Season 2 Episode 9

Mr. Monk and the 12th Man

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Aug 22, 2003 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
211 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Monk helps the police investigate a brutal string of nine murders but he is unable to stop two more killings before figuring out the pattern behind the killings.

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  • Summer finale - going out with a bang

    The "summer finale" (for lack of a better term) gives us an episode that dwells mostly on the primary characters and all four of them get good time.

    Monk: The runnning gag with the button as his anxiety-of-the-week is done at about the right length and emphasis. The episodes work worst when they dwell on his OCD ad nauseum until we're sick of it. Interestingly, Monk's not obsessed with Sharona leaving him and how he can function without her, but rather how he can use her relationship to his advantage (and whether it's right or wrong). It's an interesting spin although it really doesn't get resolved.

    Sharona: Being the center of attention seems to bring her out, particularly when Stottlemeyer asks for her opinion on the case. Unfortunately they decided not to use Kane Richotte this episode - it would have been interesting to see how he reacts to Mommy's newest boyfriend. Her final affirmation of support to Monk, although never really in doubt, puts things back to normal.

    Stottlemeyer: We get a return to the bad liar version we've seen in the premiere and in "Red-Headed Stranger." It's kind of amusing that Stottlemeyer, who spends his time sniffing out crooks who lie, can't tell a lie to save his life. Most episodes kinda just let us assume Stottlemeyer believes in Monk and his abilities - it's good that this one has him make a definite declaration, putting his career on the line. These kind of declarations would get boring if done every week, but here it works just fine.

    Disher: We get all of the lieutenant's little quirks, and his jealousy of Sharona and her new beau is played up just fine.

    The supporting cast: I thought this was the weakest part of the episode. Kroger didn't have much to do, Mrs. Ling was entertaining enough but horribly stereotypical (with her Charlie Chan-style speech patterns - to paraphrase the movie Murder by Death - "Why can't you say propositions or articles?"), and Lauren Tom can and has done much better work. The bit with pipe-in-the-head guy also definitely oversteps the border of good taste and goes on a painfully long time and is really unnecessary. Worse, there's no payoff - we never find out what Monk thinks of a guy crazier then he is. Kenny is initially kind of likeable - not everyone would want to go on a date with Monk along. But he soon deteriorates into standard ego/career-advancing Politician Guy.

    The Mystery: Not much of one. The writer hides a couple of vital clues from us (such as the fact they all lived in Marin County, I believe), so it's not really a whodunnit or "what's the connection" type mystery that we the audience can solve. The killer's voice is fairly distinctive so letting us hear him at the beginning doesn't help (assuming you're familiar with the actor/actress' body of work). The killer's plan doesn't make much sense, and the crime he/she committed originally seems oddly timed (can't explain more without going into Spoilers, unfortunately). This isn't necessarily bad - not every episode has to be "Whodunnit?" or "How'd they do it?" The last finale ("Airplane") was similar, in that the episode was more about Monk bringing the killer to justice rather then figuring out something that we the audience had to figure out as well. Here the "mystery" was more of a backdrop to explore the characters rather then the central aspect of the case.

    Overall, though, I'd rate the episode very highly. The dialogue is sharp and true to character, which makes up for a lot. It ain't the mystery, it's how Monk and Company get there.moreless
  • this was a good ep

    in this ep of the show monk . he is called to investgate a string of murders that are happening they think at first there not connected till later they start to look closer when two more people are murder and they find out that a man murderd his wife and the jury was called to the scene were a man had gotten a pipe stuck in his head and one of the jury discoverd the body of his first wife and start to black mail him and then he started to kill off the jury of the case one by one till he foud out who was blackmailing him this was a good epmoreless
  • Perhaps my favorite episode -- everything works very well!

    This is one of my three favorite Monk episodes. It is virtually perfect -- most aspects very good, and nothing really bad. kkj228elbo, in his review, says just about everything I was about to say. The highlight for me was Lauren Tom, playing Mrs. Ling, the Chinese dry cleaner, who was irked by Monk's fussiness. Everything she said was correct and cracked me up. I found none of it offensive (stereotypical). The scenes with Sherona and Jerry Levine (Kenny Shale) were funny. All of the characters contributed to the plot. Everything was well integrated with the plot. The whole idea of the murderer killing off the jurors one-by-one was over the top, but we can chalk that up to "required suspension of disbelief." The other aspects of the plot and detecting were nicely logical for a change.

