Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu

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Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu
Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu by Lee Goldberg
1st edition 2007 paperback cover
Author Lee Goldberg
Country United States
Language English
Series Monk mystery novel series
Genre Mystery novel
Publisher Signet Books
Publication date
January 2, 2007
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 304 pp
ISBN 0-451-22013-7
OCLC 77178816
LC Class CPB Box no. 2704 vol. 4
Preceded by Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii
Followed by Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants

Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu is the third novel by writer Lee Goldberg to be based on the television series Monk. Like the previous two books, the book is narrated by Natalie Teeger, Monk's assistant.

Plot summary[edit]

From the jacket summary:

Monk is horrified when he learns there's going to be a blue flu in San Francisco — until Captain Stottlemeyer explains that it just means the police plan to call in "sick" until they get a better contract. The good news is the labor dispute will give Monk a chance to get back on the force. The bad news is it means he'll be a "scab" — and he doesn't like the sound of that either. But before he knows it, Monk has his badge back, and his own squad to command. Unfortunately, some of the squad members make Monk look like a paragon of mental health. But despite the challenges, they'll have to pull together to catch an astrologer's killer, solve a series of mysterious fatal assaults, and most importantly, clean up their desks.

Synopsis[edit]

Blue Flu strikes[edit]

Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger are called to the scene of a murder in Golden Gate Park. A woman has been strangled and her left running shoe taken. Although Captain Stottlemeyer tries to get Monk to look at the crime scene closer, Monk uses binoculars loaned to him by Officer Kent Milner to learn that this woman comes from the Republic of Georgia. Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher remark that this is the third killing in the park of this nature. Disher argues that they should call the killer the Foot Maniac. But the eventual name of this killer is the Golden Gate Strangler.

As they leave the scene, Stottlemeyer tells Monk that the city has been planning on making deep cuts in their pay, medical benefits, and pension contributions. Negotiations between the union and the city walked away that morning. He explains that although it's illegal for police officers to strike, there is a strain of the flu going around. Monk initially thinks that it's a disease until Stottlemeyer explains that it's called the Blue Flu, where the police officers call in "sick" until they get a better contract.

The next day, 70% of the detectives' bureau of the San Francisco Police Department calls in sick. Natalie goes out shopping to buy new clothes for Julie, but after a pregnant woman takes a blouse Natalie wanted, Monk exposes the pregnant woman, a man with an oxygen tank, and a nun in the department store as a set of shoplifters. Later, Natalie has a rendezvous with Stottlemeyer in which the Captain explains he is beginning to understand and act a lot like Monk. As they talk, Natalie receives a call. The mayor wants to see her and Monk.

Monk Gets Reinstated[edit]

Mayor Barry Smitrovich does criticize Monk for the detective's proposal of straightening out Lombard Street (a reference to a scene where Monk is talking to the mayor in the season 5 episode "Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike"). Smitrovich is concerned about the lack of policing out on the streets, and although Natalie states to Smitrovich that Monk won't work for anyone, Smitrovich says that he'll have them working for him. He wants Monk to be reinstated to the police department as acting captain of the Homicide division. Although Natalie tries to convince Monk not to accept the mayor's offer, Monk goes ahead and accepts it.

Monk is all too pleased to have his badge back. Natalie does some research behind Monk's new assisting detectives: "Mad Jack" Wyatt, Cynthia Chow, and Frank Porter. Wyatt gets his nickname from his violent and unconventional methods on the street and in the department. Chow is a paranoid conspiracy theorist who has spent much of her dangerous life undercover, who thinks that extraterrestrials are trying to impregnate her. Porter is an old veteran detective who took a retirement last year at the clear onset of senility.

On Monk's first day back in the homicide division, he and Natalie meet Frank Porter and his granddaughter Sparrow. Monk is now being referred to not as Mr. Monk but as Captain Monk, since he is acting captain. Natalie feels an unexpected kinship with Sparrow. Then Monk disappears and is found in the evidence room lamenting how the Golden Gate Strangler, whoever he is, is upsetting Monk's beliefs about the balance of the universe. Monk instructs Porter to immediately double check the dead women's' credit card purchases and to map out the crime scenes.

