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Season 1 Episode 4

Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jul 26, 2002 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
284 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A murdered judge's 911 call to the police identifies her killer... an obscenely fat financier who has an iron-clad alibi: he can't get up from his bed.

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  • More necessary setup for the 'Monk' series. A unique villain is introduced.

    Again, we're still setting up the story, but Adam Arkin does a fair job at portraying the loathsome, 800-pound Dale Beiderbeck, who proves to be a slimy, slippery adversary for our heroic detective. However, it must be noted that Adam Arkin is quite overshadowed once his role is taken over by Tim Curry in "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail".

    A nice scene involving a game with Benjy, where he asks Monk which color to pick: "Yellow, Green, Red, Blue?" (which, ironically, is the same order of the switch palaces encountered in the videogame "Super Mario World", gamers might notice. Maybe Benjy is a fan?), and of course, a touching end scene on a lovely railing overlooking the ocean, as Monk explains that 'Bread and butter' were Trudy's last words before she died.

    Good overall.moreless
  • It's over when the fat guy confesses...

    Adam Arkin takes center stage here, literally and figuratively, so it seems a good time to look at the nature of the villains in Monk. You seem to have three types:

    1) The villain we don't know about. When the identity of the killer is a mystery, then you don't really get to see much of them or how they play off of Monk.

    2) The good-hearted killer. We don't get many of these ("Red-Headed Stranger" and maybe "Very, Very Old Man.")

    3) And the killer who is the mainstay of this show to date - the egotistical ruthless bad guy.

    Dale Biederbeck is #3 in spades. He's both physically and morally repulsive to the point of parody. We've had a few overweight intellectual detectives (Mycroft Holmes, Nero Wolfe, Frank Cannon) but not so many villains - Kasper Gutman in The Maltese Falcon comes to mind. However, Biederbeck isn't nearly so erudite and again he comes across as a parody more then anything. The fact that Adam Arkin goes so overboard no doubt turns off some viewers but as a one-off (most of the #3 killers are a bit more subtle in later episodes) it works okay here.

    One reason for Biederbeck working as a villain here is because he's so overboard it allows Monk to actually get in some repartee - his "shopping mall" line in particular is a favorite. It's pretty rare that the Monk killer gets in some snappy dialogue but Biederbeck gets some good lines as well. The hints that Biederbeck knows more about Monk's wife's death then he's saying are also intriguing, but ultimiately it doesn't look like this is going to go anywhere (as of the first half of the second season as of this writing, at any rate).

    Writer Andy Breckman is all over place story-wise - he did this and "Red-Haired Stranger," which are pretty much at opposite ends of the subtlety scale. Breckman soloed on this one, so maybe Tom Scharpling had a restraining influence on him in "Stranger"? (And what's up with Breckman not doing any second season episodes?)

    The mystery itself is interesting - it's a "How'd he do it?" rather then a "Whodunnit?" and it plays fair with the audience. The clues are there, and in fact it might even be a bit too obvious.

    On to the regulars: Tony Shalhoub is fine form here, since as noted above Biederbeck is a villain truly worthy of him. Dale can strike at Monk financially and emotionally, but Adrian weathers it all. He gets some nice family moments with Sharona and Benjy (the Clue bit is hilarious). The only drawnout annoying moment is the lemonade scene, which I _really_ hate. It's one of those instances where they drag out a Monk OCD scene way too long, and for no real purpose.

    Sharona contributes a bit with her efforts to get close to Dale (and her subsequent reaction), but neither her or the other two regulars really do a whole lot here. We do get to see Jason Gray-Stanford display a flair for physical comedy and a bit of love/hate repartee with Sharona.

    Overall, while this isn't a terribly complex episode in plot or characterization in comparison to many episodes, it does give us a grand villain to effectively contrast Tony Shalhoub against and thus works pretty well on its own terms.moreless
  • Perhaps i shouldn't expect too much from the 3rd episode but this one just falls short.

