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A Dance with Death

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Basic Details

Season 4, Episode 18

Original Air Date - March 19, 2012
Repeat: July 21, 2012


While Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a TV dance show contestant, Martha clashes with a theater critic from her past and Ryan and Esposito try to figure out how to get Ryan's wedding ring off Esposito's finger.

Episode Images

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Adam Harrington - Brad Melville
  • Tim Ransom - Max Renfro
  • Larry Sullivan - Samuel Lynchberg
  • Millicent Martin - Oona Marconi
  • Mike Faiola - Paul Morton
  • Bruce Gray - Charles Carson
  • Neil Brown, Jr. - Eddie Gordon
  • Arlene Santana - Jasmine
  • Matthew Alan - Jason Bagwell
  • Shelli Boone - Chantal
  • Erin Chambers - Suzanne Steiner
  • Lauralee Bell - Pam Francis, Judge
  • Braeden Marcott - Pierre Dubois, Judge
  • Krishna Cole - Santino
  • Anna Lunberry - Jeanine




Ryan: Gotta say, Dr. Parrish, I never figured you for a fan of “Night of Dance.”
Lanie: I’m NOT, exactly. It’s just – when I was young, more than anything, I wanted to be a prima ballerina. When I wasn’t dancing, I was thinking about dancing.
Castle: So what happened?
Lanie: The 'girls' came along when I was thirteen. Not that many top heavy ballerinas out there.
Castle: Well, I think there should be.
Beckett: Of course you do.
Castle: That’s not what I meant. Although…

Ryan: Did you see that? She acted like I didn’t even exist.
Esposito: You don’t. Not since you put that ring on your finger.

Castle: Sounds to me like the old gas card scam.
Beckett: What do you mean?
Castle: Your parents put you on a strict allowance, but give you a gas card so you can fill your car. You fill your friends’ cars and they give you cash. Some of my buddies in boarding school nearly doubled their allowance.
Beckett: Uh-huh.
Castle: Not me of course. (sees doubtful look from Beckett) Uh…don’t tell my mother.

Martha: That was no review. That was a hatchet-job. It was vicious and it was uncalled for.
Oona: And it was also accurate!
Castle: (whispers) Rise above. Rise above.

Oona: Just remember, Martha: those who can’t do, teach!
Martha: And those who can’t teach become theater critics!
Oona: Ha!
Martha: Ha!
Castle: Could have been worse.

Castle: The accident happens. Odette is killed. Barbara survives and in the midst of all the chaos and rubble, she sees her chance. She switches identification with Odette and she changes her destiny. In one move, Barbara builds herself a better future, a perfect life.
Beckett: Until she was murdered a year later.
Castle: Yeah, separated twins stories never end happily. Except the parent trap.

Ryan: I’ve been talking to my married guy friends. They say that your theory is way off. Wearing a wedding ring gets them more attention from women, not less.
Esposito: So?
Ryan: So wear the ring. I wanna see if women still flirt with you and ignore me.
Esposito: So you didn’t want Castle to come because-
Ryan and Esposito: (simultaneously) All the woman would flirt with him.

Esposito: What’s wrong with you, man? Why you gotta throw salt in my game like that?
Ryan: You can’t pick up on honies while wearing the eternal symbol of my love and commitment to Jenny. Did I just say that out loud?
Esposito: Hm-mmm.
Ryan: No wonder women won’t flirt with me.

Castle: Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that all that constant carousing does not come without consequences like arrests, community service hours, waking up in a strange hotel room with some girl’s panties on your head…forget that part.

Jason: Two weeks ago, Barbara showed up on my doorstep and told me the whole story.
Beckett: Barbara had everything she could want, a perfect life. Why would she risk it all by getting in touch with you?
Jason: Because she missed me.

Ryan: How can I tell my wife that I’m not wearing my wedding ring because I leant it to Esposito as an experiment to see if strippers would flirt with me? Maybe she’ll see the humor in it!
Castle: Not a chance.
Esposito: You’re a dead man.

Alexis: All in all, I think there’s ample evidence that Mr. Morton was murdered.
Castle: Ample? (Lanie nods) Murdered. (pulls Alexis in for a hug in front of Lanie and Beckett) I am just so proud-
Alexis: Dad! Work! Boundaries!
Castle: Right.

