While running errands with Natalie and Julie, Monk witnesses a gang murder. The FBI put him in witness protection and take him to a log cabin out in the middle of the woods. Stottlemeyer insists on coming, and Natalie is dragged along reluctantly after she arranges for Julie to stay with friends. Natalie starts wondering if Monk has bad karma.
Meanwhile, Randy has a new girlfriend and a weird set of circumstances. Every time he gets fortune cookies, they mysteriously come true.
Tropes for this episode include:
- Actor Allusion: Monk's alias Frank Conway could be an allusion to Tony Shalhoub's role as Kevin Conway in A Civil Action.
- Accidental Truth: Randy says all of his uncles are deceased; in a later episode, one of his uncles is murdered. Though it could be him trolling Hayley, who is trying to get him to believe in fortune cookies.
- All Is Well That Ends Well: Thanks to the hitmen compromising their location, and getting killed, Monk's witness protection is lifted and Harry Win doesn't attempt to assassinate him again, presumably because the attempted murder charges stick harder. Natalie also concludes that Monk's karma doesn't make mysteries happen wherever he goes; it directs him to the murders, so he can solve them and catch the killers.
- Artistic License Law: The witness protection program is run by the US Marshals, not the FBI and they most likely wouldn't take the witness to within a driving distance of where they live.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
- Hayley is working for the mob and doesn't actually have feelings for Randy. She's just using him so that the gang can kill Monk.
- Kathy tries to pull the same card by pretending she's a caring, grieving wife during the investigation of her husband's death, even though she earlier established herself as a greedy woman who goes out of her way to listen to country music when she knows he hates it.
- Busman's Holiday: Natalie and Stottlemeyer comment on the fact that Monk seems to encounter murders wherever he goes
- Natalie Teeger: Everywhere you go, every time you turn around, somebody is killing somebody else.
Captain Stottlemeyer: That's true.
Adrian Monk: What?
Captain Stottlemeyer: There was the time you went on vacation, and then on the airplane...
Adrian Monk: These things happen!
Captain Stottlemeyer: And that stage play...
Adrian Monk: It happens!
Natalie Teeger: To you!
- Monk and Stottlemeyer have encountered Grooms, who before worked in a specialized bomb unit.
- Stottlemeyer cites all the incidents where Monk happened to stumble upon murder, even when on vacation.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Posters from martial art movies can be seen at Randy's apartment. He was shown to be a fan in the previous episode.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Lampshaded. Natalie comes to the conclusion that Monk attracting murders isn't because he's cursed: it's because it helps him find murderers and bring them to justice.
- Logical Latecomer: Natalie is quite baffled that Monk witnesses one murder and then encounters another soon after, and she starts questioning why this happens.
- Mystery Magnet: Lampshaded. Natalie and Stottlemeyer lampshade that Monk seems to attract murder whenever he goes, and they talk about if he's cursed.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It was Randy who sent the hitmen right to Monk's hiding spot. To be fair: a) his girlfriend (who was a member of the gang) manipulated him into doing so via making him believe in fortune cookies, and b) the fortune cookies the (gang-owned) restaurant gave him were very, very accurate (because the gang wrote the predictions and then made them happen, and the third prediction was actually about Monk getting into danger).
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Harry Win sending hitmen to the cabin ensure that Monk's witness protection is broken. Which means he can return to San Francisco, and the evidence against Win for murder and attempted murder is even stronger since Randy's girlfriend is one of the gang members.
- Not So Above It All: Natalie is revealed to believe in karma and superstition. To be fair, even Stottlemeyer has been wondering just how Monk finds murder everywhere he goes.
- Police Are Useless:
- Stottlemeyer cites this as the reason that he goes along to the cabin because he doesn't trust the FBI agent assigned to protect Monk. The same unit had several witnesses killed under their watch, and the locals know the place as the FBI cabin. Agent Grooms doesn't inspire that much confidence, with how he can't blend in with the locals and disconnects the phone when Monk tries to prove a murder happened right next door. At the end, however, he manages to shoot one of the two hitmen that arrive to kill Monk, with Stottlemeyer killing the other.
- Averted with Deputy Coby when he hears the plausible explanation that Kathy murdered her husband. He arrests her after the shootout and plans to do a full autopsy on her husband's body.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Stottlemeyer proves to be one. When they hear a blood-curdling scream from the other cabin, and hear Kathy playing country music that her husband hates in the house, he breaks the "no phone calls" rule to see if her husband will come to the phone. When Kathy claims he's in his boat, they all know she's lying since they can see he isn't there.
- Red Baron: Discussed. Stottlemeyer and Natalie debate on calling Monk The Prince of Darkness. Monk asks them to knock it off and not call him that because "that's how rumors get started".
- Running Gag: The FBI is terrible at protecting witnesses:
- Past witnesses who were under Wit Sec in the cabin have died;
- Monk and co were able to evade Agent Grooms;
- Everyone in the town calls it "The FBI cabin" to the point where even Stottlemeyer gets annoyed.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
- Stottlemeyer helps Monk expose Kathy for murdering her husband and ignoring Agent Grooms's orders to not leave the cabin or make phone calls.
- Randy thinks he's doing this when going to the cabin to "save" Monk from an unknown danger. It turns out he accidentally lured Monk's would-be-assassins to the cabin.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Randy receives two (fake) fortunes that come true because the gang wrote them and orchestrated events. When he gets a third one saying that a friend is in danger, he tries unsuccessfully to call the cabin, then speeds off to help. Randy realizes belatedly that he caused the danger in question when the hitmen show up.
- Skewed Priorities: When Randy realizes that his girlfriend used him to kill Monk and they all survive the shootout, he worries more about the fact that she'll dump him after he arrests her for "conspiracy and attempted murder".
- The Summation: Monk and Randy are trapped in the Willowby cabin, as two thugs with automatic rifles are firing at them from outside, pinning them down. Under fire, Randy looks at a fortune cookie that lured him here, and Monk notices scorch marks around a power outlet. They shout in perfect unison, "Oh my god! I've got it! Here's what happened!" Then they dive into their separate summations, which overlap and the black-and-white flashbacks jump back and forth.Deputy Paul Coby: My head is spinning! Which one are you listening to?Captain Leland Stottlemeyer: Neither one.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: Randy's assertion that he led the hitmen into a trap. Natalie and Monk decide not to tell him the truth.
- Unwitting Pawn: Randy gets fooled by his girlfriend into revealing Monk's location to the hitmen.