Allegra Doucet[edit]

Curtis informs Monk that there has been a homicide in the Haight-Ashbury district, an astrologer named Allegra Doucet. At the crime scene, Monk and Natalie meet detective #2, Cindy Chow and her psychologist Jasper Perry. Chow's paranoia clearly shows itself when she first is introduced to Monk. Natalie also develops a kinship with Jasper. Monk and Natalie enter the house and find that Allegra is more like a fashion model than an astrologer. Chow explains that someone came into the house last night and stabbed Allegra several times with a letter opener or ice pick. Monk goes into the bathroom and finds that someone broke off the towel rack. As he and Natalie leave the crime scene, he can't help but notice a lack of evidence pointing to forced entry. All that is certain is that Allegra knew the killer, judging from the lack of defensive wounds. They go and talk to Madam Frost, Allegra's elderly competitor just across the street. Frost talks like she didn't exactly like Allegra Doucet, and also says that Allegra was a fraud. Monk realizes that Frost has a motive for murdering her neighbor.

John Yamada[edit]

Monk then mentions that they are going back to police headquarters, and then asks how they are going to get there. Natalie realizes that her car has been towed, when she receives a call from Officer Curtis about a hit-and-run. Porter also comes on to explain that none of the Strangler women knew each other nor saw each other. Natalie and Monk get in a marked patrol car to race to the new crime scene. When they arrive, most of the people viewing the crime scene are paying attention to the car that crashed into a storefront around the corner. A tall figure walks towards them, whom Natalie identifies as Mad Jack Wyatt. Monk points out that Wyatt shot out two of the tires on the crashed car, causing it to fly into the storefront and catch fire. Wyatt recognized the driver as Trinidad Lopez, a suspect in a string of ATM holdups.

Wyatt briefs them on the victim in the street. The man's name is John Yamada, age 44, and he is an architect. While jaywalking to the market, he was struck by a car and killed. But Monk realizes that this is a premeditated murder and not a hit-and-run when he notices skid marks that indicate the driver to have double parked. Monk points to the dirt around the patrol car that he and Natalie arrived at the scene in, and indicates that it came from a front and a rear point on the car. This means that the dirt came off when the car was in idle. The driver was waiting for Yamada to set foot in the intersection before s/he ran him down. Then Natalie receives another call from Officer Curtis about another murder, causing her to say the city is becoming more unsafe by the minute.

Diane Truby[edit]

On Russian Hill, waitress Diane Truby was walking down the street after getting off the bus when she tumbled in front of the bus. The driver couldn't stop in time and his bus dragged her body down the hill. An alley intersects the street halfway down the hill, and this is where Monk and Natalie meet with Sparrow and Porter. Monk realizes that this is another premeditated murder, and indicates that the kiler sat on the vegetable crate Porter is sitting on and waited for Diane Truby to pass the alley. Then the killer pushed her in front of the bus, and was never seen. He knows that the killer sat on the crate as from there, no one can see you on the street. The killer used the reflection of the mirror utilized by the homeowner so that he could watch for traffic on the street as he backed his car out. Of course, Porter has forgotten who Monk is, and Natalie has to get him back to his senses.

That night, Natalie is proud of Monk for having his badge back and keeping the SFPD running efficiently even with the number of officers "suffering" from the Blue Flu. Monk laments that these are much simpler murders, ones Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher solve every day. Afterwards, they take Julie for a short ride in the patrol car, and also "imprison" Julie in the holding cell at the police station. When they arrive, Curtis says that Natalie's Jeep is out in the impound lot, and also informs her that Officer Krupp would appreciate the return of his patrol car. Up in the Homicide Division, Julie is able to identify the brands of each of the shoes the Golden Gate Strangler victims were wearing. She also says that these are obsolete styles, sold out of trucks at freeway off-ramps.

Convenience Store Robbery[edit]

Curtis then informs Monk that there's been a robbery at a convenience store and the clerk has been killed. Ramin Touzie is the victim's name. Several black-dressed men had him empty the cash register and then they shot him and ran out back. Monk exposes Lorna Karsch, the night clerk, as the murderer, although when he is telling Karsch that she smells like a toilet bowl, Riglin doesn't appreciate the insult.

