Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong

Directed by Perry Lang

Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Aired October 17, 1997

Summary:  What is the truth behind a series of child abuse cases stemming from a day care center in Arkansas? Two of the Millennium Group's most promising visionaries are sent to find out yet aren't told a thing about their counterpart or their case. Frank and his new partner soon find that they may share a great deal in common, and that demons can come in the most unexpected of forms. Unfortunately, the Group's test takes a dangerous turn when the townspeople go on a witch hunt for the child abuser which arrests Frank Black as their monster.


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Quote:  "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." —Henry IV, part 2, act 4, scene 2


Synopsis:  Peter Watts arranges for Frank to meet with District Attorney Gordon Roberts, who is investigating Miss Penny Plott--the longtime owner of a daycare center in Probity, Arkansas--on charges of child abuse. Before Frank embarks on his journey, he goes shopping with Jordan at a department store. As children often do, Jordan grows fidgety and demands attention. Frank loses his cool and chastises his daughter for her behavior. 

Police deputy Bill Sherman, who sends his son Bill Jr. to Plott's daycare center, discovers a bite mark on his son's back. When Bill Jr. speaks of retribution (should he reveal the source of the injury), it only adds credence to rumors surrounding Plott. 

Pretending to be a parent, Frank pays a visit to the daycare center. His investigation is cut short when he is interrupted by Lara Means, who was hired to represent Plott's interests. The pair put aside their differences when one of the children, Jason Wells, stops breathing. Despite Frank and Lara's best efforts, the boy succumbs. Meanwhile, Catherine takes Jordan to see a dentist after her daughter spits out blood while brushing her teeth. The dentist suggests Jordan may have received a cut lip from being aggressively disciplined. Catherine dismisses the notion that Frank may be responsible, but later, Jordan reveals that Frank lost his temper at the department store. 

A coroner attributes Jason's death to an acute asthma attack. Despite a lack of evidence, District Attorney Roberts remains convinced that Plott must somehow be at fault. The investigation seemingly hits a dead end until Frank, Lara and Roberts interview Danielle Barbakow, one of the children under Plott's supervision. Danielle describes overhearing an incident in which Plott physically abused Jason. Shortly thereafter, Plott is placed under arrest. Inside an interrogation room, an outraged Plott reminds Bill Sherman that he was under her supervision as a child--and that in thirty-six years of running the center she has never been accused of any wrongdoing. When Plott wins release on bail, a guilt-ridden Bill Sherman announces that, even though his own son has a mark on his body, he refuses to believe Plott is capable of child abuse. 

Frank and Lara both conclude that Danielle is responsible for Jason's death. They also realize they were both sent by the Millennium Group to investigate the case... possibly as some sort of test. The pair travel to the Barbakow residence, where they meet Danielle's mother, Virginia. As Lara and Virginia talk, Frank interviews Danielle inside her bedroom. Suddenly, Danielle begins screaming--and accuses Frank of touching her. Virginia comforts her daughter, who suffers from a split lip. A short time later, Frank is arrested for assaulting a minor.

Roberts also reveals that Frank is under investigation for possibly assaulting his own daughter. Frank demands that Roberts examine an alternate light imaging photograph of Danielle's injuries, confident it will prove his innocence. Lara returns to the Barbakow residence and compares the special photograph with the wings of an angel on Danielle's dresser. Lara realizes the patterns are identical, and later, Virginia Barbakow admits she heard her daughter inflict the injuries upon herself. Catherine and Jordan meet Frank at the police station upon his release. Catherine apologizes for the investigation into Jordan's injuries.


- Frank is arrested on child abuse charges

- Lara considers her most recent vision

- The innocent face of Danielle Barbakow

- Millennium Group investigator Lara Means

- Frank and Lara, reluctant partners


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Abyss Rating:  (5/5)


Trivia:  "Monster" introduced viewers to the recurring character of Millennium Group investigator Lara Means. Actress Kristen Cloke, perhaps best known for her role on Space: Above and Beyond, would go on to marry writer/producer Glen Morgan in 1998. Her Millennium character was named for a personal friend of Cloke's and for football player Natrone Means, formerly of the San Diego Chargers. Lara Means would serve a vital role in the second season's developing mythology, appearing in a total of ten episodes.

Glen Morgan and James Wong were rightfully concerned that the new character, like many of their second season changes, might be regarded as a reaction to the success of The X-Files. "My biggest worry was that people would think we were trying to make them like Mulder and Scully," Morgan explained. Lara's purpose on the series, and the arc concerning her character, were decided from the start, however. "We wanted somebody with an incredible gift to counter Frank. Right from the beginning, the idea was to have Lara see these visions and know what the Millennium Group was saying was true. Knowing that would drive her crazy because if the world is ending, what's the point of going on? Coupled with that, we had the Millennium Group saying, 'We not only have the responsibility of knowing; we have the responsibility of doing something about it.' The knowledge overloads her, and she goes insane. By seeing that, Frank Black will have a person to compare and contrast himself to: 'This is my potential fate.' And that took him back to the yellow house. Lara is a possibility of what Frank could be. If you're going through the forest, you could be eaten by a troll, or you could get out. Lara did not get out of her dark forest. When the Millennium Group says to Frank, 'Do you want to become an initiated member? You're ready to move up a rank,' he can look at Lara and say, 'I don't know.'  And yet, he believes in what she sees and that what the Group is after is right. It's such an extraordinary responsibility."

Guest star Chris Owens, seen here as Deputy Bill Sherman, held a prominent recurring role on Chris Carter's The X-Files.  Fans of Ten-Thirteen Productions likely know him better as FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Spender, the son of the villainous Cigarette Smoking Man.


Like Cloke and Owens, guest stars Gillian Barber, Robert Wisden, and Lauren Diewold have all appeared as guest stars on The X-Files.


Death Toll:  1


Title:  The people of Probity, Arkansas pursue their witch hunt under the assumption that only some kind of monster could have perpetrated these abusive attacks on children, not quite realizing that monstrousness can hide even behind the face of a child.



"Goodbye Charlie" by Bobby Darin


Awards:  Young Artist Award - Lauren Diewold, Best Performance in a Television Drama Series: Guest Starring Young Actress (Winner)



Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts

Stephen James Lang as Det. Geibelhouse


Guest Starring:
Kristen Cloke as Lara Means
Mary Gillis as Miss Penny
Robert Wisden as D. A. Gordon Roberts
Lauren Diewold as Danielle Barbakow
Chris Owens as Deputy Bill Sherman
Gillian Barber as Mrs. Barbakow
Fred Keating as Mr. Barbakow
Ken Roberts as Police Chief Jenkins
Judy Norton as the Coroner
J. Douglas Stewart as the Dentist
Kevin Blatch as the Shoe Salesman
Thomas Miller as Billy Sherman Jr.


Production Credits:

Production #5C04

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer Chip Johannessen
Consulting Producers Darin Morgan
Co-Producer Robert Moresco
Co-Producer Paul Rabwin
Producer Thomas J. Wright
Co-Executive Producer Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis

Executive Producer Glen Morgan

Executive Producer James Wong

Executive Producer Chris Carter