Three deaths during a city-wide blackout result in a joint investigation by Stottlemeyer, Monk, Sharona, and Disher, with the unprecedented cooperation of the FBI and the help of power company spokeswoman Michelle Rivas, an attractive brunette who is inexplicably attracted to Monk. While Sharona and Dr. Kroger pressure Monk to call Michelle, Disher follows up on Monk's suggestion that the power outage is connected to a '90s radical named Winston Brenner. Everything fits--the handwriting in the note, the phrasing, even a pair of photographs. Everything except one small detail at the end of the report--Brenner died in 1995. When the FBI acknowledges the possibility that Brenner may have faked his own death to avoid a trial, Captain Stottlemeyer presents a tree-hugging former friend of Brenner's with the evidence that Brenner is still alive and reminds him that this particular power outage is also a homicide. When the tree-hugger is murdered, it becomes clear that the killer is indeed Brenner. The only difficulty is finding him. Meanwhile a second power outage occurs during Monk's miserable date with Michelle, trapping him in an elevator and preventing Sharona for the second time from seeing a Willie Nelson special. Realizing that the seemingly random timing of the outages does indeed relate to the TV show, Monk obtains a videotape containing the clue he needs--only to discover, as the lights go out on his block but not the rest of the city, that the killer has also put two and two together. In a dark-comic tribute to Silence of the Lambs, Monk dons night-vision goggles to confront a knife-wielding villain. Fortunately for him, Sharona has already called Captain Stottlemeyer, and Monk survives to give Michelle a dozen red roses.