    The police get a 911 call from the house where a judge named Catherine Lavinio claims there is someone in the house. She says it's Dale Biederbeck. There are screams and then nothing else. The police are baffled because Dale "The Whale" (played by Adam Arkin) is an 800 pound man who hasn't left his bed in about 11 years. Dale had a case which he lost and held a grudge against the judge of the case, who was the woman murdered. Dale is the prime suspect, but could not have done the murder. The police, once again call on former detective Adrian Monk.

    The plot is a perfect basis for a muder mystery with the "How?" question proving the most effective for keeping the audience entertained and guessing but the big revelation for this episode falls a little short; for one thing it's made a little obvious who the killer was and after the second viewing you kick yourself for not realising the dramatic irony (the fact that we, the audience knew more about what was happening than Monk but he solved the case first.) Although praise goes to the writer Andy Breckman who builds and sustains curiousity very swiftly. The sub - plot of Dale taunting Monk about how he took them to court which caused them to lose it all and how he drove Monk's late wife into depression was a little more heart-rending than perhaps intended especially when this is coupled with Monk's mournful gaze and his repressed but obvious suffering. Adam Arkin is an OK bad guy; he nails the slyly nasty attitude and even slips into the fat suit convincingly but his immense girth adds an unwanted sense of satire to the villain which makes him more of a comic relief element.

    Ted Levine as the Captain and Jason Gray - Stanford as Randy Disher aren't given much to do and basically coast through the parts they have. Monk and Sharona are pretty much the main players and apart from the game of Clue; none of their scenes are that memorable and some of them like the Lemonade Stand skit is just pointless.

    The first season is known for being very sombre and it's especially evident in this episode with the looming shadows, murky camera work, close - ups and glum performances and for the most part it works fine but i think the comedic turnaround in Season 2 was a blessing (and a curse, ha ha). This episode isn't bad at all but i expect a bit more from such talented writers and actors.moreless
  • this was a good ep that shed more light on his wifes death

    this ep was a good one that focused on a man by the name of dan the whale who is a really fat man that the police are investgating becasue his name was giving during the 911 call. monk must figure it out and monk can he deal with getting phone calls from him about the last words of his wife bread and butter. this was a good ep i thought and very interesting ending. and it has some funny scenes in the show and you get more light shed on him and his wife and whats there history with dan the whale.moreless
Adam Arkin

Adam Arkin

Dale Biederbeck

Guest Star

Juan Chioran

Juan Chioran

Dr. Vezza

Guest Star

Quancetia Hamilton

Quancetia Hamilton

2nd Dispatcher

Guest Star

Max Morrow

Max Morrow

Benjy Fleming

Recurring Role

Stanley Kamel

Stanley Kamel

Dr. Charles Kroger

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • In this episode Monk willingly goes in the lift but later on we find out that he has a fear of lifts.

    • After examining the footprints left by the perpetrator, Monk simply concludes that they are "big." But the depth of a footprint is an excellent indicator of weight.

    • When Stottlemeyer and Disher are in the office trying to figure out how Dale could have committed the crime, the overhead lights are down low and there is a lamp on (which would mean that it was night), but the overhead lights outside Stottlemeyer's office are on full brightness.

    • It seems odd that Monk just blurts out to the two lemonade girls what his psychological condition is. It sets up the running lemonade gag but otherwise it's rather awkward.

    • In the game of Clue, only the guesser is supposed to look at the answer cards.

    • If Dr. Vezza was conceived during the blackout of (November) 1965, he would turn 36, not 37, in 2002. Maybe the writers forgot about the nine months between conception and birth?

    • This episode is chiefly an amusing riff on Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe: what if the fat genius had been evil? Unfortunately, since there is really only one other character (other than the regulars cast members), it's not too difficult to figure out who the actual culprit is.

    • Why does Monk go on the elevator if he is afraid to? He gives us a list in "Mr. Monk and the Very, Very Old Man" and elevators are on it.

