Mr. Monk's 100th Case
|"Mr. Monk's 100th Case"|
Monk second-guesses himself and his assessment of his 100th case.
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Randall Zisk|
|Written by||Tom Scharpling|
|Original air date||September 5, 2008|
|Running time||43 minutes (approx.)|
Eric McCormack as James Novak
|Season 7 episodes|
|Monk (season 7)
List of Monk episodes
"Mr. Monk's 100th Case" is the seventh episode of the seventh season of the USA Network TV series Monk, and, true to its name, it is the 100th episode overall. Purporting to be a retrospective of Adrian Monk's career, it reunites several actors who previously appeared on the show.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2011)|
The episode opens in the form of the introduction to an "In Focus" documentary, hosted by James Novak (Eric McCormack). He explains that on tonight's broadcast of In Focus, viewers will be following Adrian Monk, a modern day Sherlock Holmes and consultant for the San Francisco Police Department, as he attempts a career milestone: solving his 100th case. This 100th case involves a serial killer who murders young women and then steals their lipstick. Can Monk find the killer before he strikes again?
The documentary follows Monk's investigation of the serial killer, and is interspersed with a biography of Monk, and interspersed with interviews of people close to Adrian. These include various colleagues like Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher, acquaintances like Marci Maven and Adrian's elder brother, and even some of the criminals Adrian has brought to justice over the years, such as Hal Tucker and Jimmy Belmont. It also touches on his lingering obsession with solving Trudy's murder. At each commercial break, Stottlemeyer changes the channel to a basketball game to check the score, which annoys Natalie.
The documentary starts around July 18, when a young actress named Cassandre Rank is found strangled and killed in the lobby of her apartment building while she is checking her mail. It seems like an interrupted robbery: the victim was apparently checking her mail when the killer broke a pane on the door, reached in and opened it, then strangled her with a piece of rope. Monk is distracted briefly by a few burned out lightbulbs on a chandelier, but he notices an interesting clue: the glass shards from the door pane are on top of the body, but there are none underneath. Also, even though there are traces of Cassandre's lipstick on her coffee cup and on her lips, there is no lipstick in her purse. He concludes that what actually happened was that the victim was checking her mail when she saw the killer through the door. She let him in because she wasn't threatened by him and he was someone she knew, which was a big mistake - he killed her, stole her lipstick, and then punched a hole through the door to make it look like a break-in. (In an inserted interview, Stottlemeyer mentions that he didn't tell the press about the killer taking the victim's lipstick so that the police could more easily validate any confessions they received)
The police have no possible leads and no suspects. A few days later, however, another actress, Barbara McFarland, is strangled and killed inside her apartment. Examining the scene, Monk finds all the same clues, including the missing lipstick and lack of forced entry, that suggest that Cassandre Rank's killer is still at large. And like Cassandre, McFarland was a part-time actress and waitress.
Monk and Natalie travel to a vampire-themed restaurant that both women had worked at to check out a possible lead. They meet the manager, who is dressed up as a vampire, and ask him for employment records. He slips in and out of character throughout the entire interview, which is really embarrassing for him when Natalie mentions that the two victims were killed, especially since Novak's camera crew is filming. However, this lead turns out to be a dead end, as when they receive the employment records, they find that the victims didn't work at the place at the same time.
A few days later, victim #3, Miranda Terhume, is strangled and killed by her car in a Daly City parking lot. Once again, all of the clues are the same as those at the first two crime scenes. As she didn't work at the restaurant that Cassandre Rank and Barbara McFarland worked at, that lead has now been declared a false lead.
After several days without a break, Monk makes a keen observation: on each victim's headshot photo, there is a watermark in the lower right corner reading "Douglas Thurman Photography," meaning that all three victims posed for a local photographer named Douglas Thurman. (In an inserted interview, Monk and Natalie mention that there were 50 cops in that room and they didn't spot the link, and Natalie notes that those cops could have been locked in the room for a year and not noticed the link, though Monk points out to her that he was standing next to the board.)
Thurman is brought in to be interrogated. As Stottlemeyer and Disher talk to him, he denies everything, although they point out the overwhelming amount of evidence that appears to connect him to the murders. But with insufficient solid evidence to detain Thurman, they are forced to release him.
