Season 3 Episode 7

Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Aug 06, 2004 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
259 votes

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Episode Summary

Monk takes a job at a department store to solve the murder of one of the store's employees.

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  • Best - Episode - Ever?

    Wow. I'd have to say this is one of my favorites. It's certainly the best of the season to date, in a season that's been improving by leaps and bounds. So if a few mediocre episodes guarantee we get stuff like this afterward, lets have more "Takes Manhattan" and "Panic Rooms".

    This was very much a Tony Shalhoub episode and honestly, I'd suggest the producers submit it as the viewing tape for his Emmy nomination. The writers have a tendency to fill in with "Adrian" scenes, and often use overacting or OCD-heavy bits. But newcomer Ross Abrash deftly makes Adrian...well, normal. Or almost normal. For one thing we get to see him function despite his handicap, instead of just blindly panicking or collapsing or whatever. Monk has to go undercover in a everyday working environment, and that's exactly what he does. His handicap doesn't really slow him down - in short, he can function. He has quirks, like the rest of us, but he isn't shown here as a basketcase. He seems able to do that in "Goes to Jail," and we had a sympathetic back-up character of dubious background there, too.

    I suppose you could argue that Monk isn't very consistent here, given that he lapsed into a near coma in a confined space before ("Panic Room"). But myself, I'd rather ignore a bad story for establishing character motifs then ignore a good one.

    The episode wouldn't have worked without the back-up character of this episode, as played by Enrico Colantoni. Best known from Just Shoot Me, since leaving that show he's branched out with guest appearances in Stargate and Justice League, honing his craft. It pays off here as he develops a deep and well-rounded character. We first see him as a shy and/or nervous man holding back while the police take over, and then moving into his own as the investigation gets underway. The idea of meeting Monk's partner is a good one (which, fortunately, they've avoided doing to date so we could have it here).

    The camaraderie Colantoni and Shalhoub presumably developed while working together on Galaxy Quest also pays off here - both of them expertly sell the fact they were partners, and we get another glimpse of Monk's pre-Trudy's death career. We get both how competent he was as a detective and what he was like personality-wise ("He hasn't laughed since"). And again, how he could function as a policeman and not drive a partner crazy. The handshake is the big payoff, but the scene afterward where they're pondering the Employee of the Month rewards is both hilarious and a sign of them being able to work smoothly together. Hopefully Colantoni can spare time from his new show this far (Veronica Mars) to show up on Monk again - there wouldn't seem to be any reason why he couldn't appear as an investigating officer.

    The regular supporting cast is there, and the Disher subplot is amusing enough - granted the ending isn't that surprising. But Abrash doesn't write him as a buffoon and has some sympathy for the character. Even if going to Arruba for a wallet-photo shoot sounds a little odd...

    Bitsy Fleming doesn't have a lot to do but she has a nice rapport with Colantoni in the cafe scene. Ted Levine is average, albeit average by his standards. He's strong and supportive both in the bubble-wrap scene with Shalhoub and in the apology scene with Colantoni.

    The rest of the guest cast is competent enough, particularly Patrick Thomas O'Brien as the seemingly-sincere store manager selling the virtues of the Employee of the Month awards with a straight face.

    The Mystery? This is a more of a "What's the motive?" then anything - there's no big secret about who the murderer is. It's clever enough, and all the pieces are there, but this is definitely one where the mystery is less important then the subplots.

    Actually, the secondary mystery (who stole the drugs?) was more interesting and it's another bit of the show that entertains and impresses and strengthens the Monk character - as in "Paperboy", time and space have no bounds on Monk :) . He solves mysteries in other countries by reading a newspaper, and here he solves a 30-day year old mystery by looking at stamps, and a 4-year old mystery just by looking at a photo and an auction report.

    Not a whole lot of catchy quotes, but the ones that were, were good.

    Downsides? Not a whole lot. The dog scene (reminscent of the '73 TV movie Trapped with James Brolin) and to a lesser degree the gun scene (a play on the ammo-buying scene in Bowling for Columbine, maybe? - the show is filmed in Canada) seemed a tad unnecessary and extraneous padding more then anything.

    Overall, I'd rate this one of the highest of the show - a near perfect 10.moreless
Alanna Ubach

Alanna Ubach

Jennie Silverman, credited as Alanna Ubach

Guest Star

Enrico Colantoni

Enrico Colantoni

Joe Christie

Guest Star

Patrick Thomas O'Brien

Patrick Thomas O'Brien

Mr. Donovan

Guest Star

Kane Ritchotte

Kane Ritchotte


Recurring Role

Stanley Kamel

Stanley Kamel

Dr. Kroger

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • When the van pulls out after the robbery, there's no grate anywhere near it.

    • The right rear tire on the van is shot, and you can hear the tire deflating. However, in the next scene where the van skids and stops, the tire isn't deflated at all.

    • Adrian Monk notices everything, right? Wouldn't he have noticed that the wrappings of his lunch had been tampered with or that the bag wasn't sitting in the exact position he left it in?

