Power Rankings: The Top 20 Smartest Murderers in the show ‘Monk’

The first “grown-up” show I ever watched was the USA Network original series Monk. I loved that show and still love it with all of my heart. In my opinion, what the show did better than every other crime-procedural was have crazy, out-of-the-box motives and executions of the murders in question. Sometimes I worry for the safety of our streets for how ingenious the murder plots could be on Monk.

So, naturally, I’ve decided to rank the top twenty “Smartest” murderers the show had. My definition of “smartness” is purely subjective, but I am willing to defend my positions. This list was made entirely from my own memory and looking over an IMDB list of episodes. I did no more research, and will do no more research on any of this, so if any facts about the episodes are wrong, then that’s on me. But trust me, I’ve watched Monk a lot.

Massive spoilers for 21 episodes of Monk ahead, obviously.

Dishonorable Mention: Mr. Monk and the Rapper

MonkI wanted to start off this list with the guy who is, without question, the dumbest murderer in the history of the show. That is not to say that I do not enjoy Mr. Monk and the Rapper quite a bit, as Snoop Dogg’s turn as hip-hop artist “Murderous” is really something, but the killer in question is a moron.

Basically, the killer is a hip-hop mogul who is looking to kill his business partner in a car bomb (I forget why). He puts a time bomb on the company limo and sets it to when his partner will be in the car. But, uh oh, he forgot about Daylight Saving Time, and set it wrong, accidentally blowing up his best rapper instead. WHATTA MOOK.

Not only that, his business partner and him apparently met every Sunday morning for brunch, and the car ride that was supposed to kill him was to that brunch. However, expecting him to be dead, the murderer mogul didn’t order his partner brunch. If that doesn’t scream “I expected you to be dead,” I don’t know what does. It’s goddam tragedy it took Adrian Monk 43 minutes and change to solve this one.

20. Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine

143018040-mr-monk-takes-his-medicine-episode-9-gettyimagesI include this one if but for no other reason than quick thinking. Our murderer (whose name I don’t remember — a common theme) doesn’t actually murder anyone during the runtime of the episode, a rarity in Monk. However, he did murder someone a few years prior, so I can still call him “murderer” and have a clear conscience.

What he does do is shoot Captain Stottlemeyer in the arm, as evidenced by the sling he is wearing in the above photo. Why does he do this? (Will I continue to use rhetorical questions as a lazy device?) Because his ex-girlfriend killed herself and confessed to a crime that they and a friend committed years prior in a suicide note. Obviously, that’s a big problem for our friend, the murderer. Before taking her life, she called him and told him that she was going to confess to everything. However, when he showed up to stop her, she had already jumped. His only recourse was to get rid of the note. But how? The police were securing the scene!

“Simple,” our murderer thinks. I’ll just drive over to an active crime scene and shoot a cop, as to distract all nearby units. And guess what? It works like a frickin’ charm. He goes up to the room and destroys the note easy-peasy. His biggest mistake was writing a new, general suicide note on her behalf, ’cause it’s like, that’s clearly not her handwriting, my dude. But I appreciate the effort.

19. Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum


Kevin Nealon guest stars, as a mental patient completely unrelated to the crime in question. I just thought I should mention that.

Much like our last murderer, this murderer’s cleverness involves covering up a crime from years past. Five years before the episode takes place, the head doctor of this asylum (from now on referred to as “Top Doc”) murdered another doctor. I can’t recall why. He then dumped the gun in the chimney of the old building. Fast forward five years, and they’re remodeling that area of the asylum. He’s real worried they’re gonna find the gun in question, so he has to fish it out.

How does Top Doc fish out a gun from a chimney without anyone noticing? Well, you clearly don’t know that one of his patient’s mental disorders is an obsession with and delusional belief in Santa Claus. So, Top Doc moves this Santa guy in the only room with a window near the chimney, and when he goes fishing for his firearm, he wears a Santa suit, so the only guy who can notice him will just sound like he’s talking his usual crazy. It’s usually a bad thing to take advantage of the mentally unwell, but it earns my respect in this case.

18. Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale


If you’re seven hundred pounds and confined to a bed, a pretty good way to get away with murder would be to make it look like you did it. That’s exactly what strangely-recurring character Dale “the Whale” Biederbeck does in just the third episode of Monk.

For some reason, he wants this judge dead. However, he is unable to kill her himself as he is, once again, seven-hundred pounds (and played by Adam Arkin). But he does have a doctor/assistant who can do the deed for him. (If you’re wondering why exactly the doctor would kill on his boss’s behalf, it is because he had done a surgery drunk and killed a child a decade earlier, and was living under an assumed name, and Dale threatened to expose him. But whatever.)

Yet, Dale is a lot more clever than just getting his pal to slay the judge. He gets him to kill her wearing a massive fatsuit, and goading an eyewitness by “accidentally” setting off the fire alarm. So after the murder, the only witness is like, “The guy who did it was like 500 pounds!” but then the police are like, “It sounds like Dale, but he can’t walk! Woooooaaaaah!” Needless to say, he got caught, but is there any truer sign of body acceptance than using your weight as an alibi?

17. Mr. Monk vs. The Cobra


The “Cobra” in question is a Bruce Lee facsimile named Sonny Chow who, while not making an appearance in the episode, is its central figure. This murder plot is complicated (as are SO many of these), so I figure I’ll take it from the murderer’s perspective.

I don’t remember the murderer’s name, but he’s played by the guy who played Badger on Firefly, so I’ll call him Badger. Badger just got released from prison after serving a short term for stealing some jewels. It’d be longer, but they never found the jewels (hint, hint). Prior to being caught, he was working a job at a cemetery, where he ended up hiding the jewels in the casket of martial arts legend Sonny Chow.

Being a free man again, Badger faces a problem: how the heck is he gonna get those jewels out of the casket? Contrary to popular belief, it is not acceptable behavior to dig up random corpses in a cemetery (also, a big monument was erected on his gravestone, and no normal shovel can take care of that). Therefore, Badger needed a reason for Chow’s body to be excavated. Enter “murdering.”

In a stroke of genius (and the move that gets him on this list), he commits a murder of one of Chow’s enemies, while wearing full ninja gear (making sure to get caught on surveillance camera). He then leaves behind some of Chow’s hair (that he stole from a museum) and writing “Chow” with the murderee’s hand in blood. Bing, bang, boom, they’re digging up Chow’s body to make sure he’s actually dead, and Badger can get his jewels again. Unfortunately for him, he has a heart attack and dies before the conclusion of the episode, but that’s neither here nor there.

16. Mr. Monk Goes Home Again

150841789-mr-monk-goes-home-again-episode-2-pictured-gettyimagesThe genius of this murderer once again lies in how he tries to cover up his previous attempted murder. I’ll explain. Our murderous friend (who I’ll call Baldie, ’cause he’s bald, if I remember correctly) wanted to kill his wife. One thing he knows about her is that every day before going to bed, she eats the same brand of fictional candy bar. His plan was to poison that bar and kill her. Obviously, though, he’d be implicated. He had a solution, however.

He poisoned about seven of the bars at the store to make it seem like there was a serial poisoner running around and his wife just happened to be one of the victims. This is already an ingenious plan. Unfortunately for Baldie, he was caught returning the poison back to his place of work (and I don’t remember what it was, but it was somewhere that had poison, apparently), so if a bunch of people started dying from this poison right after, he’d be implicated.

So, he had to get rid of all of the poisoned bars. One problem: a security guard had just bought one right before he got to the store. And a bigger problem: he’s eating it on the way out! Quick thinking alert! He pulls out a gun and shoots the guy like ten times. Why? Because who the heck does a toxicology report on a guy with ten bullet holes in him? Additionally, one of the bars was delivered to Monk’s agoraphobic brother Ambrose (guest star John Turturro), so Baldie has to try to steal it from his candy bin. This murderer’s improvisational skills are so great, you’d think he studied at Second City.

15. Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas


As Monk was a TV show that existed after the year 2000, James Brolin guest starred. He played the killer in an episode where Monk went to Vegas. Brolin had a problem that plenty of people on this list have: he needed to kill his wife. Well, “needed” is a funny word, but he really, really wanted to kill his wife. But, Brolin was the owner of a big casino in Vegas, so it would be hard to get away with killing his wife, unless he hatched the following plan.

