Mr. Monk and the End
"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.
|"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
Early on the morning of December 14, 1997, Trudy Monk is discussing with her husband Adrian how hard it is to keep secrets from him, before asking him about the latest police investigation he is assisting on, surrounding the suspicious disappearance of a midwife named Wendy Stroud. As Monk prepares to head to the Palgrove Birthing Center, the birthing clinic that Stroud worked at, to question the clinic's director, Dr. Malcolm Nash (Ed Begley, Jr.), he notices a small present under their Christmas tree meant for him, but is instructed by Trudy not to open it until Christmas Day. Despite insisting she is fine, Monk notes she appears nervous about something. Later that day, Trudy heads for a meeting with someone at multi-story parking garage, but soon panics when a six fingered man, who had been watching her, emerges from the shadows and follows her. Seeking to escape, Trudy returns to her car, unaware that explosives have been planted in it, which detonate the moment she turns the key in the ignition. At the clinic, Monk and Captain Stottlemeyer learn from Dr. Nash that Strode was the first midwife he hired and had never been late for work. Before they can learn anymore, Stottlemeyer receives a phone call and informs Monk that his wife has been killed. Then Christopher Menendez came into the office.
In the present day, 2009, Monk awakes on his usual side of the bed to find himself seeing a vision of Trudy before him, telling him it is time for him to say goodbye to her and to sleep in the middle of the bed, and that "it won't be much longer". When Monk discusses this later that day with his assistant Natalie Teeger, he finds that their latest case is taking them back to the same birthing clinic he had been to 12 years ago, when he first heard the news of Trudy's death. Although Stottlemeyer offers Monk the chance to sit the case out, he insists he is okay. The pair learn that from the police's initial investigation that Dr. Nash had been shot dead while he had been digitizing patient records, and that the killer's gun had a silencer on it, as no-one heard the crime being committed. Monk concludes that the scene the police found had been set up to make it appear that the killer was a drug addict; in reality, the murder was done by a professional hitman, and the police soon find a partial fingerprint that identifies the suspect as Joey Kazarinski (John Edward Lee). Seeking a warrant for his arrest from Judge Ethan Rickover (Craig T. Nelson), the group overhear Rickover discussing with his wife that he will never move out of his current house, learning that he has been nominated for the State Supreme Court, despite it having not been officially announced by the governor at present.
That night, Kazarinski receives a phone call from his employer, who instructs him to kill Monk; when he questions why he must do so, his employer declares that they had killed Trudy. When attending a dinner the following day at Natalie's house, with her daughter Julie and Natalie's boyfriend Steven Albright, Monk starts to see spots and soon runs a high fever. Taken to hospital for a blood test, haemotologist Dr. Matthew Shuler (D.B. Woodside) reveals that the results of the test found that Monk has been poisoned with a powerful synthetic toxin based on ricin. As no-one else got sick, the conclusion is that the poison wasn't in the food at the dinner, and so the decision is made to test all of the food and other consumables in Natalie's house, although Shule reveals that they cannot create or administer an antidote, without knowing which form of the poison was used. When Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher arrive to check up on Monk, they learn he will die within 2-3 days if not treated.
After a search of items Monk had purchased fails to turn up anything poisoned, after Natalie identifies Kazarinski as having been at a supermarket that she and Monk had visited, Stottlemeyer gathers an unofficial task force within the SFPD - Disher leads one half to find out who hired the hitman to kill Dr. Nash, while Stottlemeyer leads the other half to find the hitman in order to find out what poison he used on Monk, ordering his group not to use their guns, as Kazarinski must be captured alive in order for them to save Monk. After interrogating a contact of the hitman, the group track down Kazarinski to a train station, only for him to spot an undercover police officer and make a run for it. After a lengthy chase, Kazarinski is hit by a freight train and dies, much to Stottlemeyer's horror. Learning that the hitman had rented a motel room, the police search it and find the chemicals he used to make the poison, only for Stottlemeyer to learn that the police labs won't be able to find the necessary information for the antidote in time.
Having learned that none of the food he had bought at the supermarket was found to be poisoned, Monk visits Dr. Neven Bell (Héctor Elizondo) to talk about all that has happened in the past few days, and then leaves him dejected when he sets off to cancel his remaining appointments and finalize his affairs before his death. Taking a moment to visit Trudy's grave with Natalie, Monk returns home and finally decides to open his wife's small present for him, finding it to be a video tape. Playing it, he finds it be a recording made by Trudy, who addresses him and reveals that she managed to keep a secret from him, a terrible one that occurred years before they had met.
Two hours into the recording, Monk pauses it as he is unable to continue watching the rest. Natalie is forced to do so, despite the visible distraught on Monk's face when he hears how Trudy had had an affair with Rickover when he had been a law professor at Berkeley. In her confession, she assures Monk that she never knew he was married, but that the affair left her being pregnant with a baby girl, whom she never got to see; the baby died nine minutes after birth. She then reveals a posthumous conviction to Monk - ten years after the affair, Rickover called her out of the blue in order to arrange a meeting with her at a parking garage, but that she is nervous over this due to the sinister tone in his voice during the phone call, and the fact that Stroud, the woman who had disappeared at the time the call was made, had been involved in delivering the child created by the affair. Trudy suspects that Rickover is covering up the affair's existence by silencing those involved, thus she has made a video in order to tell Monk the truth if she should meet an untimely end, adding that if he is watching it, her fears came true and she is dead, otherwise, she would have replaced the tape with the digital watch he had wanted that year.