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Sharona: Hey, Captain, have you ever met Crystal?
      Stottlemeyer: I can't say I have. We were supposed to go out to dinner last week, but she canceled at the last minute.
      Disher: She wasn't feeling well.
      Stottlemeyer: M-hmmmm.
      Sharona: Maybe you blew her up too much.
      Disher: She isn't a balloon.
      Sharona: That's right. She's a living, breathing wallet model.

    • Joe: (to Monk) You remember a vehicle not scraping on a speed bump? Damn, I've missed you.

    • Joe: You said try three hundred theories until one fit.
      Monk: I said that?
      Joe: Yeah. I remember everything you ever said, God help me.

    • Mr. Donovan: (listing awards for the Employee of the month) . . . The gift certificate for dinner for two at the Lobster Barrel on 17th Street. Good only on weekdays and does not include lobster.

    • Dr. Kroger: You know, Adrian, I see this all the time. I work with cops. I work with ex-cops. You see terrible things. People lie to you. After awhile, you don't believe anything.
      Monk: I--I--I--I--I--
      Dr. Kroger: You're going to have to make the leap. You're going to have to trust. Otherwise you're going to be completely alone--and I hope that doesn't happen to you.

    • Delores: I worked with her [Edna] in housewares. Everything had to be spic and span. She was a porfectionist.
      Monk: You mean "perfectionist"?
      Delores: I'm not one, so I can say it any damn way I want.

    • Monk: Tell me about the Lobster Barrel.
      Joe: It's a family place. It's noisy, there's a million kids. . . . You wouldn't last five minutes. It's got a great all-you-can-eat buffet with seven different types of shrimp--jumbo shrimp, batter-dipped shrimp, tempura shrimp. . . .
      Monk: Okay, stop telling me about the Lobster Barrel.
      Joe: . . . Barbecue shrimp.
      Monk: Stop.

    • Joe: Eighty-nine-cent commemorative plaque. Would you kill someone to get this?
      Monk: I'd kill someone not to get that.

    • Announcer: Clean up in Aisle 4. Clean up in Aisle 4.
      Monk: I got it! I got it, it's mine! I called it, it's mine!

    • Joe: Seven detectives lined up to get his take on things. I learned more in two days with Monk than in two years in the academy.

    • Sharona: (hears barking on the phone) Randy?

    • Monk's Lunchbag: A. Monk-–Please Please! Do Not Touch

    • Joe: They've been here a couple of months. They're not going to last long. (Pause.) Dear God, you might be the best employee we have.

    • Monk: The stamps are from the same roll. The edges are uneven, but they fit together--like puzzle pieces.
      Joe Christie: I'll be damned. You're still the man.

    • Rudy: (about Monk) Is he a robot?
      Benjy: No, he's a person.
      Rudy: Wow. What else does he do?
      Benjy: He vacuums a lot. And he solves murders.
      Rudy: You could sell tickets to that.

    • First cop: Is there a reason we're doing this [popping bubble wrap]?
      Stottlemeyer: Nope. Just keep popping.

    • Rudy: (watching Monk stare at two puzzle pieces) Uh oh. We broke him.

    • Sharona: You have a picture?
      Disher: Yeah.
      Sharona: Ohhh. She's pretty. (Turns photo over.) Randy! This came with the wallet.
      Disher: Yeah, I know. She's a wallet model.

    • Sharona: Those imaginary girlfriends can be pretty wild.
      Disher: She's not imaginary.
      Sharona: Hm. What's her name?
      Disher: Crystal.
      Sharona: What's her last name? Glassware?

    • Disher: A forty-two-inch flat-screen TV fell on her. She was killed instantly.
      Sharona: That's horrible. TV still work?
      Stottlemeyer: Sharona, the TV just killed a woman.
      Sharona: What are you going to do? Lock it up?

  • NOTES (5)

    • Compare the name of this episode's writer, Ross Abrash, with that of Ron Abrash, the character played by Tony Shalhoub's brother Michael in "Missing Granny."

    • This episode is presumably the last one in which Kane Ritchotte appears as Benjy since he does not appear in any more of this half-season's episodes and the character of Sharona was written out of the show midway through this season.

    • Oddly, "First cop" and "First robber" are credited but "Second cop" and "Second robber" are not.

    • Sharon Johnston, who plays Clara, was the hotel manager in "Mr. Monk and the Playboy."

    • Special Guest Star Enrico Colantoni worked with Tony Shalhoub in the movie GalaxyQuest.


    • Joe Christie: Seven different types of shrimp--jumbo shrimp, batter-dipped shrimp, tempura shrimp . . . barbecue shrimp. . . .
      Joe is listing of types of shrimp a la Bubba (Forrest Gump's friend) in the movie Forrest Gump.

    • Sharona: (Seeing a box labeled "Crystal Glassware") What's her last name? Glassware?
      In an episode of The Brady Bunch, Jan makes up a boyfriend named George Glass. The last name came from her spotting a glass on the table while being questioned by a sibling about her new boyfriend.

    • Monk: Have a Mega-Mart Day!
      This phrase bears a suspicious resemblance to "Have a magical day," the formulaic farewell spoken by every Disney World (and Disneyland?) "cast member" (employee). Since Mega-Mart is obviously modeled on the giant merchandising chain Wal-Mart, the phrase comes across as a slap at Disney's mega-marketing tactics.