Monk is cleaning around his apartment when something jams the vacuum cleaner. He tries to clear it and gets a faceful of dust. He tries to clear his eyes and hears a knock on the door. He figures it’s Natalie and begs for help. When the visitor finally helps him get his eyes cleared, Monk realizes that it’s his old assistant, Sharona. Monk is eager to learn where she took his shirt before she left, but Sharona eventually gets the conversation around to herself. She explains that she and Trevor have separated for good, Benjy is in college, and she’s a nursing administrator. Natalie come sin and Monk acts like he’s having an affair, but Natalie isn’t concerned. Sharona explains that she’s in San Francisco to get a settlement from the country club where her Uncle Howie fell down an outdoor flight of stairs on the golf course and shattered his skull. The stairs were a known danger and the club never fixed them. She invites them along so they can have lunch afterward. As they leave, the two assistants talk and Natalie learns that Monk paid Sharona more than he pays Natalie.
At the lawyers’ office, Natalie argues with Monk over her pay. Inside, the club’s lawyer offers Sharona a massive settlement for her uncle’s death. She quickly accepts it and explains afterward to Monk and Natalie that it’s enough to send Benjy to any college he wants. However, Monk studies the photo of the accident and realizes that there’s something wrong. Sharona tells him not to say anything but can tell Monk isn’t going to let it drop.
Monk decides to go to the country club and investigate further. They meet the club’s resident pro, Perry Walsh, who is giving lessons to his wife Carolyn. Perry introduces his caddy, Gary Hanks, and explains that he and Gary both saw Howie fall down the stairs. The pro administered CPR while Gary was forced to get help after he discovered his cell phone battery was dead. Monk examines the stairs and has to admit that they’re loose. However, once he’s alone with Natalie, he says that the photos of the accident show that Howie wasn’t there to play golf when he died, and he set the entire thing up.
Sharona stops by to visit Stottlemeyer and Disher, and Disher admits he’s missed her insulting him. Monk and Natalie confirm that Howie had been involved in two previous “accidents” and they figure he was a conman who planned to rip off the country club. Sharona doesn’t believe it and just wants the money. Under Natalie’s prodding, Monk offers to check out Howie’s apartment. Before he goes, Stottlemeyer warns him that Natalie and Sharona are two different women and they’ll tear Monk apart as they argue. Monk realizes it’s true but can’t bring himself to choose between them.
At the apartment, Monk finds overdue bills and cushions that Howie had set up to practice falling. Sharona still doesn’t believe it and says they should talk to Perry. Natalie accuses her of ignoring her uncle’s murder, even though she barely knew her, and only wants the money. Sharona responds by accusing Natalie of relying on her rich parents and the two continue arguing as they leave.
At the police station, Sharona talks to Disher, admitting he always used to make her feel better. He has to admit that Monk has never been wrong, and it’d be strange if he picked Howie’s accidental death to do so for the first time. Sharona claims that Monk is distracted because Natalie is turning him against her.
At Perry’s apartment building, the two assistants argue over taking the elevator or the stairs. Monk compromises and they end up walking halfway and then taking the elevator. Exhausted, they arrive at Perry’s apartment and he invites them in. They confirm Howie didn’t play any golf on the day he died. As Perry goes to get them something to drink, Monk tells Sharona that he’s seen a series of books, and the missing one was at Howie’s apartment. Sharona demands that Monk tell her what happened. When he points out that Perry can hear them, Sharona ushers him and Natalie into the closet. Monk reluctantly tells them that Carolyn was having an affair with Howie. Perry found out and then offered to help Howie set up his “accident.” However, when the time came and Gary left, Perry grabbed Howie’s head and slammed him into the stone stairs, killing him and making it look like an accident. Perry overhears them talking and tells them to go.
At the station, Stottlemeyer is unhappy that Monk explained everything and warned Perry they were on to him. Now Perry refuses to talk without a lawyer and they have no evidence to confirm Monk’s theory. Stottlemeyer blames Sharona, and Sharona blames Natalie, and Disher defends Sharona. As they argue, Monk slips away and takes a taxi as far away as he can get.
Sharona and Natalie got to Monk’s apartment and worry about where he is. As they talk, Natalie finally admits she respects Sharona for helping Monk so much right after Trudy died. Sharona admits that Natalie is a lot more gentle and caring than she is, and Monk is the better for it. She admits that she misses being with Monk and solving crimes. The assistants finally realize where Monk has gone and go to Trudy’s grave. They apologize for their behavior and offer to make Monk his scheduled dinner. Sharona admits that Monk is right as always and that it’s important that they find out who killed Howie no matter what it does to her financial future.
At the country club, the trio breaks into Perry’s apartment. Monk finds a rechargeable cell phone battery in Perry’s desk. He realizes that Perry replaced Gary’s cell phone battery with a dud so that he’d be forced to leave Perry alone with Howie. The phone battery in Gary's phone would have Perry's fingerprints, incriminating him. Perry overhears them and runs to get the cell phone from his caddy. Monk runs after him while Sharona and Natalie drive a golf cart in pursuit. Perry punches Monk and the assistant tackle him. After a struggle, Natalie finally knocks him out with a rake and Monk comes up to take the credit. As they leave, Sharona walks down the same steps, and one of them shifts. She trips and breaks her arm, and realizes that she'll be able to get the settlement after all.
Later, Sharona says goodbye to Monk and Natalie and gives Monk a hug. He uncomfortably accepts and Sharona tells them she'll be back in a couple of weeks to get the settlement money. She then leaves… with Randy Disher, after the new couple kiss. Share this article with your friends