He would get on the elevator from their penthouse to the main casino floor. They would be dressed for a gala, with his wife wearing a long, flowing scarf. On the elevator ride down, Brolin’s mistress (who looks strikingly similar to his wife) would enter through the elevator shaft hatch wearing the exact same outfit and strangle his wife. Then, she would hide the body in the same place, right outside the hatch. When they got to the bottom, they’d briefly make an appearance — too quick for anyone to notice it wasn’t exactly his wife, and note that they forgot their tickets. They’d go back up the elevator, with Brolin’s mistress intentionally catching her scarf in the elevator door. She’d scream. Then, she’d climb back out of the elevator and put the dead body back in position. Oh damn, it looks like a accident.

And this all worked exactly as drawn-up for Brolin. If that sounds like it’s worth a lot more than 14th place, I see where you’re coming from, however, I had to dock it several positions because of the ridiculousness of using a near look-a-like for your murder. I mean, the two looked different enough where someone would’ve had to notice. Still, pretty nice work, all things considered.

14. Mr. Monk and the Circus


If you want to get away with a murder, a good way to do it would be faking shattering your ankle, dressing up like a ninja, doing a bunch of parkour moves, murdering your target, and then actually shattering your ankle so when the police get suspicious, your breakage checks out. That’s exactly what our murderer in this episode does. It’s pretty ingenious actually.

The writing is a bit cliche in that the reason the murderer is able to get away with faking an ankle shatter is because she is Romani (let’s just say they use a different word in this episode from 2003) and won’t go to a hospital, but the way she ends up shattering her ankle on purpose is crazy. She straight up uses the circus elephant that is trained to squash watermelons on command to squash her ankle. And if that wasn’t enough, since the elephant trainer gets suspicious, she plants a walkie-talkie in the elephant’s ear and commands it to squash down when the trainer has his head under its hoof as to demonstrate its tameness. Obviously they don’t show anything, but I saw this episode when I was like 8 or 9, so even implied elephant-head-stomping was scarring.

13. Mr. Monk Gets Married


The “smart” murderer in question here is not actually the murderer that is caught in this episode (played by the always good Nestor Carbonell), but rather one in like 1850. In order to explain, I have to jump to the end of the episode.

Basically, Nestor Carbonell marries Lieutenant Disher’s (a supporting character) elderly mother after three dates and takes her to a couple’s counseling retreat right after as a honeymoon, and Monk and his assistant Sharona have to pretend to be married to investigate his motives. It turns out, he’s going there because he found a cryptic note from a miner from the 1800’s in an antique drawer that said something about the answer to the location of his gold being found “in his journals.” After making this discovery, he, of course, murders his antiquing partner and finds a way to go to where these journals are kept. Where? You guessed it: this couple’s retreat.

Once again, Nestor Carbonell is not the smart murderer here. It is, in fact, the guy from the 1850’s. He qualifies as a murderer, for one, because he too murdered his partner. But he’s smart because of the clue. There are like 150 journals that he wrote and none of them make any sense. Nestor tries and tries to find clues in them and gets frustrated repeatedly. However, what he doesn’t realize is that the answer was always in the journals, ’cause guess what? The ink was mixed with melted down gold. The journals were literally holding gold! He wrote 150 journals worth of inane bullshit just to keep his riches in a safe place. That’s fuckin’ genius. And it allows a guy who existed centuries before Monk ever took a case to make this list.

12. Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk


Spoiler alert: the guy on the right is the murderer. This one will be quick because the genius lies purely in the execution of the murder and has nothing to do with circumstance or motive. He is trying to kill his business partner, so he has celebratory drinks with him. They both drink from the same bottle with the same ice and everything. However, the murderer is fine and the partner drops dead. Why? Because the poison was in the ice cubes!

Now, I’m proud of myself, because this was like the only episode of Monk that I predicted correctly, in terms of murderer and methodology. It’s only at 11, however, because it’s a method I had heard of before in riddles and whatnot, so it’s not completely original like some of these on the list.

