Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month

Infobox Television episode
Series = Monk
Title = Mr. Monk and The Employee of the Month
Season = 3
Episode = 7
Airdate = August 6, 2004
Writer = Ross Abrash
Production = T-2108
Director = Scott Foley
Guests = Enrico Colantoni
Kane Ritchotte
Patrick Thomas O'brien
Alanna Ubach
Maree Cheatham
Kyle Davis
Michael Weston
Sharon Johnston
Jill Wagner
Amy Higgins
Esther Scott
Kathleen Mary Carthy
Sean Foley
Shane Elliott
Robb Skyler
Josh Shada

Prev = Mr. Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf
Next = Mr. Monk and the Game Show
Episode list = List of "Monk" episodes

"Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month" is the 35th episode in the ongoing USA network series "Monk", and the seventh episode of the third season. It was also the last appearance of Kane Ritchotte as Benjy, the son of Sharona Fleming.

Stanley Kamel listed the episode among his favorites. [cite web
title = Monk Cast Favorites Marathon
date = December 2, 2006
work = USA Network
url = http://www.usanetwork.com/series/monk/community/castfavorites/index.html
accessdate=2007-01-01
]

Prologue

It's almost dawn at a suburban "Mega-Mart" (a parody of Walmart and Kmart) retail store, and the store's best employee, Edna Coruthers (Maree Cheatham) – Employee of the Month for the last 11 months, arrives early for work. There's a note telling her to go to the loading dock, and when she gets there she is surprised to see someone on a forklift. It then starts rumbling toward her and she tries to escape but the forklift knocks over a stack of TV sets. Poor Edna is crushed and killed.

ynopis

Initial Summary

Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher investigate, and the case appears to be a routine industrial accident. Just then Monk arrives with Sharona. She tells Monk to ignore the bubble wrap he had just stepped on but ends up trying to pop them all. He and other cops, including Stottlemeyer, begin breaking the other bubbles. Meanwhile Randy tells of his late night with his new girlfriend. Sharona does not believe even when she shows him her picture – which came with his wallet. She is a wallet model named Crystal Smith but Sharona, noticing the name on a box a crystalware, is skeptical.

It turns out they did not call him in but instead it was the store's security manager. However he did not leave his name when he called and spoke to Sharona. As Stottlemeyer had put it, Monk would not have come if he knew who it was. It turns out to be Joe Christie (Enrico Colantoni), Monk's ex-partner. Shortly after Monk left the force (due to Trudy’s murder) Joe had been assigned to narcotics. He arrested a dealer with 2 kg of cocaine. However the coke had disappeared from the evidence room and there was no record of Joe ever having logged it in. As a result the dealer walked and would shoot two cops later when he was pulled over for a routine traffic violation. As a result Joe was cashiered and charged, but never convicted for lack of evidence. However he was convicted in the minds of most of the veteran officers including the Captain and Monk.

As a result when Christie called in his feeling that it was no accident neither the Captain nor Monk believed it nor wanted to speak to him. As a result Randy was the one to speak to him since he had never met Joe before.

According to Joe Edna was allergic to dust so she rarely if ever came back to the storeroom. Moreover he found a heel nearly 15 feet from the body which the Captain dismisses as simply flying off when she was struck by the TV’s. She had no known enemies except there were three complaints about rudeness and alcohol on her breath. Besides neither the Captain nor Monk want to listen to anything Joe has to say.

A month later, Monk gets to thinking about the evidence when Benjy and his friend Rudy (Thomas Shada) give him a jigsaw puzzle to put together. The three letters of complaint - supposedly from different customers - against Edna Coruthers had different postmarks and different handwriting but the stamps on the envelopes came from the same roll. The edges of the stamps matched up evenly (like a jigsaw). Therefore, all three letters must have come from the same person. Someone was out to get Edna Coruthers.

Monk returns to the Mega-Mart and tProxy-Connection: keep-aliveCache-Control: max-age=0

ls Joe even though he still has reservations about him. He believed that someone in the store had a grudge against Edna because all the letters were addressed to the store, maybe one of the other employees. However with Joe’s help he decides to go undercover as a store employee. He soon proves to be one the best employees and the darling of shift manager Brent Donovan (Patrick Thomas O'Brien). He finds out that while Edna was a model employee some of her co-workers, like Delores (Esther Scott) were tired of her “profectionist” attitude.