Things take a startling twist that afternoon, when Thurman disappears completely, failing to show up for a polygraph test. A statewide all points bulletin is issued on Thurman, and a judge gives the police a search warrant for Thurman's studio. The next morning, Stottlemeyer and Disher lead a SWAT team raid on Thurman's studio and apartment, and they find a rather beautiful incrimination in the studio: an eerie shrine to all three victims, with each woman's portrait having her respective lipstick smeared on it. They determine that they have their man, but Thurman himself has fled (in an interview, Disher admits that this was the low point of the investigation, as they had Thurman in handcuffs just the day before. Stottlemeyer notes that they should have never let Thurman go, but reminds us that again, there wasn't enough solid evidence).
Later that same day, Kate Kindel, another model/actress, is found strangled to death at her house, and her lipstick has been taken. All of the clues are the same, suggesting Thurman might not be finished. As Monk looks around, he asks to have a light switch turned on and Novak switches on a lamp next to him. Just then, Stottlemeyer gets a call and learns that Thurman has been spotted in San Racine, in Southern California, 300 miles south of San Francisco, hiding in a cheap motel room. The SWAT team moves in and breaks down the door to his room and finds Thurman dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Monk has closed his 100th case, and the episode of “In Focus" wraps up to a round of applause from those at the viewing party.
During the viewing party, however, Monk has become doubtful of himself, and is having second thoughts. After the documentary ends, Monk mentions a few holes in Kate Kindel's murder and Douglas Thurman's movements: for one thing, when Thurman killed himself, he had Mexican currency in his pockets, meaning that he was fleeing south, towards Mexico, but Kate Kindel was killed 50 miles north of San Francisco. Why would he go that far out of the way to commit a fourth murder, when he knew that the police were after him? Also, Monk remembers that Kindel was strangled from behind while the first three victims were strangled from in front. Monk concludes that while Cassandre Rank, Barbara McFarland and Miranda Terhume were killed by Thurman, Kindel's murder was a copycat murder.
At Monk's insistence, they rewind the recording of the documentary back to when the SWAT team raids Thurman's studio. Monk notices a crucial detail: when comparing the "before" and "after" shots as the camera tracks through the studio, he spots an additional roll of film in the "after" shot, standing up on a table in the second room. The roll is not in the "before" shot, meaning that the roll had been planted while the camera was turned away and focused on Randy. Randy realizes that it is the roll they found the photos of Kate Kindel on. Stottlemeyer points out that none of the SWAT team members did not plant the additional roll, as every man on that team is an honest man, though Monk reminds them that there were other people accompanying the SWAT team on the raid: Novak, and the camera crew.
Then, Monk asks to fast forward to the murder investigation in Kate Kindel’s apartment. While looking around, Monk complains that it is a little dark and asks for someone to turn on the lights. In the background, Novak hits a switch that turns on the lamp next to Monk. In the present day, Monk points out to Novak that there were five light switches on the panel, and he could only have known which switches turned on which lights if he'd been in the apartment before the murder.
Earlier in the episode, there have been repeat signs that there is trouble in paradise: Novak flirts shamelessly with several of the women at the party, including Randy's new girlfriend Jillian, an aspiring actress who specializes in being murdered on camera (Randy mentions that she was once bludgeoned to death on Dateline NBC, and she also appears in the re-enactment scene of Kate Kindel's murder in the show). When he has her in a corner, Jillian acts embarrassed over a gaffe she has made, and Novak soothes her that everyone makes mistakes - his, he confides, was his wife, Melissa.
Here's What Happened
Kate Kindel was Novak's mistress. She was blackmailing him, threatening to tell his wife about their affair, and Novak wanted to kill her. Working on the Douglas Thurman case, Novak saw that he could kill her and pass her off as one of Thurman's victims. Stottlemeyer points out that that wouldn't have been difficult for Novak to do: he and his camera crews had unlimited access to the crime scenes, and they were allowed complete inside knowledge of information that the police never told the media, like Thurman's M.O. or the fact that the killer took his victims' tubes of lipstick. As a result, it wasn't hard for Novak to frame a serial killer for a fourth victim.
