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Mr. Monk and the 12th Man Recap

Tollbooth operators Frank Pulaski and Tommy Zimm are conversing routinely as they send cars through their tollbooths. A car pulls up to Pulaski's tollbooth, and the driver pays with a $10 bill, then asks the operator if his name if Frank Pulaski. When Pulaski says yes, the driver demands his change. As Pulaski hands the change over, the driver handcuffs his wrist to 70 feet of rope, and then floors on the gas pedal. Tommy attempts to cut the rope, with no success. When the rope extends to full length, the luckless Pulaski gets yanked off his feet and is dragged to his death.

Across town, at a dry-cleaning shop, Monk is haggling with Mrs. Ling, his drycleaner, while an excited Sharona admires photos of her in the paper with mayoral candidate Kenny Shale. The hassle between Monk and Mrs. Ling ends when Monk and Sharona get called to the tollbooth.

When Monk and Sharona arrive at the toll plaza, Stottlemeyer tells them that after Pulaski was yanked off his feet, he was dragged about 7/10ths of a mile. The medical examiner has commented that he's never seen anything like this. Stottlemeyer is unusually ragged on this particular day, and he mentions that there is no end in sight: this is just the ninth in a string of bizarre murders to strike the Bay Area in the past two weeks. Monk inquires if there is a possible link between some of the victims, and learns that there is almost nothing in common between the victims. The demographics of the dead include four men and five women, and they are all completely different: all different ages, races, professions, backgrounds, etc. The MOs are also completely different - a couple of shootings (all different weapons), a hit-and-run, a drowning, an electrocution, in other words a full moon every night. There is one thing in common about all nine cases and that is that there are no clues that could give even the slightest hint of what is going on.

Disher mentions to Sharona that he saw the picture of her with Kenny Shale in the paper, and soon other cops at the scene are gathering around the possible future first lady. While that is going on, Monk and Stottlemeyer question Tommy Zimm. He is pretty shaken up by the murder, so he can't remember the make or model of the car, nor can he supply a license plate number. Monk looks inside Pulaski's tollbooth and finds an evidence bag containing the $10 bill used by the killer to pay his toll. The bill hasn't been taken down to the lab yet. Stottlemeyer quickly breaks up the cops who have gathered around Sharona and quickly reminds Sharona that seeing Kenny Shale is going to represent a big change in her life - everybody she knows will want a piece of her. She won't know who to trust, and Monk won't be able to help her.

Meanwhile, Monk notices that Pulaski's cash box only has a small amount of money in it, and deduces that Pulaski had just started his shift when he was killed. Tommy suddenly remembers something else: the killer's car was parked by a callbox before the toll plaza for some time. Monk figures that the killer waited for Pulaski to come on duty, and must have preselected his victim.

Monk is a bit jealous that the other cops are sucking up to Sharona as a future first lady. However, he confides to Dr. Kroger that he hopes to catch some of Kenny Shale's patronage, noting that if Sharona is still seeing Kenny and he gets elected, it might help offer some leverage in getting him reinstated.

At a movie theater in a different part of town from the tollbooth, a young woman named Arlene Carney sits down at a horror movie. Shortly after she sits down, a shadowy man sits down behind her and asks her if her name is Arlene Carney. When she says yes, he takes a ligature and strangles the luckless woman to death.

Monk and Stottlemeyer talk to an usher and the theater manager, and Monk notes that the crime is similar in to Frank Pulaski - none of the witnesses can identify the killer, who was holding a handkerchief to his face. While they are briefly interrupted when Sharona gets a call from Kenny Shale, Monk looks at the $10 bill used by the killer to pay for his movie ticket, and he tells Stottlemeyer that they've got a serial killer on the loose. He points out that he got a good look on the bill used by Frank Pulaski's killer to pay for his toll, and memorized the serial number, which ended in "6092B." The serial number on the bill at the theater ends in "6093B."

At the police station, the cops of the SFPD are being mobilized into a task force to catch the killer. Disher hands Stottlemeyer a preliminary psychological profile, but Stottlemeyer dismisses it as scrap paper. Monk examines the photos of the victims and makes a link between some of the victims - they have the same wall calendars. Stottlemeyer insists to Monk that there are several more promising leads, but nonetheless, Monk goes to house of Henry Smalls, who produces the calendars. Despite the fact that Smalls has been out of town for the past two weeks and is due back tonight, he stakes out Smalls' house that night, with Sharona and Kenny in tow since Sharona didn't want to break her date. While waiting for Smalls to come back, Monk notes that the odometer on Sharona's car is at 99,999, and he starts to roll the car back and forth in an attempt to get the odometer to even out. A taxi comes along and drops Henry Smalls off, and as soon as the cab leaves, a masked man comes out from the side of the house. Monk yells out a warning to Smalls, but is unable to prevent Smalls' murder. Monk runs over and tries to stop the killer, but the killer manages to escape after Monk tears off part of the killer's shirt sleeve.

Back at the police station, as a photo of Henry Smalls is added to the wall of the victims, Monk admits that he thought Smalls would be a suspect, not the 11th victim. The only thing he knows about the killer is that he was chewing his fingernails, and he was wearing a ski mask. Monk re-examines the photos of the victims and quickly notes that the victims are all of different ages and professions. They also have different origins, and they are from different social classes. Monk then notices something interesting on the map showing where the victims lived and where they died: the victims were killed all throughout the Bay Area, but they all lived in Marin County. He also notes that the victims were all registered votes, and determines the link between the victims: they were all on a jury. Disher confirms it on the computer system.

