Season 3 Episode 11

Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 28, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
465 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Monk investigates the murder of an author who wrote a critical biography of a famous deceased martial arts movie star, Sonny Chow. The evidence present at the scene makes it appear that Chow is still alive and murdered the man who maligned him.

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  • Mr. Monk Meditates on some issues...

    Well, another week, another episode. I found the first 45 minutes rather ho-hum. The talented Harry Groener is wasted in a "guest victim" role and killed before the opening credits.

    Then we get...Natalie and Monk arguing over money. Honestly, this one seemed a bit...offensive. It starts with Monk acting like a jerk, even if we get an explanation of sorts later. So Monk's s stingy miserly type. Ugh. And are we supposed to believe he treated Sharona, a single mom trying to raise a kid, the same way?It's also a rehash of when Monk and Sharona used to argue over money and her getting paid. Way to differentiate the new girl, guys. Anyone want to bet we'll have to see one of Natalie's dates with some loser blind dates in a few episodes?

    Also...well, Natalie caves on answering the phone. And comes back later at the mortuary. Way to build her up as as a strong-willed woman.

    The martial arts angle wasn't bad, and it gave us a chance to see Mako, who's always a pleasure to watch. Even if you want to slap the character up side the head when he tells Natalie to suck it up. Any similarities between "Sonny Chow" and Bruce Lee are purely coincidental, no doubt. :) The barefoot gag went on a bit too long. And hey, I just watched a Spongebob episode where Spongebob is so annoying with his delaying and persistence and all that he drives somebody to screaming distraction - hmmm, seems familiar.

    Once again, there's not much of a mystery to the mystery. We only get one suspect. The crime is fairly sneaky and well thought out - getting the police to do your dirty work, so to speak.

    Stottlemeyer and Disher are back to stern cop and buffoon, respectively. The one effort to give Stottlemeyer a "moment" when he talks about Atlanta and the ex-FBI agent seemed to go nowhere. Give these guys something substantial to do - they deserve better than this.

    So the plot kind meanders on to a rare bit when Monk is actually in danger. The producers/writers crank the general violence up another notch. And I suspect Monk or anyone else wouldn't be waking up from a shovel to the head quite that fast...or at all. Can you say "concussion," boys and girls?

    At least the last segment livens up a bit. Stottlemeyer and Disher get to show some concern, even if the "bad guy has a heart attack" thing seems like a contrivance. And Monk has his hallucination/vision/ghostly visitation. I don't find Melora Hardin particularly offensive as Trudy and let's face it - it's a thankless role playing a saintly dead woman/hallucination. It does give us a bit more insight into Monk's psyche and his feelings on children.

    And at the end, we get the payoff on Monk not paying Natalie's expenses by closing Trudy's old office. So yay, Natalie has saved the day and done what Sharona couldn't do (or even find out about) in 2-1/2 years. Huzzah.

    Generally the writers and producers need to pump up the mysteries a bit - they're starting to get repetitive. Also, for the moment, I wish they'd decide whether they want to make Natalie her own woman, or rehash old Sharona plots. Guess we'll see.moreless
  • One of my favorite episodes!

    Mr Monk and The Cobra... a fantastic episode, where in my opinion, Monk breaks away, and Natalie has a great opportunity to shine. It was an interesting episode, but in a way a little bit sad/depressing. You had the opportunity to learn a little bit more about Monk and a little bit more about Trudy. The plot was okay, but it was the initial episode that struck me as "different" It was a little bit predictable because you knew, at the end of it all, that nothing could ever happen to Monk because then, there would be no show! But, overall A+ episode.moreless
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



Master Zee

Guest Star

Harry Groener

Harry Groener

John Ricca

Guest Star

Patrick Fischler

Patrick Fischler


Guest Star

Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • How did Monk light the match in the coffin, since it was lined with fabric? He could have lit it if it was a white phosphorous-based match, but the productions of those were made illegal in 1901.

    • Monk says that he's never seen his feet., and yet, at some point in "Mr. Monk Gets Fired," he's dancing barefoot in front of Sharona. Did he not look at his feet then? How'd he get his socks off?

    • Natalie says that Trudy has been dead for nine years and Monk confirms this figure, but Trudy died in 1997 and the episode was filmed in 2004, so the correct figure would be seven years.

    • Monk is hit on the head with a shovel, yet we never see a single mark on him.

    • When Monk is adjusting the cinder block that's about to be smashed, he doesn't truly get it centered. And in the next scene, the block has moved an inch or two from its previous position.

    • Near the end of the episode, the wax from Monk's candle has dripped all over his hand. The camera turns to Stottlemeyer then returns to Monk, who is now holding a less-melted candle, and the candle wax on his hand has disappeared.