He even becomes friends with local slackers Ronnie (Kyle Davis) and Morris (Michael Weston). However he runs afoul of Jennie Silverman (Alanna Ubach). A former slacker, Jennie is now a model employee and thus is being overbearing toward former friends Ronnie and Morris as well as everyone else. She had just won Employee of the Month. In fact she had previously finished runner up to Edna but now she is behaving suspiciously.

She is constantly being visited by a shady pair of men (Shane Elliot and David Waszak), the same men who Ronnie says beat him up about the week (or two months –not sure of which) before in the parking lot. They had attacked him while he was putting up sale flyers but never stole his wallet nor car keys which was puzzling. At the register she acts like she does not know them but without hesitation puts in their zip code in the register without asking them for it. She also discourages them from using their credit card and to use cash instead (since credit cards could be traced). She appears to have plans to leave the country as Monk notices quinine pills in her locker for use in countries affected by malaria. He also notices that her van which was light upon arrival in the morning soon leaves but barely grazes the speed bumps, meaning it was loaded down with something.

It looks like Jennie is a shoo-in for Employee of the Month the second month in a row so it doesn’t help matters that Monk is also in the running. Soon after Monk confronts her with his suspicions, somebody knocks him out and leaves him alone in the store with a killer guard dog. Monk escapes long enough to find a phone and call Sharona’s cell phone.

Meanwhile at the diner where Monk and Joe were to meet Joe is joined by Sharona. Monk had asked her to look into Jennie Silverman’s background. There were no records as an adult but she was able to look into her juvenile record even though they were sealed. She had one arrest for possession at fifteen and grand theft auto at sixteen. They begin talking about Monk when he was on the job and a little less Monkish. Joe says he learned more in two days with Monk than in two years at the police academy. He remembered when they got the call about Trudy. Monk was laughing at the time but he never laughed again. Just then they get the call from Monk and get to the store in time to save him. Joe uses a towel to get the dog to bite him without hurting him and places him in the storeroom.

Clearing Joe

Grateful to Joe for saving his life, Monk decides to take another look at the case against his ex-partner, and with a skeptical Captain and Randy in two they begin looking into the Internal Affairs case against Joe. He said that he had logged in the cocaine that very day and placed it on a shelf. However the IAD pictures showed nothing on the shelf.

At that time Sharona notices the new cologne Randy is wearing. He says Crystal gave it to him. A skeptical Sharona asks the Captain if he had ever met her but he, who is just as skeptical as Sharona, said that they had planned a dinner double date with his wife Karen but Crystal backed out at the last minute due to illness.

Just then Monk sees a vital clue. Several items in the picture were sold at a police auction, normal routine after a case has been closed, two days after the coke went missing. The items included a boy’s bicycle. However Sharona notices the bicycle in the picture was a girl’s bike. There was no upper crossbar which was typical of a boy’s bike. Monk surmised that someone on the inside had added the bar and hid the coke in it then bought it at the police auction.

That person was Clara Thomplin (Sharon Johnston), the property clerk at that time. About that time she quit her job, saying she had come into a large inheritance from her aunt. A quick research revealed that her aunt had passed away at that time but there was no inheritance.

She had fastened a metal bar and placed the coke in it knowing it would not be checked prior to auction. She framed Joe Christie by erasing or destroying the evidence log entry he had made. As property clerk she had access to it. She was either bribed by the dealer or his associates to do this and smuggle the evidence back into their possession or she sold the cocaine herself with the aid of another confederate. The street value of the seized cocaine was some $750,000.

Whatever motive it was, acting upon a sworn search warrant with Joe Christie in tow, the Crime Scene Unit finds the bicycle in Clara’s garage. She had never gotten rid of it in the last four years because she had planned to give it to her grandson as a present. A technician found cocaine residue still in the bar. With that an unrepentant Clara is arrested on the spot for possession and evidence tampering. The Captain is the first to apologize to Joe and promises to get him reinstated.

