Mr. Monk and the Candidate

Mr. Monk and the Candidate
"Mr. Monk and the Candidate"
Monk episode
Monk - Mr. Monk and the Candidate.jpg
"Excuse me" - Monk's fear of heights allows Ian Sykes on the left to slip past him on a ladder while escaping from the police.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1-2
Directed by Dean Parisot
Written by Andy Breckman
Original air date July 12, 2002
Guest stars

Michael Hogan as Warren St. Claire
Michelle Addison as Nicole Vasques
Ben Bass as Gavin Lloyd
Fred Ewanuick as Jake
Vincent Gale as Jesse Goodman
Dion Johnstone as Lt. Gitomer
Stanley Kamel as Charles Kroger
Rob LaBelle as Sheldon Burger
Gail O'Grady as Miranda St. Claire
Shawn Reis as Ian Sykes
Kane Ritchotte as Benjy Fleming
Stellina Rusich as Trudy Monk
John Sampson as Jason Rondstadt
Chris Shyer as Carl

Season 1 episodes
July 2002 – October 2002
  1. "Mr. Monk and the Candidate" (Part One)
  2. "Mr. Monk and the Candidate" (Part Two)
  3. "Mr. Monk and the Psychic"
  4. "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale"
  5. "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival"
  6. "Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum"
  7. "Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger"
  8. "Mr. Monk and the Other Woman
  9. "Mr. Monk and the Marathon Man
  10. "Mr. Monk Takes a Vacation
  11. "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake"
  12. "Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger"
  13. "Mr. Monk and the Airplane"
Episode chronology
← Previous
Next →
"Mr. Monk and the Psychic"
Monk (season 1)
List of Monk episodes

"Mr. Monk and the Candidate" is the 90-minute pilot episode of the TV series Monk on the USA Network.

During the Monk Cast Favorites Marathon, the episode was listed as one of Traylor Howard's favorites. It was also featured on the Best of Monk DVD.



In an apartment in Santa Clara, private consultant Adrian Monk is inspecting a murder scene while the police look on. The first thing he notices is… whether he turned off his stove at home. His nurse and personal assistant, Sharona Fleming, assures him that she checked. The local police lieutenant notes that they have what appears to be a burglary gone bad, but Monk explains that the murderer made it seem that way. The killer was there for at least an hour, smoking menthols. Monk has trouble concentrating, however, because he thinks he smells gas from his oven at home. When Sharona gets him to focus, Monk explains that the killer stabbed the victim, Nicole Vasques, to death, and then searched for something. He keeps worrying about his stove and Sharona finally pulls him aside to remind him he's a private consultant but he won't get reinstated as a police detective if he doesn't focus. Monk then explains that the killer searched Nicole's computer and wiped the keyboard clean, and he can tell from the fact that the computer chair was lowered, the killer was 6'3". However, Monk then runs off to check the gas.

Later, Monk flosses incessantly and chooses his clothing from sealed baggies, and then goes to see his psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Kroger. Monk's new motto is "Go with the flow," and Dr. Kroger confirms that a friend of Monk's called him in as a consultant to investigate the Vasques murder. Monk says that it feels like old times, but Dr. Kroger can't help but notice he's obsessed with the pillows. He asks if Monk is ready to go back on the force and Monk insists he is. Monk asks if Kroger thinks he's ready and asks if he's dreaming about Trudy, who he was married to for seven years before she died. Monk finally goes over and adjusts the pillow, and the flowers.

Elsewhere, a man disguised as a painter enters an apartment building, sets up in an empty apartment, and takes out a sniper rifle. He goes to the window, wraps the blind cord around the barrel of his gun, and prepares to shoot at Warren St. Claire (Michael Hogan), who is giving a speech announcing his run for Mayor. While Warren's wife Miranda looks on, his assistant organizer Gavin Lloyd prepares to release the balloons. He then comes over and assures a bored Miranda that he's going to take Warren all the way to the White House, but Miranda isn't impressed. Warren calls Miranda up to the stage as the crowd cheers. Suddenly, shots ring out and Jason Ronstadt, one of the bodyguards, goes down. As the crowd panics, Gavin points out the killer in the window and the police move in.