    Two other comments; (1) as Gislef says in his review, Monk's OCD worked very well here -- it involved Monk's penchant for neatness/evenness/uniformity. I found that funny and endearing. It didn't involve his fear of germs and human contact -- I find that irritating, and it often goes on too long. The producers should take note. And (2) probably Sherona is favored by so many viewers over the Natalie character, not so much because of the difference in the actresses' ability, but because Sherona had more interesting written parts, like her dating catastrophes, as in this episode. Natalie just isn't given much to do other than be kind to Monk.moreless
  • This episode is one of my favorites!!!

    This episode is a great example of exactly why I watch this series. It is hilarious (I am waiting to see Mrs. Ling come back again- I cracked up when her and Monk fought over the dry cleaning!!!) It kept me on the edge of my seat, every single character played their part well, and it was hilarious. Monk really had to think to solve this case and I really enjoyed Sharona's part in it. All in all, I would have to classify this as one of my personal favorites, and this is for sure an episode that is worth watching!moreless
Ed Marinaro

Ed Marinaro

Stewart Babcock

Guest Star

Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Mrs. Ling

Guest Star

Deborah Zoe

Deborah Zoe

Lisa Babcock

Guest Star

Stanley Kamel

Stanley Kamel

Dr. Charles Kroger

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • During the opening credits, inside the dry cleaner shop, in one shot, the red lettering on the front window says, in reverse, CLEANERS, and in the next shot it says ALTERATION.

    • Stottlemeyer gave Sharona his cell phone number at the toll plaza. Sharona calls Stottlemeyer all the time--why wouldn't she already have the number?

    • A sticker on the side of the toll booth in the opening scene advertises "Fast Pass," but the Bay Area's automated toll system is called "FasTrak."

    • Monk fishes a magnolia leaf out of the Babcocks' pool, but no magnolia trees are visible in their yard.

    • Lt. Disher refers to Henry Smalls (the last juror killed) as the "twelfth juror" rather than the eleventh.

    • When Monk is apologizing for his button at the theater, you can see several movie posters, including one for Jaws (1975). Jaws wasn't rereleased in theaters in 2003.

    • Monk says that the odometer is at "9999." Actually when it's first shown, it's at 99999, and cars don't even have a four-digit odometer. Losing a digit like that seems very un-Monklike.

  • QUOTES (32)

    • Mrs. Ling: Hey, saw your boyfriend on TV last night. Kenny Shale. He's a good man. I like him.
      Sharona: Yeah? Well I like Mr. Monk better.
      Mrs. Ling: Oh. Mr. Monk's a crazy man.
      Sharona: I like him better.
      Mrs. Ling: No.
      Sharona: I do.
      Mrs. Ling: Stop saying that.

    • Monk: Okay, let's compromise. You pay the ticket, and I--don't.
      Sharona: What kind of compromise is that?
      Monk: Well, it's the economical kind.

    • Disher: He's got a body part in his freezer. A human finger.
      Stottlemeyer: Really? Well, the DA's gonna love that. They love body parts in the freezer.

    • (Disher hangs a paper by the victims' pictures)
      Stottlemeyer: What are you doing?
      Disher: I'm leaving a space for the next victim.
      Stottlemeyer: Take that down. Take it down right now.

    • Sharona: Adrian, you're not the craziest man in the room.

    • Ian: I don't remember much about it [the accident]. I was working on the roof. There was a loose tile. Next thing I knew, I woke up and I was a human smokestack.

    • (Monk strains a leaf out of the Babcocks' pool)
      Lisa Babcock: Thank you.
      Monk: What should I do with it?
      Lisa: Throw it away.
      Monk: But it's wet.
      Lisa: It's a leaf.

    • Stottlemeyer: What is this, a high school dance? Give the girl [Sharona] some room.

    • Monk: The odometer is at 9999. I'm trying to get it to zero.
      Kenny: Why?
      Monk: So . . . then it'll be at zero.

    • Kenny: Thank you again for inviting me.
      Monk: Don't make a mess back there.
      Sharona: It's my car.
      Monk: That's true. Don't make a mess back there.

    • Stottlemeyer: Are you sure?
      Monk: Do you mean, am I certain?
      Stottlemeyer: That's what I meant by "Are you sure?"

    • Sharona: Who's stopping you? You don't need me.
      Monk: I don't need you? Haven't you been paying attention for the last three years?

    • Monk: Number One . . . you have some lint on your jumpsuit. Number Two . . . could you help Number One?

