to Natalie that Tennyson died from kidney failure two days after the meeting seen in the episode.

Background Information and Notes[]

  • Adrian Monk's age is said to be 45.
  • Both Monk and Stottlemeyer are visibly sickened to hear that Tennyson was only paid a paltry $2,000 to end Trudy's life.
  • Ted Levine and Mykelti Williamson play cops who have friction trying to liaise together, Williamson playing Captain Cage. Ironically, Williamson and Levine starred as two of Vincent Hanna's homicide detectives, Sgt. Drucker (Williamson) and Detective Bosko (Levine) in the 1995 film Heat.
  • This episode was originally meant to be a crossover with Law & Order.
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