|Season 6 (Monk)|
|Season 5||Season 7|
When Marci Maven is accused of a bizarre crime, she turns to the object of her obsession for her help: Adrian Monk.
Marci Maven, as nutty and intense as ever, is at home redesigning her Monk fan web site. She is seen redesigning the homepage, taking a photo of Monk and Natalie (a production still from "Mr. Monk and the Actor"), and using Photoshop to erase Natalie's head and digitally copy her own head on.
Across the street, John Ringel (John Mese) and his brother Brian (Martin Taylor) come back from a jog, and look for Debbie, John's wife. Ringel mentions that she should be out back doing gardening, and when they go into the shed, they find her on the floor, mauled to death by a dog. Marci receives a knock at the door, and two police officers and Ringel are waiting on the porch. The cops ask Marci if she has a dog named Otto, whom Ringel accuses of killing his wife. They ask to see Otto as they will have to take him in. Marci obliges, and she shows them Otto, or, more exactly, his grave.
A short time later, Natalie approaches Monk and suggests that he participate in the San Francisco Police Department Bachelor Auction, on the grounds that it might help improve his odds of getting reinstated. Monk reluctantly agrees, as Natalie promises to bid for him to keep him from going on a date. Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Monk walks over to the door and immediately panics - it's Marci. He doesn't want to deal with her, so he suggests to Natalie that she try scaring Marci off. With Monk hiding behind the door, Natalie tries to convince Marci that Monk isn't available, but Marci is clearly unconvinced by Natalie's lie. It turns out she's trying to get Monk to help clear her deceased dog of murder, and the police do not believe her claims. Natalie doesn't believe it, reminding her that the last time she came to Monk, she tried to drive him all the way to Corpus Christi.
At the Bachelor Auction, Captain Stottlemeyer is up for the bid. Many of the women in the crowd bid for him, but he ends up being won by Linda Fusco, his realtor girlfriend. When Lieutenant Disher goes up for bidding, he is won by another woman whose 9 year old son wants to be a cop. At last, it's Monk's turn. He goes up on stage, but no one is bidding for him... until Marci shows up and starts bidding for him. Suddenly there is a bidding match between Natalie and Marci, and Marci ultimately ends up winning. With the money going to charity, Monk is forced to honor the results, and appears visibly unsettled.
When Monk and Natalie show up at Marci's house the next day, they are unsettled at Marci's obsession with Monk. For instance, she offers them square cookies, and her house is full of odds-and-ends that Monk has thrown out. She's even got a diorama depicting the carjacking scene from the episode "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies" (which depicts Natalie as a troll doll), and is writing a song about Monk on her guitar (she even performs an excerpt of it). Midway through performing her new piece, Monk interrupts, eager to check out the case.
Marci mentions to Monk that her dog Otto died three days before Debbie Ringel had been attacked, but the police have done impressions and found that the bite marks of Otto's teeth match the wounds on the body. Talking with Stottlemeyer on the phone, Monk learns that Animal Control had warned Marci about Otto's aggressive behavior twice in the past and Stottlemeyer suggests that Marci had her dog euthanized to avoid manslaughter charges.
Monk, Natalie and Marci head across the street to Ringel's house, and look inside his shed. Monk notices several holes right away: for one thing, why did Debbie never grab any of the tools in the shed to defend herself? He also finds a bit of a dead tulip on a shovel. Just then, Ringel comes out and he is quick to confront Marci about her being on his property. She starts to accuse him of killing Debbie and framing Otto. Monk and Natalie are quick to pull Marci away from Ringel before things get ugly. As they are leaving, however, Monk notices that the piece of dead tulip seems to come from a flowerbed on the other side of the fence from Ringel's lawn. He notes that although the cops say Otto dug the hole under the fence, it's odd that he didn't kick up any dirt while digging from Ringel's end, suggesting that Ringel might have dug it himself.
Back at Marci's house, Monk is convinced that perhaps Marci is not crazy. Now on the right track, he asks her some questions about Otto's movements over the past few weeks, and learns that Otto had died of kidney failure. As to anything unusual, Marci remembers that two weeks prior to the murder, Otto vanished for an entire day without warning. After a whole day, he turned up around 6:00 PM that evening covered in woodchips, which took her several hours to brush off. Marci scoffs at the idea that the brush she used will contain clues, but Monk analyzes the woodchips collected, and noticing that they are different types of wood, he concludes that Otto was at a lumberyard.
The three start checking out lumberyards all over the city, but these leads all turn up empty. Marci impresses Monk with her crisp officiousness. Marci offers to work as Monk's assistant for free, and Monk, always looking for a bargain, briefly considers Marci's offer. Natalie, offended, decides to leave and give Monk a chance to see what working with Marci would really be like.
Finally, as night falls, Monk and Marci come upon the last lumberyard on their list. Monk spots a photo and realizes that it happens to be owned by Ringel. Very ditzy, Marci admits that in the heat of the moment, she forgot to mention that Ringel owned a lumberyard. Monk rings the bell at the desk for service, and when Ringel shows up, he is infuriated at Marci, and having had enough of them, he decides to call his lawyer and then the police.
