Monk stands with the police outside the studio of artist Evan Gildea, but it isn't the beginning of an investigation. It's the end of one, with Monk giving one of his typical summations. But before Monk can finish explaining how the artist murdered his wife, Nancy, he's interrupted by the arrival of Harrison Powell, Mr. Gildea's high-priced attorney. Powell cuts Monk off and hushes his client, letting everyone know that Gildea will be doing his talking in court, where Powell has never lost a case.
A few weeks later, Stottlemeyer is testifying in court. He recalls how he found Nancy Gildea's body in her house, dead for twelve hours, killed during what appeared to be a straight-up break-in. He explains how Monk found several clues that convinced him to focus on her husband as a suspect. Unfortunately, Harrison Powell tears Stottlemeyer's story to ribbons.
Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, Lt. Disher reunites with a teenager he mentored in the "Big Buddy" program. His Little Buddy, Rudy, has been accused in the robbery and murder of a clerk at an auto parts store, and is awaiting his own trial.
Next up in Gildea's murder trial is Monk. Powell punches holes in his story throughout his testimony, driving Monk to a nervous breakdown on the stand. The artist is acquitted and Powell remains unbeaten in court. More importantly, Monk now has a known weakness -- any criminal he catches can hire Powell to discredit him.
Monk pays a visit to Dr. Bell, but nothing seems to cheer him up. Natalie suggests that Monk team-up with Disher, whose Little Buddy Rudy has confessed to robbing the auto parts store, but is insisting he's innocent of the clerk's murder. Monk reluctantly agrees to help, and while investigating the crime scene he notices the clerk was killed in the same manner as Nancy Gildea. Then, out in the store's parking lot, Monk finds a discarded, burned-out taillight bulb.
The next day, the police bring Evan Gildea back into the station for interrogation - this time for the murder of the clerk. Monk explains: Gildea had just killed his wife and was driving back to his studio when he noticed his taillight had burned out. Gildea had an alibi set up which would be ruined if he got pulled over for the taillight, so he stopped at an auto parts store to get a replacement. Unfortunately for Gildea, Rudy happened to be robbing the store at the same time. Gildea couldn't afford to be seen by the police on the store's security video, so once Rudy left, Gildea killed the clerk, grabbed the video and made his getaway.
Months later, Monk is back in court, again facing off against Evan Gildea and his attorney, Harrison Powell. This time the jury finds Gildea guilty of murdering the store clerk, which in turn clears Rudy of any murder charges. Harrison Powell has suffered his first ever defeat, all thanks to the brilliant detective work of Adrian Monk.