It is later learned that the bodyguard died at the hospital. The incumbent mayor and Deputy Mayor Sheldon Burger instruct Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) to bring Monk in on the case, and reluctantly, he does. This is also much to the dismay of Stottlemeyer's sidekick, Lieutenant Randy Disher [1](Jason Gray-Stanford), who seems to regard Monk as a joke.

Sharona drives a panicky Monk to the crime scene, and insists that this is the case that could put him back on the force. Stottlemeyer welcomes Monk with a handshake, and Sharona promptly hands her boss a wipe. They take Monk to see Warren, and Stottlemeyer warns that Monk is an observer only and he can't say anything. The captain admits that he had to take Monk's badge three years ago, and wants to see him back. However, he's sure that Monk isn't ready. However, as Stottlemeyer walks away, Monk assures him that he'll work things out with his wife Karen. When Stottlemeyer insists that they're fine, Monk not-so-convincingly says he's glad to be wrong. Stottlemeyer talks to him privately and asks how he figured out his deduction. Monk explains the three things he noticed and suggests Stottlemeyer send him some flowers. Irritated, Stottlemeyer reminds him not to talk.

Stottlemeyer and the others meet with Warren, Miranda, Gavin, and Warren's backer Jesse Goodman. Monk immediately starts straightening out the pins on the precinct map. When Gavin tries to stop him, the pins go everywhere and Monk offers to put them back where they were. While he does, Miranda wonders what Monk's problem is and Sharona explains that he was discharged for anxiety disorder brought on by the death of Monk's wife Trudy in a car bombing. Monk finishes his work and puts every pin back exactly where they were, and then asks to see the scene of the shooting.

Monk goes over the under-renovation apartment and notices that the asassin used the drawstring of the window blinds to steady his shot. Monk recognizes it as a tactic in the field manual of the Green Beret Special Forces. He has Stottlemeyer recreate the scene and realizes the killer was taller, and the same height as the killer in the Santa Clara killing. Monk insists that it's significant and suggests the same killer was involved in both deaths. He also notes that both killers smoked the same cigarettes and wore slippers. However, Monk is briefly overcome by his fear of heights.

Monk and Sharona go to Warren's campaign headquarters and meet with Jake, one of the workers. They ask about Nicole Vasques but they find that there's no record of her in the computers. Monk gives Jake his card and tells him to call if he finds out anything. Jake puts Monk's card in his hat and assures him he'll get back to him.

Next, Sharona and Monk go to Jason Ronstadt's funeral where Warren gives a touching funeral speech. Sharona thinks that Warren did it to get publicity, while Monk insists that this case is connected to the Santa Clara murder. He starts looking for his keys and begins to panic. He takes off his coat and finds them, but then drops them into Jason's coffin. He tells Sharona that the key chain was Trudy's and rigs a hook out of a paper clip and dental floss. He tries to snag the key chain but ends up hooking Jason's arm and dragging it up into the air, freaking out the crowd. Afterward, Miranda is upset but Warren takes it in good humor. He sends Miranda home but she complains about Monk's idiosyncrasies. Monk asks her if she knew Nicole Vasques, and then asks Warren the same thing. Miranda tells him that if her husband is elected mayor, Monk will never work in the town again. She goes off with Jesse. As Monk leaves with Sharona, she notes that Miranda is worth $150 million. Monk looks back and sees Jesse and Miranda very close together in her limo.

At the station, Stottlemeyer informs Monk that Miranda complained about what happened. Disher reports that the bullets used in the death of Ronstadt were hollow-point and untraceable, and one of them was intact. The weapon was identified as a British long-range rifle preferred by mercenaries and terrorist groups. Monk asks them to cross-check the information against the Vasques case, but Stottlemeyer insists that there's no connection, but Monk refuses to drop the case and insists on following the money (something he claims he's always wanted to say).