Back to the Case

Back at the store Jennie is named "Employee of the Month" for the second time in a row. She obtained several privileges such as a new mug with her name on it, a gift certificate for a local restaurant, a plaque to be placed on the honor board by the door, an honor picture, and the special parking space in front the store. Monk makes a connection: the previous winner before Jennie was the murder victim, Edna Coruthers. She was killed at the end of the last month just before the winner was named. Monk wondered if Jennie killed Edna so she could become Employee of the Month.

Monk and Joe look at the previous month’s charts. Edna was ahead of Jennie and would have won the Employee of the Month had she not been killed. Joe expresses some skepticism of his own. It doesn’t make sense even to Monk.

They go over what the winners usually received in prizes as a result of winning. Monk surmises that the answer was there. Joe throws out some outrageous possibilities because as Adrian Monk had told him when they were partners: Try 300 theories until one fits. The mug, plaque, and certificate were nonsense so they go out to the EOM parking spot where Jennie’s van was located and where Edna had always parked. Just then Monk notices a heavy truck scrape the speed bump which was a common occurrence when trucks were loaded down. He remembers Jennie’s van did the same thing two days earlier when she was leaving but that very morning when she arrived it didn’t scrape. Joe remembers that it always seemed to happen every day while Jennie was there.

At that point Monk notices the bank which was across the parking lot from the parking spot. They then remember the two men whom Jennie pretended not to know at the cash register, the same ones who had attacked Ronnie. They were always buying picks, drill bits, and shovels. Joe realizes there is a sewer grate underneath the spot leading directly to the bank’s underground vaults. That is what this was all about.

Here's What Happened

Jennie’s two friends where probably people with whom she had committed juvenile delinquencies some years back. Some months before she must have approached them with the plan to rob the bank by digging their way through the ground leading to the vault using the sewer line which had access by the parking spot. They attacked Ronnie because he must have seen them casing the bank. They prepared for it by buying materials to dig their way and break into the vault. Since they planned to leave the country afterwards to countries, which likely had no extradition treaties with the United States, they bought quinine pills for the purpose. They bought tools -- at the regular rate instead of the employee rate -- as they could be traced back to her.

However in Monk’s words they had a problem, Edna. The sewer grate was underneath the EOM parking spot so Jennie decided she had to win that coveted spot by becoming a model employee. She even turned down a managerial position because it would have ruined her plans.

However Edna still won handily that month so they tried to undermine her by filing complaints with the office “by anonymous customers”. However that failed because the chart still showed her ahead so Jennie decided to “eliminate” the competition by luring Edna into that storeroom to kill her.

With Edna out of the way Jennie could park her van in the space which would allow her cohorts to dig unmolested. The van was always loaded down at the end of the day because it was used to transport the excess dirt away from the digging since it would have aroused suspicion if piles suddenly began to appear on the parking lot.

Just then Joe, Monk, and Mr. Donovan who had joined them outside hear an explosion. The robbery was going down at that moment since it was the first of the month and most banks vault are overflowing with cash. Joe calls it in but Jennie and her flunkies still had time to get away. Monk goes to the sporting goods department to get a rifle and ammunition after having to wrest them away from Ronnie and Morris. Just as Jennie is nearly home free with the loot, Joe uses the rifle to shoot out one of the tires and the police arrive to apprehend her and her co-conspirators.

They are arrested for bank robbery and the murder of Edna Coruthers. They will more than likely spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Epilogue

Detective Lieutenant Joe Christie is reinstated with full honors and apologies from the San Francisco Police Department and officers. Joe thanks Monk and says that once he is also reinstated they will be partners again.

Just then Randy comes in and asks everyone to look out the window to see Crystal. All they see is a taxi leaving the area. Randy says she is on her way to Aruba to a photo shoot. In disbelief everyone walks away thinking Randy is pathetic. Meanwhile in the taxi Crystal (Jill Wagner) waves back to Randy shouting that she loved him and missed him already.

References

External links

* [http://www.usanetwork.com/series/monk/theshow/episodeguide/episodes/s3_employee/index.html USA Network page for "Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month"]


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