The next morning, Monk instructs his squad and sidekicks that they are going to be reorganizing the squad room accordingly to his liking. Chow informs Monk and Natalie that she has found one person who may have a motive for killing Allegra Doucet. She says that Max Collins, who sells expensive pieces of artwork, lost millions of dollars in bad investments he made based on Allegra's advice. Porter also informs them that he did some digging and found that a customer at the restaurant where Diane Truby worked was stalking her, and this stalker disappeared shortly after her death. Natalie then takes Monk into Captain Stottlemeyer's office, and privately explains that she is concerned that Monk will be working himself to death solving all of these homicides. Later, Monk and Natalie have a secret rendezvous with Stottlemeyer. The Captain is distressed with the fact that Monk has taken over his position. He also states that the two important things in his life were his job and his wife.

Scott Eggers[edit]

Stottlemeyer uses Disher as an example, stating that Disher is a people person, likeable, non-threatening, and courteous. People tell him things that they wouldn't tell anyone else, which is his gift. He also states that Frank Porter, Cindy Chow and Mad Jack Wyatt have gifts that are the flipside of their curses, and tells Monk to save himself for what he does best and leave the rest of the work to the other three. Heading downtown, Monk calls up Porter for information about John Yamada's ex-wife's stolen car and has Chow check up on Diane Truby's stalker. Monk and Natalie meanwhile go to Union Square to talk to Max Collins, Allegra Doucet's client.

Collins states that he had heard about Allegra for quite a while, and then, after he lost $3 million, he had a private investigator do some digging, and found that the companies Collins invested in were paying her to steer wealthy clients her way. He tells Monk and Natalie that on the night Allegra was murdered, he was visiting his mother, just around the corner, so he has an alibi that places him in the neighborhood at the time. To Monk, Collins has means, motive, and opportunity to kill Allegra. Then Officer Curtis calls Natalie to inform them that there is one less tax-paying citizen out there. On the way over to the new murder, Natalie happens to drive over the speed limit and gets pulled over and issued a ticket.

At this crime scene, Scott Eggers has been found dead in the alley behind his house on Tenth Avenue. Monk sees that the killer bludgeoned Eggers while he was on the way to his car, grabbed a grocery bag from the trash, and suffocated him. Eggers was discovered by his lover, Hank Criswell. Criswell tells them to go arrest Merle Smetter, whom Eggers and Criswell ratted out to the city after catching him installing a hot-tub and redwood deck on his roof without a permit. Monk is not convinced that Smetter could have killed Eggers, when he and Natalie spot Officer Milner there. Milner has been trying to work in overtime to support his family, especially when the number of "sick" officers has those who remain stretched far and wide across San Francisco. Milner asks if any progress has been made on the Golden Gate Strangler case. Monk states that there has been none.

The Golden Gate Strangler is discovered[edit]

Monk and Natalie return to police headquarters to find the squad room rearranged to Monk's rules of order. Chow states that Diane Truby's stalker has bolted. As Monk is about to ask Officer Curtis to find another pencil holder, Bertrum Gruber walks into the station to say he has found the Golden Gate Strangler. Bertrum says he was at the community garden in McKinley Park watering his strawberries when he saw a man clutching a shoe to his chest like it was made of gold. The man then got into his 1999 Ford Taurus, which had a broken left rear taillight and a dent on the bumper. Bertrum continues, saying that the last part of the license plate number was M567, like his mother's birthday (May 5, 1967). Monk has Officer Curtis search for any Ford Tauruses with M567 as the last four digits of the license plate number. Monk believes, however, that Bertrum is being partially dishonest about his facts, since it's not a proper time to grow strawberries.

