Season 3, Episode 17 (51)
Original Air Date - February 28, 2011
With a dirty bomb lost in the city and seconds ticking away, Castle, Beckett and their colleagues must put aside their differences with Homeland Security Agent Mark Fallon (guest star Adrian Pasdar) to prevent a citywide disaster. Will they succeed? And if they do, will they survive the attempt? The stakes have never been higher and Castle and Beckett have never stared death in the face so directly.
- Nathan Fillion - Richard Castle
- Stana Katic - Kate Beckett, Detective
- Molly C. Quinn - Alexis Castle (Castle’s Daughter)
- Susan Sullivan - Martha Rodgers (Castle’s Mother)
- Ruben Santiago-Hudson - Roy Montgomery, Captain
- Jon Huertas - Javier Esposito, Detective
- Seamus Dever - Kevin Ryan, Detective
- Tamala Jones - Lanie Parish, Medical Examiner
- Adrian Pasdar - DHS Agent Mark Fallon
- Victor Webster - Josh Davidson
- Alon Aboutboul - Fariq Yusef
- Jeff Denton - Evan Bauer
- Monica Keena - Charlene McCann
- Piter Marek - Jamal Alhabi
- Billy Mayo - Senior Officer
- Lochlyn Munro - Kevin McCann
- Benjamin Patterson - Paramedic
- Jonathan Runyon - DHS Tech
- Bahar Soomekh - Nazihah Alhabi
Beckett: Castle, I could use a silver lining right about now, OK.
Castle: Yeah, um, I wish I had one.
Beckett: I always thought being a cop, I’d take a bullet. I never thought I’d freeze to death.
Castle: Hey, we’re not dead yet.
Beckett: I just wish this was one of your books and you could re-write the ending.
Castle: I’m s-sorry.
Beckett: For what?
Castle: F-for being m-me, going rogue, getting you into this. If we hadn’t gone on our own...
Beckett: Shhhh, Castle. OK, shhhh. You were right. We found the bomb. We were just too late, OK? (turns towards Castle) Castle...thank you...for being there.
Beckett: I just want you to know how much I…(Beckett passes out)
Castle: Kate…Stay with me. Kate? Stay with me.
Esposito: We figured you were with Beckett, until Josh called.
Ryan: We thought you must be out there doing something incredibly stupid against orders, so we sent patrol units everywhere we figured you’d be moronic enough to go, found Beckett’s car, searched the area until we found the light from the storage container.
Castle: I’m glad my stupidity is predictable. You pulled us out of there. Thanks.
Castle: So your boy's back in town.
Beckett: He came back.
Castle: So, what does that mean to you?
Beckett: It means we have a chance.
Fallon: You two. Are you always this stubborn and insubordinate?
Castle: Only when we’re trying to save the world.
Fallon: You know it’s funny. When I first met you two I thought you were…together.
Castle: Ah, no, just, just friends.
Castle: You ever wonder about Fallon? I mean, what this must be like for him, living this every day. I told Alexis and my mother to get out of town, I didn’t tell them why, but they knew. They wanted to tell their friends and I told them they couldn’t. I felt like a monster. That must be come kind of hell feeling that all the time.
'Beckett: Kinda makes you wonder how many times this has happened since 9/11 and we were the ones who didn’t know.
Castle: Why would he steal McCann’s identity?
Fallon: I thought this guy was a crime novelist.
Castle: (sternly) I am.
Fallon: Well, then you should know that sometimes people who operate outside the law will take the Social Security Number of a deceased individual to forge a new identity.
Castle: I know. I’ve done it three times in my books.
Beckett: We’re so programmed by fear.
Esposito: This guy makes me sick. He swore an oath to defend this country.
Castle: In his mind he’s a patriot.
Ryan: Like Tim McVeigh.
Fallon: The gun wasn’t even loaded.
Beckett: Well mine was.
Fallon: Yeah, well, I was pretty sure you weren’t gonna shoot me.
Beckett: You know, next time I wouldn’t be so sure.
Castle: Does that guy take jackhole lessons or was he born that way?
Ryan: Neither. I asked my buddy at DHS about him. It turns out his wife was killed on 9/11. She rode the second tower down. They were on the phone together when it happened.