Castle: I was just thinking how we rely on dreams to keep us going in life and how sad it is when they become the things that tear us down.
Beckett: Well, that may be the case for Barbara Landau, but not for everyone with dreams that didn’t come true. I mean, take Lanie, for instance. She wanted to be a dancer, she became a doctor. That’s not so bad is it?
Castle: Hmm. What about you? I mean, I know you became cop because your mother was murdered, but there had to be something before that. What did little Kate Beckett want to be when she grew up?
Beckett: At Stanford I was pre-law.
Castle: So your dream was to argue a case before the Supreme Court.
Beckett: Yep. I was on my way to becoming the first female Chief Justice.
Castle: Wow. Not bad.


  • According to Castle creator and executive producer, Andrew Marlowe, the idea of having this episode's murder victim be a contestant on a dance competition show was made consciously to coincide with the return of ABC's Dancing with the Stars.

Full Episode Recap

The taping of a network television dance competition TV show, Night of Dance, gets started with the host, Brad Melville, and three judges being introduced. Melville announces the first couple to perform, Santino and Odette. The music starts and Santino goes into his dance, but quickly finds Odette is missing. A crew member goes backstage to her dressing room and finds her dead in her makeup chair.

At his loft, Richard Castle is busy writing in his office when his mother, Martha Rodgers, interrupts him and announces that she bumped into theater critic Oona Marconi at the beauty parlor that day and wants to invite her to dinner to convince her to mention her acting school in one of her columns. When Castle reminds her that Oona gave her a blistering review for her 1983 performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Martha claims to have moved on from the past insult. But when Castle recites the review as she exits his office, she is initially angry then reminds herself to rise above.

At the TV studio, Detective Kate Beckett tells Castle not to worry, but he remains concerned that his mother, who wears a tough exterior over a sensitive inside, could get her feelings hurt. They find Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, who identifies their victim as Odette Morton, and the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the heart, most likely from a 9 millimeter gun. Detective Javier Esposito says it’s not likely anyone head anything since that area of the studio empties out during taping plus the show’s opening pyrotechnics could have easily masked the sound. He adds the killer had a 19 minute window in between when Odette was last seen and her body was found. Detective Kevin Ryan says he’s already requested a list of guests and everyone who passed through security, but that the killer could have slipped through an open door that leads to an alley where crew members like to smoke. Lanie bets that the murder was an inside job since Odette was a lock to win and admits that to being a fan of Odette’s because she reformed her party-girl ways after a near-death experience. Lanie goes on to say that as a child she dreamed of being a ballerina, but had to give it up when she hit puberty and “the girls” arrived. When Castle says he thinks that there should be more full-figured ballerinas, Beckett can’t resist teasing him, then asks Ryan to talk to the other contestants and to bring in Odette’s next of kin.

On the set, Ryan and Esposito interview two dancers, Santino and Jeanine. Santino says Odette had been on edge during rehearsal, but he chalked it up to nerves over possibly being eliminated. He adds that she disappeared for half an hour and Jeanine says she merely told her she was meeting a friend. Ryan catches Jeanine make eyes at Esposito and is surprised, but soldiers on, asking why Odette could have been acting secretive. Jeanine answers to Esposito, saying it must have been important as they’re not allowed to leave the studio on show day. Esposito flirtatiously thanks her, Ryan thanks Santino, and they leave. When alone, Ryan asks what was up with how Jeanine ignored him, and Esposito points to his wedding ring as the cause.

In another part of the studio, Paul Morton, Odette’s brother, explains that when Odette’s wealthy grandfather, who raised her, passed away a few years ago, she fell in with a bad crowd and was arrested a few times, but she turned herself around after narrowly surviving a train wreck. She was on the verge of accomplishing her dream by winning a Night of Dance when she was killed. He doesn’t recall anyone from her former life who gave her a problem, but does remember her mentioning a fellow contestant named Eddie.

Castle and Beckett head to the executive offices of the studio, where a secretary, Jasmine, shows them into a meeting with the judges, one of whom is the creator and a producer. They all promise their cooperation then when Beckett asks about Eddie, they identify him as Eddie Gordon. He had been paired with Odette before and had been very upset when he had been eliminated. One judge calls it ironic, since with Odette’s death, Eddie, as the most recently eliminated contestant, would take her spot.

