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"Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa Claus" is the 10th episode of the sixth season of Monk.

Plot Edit

Natalie is driving Monk to his regular appointment with Dr. Kroger. Traffic is miserable, and so is Monk, who is also in a surly mood because Christmas is coming up. While they are passing in front of a museum, Julie, who is riding in the backseat, starts to tell them about her class's field trip there, when a stuffed animal lands on their windshield. Traffic stops dead, and several motorists get out of their cars and look up at a singular spectacle: a man in a Santa Claus outfit, showering the people below with toys and shouting, "Merry Christmas!"

Natalie and Julie are delighted, but Monk, citing health concerns, runs into the building and up to the roof, telling Santa to stop. From below, the crowd hear the sounds of a scuffle, and then gunshots. Horrified, Natalie and Julie run up to the roof, and see Monk, holding a gun, and standing over Santa, who is clutching a bullet wound in his shoulder.

While "Santa" is taken away on a stretcher, Monk is arrested (more for his own protection than anything else), and interviewed at the station by Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher. Also present is lawyer Garrett Price, who is representing Monk.

Here's What (Monk Says) HappenedEdit

Monk says that he arrived on the roof and started asking "Santa" to stop throwing the toys down. Santa told him off, and Monk started to leave, when a small revolver fell out of Santa's belt. Monk picked it up, asking Santa if he had a permit, and Santa attacked him. As he picked up a piece of pipe to hit Monk, Monk fired two shots in self-defense.

"Santa" is really Michael Kenworthy, a retired parole officer. He said he simply wanted to do something nice for the city, and claims that the gun isn't his, and Monk is the one who attacked him (this version is so convincing that Price urges Monk to claim that Santa was brandishing a bomb).

Sensationalist TV reporter Brandy Barber seizes on the story, and before long, Monk's face is on TV screens all over the city, labeled "The Man Who Shot Santa." Soon, Monk and Natalie are being harrassed wherever they go.

Monk decides to "take the offensive," and accept Brandy's offer to go on TV and tell his side of the story. Natalie warns him not to, Brandy will manipulate his words and he will come out looking worse than ever, but he remains confident that "truth is on his side".

Before the interview, an anonymous caller telephones Brandy and tells her that he saw Monk burying something behind his apartment. Brandy and her cameraman go there late at night to dig it up, and find a piece of ivory, chipped off the handle of the gun that shot Santa.

During the interview, which takes place in Monk's apartment, Natalie begs Brandy to be merciful, but Brandy - in her sweet, saccharine way - smells blood in the water. After a few innocuous questions, she produces the ivory piece and compares it to the photo of the gun. Monk denies burying the gun in the park, but is forced to admit that he recognizes the gun he shot Santa with. Then, an exasperated Monk fulfills Brandy's wildest fantasies, looking straight into the camera and saying, "I did not shoot Santa Claus. That man was not Santa Claus... there's no such thing as Santa Claus." On citywide television. With families and hundreds of small children watching.

Wondering if Monk may have stumbled onto something more sinister than a toy giveaway, Stottlemeyer and Disher go to interview Kenworthy at his apartment, who still has his arm in a sling. When asked why he did what he did, he just shrugs and says, "I love Christmas." But Stottlemeyer isn't buying it, and mentions that, according to his phone records, Kenworthy has been regularly contacted by several ex-cons who were under his charge, before he retired. Kenworthy says that they're good guys, and he's enjoyed keeping in touch with them - while Stottlemeyer notes that these "good guys" are as hardened a crew of thieves and grifters as have ever been guests of the state. Kenworthy says that if they're accusing him of something, they need to prove it. With a predatory smile, Stottlemeyer explains his dilemma: either Kenworthy is lying, or Monk is.

That evening, an elderly woman named Alice DuBois is walking home after leaving her job at the museum's gift shop. She says hello to Kenworthy, who is posing now as a corner "Santa" with a collection jar, when she is accosted by a mugger named Thorne, with a knife. She puts up an unexpectedly tough fight and maces the mugger, driving him away. Then, Kenworthy walks up to Alice and she thanks him for showing up to save her. Instead, he proceeds to beat her to death with his bell.