Castle: (about Fallon who seems to be taking his time interrogating suspects) He knows were on a deadline right?
Beckett: Yeah, he knows.
Castle: I mean a literal deadline, as in you go over the line you’re dead.
Beckett: Castle, can you just give him a chance?
Castle: I’m happy to give him anything he needs. It’s the clock that’s not cooperating.
Capt. Montgomery: The Mayor wants to give you guys a medal. I didn’t have the heart to tell him you had no clue what you were doing.
Esposito: Captain’s right. You guys don’t know how lucky you are.
Castle: (looks at Beckett) Actually, I do.
Beckett: Well, we were just doing our job. Actually, I was just doing my job. I don’t know what the hell he was doing.
Fallon: What I do is not who I am. It’s just how I have to be.
- This was the first episode where the title card had a blue color, instead of the usual beige, to emphasize Castle and Beckett's being trapped in the freezer.
Full Episode Recap
Department of Homeland Security Agent Mark Fallon talks on his cell phone to his superiors and reports that the bomb was not in one of Jamal Alhabi’s moving trucks. Captain Roy Montgomery tells uniformed officers to keep the press out of the area to avoid a panic. Another uniformed officer tells him that techs have swept the area and come up negative for radiation, meaning if the bomb was moved it isn’t nearby. Fallon then says the moving truck was a red herring designed to throw them off Jamal’s trail. He tells Montgomery to have his people dig into the background of Jamal’s employees: if they find him, they find the bomb.
Meanwhile, Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett are still trapped inside the industrial sized freezer. Beckett tries to find a way to unlock the door while Castle wonders if the terrorists will be back for Jamal’s body. He theorizes they killed him then froze his body to preserve it, so they could plant his body at the scene where the bomb goes off so it will look like he is responsible. Beckett then wonders what the agenda of the real terrorists is. She pulls her cell phone out, but is unable to get reception. Castle does the same with the same result. He asks her how cold she thinks it is inside. She answers well below freezing. He then asks how long she thinks they have before they freeze to death. She responds a couple hours maximum and Castle agrees. Beckett then throws her shoulder against the door to try busting it open, but fails to budge it. Castle doubts her idea initially then goes along with it for lack of a better one after Beckett reminds him that nobody knows where they are. They try three times.
Back at Castle's loft, his mother, Martha Rodgers, and daughter, Alexis arrive home from their retreat and Alexis finds the bed sheet Castle strung up in the living room that he and Beckett were using to project the murder board on. Martha guesses he had a movie night then went out, but Alexis is dubious since her father usually calls her when he goes out and she has no message from him or found no note. Martha says he probably just didn’t bother since he knew they were out of town and they’ll ask him in the morning.
In the freezer, Castle and Beckett try and fail to break open the freezer doors. Beckett walks to the middle of the freezer and fires a couple rounds at the lock in an attempt to shoot her way out, but the bullets glance harmlessly off the door. After dodges them, he suggests she save her ammunition in case the terrorists come back. Beckett agrees reluctantly then asks him for some kind of silver lining to their situation. He thinks for a moment, but comes up empty.
Meanwhile, at the precinct, Detective Kevin Ryan is confused by the fact that all of Jamal’s employees are citizens of the U.S. and have clean records. His partner, Detective Javier Esposito guesses that is why they were recruited and Ryan chastises him for sounding like Fallon. He then wonders if Castle was on the right track. His phone rings and he is confused and concerned by the caller.
Montgomery tells Fallon their interviews of Jamal’s employees came up empty: all are either denying any knowledge of Jamal’s whereabouts or activities, or they are asking for lawyers and accusing them of profiling. He asks Fallon is he is ok, and as he looks at a map of the city, he launches into a terrifying description of the consequences of a dirty bomb going off. He tells Montgomery to find the target since they can’t find the bomb. He orders him to compile a list of all major activities scheduled in the city for the next 48 hours, but Montgomery says they have to narrow it down. Ryan and Esposito join them and ask to speak to Montgomery privately.
In his office, Ryan tells Montgomery that Alexis called him unable to find her father or to reach him on his cell. Esposito adds that Beckett has also been unreachable and he wonders if, since they both got kicked off the task force, they went rogue and found something, as they are wont to do. Montgomery chastises them and sends them back to work, reminding them of the impending threat to the city.
