Season 2 Episode 1

Mr. Monk Goes Back to School

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jun 20, 2003 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
243 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When English teacher Beth Landow falls from the clock tower at Trudy's former high school, Monk is called in and quickly disproves the police theory of suicide. The trail of clues leads to a science teacher but he has an iron-clad alibi. Monk becomes a substitute teacher in the hopes of solving the case.moreless

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  • The first true kickoff in the 'Monk' series' overall narrative! Very enjoyable!

    Well, obviously a great thing about "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School" is the introduction of Randy Newman's "It's A Jungle Out There". Also, Weekend At Bernie's star Andrew McCarthy makes for a wryly amusing criminal in the role of Scientist Derek Philby, who uses his smarts and smirks to attempt to get out of Monk's line of accusation.

    Another 'battle of wits' scene ensues as Derek uses the snake in the tank 'law of physics' boast to tell Monk that he couldn't have been the one to murder Beth Landow. When it's revealed in the summation that he placed her on the clockhand and WAITED for her death, the story truly becomes amazing.

    I also like it that Sharona gets onto the fat kid for throwing the eraser at Monk with the chalk dust, and as far as his dad goes, well... unfortunately, there are people like him. The additional tidbits on Trudy and the others that knew her add nice touches that bring her closer into the fold. A great episode! Q-E-D: Thus it is proved.moreless
  • this was a good ep

    in the season 2 opener of the show monk monk goes back to school to figure out what really happend to a teacher that trudy went to school there . and so he starts to investgate and learns that a science teacher knew the victom and so they go back and forth at each other and monk even goes as far as being a teacher there and that ends in laughs and monk solves the case that the science teach did and how he put her body on the bell tower and let it fall off this was a good ep i thoughtmoreless
  • Mr.Monk goes back to school is a great episode of monk and has an interesting murder.

    Mr. Monk goes back to school is one of the most interesting ways to murder someone in the history of Monk. I liked this episode because of the amazing plot and Andrew McCarthy was the killer. I loved it when Monk mixed the decaf and regular coffee to make them even. It was so interesting because the murder put the dead woman’s body on the hand of the clock, so he could let gravity do the work when he was teaching so no one would think he murdered her. A lot of people thought she killed herself, but not Monk. He solved the case. A very fine episode of Monk.moreless
  • An elaborate plot, with a good comedy to mystery ratio, setting the bar high for the second season of Monk.

    This episode had many key factors that make it great. It combines a good mystery, comedy, and references to Trudy’s past. A typical Monk storyline is presented when Adrian is brought in by the school’s assistant principal because she is not satisfied with the police department’s decision to close the case. Adrian reminisces about the times he spent with Trudy, cluing us in on how the murder of Trudy will eventually be brought back up in a future storyline. I thought this episode was particularly hilarious because of Monk’s typical OCD, the gym teacher, and Mr. Monk’s substitute teaching job. What made this episode so memorable for me is how Derek Philby was able to pull of the murder and that Monk was so close to quitting the case even though he knew Philby was the murderer. As we have seen before and in future episodes, everything Monk does is for someone besides himself. He solved this case for Trudy, solves cases for Sherona, Stottlemeyer, and others that he meets. Besides Philby concocting the plan, the writers had to think of the plan and how Monk could prove that Philby was the killer. Since there maybe people who still have not seen this episode, I won’t spoil how Philby pulled off the murder, while making it look like a suicide. In the end, I really liked this episode.moreless
Andrew McCarthy

Andrew McCarthy

Derek Philby

Guest Star

Rosalind Chao

Rosalind Chao

Arleen Cassidy

Guest Star

Bob Brewer

Bob Brewer


Guest Star

Kane Ritchotte

Kane Ritchotte


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (13)

    • Sharona asks how Trudy could've afforded to attend such a wealthy school but when we meet her parents in "Mr. Monk and the Game Show", it's obvious she's rich.

    • When Monk is reiterating the sequence of events of Philby's murder to him, he claims that Philby killed Beth before and a flashback is shown of Philby clocking her over the head. The mark on her head would definitely be visible and the police would have noticed this and come to the conclusion that is was the cause of her death.

    • The fireman guessed that the groundskeeper came in and tried to relight the fire in the fireplace. The groundskeeper's body would have been nowhere near the fireplace though since he was walking into a different room.

    • When the groundskeeper entered his home, he would have smelled the abundance of natural gas. He certainly may have been stupid enough not to get out of the house, but in the episode, he didn't seem to notice the smell at all.

    • Monk had only introduced himself and stated what they would be reading when he got pelted with the eraser. Sharona came in and rescued him moments later. As soon as she was done yelling at the jerk who threw the eraser, the bell rang ending class...which is apparently only a minute or two long.

    • Sharona parks in a handicap spot and Monk questions her doing so. She says "I think we qualify". It doesn't matter it a person qualifies or not; without a handicap tag or license plate, parking in a handicap spot will get you towed or ticketed at the least.

    • Derek states that his wife got about a 1680 on the SATs. The highest you can get on the SAT is 1600.

    • When Monk is discussing the 'suicide' note, he mistakenly corrects "To whomever I may have hurt" to "whoever". In fact, since it is the direct object of the verb "to hurt", the original "whomever" is correct.

    • After asking Sharona for separate plates to avoid his food items touching each other, Monk is very careless while separating his meal. You can even see a piece of potato falling on his carrot plate.

    • When Monk wants to seperate his potatoes and carrots he puts a potato on the carrot plate without becoming obsessed with it being on the wrong plate.

    • "QED, Quod Erat Demonstrandum" is used to show completion after a mathematical proof. It means "that which had to have been proven," not "thus it is proved."

    • When Monk is writing "Mr. Monk" on the board, he has a piece of chalk in his right hand. When one of the boys throws something white at his neck, Monk is holding an eraser in his hand instead of the chalk. Additionally, why would one of the students have an eraser at their seat in the first place?

    • When the groundskeeper first approaches Derek Philby about what he saw, he says: "I have an ethical question for ya. Yesterday I was talking to that policeman, Mr. Monk. . . and I lied to him." The SATs are given on Saturday so unless these students go to school on Sunday, this statement is obviously incorrect.

  • QUOTES (27)

  • NOTES (4)

    • With this episode, the set for the police station is different.

    • Look closely: In the cafeteria, there is a sign that says "Kold Milk."

    • Fans can't fail to notice an even more conspicuous change. The opening credits now contain scenes from last season's episodes mixed with glimpses of the new season, and the familiar Monk theme by Jeff Beal has been replaced by Randy Newman's "It's a Jungle Out There."

    • Kane Ritchotte, who played Benjy in the series pilot, returns to the role after being replaced by Max Morrow for the first season. Presumably the juggling of child actors has to do with production being moved from Toronto to Los Angeles. Kane is American; Max is Canadian.


    • Nick Patterson: Expect me when you least expect me!
      Actor David Rasche, who plays irate father Nick Patterson, also played Sledge Hammer on the TV show of the same name. The character, a parody of Dirty Harry, tended to solve problems with gratuitous violence and mouth inanities like the one above that no one could understand, either.