Monk and Sharona go to a kindergarten room where Miranda is reading to the children as part of a publicity stunt. The children have colds and Monk gets increasingly nervous, and finally screams when a boy picks his nose. Afterward, Monk and Sharona talk to Miranda. She admits that her marriage was stressful, but she would have taken a bullet for her husband. Miranda also says she doesn't have any particular connection to Jesse. Monk clearly doesn't believe her and she angrily leaves.

Jake (Fred Ewanuick) calls Monk and informs him that he's discovered something, and says he'll drop it off at Monk's address. Gavin Lloyd is listening to the call, and Jake tells Lloyd it wasn't a personal call. As Jake drives his car, he stops at a traffic light. A man disguised as a window washer approaches his car and scrubs the window. When Jake reluctantly pays him, the man knocks him out, gets in the car, and drives off.

Later, Monk and Sharona go to the scene where Jake's car was driven off the road. Disher informs Stottlemeyer that it was apparently an accident, like Jake skidded off the road. Sharona calls down Monk's instructions to check Jake's hat where he kept his paperwork. The hat is gone and Stottlemeyer tells Monk to come on down. Monk refuses because he's not wearing the right shoes. Stottlemeyer comes up and Monk points out there are no skid marks on the road and it was no accident. He tells Stottlemeyer that Jake was killed near his house at the homeless shelter. Monk points out that the windshield is partially cleaned, and that homeless men sometimes wash windows. Sharona has an officer drive Monk home while she goes on a date. He points out that it's chicken pot pie night, but she tells him even her son Benjy could make chicken pot pie.

That night, Monk calls and asks Sharona's son Benjy how to make chicken pot pie. Sharona hangs up on Monk and goes on her date, Carl, and admits that it's the most excitement she's ever had.

At home, Monk is making chicken pot pie when he sees a newscast of the shooting, showing a tourist's homemade footage of the assassination attempt. He goes to find Sharona at the restaurant and tells her that something is wrong. Carl invites Monk to join them over Sharona's objections, but Monk soon picks apart his claims about his life. Sharona stalks off and Monk goes after her, but Sharona insists that she needs a normal life now and she can't handle being around him. She drives off and a lonely Monk goes home by himself.

That night, Monk works long into the evening, trying to figure out who killed his wife Trudy. Meanwhile, Disher calls Stottlemeyer to the garage to inform him that they found Jake's hat, and the address list. On it is Nicole Vasques' name. She was a part-time volunteer for the St. Claire campaign, but she quit two months earlier, which is why her name didn't come up. Stottlemeyer wonders how Monk does it, and Disher tries to encourage him. The captain thanks him, but tells him to get Monk. Disher tells him that Monk isn't home, and Sharona quit. Stottlemeyer realizes that Monk is alone in public.

Deputy Mayor Sheldon Burger goes to see Sharona and offers her anything if she'll go back to work for Monk and get him to solve the assassination attempt. She has Sheldon agree, but in return for one favor, no matter what she asks, and then goes to the cemetery where Trudy is buried. Monk is playing the clarinet over her grave. He thanks her for coming back, and she tells him that he was right about the connection between Jason Ronstadt and Nicole Vasques. As they go back to his apartment, Sharona adamantly refuses to tell him about what kind of dancing she did in Atlantic City.

At home, Monk considers the case and Sharona explains that Nicole was doing bookkeeping work and quit after seven weeks. Monk keeps rewatching the video of the shooting, and wonders why Gavin set it up in the heart of the financial district in the middle of the day. Sharona has learned that Gavin used to be a major organizer but the national parties won't touch him now because it was rumored he embezzled funds during a North Carolina senator's race.

