|Season 4 (Monk)|
|Season 3||Season 5|
When fellow detective Marty Eels shows up at a crime scene knowing all the answers, has Monk finally met his match, or is Eels cheating?
In the parking lot of a small mini-mall, a jewelry store owner, Harold Gumbal, gets out of his car, and heads towards his store with two bags. He briefly exchanges words with the mall security guard Paul, who then continues on his way as Harold unlocks his store. But today is not an ordinary day for Harold: two men, Eddie Dial and Victor Blanchard, are holding Harold's pet dog Peggy hostage and are threatening to kill her if Harold doesn't rob his own store for them. Harold fills the two bags the gunmen have given him with the most valuable gems from his inventory, then takes the bags out to Blanchard and Dial. They exchange the dog for the loot, as promised.
Unfortunately, things turn sour from that point. Just as Blanchard and Dial are about to drive off, Paul spots them. Seeing them wearing ski masks, he draws his pistol and orders them out of the car. Dial takes his hands off the steering wheel. Blanchard promptly climbs out of the backseat, takes off his ski mask, draws a revolver, and shoots the guard three times, killing him instantly. Realizing that they can't have a living witness around, especially since Harold now has seen Blanchard's face, Blanchard fatally shoots Harold as well. As Harold falls dead, his dog runs off.
Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger meet Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher at the scene. Monk has some trouble concentrating because of a fresh dog mess on the pavement. A few moments later, a new distraction arrives in the form of private investigator Marty Eels, whom Stottlemeyer describes as a "professional pain in the ass" – a hack who gets by with no-brain private detective work like divorces and insurance scams, and whose license has been suspended by the district attorney's office at least once before. Marty claims he noticed the crime scene while he was driving by, and offers to help. Stottlemeyer is about to give him the brush-off, but Marty begs for just a few minutes to look at the crime scene.
Monk has already noticed some interesting details - namely, that the manager probably did not rob the store since he didn't lock the door behind him, and blood by the curb that suggests that there was a second shooting (for the record, we already can see that the killers took Harold's body in their car). Analyzing, Marty makes some deductions, that Monk cannot help but agree with: Harold was blackmailed into robbing his own store, and the guard was killed when he stumbled upon it. Then he goes the next step and turns up a clue that Monk had no idea was there: the robbers’ masks, stuffed into a sewer drain a short distance away. Seeing a dog loitering around the parking lot, Marty also identifies it as Harold's from his eagle eye and ability to make out the dog's license from over a block away. As he is proved right again and again, the police start to give Marty the benefit of the doubt. Marty also insists that they check train stations for the robbers' car, figuring that they wouldn't ditch it at the airport.
The next day, Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher visit Marty in his run-down office. When they arrive, Marty is finishing up a call to his mother, a quality control operator for Pacific Global Airlines. Since Stottlemeyer has trouble believing that Marty has turned into a great detective overnight, he wonders if Marty was potentially an accomplice to the actual culprits, and asks him to supply an alibi for the shootings. Marty acts hurt, offended that they aren't giving him the benefit of the doubt. To which Stottlemeyer admits that that's because frankly, up until now, Marty has always been known for having a loser's reputation. Case in point: his alibi is that he was at the hospital being checked for a potential concussion after one of his own clients hit him on the head. Marty and his camera were supposed to catch the client’s wife with her lover, but ended up bursting in on her while she was in bed with the client -- her own husband. Stottlemeyer softens a bit, but protests that the SFPD's budget doesn't have any money to pay both Monk and Marty. Marty offers to work for free, just for the chance to get in on the action. Stottlemeyer grudgingly agrees.
A day later, Marty makes yet more amazing finds. The car has now been found right where Marty predicted it would be found. He is now being followed around by a gang of reporters, egged on by his proud mother. As they analyze the car, they notice more details: Marty observes that the driver must have been unfamiliar with the roads in the area since he left a map in the glovebox. When he learns that the store manager was 5'10" in height, he immediately points out that the seat was adjusted for someone who was 5'11" (Monk is suspicious of this detail, as seat adjustments aren't that precise). Monk notices blood traces in the trunk, indicating that a dead body was carried there recently. Observing crushed leaves on the nearby hillside, Marty uses a tree branch as a dowsing rod to follow the trail, and stumbles over Harold's body. By now, Monk is firmly convinced that Marty is "cheating," but can’t explain how. Stottlemeyer doesn't know what to think – sometimes Monk’s detection seems nothing short of magical to him, so is it so hard to believe that Marty could be seeing things Monk isn’t?