At the precinct, Esposito plays Eddie’s exit interview for Beckett and Castle, where he accuses Odette of sabotaging his chances. He then mimes shooting her as an example of how he’s used to dealing with such a betrayal. Ryan joins them and says Eddie has a record back home and that a crew member saw him in the studio the day of Odette’s murder, making him the prime suspect in Castle’s and Beckett’s eyes.

In an interrogation room, Eddie admits to being upset at Odette and to speaking his mind about being eliminated, but denies killing her, saying he left behind his criminal past when he took up dancing. He claims he was at the studio to show support for Santino and that he was meeting with his agent across town when Odette was killed. He then says he knew something was up because she’d miss steps, disappear to the bathroom for half an hour and once he saw her duck outside to the alley and pass a roll of bills to someone she seemed to know. When asked, he says he can provide a description.

Later, Ryan confirms Eddie’s alibi and holds up the sketch made of Eddie’s description, which he admits is pretty generic. Castle wonders if Odette was with the mystery man in the half an hour when she disappeared and Ryan promises to have uniforms canvas the area around the studio. They approach Beckett’s desk and Ryan guesses Odette was falling back into her drug-using days, but Beckett says she hasn’t found anything in her financial history to support that theory. What she did find is that starting a month ago, Odette’s credit card spending shot up to where they eventually maxed out.

The following morning, Beckett meets with Samuel Lynchberg, Odette’s business manager and the executor of her grandfather’s estate. He explains that he was aware of her increased spending and how it mirrored her behavior before she reformed herself. He was concerned, but noticed most of her charges were clothing and Beckett asks for the receipts.

Later at her desk, Beckett is confused since nothing Odette bought was in her size and since Esposito said he didn’t find the clothes in Odette’s apartment. Castle guesses she pulled the gas card scam and explains that friends of his from boarding school would use the gas cards their parents gave them for their own cars to fill up their friend’s cars in exchange for cash. When Beckett and Esposito look at him suspiciously, he denies pulling the scam himself then makes them promise not to tell his mother. They build the theory that Odette needed money to pay off the man from the alley, but her trust fund wasn’t enough, so she charges clothes for her friends and takes the cash, but can’t make the remaining payments when she maxes out her credit cards. When Beckett mentions one of the items Odette bought as a faux rabbit purse, it jogs a memory for Castle.

They return to the studio and question Jasmine. Castle then spins several theories for why Jasmine might blackmail Odette then kill her and when Beckett threatens to take her to the precinct, Jasmine spills that last month she was working late one night when she found the show’s host and Odette arguing in a stairwell. She bluffed to Odette that she would tell the show’s creator, Max, about what she saw, so Odette offered to buy her the clothes to keep her quiet. Seeing that Beckett doesn’t believe her, she pulls out her cell phone and plays a recording of the argument. They hear Brad threaten to kill Odette unless she keeps her end of the deal, and Jasmine explains that if Max found out that they were having a relationship, Odette would be thrown off the show and Brad would be fired.

At the precinct in an interrogation room, Beckett plays the recording for Brad who claims he was trying to protect Odette. He explains that he caught her shooting up in makeup one day and thought she was using drugs again. She promised to clean herself up and he believed her, but he caught her a second time and promised to tell Max, which would result in her getting kicked off the show. In retaliation, Odette threatened to tell Max that he let her off after finding her the first time, which also would have gotten him fired.

Later at her desk, Ryan shows Beckett some needles he found in a false bottom of Odette’s jewelry box in her apartment. Beckett tells him and Esposito that Lanie found no drugs in Odette’s system, so she couldn’t have been using.

At Castle’s loft, dinner with Oona Marconi is going well, so Martha seizes the moment and invites her to come to her studio and possibly write about it in her column. To everyone’s surprise, Oona agrees, but their happiness dissolves when she hopes that Martha isn’t passing on the methods that Oona says ruined her performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Martha tries not to let it bother her, but when Oona pleads that she is just teasing, Martha loses it and accuses her of being unnecessarily vicious. Oona refuses to back down and Martha takes back her invitation as Oona storms out.

