Season 4, Episode 6 (64)
Original Air Date - October 24, 2011
The Halloween murder of a real-life ghost buster in a reputedly haunted house touches off a debate between Castle and Beckett over whether the killer is of this world or not. Meanwhile, disaster strikes when Ryan, Jenny, Esposito, and Lanie have a double date and cracks become evident in Alexis' long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Ashley.
- Nathan Fillion - Richard Castle
- Stana Katic - Kate Beckett, Detective
- Susan Sullivan - Martha Rodgers (Castle's mother)
- Molly C. Quinn - Alexis Castle (Castle's daughter)
- Jon Huertas - Javier Esposito, Detective
- Seamus Dever - Kevin Ryan, Detective
- Tamala Jones - Lanie Parish, Medical Examiner
- Penny Johnson Jerald - Victoria Gates, Captain
- Juliana Dever - Jenny Duffy-O'Malley
- Mark Harelik - Pete Benton
- Phillip Karner - Jack Sinclair
- Frederic Lehne - Addison Smith
- Vernee Watson - Mercy LaGrande
- Josh Hopkins - Uniformed Officer
- Amanda Walsh - Lulu
- Christian Anderson - Harry Boyer
- The opening credits feature a wolf howl over the theme music.
Alexis: I’m Skyping with Ashley.
Castle: Right in the middle of father-daughter zombie time?
Castle: A healthy relationship is based on mutual respect. I mean, think about what kind of signal you’re sending if you’re the one always rearranging your schedule at the other one’s every beck and call. I mean, if you just dropped everything the very moment - (cell phone rings) Sorry. Detective Beckett? I’ll be right there.
Lanie: Are you saying a ghost did this?
Beckett: Please don’t encourage him.
Castle: Maybe Mr. Sinclair met a wraith he couldn’t wrangle.
Esposito: Just don’t say anything…controversial.
Ryan: Like what? What’s controversial?
Ryan: Bingo? Don’t talk about bingo?
Castle: (to a suspect caught in a strip club) We heard you were racking up quite a bill. Or is that, billing quite a rack?
Castle: If Barry’s not our guy, I think it’s time we revisit the possibility that our killer is a-
Beckett: If you say ghost, I am sending you home.
Castle: They’re heeere!
Beckett: Fine. A Demon killed Jack Sinclair. So what’s our next step? Are we gonna stake out the house, wait for the demon to show up, zap him with our proton pack?
Esposito: Real ghost hunters? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms, bro?
Castle: (gets a glare from Beckett) Ooh, that’s a look. I get these a lot. Just start walking.
Beckett: Maybe Shaggy will keep Scooby out of trouble.
Beckett: (after Castle spins one of his wild theories) I think I’ve either had too much wine or not enough.
Castle: If you’re not scared, just say it.
Castle: C’mon. You know you want to.
Beckett: I don’t want to say it, Castle.
Castle: For me. Please.
Beckett: I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
Castle: You? Skepticus Maximus?
Beckett: You know, just because I don’t talk about it non-stop doesn’t mean I don’t believe in another plane. I’ve actually had my own experiences.
Castle: Get out! Like what?
Beckett: When I was a little girl, my parents rented a cabin by a lake and one night I had to go to the bathroom…you know what? You’re just gonna think I’m crazy.
Castle: No, no, no! Go ahead! Tell me.
Beckett: And on the way there, I heard this voice whispering 'Kate, Kate.' It was coming from this room that the owners had locked up and told my parents never to go in it. Except that night there was this weird glow underneath the door and then I heard the voice again 'Kate.' So I walked up to the door and this time it wasn’t locked. And I turned the doorknob and I opened it up and I saw it.
Castle: What was it? What did you see? (Beckett smiles slowly) Aha, very funny. Yes, you got me.
Beckett: How long have you known me, Castle? Of course I don’t believe in ghosts.
Beckett: Grab my legs. (gasps) Castle, I said legs! Ok?
Castle: Oh, legs. Sorry.
Ryan: Did you guys have a big fight after?
Esposito: Big fight, no. Mega-fight, yes.
Ryan: Melanie had two co-workers, both guys.
Ryan: To each other.
Esposito: So, busted?