11. Mr. Monk and the Captain’s Marriage


If you’re a dirty cop, and you murder someone, but they punch out a tooth of yours, and the good cops are coming too quickly for you to remove all evidence of your blood and teeth from being there, how do you avoid getting caught? If you answered “Goad a police captain into punching you in the face by implying you’re having sex with his wife,” then congratulations, you’re the murderer in this episode. Much like our killer in Mr. Monk Goes Home Again, this guy is just such a good improviser. Like, if I was in his situation, I’d go crazy and flee to Mexico or something, but he’s calm, cool, and collected when he alludes to making sweet love to Leland Stottlemeyer’s spouse.

Somehow, this gambit works out for our dirty cop friend, as the forensics people kinda throw their hands up in regards to searching for physical evidence. I mean, they probably could deduce in some capacity that some of the cop’s blood is in places where it wouldn’t be just from getting sucker punched, but, hey, smart guys gotta have some victories. Especially ’cause, you know, he goes to jail at the end of this one.

Additionally, the Captain gets a divorce at the conclusion of this episode. Luckily, it was not because the dirty cop was fornicating with the missus, but instead because Stottlemeyer was a workaholic and didn’t trust his wife when she said the cop was lying. I bring this up because…

10. Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend


…two seasons later, his first girlfriend after the divorce ends up being a murderer. Sure sucks, doesn’t it? Unfortunately for Leland, his new girlfriend has some serious competition in the real estate business that she could really use to get rid of. That’s why she decides she’s gonna murder him. But how should she get the perfect alibi? I don’t know… use a police captain as an eyewitness!

She lays the framework in place months prior. She Skypes (well, some fake version of Skype) with the captain nightly at around seven from her bedroom. It becomes a tradition. On the night of the murder, it happened just like any other time. Then, twenty minutes later, her competition was shot dead. “Well, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t her,” you say. BUT, her house is an hour away from the crime scene. How did she do it?

The correct answer is that, of course, she built a one-to-one replica of one side of her bedroom in the back of a UHaul truck that she parked a few blocks away from the murder site, and Skyped with the captain from there. Obviously it wasn’t a perfect plan — she got caught (because she parked on a hill and a pen on her desk rolled a little) — but it was pretty damn close.

9. Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion


If you found your wife’s old suicide note that she wrote in college in the basement, what would you do with it? If you were this episode’s murderer, you’d first kill the only other person to read the note who would recognize it (in this case, a former school counselor) and then try to recreate every event mentioned in it at her upcoming college reunion. If that sounds like a lot of work, you’re right, because it is.

A few things our murderer had to do to complete his mission were… buying a dog and pretending it was already named Tangerine, as that was her dog’s name in college, finding a random lady named Gertrude to hang out with because she had a friend named Trudy back then who is now deceased, and making a bunch of grown-ass people play touch football on a college quad. While this is number nine in terms of “smartness,” it really is way too much work in order to kill your wife. Like, there’s tons of different ways to get away with murder that aren’t as contrived as this. I dunno, man, take a chill pill.

Also, something that always bugged me about this episode was that I’m pretty sure they would be able to tell if a suicide note was like twenty five years old. It’s not like paper is impervious to the effects of father time. However, the effort was so high, and the plot was so surprising, a nine spot was the least I could do.

8. Mr. Monk and the Miracle


I believe it was the current Dalai Lama who once wrote that the best crimes are committed to cover up murders from like seven years ago. With that in mind, we come to Mr. Monk and the Miracle, where two people do just that. ‘Cause they’re in some deep shit.

When these folks learn that the fountain under which a dude they murdered is buried might be dug up to make room for a new church building, they know they have to spring into action quickly. While most would simply chain themselves to the fountain and claim it as a municipal landmark, our murderers take a much more roundabout approach.

They somehow realize that a way to stop them from digging up the fountain would be to convince people that the fountain had miraculous powers. And no, before you ask, neither of the murderers was Jesus, so they couldn’t literally perform miracles themselves, but they could convince others differently.