Inside the freezer, Castle and Beckett huddle together to keep warm: Beckett leans up against his side and he has an arm draped around her shoulders. They both shiver uncontrollably. Beckett muses about how she never thought she’d freeze to death, but would get shot instead. She also wishes he could rewrite the ending to this story. Castle apologizes for going rogue and getting her into the mess they are in. Beckett quiets him and tells him he was right, but they were just too late. She then shifts to look at him, reaches up to touch his face, and, in a barely audible voice, thanks him for being there for her. He tells her he will always be there for her, and she begins to tell him something, but passes out before finishing her thought. Castle calls for her to stay with him, holds her closer to keep her warm, but eventually also loses consciousness.
Later, a barely conscious Castle is roused by noises coming from the entry end of the freezer. He sees shadows of people coming at him with flashlights then wakes up in the back of an ambulance, confused and disoriented. A paramedic tries to get him to calm down, but he continues to demand information about Beckett. Finally, Josh, Beckett’s boyfriend, tells him she is fine. He informs Castle he has a moderate case of hypothermia, but should be fine in a couple days. He then says he didn’t go to Haiti as Beckett thought he did and helps Castle sit up. Castle asks about the bomb and Esposito appears and says it is gone. He explains how Alexis called looking for him, but they didn’t get concerned until Josh called and said he couldn’t find Beckett. Ryan appears and says they guessed he and Beckett went rogue again, so they sent patrol units to likely places, found Beckett’s car, and then the freezer. Castle thanks them for saving him and spies Beckett outside leaning up against a patrol car, alive and well.
He approaches her and asks her what she thinks of Josh’s coming back. She says it means they have a chance at working things out and takes him to debrief Fallon. They fill him in on what they found: that Amir was watching Kevin McCann and was murdered when he followed him to the warehouse. Beckett says the bomb is in a white passenger van, and Fallon doubts that such information will help in narrowing the search. Castle adds that the timer indicated it is set to go off at 4p.m. later that day, less than 10 hours from now. Beckett insists that Kevin McCann is involved in whatever is going on. Esposito joins them and says McCann failed to report to work and isn’t answering his cell phone. Ryan adds that they have his address, so Fallon tells them to go pick him up. Beckett asks that he reinstate both her and Castle to the task force, but Fallon leaves such a decision up to Josh. Beckett grins and walks back to him, leaving Castle to watch. Fallon then says he thought Castle and Beckett were together, but Castle corrects him, saying they are just friends. Fallon tells him to clean up since they have a long day ahead and Castle continues watching Beckett enjoy herself with Josh.
The next morning, he arrives home and is greeted by a relieved Alexis, who restates how she knew something was wrong, and Martha, who gives him an additional blanket to warm up. He jokingly tells them not to choose to be cryogenically frozen if anyone offers. Martha asks if his predicament had anything to do with the case with the cab driver, and instead of answering, Castle tells them to go to his house in the Hamptons immediately without asking any questions and to stay there for the weekend. He tells them that “an event” may occur that will make staying in the city dangerous. Alexis immediately begins dialing her boyfriend Ashley on her phone, but Castle tells her to stop, since he will inevitably tell his parents, and so on. He tells them a panic will make it things much more difficult and he knows it is not fair, but this is how it has to be. Martha begs him to come and he promises he will when he can. Martha finally takes Alexis to go pack.
Later at the precinct, Castle arrives with coffee for him and Beckett. She grins widely at his usual gesture and thanks him. She goes to ask him something, but reconsiders and merely asks if he is ok. He says yes then wonders how Fallon does his job day after day. He describes how he told Martha and Alexis to leave town and how terrible he felt when he stopped them from telling those they cared about that something might happen. He watches Fallon work in the conference room and guesses it must be hell for him to know what he knows and not be able to tell anyone to prevent a panic. Beckett wonders how many times the same thing has happened since September 11 and none of them knew. Esposito then calls and tells Beckett that a Korean family has been living at McCann’s address for the last four years. He adds that neighbors remembered the McCann family living there over a decade ago and that they had a son named Kevin who enlisted in military.
Fallon looks over Kevin McCann’s military records and finds that the real Kevin McCann served six tours in Afghanistan in the Special Forces and died a couple years ago of his wounds. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery, meaning someone stole his identity.