Curtis enters M567 into the computer. There is a hit, which matches a 1999 Ford Taurus with M567 as the last part of the license plate number to a man named Charlie Herrin. Monk, Natalie, Wyatt, and Arnie organize a SWAT team to raid Herrin's apartment. After Herrin briefly takes Monk hostage and Wyatt discusses planning on shooting him, Herrin gives himself up. Forensic teams find evidence that confirms Charlie Herrin to be the Golden Gate Strangler. Monk believes that Herrin only recently escalated to murder and has been taking peoples' left shoes for some time. Monk explains to Natalie that he believes Bertrum Gruber to be even more dishonest than before, saying that Bertrum remembered the M567 in Herrin's license plate because it reminded him of his mother's birthday. Now if she was born on May 5, 1967, it means she would have been ten years old when Bertrum was born.

Officer Down[edit]

Bertrum Gruber receives the $250,000 reward for tipping the police in the right direction. After the press conference, Natalie finds that her car's tires have been slashed. After having the tires replaced, she and Monk return to his apartment and find Stottlemeyer there. The Captain advises Monk to keep his profile as low as possible and not to align himself with the commissioner or with the mayor. Leaving Monk, Natalie gets pulled over as her trunk is open. The next morning, Monk and Natalie find Porter to have replaced the Charlie Herrin cases with the other four open murder cases (Allegra Doucet, John Yamada, Diane Truby and Scott Eggers). Natalie finds Jasper telling Sparrow that Herrin was interested in the way the shoes smelled, and not the shoes themselves. They all go over the details one more time, and realize that they have unknowingly been investigating a serial killer. Except for Allegra Doucet, all of the murder victims are 44 years old, and all of them were born on the exact same date: February 20, 1962. Monk doesn't know who killed Allegra Doucet or why, but he knows why the other three people were killed, and states that they need to take immediate action.

Monk and Natalie return to Allegra's house with Chow and Jasper. They find that Allegra was killed while she was with a client who was in the bathroom. The killer used the astronomical chart in an attempt to track down the witness. Chow offers to analyze the astronomical chart, as Officer Curtis calls Natalie to report a new homicide. But what she hears next is shocking: the murder victim is Officer Kent Milner.

At the abandoned warehouse where Milner was found next to his cruiser, Monk and Natalie find Stottlemeyer and Disher there. Many of the "sick" detectives have returned, if only to investigate the murder of one of their own. The fact that Milner never unholstered his gun indicates he wasn't expecting trouble. Monk believes that Milner either saw something suspicious and came to check it out, or was meeting with a secret informant. Disher mentions having taken the time to sign up for a class taught by Ian Ludlow, the Tolstoy of the Mean Streets. Monk looks at several brochures in Milner's car, and sees that the rookie officer was looking at new homes in Marin County and at Hawaii travel brochures, like he had money to spend. This is ironic, considering that Kent Milner was at the lowest paying rank in the department.

Solving Allegra's murder[edit]

Sparrow has observed the astronomical chart from Allegra Doucet's house, and states that the person of interest is charming and creative, but also greedy, secretive and really full of himself, since Mercury is in Aquarius and Venus is in Pisces. Uranus is in Leo. so this client likes his freedom and hasn't had much self-discipline. The fact that Neptune is in Scorpio means that he is short-tempered and violent. Monk has solved the case, and knows who killed the astrologer.

Here's What Happened[edit]

As Max Collins is leaving Madam Frost's place in his Maserati Quattroporte, Monk and Natalie arrive. Monk explains that they have come to arrest Madam Frost for the murders of Allegra Doucet, John Yamada, Diane Truby and Scott Eggers. The fact that Collins is underestimating Frost is (according to Monk) the fatal mistake Allegra made. After Monk reveals that Allegra was driving clients away from Madam Frost and putting her neighbor out of business, he gives a sumnation.

Allegra Doucet was with a client on Friday night, when the client excused himself to go to the bathroom. Madam Frost then showed up on some friendly pretense, but Allegra didn't know what was happening until it was too late. Frost stabbed her several times, enough times that Allegra was dead before her body even hit the floor. Then the toilet flushed and Madam Frost realized that there was another person in the house. By the time she got to the bathroom, the client had escaped out the window. This client had seen too much, and Frost needed to silence him or her. She used the astronomical chart to find people in San Francisco born on February 20, 1962, and used this chart to track the witness down. Frost was in a hurry to kill the witness before he could tell the police. All three of the other murders were improvised, and like Allegra, these victims were killed from behind or by surprise.