The next morning, Castle recounts the argument for Beckett who sympathizes with Martha. She then tells Castle that the morning of her death, Odette disappeared to a café for coffee with a friend, Suzanne Steiner. Ryan tells them the needles from Odette’s apartment contained insulin, but nobody knew that Odette was diabetic and Castle then wonders why she went to such trouble to hide the fact from Brad and Jasmine. Esposito arrives and says crime scene techs found fingerprints matching only Barbara Landau in Odette’s apartment. He describes her as a former foster care kid who dropped out of high school and who reportedly died in the same train wreck Odette survived. When he places Barbara’s photo next to Odette’s and the team sees that they are practically identical, Castle guesses they were twins separated at birth, Odette to a wealthy family, Barbara to a poor one, and that when they met on the train and Odette was killed, Barbara saw her chance to escape her underprivileged life and assumed Odette’s identity. Ryan ruins Castle’s theory when he says blood tests prove that Barbara and Odette were not related. Esposito says Barbara has no family, but they found a strip club where she used to work and Ryan explains that they are pursuing the theory that it wasn’t Odette’s past that caught up with her, but Barbara’s. Beckett tells them to find out all they can about Barbara while she re-interviews Paul, doubting that Barbara could have fooled him for as long as she did. Castle volunteers to go with them to the strip club, but Ryan refuses.

As they wait for the precinct elevator, Esposito asks his partner why he’s shutting out Castle. Ryan pulls off his wedding ring, hands it to Esposito, and tells him to wear it in an effort to test his earlier theory that women ignore married men. He figured that the women at the strip club wouldn’t flirt with either of them if Castle was around. They board the elevator and Esposito says the ring isn’t Ryan’s problem, but his general aura of being in love with his wife is. Nevertheless, he slips the ring on his finger.

At the strip club, one of the girls, Chantel, remembers how Barbara’s main ambition was to dance on Broadway even going so far as to get seemingly unnecessary plastic surgery. She also identifies the man in Eddie Gordon’s sketch, as Barbara’s boyfriend Jason, who she loved despite his constant scams. Esposito flashes Ryan’s ring on his finger and says he can relate. Chantel offers to meet him later, but Ryan interrupts, saying he has to get home to his wife. Esposito gives his partner the what for and Ryan is appalled that he would flirt with a woman while wearing his wedding ring then realizes Esposito’s theory was correct. Esposito claps him on the back in sympathy then tries to take the ring off so he can get Chantel’s number, but it won’t budge.

At the precinct, Castle puts together what Ryan and Esposito learned at the club. He says Barbara’s plastic surgery didn’t make her prettier, but made her look more like Odette, who he discovered, paid for the surgery. Regarding the reason, Castle explains that Odette must have gotten tired of the consequences associated with her arrests, so when she met Barbara, maybe at the strip club, she found someone who was willing to pose as her to complete the punishments while Odette continued living the high life. He shows Beckett a picture of Odette performing community service in 2010 and another photo taken the same day, twenty minutes later of Odette at a bridal shower. When Odette died in the train crash, Barbara took the chance to completely assume Odette’s life to accomplish her dream of being a dancer. As for their killer, it would have to be someone who recognized Odette as Barbara on television and wanted to cash in on the deception. Just then, Ryan and Esposito lead Jason into an interrogation room.

In interrogation, Beckett and Castle accuse Jason of killing Barbara when he discovered she wasn’t dead and wanted a piece of her success, but was rejected. He denies killing her, claiming that two weeks ago she came to him and told him everything simply because she missed him and realized Odette’s seemingly idyllic life wasn’t so wonderful since she had stumbled upon secrets from Odette’s past that could get her killed, but she needed more information to protect herself.

Later on, Castle suggests Barbara went to Suzanne Steiner to get the information she said she needed. In the conference room, Suzanne explains that her father was the butler to Odette’s grandfather for twenty years, so she and Odette knew each other well and that day in the coffee shop she specifically asked about the day Odette’s grandfather died, supposedly in his sleep. Suzanne says this confused her since she knew Odette was home that day with her father then she got more confused when she said she wanted to catch up with her father.

At Esposito’s desk, he scrubs at Ryan’s ring with soap, but can’t budge it. Ryan wonders how he’s going to explain the situation to his wife and hopes she’ll see the humor in it, but Castle and Esposito seriously doubt it.

Beckett joins them with a picture of Suzanne’s father, Charles Carson, who she remembers as a last-minute guest at the taping where Odette was killed. He went through security at 2:15, but nobody remembers seeing him leave. Castle wonders if Barbara began to suspect that Odette’s grandfather was murdered and Beckett says they need to review his autopsy report.