Beckett says they found the burner phone used by the faux-McCann and that tech is doing what it can to identify who could have used it. Esposito adds that the cab he drove is being dusted for fingerprints, but doing so is unlikely to yield anything quickly since the cab was so commonly used. Castle wonders aloud why the terrorists stole Kevin McCann’s identity as opposed to someone else’ and guesses McCann was chosen because the terrorists knew him, perhaps from serving in Afghanistan. Fallon orders someone to get everything they can on McCann from The Pentagon while Castle asks if any of McCann’s family still live in the city. Esposito says his sister lives in Queens.
Castle, Beckett, and Fallon drop in on McCann’s sister, Colleen, who identifies the man they thought was her brother as Radford Hayes, who served with her brother and was his best friend. Fallon asks if Radford ever expressed any animosity towards the U.S. and Beckett explains that he is suspected of plotting against the country with extremists. Colleen thinks, and remembers that after Kevin died, she and Radford had a beer and he seemed angry at how everyone seemed to have forgotten about the sacrifices made by soldiers in the war in Afghanistan. He went on to say that maybe the country needed a wake-up call. Fallon asks if she knows where they can find Radford, and Colleen says she only has his cell phone number.
At the precinct, a tech tells Fallon he can triangulate the calls made from Radford’s cell to nail down his whereabouts. At the murder board, Montgomery cannot believe they are chasing a former soldier. Castle says he can understand Radford’s frustration and Beckett says Amir made the perfect patsy. She adds that all of us are so programmed by fear that everyone will believe exactly what Radford wants them to believe if their plot is successful. Montgomery says they have four hours until the bomb goes off and Castle asks if they shouldn’t warn the city somehow. Montgomery disagrees vehemently, citing the mass panic that would ensue and that their only hope is to find the bomb. Fallon emerges from the conference room and says they found Radford.
Later, Radford walks innocently down the street when he sees Fallon’s car pull up down the block. He tries to blend in, but Fallon spots him and gives chase. Beckett, Esposito, Ryan, and scores of other personnel arrive and box him in. Beckett identifies him to Fallon who demands to know where the bomb is. Radford stays silent.
Inside the observation room, Beckett, Fallon, Esposito, Montgomery and Castle all watch as Radford sits stone faced in an interrogation room. Esposito says he makes him sick since he violated his oath to protect the country. Castle reminds him that in his mind, he is the patriot. Fallon tells Ryan to get background information on anyone else Radford and McCann served with to find out if anyone else has gone AWOL. Fallon looks at Beckett and says they have to break him no matter what it takes. She agrees and they leave to begin the interrogation.
Fallon tries to convince Radford that what he is doing isn’t the way to go and Beckett tells him the residents of New York aren’t his enemies. Radford claims ignorance and Beckett and Fallon tell him they know all about his visits to the storage facility where the bomb was assembled. In observation, Esposito says they’ll never break him in time, since Radford was trained in Special Forces never to crack if he was ever captured. Fallon tells Radford that if the bomb goes off, he’ll go down in history as mass murderer and traitor, but Radford says when the bomb goes off they won’t be looking at him. Radford then smugly says he knows that he will get away with his crimes because his actions won’t support the “rabble-rousing narrative” of “the powers that be.” Fallon finally has had enough, and shoves the interrogation room table at Radford, knocking him out of his chair to the floor. He pulls his gun and aims it at his forehead, yelling for him to tell him where the bomb is. Beckett orders him to drop his gun, and after he ignores several of her pleas, aims her own piece at Fallon. Fallon cocks his gun and asks Radford if he is ready to die. He answers calmly that he is ready is to die for his country and asks if Fallon is prepared to do the same. Fallon finally holsters his weapon as Esposito and Montgomery burst into the room with Castle in tow.
