While trying to beat one of Dr. Kroger's other clients in gift-giving, Monk gets involved in another homicide investigation.
This episode involves examples of the following tropes:
- Buried Alive: The car Troy and Monk are in gets buried in a gravel pit by Steven Connolly.
- Chekhov's Gun: Troy's loud trash metal music. It's initially just irritating to Monk and Natalie. Then Troy puts in on full blast to get Stottlemeyer, Disher, and Natalie's attention after he and Monk are buried alive.
- Disher's engorged bladder from drinking so much diet soda.
- Follow in My Footsteps: Troy mentions that he used to want to be a therapist like his father. When trapped in the car with Monk, it's Troy who gets him to calm down several times. Once rescued, he decides to consider going into psychiatry after all.
- Inside Job: This bank robbery was masterminded by bank manager Steven Connolly, his brother Jack, and their partner Tony Gammelobo
- Just Train Wrong: Because of California Doubling, a Metrolink commuter train (a railroad in Southern California) appears in a scene that's supposed to be set in Central California.
- Parlor Games: Troy attempts to get Monk's mind off their claustrophobic setting by playing Twenty Questions with him. Unfortunately, this fails because he lets Monk go first. Monk's answer? Gravel.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: Dr. Kroger's son Troy doesn't exactly have the highest opinion of his father at the start of the episode, seeing him as a workaholic. But later, after calming Monk at the climax of the episode, Troy starts to see his dad's work in a new light and decides he wants to be a therapist too.
- Shared Family Quirks: While trying to keep Monk calm, Troy does the same Finger-Tenting that his father Charles does during therapy sessions.
- Working the Same Case: Monk and Natalie accompany Dr. Kroger's son and his pals into the hills following a supposed treasure map. It's actually tied to a bank robbery that Stottlemeyer and Disher are investigating. In the first half, Stottlemeyer's and Monk's investigations are intercut, though we the audience are aware from the beginning that the two cases are connected.