Ryan: Ghost busted.
Beckett: Spell it out for those of us who are paranormally-impaired.
Castle: I can tell you this: Any relationship that lasts longer than a breath mint is gonna have challenges, but if a relationship doesn’t work out, it’s usually not because of the challenges. It’s usually because the relationship wasn’t strong enough to begin with. Does this help?
Alexis: Not really. (snuggles close to Castle) But this always does.
Castle: I promise you this: if two people believe in something, really believe, anything even the impossible is possible
- Ghostbusters performed by Ray Parker, Jr.
Full Episode Recap
As a full moon rises over New York City, a young man wanders through a large dilapidated mansion, a video camera in one hand, and an electronic meter in his other. The meter beeps and suddenly, the lights in the go out and the doors slam locked. He calls out, but nobody responds. He stops in the center of a large room and calls out “Mercy” then screams.
Meanwhile, at Richard Castle's loft, he screams while watching a zombie movie with his daughter Alexis in celebration of Halloween. To her father’s chagrin, Alexis gets up to go Skype with her boyfriend Ashley, who is busy at college in California. Castle gently warns her against rearranging her schedule to satisfy her boyfriend, but when his cell phone rings and he sees it is Detective Kate Beckett calling, he immediately ends the conversation and runs off to join her for her latest murder investigation, leaving Alexis confused.
Outside the scene, Castle tells Beckett he is worried about Alexis’ relationship with Ashley, but Beckett reassures him. He then notices a van belonging to famous television ghost hunters called The Ghost Wranglers and immediately becomes excited, calling the host of the show, Jack Sinclair, a well-known authority on ghosts. Beckett then tells him Jack Sinclair is their victim.
They speak to the owner of the house, Steve Fuller, who says Sinclair was doing a special on the house, which has a reputation as being haunted. He explains that he has owned the house, called the McLaren House, for over twenty years, but it hasn’t been occupied for several years. He figured when Sinclair called, it was an opportunity to clear it off anything other-worldly.
Inside, Medical Examiner Lanie Parish reports to Beckett and Castle that the cause of death was a slashed throat from ear to ear, but expresses confusion over the uninterrupted blood spatter pattern around the body. She says that the killer must have been face-to-face with their victim in order to cut his throat as he did, yet the blood spatter pattern on the floor surrounding the victim is uninterrupted, meaning no blood got onto the killer and no footprints can be found. Castle gleefully guesses the killer is a ghost, but Beckett is seriously doubtful.
Back outside, they speak to Sinclair’s producer, Lulu, who says Jack was alone in the house after they swept it to make sure it was empty. He went into the house around 7p.m. and she stayed in their production van to watch the video feed, which Lulu plays for them. Castle explains that the infrared cameras are to detect thermal anomalies and that the gadget Sinclair was holding was an electro-magnetic field detector used to measure increases in paranormal energy. They see Sinclair call out for anyone to announce themselves then call out for mercy, making Beckett think he was asking the killer for leniency. Then snow erases the video, which Lulu says has never happened before. Beckett refuses to accept that Sinclair was alone in the house and asks Lulu if he had any enemies. She says no, but does remember him arriving at the shoot seemingly upset. She adds that only he and his cameraman, Barry, who quit earlier in the day after arguing with Sinclair, were the only ones with keys to the house. Further, she says Barry could have programmed the cameras to shut off like they did.
At the precinct, Detective Javier Esposito tells his partner, Detective Kevin Ryan, that Barry checked out of his hotel that night at 7:30p.m. Ryan observes that doing so would leave him enough time to kill Sinclair and says that Barry’s cell phone is going straight to voice mail. Esposito tells him that he has Barry’s credit card information, so hopefully they can use that to nail down his whereabouts. Ryan volunteers to look over the footage from inside the house for a clue and rises to go about his work. He turns back though, asking if his double date with his fiancée Jenny and Esposito and Lanie is still on. Esposito says it is, but warns that Lanie will be coming off a double shift and that Ryan should beware not to bring up certain touchy subjects. Before Ryan can clarify what he means, Esposito notices that Barry had been using his credit card all evening at a local strip club with the first charge being made an hour after the murder.
