‘Mr. Monk’s Last Case’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Was Rick Eden Really The Killer?


The 2023 detective comedy film by Peacock, Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie, brings back to the screen the eponymous quirky private investigator who had become famous through the Monk TV show. Given that Mr. Monk was already known for his extreme fixation with cleanliness and his desire to stay away from germs, the idea of the detective surviving in a post-Covid world itself is quite interesting. The film fairly delivers on this promise as the private investigator roams around with his own personal sanitizer dispenser, solving one last case of homicide rather unwillingly. Apart from the murder case itself, which is not very deep or convoluted, Mr. Monk’s Last Case also talks about mental health and loneliness, making the film a compelling watch.

Spoiler Alert

How does Mr. Monk return to life as a private detective?

Mr. Monk’s Last Case begins with scenes from an old case of the titular detective as he recalls his younger days as part of a book he has been writing about his life. Adrian Monk was featured in the eight-season-long series about his detective work, and the man has now retired from this life of crime-solving. But the elderly Mr. Monk is not really enjoying retirement, for he is now even more tormented by loneliness, most marked by the loss of his beloved wife, Trudy. Although the ending of the earlier series showed the detective solve the murder of his wife and reach somewhat of a closure in this regard, the memories of Trudy still keep coming back to him. At present, Mr. Monk often sees and talks with his dead wife, as Trudy appears before him whenever he is distressed and seriously worried.

Monk’s old secretary, Natalie Teeger, who was the closest companion he had for a long time, is now settled in a different city. Similarly Randy Disher, who was once a police detective in San Francisco, and was also quite close to the detective, had left the city as well. The protagonist is still upset at Natalie and Randy for having moved away from him, and his only close contact, his stepdaughter Molly, also does not naturally stay with him at all times. Perhaps because of his extreme loneliness, Monk often wishes to end his life and reunite with Trudy in the afterlife. There are also other reasons for the bitterness that has engulfed the detective’s mind, for the excess of violence and murders in the world all around make him feel like he has failed at his job. Despite having solved innumerable cases and provided justice to many victims, Adrian Monk is sad that his life’s work has not been able to stop heinous murders.

While writing his autobiography, commissioned by a publishing house, the protagonist includes more about his internal thoughts and appreciation for furniture and other household objects, as has always been his strange obsession. As there is very little mention of the actual murders he had solved, the publishers canceled the book deal and also took away the advance payment they had made. This makes Monk even sadder, for he was planning to spend the entire money on Molly’s upcoming marriage, which now has to be scaled down due to a lack of funds. Molly does not mind, though, for she is more interested in becoming together with the love of her life, Griffin, in front of all her close ones. Natalie and Randy also come down to attend this wedding, but tragedy strikes when Griffin mysteriously falls to his death while bungee-jumping, only a day before his marriage. As the adventure activity was something extremely common for Griffin, and he used to jump from the same bridge twice every year, the grieved fiancée suspects foul play. Molly now requests that Monk come out of retirement and solve the strange death of Griffin as one last favor.

Who is the suspect in the murder case?

Mr. Monk’s Last Case does not spend too much time establishing who the prime suspect in the whole matter is. Griffin was a journalist by profession, and he had recently been working on a special news piece about the billionaire businessman Rick Eden. Eden’s vast online shopping business had earned him enough money to start building space rocket programs and aim to be the first civilian to orbit the Earth. There is no doubt that the profession and background of the billionaire match those of Jeff Bezos, but the film also does not blatantly refer to the Amazon mogul. As it happened, there was a questionable event in Rick Eden’s life. A few years ago, his business partner accidentally died during a diving expedition, which left Eden as the sole owner of the business, and this was when he earned most of his wealth.

However, there were many rumors that Eden was actually the one to get his partner killed, so that he could take away the man’s wealth and shares in their company and make himself one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. There were reports that the man in control of the boat that the partner had used to reach deep waters and some fishermen around the spot had been dearly paid off by Eden to hide the real truth. A flashback of the time actually confirms that the partner was not the only one present underwater at the time, for we see a man deliberately choke and drown the partner. It was indeed Eden who had either himself killed his business partner or had gotten him killed by a paid hitman. Molly’s fiancé, Griffin, was a journalist who had been preparing a report on this very incident, investigating Eden’s mysterious shot to wealth, and he had even interviewed the billionaire only a couple of days earlier.

During their conversation, Eden had very openly threatened to kill Griffin if he did not stop snooping around the events of the past, and he had also tried to stop the journalist with a hefty bribe. But, being honest about his job, Griffin had turned down this offer and decided to bring the businessman to justice. He had told his fiancée about these threats that he had received, and therefore, Molly was almost certain that Rick Eden had gotten Griffin murdered. The manner in which Griffin dies is also most peculiar, for he jumps down from the bridge with his bungee cord attached, but a gross miscalculation in the cord’s length makes him fall flat on the ground and lose his life instead of being pulled back midway in the air. The miscalculation was extremely suspicious, as Griffin was meticulous about the measurement of his cord, and he used to cut it himself before his jumps. In this instance too, Molly witnessed Griffin cut his cord after carefully making the measurements, and so tampering with the rope is suspected.