Furious and determined not to die yet until he exposes Rickover's crimes, despite Natalie's efforts to dissuade him, Monk confronts Rickover during his confirmation hearing for the office of State Supreme Justice, in order to question him. When he doesn't confess and soon begins to insult both Monk's and Trudy's mental stability, Monk violently attacks him until he is escorted away by guards. Brought back to hospital, Monk is visited by Stottlemyer and Randy, who bring him several files on Rickover, and reveal that phone records had shown several calls between him and Dr. Nash. Before Stottlemyer leaves, Monk has him promise to kill Rickover when he dies, but knows he is lying when he agrees to Monk's request. As Monk goes over the files, he realizes something is missing, and after hearing a nurse quip that no one bothers to cover up affairs any more, he remembers the conversation between Rickover and his wife over his house, and deduces that a crucial clue is connected to it. At Monk's apartment, while putting his things into clear plastic bags with her boyfriend, Natalie starts to feel ill and begins seeing spots. She immediately realizes that the poison was planted into Monk's handwipes that she had used on the bags, and has Albright telephone the hospital with this information so that the antidote can be made. However, after she is treated, Natalie, Stottlemyer and Disher soon learn from a nurse that Monk had sedated the guard protecting him, stolen his gun, and disappeared from the hospital, leading them to realize what he is planning to do.
As they arrive at Rickover's house with uniformed officers and the antidote, the group witness Monk forcing Rickover at gunpoint to dig at a spot before his front yard's sundial, stating to the group that the remains of the missing midwife are there. As Disher continues digging, Monk reveals to the group that Rickover committed the murders, in order to ensure that nothing stopped him from securing the position of appellate judge that he had worked hard for. Twelve years ago, Wendy Stroud had found religion and told Rickover she intended to tell the press about his affair with Trudy and the child it caused, that she had helped to deliver, forcing him to kill her and bury her in his front yard; his reason for not wanting to leave his home, even if it meant commuting to Sacramento, was because he didn't want to risk anyone digging up the remains. After killing the midwife, Rickover was forced to kill Trudy, as she was the only person who would be able to connect Stroud's disappearance to him. Twelve years later, Dr. Nash came across references to the child when digitizing the birthing clinic's patient records, and thus suspected what had happened to Stroud. Becoming greedy, he attempted to blackmail him, causing Rickover to panic and hire Kazarinski to kill him, before later having him poison Monk upon the detective becoming a serious issue; he knew the handwipes had been poisoned, as when Monk dropped one when confronting him, Rickover had picked it up with his pen. Upon Disher finding the remains, Rickover steals Monk's gun as he suffers a coughing fit, shouts "You take care of her", and then commits suicide in order to avoid going to jail.
A few days later, Monk, having recovered since being given the antidote, meets with Dr. Bell to discuss Rickover's final words, and how he feels unhappy that his quest to find Trudy's murderer had been such a part of his life in the past several years, that now he knows the truth he has begun wondering what he will now do with himself. While packing up Trudy's things into boxes when he returns home, Monk finds an old newspaper article concerning how Stroud's disappearance, and discovers that Trudy's child did not die after birth; Stroud had secretly taken the child away at Rickover's request, and put her up for adoption, as the baby's date of birth matches the date that Trudy gave birth on. Anxious to meet her, he is pleasantly surprised when Stottlemyer tracks her down. Attending the meeting, Monk finally meets with Trudy's daughter, Molly Evans (Alona Tal), whom he discovers to bear a striking resemblance to Trudy and that she, much like her mother, is a writer, working as a film critic for a local paper in Monterey County. The pair find themselve happy to meet each other and begin to spend time together. While showing off his many pictures of her to the others, Stottlemeyer finds Disher trying to hide away a letter and grabs it, finding that his lieutenant has been offered a position as Chief of Police in Summit, New Jersey, and that his secrecy over his vacation to the east coast had been due to him having been dating Monk's former nurse and assistant Sharona Fleming.
As Monk takes a walk along the beach with Molly, he finds himself asked by her on what he will do, now that he Trudy's murder is solved, to which replies that he wants to retire and follow Molly around and document her life with scrapbooks of photographs. Molly tells him that he can't give up being a detective, advising him to use the gift he has to "help all the Trudys in the world", to which Monk agrees to continue his work as a detective/consultant. As Monk prepares for another day, with his actions, speech and style of clothing implying that his various phobias and obsessions are now under control, he informs Natalie that he will be going to the movies with Molly, before the pair leave to take on another case, with Monk returning to check that the stove is off. In an epilogue made after a montage of clips from the course of the show's eight seasons: Disher comfortably settles into his new job as Police Chief; Stottlemeyer is now happily married to T.K. (Virginia Madsen); and Monk and Natalie arrive at a crime scene to tackle their next case for Stottlemeyer.
"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 nominationsEdit
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