Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink
|"Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink"|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Andre Belgrader|
|Written by||Hy Conrad|
|Original air date||August 18, 2006|
Dr. Charles Kroger arrives at his office in Pacific Heights like on any other morning. But this will not be another ordinary morning. As he approaches his waiting room, he hears voices coming from inside. Dr. Kroger opens the door to his waiting room to find Adrian Monk and Harold Krenshaw arguing over who should get the 8:00 am session. He breaks up their argument, and asks them how they got into the waiting room. Monk and Harold admit that the door was unlocked. Dr. Kroger also asks them why the door to his office is open, and he becomes suspicious. Dr. Kroger, Monk, and Harold enter the office, and on the floor of the office, they find the dead body of Teresa Mueller, the building's cleaning lady, stabbed to death with a letter opener.
Apparently, someone walked in on Teresa while she was cleaning the office and scattered around some of the patient files. The time of death has been pinpointed to around 10:00 pm that night, as Teresa ended on the bottom floor. Monk quickly rules himself and Harold Krenshaw out as suspects.
Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher suspect that one of Dr. Kroger's patients was responsible. While being questioned at the police station, Dr. Kroger admits that there is one patient who may fit the profile: a schizophrenic by the name of Joseph Wheeler. According to Dr. Kroger, Wheeler threatened him in the past and demanded to look at his file, because he thought Dr. Kroger was talking about his ex-wife behind his back.
Dr. Kroger takes the blame on himself for not seeing the murder coming, and decides to retire. He reassures Monk that he will refer him to another therapist as soon as possible. This causes Monk to start going through an accelerated version of the five steps of grief (in order denial, anger, compromise, depression and finally overcoming it), which Kroger describes to Natalie as Monk acts out each step. But when Monk goes back through the five steps all over, they find that he has gotten stuck on a recursive loop.
Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher go to the store where Joseph Wheeler works to question him. Wheeler admits that he wasn't thinking straight when he made those threats as he was in the middle of a divorce. He also claims he loved Dr. Kroger and would take a bullet for him, plus he has an alibi that checks out. Wheeler is quickly ruled out as a suspect.
Needing to talk to someone, Monk returns with Natalie to Dr. Kroger's office, with Natalie in the doctor's chair. As they are about to walk out, Monk notices some vacuum marks on the carpet. They can only mean one thing: Teresa didn't walk in on the killer. Rather, the killer walked in on her. Just then, Francis Merrigan (Gordon Clapp), who owns an importing and exporting business based in the same building, walks in on them, since the door was open. He admits that after the death of Teresa, one has to check on the room if the door is slightly open. Monk notices that Merrigan is carrying a milk carton. Merrigan claims that he is utilizing the milk carton for a coffeemaker in his office.
That night, Monk and Harold stake out Dr. Kroger's house. They carefully conceal themselves while spying on the doctor. All of a sudden, someone throws a rock through the window and an SUV is seen speeding away. But neither of the patients, although rivals, could have thrown the rock. It seems obvious to Stottlemeyer and Disher that one of Dr. Kroger's patients is responsible. As they interview the rest of the Kroger family, we learn several facts about them, most especially their rebellious son Troy, among which are the fact that Charles has taken a paternity test three times at Troy's request, and it's always come back positive, and Troy knows Disher from being arrested. Monk, however, believes that whoever killed Teresa might have thrown the rock through the window as a diversion to make everyone believe that one of Dr. Kroger's patients is involved. He even recognizes the rock, though he doesn't know where. Dr. Kroger also tells Monk some other good news: he has found a therapist by the name of Dr. Jonah Sorenson, who can take Monk in, although he isn't normally accepting new patients.
Monk goes to Dr. Sorenson's office the next day. In session, he is rather uncomfortable by the fact that Sorenson is missing his right arm (from a boating accident two years ago). But as he is lamenting about how he remembered every leaf and every rock's location when he was seeing Dr. Kroger, he finally remembers where the rock came from.
Monk rushes back to Dr. Kroger's office just as Dr. Kroger is packing up. It is clear that Dr. Kroger hasn't seen Dr. Sorenson in a very long time, as he doesn't know about Sorenson's amputated arm. Monk shows Dr. Kroger exactly where the rock that was thrown at his house came from: it came from the courtyard. He has a good memory and he's been in the office enough times to know where everything fits. Now Monk has narrowed down the list of possible suspects to the people who have access to the courtyard.
Dr. Kroger mentions that only two people have access to the courtyard: himself and Francis Merrigan. Going to Merrigan's office, they find powdered milk dust on several of his shelves. Monk immediately remembers how when he and Natalie were in Dr. Kroger's office the day before, Merrigan walked in on them and he was carrying a milk carton. He had claimed that he was using the cartons for supplying a coffeemaker, but right now, there is obviously no evidence that Merrigan even has owned a coffeemaker, meaning he must have been lying to them about the carton's use.
Monk explains to Dr. Kroger that powdered milk is made from lactose, and drug dealers use it to cut heroin. Merrigan is trafficking drugs, and he probably also killed Teresa Mueller. Dr. Kroger suggests to Monk that he not talk about Merrigan, for a good reason: Merrigan opens the door, pointing a gun at them. The two are tied to chairs and loaded into the back of Merrigan's box rental truck.
Monk's Revelation ("Here's What Happened")
Natalie realizes that Monk is missing. She asks Stottlemeyer and Disher (who are playing a game of chess) if he has seen Monk.
Inside the truck, meanwhile, Monk gestures for Dr. Kroger to reposition himself on the right side of the truck. After he moves his chair over to that side, Monk instructs him to look at one of the Turkish figurines in the back of the truck, which is obviously broken.
