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Mr. Monk Takes A Vacation is the ninth episode of the first season of Monk (TV series).


Monk, Sharona, and Benjy head off for a week of rest and relaxation, but it's back to work when Benjy witnesses a murder through a telescope at their beach resort. Monk is aided in his investigation by a woman whose only detective training was learned through movies.


Sharona drags a reluctant Monk to a vacation resort down the California coast. After refusing her son, Benjy’s request to rent a Jet ski, she gives him a quarter to look through one of the sightseeing telescopes. As Benji looks over the rooms of their hotel, he is shocked to see what looks like a woman being stabbed to death.

Monk informs the hotel’s gung-ho security chief, Rita Bronwyn, who is eager to investigate a real crime and orders the hotel locked down. But when she and Monk visit the room Benjy identified, the room is completely spotless, with no signs of anything having happened there. The room’s occupant, John Fenimore, a big-league financier, comes back during their search. Monk has noticed signs that Fenimore and his wife are estranged – Fenimore spent the previous evening on the couch outside the bedroom – but Fenimore assures them that they’ve made up.

Sharona thinks her son’s imagination may have gotten the better of him. But Monk believes the room is just a little bit too clean, and he’s convinced Benjy might be on to something. But he only has one more day to prove it; their reservation will be up soon, and the hotel manager refuses to let them stay longer, since they are already overbooked. Worse, they are short on housekeeping staff, one of the maids having just left without notice.

Monk follows Mr. Fenimore, and calls Lt. Disher back in San Francisco for a profile on the man. Disher says that Fenimore was indicted for assaulting his wife, but nothing happened because she dropped the charges. Monk is convinced Fenimore murdered his wife - until she turns up alive at her own surprise party several hours later. Maybe Monk needs a vacation more than he realizes. Sharona, determined to enjoy her vacation, is prepared to forget about the whole incident, but Monk refuses to give up; he believes that something happened in the hotel.

While at the hotel, she also meets a man there that she was attracted to, and she also seems to let him win a few games of tennis. Benjy asks Monk why Sharona is letting him win, to which Monk tries to say that he'll understand when he gets older, but Benjy deduces that Monk has no idea either.

To aid in their investigation, Bronwyn proudly displays a new gadget that she bought, an infrared spectroscope that reveals body fluids on surfaces invisible to the naked eye. To demonstrate, she flashes the beam over Monk’s room, and he is so appalled at what he sees that he hires the entire maid service to go over his room and sterilize it. Bronwyn takes the spectroscope to the hotel’s basement to look for traces of blood, but someone drops a load of heavy pipes on her, knocking her unconscious and almost killing her.

While looking after Benjy in the hotel’s video arcade, Monk notices something under one of the consoles – part of a woman’s glasses. Benjy says they look like the ones the murdered woman was wearing. Monk tells Benjy to stay put, while he goes to get Sharona, who is on a date with another guest in the restaurant.

Monk comes in, but is delayed by the evening’s entertainment: a comedian who finds a career’s worth of material with the quirky Monk ("You keep your socks in baggies?"). But his routine is cut short when Benjy rushes in with terrifying news: he’s just found the murdered woman, stashed inside one of the broken arcade games!

But by the time they get to the arcade, the corpse is gone. Benjy can’t believe it. Sharona scolds her son for lying, but Monk still believes the boy is on to something. He notices a trace of quicklime on the carpet, which Bronwyn remembers (from movies) is used to conceal the smell of corpses. Monk also later tells Sharona that the guy she was seeing was most likely married, and cites that he is using a different checking account when they first met. This evidently makes her mad, as she later uses her full potential in tennis against the man, not only defeating him, but creaming him as well. Seeing the groundskeeper, Rolly, using quicklime on the green, Monk investigates his shed and sees that several bags of lime were stolen – by a gang of short persons.

Benjy comments on the new spotlessness of Monk’s room, and Monk realizes: who could have cleaned up the scene of the crime so quickly? The maids!

Monk and Benjy sneak into the maids’ locker room, and find two clues: one, the clothes of the recently departed maid, Lupe Olivencia, are still in her locker; two, they find a pair of digital cameras concealed behind a tile in the kitchenette, with pictures of confidential documents saved on them. But Monk and Benjy are discovered by the maids, and by the time Monk returns with Bronwyn, the evidence is gone.

