Season 3 Episode 14

Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 18, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
458 votes

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Episode Summary

Stottlemeyer is in Las Vegas and drunkenly figures out how a wealthy casino owner secretly murdered, but calls in the Monk the next day when he can't remember how he solved the murder.

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  • Mr. Monk Meets/Becomes Rain Man

    Monk even dresses like Dustin Hoffman a little when he spiffies up for Vegas, but at least they referred to the fact that Monk was doing the "Rain Man thing" as it were.

    This seemed to be the first episode since the hiatus to really click. For one thing, we had a murderer worthy of Monk and the writers remembered that it's a good thing to have a sinister smart murderer that Monk can trade jibes with. Brolin seemed a little over the top in spots, which made him seem a bit ineffectual in spots. Like at the end, when he's talking like he'll be out of jail in a day, when clearly he isn't. In real life he probably would be. And why, given all the time, didn't he clean up the evidence in the elevator shaft? He owns the building, for pete's sake!

    But we still had the Monk/Thorne standoffs and a decent murderer - the episodes since the hiatus have been a mixed bag. Even before. And why are most of the killers brunettes, anyway? A lot of them seem to blend together after a while, so at least Brolin with his silver-white mane was distinctive.

    This was also a good episode for Natalie - probably the best since she appeared. This wasn't an "issue" episode for her - she wasn't introduced, we didn't have to see how her and Monk disagree about money but she inevitably comes back (in Cobra), and she doesn't have to find out Monk likes her (in Traffic). We find out a bit of backstory with her on her gambling problem, but it's not over-done and it's clear here she and Monk are more of a functioning partnership.

    She also contributes to the solution to the mystery. I wouldn't agree that Sharona never did such a thing (and I didn't really like the "I'm sure she is (a victim)" line), but her people skills and all did help out.

    Ted Levine gets a chance to shine as Stottlemeyer even if the fact he's smarter then Monk only when he's drunk seems a back-handed compliment. But yes, he gets to sing, dance, and "show his tush" if you like that kind of thing.

    I'd say Disher is back to being a buffoon, except he really hasn't stopped being one in a while. Again, one has to wonder how he functions as a cop. He was basically here to provide a B plot and to affirm that the others can team together to protect him - Stottlemeyer even refers to him as a "good friend" although even three seasons in, it's not entirely clear why.

    Tony Shalhoub gives a nice steady performance - nothing overbaord and some more subtle stuff. Not every episode has to give us a new "reveal" on Monk, his history, or his problems.

    The mystery was fairly good, and the denouement - another "let's play with the "how he done it" reveal" was clever - explaining the solution in the middle of a fast-paced game of blackjack. One wonders if they're ever gonig to do a "normal" reveal anymore.

    The one gripe was that like with "..."Game Show," one gets the impression the writers/producers aren't too familiar with their subject matter. What Monk is doing doesn't seem to be memorization - at least, not unless the dealer was obliging enough to show him all the cards. There seems to be no indication Monk could have seen the cards on the first round when he helps Randy. And if he states out loud he's memorizing them, why show them to him again (when Throne shows up and calls for the 10 decks)?

    Also, why do Disher and Stottlemeyer get to take the chips at the end? No casino would let you do that after accusing you of cheating.

    Overall, though, I found "Vegas" to be the best episode of the five in the current "half-season." Well-written murder, interesting murderer, good acting by all the actors.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • In "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room", we learn that Monk is unable to speak to someone unless is looking at them. Here, he cannot bring himself to look at Miss Telenko, yet speaks very directly to her.

    • Sheryl Thorn is murdered on May 2. However, in "Medicine," Sharona informed Monk that Mardi Gras wasn't for another nine months, meaning that "Medicine" is set in May. If Monk has been on his own for three months at the beginning of "Red Herring," this time frame is impossible, unless the "Vegas" episode takes place in May 2005, three months after it first aired on February 18, 2005.

    • Monk adamantly claimed that he didn't gamble (and was extremely hesitant to do so, even under extenuating circumstances), but in "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan," he nonchalantly wagered money in a three-card monte game (not realizing that the dealer was crooked, of course).

    • Monk's initial assumption of murder was based on the way the victim touched the fingerprint pad (upside down and not completely vertical). He consider that "abnormal." But it's possible (and logical) that the victim extended her right arm when facing the elevator back panel (with her back to the door) to do it.

    • When Natalie and Adrian enter the room where all of the SFPD guys are sleeping off the party, you see a low-top, gray and black cross-trainer sneaker beside the chaise lounge where Lt. Disher is sleeping. The next shot from this angle shows a white, high-top sneaker in the same place.

  • QUOTES (25)

  • NOTES (4)

    • The casino set featured in this episode is the Montecito, which is used as the home base of the fellow NBC/Universal series Las Vegas.

    • Eric Gelman, an aspiring actor who played a paparazzi photographer in this episode and "First Paparazzi" in "Mr. Monk and the TV Star," was fatally stabbed on April 17 on his way home from his job at the Marmalade Cafe in Los Angeles. He was 32.

    • If you enjoy watching Stottlemeyer get drunk, check out Ted Levine's performance in Ellen Foster (where he drives like a maniac and manages to fall upstairs) and Harlan County War (in which he does a jig, sings "Shady Grove," passes out, and wakes up to find Holly Hunter pouring cold water on his head). The classic TV Series Crime Story features a drunken Frank Holman (Ted) in at least one episode ("The St. Louis Book of Blues"). And he sings (Elvis-style rock) in several episodes.

    • James Brolin is billed as Special Guest Star in this episode.


    • Daniel Thorn: Two million here, four million there, and pretty soon you're talking real money.
      This is a variant on a phrase attributed to former U.S. Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money."

    • Louis the Bellboy: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
      From a Las Vegas commercial. This slogan implies that all the wild things that go on in Vegas will be kept secret.