Mr. Monk and the End
|"Mr. Monk and the End"|
Trudy gives her last gift to Adrian, hours before she is murdered
|Episode no.||Season 8
Episode 15 & 16
|Directed by||Randall Zisk|
|Written by||Andy Breckman|
|Featured music||Jeff Beal
|Original air date||Part 1 - November 27, 2009
Part 2 - December 4, 2009
Craig T. Nelson as Judge Ethan Rickover
"Mr. Monk and the End" is the two-part series finale of the USA Network original criminal mystery dramedy television series, Monk. It is the fifteenth and sixteenth episodes of the eighth and final season, and is the 124th and 125th episodes in the series overall. Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) finally discovers his wife Trudy's (Melora Hardin) murderer after twelve years of searching, concluding a seven-year, eight-season long arc. When "Part 2" aired, it set a series high and a new viewership record for the most watched episode of a regular drama series ever in basic cable with 9.4 million viewers. Both parts were written by series creator Andy Breckman and directed by Randall Zisk.
December 14, 1997
Early in the morning, Adrian and Trudy Monk discuss how it is hard for her to keep secrets from a husband who is a detective, and she asks about his current case, a missing midwife named Wendy Stroud. He mentions that he will be heading over to the birthing clinic where Stroud works to question the director. Adrian spots a small present under their Christmas tree that is meant for him. Trudy instructs him not to open it until Christmas Day. Trudy seems nervous, but she insists she is fine.
Later, she appears to be meeting someone in a multi-story parking garage. She does not see a six fingered man watching her, and the man then reveals himself from the shadows and follows Trudy. Trudy panics and begins running to her car. She gets in, turns the key in the ignition, and a bomb planted underneath the car explodes, sending flames spurting out of the garage and up into the sky.
Across town, at the Palgrove Birthing Center, Monk and Captain Stottlemeyer are talking to Dr. Malcolm Nash (Ed Begley, Jr.), the clinic's director, about Wendy Stroud's disappearance. Dr. Nash mentions that Stroud was the first midwife he hired, and she's never even been late for work. Monk tries to straighten out the umbilical cord on a model of a newborn (although Dr. Nash mentions that umbilical cords are never straight, Stottlemeyer jokes that Monk's was). Stottlemeyer receives a phone call, and he informs Monk about Trudy's death.
One morning twelve years later, Monk wakes up on his usual side of the bed, where Trudy appears to him. She tells him it is time to say goodbye to her, and that it's also time he began sleeping in the middle of the bed rather than be scrunched up in his side. She also says before disappearing that "it won't be much longer." When Monk discusses this with Natalie Teeger later that day, they realize the building they're walking to for Monk's case is where Monk first heard of Trudy's death all those years ago. Stottlemeyer offers Monk the chance to sit the case out, but Monk insists that he is okay. As it turns out, the doctor that Monk and Stottlemeyer were talking to when they first heard the news 12 years ago, Dr. Nash, is now the victim. It seems someone shot him dead while he was digitizing patient records on his computer, and whoever did this used a silencer. While Monk goes over the scene, Lieutenant Disher talks about his two-week vacation to New York City, but refuses to discuss specifics.
Monk concludes that the scene was meant to look like a drug addict had robbed the clinic for drugs when it was in fact a murder for information and therefore a professional hit man. The team heads to Judge Ethan Rickover's (Craig T. Nelson) house to get him to sign a warrant for the arrest of a felon named Joey Kazarinski, identified after his partial fingerprint is found at the crime scene. When they arrive, they overhear a conversation between Rickover's wife and some friends with Rickover present discussing how he will never move out of his current house. They then learn that Rickover has been nominated for the State Supreme Court, although it has not been officially announced by the governor yet.