    • Disher: And are you ready for this? (another long pause)
      Stottlemeyer: Yes, Randy, we're ready! You don't have to ask. You never have to ask!

    • Disher: Captain, are you ready for this? (long pause)
      Stottlemeyer: Randy, you could be halfway through your first sentence now.

    • Monk: Sharona. Sharona? Sharona?
      Stottlemeyer: If you're looking for Jackie O., she's over there.

    • Stottlemeyer: (to Monk) Did you hurt both of your hands?
      Sharona: No, just the left one.
      Stottlemeyer: Then why do you have bandages on both . . . ? Right. Symmetry.

    • Sharona: You called him [Kenny Shale] a weasel.
      Stottlemeyer: No, I didn't.
      Sharona: Yeah, you did. Three weeks ago.
      Stottlemeyer: I never said "weasel." I said he was a . . . "woof." Oh, yeah, I said "weasel." I called him a weasel, but you see, that's not a bad thing. I had a weasel. A weasel is a noble animal, all right? It's a term of endearment. Jerry, hey, how are you doing, you weasel? Good to see you! See, I call everybody a weasel.

    • Stottlemeyer: It's like a full moon every night.

    • Mrs. Ling: (to Monk) It's cellophane, crazy man.

    • Mrs. Ling: That's how I sew them-–parallel. That's my style.
      Monk: But it doesn't match! The stitching is all different. I have to live in this town!

    • Monk: It's ten o'clock, Mrs. Ling. The ticket says Tuesday ten a.m.
      Mrs. Ling: It's an approximation, Mr. Monk. It means about ten o'clock, not at ten o'clock. Crazy man! What's wrong with you?

    • Sign at dry cleaners: Ring Bell for Service Except Mr. Monk!!!

    • Monk: I don't know yet. The jury's still out, so to speak.

    • Monk: May I tell you something?
      Dr. Kroger: That's why we're here.

    • Dr. Kroger: There's nothing wrong with being ambitious. It just means that you're human.
      Monk: Human? It's been a long time since anybody's called me that.

    • Monk: Sharona... murderers, okay?

    • Disher: (to Sharona) I was thinking of voting for him, but now I'm worried about his judgment. I mean, going out with you, there's no telling what he might do. Start a nuclear war or something.

    • Monk: Sharona...?
      Sharona: What?
      Monk: We're working here.

    • Stottlemeyer: He's brilliant, but he's Monk. He's lost in Monkland.

    • Mrs. Ling: Mr. Monk, why you bring me here? I got to close the shop, I'm losing the money. You're my worst customer!
      Disher: Longest car ride of my life.

    • Stottlemeyer: The press can wait. That's what they get paid for.

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode was originally titled "Mr. Monk and the Twelfth Victim," apparently referring not to a jury member but to the frozen body of what was actually the first victim. Under its new title, it was nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America but unfortunately didn't win the award.

    • As originally written, this episode reintroduced a character from the pilot, Deputy Mayor Sheldon Burger, but was apparently rewritten with a new character, Kenny Shale (played by Jerry Levine). Possibly Rob La Belle, who played Sheldon Burger in the pilot, was unavailable. In any case, there's little similarity between the two characters. Jerry Levine previously directed "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect."

    • Although USA Network billed this episode as the season finale, the second season resumed in January 2004 with seven new episodes.

    • The official site spells the title as "Mr. Monk and the Twelfth Man."


    • When the serial killer murders the tenth victim in the movie theater, the marquee outside shows Psycho and The Man Who Knew Too Much. (The same marquee was also used in Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger). Psycho, Hitchcock's classic psychological thriller, (Paramount, 1960), starred Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh. Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much was released originally in 1934 by Gaumont British Pictures, starring Peter Lorre and Leslie Banks. Hitchcock remade it with James Stewart and Doris Day for Paramount in 1956. The double bill would presumably include the later version.

    • Disher: I mean, he's going out with you. There's no telling what else he might do. Start a nuclear war or something.
      This remark about mayoral candidate Kenny Shale is an allusion to another USA Network series, The Dead Zone. In the first-season finale, protagonist Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall) has a vision of a future nuclear war caused by congressional candidate Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery).

    • Stottlemeyer: Let me guess. The killer is. . . .
      A reference to talk show host Johnny Carson's running skit in which he played a cheesy psychic, the Amazing Carnac. He'd predict the answers to questions in a sealed envelope that he'd hold up to his forehead, usually with hilarious results. For instance: "Mine Sweeper! And the question is. . . 'Name the book Hitler wrote about his cleaning lady."