Later, Beckett and Castle question Barry in an interrogation room. He confirms that he and Jack fought earlier in the day, explaining that Sinclair told him at the last minute that he wanted to do the McLaren House shoot by himself, even though Barry says it was his idea to shoot it in the first place and that Sinclair never wanted to do it at all. He adds that Sinclair was always weird about New York, even though he grew up there, and tried to kill Barry’s idea. Beckett informs him about Sinclair’s death and asks why Barry didn’t return his keys to the house after quitting. He chalks it up to just being upset and denies programming the cameras and sneaking back into the house to kill Sinclair. He says he missed a late flight at the airport, so he adjourned to the strip club to blow off some steam for the night.
Later, Beckett reports that TSA confirmed Barry’s alibi and Esposito says that Tech ruled out the cameras being programmed to turn off. Castle observes that since they are at square one, they should reconsider that a ghost is the killer, but Beckett emphatically cuts him off, threatening to send him home if he continues to persist in his thinking. Beckett promises to find out why the blood spatter was uninterrupted and tells Esposito to find out where the cab company picked up Sinclair before he arrived at the shoot. Beckett vows to explain everything, but Ryan joins them, clearly spooked, and is doubtful she can. They follow him into the conference room where he has been reviewing the footage from the cameras placed inside the house. He zooms in on a tripod sitting in a corner of the room where Sinclair was killed and they all see it move slightly without human assistance. Castle is enthralled, but Beckett insists there is a logical explanation.
Early the next morning, Beckett arrives at the precinct to find Esposito watching Castle write furiously on the murder board, having drunk both hers and his coffee. He explains that he researched the history of the McLaren House and found that since it was built in 1898, eight killings have taken place inside, from the original owner to a Melanie Benton who was brutally killed in 1991, all of which have been attributed to a demon. Beckett laughs off Castle’s idea and teases that their next move should be to stake out the house and zap the demon with their proton packs and Esposito agrees. He adds that the cab company pinned down the location where a cab picked up Sinclair and Beckett tells him to have uniformed officers canvas the area with Sinclair’s photo. Ryan joins them and says an old high school friend of Sinclair’s told him that Sinclair used to live near the McLaren House, but avoided it at all costs out of fear. Castle says this only proves his point, especially since the last people who lived there four years ago moved out in a hurry and he volunteers to go talk to them. Beckett is not impressed, but lets Castle go, and is even more irritated when Ryan volunteers to go with him. She gives both of them a death glare and they hurry out.
Later, Esposito corners Beckett in the break room and asks why she let Ryan go with Castle. She responds that maybe it will keep both of them trouble and the most, they might come up with a useful lead. Esposito then tells her CSU found fingerprints in the house matching a Ron Berger, a recently released con with a record of armed robbery with a knife and breaking and entering, and who was the subject of a Ghost Wranglers episode when he reported that his cell was haunted. As a result of the episode, his reputation at the jail was ruined and he sent Sinclair a threatening letter as a result.
In the interrogation room, Berger admits to writing the letter, but denies killing Sinclair. He gives his alibi as being at home watching cartoons and explains that a month ago Sinclair contacted him, apologized, and asked him to take pictures inside the house for him. He never told him why.
In the conference room, Beckett and Esposito review the pictures and notice they are all of the same room where Sinclair was killed. Also, CSU examined the SD card from Berger’s camera and found that it was not doctored, confirming his story. Now, even Esposito gets creeped out by the fact that Sinclair asked Berger to take pictures inside the same room where he died, but Beckett sticks to her guns that there is nothing amiss.
In another part of town, Ryan and Castle interview the last couple to live in the McLaren House, the Boyers. They agree that the living room, where Sinclair died, was the epicenter of the strange activity when they lived there. They explain that at first, nothing happened then they heard doors slamming and saw lights go out randomly, but eventually they once found the living room ransacked. The whole time, Castle can barely contain his excitement, while Ryan gets even more disturbed. The Bowers say they next hired a ghost hunter, named Mercy LeGrande, to investigate the house and she told them to leave as soon as possible, so they did. Ryan and Castle now guess that Sinclair wasn’t begging his killer for mercy, but identifying her.