Monk then explains what this has to do with Teresa Mueller: he remembers that during the initial investigation, he asked Disher if he had checked the vacuum bag. Disher had said that the bag was completely empty. But the bag could not have been empty if she had been vacuuming rugs all night.
The night she was killed, Teresa was cleaning Merrigan's office. She accidentally broke one of the figurines. The heroin was stashed inside the figurines. She didn't think much of it and finished cleaning the room. As Teresa cleaned the building from the top floor down, she left Merrigan's office, and went to Dr. Kroger's office, which was the last office she did each night. Meanwhile, Merrigan came back to his office and he saw the broken figurine. He thought about it, and realized that Teresa's vacuum bag was filled with that heroin. He couldn't take any chances. He caught up with Teresa in Dr. Kroger's office and confronted her. He took out the vacuum bag, and when he found the heroin, he couldn't let her go. Merrigan grabbed a letter opener and stabbed her, and then spread around several of the patient files to make it look like the killer was one of Dr. Kroger's patients. When he learned that Monk was skeptical, he threw a rock from the courtyard at Dr. Kroger's house to continue to send the police down the wrong trail.
Dr. Kroger tells Monk that there is probably no one who knows where they are. Unbeknownst to them, Harold Krenshaw is in his car and following Merrigan's truck. He calls the police to tell them he has the truck in sight. Monk and Dr. Kroger are unloaded at a warehouse.
Harold grabs a gun from a shelf and Dr. Kroger gestures for Harold to shoot Merrigan and his accomplice, who are emptying the vacuum bag and preparing to destroy the evidence that could send them to jail for life. However, organizing the knick-knacks on the shelf, Harold accidentally makes some noise and gives himself away. As Merrigan prepares to shoot Harold, the police arrive to arrest the men. A shootout ensues between Merrigan, Stottlemeyer and Disher. The police move in to arrest Merrigan, but just then, he points the gun at Dr. Kroger and shoots at him. However, Harold intercepts the bullet in his chest, much to Monk's dismay. Merrigan is quickly taken away.
During a session a few weeks later, Monk questions Dr. Kroger about the words "No Hope" written at the bottom of his file, which he looked at briefly while first investigating Teresa's death. Dr. Kroger explains that those two words Monk saw were actually "N. Hope", since they had been talking about Monk's father, who was born in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
- The events of this episode, and Dr. Jonah Sorenson, are mentioned in passing in the novel Mr. Monk Goes to Germany. First, Dr. Kroger mentions Dr. Sorenson's name to Monk on their last appointment before he leaves for Germany. Later, when Dr. Kroger confronts Natalie about helping Monk stalk him to Lohr, she defends herself by claiming that Monk was going to fall completely apart without him and would never see a psychiatrist who was missing an arm, suggesting that her actions probably were influenced by the events depicted in "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink."
- This episode marks the first appearance of Harold Krenshaw since season 3's "Mr. Monk and the Election". Subsequently, Harold made appearances in the episodes "Mr. Monk and the Daredevil," "Mr. Monk's 100th Case", "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized", "Mr. Monk Fights City Hall", "Mr. Monk Is Someone Else," and "Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy".
- Dr. Kroger was said in "Mr. Monk and the Election" to have a daughter as well. Here, however, Troy is shown as an only child.
The idea of hiding the crucial piece of evidence in a vacuum bag had been on the writing table for years at the time that Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink was written. The problem was, they couldn't get a realistic idea on how to use it. One idea had actually been to have a killer hack up his victim, place the dismembered limbs into a self-cleaning oven one at a time, then vacuum out the remains and have the bag filled with the victim. This, however, seemed very gruesome. Other ideas had included hiding something valuable in the bag and even having the killer stalk Monk while trying to recover it.
After some time, they decided that the best method of featuring a vacuum bag was to do the job with a cleaning lady, vacuuming up evidence of a drug ring trafficking heroin into the United States. Whereas cleaning ladies had already been the murder victims of several previous episodes, here it seemed absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, having a cleaning lady as the victim meant that they needed a main character to work with in order to give some personal involvement and reason for Monk to commit himself to the case. Monk was ruled out mostly because he doesn't have a cleaning lady, and if he did, she would never be good enough for him. It was eventually decided that the cleaning lady would end up being Dr. Kroger's cleaning lady. The idea of having Teresa Mueller work for Dr. Kroger was successful, because the writers had been looking to have an episode where Stanley Kamel was more a special guest star than a secondary character.
This led to further complications. For a few days, it was thought that Monk and Dr. Kroger would work to solve the case, but upon realizing that Monk would not be able to go back to a clinical detachment with Dr. Kroger, they eliminated this idea. So instead, Dr. Kroger does appear in more scenes than he normally does, but he stays out of the investigation scenes. As a result, Monk and Dr. Kroger do not break into Francis Merrigan's office to snoop around, though that would have been the typical thing to do if someone else were there. Rather, they simply peer through the sliding glass door that opens from Merrigan's office into the courtyard.
Another big challenge that came up in production was who Monk's new shrink would be. Several ideas included a woman, someone too strict or too nice, someone driven crazy by Monk's compulsions, and even a bout of scream therapy. The eventual decision came from writer Jonathan Collier, who suggested a one-armed psychiatrist. Tony Shalhoub liked the idea, but required that they recruit an actual one-armed actor to play Dr. Sorenson. The Screen Actors Guild actually had several actors waiting to audition, and the part was given to Rick Curry.
- "Monk Cast Favorites Marathon". USA Network. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
- Conrad, Hy (August 18, 2006). "Production Blog: Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink". USA Network. Retrieved May 3, 2011.