"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Monk: Mr. Monk Buys a House

Just when I thought it was another lazy summer waiting for fall programming, I was blessed with the first episode of the new season of my favorite obsessive detective.

The Murder –A nurse is trying to get information from an old man in a wheelchair. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she brings him up the stairs in his wheelchair, only to stand him up and push him back down the stairs to his demise.

Monk is up to his usual antics. He’s very upset hearing a young girl playing her piano, and he calls the police on her. I find out soon after that Monk’s therapist Dr Kroger has had a heart attack! (In true life, actor Stanley Kamel passed away in April of this year.) Adrian will need a new therapist.

At the station, Monk is chomping at the bit for a new case, and finds the folder with the case of the old man. He wants to investigate it, and Captain Stottlemeyer finally concedes. Leland, Randy and Monk go to the house where the crime was committed. While Leland and Randy were asking the man’s daughter questions, Monk seems more interested that the house is for sale. Against Leland’s advice, Monk agrees to purchase the house!

Later I meet Dr. Neven Bell, Monk’s new (assumed) psychiatrist. He’s not happy to meet with a new doctor, and Natalie’s mentioning that his last name is a palindrome doesn’t help. Although things start to look up when Dr. Bell offers Monk a wipe. After talking a while, Dr Bell thinks the reason that the piano playing is only bothering him because it’s Chopin and Dr Kroger loved Chopin. Monk is missing his friend.

After his session, Adrian is shopping in a hardware store for a new showerhead for the house. He’s unhappy that there aren’t 100 holes in the head, finding only 98. But then a friendly handyman named Jake comes by and offers to drill those extra holes for him. Monk is happy to hear this news.

Monk has now moved into his new house. He gives Natalie a tour of the home, and she shows some concern. She can’t believe that he is able to move out of the apartment that Trudy lived in. And she reminds him that is he not good with change. However, Adrian thinks he’s matured.

Later he has Jake by to help center his dining room chandelier. Jake tells Monk that his wiring is out of date, and he needs to run a new line. Then Jake starts to smash down Monk’s “Third favorite wall”. Then Jake brings in Ramon and they start smashing through all of the walls!

As the dust settles on the stairs, Monk has his first revelation. He notices thin tire marks on the stairs, highlighted by the dust. He pulls out the wheelchair and sees that it’s a match. Later that night, Cassie (the nurse) comes home from a late shift. And guess who is sitting in her apartment already? That’s right, it’s Jake the handyman. He tells Cassie who purchased the house from the old man. Jake wastes no time in stabbing Cassie to death.

The following day Stottlemeyer and the crew head out to speak to Cassie, only to discover that she’s been murdered! They find some cash that has dates from the 60’s with old serial numbers. Leland and Randy go to an armored truck service and they find out that the numbers on the money they found were from a robbery back in the 60’s. Two of the robbers were caught and died in prison. The third robber was never found nor ratted out. Stottlemeyer figures that this person may have been the old man.

Meanwhile, Natalie and Monk are going through an old scrapbook that the old man had. She can’t understand why he would have the clippings that are in there. That is, until Monk starts turning over some of the clippings to reveal stories of the heist. Monk then notices an awl hanging out of Jake’s toolbox. He pulls it out and sees blood. But Jake has already noticed and is pointing a gun at Monk & Natalie. Jake chains them to the bathtub and continues smashing walls to look for the money. Natalie notes that Jake hasn’t fixed the light.

Then it occurs to Monk where the money is. Jake starts to smash down what is a false wall to reveal the money, and then shoots Ramon right after. Then Monk and Natalie are able to kick the wall over on Jake for enough time to send out a help signal from the fireplace. Fortunately Stottlemeyer sees the signal and comes to the rescue. Adrian is back in Dr Bell’s office. He is obviously happy with him now, and will be coming back.

The episode ends with Monk back in his apartment, but this time he opens the widow to hear the piano. The camera scrolls over to show Dr Kroger’s picture.
This was an excellent first episode to kick off the 7th season. It was very touching at the end, with the producers dedicating the episode to Stanley Kamel. Brad Garrett was great as Jake, stepping totally away from his character on Everybody Loves Raymond.

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