When Monk and Natalie came to talk to Frost on Saturday morning, she was walking up to her house. She had had to park the car she had just used to kill John Yamada on a side street because the police were blocking her driveway. When she killed Diane Truby, she had bought the vegetable crate so she had something to sit on while waiting for her victim to stroll by. Frost also waited in an alleyway for Scott Eggers. She bludgeoned him, then suffocated him with a bag taken out of the trash. Madam Frost confesses to the murders, and is arrested.

On Tuesday, Dr. Kroger congratulates Adrian for having been reinstated to the force at last. Kroger explains to Natalie how no one asked him about Porter, Chow or Wyatt, whom he had referred to the department earlier. Dr. Kroger states that under normal circumstances they wouldn't be back at the department. Returning to the squad room, Wyatt explains that Porter put together a list of witnesses and they found their murder witness: Tono Busok, who didn't come to the police out of fear that his bootlegging operation would be discovered.

Kent Milner[edit]

Stottlemeyer and the "sick" detectives have found nothing about Kent Milner's death. His arrest sheet shows that he mostly made minor arrests. Monk explains how Bertrum Gruber wasn't being entirely honest about his facts when he gave his tip to the police, and reveals that Bertrum is the person who killed Officer Milner. Monk shows that Milner arrested Bertrum eight months earlier for making an illegal drug buy in Potrero Hill, Milner's jurisdiction. There's no coincidence about how one of Charlie Herrin's victims was disposed of here. Herrin is indeed the Strangler, Monk says, as he reveals that Bertrum Gruber didn't identify Charlie Herrin as the Golden Gate Strangler. Rather, it was Kent Milner who did. But as Milner was a police officer and hence a city employee, he couldn't collect the reward, so he recruited Bertrum to find it on the grounds they would split the money. But Bertrum wanted all of the money, so he killed Milner.

Monk and Natalie go to the jail to question Charlie Herrin. Herrin's left shoe craze is still present, and he takes Natalie's shoe. Monk shows a picture of Officer Milner, and Herrin remembers Milner as the officer who pulled him over for speeding on Saturday. Herrin accidentally had run a red light and clipped another car in the intersection, but they both walked away like nothing happened. He dented his bumper and broke one of his rear taillights. Then Herrin got pulled over for doing 35 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. Herrin was still clutching one of the murder victims' shoes, and he threw it in the back seat just before Officer Milner stepped up to the car. Milner issued Herrin a ticket, but he also saw the shoes and realized that he had just accidentally found the Golden Gate Strangler.

After Natalie gets some new shoes to replace the ones Herrin took from her, she calls Bertrum Gruber asking him to meet them at the pier. At the pier, Bertrum gives them the statement he gave to them earlier. Monk reveals that Herrin didn't break his taillight or dent his bumper until after he left the park, and that Bertrum's mother can't have been born on May 5, 1967. All of the statements Bertrum was giving were in fact the very information that Officer Kent Milner gave him when he agreed to the scheme of taking half of the reward. Stottlemeyer explains that they've got a search warrant and are going to be testing his clothes for gunshot residue that will match the gun that killed Milner.

Bertrum puts a gun to Monk's head, and threatens to shoot, but when Monk vomits on the dock, Bertrum is distracted long enough that he is tackled to the ground and arrested. Mayor Smitrovich is humiliated that he rewarded a cop killer, and he caves in to all of the police union's demands in exchange for a cover up in the press, making it seem like he knew Bertrum was guilty all along and was cooperating with the police in a sting.

Monk feels glad to have been reinstated, when Stottlemeyer tells Monk that his reinstatement is now void. Natalie is furious, but Stottlemeyer says he has no wish of extending the mayor's offer. Natalie tells the other detectives' assistants to keep in touch with each other from time to time. After the speeding ticket from earlier, Monk is able to convince Natalie to go to traffic school.