Luckily for them, one of the two was a pharmacist, and he did the following: take people with chronic pain conditions off of their medicine without their knowledge, paint a drawing of the fountain on their front door, and start giving them the right medicine once they visit the fountain. In that way, it looked like the fountain healed them! It’s so convincing, our friend Captain Leland Stottlemeyer briefly quits the force to become a monk (not a Monk).

I do have to dock these murderers a few points though, as the episode intentionally misunderstands the strength of pain medications in fighting chronic pain. ‘Cause that shit doesn’t work overnight.

7. Mr. Monk is on the Air


I’m gonna try and breeze through this because, to be frank, I don’t like this episode that much. In fact, I’d wager that the murder plot in this one exists just because some writers were trying to one-up each other. It’s so impractical and ridiculous, but because I have to accept the world of the show as it is, I gotta acknowledge that if a guy were to pull off a crime in this manner, he would be pretty freakin’ smart.

Anywho, Steve Ryan guest stars as a radio shock jock who wants his wife dead, surprise, surprise. Obviously, the best alibi he could have would be to be on the air at the time of her death. How could he kill her then? Well, while dogsitting his neighbor’s puppy, he trains him to respond to the phrase “Yabba dabba doo,” or something. I don’t remember exactly what it was. Then, he starts to incorporate this phrase into shows. What the dog is supposed to do upon hearing this phrase is to enter Steve Ryan’s house through an open basement window, go up to his bedroom, and open up the gas line to his fireplace, while the flume is still shut. Yes. This fucker trained a dog to murder for him. I know that’s so, so, so jumping the shark, however, like I said, it’s definitely a smart way to murder someone. I was left with little choice.

6. Mr. Monk and the Marathon Man


A common theme of many great Monk murders (and some not great ones) is the conceit that one cannot be two places at the same time. This episode is no different. The man who most signs point to being the murderer was also apparently running in the San Francisco marathon at the same damn time. That’s a conundrum.

His methodology was pretty simple actually, but the idea of using a freakin’ marathon as an alibi is nuts to me because, like, I wouldn’t run a marathon even if I didn’t have to get away with murder. So, basically, our murderer runs like the first two hours of the race legitimately. He’s in pretty good shape, so it’s easier for him than it would be for me. Then, he ducks out, kills his mistress, and gets back in the field and finishes.

Now you might be saying, “Well, of course. Anyone could leave a marathon at any time. It’s not a real alibi.” But that’s where you’re wrong. Perhaps because this is a real thing or perhaps because it’s a plot device, every marathon runner had a tiny device hooked up to them to track their time and progress, to prevent someone from cheating, and lo and behold, the tracker shows that the murderer never left the race. How did he do it? It’s painfully simple, and I’m dreading this reveal. He stuck it on the back of a motorcycle-camera rig that was following a famous runner in his final race. It was a consistent time that was middle-of-the-pack enough for him not to be noticed leaving. Yes, it seems so obvious, but it’s important to note the significance of using the motorcycle and not another runner or something, as they even checked to see if he had an identical time to any other runner. He didn’t.

5. Mr. Monk and the TV Star


Before I tell you exactly how the murderer in this episode (played by Billy Burke — so naturally, I wll only refer to him as Billy Burke) pulled his crime off, I need to let you know that my father guessed how this guy did it after the first commercial break. It was the closest thing to a superpower I’ve ever witnessed with my own eyes. (It was also on the morning of my aunt’s wedding, strangely.) So keep that in mind.

Billy Burke wants his ex-wife dead. So naturally, he gets in a public bar fight and goes to her house to lay low (they’re still friends). As he’s outside trying to get paparazzi away from her house the next morning, a scream is heard inside. He runs to her aid. He comes out thirty seconds later covered in blood. SHE’S BEEN STABBED! Now, knowing that he did it, as I informed you previously that he is the murderer, I ask: how did he do it?

Well, he obviously got into that bar fight to make sure there were witnesses to him being outside while his wife was screaming, right? But even before that, he made a copy of his ex’s yoga VHS and, about three minutes in, edited in a scream at full volume. Now, you may know that we have the technology to determine if someone’s voice matches previous records of their voice, so it wasn’t any old scream. It was a scream from a slasher film that his ex had a minor role in back in the early 90’s. Then, once the scream was heard, Billy Burke ran back inside, grabbed a knife hidden in a potted plant and stabbed his understandably confused wife. Pretty smart thinking from the dad in Twilight.

4. Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect


I think it’s fair to say that there’s no better alibi than being in a coma, so therefore, the killer in this episode has the perfect alibi. Before you cry unrealism, as no one would ever intentionally put themselves into a coma: you’re right. It was an accidental coma. He got in a car crash while trying to commit enough vehicle crimes to put himself in jail when the murders were due to happen. He merely stumbled upon his absolutely airtight alibi. The reason he’s on this list, though, is because his plans were really smart, in any case.

Mr. Snoozer wanted to kill his siblings, I think over some inheritance thing — it’s been a while. He also happens to know how to make bombs. He’s gonna mail his siblings some bombs. Now, assuming his intended plan worked, he would be in jail when his bombs were delivered by mail to his siblings. How would he do this? By putting just a touch of superglue on the top of the packages, and sticking them on the “ceiling” of the mail drop-off box, and waiting for the glue to slowly stop working.

This clever sonofabitch was also smart enough to test how long this would take — with glass ketchup bottles strangely, as they were about the same weight as his mailbombs. I suppose my point is that even if he didn’t put himself into a coma (which he happened to wake up from once they put the pieces together–GROAN), he still would safely have a place on this list.

3. Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy


The murderer in this episode is basically a Hugh Hefner clone, but that has literally nothing to do with why his murdering skills are awesome. Why are they awesome? One word: MAGNETS.

Yes. The CEO of a Playboy parody kills a dude with a magnet. How? I’m glad you asked. Luckily for our murderer (played by legitimately underappreciated character actor Gary Cole), his old friend happened to own the apartment right below the office of the publisher of his magazine who, uh oh, was planning on shutting it down! Gary Cole was understandably not gonna let that happen.

The publisher, like many middle-aged guys in San Francisco offices, I assume, had a room with a bench-press that he used every morning. Gary Cole knew this, and boy did he take advantage. He sent his old friend on vacation, went into her apartment, and set up a fuckin’ electromagnet right under the weight room. So once the publisher started bench-pressing–BAM! he’s getting choked by the bar. He was literally killed through the floor. If my excitement about this murder is not coming through clearly, than I am a terrible writer because this is so freaking cool I can completely ignore the lack of morality involved.

A magnet, man. Jesse Pinkman would be proud.

2. Mr. Monk and the Astronaut


You know when I said being in a coma was the best alibi? I lied. It’s being in fucking space. And gosh darnit, this murderer here (played by Jeffrey Donovan of Burn Notice fame–or, I suppose, not-fame) commits a murder from space.

Okay, okay, okay, lemme get all the logistical stuff out of the way before I get the pleasure of explaining how a fictional character murders someone from space. Jeffrey Donovan needs to get rid of an old mistress who is likely to rat him out as a cheater. He also happens to have a four day mission to space coming up. It’s a perfect opportunity.

Like two days before he goes up into the great beyond, Donovan visits his mistress and spikes her drink with something to knock her out for multiple days (apparently that’s a thing) and leaves after fastening a rope around her neck that is connected to a pulley system that is OPERATED BY A GARAGE DOOR OPENER. Yup, this guy’s using fuckin’ science.

Then, to be delivered while he’s in space, he orders an anonymous package to his mistresses’ house that contains a teddy bear with a pressed-down garage door opener inside of it, so once it’s in range, the pulley system activates, and the mistress is hanged to death remotely. Then, once he’s down from space, but before anyone discovers the body, Donovan carefully disassembles the system and places a knocked over stool below the body. Presto-change-o, it looks like she hung herself.

Goddammit, if all murders were this well-executed, they ought to be legal, let me tell you that much.

1. Mr. Monk Goes Back to School


I get it. You’re wondering how exactly something could beat being in space. Well, you haven’t heard the number one murder yet, and lemme tell you, it’s a doozy. From the moment I started compiling this list, I was only kidding myself if I thought this wouldn’t be number one. It is so bonkers-ingenious, it legitimately holds a special place in my heart. I think about the way the murderer (played by Andrew McCarthy) kills his mistress (WHAT A SHOCK) quite frequently.

