The other day I was thinking about an idea for a possible Monk fanfic, and I found myself wondering how Natalie would react to an unusual offer from someone who wanted to hire Monk (on the theory that Monk was the best detective on the West Coast and the client wanted the very best).
Let's suppose the following scenario:
A millionaire wants Monk to investigate a weird murder mystery. Unfortunately, it happened a few hundred miles away from San Francisco, so Monk will have to travel, sleep in an unfamiliar hotel room, et cetera, while he's inspecting the scene and interviewing witnesses.
The millionaire is a great admirer of Monk's work, and so he is willing to pay a generous per diem and all necessary expenses as long as he can get the great Adrian Monk on the case. He's done his homework and knows that Monk never goes anywhere without Natalie, and that Natalie is a lot more flexible about various things (such as traveling to a distant city without a qualm) than Monk is. So the millionaire calls Natalie on the phone to ask her to persuade Monk to accept the case, and he makes her the following offer:
"I'll pay Adrian Monk a thousand dollars a day while he's on the case. I'll kick in three hundred dollars a day for you personally, since I know he feels helpless without your assistance. I'll cover all expenses -- giving you a suite and room service in a luxury hotel, if necessary. And since I hear that your employer HATES to travel, I'll even sweeten the offer with a thousand-dollar bonus to be paid to YOU as soon as you've persuaded him to make the trip and work on this case until he has it licked. That's separate from the daily rates each of you will collect."
My question is: Would Natalie think it was legal and ethical for her to make an arrangement to receive a daily wage and a nice bonus directly from the man who wanted to be her boss's client? Or would she feel it created a nasty conflict of interest if she was accepting money from two people at once, instead of staying completely loyal to her employer of record, Mr. Monk?
(I have no idea what sort of contract, if any, she has with Monk, but it's possible that someone can remember something relevant about whether or not Natalie would accept money directly from one of Monk's clients.)