List of characters[edit]

Characters from the television series[edit]

Original characters[edit]

  • Officer Susan Curtis - A female officer in charge of clerical duties in the Homicide division.
  • "Mad" Jack Wyatt - A veteran detective who was kicked off of the force after the city lost several lawsuits from his violent and unconventional methods.
  • Cynthia "Cindy" Chow - A paranoid schizophrenic who believes that everything is a conspiracy theory. Spent most of her time on the force undercover.
  • Frank Porter - A senile veteran detective. Spent 45 years on the force, 20 in Homicide.
  • Sparrow - Frank Porter's granddaughter.
  • Arnie - Mad Jack Wyatt's anger management counselor.
  • Jasper Perry - Cindy Chow's psychologist.
  • Officer Kent Milner - a rookie cop working overtime during the Blue Flu.
  • Bertrum Gruber - the person who identifies the Golden Gate Strangler.
  • Charlie Herrin - the Golden Gate Strangler.
  • Allegra Doucet - murder victim #1 and astrologer. Was stabbed to death in her own house.
  • John Yamada - murder victim #2. Was run down by a car while crossing the street.
  • Diane Truby - murder victim #3 and waitress. Was pushed off the sidewalk and into the path of a bus.
  • Scott Eggers - murder victim #4. Was bludgeoned and then suffocated in an alley while on the way to his car.
  • Max Collins - A client who lost millions of dollars to Allegra Doucet's practices.
  • Madam Frost - Allegra Doucet's neighbor and astrology rival

Episode adaptation[edit]

"Mr. Monk and the Badge"
Monk episode
Episode no. Season 8
Episode 14
Directed by Dean Parisot
Written by Hy Conrad and Tom Scharpling
Original air date November 20, 2009
Guest actors

Hector Elizondo as Dr. Neven Bell
Jack McGee as Sergeant Danny Weaver
Chris McGarry as Detective Sergeant Louis Doyle
Mark Harelik as Manny Alvarez
Jay Malone as Officer Russell DiMarco
Marco De Silvas as Mayor
Brandon Ford Green as Detective Jones
Ian Paul Cassidy as Jim Paxton
Brooke Adams as Edith Capriani
Televise Masalosalo as Mr. Lawrence
Adria Tennor as Donna DiMarco

Season 8 episodes
August 2009 – December 2009
  1. "Mr. Monk's Favorite Show"
  2. "Mr. Monk and the Foreign Man"
  3. "Mr. Monk and the UFO"
  4. "Mr. Monk Is Someone Else"
  5. "Mr. Monk Takes the Stand"
  6. "Mr. Monk and the Critic"
  7. "Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse"
  8. "Mr. Monk Goes to Group Therapy"
  9. "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk"
  10. "Mr. Monk and Sharona"
  11. "Mr. Monk and the Dog"
  12. "Mr. Monk Goes Camping"
  13. "Mr. Monk Is the Best Man"
  14. "Mr. Monk and the Badge"
  15. "Mr. Monk and the End" - Part I
  16. "Mr. Monk and the End" - Part II
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Mr. Monk Is the Best Man"
Next →
"Mr. Monk and the End - Part 1"
Monk (season 8)
List of Monk episodes

"Mr. Monk and the Badge" is the 14th episode of season 8, and was based on Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, in much the same way that the season 5 episode "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing" was based on the novel Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Captain Stottlemeyer calls Adrian Monk to his office for some important news. Monk assumes the worst, but the news is actually positive. After twelve years, Monk's wish of being reinstated to the police force has been fulfilled.

Monk is nervous and excited for his first day back. As Natalie sends Monk off to work, she reveals that she has an interview for a glamorous job with a concert promoter. As Monk and Natalie say goodbye, Monk laments that this could be the end of their partnership.

At police headquarters, Monk receives a warm welcome from his fellow officers. Stottlemeyer has even arranged for Monk to sit at the same desk he used years before. Monk is disappointed to learn, however, that he’s been relegated to desk duty in the case of the Pick Axe Killer, the department’s hottest case. Later that day, Officer Russell DiMarco, a colleague of Monk's, bursts in to the office announcing that the Pick Axe Killer has been arrested. A window washer named Mikhail "Manny" Almonov saw someone matching the killer’s description and tipped off the police. It’s great news, but Monk is a little disappointed that the case was solved without his help.