Later, while Monk is walking down the street, he is nearly run down by someone in a car. Monk escapes, but in his OCD state he just can't resist touching and counting every single parking meter on the street.

Monk figures he's getting close to solving the mystery, and takes Sharona to see Gavin at St. Claire's headquarters. Gavin claims he doesn't remember Nicole Vasques despite the fact that someone did testify to having seen him talk to her before she left. Monk asks him why he set up the rally in the middle of the Financial District in the middle of the day, and starts going through his shredder bucket, putting the strips together. Gavin explains that they wanted to send a message, and notices that Monk has seen Miranda's name on a billing statement saying she flew to Chicago. Gavin takes the paper strips away and gently ushers Monk out.

Next, Monk goes to see Jesse Goodman at Warren's law firm. He points out that Jesse was out of town recently based on his nearby piece of luggage. Jesse claims he went to his family's cabin but Monk points out that no matter how lovely the cabin is, he set his wristwatch two hours ahead, showing that he went to Chicago (which is on Central Standard Time). He accuses Jesse of lying and spending his time with Miranda. Jesse closes the door and tells them in confidence that he and Miranda have been together twice. He admits he wanted to hurt Warren but didn't have him killed. Jesse stalks out and Sharona gets a call that Stottlemeyer has a lead.

As they go to an apartment, Stottlemeyer explains that the FBI has traced the rifle used to Ian Sykes, an ex-Green Beret, and his height matches Monk's description of the killer. The captain has Monk and Sharona wait below while they break into the apartment. Ian Sykes is there… but he's in a wheelchair. He admits he bought a scope for a weapon matching Monk's description, but he bought it for his father's hunting rifle. Stottlemeyer apologizes and leaves, and outside Monk points out that the captain's shoes are scuffed up. Stottlemeyer doesn't see the point… until Monk points out Sykes' shoes were also scuffed up. The captain has Sharona get Monk off to the side while he calls in a SWAT team.

Sharona needs to find a phone to check on Benjy. She leaves and Monk spots Sykes climbing down the back fire escape and escaping across the roofs. Monk is unable to get the police officers' attention and chases after Sykes himself. He reluctantly climbs up a ladder after Sykes, but freezes halfway up, when his fear of heights gets the better of him, as Sykes escapes.

An unhappy Stottlemeyer talks to Monk later, and Monk realizes that Sykes didn't recognize him, which means he wasn't the driver who tried to run him down earlier. Stottlemeyer points out that Monk can't get his badge back as long as he's afraid of heights. He tells Monk that he's off the case but Monk points out it's about the two of them. Stottlemeyer insists it's nothing personal but warns that he's going to the mayor to get Monk off the case permanently.

Forlorn, Monk returns to looking over the evidence of his wife Trudy's (Stellina Ruisch) murder. Sharona and her son Benjy (Kane Ritchotte[2]) find him in the parking garage where her car was bombed. When Benjy crashes his skateboard in the garage, and Sharona yells at him, Monk hears the echo of their voices, and solves the case. However, he remembers that he is persona non grata with the police and the city, so Sharona calls in her favor with Burger to get them to listen to Monk.

Monk then has everyone assemble at the rally platform the next day, and explains that Jason Ronstadt was the intended target of the assassination all along. He believes that Jason knew too much, and turns to Gavin to accuse him of embezzlement. Gavin denies it but Monk explains what happened.

Here's What Happened

While she was working for the campaign, Nicole Vasques was going over the books and noticed discrepancies. She approached Gavin, who promised to look into it, and he knew someone had found that he was embezzling money. When he was confronted and discovered he could not buy her off, Lloyd unsuccessfully tried to hire Jason Ronstadt, the bodyguard, to kill her. As Monk observes wryly, it must have agitated Gavin to no end to be surrounded by honest people. He found an assassin, Ian Sykes, and hired him to kill Nicole Vasques. Sykes disguised this first kill as a burglary. But Lloyd, still having a few loose ends, needed to kill Ronstadt for refusing to take the job. Sykes shot Ronstadt during the rally, and disguised the murder as an assassination attempt on Warren St. Claire.

