So, after eight seasons, we now know who killed Trudy, Monk’s beloved wife, and why. If you missed second part of “Mr. Monk and the End,” here’s what happened.
This final episode of Monk picks up where the last ended. Monk (Tony Shalhoub) and Natalie (Traylor Howard) are watching the tape that Trudy (Melora Hardin) had recorded prior to her death. She’d wrapped it as a Christmas present and Monk refused to open it until now, when he’s close to death. It turns out that Trudy had an affair with her college law professor some 27 years ago, before she and Monk met. She was young, didn’t know that the professor was married, and became pregnant. She gave birth to a girl but the baby died nine minutes later.
It turns out that, prior to Trudy’s death, Monk was investigating the disappearance of her former midwife. At the same time, Trudy’d gotten a call to meet with her old professor, Ethan Rickover (Craig T. Nelson), now on his way to becoming a court of appeals judge. She had a bad feeling about meeting him and made the tape just in case.
It looks like the judge killed both Trudy and the midwife to prevent them from ruining his political opportunities. Though Monk is weak and in pain from the poison, he and Natalie go to confront the Judge at the hearings for his upcoming appointment to the State Supreme Court.
Rickover essentially blows them off and Monk, consumed with rage, attacks him. Monk is pulled away and later brought to the hospital. Captain Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) and Lt. Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) visit him there and strangely enough, Monk’s condition is a bit better. They tell Monk that they’ve done some digging and found that the birthing center owner (Ed Begley Jr.) was likely blackmailing the judge and he had him killed by the same man who poisoned Monk.
It’s not enough for Monk. He wants the judge dead and asks his old friend to promise that he’ll kill him. Stottlemeyer does but Monk doesn’t believe him. Left alone to rest, Monk is convinced that there’s something more to the case and is hit by the fact that, though the judge’s new job will be in Sacramento, he refuses to move out of his small house.
At Monk’s home, Natalie and Steven (Casper Van Dien) are packing some of Monk’s things and she becomes sick too. Natalie realizes that it’s the antiseptic wipes that are tainted and making Monk sick. With that information, the doctors will be able to make a cure for the poison and save Monk. They call the hospital but he’s not there. He’s drugged the guard and stolen his gun.
When the judge returns home, it’s a rainy evening and Monk is waiting for him with a shovel and a gun. He’s deduced that there’s something buried in the back yard that the judge can’t risk being found. Monk forces Rickover to dig under the sundial. After all, why would a sundial be placed under a shady tree?
Stottlemeyer and Disher drive quickly to the judge’s house and the Captain notices a lot of personal stuff in the backseat of Disher’s car. Disher comes clean that he’s been selling some of his things, and may have sold the police siren too. To get a stopped truck out of their way, Stottlemeyer fires his gun in the air and says, “I guess we got a siren.”
When they arrive, two police officers have guns pointed at Monk as he continues to force the judge to dig. Disher and Stottlemeyer tell their staggering friend that they have an antidote for the poison but Monk won’t let go of his gun and insists that the judge keep digging — until he hits something hard, the skull of the long-missing midwife.
Judge Rickover admits that the midwife had seen his picture in the paper years ago and, having found religion, told him that she was going to expose the story. He killed the midwife and then Trudy to keep them quiet. Monk almost shoots him but then puts the gun down in disgust. The judge grabs the gun, puts it to his head, yells “You take care of her!,” and then kills himself.
Monk is saved and we see him next at the office of Dr. Bell (Hector Elizondo). Monk’s more relaxed than usual but is surprised about how empty he feels. He says that something is nagging at him, particularly the judge’s last words. His therapist encourages him to let it go.
Later, while looking at an old article about the midwife, Monk reads about her finding an abandoned newborn baby girl in 1983. He puts it all together and deduces that Rickover wasn’t hiding the affair but the baby. Unknown to Trudy, her daughter had lived.
Stottlemeyer tracks the daughter down and finds out that she’s 26-years-old and named Molly Evans (Alona Tal). She lives nearby, works as a movie critic for the East Bay Chronicle, and is looking forward to meeting Monk. At first, Monk believes that he can’t see her but his friends convince him. Natalie says that Molly is a gift from Trudy, someone to love — the thing that’s been missing from his life.
Monk nervously waits outside Molly’s work building. They meet and he doesn’t know what to do but ultimately they embrace and he sobs.
Later, he shows his friends the hundreds of photos that he took of their time together over the past three days. While Monk is giving Disher Molly’s blog address, Stottlemeyer accidently sees a note addresses to him from Disher. His lieutenant is moving away to become the new Police Chief of Summit, New Jersey. They’re all sad to see him go but are very happy for him to. And yes, he’s going to be with Sherona, Monk’s former assistant.
While walking on the beach with Monk, Molly tells him that she’s going to Toronto for two weeks for a film festival. Monk says that he’ll go with her. He’s not going to work anymore so that he can be with her. He doesn’t need to work — as long as he doesn’t eat, pay rent, or pay Natalie. Molly assures him that she’s going to stay in his life and insists that he keep working, for all of the other “Trudys” in need of his help. The two continue walking on the beach, with Monk sharing personal things about Molly’s birth mother.
We next see Monk wake up in the middle of his bed, no longer sleeping solely on “his” side. Later in the morning Natalie is clipping recipes from a magazine and Monk is putting away dishtowels. He’s wearing a brown collarless shirt, looking far more relaxed than usual. She invites him to dinner and he says that he can’t because he’s going to the movies with Molly.
Natalie can’t believe that her employer is going to the movies and starts to tear up. Their discussion is interrupted by a call from the Captain about a case. Before they leave, he puts on a casual sportscoat and checks the stove to make sure it’s been turned off. He recalls that he once had to come all the way home from downtown to make sure it was turned off.
As the duo leaves, the scene fades into a montage of scenes from past episodes, to the tune of “When I’m Gone.” Afterwards, we see Disher starting his new job in New Jersey with a picture of Sherona on his desk. Stottlemeyer hurries to get out of his house, kissing his wife Trudy or “TK”, and glancing happily at the “Leland and Trudy” heart pillow on the couch.
We then see Natalie and Monk arrive at the crime scene and be escorted in by the captain. Fade to black, end of series.
What do you think? Are you satisfied with this final episode of this touching and funny show? Do you feel anything was missing?
Image courtesy USA.