Later, Beckett tries to pour herself a cup of coffee in the break room, but has difficulty because of shaking hands. Castle pours one for her as Fallon enters, acknowledging that Radford wasn’t going to break. He explains that he saw an opening to try to break him and took it, but Beckett is unhappy at how he violated his rights. Fallon doubts that a lot of federal lawyers would agree with her and says his gun had no bullets in it since he had removed them earlier. Beckett reminds him that her gun was loaded and that the next time he pulls a similar stunt, he shouldn’t be so confident that she won’t shoot him. Fallon tells both of them that he understands why they may hate him since his job is to protect the public and not make friends. He then pleads with them to continue helping him and Beckett sternly agrees. Fallon leaves and Castle wonders how he got to be such a jerk. Ryan enters and says a friend of his at DHS told him that Fallon’s wife was killed in one of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11. Fallon was on the phone with her at the time she died. Beckett then thinks and realizes Fallon is right: they have to get Radford to talk. Just then, an idea strikes Castle.
Castle approaches Fallon, with Beckett and the guys behind, and suggests that with Jamal and Amir out of the picture, the terrorists might find someone else to make into their patsy and if they can identify who, it might lead them to their terrorists. Fallon tells Ryan and Esposito to track down any known associates of both Jamal and Amir, then tells Beckett to find Nazihah and bring her in, in hopes that she can help narrow down their search. She and Castle head for her house and find the agent Fallon had working surveillance outside dead in his car from a gunshot wound to the forehead, like Jamal and Amir. Beckett immediately runs inside the house and looks for Nazihah and her baby, but comes up empty. Castle finds a note on the front parlor table praising Allah and cursing the infidel Americans. Beckett concludes that Nazihah is the new terrorist who Radford’s conspirators are going to force to set off the bomb.
At the precinct, Ryan says after canvassing Nazihah’s neighborhood, none of her neighbors saw her abduction and there’s not enough time to go through all the footage from traffic cameras. They report to Fallon how they found Nazihah’s cell phone at the house and her car in the garage, leaving no way to trace her whereabouts. Esposito arrives and says all of the guys from Radford’s unit are still deployed except for two: Jack Cochran and Evan Bauer, who are supposed to be on a fishing trip since last week. Bauer is a weapons specialist and Cochran is trained in ordinance disposal, making him very useful in assembling a dirty bomb. Fallon tells them to dig into their backgrounds big time and Ryan and Esposito leave to do so. Castle asks Fallon why he looks frustrated and he answers that even if they do find Cochran and Bauer, they won’t crack under interrogation and they are running out of time. Castle suggests another way and hands Fallon Fariq Yusef’s card. Fallon thinks then tells him to call Yusef.
Meanwhile, in a warehouse somewhere in the city, Nazihah sits facing Cochran and Bauer who tells her that if she complies with their orders, everyone will live. Nazihah asks why she should believe him since he killed her husband, and Bauer says she has no choice. He tells her to drive the van to their prearranged spot, park it, and walk away, and then she’ll get her baby and her life back. He also says there is a camera on the driver’s side so they will know if she tries anything funny. She nods in agreement.
At the precinct, Yusef exits the elevator and greets Castle and Beckett with a handshake. He offers his hand to Fallon who does not take it, but asks if the Syrian consulate knows he is helping them. Yusef ignores the question and calmly asks for his gun back. In Montgomery’s office, Beckett returns Yusef’s gun to him and Castle verifies that it would be in his country’s interest to make sure Nazihah and Amir are exonerated from suspicion as terrorists. Yusef says it would be in both Syria’s and the U.S.’s interests. He admits to following Amir and Nazihah, but Fallon gets frustrated and demands to know where Nazihah is at that moment. Yusef says he is not in the business of spying on U.S. citizens and turns to leave. Before doing so, he stops, and says that if they investigate a red brick warehouse at the corner of 158th Street and Franklin Avenue, they won’t be disappointed.
Later, Fallon, Beckett, Castle and a SWAT Team burst in on Cochran and Bauer at the warehouse, wounding both of them before they can make any kind of a getaway. Beckett checks on the baby and pronounces it fine. Fallon demands to know where Nazihah is, but Castle sees her on video screens driving the van somewhere in the city. In the upper right corner of the screen, the countdown on the bomb’s timer reads 21 minutes.
Beckett studies the video and says since the frame is so tight on Nazihah, there’s no way to tell where she is. Castle also says there’s no way to get in touch with to her to tell the threat is over. Beckett reminds him it is up to Fallon to find out from Bauer and Cochran where they sent Nazihah. Castle watches him question the men and grows impatient. Beckett tries to calm him down, but fails. Finally, Fallon radios to all personnel that the target is a black van and left for Times Square ten minutes ago. Castle asks how he got the men to talk and Fallon says he lied to them that Radford had already spilled his guts to cut a deal. Beckett and Castle jump in her squad car and agree to take Broadway to Times Square while Fallon says he will take a different route. Meanwhile a police chopper takes off and joins the search.