That night, a man (whose face remains hidden) is seen talking to the killer, Joey Kazarinski (John Edward Lee), on the phone. Kazarinski is assigned the task of killing Monk, after the man informs him that his fingerprint was found at the crime scene; Kazarinski inquires why Monk is to be killed prompting the man to reveal himself as being the one who killed Trudy. Later, Monk, Natalie, Julie, and Natalie's boyfriend Steven Albright are all eating dinner at Natalie's house, when Monk starts seeing spots and is running a high fever. They take Monk to the hospital and take a blood test. After they perform the tests, Dr. Matthew Shuler (D.B. Woodside) a haemotologist (who deals with rare blood diseases and disorders) reveals that Monk has been poisoned with a powerful synthetic toxin based on ricin. He believes it wasn't at dinner because no-one else got sick apart from Monk. They decide to take all of the food and other consumables in the house and test them cautioning that without knowing which form of poison was used, they cannot create or administer the antidote.
Stottlemeyer and Disher show up at the hospital to be with Monk. Dr. Shuler reveals that in a matter of 2–3 days, Monk will die, troubling everybody. Natalie spots Kazarinski's photo in a newspaper Stottlemeyer has and identifies him as having taken Monk's cart in the supermarket, giving them the motive to start checking items in the cart for the poison.
Stottlemeyer gathers an unofficial task force within the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to locate Kazarinski. They are going to be split into two teams: Disher will lead one team that will work out who may have hired Kazarinski to kill Dr. Nash, and the other team, under Stottlemeyer, will work to locate Kazarinski to find out what poison he used on Monk and how he administered it, but Stottlemeyer expressly states that no one will use their guns. Kazarinski must be captured alive because if he dies, so does Monk, so all guns are to remain holstered. Stottlemeyer interrogates Ronnie, a person known to have had contact with Kazarinski and supplied him with fake documents. Stottlemeyer demands to know what name Kazarinski is now going under and where to find him, eventually beating the information out of him with Disher's laptop computer.
They go to the train station, where Kazarinski is preparing to leave. Kazarinski is already there, having killed the announcer and stolen his uniform, but is spooked when he sees an undercover female officer adjusting her earpiece. After a lengthy chase in and around the railroad yard, Kazarinski pauses in the middle of a set of tracks believing he has eluded Stottlemeyer, only to turn around and be hit and killed instantly by a BNSF freight train, leaving Stottlemeyer and Disher believing they had lost the only person who could save Monk from dying.
Monk visits Dr. Neven Bell (Héctor Elizondo) to talk about all that has happened in the past few days, revealing that none of the food in his cart was poisoned. He leaves Dr. Bell's office after having cancelled all his remaining appointments as he sets about finalizing his affairs before his death; he leaves saying a sincere 'goodbye' leaving Dr. Bell dejected. He then heads to the graveyard to visit Trudy one last time, only to say 'I love you' to her grave prompting Natalie to ask 'Is that all?' to which he replies "I'll tell her myself tomorrow.".
Meanwhile, Stottlemeyer and Disher find Kazarinski's rented motel room and find all of the chemicals he used to make the poison disposed of in the garbage. They send the materials to the lab to get tested, but it is said it will take a few weeks for the results. As he nears death, Monk finally opens the small present left for him by Trudy, revealing a video tape. He plays the tape, a recording of Trudy talking to the camera addressing him. She reveals that she had one secret she kept from him, something terrible from years before they had met.
Two hours after the end of Part 1, Monk has hit pause on the remote and is not able to press play. Natalie presses play and they continue watching the tape, Monk is visibly distraught with what he is hearing and Trudy reveals that many years before she met Adrian, she had an affair with her law professor at Berkeley: Ethan Rickover. She assures Monk she never knew he was married, but that she became pregnant. She had a daughter, who died nine minutes after birth without Trudy ever having the chance to see her. She reveals a posthumous conviction that in order to keep their affair and consequential baby secret, she believes Rickover killed Wendy Stroud, the midwife who delivered their baby, and whose disappearance Monk and Stottlemeyer were investigating the day Trudy died. Trudy says she has received a phone call from Rickover out of the blue after ten years since they last spoke, asking her to meet with him at a parking garage, and she reveals that she fears that he also means to kill her as she detected a sinister tone in his voice. Therefore, she has made the tape in order to tell Monk the truth, if she met an untimely end; if she had not been killed, she would have replaced the tape with the digital watch Monk had wanted, saying that, if he is watching the tape it means her fears were true and she was dead.
