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Recap / Monk S 8 E 6 Mr Monk And The Critic

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Julie's big night at a community theatre coincides with yet another murder case, and this time, Natalie thinks she has the answer to who did it. However, Natalie's case has a hitch. Her suspect, John Hannigan, wrote a nasty review about Julie's performance, and she's going to have to work like crazy to convince anyone his guilt exists outside her own mind.

This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

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  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Natalie borrows Monk's habitual remark that Hannigan did it, even though she doesn't know how. Randy points out that it's usually Monk who says that.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: This ends up biting Hannigan in the end; he spitefully lambasts Julie's performance because Natalie tried to plug her daughter in his earshot and because he is a jerk. Here is the thing: because he never saw the performance, he never saw Julie out of her wig and makeup. This means that when Monk gets an idea to prove Hannigan never saw Julie, Hannigan immediately reveals that he wasn't in the theater when claiming "I never saw this girl in my life!".
  • Cassandra Truth: Natalie fairly quickly deduces theater critic John Hannigan killed his girlfriend, but no one believes her, assuming she's just upset because the eponymous critic gave Julie a bad performance review.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
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    • Natalie sees the person sitting in the balcony checking his wristwatch. When Hannigan comes to the police station later after Natalie is arrested for trespassing, his watch is a pocket watch, not a wristwatch.
    • Natalie smells men's cologne in the Victim of the Week's hotel room. Later, when she visits Hannigan at his office, she smells that he's wearing the same cologne.
    • The bathroom attendant's watch. Monk when he sees it after the man turns up dead realizes that Hannigan did commit the murders; Hannigan has a pocket-watch, not a glow-in-the-dark wristwatch as they saw the "critic" use during the show.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Julie's acting. At first Natalie claims that Hannigan is the murderer because he called Julie's solo "forgettable" when it was anything but forgettable; then Julie is able to put on a convincing performance when the police claim that she has a rape accusation against Hannigan. He buys it hook, line and sinker and gives himself away.
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  • Disgusting Public Toilet: Monk expects the men's room at the theater to be like this, but instead it's incredibly clean and even has a bathroom attendant offering a variety of scented soaps.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Thanks to work from Monk and Natalie, the police suspect theater critic John Hannigan killed his girlfriend Callie Esterhaus, but they don't have any evidence to prove it. So Monk, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Disher confront Hannigan at his office to question him about drugging and raping an underaged girl - and bring in the supposed victim, played by Julie, who tells her story. Hannigan, exasperated, denies the accusation, claiming he was at home writing. Stottlemeyer produces a business card that Hannigan supposedly gave Julie. Baffled and scared, Hannigan swears positively that he has never seen Julie before in his life.....and gives himself away. Julie performed in the play Hannigan was using as his alibi for the murder. Midway through, she has a solo where her hair and makeup looked a lot like they look right now, a solo Hannigan wrote a scathing review about, calling it "forgettable". Hannigan's stating that he doesn't recognize Julie proves he was out of the theater at the time (also, Natalie insists that no critic would write such a review unless they were outside). Goodbye, alibi.
  • Graceful Loser: Unlike her mother, Julie takes Hannigan's unfair critique without much fuss. She goes along with Natalie's Mama Bear stance because, well, it's her mother.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: A variant; Julie is accepted into UCLA for the performing arts. Natalie is highly thrilled.
  • Mama Bear: Natalie. Her anger at John Hannigan's scathing review culminates in her trying to punch him, and Monk and Stottlemeyer having to restrain her. She also gets busted for snooping around his property, thinking that he only wrote the bad review because he was actually murdering his girlfriend Callie Esterhaus when the play was being performed. Of course, he is guilty of the murder, but they convict him on his failure to recognize Julie when she isn't wearing a wig.
  • Mugging the Monster: Of all the parents to be a complete jerk to, Hannigan had to provoke the one who's working as San Francisco's greatest detective's assistant. Natalie ends up leading Monk down the right path to the murderer.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: While it's possible Monk would still have found him out eventually, Hannigan sped up the investigation considerably by insulting Julie's performance. If he had just said she was wonderful like everyone else, Natalie wouldn't have come to his office to confront him and smelled the same cologne that was in Callie's hotel room. She also wouldn't have figured out his motive or had so strong a motive for finding evidence against him.
  • Not Helping Your Case: While Natalie does have some evidence for her claim, the fact that she can't remain calm about the review or Hannigan causes the others to dismiss her for half the episode.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Hannigan loads Gilson into the trunk of his car after knocking him out.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Subverted. We know that Hannigan killed Callie because his voice doesn't change from when he murders her, but Natalie claims that she knows he murdered Callie because no critic would have called Julie's performance "forgettable". It turns out Natalie was completely right: Hannigan did murder Callie and did the bad review because he had no idea what Julie looked like and did it out of spite.
  • Running Gag: Natalie bringing up Hannigan's comment about Julie being "forgettable."
  • She's All Grown Up: Exploited. Julie is now in her late teens, college-ready and acting. It also means that she can put on a plausible show when accusing Hannigan of drugging and raping her, to take him down.
  • The Oner: We see the murder through Hannigan's POV, resulting in one very long one-take shot.
  • Tempting Fate: Callie is so excited she says she could die after Hannigan proposes. He then pushes her off the balcony.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Julie gets accepted into UCLA for Performing Arts at the end of the episode.
  • We Need to Get Proof: After Monk realizes that Hannigan was the murderer, Stottlemeyer points out that the watch isn't enough because Hannigan could lawyer up. They have to put on a more drastic show to destroy his alibi.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out if Gilson awakens from his coma.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Hannigan proposes to Callie, making her happy. Then he murders her.
  • You Monster!: Natalie calls Hannigan a monster after he makes a series of nasty comments to her.
  • Your Favorite: According to Callie, John Hannigan likes chocolate-covered strawberries.
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