Monk (2002–2009)
7.8/10
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Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale 

A judge is murdered while placing a 911 call, but before she dies she names her attacker - notorious criminal Dale Biederbeck. The problem is, "Dale the Whale" is over 800 pounds and hasn't left his bed in years.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. Christian Vezza
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Lucy Filippone ...
Louisa (as Lucia Fillipone)
Jennifer Pisana ...
Sue Ellen
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Police Dispatcher
Hrant Alianak ...
Quancetia Hamilton ...
2nd dispatcher
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Second girl
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Storyline

A 911 call from a judge identifies the man who is about to murder her as rich and obscenely fat financier Dale Biederbeck. But "Dale the Whale" weighs over 800 pounds and can't get up from his bed, making it impossible for him to have committed the murder, despite the 911 call and the testimony of a ten-year-old witness who saw an extremely fat man through the window of the judge's house. The fact that Biederbeck sued Monk's wife for libel after she criticized his ethics in a newspaper article gives Monk added incentive to find him guilty. While Monk and Captain Stottlemeyer try to figure out how Dale could have committed the murder, Sharona gets her chance to play Lois Lane, or rather Florence Nightingale, by briefly serving as Biederbeck's nurse instead of Monk's. She also finds herself attracted to Dale's private physician, Christian Vezza. Written by WyattJones

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

phobia | obese character | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

26 July 2002 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vezza says that he was conceived during the Northeast Blackout of 1965, a blackout that affected much of the Northeastern United States and left 80,000 people without power for up to twelve hours. Nine months after the blackout, there was supposedly a big increase in births, called the "Blackout Baby Boom." However, examination of birth statistics showed no significant difference compared to previous years. See more »

Goofs

When the police officer brings the two chairs from the Judge's house to Biederbeck's Mansion, you can clearly see the pre-cut sections on the chair that the heavier officer stands on. See more »

Quotes

Biederbeck: Where were we? Bread and butter.
Adrian Monk: [shocked] What?
Biederbeck: "Bread and butter." Those were Trudy's last words, weren't they? The transcript of the coroner's inquest is a matter of public record. The Internet, Monk; it's the fat man's best friend. It's been troubling me for years. What could she have meant? "Bread and butter."
Adrian Monk: Go to hell.
Biederbeck: [laughing] No doubt I will. I just hope it's handicap-accessible.
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User Reviews

 
The first appearance of Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck
9 July 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Monk' has always been one of my most watched shows when needing comfort, to relax after a hard day, a good laugh or a way to spend a lazy weekend. "Mr Monk and the Psychic" is only the third episode and the show is showing no signs of declining.

After Season 1 started off so brilliantly with the two parter "Mr Monk and the Candidate" and "Mr Monk and the Psychic", both show highlights, "Mr Monk Meets Dale the Whale" is still a very good episode indeed if a step down. It is notable for introducing Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck, a character who returned two other times in Season 2 and the final season with Adam Arkin replaced by Tim Curry and then Ray Porter, and a great introduction it is too. As said before, some 'Monk' episodes are better than others, which is true of most shows, but that is true of many shows, even the best ones have not so good episodes and even they on the most part are still better than a lot of shows at their weakest.

"Mr Monk Meets Dale the Whale" is at its weakest during the scenes between Biederbeck and Sharona, a situation that was more than unlikely and there is one bit where our revolted reaction mirrors Sharona's own exactly, even though she in full view of it we more than get the drift. Yeah, the solution is on the predictable side but it was fun to spot the clues and see how Monk came to solving the case through some enviously genius detective work.

On the other hand, one of the best things about 'Monk' has always been the acting of Tony Shalhoub in the title role, it was essential for him to work and be the glue of the show, and Shalhoub not only is that but also at his very best he IS the show. Have always loved the balance of the humour, which is often hilarious, and pathos, which is sincere and touching. It is remarkable here that for an episode that only introduces him that one likes him straight away, even with his quirks and deficiencies that could easily have been overplayed, and also that he is better developed than most titular characters of other shows at this particular stage. Who can't help love Monk's brilliant mind too?

He is very well supported by a sharp and no-nonsense but also sympathetic Bitty Schram, whose Sharona makes for a worthy and entertaining partner for Monk's sleuthing and somebody with a maternal side. There is always a debate at who's better between Sharona and Natalie, personally like both in their own way and consider them both attractive though as of now leaning towards Natalie as the better acted and more attentive of the two.

Also by a very amusing, and sometimes even funnier than that, Ted Levine, what a difference from his Buffalo Bill in 'The Silence of the Lambs'. Jason Gray-Stanford is not quite as entertaining, with not quite as memorable lines (only because the other three are so good that's all) but shows great chemistry with everyone and is appealing enough with his earnestness and goofiness. Adam Arkin makes a very good impression as Biederbeck, a pretty loathsome individual though with some golden lines that Arkin relishes in a way that it's both fun and menacing. Of the three interpretations of the character, Tim Curry is my favourite acting-wise but Arkin is the one with the best lines.

It's not just the cast though. Another star is the writing, which is also essential to whether the show would be successful or not and succeed it does here. The mix of hilarious wry humour, lovable quirkiness and tender easy-to-relate-to drama is delicately done but extremely deft, which elevates what could have been just a conventional and formulaic story to a greater level.

On paper, the story may have been conventional but is absorbing and clever with some nice twists, and it was wonderful to see and hear Monk's deductions. The banter between Monk and Sharona was immensely enjoyable and a large part of the episode's charm. It was however the malicious taunting of Monk by Biederbeck and the biting-the-nails but also gleefully enjoyable chemistry between them that made "Mr Monk Meets Dale the Whale", parts were very funny but there were degrees of tension as well.

"Mr Monk Meets Dale the Whale" is shot in a slick and stylish way, and the music is both understated and quirky. Much prefer the jazzy Season 1 theme tune to the later "It's a Jungle Out There", which always struck me before as one of my least favourite assets of 'Monk' but has since grown on me, which should have been kept. It's all very capably directed throughout.

All in all, another winner from Season 1 and 'Monk' overall. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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