A week later, Natalie is enjoying her exciting new job in the music business, and Monk has left his desk job to begin working with a new partner, Detective Doyle. Monk has suspicions about Manny Alvarez’s story, so he takes a break from his work with Doyle to investigate the location where Manny claimed that he had "spotted" the Pick Axe Killer. Monk quickly establishes that it would have been impossible for Manny to see the killer from that vantage point. Although Monk shares this information with his superiors, no one wants to entertain any theories that might interfere with the successful closure of a highly publicized case, especially since the man who was arrested on the window washer's tip confessed to being the Pick Axe Killer.

That night, Officer DiMarco is on his way home and meets with Manny Almonov. After DiMarco receives his payoff, Manny shoots him dead.

The police believe that Russell DiMarco saw something going down on his way home, tried to intervene, and was killed. But Monk suspects that DiMarco may have been murdered while receiving some kind of illegal payoff. Monk’s theory makes him a pariah, as cops are supposed to protect the reputations of their brethren. If Monk has any hope of surviving in his new job, he needs to back up his accusations against Officer DiMarco. When Monk comes across Officer DiMarco’s ticket book, he finds the evidence he needs to prove his theory and arrest Manny Alvarez for the murder.

Here's What Happened[edit]

Monk finds Manny standing on a scaffold, preparing to work on a window-washing job. Monk explains what happened. Manny didn’t spot the Pick Axe Killer - Officer DiMarco did. Monk figured this out when he found DiMarco’s ticket book and noticed that he had written but never submitted a parking ticket for the killer's car. DiMarco had found the Pick Axe Killer, but as a police officer, he couldn’t collect the reward. He wanted the reward, and recruited an old friend of his, Manny Almonov, to identify the killer. Manny made up a story, and took credit for the tip. They agreed to split the reward money later, but Manny got greedy and decided to kill DiMarco instead.

Monk has solved the case, but now he’s got a major problem. Manny has knocked out Monk and put him on the scaffold. Manny raises the scaffold and tries to push Monk off. Monk struggles with Manny as his fellow police officers watch from below. Monk wins the struggle and lowers the scaffold back to street level, where his coworkers are waiting. It’s clear that Monk was right all along, and Manny is taken into custody.

Despite having solved a murder during his short time back with the police, Monk decides to relinquish his badge. Natalie, who’s missed the excitement of working with Monk, agrees to return to her job as his assistant. Monk is disappointed that his return to the force didn’t last, but now he knows that he doesn’t need a badge to be happy. He can go forward to find contentment in his life with Natalie by his side, solving crimes on his own unique terms.

Similarities and differences[edit]

"Mr. Monk and the Badge" was based upon the Golden Gate Strangler and Officer Kent Milner plot in Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu. Most of the characters from the novel appear in the episode with new names: Officer Milner becomes Officer DiMarco, Bertrum Gruber becomes Manny Almonov, and the Golden Gate Strangler becomes the Pick Axe Killer. There are some differences, however:

  • In Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, although Monk is reinstated, Natalie continues to work for him. In the episode, she works for a concert promoter instead.
  • Monk's three colleagues and their assistants in the novel do not appear in the episode.
  • Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu has Monk being reinstated and immediately promoted to acting homicide captain. "Mr. Monk and the Badge" has Monk gradually being moved up from desk duty to detective on the force.
  • Monk goes along on the raid and arrest of Charlie Herrin, the Golden Gate Strangler. In the episode, Monk doesn't work on the Pick Axe Killer case because he is on desk duty.

References in other novels[edit]

  • Natalie mentions at one point during the novel about how ever since Monk proved her next door neighbor to be a murderer, she has had a hard time finding people to babysit Julie. This is a mention to the last chapter of the novel Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse.
  • While investigating the murder of Kent Milner, Disher tells Natalie that he has been taking a class taught by Ian Ludlow, a prolific mystery author and the "Tolstoy of the Mean Streets". This is a prophetic reference to the next novel, Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants, where Ludlow appears in person. Similarly, several references are made in that novel to Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu.
  • The events of this story are mentioned in passing in the novel Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop.