Saturday, February 14, 2009

Monk - Recap & Review - Mr. Monk and the Magician

Mr. Monk and the Magician

Original Air Date: Feb 13, 2009

Jeff P. – TwoCents Staff Writer

This Friday the 13th, the opening for tonight’s Monk starts in Thailand. A drug dealer asks if the magician can make 70 kilos of heroin disappear from Thailand and appear onto the streets of San Francisco. I have a feeling that someone is going to end up unlucky in this one.

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[photo: USA]


  1. Monk
    Mr. Monk and the Magician

    Original Air Date: Feb 13, 2009

    Jeff P. – TwoCents Staff Writer

    This Friday the 13th, the opening for tonight’s Monk starts in Thailand. A drug dealer asks if the magician can make 70 kilos of heroin disappear from Thailand and appear onto the streets of San Francisco. I have a feeling that someone is going to end up unlucky in this one.

    The Magician is The Great Torini, and he gets a visit from his accountant Kevin Dorfman during a rehearsal. Kevin tells him that he thinks the airlines for his business trips are ripping him off because the weights for his cargo are always more when he comes back. Torini tells him not to worry about that, and asks him if he’ll fill in for him for an upcoming show.

    The night of the show Torini calls the backstage stagehands to give them the good news from Reno… he got engaged to his assistant. Later, Dorfman’s show was terrible. Monk & Natalie are in the audience because Dorfman is Monk’s downstairs neighbor and they’re supporting him. In his dressing room, Dorfman is surprised by someone and asks what they were doing there. When Dorfman doesn’t come out after the show Monk goes back to see where he is. He finds him dead on the floor.

    Stottlemeyer and Disher come to the scene and determine that he was strangled with a thin wire. Monk finds some black paint on his neck and figures out it was a magician, since they paint their wires black to conceal them. Monk mentioned that he saw a maintenance man but the stage manager told him that maintenance didn’t work on Saturdays. Monk now knows that he saw the killer. Later he and Natalie are at a gathering after Dorfman’s funeral and he sees Torini and recognizes him. He introduces himself and Torini tells Monk that he and his assistant Tanya (who we also meet) were in Reno getting engaged. Monk tells Natalie that he’s the guy.

    Stottlemeyer tells Monk about the phone call and that it was indeed made from Nevada. This appears to be a solid alibi for Torini. Later Monk and Natalie go to visit Torini to ask him more questions. Speaking with Tanya, it seems that she may know something, but Natalie can’t get her to say anything. Then Torini makes a grand entrance showing off his skills. Monk confronts him with the fact that he saw him the night of the murder and Torini denies it of course. Natalie tells Torini that Adrian is the greatest detective in the world and will figure out how he did it.

    Monk and Natalie attend a show of Torini’s. During the show, Torini asks Monk to volunteer for his next trick. Natalie hands him something and he gets up on stage. Torini puts him in the Zig-Zag box, much to the claustrophobic detective’s chagrin. He has a flashlight, which is what Natalie must have handed him and he puts it on as Torini is sticking blades through the box. And then Monk pulls out a swab and wipes it in the box. After Torini “cuts” him in half, Monk reveals that the swab proves that he used that box for heroin smuggling in front of everyone. Then Torini closes the box up, spins it and Monk has disappeared.

    Stottlemeyer and the gang are demanding to know where Monk is and Torini is claiming that he doesn’t know where he is. That is, until we go below the stage and we see that he is tied up and Tanya is there telling him that he will be killed and burned in the furnace! A phone in the basement rings and Monk figures out how Torini did it. He went to Reno with Tanya, but snuck back the same afternoon. Tanya called from the hotel in Reno (creating the alibi) and Torini picked up the phone in the basement. This made it seem like he was there with Tanya in Reno. As Torini gets ready to kill Monk, Stottlemeyer discovers the trap door in the stage. Tanya offers to tie Monk up and tries to give Monk keys to his handcuffs. Torini discovers this and is about to throw her in the furnace when Stottlemeyer and the gang come crashing in saving the day.

    This was another clever episode pitting a character for Monk to match wits with, in the style of a Professor Moriarty to his Sherlock Holmes. The episode with the Chess Master comes to mind as well. I’d love to see a regular villain like this. Where does this episode sit for you? And how does the Great Torini stand up to other diabolical adversaries? Your two cents is always appreciated.