At the time of the jump, Molly had been on the bridge too, standing some distance away from Griffin out of fear, and when the tragic accident happened, a bystander told her about it. However, this man was extremely specific in stating the reason, saying that the cord being six feet longer than it needed to be had caused the death. Knowing about the exact excess length and also being rather confident in his statement made the man seem extremely suspicious. Monk and his police friends start to look into the camera and public phone recordings from the place, and the bystander is finally identified as someone named Lucas Kubrick. Where the case becomes even more intriguing is the fact that Kubrick is actually found to be working as a delivery driver for Rick Eden’s online shopping company, Eden Express.

Was Rick Eden really the killer?

The connection between Lucas Kubrick, who was present at the crime scene, and Rick Eden’s company makes the billionaire seem even more suspicious. When Monk and the police arrive at the suspect’s house to have a word with him, Eden’s extremely defensive stance also makes him appear guilty. The only crucial clues that Monk finds at the place are a magazine on the works and accomplishments of Griffin, meaning that Eden was reading up on the journalist, and Eden’s handwriting, which comes into use later on. At the billionaire’s house, the protagonist also meets with an old friend of his, Leland Stottlemeyer, who used to be the police chief in the earlier days, when Monk solved cases as a private investigator in San Francisco. After his retirement from SFPD, Stottlemeyer now works as the head of security for Rick Eden, which makes him firmly believe in the billionaire’s innocence.

However, Stottlemeyer soon discovers that his boss is indeed involved in the murder to some degree when he spots Eden and Kubrick talking privately on a security camera. On the other hand, Monk and Natalie learn of a pet adoption center receiving constant threats from some animal rights group, and the detective figures out the matter in some time. The adoption center was on the delivery route of Kubrick, who was now an unnecessary burden for Eden, as the delivery man could talk about his crime. Therefore, Eden’s plan was to fit a bomb in one of the packages in Kubrick’s truck and detonate it near the adoption center, making it seem as if angry activists had bombed the place. This would serve the purpose of killing Kubrick and also avoiding any suspicion about it. Monk realizes this plan by seeing Eden’s handwriting on the threatening notes at the center, and he tries to save Kubrick as well, but it is too late for the delivery man, as the bomb kills him.

These quick turn of events confirm that Rick Eden is really the killer of Griffin, but the protagonist still needs to discover how the murder was committed. Without any proof or theory, the billionaire cannot be brought to justice, and so the protagonist now seeks help from his old friend, Stottlemeyer. The ex-police chief decides to keep his cover as Eden’s head of security while he secretly helps Monk reach Eden’s personal laptop, which must contain some evidence. But the detective is caught before he can nab the laptop, and he is pushed into the open sea by Eden. It is only thanks to an inflatable balloon that Monk survives the ordeal, and he is safely returned to his friends.

How does Detective Monk finally solve the case?

After his lucky survival, Mr. Monk is shaken up mentally and physically, and Molly also asks him to step down from the investigation. Despite not wanting to deprive his stepdaughter of the satisfaction of seeing her fiancé’s murderer get punished, Adrian Monk does stop his investigation into the matter. This makes the man even more sad and depressed, and he even starts preparing for his own funeral. It is at a casket shop, and while talking to the twin casket sellers, the detective gets his final clue and is able to solve the case. As the twins measure the size of their heads with two tapes, Monk lines up the tapes together and realizes the importance of standards in such measurements. He soon informs the police of what happened, and they all prepare to arrest the murderer.

During his research on Griffin, Eden learned that the adventure freak always measured and cut his own bungee cord before every jump. Therefore, playing around with the cord was never an option, but if the tape to be used for measurements could be tampered with, then Griffin’s calculations would naturally get messed up. Before the night of the jump, Eden had sent Kubrick to replace Griffin’s measuring tape with a faulty one, in which every foot was marked more than the real value. The break-in could be proved by the fact that Griffin’s trophies were kept in a disorderly fashion, suggesting that someone else had placed them on the table after dropping them, for the journalist was very particular about this arrangement. The successful switch of the measuring tapes meant that when Griffin cut his cord to be 304 feet in length, it was actually 310 feet in reality. This extra 6 feet made him hit the ground, and thus, it is proven that Eden had gotten the man murdered. Before Rick Eden can be launched into space on his latest innovation, the man is arrested by the police and brought to justice.

Even after solving such an important case, Adrian Monk remains upset and dissatisfied with his life. The sleeping pills that the man had been hoarding for so long now seem to be put to use, as he intends to take his life and reunite with Trudy. However, the detective now starts to see more dead figures than just his wife, with Griffin being the first to appear. Soon, many others appeared to him in spirit, as they were all victims whose deaths had been solved by the Monk. It was the memories of these many people and all their families whom he had helped that finally helped Monk realize the worth of his life. Feeling the love and admiration of so many people, which is symbolized by the scene where this crowd of men and women follows the detective, Monk decides to start living his life afresh with new hope and determination.

One of the women among this crowd even states that her death has not yet been solved, and she urges Monk to start solving cases again. Both this woman and Molly herself convince Adrian Monk to start investigating unsolved police cases of homicide, and Mr. Monk’s Last Case ends with hope of a new beginning for the titular protagonist. The film also presents a short mid-credits scene in which Monk is seen with a pet dog that Natalie has left at his house. This dog, which was in a helpless condition, kept cleaning its pen just like Monk, and in the end, the detective agreed to adopt it to be his constant friend and companion.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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