Back at the precinct, Beckett and Esposito tell Castle and Ryan that Mercy LeGrande is a con woman who runs an licensed business doing paranormal consultations. Beckett also notes that her business is located on the same block where Sinclair caught his cab to the McLaren House. Castle speculates that Sinclair was upset after visiting Mercy, but Beckett reminds them all that they don’t yet know why. Castle and Ryan volunteer to go find out, and tease Beckett and Esposito about their prior doubts.
Beckett and Castle pay Mercy a visit and she explains that Sinclair came to her for help since he had been having dreams ever since he received the assignment on the McLaren House. At first, in the dreams he would just see flashes of the living room, but the dreams soon got more violent where he saw bodies in the house. She quickly figured out that he was having flashbacks to a repressed memory where he saw a man murder a woman, but every time in the vision, the man’s face is cloudy. She advised him to return to the room where the murder took place in hopes of recovering the memory. Beckett and Castle now know that when Sinclair called out Mercy’s name it was because he had successfully recovered the memory before he died. Castle asks Mercy about the previous murder of Melanie Benton in the house twenty years ago and recalls that press reports said there were no witnesses, but Mercy says there was one: Jack Sinclair.
Back at the precinct, Esposito briefs Castle and Beckett on Melanie Benton’s murder in the same room in the McLaren House where Sinclair was killed. Ryan reports that Sinclair had a paper route that took him to the house, so they all spin the theory that Sinclair, who was eleven at the time of the murder, drops by the house to collect paper money, hears screams, peeks in the living room window, sees the murder, takes off, and represses the memory, which explains why Sinclair has Berger take pictures of the house’s living room. Esposito adds that no arrest was ever made in the murder, meaning that the killer could have silenced Sinclair to keep him from identifying him as the killer.
In the break room, Castle and Beckett talk to retired detective Addison Smith, who worked the Benton murder originally. He pins the murder on Melanie’s husband, Matt Benton, since the neighbors reported lots of fighting and that he disappeared after the murder. About fifteen years ago he says, Matt’s brother, Peter got a postcard from Matt from Europe, maintaining his innocence and saying that a demon did it, but that the lead turned up nothing. He concludes by saying that a witness coming forward now would break the case wide open.
Back at the murder board, Castle guesses that Matt Benton is their killer, but Beckett wonders how Matt would have known that Sinclair had recovered the memory. Esposito tells them that Sinclair’s phone records show he called Peter Benton’s law firm a week before the murder, meaning Peter could have tipped Matt off.
At Peter Benton’s law firm, he promises that he hasn’t heard from his brother since he received the postcards fifteen years ago. He has no knowledge of Sinclair calling his law firm and says that every year ghost hunters call his family trying to exploit their tragedy, so if Sinclair did call the firm, he never spoke to him. Beckett asks for his law firm’s phone records, but Peter refuses, saying they need a warrant and that his firm has clients around the world so it wouldn’t be unusual to find calls to Europe amongst the records.
That evening, Ryan gives Beckett the billing slips from Pete Benton’s law firm to the limo service it uses and tells her that four days ago, Benton authorized a pickup to JFK airport’s international terminal. Beckett thinks that the car could have been to pick up Matt Benton and tells Ryan and Esposito to canvass the hotel where the limo dropped off its passenger. She then remembers Ryan’s and Esposito’s dinner plans, which Ryan volunteers to cancel because of Lanie’s long shift only to have Esposito refuse, and Beckett volunteers to do the canvass herself.
That night at his loft, Castle’s mother, Martha Rodgers, expresses her doubts that her son can solve the murder simply by reading about the house’s history. He chastises her for sounding like Beckett and says he is trying to find out the reason why all the murders have taken place in the one room, insisting there must be an explanation in the house’s history. Martha teases that the demon didn’t like the furniture and they are interrupted when Alexis comes downstairs dressed in a party dress and saying she is tired of waiting for Ashley to call her, so she is headed to a party. Moments after she leaves, he calls the loft, but Martha refuses to take the call, observing that it feels like Ashley was listening in on their conversation. This gives Castle an idea.