While he is doing that, Monk notices some interesting objects around the front desk, including a tub of spackling paste and a plaster mold. Marci also finds some strands of Otto's hair, and some scratch and bite marks on a chair. With this, Monk solves the case. After being pressured by Marci to say his famous phrase that he uses to begin summations, he says "Here's what happened."
Here's What Happened
Two weeks earlier, on the day Otto vanished, Ringel abducted him, wrestled him into the back of his van, and drove Otto to his lumberyard. Once there, Ringel drugged Otto and made an impression of his teeth with the plaster mold, with which he built a lethal weapon: a metal casting of Otto's teeth fitted onto a pair of garden shears. Ringel killed his wife with the metal teeth, making it appear that the dog had done it.
Ringel was in no rush to commit the murder. He waited two weeks until Debbie was alone and vulnerable. When that came, Ringel snuck into the shed, and knocked her out with a brick. Then he used the pruning shears to maul her body, creating lots of "bite marks". With perfect bite marks, everyone would assume that Otto had been the killer. Ringel never thought to check whether Otto was still alive before committing the murder which was a problem because it's likely that ingesting the molding is what actually killed Otto.
Marci tries to get Monk to repeat the summation, but just then, Ringel shows up, holding a pistol on them. Monk throws a bucket of nails at Ringel to momentarily stall him while he and Marci escape into the main storage warehouse, and Ringel opens fire on them as they flee. One bullet hits Marci in her left shoulder.
Meanwhile, Stottlemeyer is out having dinner with Linda, when he sees Linda taking a bite out of a strawberry. He suddenly remembers something and pulls out the case file on Debbie Ringel, and notes that all of the bite marks are upside down. He quickly calls Randy, who has been playing Timber with his bidder's child since their "date" began (because the child didn't want to be a cop after all), asking him to meet at Ringel's lumberyard.
After a chase, Ringel has Monk and Marci cornered. A terrified Marci surrenders, and Ringel grabs her, drawing Monk out of hiding. Monk obliges, and Ringel starts walking them out of the place at gunpoint. Just as they are leaving, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher show up. Ringel promptly fires at Stottlemeyer and Disher until Natalie shoves a cart that knocks him over. Monk, Natalie and Marci run for safety while Stottlemeyer and Disher stay pinned down. Randy methodically uses his newfound Timber skills to choose which 2x4 plank to use. With an accurate guess, he pushes the plank, smacking Ringel in the head, revealing his location and allowing them to arrest him. Before arresting him, however, Randy makes sure to sarcastically remark that his skill was "useless", referring to Stottlemeyer's earlier reprimand to Randy about playing Timber.
Later, Monk receives a box from Marci, containing all of the things she received from him. She's been so unsettled by the incident at the lumberyard that she decides to move on from Monk and turn her obsessive attention to actor F. Murray Abraham. When Natalie finds the troll doll Marci had been using to represent her, she makes a point to imitate Monk and Marci's exchange while chasing Monk around his apartment.
Background Information and Notes
- Marci refers to several of Monk's past cases by the actual episode titles, "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies," "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School," "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room," and "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut."
- Marci last appeared in Season Two's "Mr. Monk and the TV Star." Between the making of that episode and this one, Sarah Silverman's career took off, with the production of her own show. In an interview, Andy Breckman said that there was some doubt among the producers about whether Silverman would be willing to do another guest appearance, but it turned out she was happy to do so.
- Linda Fusco, Stottlemeyer's girlfriend, reappears after her introduction in Season Five's "Mr. Monk, Private Eye." In addition, she mentions "what should I do to get your attention? Murder somebody?" In "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend", she does end up murdering someone.
- Coincidentally, Tony Shalhoub and F. Murray Abraham appeared together in the 2001 horror film Thirteen Ghosts, Shalhoub playing the nephew of Abraham's character.
- It is revealed in this episode that Monk's new favorite drink is Summit Creek water, and no longer Sierra Springs water. This references Mr. Monk Bumps His Head.
- On Marci's diorama of "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies," she uses a troll doll to signify his assistant, Natalie. However, at this point Monk's assistant was still Sharona.
- This is the first time where Monk was unable to reach Stottlemeyer about solving the case, yet Stottlemeyer comes to the conclusion independently, which would be repeated in Mr. Monk Is Up All Night. Unlike in that episode, it was due to circumstances of a dinner date forcing Stottlemeyer to not take the call.
- This is the second episode where the supposed killer is an animal. The first is Mr. Monk and the Panic Room.
- The "clue hug" might be a reference to the "group hug" in the 1999 movie Galaxy Quest, starred by Tony Shalhoub.
Marci Maven: (playing with her dolls) "Adrian, should we call the captain?" "Not yet, Marci, we need to gather more evidence first. Natalie, get the car." "On my way, Mr. Monk!"
Natalie Teeger: Is that me?
Marci Maven: Uh-huh.
Natalie Teeger: It's a troll doll.
Marci Maven: Huh.
Marci Maven: Clue hug!
Adrian Monk: (shrinking) Clue hug?
Natalie Teeger: Take it like a man.