Monk, Sharona, Stottlemeyer, and Kenny Shale convene in the Captain's office. Stottlemeyer confirms that the 11 victims all served six years ago on the same jury in Marin County. The matter they were overseeing was a personal injury lawsuit: a handyman named Ian Agnew fell off a roof and landed on a metal pipe sticking up out of the ground. He sued the homeowners, a Stewart and Lisa Babcock, for negligence. The jury deliberated and awarded Agnew a considerable $750,000, which the homeowner's insurance paid for completely. It was essentially a routine trial - except for the fact that six years later, the jury has been killed off one at a time. Monk inquires and Stottlemeyer mentions that nothing unusual happened during the trial. The jury deliberated for a day and half, went and visited the scene of the accident, then was sequestered in a motel for a night before they delivered their verdict.

Currently, the police are trying to track down the one remaining juror, Wallace J. Cassidy. Disher comes in, and tells them that they've picked up Cassidy, and he seems like a likely suspect: for one thing, Cassidy is a gambling addict and is frequently in debt, and they've found a human finger in his freezer. Monk, however, is not convinced, because none of the victims were missing a finger and Cassidy doesn't seem to have any conceivable motive for killing the rest of his jury.

Despite the police and Kenny being certain that they've found their man, Monk and Sharona do some asking around to find out more about the trial. They first go to Ian Agnew, who was thankful to the jury for the money that they awarded to him, but who never met the jurors at all. He never completely recovered from the fall, as part of the pipe has been lodged permanently in his head, and he seems to have been psychologically altered by the incident. He's taking phone calls from imaginary people, saying "I don't get many visitors" over and over, and yelling "bad dog!" at a spot on the floor. Agnew does, however, mention that he was hired by Stewart Babcock's first wife, but she vanished shortly after he started the job, so he mostly dealt with Stewart.

Monk and Sharona next go to the Babcocks' house. Lisa Babcock mentions to them that the lawsuit was before her time, as she didn't meet Stewart until after the trial. When they first see Stewart, he is in his pool, and reading a magazine. He mentions that he never went to the trial, as that was his insurance company's headache. Monk fishes a leaf out of the pool, and heads to the kitchen to dispose of it, and he catches the Babcocks in a few lies. He notices a photo of them smoking in a restaurant. Despite Lisa saying that she didn't meet her husband until after the trial, Monk recognizes the restaurant in the photo as a place that hasn't allowed smoking since 1995. He also notes that just now, Stewart was chewing his fingernails - and the person who killed Henry Smalls (victim #11) had chewed fingernails.

Back at the police station, Kenny Shale holds a press conference announcing that Wallace Cassidy has been arrested as the killer, despite Monk's and Stottlemeyer's reservations and the fact that they're skeptical about Cassidy's guilt. Sharona tries to plead to Kenny on their behalf, but he dismisses her pleas. Monk looks at the shirtsleeve he tore off of Henry Smalls' attacker, and notices something, even though Disher points out that the piece of fabric is untraceable.

Monk, Sharona, and Stottlemeyer pull up outside the Babcocks' house just as Stewart and Lisa Babcock are about to leave. While Sharona stews in the car about her relationship, Monk and Stottlemeyer go inside. Stewart claims that they are heading to a house at the beach, but Monk notes the passports in their bag, and mentions that they're leaving the country because they've heard that the police have picked up Wallace Cassidy. When Stewart asks why he would care about the members of the killed-off jury, Monk tells the Babcocks that they were aware that he was going to confess - not to murder, but for blackmail. Cassidy, Juror #12, was blackmailing them, because he knew that six years ago, Stewart had murdered his first wife.

Here's what happened: After Ian Agnew fell off the Babcocks' roof and sued the couple for negligence, the jury went to the house and visited the scene of the accident. As the jurors looked around, Cassidy wandered off. As he had a gambling problem, he was most likely trying to find out if there was anything worth stealing. But Cassidy never found anything worth stealing from the house - but in a container, he found the body of the first Mrs. Babcock. He was so amazed at his find that he didn't leave without taking a picture and one of her fingers. Cassidy started blackmailing Stewart for money. Stewart paid, only knowing that the blackmailer was one of the jurors. Cassidy kept demanding more and more money, and after six years, Stewart decided to kill the blackmailer. Because he didn't know which juror was sending him the notes, he had to kill off every single member of the jury, one at a time.

Stewart says there is no proof, but Monk pulls out the shirtsleeve he pulled off when Stewart attacked Henry Smalls, Juror #11. Monk admits that he can't prove it's Stewart's shirt, but he knows someone who might identify it. As he says that, Disher arrives with Mrs. Ling, Monk's drycleaner. Monk reveals that when he saw the piece of shirtsleeve, he realized that he and the killer had one thing in common - they share the same drycleaner. Mrs. Ling recognizes the stitching pattern on the shirtsleeve, and identifies the sleeve as coming from Stewart Babcock's shirt.

Sometime later, Mrs. Ling has refused to let Monk into her place ever again. She's even put up a sign specifically banning him from her dry-cleaning place. Sharona tells Monk to forget about it, and then she turns around and sees an officer ticketing her car. During the time in which she was seeing Kenny Shale, it seems he took care of Sharona's parking tickets. Having accused the wrong man to the media, Kenny Shale has dropped out of the race, and now his name means nothing to the parking officer.

Written by Gadfly on Jan 31, 2018

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