The next morning, Monk and Natalie are examining the scene of her murder, even with the jeers of the crowd. Stottlemeyer notes that their victim, a 64 year old woman named Alice DuBois, did not go gently into that good night as they found pepper spray under her body. Two witnesses heard screams and one of them heard a clanging noise shortly thereafter. Randy notes that DuBois was a retired teacher who lived alone with a pet beagle and her houseplants, and worked part-time at the MacMillan Museum. He is interrupted by the crowd jeering at him and Stottlemeyer and he snaps at the crowd for lumping them all together.

Monk and Stottlemeyer observe that the attacker was most likely waiting for her and not simply there at the wrong time: there are eight disposed and one match, indicating that the guy waiting for her was a chain smoker, and it takes approximately six minutes to smoke a cigarette, which means that he was most likely waiting at least forty-eight minutes at that spot before the ambush.

There is a bit of a commotion from the crowd that is booing and hissing at Monk. Suddenly, someone pelts Natalie with an egg (with trace amounts also hitting Monk on the sleeve). Stottlemeyer blows up and he and Disher confront the crowd, trying to find the egger. With no answers, Stottlemeyer, still fuming, has the police escort Natalie and Monk across the street to the medical examiner's van. The coroner notes that DuBois was killed with eight or nine blows to the head with an object that had a curved edge, like a bell. Monk observes that the location of the injuries shows the killer is left handed or his right arm is in a sling. Then Monk notices the ace in the hole: a flower bed next to the van with imprints in the soil from a Salvation Army kettle's tripod. There are also candy canes strewn about the indentations, indicating the killer was posing as a sidewalk Santa, and pointing squarely to Kenworthy as the killer. Realizing the public relations fiasco this will create, Natalie falls to her knees, distraughtly repeating "no, not again, no, no, no, Mr. Monk, please no".

Meanwhile, at Kenworthy's apartment, Kenworthy and his ex-cons are in fact organizing a robbery of the museum. Carl, another thug, is irritated with the setback they've had due to Kenworthy getting shot, but Kenworth reminds him that setbacks were to be expected. As Thorne and Kenworthy have taken care of DuBois, Carl has called his boss at the museum to guarantee he works the gift shop for the afternoon 2:00 to 6:00 PM time slot. They will carry out their robbery at closing time. Kenworthy mentions that he made a list, and Thorne jokingly asks if he "checked it twice."

In session with Dr. Kroger, Monk talks about how Christmas has always been one of the most miserable times of his life - the exception being his years with Trudy, who died ten years ago this year. She loved Christmas, and always made Monk see the happy side of it, whereas his childhood Christmases were, without exception, bleak.

When Dr. Kroger picks a random year from Monk's childhood (1964), Monk relates: their mother was sick, his father was himself, Ambrose locked himself in the basement until the holiday was over, and his father gave him a single walkie-talkie as a gift - saying that Adrian only needed one, since he had no friends he needed to talk to. But mulling over this morose detail leads Adrian to remember something, and he solves the case. He runs out of his session, although he wrongly leaves through the front door, where the sight of him upsets several kids in the waiting room.

Here's What HappenedEdit

Monk and Natalie arrive at the site of the original shooting. Monk remembered Kenworthy's bag of toys being brought into the station after the shooting. In it was a walkie-talkie with no mate, meaning that Kenworthy was using it, not giving it away. Natalie surmises he may have been a lookout, but Monk notes that lookouts are generally more discreet.

Kenworthy planned a heist of the museum, which is exhibiting a priceless diamond, the "Star of Bethlehem," on loan from Egypt. He recruited a crew of ex-cons to carry out the heist, with Kenworthy acting as the diversion, dropping toys in order to stop traffic and block the police from reaching the museum. Only problem, Monk spoiled their plans.

One of the thieves, Carl, works in the gift shop, and they planned the original heist for when he was on duty; but then they had to kill Alice DuBois, so he could fill in for her on the day of the second attempt.

Hearing car horns, Natalie looks down and sees a heavy truck apparently stalled in the street outside the museum. Then she sees one of the thieves, Bobby, using a walkie-talkie and Monk realizes the second heist is happening at that moment. He runs down, telling Natalie to call the captain.