Monk is furious and decides to confront Rickover. Natalie tries to dissuade him, but he is determined to go, even though he is sick. He retorts he won't die yet. They meet with Rickover at his confirmation hearing for the office of State Supreme Justice and question him. Monk drops a wipe, which Rickover picks up with a pen. When he doesn't confess, and begins insulting Trudy's mental stability, as well as Monk's, Monk becomes violent with Rickover and punches him to the ground and continues until he is escorted away by guards. Monk is then taken to the hospital. Stottlemeyer visits him with Randy and brings him a file on Rickover. Monk has Stottlemeyer promise he will kill Rickover for him as he won't be around to do it himself. Stottlemeyer agrees but Monk knows he is lying. He tells Monk that indeed, the phone records show several calls between Rickover and Dr. Nash.
Apparently Dr. Nash while he was digitalizing the records must have discovered the reason for Wendy Stroud's disappearance and that it involved Trudy's murder, but (as in many Monk episodes) his greed got the better of him and attempted blackmail instead of doing the right thing. Meanwhile, Natalie is back at Monk's house with Albright to pack Monk's things.
At the hospital, Monk is going over the files left by Stottlemeyer and Disher, and realizes that something is missing. He explains to the nurse what happened, and she quips: no one bothers to cover up affairs any more. Monk agrees with her and remembers Rickover's wife saying he wouldn't ever move out of his house, even if it meant commuting to Sacramento. Monk figures that the crucial clue is something connected to the house.
Back at Monk's apartment, Natalie starts to feel ill, seeing spots, just like Monk did when he was poisoned. She realizes that the poison is in Monk's handwipes, which she has been using to clean the clear plastic bags she has been putting Monk's belongings in, and tells Albright to telephone the hospital to tell them they know what was poisoned and to work on an antidote. The nurse discovers that Monk has run off, and furthermore, also has found that he has used his sedatives prescribed by his doctor to drug the guard sitting outside on watch and has stolen his gun. At Rickover's house, Monk confronts Rickover again, this time at gunpoint, throwing Rickover his own spade taken from his garage and tells Rickover to dig in his front yard near a sundial in the shade of a large tree where Monk believes the remains of Wendy Stroud, the missing midwife who delivered Trudy's baby from twelve years ago are buried, the very reason Rickover said he won't ever leave that house.
Stottlemeyer, Disher and some uniformed cops hurry to the scene to prevent Monk from killing Rickover and to give him the antidote to the poison.
Monk reveals who is being dug up, and Disher continues the dig. Monk confronts Rickover angrily about his motives, realizing that it was all for a job: his position as an appellate judge that he was working for all those years ago. Monk explains that twelve years ago, in 1997, Wendy Stroud found religion and told Rickover that she would no longer hide the truth, that she had assisted at the birth of his and Trudy's illegitimate child. When Wendy told him she planned to go to the press, he killed her and buried her body in his yard. Then, realizing that the only person who could connect him with Wendy's disappearance was Trudy, he had her killed as well. Twelve years later, when Dr. Nash was digitizing the clinic's old paper records to computer files, he must have come across some reference to the child, and confronted Rickover in secret. Rickover panicked, and hired Kazarinski to kill Dr. Nash.
Disher soon uncovers human remains including a skull and bones, and tells the uniforms to call a forensics team — the proof that will send Rickover to jail for life. As Monk sets down his gun in a coughing fit, Rickover snatches the gun, aims it at his own head, and shouts "You take care of her", before pulling the trigger, committing suicide.
A few days later, Monk is feeling much better presumably after having been given the antidote. At Dr. Bell's office, he mentions his issue with what Rickover's final words meant, and also that he is unhappy as his quest to find Trudy's murderer had fulfilled most of his life, now he knows who killed her he is wondering what will he do with himself now. While packing up Trudy's case into boxes he comes across an old newspaper referring to the then still missing midwife Wendy Stroud who had been presumed dead; the article states she found an orphaned baby girl and had given it up for adoption, and the baby was born on January 2, 1983, exactly the same date of Trudy's baby's birth.
