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April 17, 2014

Seven questions about the Monk finale

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 5th 2009 7:05PM
monk_team_copsA few more questions about the Monk finale before it disappears into TV immortality. Just some niggling thoughts that weren't really addressed in the two-part wrap up.

1. Why did Joey Kazarinski choose to kill Monk with poison?
Joey was a killer for hire. He used a bomb to kill Trudy, but shot Dr. Nash. They never said how Wendy Stroud was killed, just that she was buried under the sundial at the judge's house. So, when the judge offered Joey another payday -- killing Monk -- why didn't Joey choose a direct approach and shoot Adrian? Or he could have blown up Monk's apartment. There were any number of ways to kill him, but poisoning the wipes was perhaps the most complicated. And a ricin derivative? How did he manage to acquire that? If it had been arsenic or something, that could have been bought at a hardware store. They never really explained the poison or the reason for that method of murder.

2. Where was the judge's wife?
When Monk confronted the judge and forced him to dig, where was the wife? I realize she may have just been out to dinner or away, but a line of dialogue would have been nice. Something like Monk saying, "I know you're alone; nobody's coming to help you." But on the other hand, if the wife was there, maybe she's the one who called the cops. Or maybe it was the neighbors who called because there were two cops threatening to shoot Monk before Stottlemeyer and Disher showed up.

3. If Trudy feared for her life, why did she go to meet with the judge?
Going back 12 years, Trudy was clearly afraid that she might not survive the meeting with Rickover. She told Adrian in the tape. That being the case, why didn't she tell someone else or bring along a friend? Okay, assuming she was too ashamed to confide in Adrian, she could have asked Leland to protect her. He would have kept the truth from Monk for Trudy's sake. If Trudy had taken Leland with her, she might not have died. Or maybe if she had asked the judge to meet her in a park or a public place, not a parking garage...

4. Where was Ambrose?
How could Monk face death without saying goodbye to his brother? Even if John Turturro wasn't available for a guest appearance, I would have liked a scene where Monk dictated goodbye letters to Ambrose, his father, his other brother. Knowing Adrian, wouldn't he want to tie up the loose ends?

5. Molly mentioned that Monk was broke...
He is? Why? Is this a result of Monk buying the house that was subsequently a money pit and that he got rid of it at the end of the episode? That's the only thing I can think of. Otherwise, Monk struck me as the type who saved more than he spent. Perhaps all his income went to wipes and mouthwash?

6. Why did the judge say "take care of her"?
Did he really care that he had destroyed Monk's life by killing Trudy and wanted to do the right thing before killing himself? Had he made sure that Molly had been raised by a good family and cared about her welfare? If the judge was capable of caring for either of them, why had he done the heinous things he did? I guess he kept track of the child even if he couldn't acknowledge her to let Trudy raise her because it was a threat to his career aspirations.

7. Were you satisfied?
Was it enough to know that Leland was happily married to T.K. and still on the job? Was it satisfying that Natalie and Monk were still employee/boss and she was happily dating Steve? Did it feel right that Randy moved to New Jersey so he could be with Sharona? Were you happy that Monk had Molly in his life and a part of Trudy lived on? What else would you have scripted? Weigh in on our poll.

How satisfied were you with the Monk finale?
Extremely satisfied...most of my questions were answered.850 (55.6%)
Somewhat satisfed...I wanted more closure.479 (31.3%)
Not very satisfied...I thought Monk should die and join Trudy in the after life.78 (5.1%)
Dissatisfied...it was unrealistic.123 (8.0%)

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Chris

I wish Randy never moved that kinda sucked and was a little depressing and yeah I was happy with everything else!

August 14 2012 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gar

didn't they say at one point in the show that the reason trudy had gotten into her car the day she died was to go and get medicine for Ambrose?

December 22 2009 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Overdue

We did see Ambrose!
In the final tribute with the new Randy Newman song.
He was at the door, hugging Monk.

I was hoping Randy would give up the Badge and turn to playing music, or promoting music; something about his music would've been funny.

Long live Monk!!

December 13 2009 at 5:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

My sister thinks that by having Randy move to NJ they may be thinking of doing a spinoff series.

December 07 2009 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew

Joey didn't kill Trudy. Monk found the six-fingered man who killed Trudy back... four or five seaons ago on a trip to New York. That's why, in the first part of the fonale, they went out of their way to show the hand with six fingers, as a call back to that revealation.

As for why Summit, New Jersey was chosen for where Randy became police chief, there was no anti-NJ dig involved. Monk co-creator Andy Breckman lives in Summit, and it's where the Monk writer's room is located.

December 07 2009 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Matthew's comment
Avery Axel

Thanks for filling me in / reminding me about that older episode. Yeah, so the article's first question doesn't carry as much weight now I guess.

December 08 2009 at 3:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kickit

err that was supposed to be from me haha. anyways, thanks.

December 08 2009 at 3:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kickit

"1. Why did Joey Kazarinski choose to kill Monk with poison?
Joey was a killer for hire. He used a bomb to kill Trudy, but shot Dr. Nash."

I didn't get from the episode that it was Joey Kazarinski who killed Trudy. Otherwise, it wouldn't have made sense when the judge said to him "12 years ago I killed his [Monk's] wife." So the judge must have hired someone else back then, or even done it himself. Unless I'm missing something and that was Kazarinski in the scene with Trudy in the parking lot (which I admit I don't remember if we got to see the person's face).

