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MR. MONK JOINS A CULT (#613)
EPISODE PREMIERE: January 11, 2008

Logline:

When Monk infiltrates a cult to solve a murder, he falls under the spell of its charismatic leader.

Synopsis:

While out shopping, Natalie and Monk spot the parents of a recently murdered girl named Amanda Clark, and Monk begrudgingly takes the case before the Clarks even ask.

Monk and Natalie visit the crime scene with Capt. Stottlemeyer and Lt. Disher, and Monk speaks to Tom Donovan, the man who found Amanda Clark.  Donovan says he saw Amanda being forced down and stabbed by a group of people one of whom was clearly the leader.  When the killers spotted Donovan they took off in their silver van, leaving Amanda with ten stab wounds and a symbol of a sun carved into her chest.  As he was driving Amanda to the hospital, Donovan heard her say, "He found me.  Father found me."  Then she died.

According to Stottlemeyer, Donovan's story checks out. Amanda had left a cult called Siblings of the Sun over a year before her death, and had apparently been so terrified that Father, the leader of the cult, would find her that she changed her name and went into hiding, working off the books as a prostitute. Donovan was able to pick Father, formerly a used car salesman named Ralph Roberts, out of a lineup, but there still isn't enough evidence to charge the cult leader. The problem is, Father has about a hundred witnesses to back up his alibi for that night, and almost as many lawyers ready to sue the police. Since the police won't send anyone in to infiltrate the cult, Monk offers to go undercover, an idea Stottlemeyer swiftly rejects. It's agreed instead that Natalie, who won't pose such as easy target for the cult, will be the one to infiltrate it.

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