In the morgue, Lanie lets Alexis brief Castle and Beckett on the autopsy report in which she found some concerning facts that lead her to believe he was smothered. Lanie agrees and Castle pulls Alexis to him for a hug then quickly releases her when she reminds him she’s at work. Lanie adds that when she called to have the file sent over, the clerk let slip that Odette had also requested it earlier in the week. Now Beckett and believe that Barbara suspected Charles Carson of killing Odette’s grandfather, except he killed her before she could turn him in.

The following morning, Martha laments the disastrous dinner with Oona Marconi and suspects that not even an apology would resolve things. Castle puts on his Godfather imitation and suggests she make Oona an offer she can’t refuse then promises to help out if he can.

In a precinct interrogation room, Beckett and Castle interview Charles Carson, who confirms his invitation to the taping. It was only after the show was cancelled that he found out Odette was actually Barbara. When they tell him Barbara had new information that could implicate him in her grandfather’s murder, he denies being involved, but guesses Mr. Morton was smothered. He explains that in the days leading up to his death, Mr. Morton and Odette had argued because she was seeing someone of whom Mr. Morton didn’t approve. The day he died, Mr. Morton wanted to take a nap, so he cleared his bed of any pillows, as was his preference, and helped him to bed. Then Odette reported a small kitchen fire and he ran to put it out. When he returned to the bedroom, he found Odette’s grandfather dead and one pillow next to him on the bed. When he mentioned it to Odette, she told him he was just confused so he put it out of his mind. Beckett tells him she may not have killed Mr. Morton, but she did conspire with someone to kill him and that person killed Barbara.

Later that morning, Beckett and Castle lead Samuel Lynchberg into the break room and they ask him about the man Odette was seeing when he grandfather died. When he claims not to know, they tell him Odette’s brother, Paul, remembered it being him and that they wanted to marry, but Mr. Morton threatened to cut her off if she went through with it. They spin the theory that Odette convinced him to kill her grandfather so she could inherit all his money, but instead of marrying him, she dumped him and went back to party girl ways. When he says they can’t prove that he killed Mr. Morton, Beckett agrees, but says she can prove that he killed Barbara. She retrieves a 9 millimeter hand gun which ballistics matched to the bullet from Barbara Landau and that has his fingerprints all over it. Seeing no way out, Samuel comes clean. He says that he confronted Barbara when her spending escalated, thinking she had reverted to Odette’s old ways. When he mentioned all they had risked, he saw that she didn’t know what he meant and he knew Barbara was posing as Odette. Barbara offered to keep his secret if he would keep hers, but it wasn’t good enough for him or for Odette.

That evening, as Castle and Beckett take down the murder board, Castle muses over how quickly someone’s dreams can be dashed, but Beckett reminds him that Lanie traded her dream of becoming a dancer for a new dream of becoming a doctor. This leads Castle to wonder what Beckett wanted to be before her mother was killed and she says she was studying law with an ambition to be the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Castle is impressed and both exchange warm looks.

Back at Esposito’s desk, he makes one last effort to get Ryan’s ring off his finger then gives up to go meet Chantel. Ryan follows him claiming that he has to get the ring off since he can’t stand sleeping on the couch another night. Beckett stops Esposito and drizzles some hand lotion on his finger. He works it for a bit then suddenly the ring pops off and skitters across the precinct floor. Ryan runs off to find it while Esposito leaves to meet his date.

Back at his loft, Castle arrives home to find Martha warmly saying goodbye to Oona and Oona promising to mention her school in one of her columns. As he bids her good night she also says she looks forward to hearing from him, but before he can ask, Martha ushers her out the door. When alone, Martha proclaims that all is well and explains that she took his advice from earlier and promised to have him read her novel, critique it, and give it to his publisher since it’s always been Oona’s ambition to be a novelist. She glides away leaving Castle holding a container full of Oona’s pages and promising to himself to be kind for his mother’s sake.


Victim: Barbara Landau
Cause of Death: Single gun shot wound to the chest

Perp: Samuel Lynchberg
Motive: Revenge, cover-up: Barbara took the place of his dead girlfriend, Odette with whom he had conspired to kill Odette's grandfather