Hence, Novak knew when the police were going to raid Thurman's studio, which was when he would frame Thurman for Kindel's murder. The night before the raid, he went to Kindel's apartment and had her pose for some photographs. Because Thurman only used film photography, Novak had to use a camera that utilized film. After a photo shoot with Kindel, he strangled her, and then staged the scene. He grabbed her lipstick from her purse, like Thurman would have done. The next morning, when the SWAT team raided Thurman's studio, Novak tagged along, and set the roll of film down amongst the other film canisters while no one was looking (the tracking shot itself helped hide him planting the roll, and he was probably aware that as the shot was very quick and brief, no one would notice the extra canister unless they had really good vision or froze the image during the shot). Kindel would now look like just another rather unfortunate victim of the homicidal photographer.
Natalie chides Novak for not paying attention to his own show: Monk is never wrong, and he misses nothing. Novak scoffs and says there is no proof. But Melissa coldly interjects that, on the night of the murder, which she remembers because it was the night of her brother's birthday party (which Novak missed so that he could kill Kindel), she went through James's pockets after he came home, late at night, and she found a tube of lipstick. If this lipstick tests positive for Kindel’s DNA, which it obviously will, Novak is caught.
As Melissa hands the lipstick to Randy, Novak pulls out a pistol and orders him to hand it over. Randy, exchanging a glance with Stottlemeyer, tosses the lipstick, distracting Novak for the second Stottlemeyer needs to sneak beside him, grab the gun, and floor Novak with a punch. The gun goes off, and Jillian crumples to the floor, clutching her side. Randy panics and yells for an ambulance, but then Jillian realizes that she's untouched, and apologizes, as this is a "force of habit". Randy compliments her on her performance, and the two kiss lovingly - leaving the rest of the company baffled. Novak is subsequently taken away.
The next morning, at Monk's apartment, Natalie reads a front page article about Novak's arrest. Monk, reflecting that one hundred cases is a nice, even number, considers retiring from his detective work. Natalie quickly realizes that Monk is not thinking straight, and prepares to whack him multiple times with the newspaper. Then she realizes - when Monk caught Douglas Thurman, he solved his 100th case. Novak's arrest is a completely different case, even though the Kate Kindel homicide was tied to the Thurman investigation. Natalie laughs triumphantly in Monk's face, informing him that he's solved 101 cases, so if he wants to retire, he must solve another 99 cases, and they start looking through the paper to see who has been killed over the past day.
||This section possibly contains original research. (July 2011)|
Several of the characters interviewed on "In Focus" reappear after previous episodes, including:
- Leigh Harrison (Brooke Adams), a former flight attendant who was forced to quit after being driven to drinking when she had an encounter with Monk (Mr. Monk and the Airplane).
- Harold Krenshaw (Tim Bagley), a patient of Dr. Kroger and later Dr. Bell who is obsessed with Monk and is his number one rival (Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf, Mr. Monk and the Election, Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink, Mr. Monk and the Daredevil and Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized. Harold later appears in Mr. Monk Fights City Hall, Mr. Monk Is Someone Else, and Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy).
- Jimmy Belmont (Ricardo Chavira), a murderer who used salt blocks and a pig to cover up murdering his neighbor Harvey Disher (Mr. Monk Visits a Farm).
- Joey Krenshaw (David Koechner), a criminal who tried to throw his cousin Harold off a roof (Mr. Monk and the Daredevil). Currently serving ten years for attempted murder.
- Hal Tucker (Andy Richter), a murderer who befriended Monk in order to get closer to a crime scene (Mr. Monk Makes a Friend). He murdered his girlfriend Gail Segalis and her previous boyfriend Tim Hayden.
- Ralph "Father" Roberts (Howie Mandel), a con man who started his own cult in order to get money (Mr. Monk Joins a Cult).
- Arlene Boras (Angela Kinsey), who killed her roommate Vickie Deline to protect her fraudulent scheme (Mr. Monk and the Naked Man). Serving life in prison.
- Marci Maven (Sarah Silverman), Monk's number one fan (Mr. Monk and the TV Star and Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan).
- Ambrose Monk (John Turturro), Monk's agoraphobic brother (Mr. Monk and the Three Pies and Mr. Monk Goes Home Again).