On the way there, Castle argues with Beckett about taking Broadway, saying that since Amir was a cabbie, Nazihah would know it is the slower way to get to Times Square and would take a different route. He directs Beckett to go how he thinks Nazihah would go, but they soon hear the pilot of the chopper report that it is following a black van on Broadway. Becket tells Castle she is turning around, but he stops her, saying the van on Broadway is the wrong van. Just then, he sees a black van pull onto the street in front of them. Beckett pulls up alongside and identifies Nazihah as the driver.
After a short chase, Beckett is able to cut in front of the van and get it to stop. She tells a panicking Nazihah that her baby is fine. Castle calls to Beckett from the back of the van where the bomb is, the counter reading inside of two minutes. Beckett radios in that they found the bomb and gives their location. Dispatch says the bomb squad should arrive in three minutes, but Beckett responds that that is too late. She then calls Fallon and asks if he can tell them how to disarm the bomb, as the timer hits one minute. He asks her to take a picture of the bomb and send it to him, but he has trouble uploading the picture. The timer now reads 30 seconds and Beckett pleads for his help, but Fallon only apologizes, knowing he cannot help them in time. As the timer counts down inside of ten seconds left until detonation, Castle takes Beckett’s hand in his and they look at each other meaningfully. Just as the timer hits zero, Castle grabs all the wires connecting the timer and the detonator and gives them a yank. Both brace themselves for an explosion which never comes. They turn back to the bomb and see the timer reads zero, meaning Castle’s pulling the wires out worked. Castle drops the wires, Beckett gasps, and they throw their arms around each other in an exultant hug. They break apart and Beckett continues gasping for breath as Castle double fist pumps then points at the bomb in victory. He walks off as Beckett breaks into nervous laughter.
That evening at the precinct, Beckett recounts what happened to Ryan, Esposito, and Montgomery over pizza and beer and they all share a hearty laugh. Montgomery tells them how the Mayor wants to give both of them a medal and how he didn’t have the heart to tell His Honor that neither of them had any idea what they were doing. Castle thanks him and Esposito tells them they have no idea how lucky they are to have succeeded. Castle thinks for a second, looks at Beckett, and says he does know. Beckett blushes briefly, but all are interrupted when Fallon asks to speak to her and Castle.
They step outside and Fallon says Radford, Cochran, and Bauer are all going to be prosecuted on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit terrorism and thanks to them they won’t have to add the murder of scores of civilians. Beckett says she was just doing her job and teases that she doesn’t know what Castle was doing. He is momentarily offended then agrees with her. Fallon clarifies that what he does is not who he is. Beckett suggests they just leave things at they all hope not to have work together again and Fallon agrees and leaves. As he walks out, Castle asks him to text him a code word, such as “Run,” if their paths ever cross again. Fallon does not answer, but simply waves over his shoulder.
Castle turns to Beckett, with a warm grin on his face, and begins to suggest something, but stops himself. He tells her he is planning on heading home to relax and will see her tomorrow. He bids her good night and walks towards the elevator, leaving her confused. She then feels Josh hug her from behind and turns to accept his embrace, but keeps her eyes on Castle. Castle boards the elevator and leans against the back wall with a sad and defeated look on his face.
Who: DHS Surveillance Guy
Found: In his car
Where Killed: Outside Amir's home
How: single gun shot wound to the head
Who: Nazihah Alhabi (Amir's wife) and her baby
Found: Driving on the streets of NYC
Where Killed: Was not Killed, but was kidnapped (survived)
How: Snatched out of her home
- Radford Hayes going under the stolen identity of Kevin McCann (a dead decorated war hero)
- Evan Bauer
- Jack Cochran
- The murders of Amir and Jamal were to cover up the terrorist plot
- The kidnapping was to make sure the media and politicians think the plot was carried out by foreign nationals (from the middle east)
- The "Terrorist Plot" Was intended to bring the war (in Afghanistan) back to the forefront of national consciousness by pinning the attack on middle eastern terrorists