  2. I agree with you; Torini was as challenging a foe as Patrick Kloster (the chess grandmaster.) And I liked the fact that he's one of the few criminals who actually has the common sense to try and kill Monk before the detective exposes him. Why don't more of them do that? They know Monk is a brilliant detective and always cracks the case; it'd be easier if they bumped him off.

  3. You're right, James! I don't quite understand that concept myself. Mike Myers poked fun at James Bond in a similar way. Why let the guy have a chance to outwit you? Once Monk called him out, Torini tried to take him right out.

    I'd enjoy seeing a recurring character in this mold as well.

  4. I don't recall watching a Monk's episode where he acts so idiotic. He didn't even had the common sense to expose the magician after being released from the cage, and his refusal to accept the kiss (and the keys of his handcuffs) in the face of death.. i wanted to slap the man.

    The magician character was very good and the final when we see Monk and Natalie watching the endless Kevin's video will i thought it was touching.

  5. Unbelievable!!!! I think this should be ranked among the top ten mystery stories of all time. Kevin Dorfman's murder is easily the biggest shocker in the entire Monk series! The drama is intense in this episode! Unlike Trudy's death, which set up the premise and backbone of the story, and Dr. Charles Kroger's death, which only happened because the actor that portrayed him died, Kevin's death seemed like it was done purely for the 'shock factor'.

    Karl Torini does a terrific job at being thoroughly despicable in this episode. Definitely one of Monk's toughest adversaries. (I'd say he's second only to Judge Ethan Rickover, who appears in the series finale). To me, Karl Torini was to the Monk series what Dolores Jane Umbridge was to the Harry Potter series: Irritating beyond belief, exceedingly arrogant, thoroughly evil, and you just couldn't WAIT to be rid of them!

    It is interesting to note that Kevin Dorfman's overall role in the Monk series is similar to the artistic bookend role complexity that J.K. Rowling used for characters like Sirius Black and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.

    To demonstrate:

    Role #1: In "Mr. Monk and the Paperboy", Kevin Dorfman is introduced to viewers as the helpless victim, therefore, he is a major focus in this episode. Luckily, Adrian and Sharona were there to save him from being killed by the train! At the end of the episode, a friendship is clearly established.

    Role #2: In Mr. Monk and the Game Show, Kevin is no longer the victim, but a friendly helper. He gets to meet Trudy's father and travel with Adrian to the beautiful house where Trudy lived. Because Sharona is absent, Kevin is Adrian's only companion as he cracks the case with the game show host. Kevin helps Adrian with some of the clues, especially at the house on that hilltop, and he also works with Adrian as they try to figure out how the game show host is cheating. A nice step up from the victim he was in the previous episode!

    Role #3: In "Mr. Monk and Mrs. Monk", well... granted, he doesn't have much screen time in this one. He's just the nextdoor neighbor having a little chat. Nevertheless, he's starting to be remembered more because of this third appearance.

    Role #4: In "Mr. Monk Is On the Air", Kevin goes back to being the friendly helper. After suffering a merciless ridiculing from Max Hudson, the radio talk show host, he's there with Natalie to give Adrian emotional support after watching the home video, and then, he takes a major step in helping Adrian by giving him a list of jokes to give him some strength and ammunition when going back on the air as Monk continues to ask questions. Kevin also calls into the talk show as a fan to give Adrian support for what he is doing, but of course, everything goes up in flames once Max Hudson has the audasity to make fun of Trudy. By now, Kevin Dorfman is turning into a promising character, having made his fourth appearance in the series. He then has a nice, long absense from Season Six, and most of Season Seven.

    Role #5: In "Mr. Monk and the Magician", Kevin's unexpected return to the series is well-received, but... he's back to being the helpless victim, and this time, he's caught in a web of deception by the unbelievably egotistical magician Karl Torrini. Before you can say "Abraca-Dorfman".... PULVERIZED.

    I was like, "Oh, my gosh! HE KILLED HIM!!!!! And then, when Karl Torini gets all smart-alecky when he shows off to intimidate Monk and writes his "confession" and it blows up in Monk's hand, you just wanna scream at him when you hear "Abracadabra, Mr. Monk."!!!!!!

    Final thoughts: The suspence in this story is top-notch, and when that final shot gets right up into screen as Kevin's voice trails off in his touching video will, your mouth will be hanging open....

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