Season 3 Episode 12

Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 04, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
458 votes

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Episode Summary

Monk witnesses a gangland killing and has to go into protective custody in a cabin in the woods. But he notices suspicious activity at a nearby cabin and suspects a murder has occurred there.

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  • Mr. Monk and 24

    Okay, so we've got a 24-ish multi-screen dual-frame "two murder solutions for the price of one" at the end. This is easily the most innovative and entertaining part of the episode, especially the wrap-up comment ("I wasn't listening to either one.")

    Problem is, neither recap is telling us anything we don't already know. We've already seen the murder Monk is involved in, and we figured out the Disher mystery a half-hour ago. Kind of a case of making the revelation technique interesting to make up for the fact the revelations were pretty lame.

    Meanwhile, on to the episode as a whole. For the first time in a while we see Monk in the pre-credits sequence because he's the "victim" - quickly witnessing a crime that sets up he'll be going into protective custody. And then it's him, Natalie, and Stottlemeyer off into the woods. Although Stottlemeyer's presence make for some good moments, it seems a bit odd (friendship for Monk notwithstanding) that he'd abandon both job and family to go with Adrian.

    There are a few quiet moments here - Stottlemeyer reminescing on his hopes and dreams (does Ted Levine now have a contractual "moment" in every episode?), Monk sweeping Nature.

    Then, in a take on Rear Window (and a bit of slapstick with Ted Levine and a bedpost), Monk witnesses a crime nearby - thankfully, there's only a minimum of disbelief (and even that seems a bit much - haven't they learned by know?) from his friends before they try to capture the killer. Then we're off on a hilarious drive through the rain involving the Prince of Darkness and a birthday cake.

    Meanwhile Disher has his own subplot, although he seems to have lost his model girlfriend from the previous episode. We quickly get a "Twilight Zone" style episode which, unfortunately, is rather easy to deduce. Apparently mobster caught the Zone marathon on SciFi channel over New Year's.

    It all comes together at the end with another of the show's relatively bloody scenes. This seems a bit unlikely - tey open fire on MOnk in broad daylight, with police nearby. But does give us the dual wrap-up mentioned above.

    The supporting cast is pretty unforgettable, and Stottlemeyer gets some good screen time. Natalie is (mostly) harmless, and Disher is rescued from another round of buffonery only because he garners some sympathy because he's played as a patsy here.

    With Monk there were a few overdone moments - Monk trying to drink from a stream without touching the ground. Generally they kept him pretty well under control, even if you have to wonder how Monk could ever possibly testify in a court given his mental uncertainty - remember when it took him an hour to describe a killer's ear in "...Takes Manhattan"? There's a few scenes where you can sympathize with him - if someone kept dangling their foot over the bunkbed and I was on the bottom, I'd tie it down too.

    And for some reason the writers/producers seem intent on continuing to establish Monk as miserly - a character trait we've never significantly seen before and seems unwarranted for two episodes in a row here.

    Overall, generally an entertaining episode. Hopefully they'll drop the Monk/miser angle, pump up the "mystery" a bit, and otherwise keep the show with the quality we see here.moreless
  • More comedy than Drama. Mr. Monk is put into protective custody after he witnesses a murder. To protect Monk they send him to a cabin in the woods and with a fake name. While he is there, he stumbles upon ANOTHER murder!moreless

    This episode was really good. Even tough is more comedy than drama, those funny moments are really well done. Even the characters themselves don't take the things that happen in a very serious way, Calling Monk "The Prince of Darkness" since everywhere he goes murder follows him. The randy subplot was also good. Everthing summed up perfecly towards the end. Acting was superb on everyone's side. The summation, as everyone has noted, was a mocking of 24. Agent Grooms was great, the moment when their van got stuck somewhere in the woods and they get lost. The celebrating of the Captain's birthday in the middle of a storm. But guess what?! When they get out of the woods they end up where the police was investigating the second murder. Uh, three coincidences in one show. Silly but well done!

    Story: 9.5/10

    Acting: 10/10moreless
Tony Shalhoub

Tony Shalhoub

Adrian Monk

Traylor Howard

Traylor Howard

Natalie Teeger (episodes 39+)

Jason Gray-Stanford

Jason Gray-Stanford

Lt. Randall Disher

Ted Levine

Ted Levine

Captain Leland Stottlemeyer

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Trivia: This episode gives us the first look at Randy's apartment.

    • The truck that "almost killed" Disher was already moving when he stepped into the street. But how did the bad guys know exactly when that would be?

    • A real witness protection program would not use the same cabin "for 30 years," and would not let the entire town know about it.

    • The federal witness protection program is administered by the U.S. Marshals Service, not the FBI.

    • Trivia: Agent Grooms, who was with the ATF in "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect," is apparently now with the FBI.

    • Disher should have been suspicious that a "certified letter" from the IRS was delivered by a private courier and not the U.S. Postal Service.

    • Despite the heavy storm the night before, when Monk and his friends are lost in the woods the next morning, the surroundings are practically bone dry.

    • If you look carefully, you'll notice that the bent car antenna changes in degree of angle between shots.

    • When Monk and Captain Stottlemeyer are not sleeping in the bunk beds, both beds are made up with the pillow on the left end. When they're in the beds, Monk's pillow has been switched to the other end.

  • QUOTES (25)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Josh Stamberg, who played Agent Grooms in "Sleeping Suspect" (not to be confused with Stottlemeyer's nemesis Agent Colmes in "Godfather") reprises his role in this episode.


    • Monk: Every man's bent antenna diminishes me.
      This silly line is actually an allusion to a beautiful and highly poetic sermon by the Reverend John Donne (1572-1631), which includes the famous line "No man is an island, entire of itself." Monk has in mind another well-known but often misquoted sentence, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee." (Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, #17, spelling modernized.) Monk is presumably recalling bits of this poemlike sermon from his college days; Natalie appears to be wholly unfamiliar with it. For the complete (very brief) sermon in the original spelling and an excellent audio recording, click on the More Info link.

    • Disher: This is like a Twilight Zone episode.
      The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), a famous TV show written and produced by Rod Serling, is in constant reruns on the SciFi Channel. The fortune-cookie plot resembles that of the episode "Nick of Time," with William Shatner. Several other TZ in-jokes are scattered throughout "Cabin Fever," including the last name of the next-door neighbors, Willowby, which alludes to the episode "A Stop at Willoughby." It may also be reference to an episode of the second incarnation of The Twilight Zone (1985-1989), where there was an episode called "The Misfortune Cookie." In that episode, a food critic discovers that the fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant he frequents seem to always foretell the future.