    • In this day and age, digging frantically for bodies in a huge graveyard is completely impractical. In situations like these, heat sensors can be used to detect body heat. (Such a device was used in the third episode of CSI).

  • QUOTES (24)

    • Stottlemeyer: We figure [Monk's] got about forty minutes of air if he's not panicked. (Pause.) Figure on fifteen minutes.

    • Natalie: I hope the crime scene's within walking distance because I'm not driving him.

    • Monk: Here's the thing. I'm a little--shy. I never--I never go barefoot.
      Natalie: It's true. I've never seen his feet.
      Monk: I've never seen my feet. I might have eighteen toes.

    • First Disciple: Wei Ling hasn't spoken in nine years. A vow of silence. He is cleansing his soul.
      Natalie: (to Monk) You should give that a shot.

    • Stottlemeyer: If I go public with this and I'm wrong, I'm going to wind up at the airport picking up cops who still have jobs.

    • Stottlemeyer: It's Sonny Chow's hair. No question about it. He's been dead for six years, and he's my primary suspect.

    • Stottlemeyer: What are you doing?
      Monk: Oh, nothing. I'm just polishing the lightbulbs.

    • Disher: (seeing the letters OW written in blood beside the corpse's hand) "Ow"? Why would anybody write "ow"? Usually that's something you'd say.

    • Natalie: (as Monk puts a small coin in the jar) It says five dollars.
      Monk: Suggested donation. Considered their suggestion. Appreciate their suggestion. Decided to give less.

    • Monk: (as Natalie is leaving) I'm about to solve the case. Aren't you interested?
      Perp: (sneaking up behind Monk) I'm interested. (Knocks Monk out with a shovel.)

    • Stottlemeyer: (referring to Chow's exhumation) Well, that was the opposite of fun.

    • Monk: (to Natalie) That came from the coffin? That's a death pillow? You hit me with a death pillow? Give me a wipe!

    • Natalie: Mr. Monk, this is not in my job description.
      Monk: (looking at pickled organs in jars) Oh, that's okay. I'm fine. What a beautiful pancreas.

    • Stottlemeyer: (looking into the coffin) Hey, you're the expert. Is it him or not?
      Disher: It's just hard to say. Sonny had a lot more hair. (Pause.) And skin.

    • Natalie: (looking at the unconscious Monk) He's smiling?
      Stottlemeyer: I've never seen him look happier.

    • Monk: Has the master ever heard of athlete's foot?

    • Wei Ling: (frustrated with Monk) Jesus Christ, would you just take off your shoes!
      First Disciple: Wei Ling, you have spoken! You must begin again.
      Wei Ling: Oh, forget it.

    • Master Zee: A great sorrow has entered this room.
      Monk: That would be me.

    • Master Zee: (giving Monk a candle) Light is your weapon, Mr. Monk. Be the light.

    • Natalie: We'll ask the wizard what he thinks.

    • Master Zee: (to Natalie) This man is your employer, your master. It is your job to serve him unquestioningly. (To Monk) I would not pay this woman any more money. You must teach her that wealth is in the heart, not in the bank.
      Monk: (to Natalie) It's not in the bank.

    • Monk: (entering empty museum with Natalie) Looks like we missed the crowd.

    • Natalie: Don't you understand? If Sonny Chow is alive, he's murdered at least two people.
      Disher: Uh huh.
      Natalie: You'd have to arrest him.
      Disher: I'd get to meet him.
      Natalie: He might try to kill you.
      Disher: You think so? Wow. That would be so cool! Sonny Chow!

    • Monk: You want to be careful with that [the coffin].
      Chris Downey: I've been doing this job since I was eighteen years old. I think I know what I'm doing, right? I don't go down to the station house and tell you how to beat a confession out of some kid.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Oddly, the actor who plays Sonny Chow ("the Cobra") does not appear in the credits either onscreen or at the official site despite appearing (in imaginary archive footage) in the opening segment and (as a corpse) in Monk's reprise of the murder of John Ricci.

    • Kathleen Mary Carthy, who plays the medical examiner, played a similar role (a field tech) in "Employee of the Month." (Her last name is misspelled as "Carty" on the official site.)

    • Mako (Master Zee) is billed as Special Guest Star.

    • The blackened weapon hanging on the wall of the temple resembles a Klingon weapon, which, in turn, was based on an Oriental sword.


    • Poster
      Just before Monk and Natalie leave the Chow museum there is a brief shot with a poster for a martial arts film called Enter the Cobra, starring Chow. This is a reference to Bruce Lee's classic, Enter the Dragon (Warner Bros., 1973). Lee died in Hong Kong three weeks before the release.