Later, he appears at Beckett’s door and she lets him in. He excitedly explains that the builder of the McLaren house had the architect install a laird’s lug or hidden alcove over the dining hall so he could listen in on his guests’ conversations. This could explain how the killer has been able to appear and disappear in the house so easily. He asks Beckett how her canvass went and she admits she came up empty. She agrees to look into Castle’s idea in the morning, but he insists they go that night. When she is reluctant, he teases her about being afraid, but she denies this. Castle presses her and eventually she says what he wants to hear: that she “ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”
Inside the house, Castle and Beckett discuss the merits of his idea about a demon as they search. Castle asks her what she plans to do if all rational avenues of investigation turn up nothing and she admits to being open to more fantastic ideas. She even says she had a paranormal experience once. This supremely interests Castle and he begs her to explain. She tells him when she was a girl, she went camping with her parents and one night when she exited their cabin to go to the bathroom, she saw a weird light coming from a perpetually locked room and heard a voice beckoning to her. She approached the door to the room and found it to be unlocked, so she opened it up. When she sees Castle is rapt with interest, a wide smile crosses her face, and Castle knows he has been pranked. As he recovers, they hear the sounds of doors locking them inside and the lights in the living room go out. Beckett lights a candle, but it quickly blows out. Upon Castle’s saying it wasn’t him, she searches for a possible draft and finds one coming from the ceiling. Castle boosts Beckett onto his shoulders, and after some awkward moments, she locates and opens the hidden compartment. Castle notes that the noise of the opening of the compartment was also on the tape of Sinclair’s murder, meaning the killer must have been hiding in the compartment.
Meanwhile, Ryan’s and Esposito’s double date has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Ryan toasts to best friends and Esposito toasts to his and Jenny’s impending marriage. Jenny then asks Esposito and Lanie when they plan on marrying, eliciting a terrified look from Lanie and an angry one from Esposito.
Back at the McLaren House, Castle guesses their killer hung upside down from a bar near the opening to the compartment when he killed Sinclair, explaining the unusual blood spatter and lack of footprints. As they keep searching, Castle is horrified to pull a rat off Beckett’s shoulder. She sloughs off his horror and they find a secret room where they suspect Matt Benton could have hidden. They also find a magnetic field generator that caused the video feed to cut off, the lights to flicker, and the tripod to move the night of Sinclair’s murder. Castle also supposes that Matt Benton was never found because he never left the house. Then they hear creaking noises, causing Beckett to draw her gun. Castle flings open a door at the end of the room and finds nothing but another rat. However, Beckett sees a decomposed skeleton in the closet, but is too late to warn Castle before it falls on him, eliciting more girlish shrieks of horror. The monogram on the shirt sleeve of the body tells them it is Matt Benton.
The next day, Lanie confirms that the body is Matt Benton, but cannot guess at a cause of death. Instead, she says the tissue samples indicate he was killed twenty years ago. Beckett theorizes he was killed at the same time as his wife and Castle goes on, saying the real killer then framed Matt for the murder to take the heat off himself. Beckett leaves and Castle makes to follow, but comes back and asks Lanie how dinner went. She answers with a death glare worse than Beckett’s. Beckett then comes back, wondering how Matt Benton sent postcards to his brother from Europe if he was dead in the McLaren house at the same time. Castle agrees to talk to Peter again and quickly leaves, whispering to Beckett that she not bring up the double date.
Meanwhile at the McLaren House, Ryan apologizes to Esposito for Jenny’s ruining dinner as they search the hidden room. Esposito accepts his apology, then says he and Lanie had a colossal fight when they got home and agreed to put their relationship on hiatus until they figure out what they want. As Ryan tells his partner he’s there for him if he needs him, Esposito notices that light bulb in the only hanging lamp in the room is brand new.
Back at Peter Benton’s law firm, Peter threatens to sue Beckett for harassment, but retreats when they tell him they know how he was engaged to Melanie, but they broke it off and Melanie married Matt, while Peter never married. He is shocked when Beckett tells him how they found Matt’s remains in the house and how they know he’s been dead since Melanie was killed. They ask him for his alibi for the night of Melanie’s murder and he gives a very detailed account, having never forgotten a single thing out of grief. They confirm for him that he most likely didn’t kill Melanie and Peter admits his brother had a terrible temper and was convinced Melanie was cheating on him with a co-worker, leading him to believe he had killed her.