What is McCarthy’s alibi, you ask? He’s administering the SATs. For all of you who are too young to have taken the SATs or too old to remember, the proctor has to stay in the room at all times. He or she can’t use the bathroom much less murder someone. Now, obviously, in order for the SATs to be a valid alibi, McCarthy would need to prove that his mistress died during the SATs. This was no problem from him. Rather than be coy, I’ll explain exactly what he does.

The SATs begin at 8. At 7:45, McCarthy parks his car right underneath the school’s big clocktower and meets his mistress at the top. He quickly bludgeons her to death. Then, he takes her body to maintenance room of the tower, and puts her dead body onto the minute hand of the clock. Luckily for him, none of the classrooms face the tower (which is a plot hole, but shut the hell up) and he runs to his class to proctor the test. At around 8:20, once the minute hand becomes too steep to support a fully-grown woman, McCarthy’s mistress falls off of the clock, onto his car that’s panic alarm goes off wildly. Everyone in the school hears this. To them, it’s clear that, assuming she jumped from the tower (which seems likely as she was ALONE), it was at around 8:20. Where was Andrew McCarthy at this time? ADMINISTERING THE SATs!

The dude literally used a clocktower as a mechanism in his murder. Show me another TV murderer who does that. C’mon, do it. I was honestly disappointed when Monk caught him because if you’re going to do shit like that, I’m sorry, but you deserve to get away with it. The law doesn’t apply to gods, and that character is a god among men.


If I missed any that you think were totally genius, it’s certainly because I forgot about it. I had trouble remembering a lot of the later-season episodes, as they weren’t as good so I rewatched them less. If you have any I missed, however, let me know, and if you disagree strongly, let me know that as well. If you never want me to write in upwards of 5600 words on a mid-2000’s cable show again, fuck off. You don’t tell me what to do.

For more stuff like this, if you’re so inclined, check out the rest of Pop Culture Deep Dive.


Editors note:  A very angry friend of mine, who I choose to not name at this juncture, insisted that it is actually Mr. Monk and the Astronaut that features the smartest murderer in the show’s history. As I cannot come up with a good reason why not beyond person preference, I felt it necessary to note this here.

Power Rankings: The Top 20 Smartest Murderers in the show ‘Monk’

A Discussion of Great Sequel Names

Not all sequels have subtitles or creative names. The second Back to the Future is simply called “Back to the Future Part II.” The second Ride Along is just “Ride Along 2.” This suffices, I suppose, but there is no art to these titles. Now, I am not enough a connoisseur of the history of film to create a power rankings of the best movie sequel titles of all time, as I would undoubtedly leave a few out. However, I would just like to share a bunch of my favorites, and why exactly they’re so great.

It’s important to note that in my opinion, any change or subtitle is preferable to no change or subtitle at all. A lot of these objectively suck, but upon reflection, are amazing.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

I would be perfectly okay if every sequel from now until the end of time had the subtitle “The Squeakquel.” It makes me smile just thinking about it. I have never seen Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (while I have seen the original — a discussion for another time), but I can tell you for certain that its title goes for it. It makes no bones about how much squeaking is going to happen in this movie. Also, let this first entry set the tone of the fact that I have not seen a great deal of these films.

Speed 2: Cruise Control

When I pitched the idea for this entry to my suitemate Nick, this was the first one he came up with. And for good reason. Not only is “cruise control” a common phrase, it is also the plot of the film. They are literally trying to control a cruise ship. In just 4 words, I get that this is a sequel to Speed and that they will be controlling a cruise. I sure hope that the title was not the reason Keanu chose not to return, or else I’ve lost serious respect for the man.

Die Hard with a Vengeance

There are plenty of great sequel titles to choose from in the Die Hard franchise, and if I run out of steam before reaching my goal of — I don’t know — 50,000 words, I might add them to this list, but this one has got to be my favorite. Like many others, it just lets you know the plot from the get-go. What is this one about? Someone is taking vengeance, you can discern from the title. And wouldn’t you know it, the villain in this one is the villain from the first one’s brother! The added stakes both make the film (which I quite enjoy) and the title that much better.

Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a film that is only known by me and most people because of its incredible subheading. I have no earthly idea what the movie is about, nor do I want to know. There is no way it can hold up to the joy that the words “Electric Boogaloo” bring to my soul. Not to mention the fact that they rhyme with “Breakin’ 2.” Truly masterful work.


You might think I’m crazy for honoring a title that literally just added one letter onto the original, but think about how it raises the stakes. You thought shit was crazy when there was one of these guys? Now there are multiple. You know Sigourney and company are in trouble. It’s also great because of how confusing it makes it to talk about the films. Like, if you mishear one syllable, the whole conversation goes to hell and handbasket, which is the real goal of any serious filmmaker.

Rocky Balboa

Don’t kill me, but I must confess I’ve never watched a Rocky movie in its entirety. With that out of the way, let me say I love the power move of calling the sixth movie in your series the full name of the main character, despite his first name being the title of the first five. Because, in many ways, it’s like hitting the reset button, rather than going to six, but it also retains the essence of the series, and it is by no means a spin-off. Let’s move on, because I feel myself getting too sincere about why I like this one.

The Final Destination

Another power move. You know that word they were using in all of the other titles to refer to something else? Well now, it refers to the fact that this is the last film in the franchise because of the word “The” in front of it. Isn’t it nuts how English works sometimes?

Babe: Pig in the City

I don’t know why, but this one just brings a smile to my face. It’s a freakin’ pig… in the city! It just gets me excited. Additionally, and you might know this already, but this film, believe it or not, was co-written and directed by none other than George Miller, A.K.A. the guy who made all of the Mad Max movies. Speaking of which, a few of those have good sequel titles, so Mr. Miller may be making a reappearance. And I’m not being coy. I honestly don’t know what’s coming next, as it’s not like I plan ahead or anything.

Analyze That

I know so little about the series of Analyze This and Analyze That except that their titles, when put together, are movie-making magic. Despite being made like a decade apart, they manage to have a conversation with each other, which is all we’re really trying to do in this life, right? Like others, this sequel title only works in relation to the original, which is not a knock on it. In fact, I think it makes it all the more special.

Magic Mike XXL

The sequel to the highly-successful Magic Mike doesn’t shy away from what made the first one successful. What viewers want out of the sequel is not just another one, as “2” would signal, but they want it to be bigger, both from a figurative standpoint, and in regards to the size of the main cast’s packages. Many sequels say they go bigger in advertisements and whatnot, but this one promises it.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

It is no secret that I am a sucker for replacing the word “to” with the number “2,” and this film does it well. Especially because the original, Journey to the Center of the Earth, used the word “to” in its usual form. This does get docked some points because, quite frankly, I don’t care how mysterious the island is, it can’t beat the center of the Earth. Thank god the Hunger Games happened or Josh Hutcherson’s career might have been best known for this vehicle.

Teen Wolf Too

My love of misusing all of the forms of “to” goes all directions. This one works great because, in the film’s universe, the main character really is a teen wolf as well. His cousin, M.J. Fox’s character from the original was the first Teen Wolf, so, naturally, he’s a Teen Wolf Too. Great title, great marketing, and, as far as I can tell without seeing it, horrible film.

For a Few Dollars More

This is of course, a classic western that I have never seen, as I would rather eat one of those solid tires that comes on forklifts than sit through a western, but boy does it have a good title. The first is called A Fistful of Dollars, so naturally, in the sequel, they go for a few dollars more.

2 Fast 2 Furious

If you thought they were fast or furious in the first installment, wait until you see this one. They are too fast and too furious this time. One thing sequels do really well — or poorly, depending on how you enjoy movies — is be more excessive than their predecessor. This movie lets you know from the title that it will be doing it. Those things you love about the original (namely the fastness and furiousness) will overwhelm you in this one. Good call, guys.


Those are all of the ones I can think of off the top of my head, but of course, if you have any others in mind, let me know in the comment section. Follow this blog for more, stupid pop culture shit just like this.


A Discussion of Great Sequel Names