Lloyd laughs it off, saying Monk cannot prove it. Then Monk shows him a photo from the newspaper, showing that, seconds after the shooting, Lloyd was the only person pointing in the direction of the shooter. Lloyd says he may have seen the shooter, and Monk points out that the balloons around the dais were blocking everyone's view. Lloyd says he must have heard the direction the shots came from. To test him, Monk tells him that Sharona is in one of the surrounding skyscrapers with a starter pistol. She fires several shots, but the echo between the surrounding buildings makes it impossible for Lloyd to guess which building she is in.

Just as Lloyd breaks down and starts to confess, a real shot is heard, and Lloyd goes down. Sharona sees Sykes in the next wing of the same building, firing his rifle at the dais, while Monk dryly comments that Gavin and Sykes are having a "contract dispute". Sykes leaves and Sharona follows him to where he's stashing the gun, and then down into the boiler room and sewers. Her radio signal is cut off and Monk realizes that Sykes must have a secret way out.

Unaware that she's lost contact, Sharona tries to tell Monk that Sykes is escaping through a tunnel. Monk and Disher go into the building and Monk manages to secretly grab Disher's gun in a frantic moment as the police search the building from top to bottom. Sharona goes into the tunnel and Sykes hears her, but keeps on going.

A nervous Monk goes down into the basement to the tunnel entrance, desperately trying to protect his hands and feet with paper napkins. He has no choice but to go into the sewer water. Sykes grabs Sharona and plans to use her as a shield. She screams and Monk hears her, and has no choice but to continue on in ankle-deep sewage. Upstairs, Stottlemeyer and Disher realize that Monk has Disher's gun and has disappeared.

Monk follows Sykes and Sharona through the sewers, adjusting crooked signs as he goes. Sharona finally breaks free as Monk arrives. A burst of sewage hits Monk and he drops the gun, while Sykes grabs Sharona and knocks out the light. Monk manages to pull the gun out of the sewage, aims, and fires.

A few minutes later, Monk and Sharona climb out. Sharona is less than happy that Monk fired in the dark. He insists that he aimed high but she isn't reassured. They get back to where Stottlemeyer and the others are, and Warren thanks him on behalf of the city of San Francisco. The press wonders what's next for Monk, and he smiles.

Later, Monk shows up for therapy and Dr. Kroger (Stanley Kamel) praises Monk for his bravery and says it may be time to approach the department and recommend that Monk be reinstated. However, as Monk and Dr. Kroger part company, Monk proves incapable of entering an elevator with a coughing woman, causing Dr. Kroger to consider reevaluating his recommendation.


  1. ^ In this episode, Randy Disher is known as Lt. Randy Deacon. The rest of the episodes refer to him as Randy Disher.
  2. ^ Benjy is played by Richotte in the pilot, and in the second and third seasons, but is played in the remainder of the first season by Max Morrow. This was due to the show being shot in different parts of Canada.

Additional information

  • Gail O'Grady, who portrays Miranda St. Clare in this episode, makes a brief appearance in the season 6 episode "Mr. Monk and the Birds and the Bees" as the Lovely Rita.
  • For repeat broadcasts, the credits were adjusted to follow a more standard format, with the star's character names removed and Randy Newman's theme added. Randy Newman also receives a credit in the opening crew, which he didn't have when the pilot first aired.
  • This is the only episode where Stanley Kamel is credited in the opening credits.
  • The show was originally to be made for ABC with Michael Richards starring. When he pulled out, so did ABC.
  • Sharona's son, Benjy, played by American child actor Kane Ritchotte in the pilot (parts one and two), is played by a young Canadian, Max Morrow, in later season 1 episodes. Kane resumes the role in season two and the first half of season three.
  • The pilot episode was released on DVD on June 24, 2003.

External links

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