    • When Disher talks about sending Sharona undercover, he asks, "You still have your license, don't you?" He doesn't seem to be trying to insult her or imply she's a lousy nurse, but the whole point of her hanging around Monk at all those crime scenes is that she's his nurse. It just seems odd that Disher would wonder if she has her license.

    • Given Dale's smarts and legal expertise, it seems unlikely that he will be convicted even if Vezza turns state's evidence. Unless he was foolish enough to leave some evidence that he was blackmailing Vezza, it'll be pretty hard to make a case. Will Dale return in a future episode as a free man, perhaps?

    • Why does Monk go to the judge's office with Disher? Monk says in the previous scene that they can't make a case. And he doesn't try to convince the judge they have a case. So. . .why is he there?

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Monk: If Biederbeck is too big to get out of the room, how did he get in there in the first place? He's like a ship in a bottle.

    • Monk: These two chairs are from the judge's house, one of them, the killer stood on to turn off the smoke alarm. But there's a problem with that chair, it isn't broken. A witness saw and I quote, a very very fat man stand on the chair. Sergeant Cargill, how much do you weigh?
      Sgt. Cargill: Two sixty-five.
      Monk: Will you stand on the chair please? (Sgt. Cargill puts one foot on the chair and breaks it) So how could a very very fat man stand on the chair and not break it? If he were fat, but not heavy.

    • Stottlemeyer: You killed a child five years ago.
      Vezza: Accident.
      Stottlemeyer: While performing surgery, you were so doped up you couldn't see what you were doing.
      Vezza: Accident.
      Stottlemeyer: You were charged with manslaughter, facing 15 years minimum, you jumped bail before you could be convicted.

    • Dale: If you screw with me, I'll eat your heart on a stick.

    • Disher: What about liposuction?
      Stottlemeyer: What?
      Disher: Liposuction. Yeah. He--he lipoed himself down to--I don't know--like four hundred pounds. Down the elevator. Crossed town. Killed the judge.
      Stottlemeyer: (playing along) Well, how did he gain all the weight back?
      Disher: (Pause) Reverse liposuction?
      Stottlemeyer: Let's keep our reverse-liposuction theory to ourselves. Okay, Randy?

    • Vezza: Biederbeck, you're an abomination. An odious, gluttonous, putrid freak of nature.
      Dale: Wow, it's been a long time since anyone called me that.

    • Benjy: (about Monk) Can I take him to school? Like, for show-and-tell?

    • Sharona: (to Monk) We really have to work on our not-embarrassing-Sharona skills.

    • Dale: There's not a prison in the country that can hold me.
      Monk: There are very few shopping malls that can hold you. But nonetheless, we're going to give it a try.

    • Sharona: (trying to get Stottlemeyer to initial a contract) I'm trying to take care of business first.
      Lt. Disher: Bet that's not the first time you've said that.
      Sharona: Bite me.

    • Sharona: Do you know who asked me out? I'll give you a hint. He's a doctor.
      Monk: Kevorkian?
      Sharona: Very funny.

    • Dispatcher: Does he have a weapon?
      Judge Lavinio: He doesn't need a weapon. He's Dale Biederbeck!

    • Sharona: This is what normal people do on a Sunday morning. They hang out, they relax, they eat brunch. They don't sit at home and get back in their room forty times.
      Benjy: Mom, we're not exactly normal.
      Sharona: (looks at Monk) We are compared to some people.

    • Sharona: Don't you ever wonder why you don't get invited anywhere?
      Monk: No, not really. . . .

    • Sharona: Adrian, can I ask you something? And if it's none of my business, I'll shut up.
      Monk: I doubt it.

    • Sharona: If you were wondering, he's really that fat. He's Orca! He's horrific!

    • Dale: The Internet, Monk. It's the fat man's best friend.

    • Monk: Go to hell.
      Dale: No doubt I will. I just hope it's handicap-accessible.

  • NOTES (2)