Stottlemeyer summons Monk to the scene of Joanne Raphelson's suicide, which seems to have a few suspicious elements. Following a bit of investigation, Monk figures out a culprit — astronaut Steve Wagner, with whom she had an affair some time back. The problem? Wagner was in space at the time Joanne died.
This episode provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absence of Evidence: Stottlemeyer concludes that someone else has been to Joanne's place of residence from the fact that a computer is missing.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Played with. Monk is almost never wrong when he accuses a culprit, but even he admits that Wagner's alibi seems secure. Stottlemeyer says he would believe Monk if he had any idea how to get around that alibi. Natalie is at first skeptical until a small taunt Wagner gives to Monk about flinching.
- Bound and Gagged: Although the police don't find it, in the flashback it shows Wagner tied up Joanne while she was drugged with barbiturates and set up the noose.
- Broken Pedestal: After Monk manages to save the evidence and arrest Wagner, Julie's class gives an honorary medal to Monk.
- Compromising Memoirs: This turns out to be the motive for the murder. Joanne was writing an autobiography and in it she revealed that Wagner had beaten her horribly. (She wasn't going to give names, but he didn't want to take the chance.) Wagner planned to run for office and couldn't risk the bad press.
- Face Your Fears: During his Career Day presentation, Monk can't handle the children using laser pointers on him and has a breakdown. However, while Wagner's plane taxis down the runway, Monk outruns it and stands in front of it, ignoring all the laser sights on him to keep the perp from escaping with crucial evidence.
- Just Plane Wrong: Almost everything to do with the F-22 Raptor. Such as Natalie mistaking a sidewinder missile for a nuclear weapon, or the warheads just being left out like that. Or... anything else in the entire sequence. Also, if you look closely, one of the soldiers has an AK-pattern rifle, painted black. This might be due to production problems, like the relative availability of AK-pattern prop guns.
- Kids Are Cruel: Wagner encourages the kids to taunt Monk by using laser pointers on him. The kids happily comply, frazzling Monk and causing a breakdown in the middle of his presentation.
- Smuggling with Dolls: The titular astronaut uses a doll equipped with an automatic garage door opener as part of his plan to murder his ex. At the end, he steals the doll from the little girl who had gotten it with the idea of dropping it out of the airplane he was testing while it was in flight, getting rid of the evidence.
- Snub by Omission: Steve Wagner quite pointedly leaves Monk out when saying anyone could be a hero.
- Squee!: Natalie gets excited when she gets both Wagner and Monk to come to Julie's class for Career Day, gushing that this is going to earn her major "cool mom" points.
- Too Dumb to Live: Joanne was publishing an autobiography and told her ex that she was going to put in entries about his Domestic Abuse. Also, she didn't have backup copies sent to friends and family.
- Villain Ball: Wagner grabs it by taunting Monk about his OCD. This convinces the police and Natalie that he had something to do with the murder. Monk eventually proves it, spurred by the taunting.