"Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival"
Season 1 Episode 5
Written by: Siobhan Byrne
Directed by: Randall Zisk
Original Air Date: August 2, 2002
We’ll Need Some Help:
We start, appropriately enough, at a carnival. Stottlemeyer is dropping off an officer named Adam and it is clear that the two know each other. Stottlemeyer would feel more comfortable if Adam had a wire. In the carnival Adam is approached by a man named Gitomer offering to sell some illicit substances. Gitomer agrees to talk further on the Ferris Wheel. While the two are on, Gitomer causes a disturbance and yells that he is in danger. The ride stops and Adam gets off flashing his badge, but Gitomer falls over dead.
With the police and news on the scene, we learn about Adam and a checkered past. Adam professes innocence but Stottlemeyer tells him to keep quiet. There are bruises on Gitomer along with a stab wound leaving Stottlemeyer with no choice but to charge Adam. Disher suggests Monk but Stottlemeyer knows he is going before a review board and a case might perturb him.
Monk handles the review like a champ, despite some triggers. They have a recommendation from Dr. Kroger and will have to interview Stottlemeyer. As they leave, Monk gets into an accident with a pole, but gets called away urgently.
Adam’s bond hearing does not go well, and Monk is skeptical of Adam’s innocence. Stottlemeyer begs Monk to the point of offering a favor. Monk agrees, after feigning an argument with Sharona. Stottlemeyer tells them to be careful about their investigation; internal affairs is all over this and does not want anyone to muck it up.
Monk and Sharona meet with Adam. The press are all over him and Monk was there when Adam was physical with a suspect. Adam will also be testifying against a criminal soon and Gitomer’s murder means they will likely walk. Adam acknowledges his past but is in a better place now and never touched Gitomer.
At theccarnival, Monk and Stottlemeyer find a picture of Gitomer from the night in question, and he is wearing a hoodie in ninety-degree weather. The internal affairs guys come around and Stottlemeyer runs interference while Monk tries to blend in. Looking at the rotating scene of the crime, they find a half Tarot card.
At Gitomer’s apartment, they find that he hit himself purposefully, which would explain the bruising. They also find out from the landlord that he frequented a club. At the club, the card is used to claim a bag in the coat check area.
Stottlemeyer goes before the review board. He testifies to Monk’s amazing abilities, of which the board is well aware, but ask him directly if he would recommend Monk for reinstatement and Stottlemeyer is stymied.
Without Adam being able to testify, criminal Stokes walks free. At booking, Monk reveals that Stokes made calls to Gitomer. They find out that Gitomer recently got out of prison and was in the same wing as Stokes. Before they can make more headway, they realize that Stottlemeyer is testifying. They meet him with Monk in full uniform but realize that Stottlemeyer did not make a positive recommendation.
Disher tries to brighten a crestfallen Stottlemyer but is met with a recounting of his first day with Monk. Monk surveyed a crime scene and determined that it was murder and had evidence despite eight others in the same room.
Sharona and Monk head to the carnival calling Sotttlemeyer on the way. Stokes wanted to get out and the only way was to discredit Adam. Gitomer bruised himself to set up Adam, but the operator (identified with a pin from a support group) stabbed Gitomer. At the carnival with Sotttlemeyer on the way, Stokes stabs the operator and flees. Sharona gets on the Ferris Wheel to find a better view, but Stokes is also there and make his way to Sharona. Monk breaks the wheel while in motion but jumps on. Sotttlemeyer eventually arrives and pulls the plug (literally) and arrests Stokes.
Adam is reinstated and Stottlemeyer tells Monk not to give up. Sharona tortures Monk to find out how he knew the number of jelly beans in a jar at the carnival. He saw the emptied jellybean boxes and took some off figuring someone snuck a few.
This Week’s Compulsion
: Bad window blinds, a missed wastepaper basket and spilled water are among the ‘distractions’ Monk predominantly avoids in the review.
White Courtesy Phone:
Sharona has been coaching Monk for his review, including biting down on his tongue.
Monk and Sharona walk away to make it look like they are arguing but not far enough as Stottlemeyer can hear them.
Dishing it out:
Disher is absolutely shocked that Adam has to be charged and that Stottlemeyer made that request.
Let’s Talk it Out:
Dr. Kroger does not appear, but his recommendation is less than glowing albeit positive.
The Innocence of Youth:
Benjy wants a book of tickets at the carnival, but Sharona is low on funds, which she blames on Monk.
Let’s Up the Rating
: Seeking to get attention, Gitomer accuses Adam of being a little too touchy feely.
Here’s What Happened:
The phrase is not said but Monk relays the information to Stottlemeyer while being driven by Sharona.
One More Time:
“You can drive when hell freezes over. You know what, I’ll still drive because I don’t want you on the ice!”
Sharona not being happy at Monk’s driving.
Adam’s last name? Kirk!
The Rainbow Treknection:
Stephen McHattie played the bad news finding Vreenak and also the back on the force Adam.
Alan Van Spang would play bad guy Stokes and bad guy Leland on Discovery’s second season.
Oh, and Adam’s last name? Kirk!
The board shows that Monk has helped the department with eight cases, though this is the fourth episode. Also, Stottlemeyer says that Monk helped on six cases. Either my math is off, or Monk helped others in the department.
The board also mentions that his phobia prevented one suspect from being caught as we saw in Mr. Monk and the Candidate.
The original idea for this involved a ski lift, but the creators realized it would be hard to justify Monk leaving the area.
It’s a Jungle Out There:
“No officer is without fear.” That’s true and we all accept that. As long as his fears don’t interfere with the performance of his duties.” For a show billed as a comedy, this series can have some great dramatic moments. Monk’s reinstatement hearing shows off the dramatic chops of all involved. It is not played for a comedy at all. The directing is point on showing us Monk’s point of view when he is unable to entirely avoid the distractions in the room. We are in his perspective, but he does not flinch.
Stottlemeyer’s scene with the board is a strong one as well. He is proud of Monk’s work but in the end, he is unable to recommend Monk to carry a badge and protect his fellow officers. We do not see the moment, but we get the aftermath. It is telling that we do not see key parts of the story but can fill in the blanks. Siobhan Byrne O'Connor knew we did not need to see everything, and some things are better left to the imagination which lets us see more of the story. While Stottlemeyer is a key part of the story at the end of the day this is Monk’s story, and we see it through his perspective.
The final scene before the end tag is done well with Stottlemeyer speaking about Adam rejoining the force but framing initially as though he was speaking about Monk. Everything will probably not be solved five hours into the first season, but the moments are hit each and every time. There is progress being made and Sottlemeyer knows Monk will get there someday. Overall, this would have been better as a season finale not a third of the way into the first season
The Adam and Stokes plot is a little more haphazard and thrown in. It moves too quickly and takes second stage to the bigger story which is an issue with a detective series. Nothing is off with the actors; it just seems like an afterthought. The climatic action set piece works if you shut off your brain to wonder how Stokes got on before Sharona, how Monk is able to hold onto a moving wheel, how did he get that close to Sharona, etc. The comedy part is also not on point. There is a scene where Monk tries to drive, and it goes on for too long. Worst, he has an accident with Sharona’s car and that is not heard from again.
There are great moments and storytelling in this one, but it is a little too early and there are moments along for the ride.