Monk's Christmas goes downhill fast when he gets into a struggle with and ultimately shoots a man in a Santa Claus costume. He quickly becomes one of the most hated men in San Francisco after the story hits the news, but the detective's investigations prove clearly that the man in the red suit is not as nice as he appears.
This episode includes examples of the following tropes:
- 0% Approval Rating: In-Universe, Monk gets this after he shoots a guy dressed as Santa due to Brandy Barber running a biased story making him out as a Grinch when he really shot the guy in self-defense.
- Bad Santa: It's even in the episode. Monk shoots a man dressed as Santa Claus he claims self-defense, but he becomes a public pariah. As it turns out, the man in the Santa suit was acting as a diversion for a diamond heist. At the end of the episode, Monk refers to him several times as a "bad Santa."
- Continuity Nod:
- The truck used to block the intersection belongs to Belham Brothers Quarry from "Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure".
- In "Mr. Monk Goes to a Fashion Show", Monk makes a big deal out of buying a shirt inspected by Inspector #8, his favorite. In this episode, Natalie asks a store clerk if he can find a shirt inspected by Inspector #8.
- Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Monk mentions that this trope was partially the reason why all of his Christmases were the worst barring those spent with Trudy, as in 1964, he received only one walkie-talkie from his father, to which his father knew was useless, but gave it to him anyways because Monk doesn't have any friends to play with anyway. Ironically, that memory is also what leads to Monk solving the case about what the Santa was doing the day he was forced to shoot him in self defense.
- Hollywood Law: Monk and the team are trying to investigate a crime scene while a crowd is jeering at Monk for his shooting and wounding of a man dressed in a Santa suit a few days earlier. At one point, someone throws an egg that hits Natalie. Stottlemeyer appropriately does get angry at the crowd and immediately has Monk and Natalie escorted away by officers for their protection. However, given the egging happened while Natalie was inside the crime scene perimeter, Stottlemeyer should also legally have had the authority to have the entire crowd arrested for interfering with a police investigation.
- Kent Brockman News: Brandy Barber. For one thing, most of her reports are emotionally charged rather than done rationally, and often has her skewing the story to humiliate the interviewee. Her story about Monk's shooting of a Bad Santa with his own weapon in self-defense is rigged such that it portrays the incident as occurring without good reason rather than in self-defense. As a result, Monk and Natalie get harassed everywhere they go, but the city takes a HeelFace Turn once Monk stops the diamond heist said Bad Santa was trying to commit. It seems that pretty much everyone - except the police officers in the San Francisco Police Department - believes Barber's reports.