Below, Kenworthy's crew disables the alarms, enters the museum, and lifts the diamond, one of them passing it off to Kenworthy, who is back wearing a Santa suit for camouflage. Kenworthy starts to leave by himself, but sees Monk running at him, and takes off.

Brandy, who happens to be at the museum covering the last day of the diamond's exhibition, sees her prize story rearing its head again, and she and her cameraman take off after them.

Monk pursues Kenworthy across several streets, finally tackling him at a holiday display where a group of schoolchildren are singing "The First Noel."

As a large crowd watches, the kids keep singing and Brandy and her cameraman film the whole thing, "Santa" viciously punches Monk, then pulls a wicked-looking knife and yells "You stopped me once, you ain't stopping me again!" (confirming that Monk was telling the truth) before Monk grabs an oversized candy cane and knocks him senseless.

The diamond is recovered, and, faced with the facts of the case, Brandy does a hasty about turn and goes on television praising Monk as "The Man Who Saved Christmas."

At his home, which Natalie and Julie have decorated, they wish Monk a Merry Christmas, and coax him to smile for a group picture with them. However he frowns in the end, the result of eating a bad cookie.

Background Information and NotesEdit

  • Garrett Price reappears after his introduction in "Mr. Monk Gets Stuck in Traffic."
  • The promotional spots for this episode suggested that it would be another installment in the ongoing plotline about Trudy Monk's murder, and that Monk would discover additional clues. For this reason, although the episode was reasonably well-received, many fans felt let down. The same happened in promotional material for "Mr. Monk Fights City Hall" in season 7.
  • The sweater that Randy was wearing in the scene where they arrested Santa Claus was a sweater that Randy said was given to him by his grandmother in the episode "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa."
  • During the interview, Brandy shows Monk the unopened Christmas present from Trudy, that was first referenced in Season Four's "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa." This present reappears in "Mr. Monk and the Miracle, another Christmas special, and plays a crucial part in the series finale, "Mr. Monk and the End."
  • In the department store, Natalie mentions Monk's preference for shirts approved by "Inspector #8," as shown in Season Four's "Mr. Monk Goes to a Fashion Show."
  • In "Mr. Monk Is on the Run, Part 2," Natalie shows Randy a picture of herself, Monk, and Julie together that was apparently taken during the last scene of this episode.
  • The scene of the diamond heist re-uses footage from Season Four's "Mr. Monk and the Big Reward." It even reuses the same museum, however the location of the museum seems to have changed. In season 4, the museum was in Pacific Heights, and in season 6, it's located downtown in the Financial District.
  • In the episode, Michael Kenworthy and his robbery crew made plans to move to Ecuador after the heist. Ecuador may have been deliberately chosen by the writers because although there is officially an extradition treaty in place, Ecuador has been known to make exceptions to it and in the year when this episode was written, the country had just elected an anti-US President, and the government may well have been happy to deny extradition simply to demonstrate independence from the US.
  • During the heist, a "Belham Brothers Quarry" truck is seen. This Quarry was also the location of the buried body in "Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure", and is presumably the same truck as used in the original episode.
  • Watch the opening montage scenes: if you look closely, one of the shots is one that was recycled from "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Marriage".
  • When Monk and Natalie return to the rooftop there are palm trees nearby and mountains in the distance, which cannot be seen from rooftops in San Francisco, but rather from rooftops in Hollywood or other parts of Los Angeles. There are distant mountains visible from many places in San Francisco. However, the palm trees are the giveaway, as the only palm trees that can be found in San Francisco line the Embarcadero. The Capitol Records building (a Hollywood landmark) is also clearly visible in the background.
  • It seems odd that in the aftermath of such a story as Brandy Barber's sensationalistic story that spun the truth to make Monk look like a Grinch that Stottlemeyer never thought to once more assign Randy to be a bodyguard for Monk or at the very least, do everything to keep the public from harassing him - like keeping uniformed officers in plain sight and establishing wider than normal crime scene perimeters to keep bystanders from getting within earshot of him.
    • On the same token, when that bystander threw an egg at Natalie, that crowd has to be pretty lucky that Stottlemeyer didn't have them all arrested for interfering with a police investigation since they contaminated a crime scene in doing so.