Mr. Monk's 100th Case
||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
|"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|
Eric McCormack as James Novak
|Season 7 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.
Plot Synopsis 
||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 episode 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. A running gag throughout the episode is how at each commercial break, Stottlemeyer changes the channel to a basketball game to check the score.
The documentary starts around July 18, when actress Cassandre Rank is found strangled to death in a building lobby. It seems like an interrupted robbery - the police believe that the victim was checking her mail when the killer broke a pane on the door, reached in and opened it, then killed the luckless actress with a rope. After having a few light bulbs fixed on a chandelier, Monk notices an interesting clue: there are glass shards from the door pane 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 the victim knew the killer, meaning that this was no random attack. He believes 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 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 missing lipstick; he notes that he does this on major cases because if they do get a confession later on, they'll have an easier time verifying that said confession is genuine.)
The police have no possible leads and no suspects. At this point in time, no one knows that Cassandre's killer will strike again: A few days later, however, another actress, Barbara McFarland, is strangled to death at 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. Victim #2, like Victim #1, 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 ask the manager (who keeps slipping in and out of his character as a vampire throughout the interview) for his employment records. 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.
This isn't the last of it, however: a few days later, victim #3, Miranda Terhume, is strangled to death near her car at a parking lot in Daly City. 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: All three victims of the so-called Lipstick Killer (the name chosen for the man, based on his M.O) had posed for Douglas Thurman, who owns a local photography studio. (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.) The police bring Thurman in for questioning. As Stottlemeyer and Disher talk to him, he denies everything, although they point out the overwhelming amount of evidence against him.
With insufficient evidence to detain Thurman, they are forced to release him. Things take a startling twist that afternoon - Thurman disappears completely, failing to show up for a polygraph test. A statewide all points bulletin is issued on Thurman, and meanwhile, a judge issues a search warrant allowing the police to search Thurman's studio. The next morning, a SWAT team raids 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 the law is the law - you can't detain someone unless you have enough evidence to suspect probable cause).
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. As a SWAT team moves in, Thurman chooses to shoot himself rather than be captured. 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 is becoming a bit doubtful of himself, and is having second thoughts. After the documentary ends, Monk mentions a few oddities about Kate Kindel's death that cast doubt on Thurman being involved there: 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 other victims were strangled from in front.
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 moves back and forth across the studio, he spots an additional roll of film in the "after" shot, standing up on the table. The roll is not in the "before" shot, meaning that the roll had been planted. This roll, Disher remembers, was the roll on which the pictures of Kate Kindel were found. Stottlemeyer points out that the SWAT team did not plant the additional roll, as every man on that team is a righteous guy, though Monk notes that there were other people accompanying the SWAT team on the raid.
Then, Monk asks to fast forward to a scene in Kate Kindel’s apartment, in a scene where he asks for someone to turn on the lights. Novak turns on the lamp next to Monk, but suspiciously, in the scene, he knows exactly which switch turns on that specific lamp. Monk concludes that Novak had been in Kindel’s apartment before the investigation.
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 
Monk realizes that Kate Kindel was Novak's mistress. She probably threatened to tell his wife about their affair, but whatever happened, he had to kill her. Working on the Douglas Thurman case, Novak saw that he could kill his mistress and make it look like she was one of Thurman's victims. After all, Stottlemeyer notes, Novak and his camera crews had full access to the crime scenes. This meant that they were allowed to know about details that the police withheld from the public, including the killer's M.O. and the missing lipstick. As a result, it wasn't hard for Novak to frame Thurman for a fourth victim.
Novak knew that the opportunity to frame Thurman for Kindel's murder was the same morning that the police raided Thurman's studio. The night before, 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 he took photos of Kindel, Novak killed her, and then staged the scene. He took her lipstick, because that was what Douglas Thurman would have done. The next morning, Novak accompanied the police as they raided Thurman's studio, and he set the roll of film down amongst the other film canisters (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). Kindel would now look like just another rather unfortunate victim of the homicidal photographer.
Novak says there is no proof, but then his estranged wife Melissa produces a lipstick that she found in his pockets on the night of the murder, and demands that the police check it for Kindel's DNA. As Melissa hands the lipstick to Randy, Novak pulls out a gun 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 figures that Monk is not thinking straight, and prepares to whack him with the newspaper. Then she realizes - when Monk caught Douglas Thurman, that was his 100th case. The arrest of James Novak, although related to Thurman and his murders, is a completely different case. Hence, Monk has in fact solved 101 cases. Natalie smugly tells Monk that if he wants to retire, he must solve another 99 cases (200) overall, and they start looking through the paper to see who has been killed over the past day.
Background information 
||This section may contain 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).