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Recap / Monk S 1 E 12 Mr Monk And The Airplane

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Monk reluctantly joins Sharona aboard a plane when she goes to visit her aunt. In addition to coping with the stress of flying, he uncovers evidence that a fellow passenger may have murdered his wife. Can Monk overcome the difficulties presented by the disappearance of the body and the disapproval of the airplane staff before the man gets away with murder?

This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

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  • As Himself: Tim Daly does a double take at Monk. Tony Shalhoub had starred with Daly on Wings.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The French sentences that Bernard speaks to the Chabrols on the plane.
  • Body in a Breadbox: The deceased Mrs. Chabrol is found in a suitcase that was stashed in wet cement.
  • Cassandra Truth: Played with; Monk's fellow plane-riders don't seem to take his assertion that Chabrol murdered his wife very seriously, but Randy does, and does all the footwork necessary to find the body.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Sharona mentions that Tim Daly (playing himself) was on Wings, and Monk says he hasn't heard of it, even though Tony Shalhoub was also on the show.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "The Anaconda", the ultra-long, hook-equipped extension cord that the salesman sitting next to Monk tries to show him. Monk uses it to get Chabrol's shoe after being forbidden from getting up from his seat.
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  • Constructive Body Disposal: Mr. Chabrol and his mistress murder Mrs. Chabrol, stash her dismembered body in a suitcase, and bury it in wet cement at the airport. It fails only because they happen to board the same plane as Adrian Monk, who becomes suspicious and has Disher dig up the site.
  • Death in the Clouds: The actual murder occurred at San Francisco International Airport, but Monk is on the plane with Stefan Chabrol and only had as long as the flight lasted to solve the crime. But also played straight, since Stefan also poisons a suspicious friend on the plane too.
  • Episode on a Plane: Monk discovers that a fellow passenger on an airplane killed his wife and, during the flight, killed another passenger, and had to prove it from the air, before the plane lands and the killer gets away.
  • Graceful Loser: When Chabrol and his "wife" are being led away in handcuffs, he is graceful in his defeat and doesn't appear to harbor any ill will toward Monk, even appearing impressed that Monk was able to outsmart him despite his flight-related anxiety.
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  • Identical Stranger: Chabrol's accomplice who poses as his wife looks just like her, even though we're never told that they're related or anything else that would explain the resemblance.
  • Kill and Replace: Chabrol has an affair with a woman who is a dead ringer for his wife. He plans a trip with the wife, the mistress/lookalike kills the wife at the airport and Chabrol dumps the body. The mistress then takes the wife's seat on the plane, essentially giving them an 'alibi' by making it seem like Chabrol and his wife were on the plane together.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Monk had only been patient and waited until a suitable time to light Bernard's wine glass to test for poison, it wouldn't have been confiscated and washed clean by the flight attendent.
  • Product Placement: Lever 2000 wipes get two placements, the first most blatantly when Monk is told to put all the objects in his pockets in the X-Ray machine tray — the wipes end up label up, perfectly straight, just like a commercial.
  • Race Against the Clock: Monk has to solve the mystery and get the evidence to implicate Chabrol and his partner before they fly off for Paris. Once they were in another country, getting justice accomplished could take years.
  • Real-Life Relative: This is the first of several occasions when Tony Shalhoub's real-life wife, Brooke Adams, guest-stars. This time she's the experienced flight attendant whose life is ruined by her encounter with Monk's phobias.
  • Running Gag: The policeman with Randy keeps reminding him that the case is going into overtime.
  • So Proud of You: Sharona tells Monk when he agrees to get on the plane that she knows how difficult this is for him and she's proud of him for facing his fears like this.
  • Spot the Thread: Mrs. Chabrol's imposter looks just like her, but there are a lot of details that make Monk suspicious, like ordering a turkey meal when the real Mrs. Chabrol had called ahead to order something vegetarian, and being unable to speak French when the real Mrs. Chabrol could speak it quite fluently.
  • Tempting Fate: The stewardess says after meeting Monk that she's never encountered a passenger she couldn't handle. Monk quickly proceeds to prove her wrong.
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