At the precinct, Ryan says that Melanie couldn’t have cheated with someone at work since her only co-workers were gay and committed to each other. Beckett asks him to get a list of tenants who occupied the same building as Melanie’s work, but Esposito say that shouldn’t be necessary. He reports that the serial number on the light bulb traced back to the McLaren House owner, Steve Fuller, meaning to everyone that Fuller knew about the room but didn’t say anything since he is most likely their killer. Castle and the guys then speculate that Melanie was having an affair with Fuller and he killed her and her husband when she wanted to break it off, and Sinclair when he returned and started poking around. He also stayed in the hidden compartment to scare off any tenants and grow the house’s legend to keep anyone else away from the crime scene. Castle also remembers how Fuller wanted to tear the house down, and simultaneously destroy the evidence of Matt’s body, but was stopped by a local historical society. Beckett finally gets a word in and says their story makes sense, but is circumstantial since they have no proof that bears out their theory. Castle then says he knows how to get some.
That night, Castle and Beckett stake out the McLaren House and see the shadowy figure of a male enter. Inside, the man drops Matt Benton’s remains out of the hidden compartment and climbs down into the living room, where Beckett and Castle turn on the lights and catch him only he turns out to be Addison Smith. He admits to starting up an affair with Melanie Benton after responding to her numerous domestic violence calls, but she wanted to break things off, so he killed her and, out of revenge, Matt too and framed Matt for the crime. He even sent Peter the postcards to keep up the illusion and promised Fuller he’d continue looking into the murder if he’d tell him of any new developments in the case. So when Jack Sinclair called, Fuller tipped him off and he killed Sinclair too. Smith confirms their thoughts then uses a hand held magnetic field generator to switch the lights off. He turns them back on when he has Beckett’s gun and orders both of them to get on their knees. Beckett doubts he will shoot them since that would be inconsistent with the house’s history, and Smith pulls out a large knife. He again orders them to their knees, but they tell him they had cameras hidden around the room which caught Smith’s entire confession. Uniformed officers sweep in and arrest Smith, while Ryan, Esposito and Lulu watch from the Ghost Wranglers van.
Back at the precinct, Beckett tells Castle Fuller really had no idea about the hidden room, meaning Smith must have taken the light bulb from somewhere else in the house. Beckett adds that he is insisting that a demon made him kill Melanie, setting up an insanity plea. As they head to the elevator, Beckett reminds Castle that the hidden room explains every previously unexplainable occurrence in the house, but he disagrees, suggesting that Jack Sinclair’s ghost blew out the candle Beckett had lit to help her find the draft which led her to discover the hidden room. She agrees to concede this point and he agrees to accept that no demon lives in the house. As they approach the elevator, the down button lights up all by itself, pricking Castle’s concern and an amused grin from Beckett.
Castle returns to his loft that night and finds Alexis studying after a Skype session with Ashley, which she says was very average. She guesses he was preoccupied with all his college responsibilities and she was tired since he is in a different time zone. She frets about how hard it is keeping the relationship going, and Castle tries to reassure her by saying that if a relationship doesn’t work out, it’s usually because it wasn’t strong enough to begin with. Conversely, if two people really believe it can work, anything is possible. Alexis snuggles up to her father and admits his words haven’t helped, but just being with him has. She then picks up the remote control, hands it to him, and he restarts the zombie movie they were watching previously.
- Jack Sinclair, a celebrity ghost buster; throat slit in a haunted house
- Melanie Benton; stabbed multiple times twenty years before Jack Sinclair and in the same house and room
- Matt Benton; throat slashed at the same time as his wife's murder
- Jack Sinclair, a celebrity ghost buster; throat slit in a haunted house
- Killer: Former police detective Addison Smith
- Motive: Self-preservation: Sinclair witnessed Smith murdering Melanie Benton after she wanted to break off the affair they were having, due to Matt Benton's abusiveness. He killed Matt Benton out of revenge for the abuse, hid the body in the house, and framed Matt for his wife's murder. When Smith was tipped off to the fact that Sinclair was going back to the original crime scene after having flashbacks, he killed him to keep him quiet.