The final show-up comes when Marty, looking at the position of Harold's hands, says he sees a clue to the robbers’ identity – a clue which leads them to Eddie Dial, the getaway driver. A human lie detector, Marty is able to figure out where Dial buried the jewels. The only loose end is Blanchard, who is still at large.
Marty’s triumph receives huge press coverage, and Monk’s confidence in his own abilities has been sapped. But an even worse blow comes when Stottlemeyer reluctantly tells Monk that Marty will be the police’s consultant for the remainder of the case, and Monk can have "the next one."
Monk decides to retire from consulting and takes a previously offered job teaching criminal investigative techniques at a local college. Fearing the loss of her job, Natalie refuses to drive him to the interview, and he defiantly says he’ll drive himself, going so far as to dial a rental car agency. While he is on hold, Natalie and Monk get into an argument about his inability to drive over bridges. Then the quality control operator pipes up with a helpful suggestion about an alternate route Monk could take. Surprised, Monk realizes that the operator could hear him while he was on hold, and solves the case.
Here's What Happened
Monk and Natalie confront Marty in his office, having figured out how he pulled a fast one on the department: they remember that his mother works as a quality control operator for Pacific Global Airlines, and Monk also remembers that among the items that were found in the thieves' motel room were Pacific Global Airlines tickets to Costa Rica.
After the murders, Blanchard and Dial returned to their motel room and called the airline to book tickets to Costa Rica. While they were on hold, they discussed their crime in detail, probably even bragging, about who they had killed, where they had dumped the body and car, and hidden the masks, unaware that Marty's mother was listening to every word. But rather than take this information to the police, she took the information to Marty, giving him all the clues he needed to "solve" the case.
Marty brazens it out, saying the recording of the phone call has been erased, and no one is going to believe Monk, who’s "yesterday’s news." Monk and Natalie trudge out dispiritedly. But as soon as they’re gone, Marty receives a call from Blanchard. Blanchard has taken Marty's mother hostage, and as ransom, Blanchard wants Marty to use his new star power to borrow the jewels from the police and return them to Blanchard. He is to deliver them to a specific locker at the bus terminal by 8:00 PM. He warns Marty not to call the police, or else his mother will be dead by 8:20 PM.
Marty rushes outside to catch Monk and Natalie before they drive away. He tells them what has happened, admitting that he’s a fraud and he needs their help.
Monk carefully walks Marty through the phone call, and turns up a number of vital clues: They know where and when Blanchard is going to be for the ransom drop, so the police can apprehend him there if they can rescue Mrs. Eels before then; Blanchard said he had just left her, so she can't be far from where the call was made. Based on noises Marty heard in the background (a thud and a clang, and the sound of ocean water), Monk realizes that the call was made from the amusement park on the pier.
Once they get to the pier, they locate the payphone Blanchard used, located near one of the high striker attractions. The three begin to wonder why Blanchard said Mrs. Eels would be dead by 8:20 p.m., and then Monk notices a board saying that 8:20 p.m. is high tide. Monk leads them to a small shed underneath the pier that the incoming tide is about to cover. Marty and Natalie run to the shed and fight the rising water to untie Mrs. Eels before she drowns. They succeed in dragging her back to the shore. While this is happening, a team of plainclothes cops capture Blanchard when he arrives at the bus terminal and starts to open the locker.
As she is recovering, Monk gently tells Mrs. Eels that she will probably have to testify in court about what she heard Blanchard and Dial say on the phone. Mrs. Eels turns on Marty, accusing him of squealing – despite his having just saved her life. Downcast, Marty says he didn’t squeal, Monk figured it out, because he’s a real detective. Having an idea what Marty goes through every day with a mother like his, Monk and Natalie take pity on him and say it was actually Marty’s "amazing" detective work that allowed them to find and rescue her. Mrs. Eels is impressed for once.
At a press conference, Marty receives the key to the city for helping solve the two murders and also apprehend the criminals. He announces that he’s retiring from detection and taking the teaching job that Monk was offered earlier. As Marty drops the key while holding it up for the cameras, Stottlemeyer realizes, without needing to be told how, that Marty was indeed "cheating." Monk is content to let Marty have his moment – it is enough for Monk that he, Natalie, and Stottlemeyer know the truth, and to know that he’s still "the real deal."
- Stottlemeyer only declares Blanchard under arrest for the murder of the store manager. Blanchard would have actually been charged with two counts of first degree murder (one for the manager and one for Paul), as well as counts of kidnapping and attempted murder (for Marty's mother)