December 07 2009 at 1:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nick

Not the greatest episode ever, not a complete dud either. Certainly not an unforgettable finale (like the Sopranos - no matter what you thought of it, you'll never forget it!).

But one thing bothered me - the denouement where Coach, I mean Craig T Nelson, is digging by the sundial. This was the exact same resolution in an episode of Columbo (aging actress doesn't want to leave house on studio lot because a body is buried under a fountain in the back yard). Perhaps a subconscious thing (I would think most Monk writers are familiar with the older eps of Columbo given a similarity in tone and tempermant of the shows.), and I suppose there is nothing new under the sun in terms of mysteries, but it still gave me pause.

December 06 2009 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nick's comment
gordon

Thank you.

I was watching the Monk final episode and thinking..."there is a body buried in the yard...I've seen this before."

I thought it was deja vu, because obviously I could not have seen it before. I had the oddest feeling. Then I concluded I must have actually seen it before on another show because there is no logical explanation for having the strong feeling of knowing the ending.... but I don't watch a lot of mystery/crime shows....save for Columbo on occasion years ago (when I moved to another country it was one of the few shows I could follow despite being dubbed into what was for me a foreign language).

I had a vague recollection of seeing a show where a character refused to move because of a body buried in the yard, and there being a fountain implicated. I tried googling various words to see if I could come up with whether such a show actually existed, and after some time I came across your post.

So, thanks! And I agree that, even if they did not consciously intend it, the ending for a show such as Monk deserves to be a better story than a ripoff of a story already told. I realize originality is difficult, but this was such a major aspect of the story, and it was just taken from another crime show. There really is little excuse for stealing the story that you will use to end your series. Perhaps Lost will end by being the imaginings of an autistic child.

Of course the Monk episode had great sentimentality and was heartfelt. I don't want to be painted as a hater. But it does seem very sketchy to steal a major aspect of your story. At my university where i work we'd call it plagiarism.

December 07 2009 at 10:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
robert

I thought the finale was ok. I just thought the whole final season would've been about Monk gradually solving the murder rather than waiting until the final episode and having the murder be all of a sudden completely solved by a tape that's been on a shelf for twelve years.

December 06 2009 at 6:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to robert's comment
bruce

Robert: That's been my big problem with the final season of Monk. There was absolutely NOTHING about Trudy, or any other plot development for that matter. Then we finally get an episode addressing the overall plot - Monk appears before the panel that votes on reinstating him as a police officer - his dream for 12 years. They vote NOT to reinstate him and Monk flips out, having a psychotic break from reality (proving the panel made the right decision). The next week's episode, not a single word is mentioned about Monk getting rejected, by a 2-1 vote, or his insane reaction to it. Yet the very next episode, out of nowhere, for no reason at all, despite the panel's vote and Monk's insane reaction to it, Stottlemeyer is allowed to give him his badge. Great - some plot development. But no, Monk gives up his badge at the end of the episode at the first sign of adversity. As if he didn't know the job would be dangerous. Still not a word of Trudy's murder. After 14 meaningless, pointless episodes, the series ends with "Mr. Monk and the Sudden, Random Resolution of Trudy's Murder (Parts 1 and 2)".

I can get over the little things like a state supreme court judge calling himself a "federal judge" but the whole season was a waste of my time.

December 06 2009 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Can someone explain to me how Monk was able to afford ANY of the stuff he had? Unless he was paid $10,000+ per case there is NO WAY he could afford that fancy apartment, all his expenses (like 10,000 bottles of water in one episode), a personal assistant whose sole job is serving him 24/7... I figured it was just an implicit understanding that Monk is fiction and for the show to work we're not supposed to ask about his finances. As such, it was a breach of that implied agreement for them to tell us he is broke. Surely Monk knows to the cent how much money he has at any given time, so the notion that he didn't know about it, or that Natalie kept this fact from him, is absurd.

Anyway, there are no good ways to answer any of the 7 questions asked here, a few of which I've asked myself - along with many others that were not here.

I also don't believe Monk wouldn't have opened Trudy's christmas present (he'd wait until after christmas as he promised, but not 12 years). He'd be the one person in the world who'd think that there might be a clue in there. The fact that the answer was in there all this time is somewhat insulting to both Monk and us, the audience.

December 06 2009 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
H

OCD can be an expensive disorder to live with. I imagine the exaggerated case that Monk had would be even worse. It really isn't hard to imagine why he would have financial troubles.

Natalie had at least five to ten bottles of mouthwash in Monk's grocery cart meaning that he probably goes through one a day. Imagine what else he refuses to reuse.

He uses a wipe every time he touches something objectionable, yet his OCD makes him feel that he HAS to touch things. (Like lamp posts, parking meters)

Speaking from experience, he's probably very choosy about what brands of food he buys and what leftovers are considered "safe" for him to eat, which means that his food budget is probably through the roof.

Although insurance probably covered part of Sharona's paycheck, Natalie was most likely paid out of pocket. They stated once that she makes at least $2k a month, which isn't much, but for Monk, that's $24k a year just to have her around.

December 06 2009 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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