He later finds out that Rickover was referring to Trudy's daughter, Molly Evans (Alona Tal), who actually didn't die. She was placed up for adoption by Wendy Stroud, the midwife. Monk becomes anxious when he learns this and is pleasantly surprised to learn that Molly, Trudy's daughter is looking forward to meeting him after Stottlemeyer tracks down where she lives. She bears a striking resemblance to Trudy. They meet at her job where much like her mother, she is a writer; she is a film critic for the 'East Bay Chronicle' in Monterey County.
They are very happy to have met each other and begin to spend time together. Monk takes many pictures of her (over 600, quipping the rest are being developed), and as he is proudly showing them to Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Randy, Randy tries to subtly put away a letter on his desk addressed to 'Leland' to which Stottlemeyer grabs and opens and reveals that Randy has been offered a position as Chief of Police in Summit, New Jersey, where he will be moving in with Monk's former nurse and assistant Sharona Fleming, whom he is revealed to be dating.
During a walk along the beach, Molly asks Monk what he will do with his time now that he's solved Trudy's murder. He tells her that he wants to retire and follow her around, documenting her life with scrapbooks of photographs. She tells him that he can't give up being a detective; he has a gift and he should use it, to "help all the Trudys in the world." Monk takes her advice and decides to continue his work as a detective/consultant.
The final scene shows Monk and Natalie in Monk's apartment, where he tells her that he and Molly will be going to the movies, which she comments is unusually normal while crying. It is implied by Monk's actions, speech, and his style of clothing that his various phobias and obsessions are now under control. As Monk and Natalie leave to go to a crime scene, however, Monk checks that the stove is turned off, referencing "Mr. Monk and the Candidate", the pilot episode. This scene is followed by a montage of clips from over the course of the preceding eight seasons, while Randy Newman's specially composed song "When I'm Gone" plays in the background. The final clips show the characters in the present day: Disher is comfortably settling into his job as Police Chief in New Jersey; Stottlemeyer is happily married to T.K. (Virginia Madsen); and Monk and Natalie arrive at the crime scene, met by Stottlemeyer, who leads them into the building.
"Mr. Monk and the End" has received generally positive reviews. Allison Waldman of TvSquad called the cliffhanger at the end of "Part 1" great and said that she was "dying to know how [it would be] resolved". She also praised Tony Shalhoub's acting in the bed scene in which he talks to Trudy. Waldman called the drama "tense" in "Part 2", and praised Shalhoub and Craig T. Nelson's acting. Jonah Krakow of IGN had mixed feelings about the finale, saying that Molly's introduction was a nice way to send the show off, although he felt cheated that the show's biggest mystery was literally handed to Monk in a box. Like Waldman, he praised Shalhoub's and Nelson's acting, and the tension of their scene in which Nelson digs up the midwife's body. Overall he gave it an 8 out of 10. The A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff called it "a surprisingly sweet ending to a show that I haven't watched regularly in a few years", and gave it a "B+".
"Part 1" gained 5.8 million viewers. "Part 2" set various records in television history, with 9.4 million viewers. It was the series high (previously set by the prior season's finale "Mr. Monk Fights City Hall"), USA Network's most-watched scripted television show (previously set by Burn Notice), and basic cable's most-watched hour-long drama (previously set by The Closer with 9.2 million viewers).
Awards and nominations
Tony Shalhoub was nominated for the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for this episode. Additionally, Randy Newman won the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Original Outstanding Music and Lyrics for the song "When I'm Gone".
- 'Monk' exits on record-breaking high, Variety, December 7, 2009
- Review - Mr. Monk and the End (Part 1) by Allison Waldman
- Review - Mr. Monk and the End (Part 2) by Allison Waldman
- IGN - "Mr. Monk and the End" Review by Jonah Krakow
- VanDerWerff, Todd (December 5, 2009). ""Mr Monk and the End"". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- First Half Of 'Monk' Finale Draws Series' Most Viewers Since Feb. 2008