Here’s What Happened[]

Monk realizes that the maids have been stealing financial information from the hotel’s guests. Bronwyn adds that the hotel hosts business conferences all the time, and the guests might think to hide their money and valuables, but would never think the maids could understand the information in their briefcases and computers.

When Sharona asks who the murder victim was, Monk says, the missing maid, Lupe. She was part of the gang, but either wanted out, or wanted more money and paid the price for it. After they killed her, they disposed of the body and cleaned up the crime scene.

The problem is, they can’t prove a thing without Lupe’s body, which must still be in the hotel. With only thirty minutes left until checkout, Monk and Bronwyn turn the hotel upside down, without finding a trace.

As Monk, Sharona, and Benjy exit the lobby, the maids grin smugly, and it seems that the great detective has finally lost - until a snapshot taken by Sharona when they first checked in provides the answer. Monk walks back into the hotel, holding up a photo of the trio in front of a display in the lobby, promoting a raffle drawing to win a cruise. Before the maids’ horrified eyes, Monk smugly indicates the photo, which shows three over-sized steamer trunks in the display, then turns to the display, which now has four. Bronwyn immediately pops the locks on the fourth trunk and finds the body, still wrapped in the plastic curtain, and with traces of quicklime on it.

As the maids sag in defeat, Monk gives Benjy a pat on the back. Benjy glows with vindication, and Sharona gives Monk a grateful nod.

Back in San Francisco, Monk says he had a great time and is full of plans for their next vacation. Sharona, on the other hand, says she’s never taking another vacation with Monk for as long as she lives.

Background Information and Notes[]

  • Ted Levine is credited, but does not appear.
  • In the Monk novels by Lee Goldberg, a running gag is that it seems that wherever Monk and Natalie Teeger go, dead bodies are bound to turn up, the scenario shown in Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii, Mr. Monk Goes to Germany, and Mr. Monk is Miserable. Natalie also comments on this disturbing fact in Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever."
  • Sharona mentions to her date at the comedy club that her last vacation was interrupted by a garbage strike wherein Monk became catatonic, a line that possibly inspired Season 5, Episode 2, Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike.
  • Bitty Schram, who plays Sharona, went to the University of Maryland on a tennis scholarship. When she was letting Shawn win at tennis, she really was letting him win. When she decided to beat him, she would have had no problem doing so. (And her form is great!)


Sharona Fleming: You've been out here for ten minutes. What happened to the bathing suit I bought you?
Adrian Monk: I'm wearing it... underneath.
Sharona: You're not even gonna try?
Monk: I am what I am.

Sharona: Well, you do what you want. This is my first vacation in four years, and I'm gonna make every minute count.

Monk: I tried doing that once, making every minute count. It gave me a headache.
Sharona: What doesn't?

Benjy Fleming: Hey, Mom. You owe me an ice cream sundae.

Sharona: Oh...
Benjy: We had a bet. Mom said you wouldn't come outside even once.
Monk: Oh-ho, ye of little faith.

Benjy: (watching Sharona play tennis) Think she's letting him win?

Monk: I wouldn't be surprised.
Benjy: Why do girls do that?
Monk: When you're older, you'll understand... when you do, come back and explain it to me.

Benjy: Listen, I wanted to say thanks.

Monk: For what?
Benjy: For believing me when nobody else did. Though you probably just felt sorry for me 'cause my dad's not around.
Monk: Hey... I don't have to be your father to believe you, or to be proud of you. If you say you saw a body, then something happened here. And I'm gonna find out what it is.

Monk: Okay, just for the record, what we just did...

Benjy: Breaking and entering?
Monk: Yeah. It's wrong. Don't... don't do it.

Monk: I don't think I can wait another year.

Sharona: For what?
Monk: Our next vacation.
Sharona: You enjoyed that?
Monk: Oh, I had a great time!
Sharona: Okay, for your information, Adrian, a vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing. That was murder camp!
Monk: I was thinking, next November, there's a little resort near Monterrey...
Sharona: No! No more vacations, Adrian! If you try to make me take a vacation again, I swear I'm quitting!
Sharona: I can't believe I said that...
Monk: You seem upset.
Sharona: I am upset!
Monk: You know what you need...?
Sharona: No, shut up.
Monk: Vacation!
Sharona: Shut up!