Season 4, Episode 12 (70)
Original Air Date - January 16, 2012
It was the political clout of Castle's friend, New York City Mayor Weldon, that allowed Castle to partner up with Beckett. But now, when a woman is found dead in a car that traces back to the Mayor's motor pool, that partnership comes under fire as the scandal surrounding the investigation threatens to bring down Weldon's administration.
- 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
- Derek Webster - New York City Mayor Robert Weldon
- Germaine De Leon - Edgar Navarro
- D.C. Douglas - Bill Moss
- Rebecca Field - Marilyn Kane
- Dave Florek - Harvey
- Mimi Michaels - Sarah Marx
- Adam Kulbersh - Brian Shay
- Tara Platt - Janelle
- Cecelia Specht - Jolene / screaming DAG Operator
- Michael Grant Terry - Jordan Norris
- Cara Pifko - Laura Cambridge
- Geoff Pierson - Mr. Smith
Castle: I know what you’re asking and the answer is yes. Yes you can take your grandmother and her entire production of King Lear to college with you.
Castle: Daughters, that’s why King Lear went mad.
Beckett: Sir, I’m sorry to have to ask you this, but where were you last night between 8 and 10p.m.?
Mayor Weldon: One of New York’s finest, huh, Ricky?
Castle: She’s the best.
Mayor Weldon: So you keep telling me.
Beckett: With all due respect, Mr. Shea, police investigations are usually conducted by the police.
Shea: Well, unfortunately, the 24 hour news cycle moves a helluva lot faster than you do and I have to get all my ducks in a row before this thing breaks. It’s my job.
Beckett: And my job is to find Laura’s murderer, so, if you don’t mind and even if you do, I’m gonna get my own statement…
Shea: Knock yourself out. But, trust me you’re wasting your time.
Beckett: It’s my time to waste. Now, I got a job to do.
Castle: These are politicians. They can’t order in a restaurant without two compromises and an ultimatum.
Castle: She went from professor to janitor. That’s like Good Will Hunting, but in reverse.
Mr. Harvey: Excuse me please, Officer…and gentleman.
Castle: An Officer and a Gentleman. That could be the name of our crime blog.
Beckett: Beckett: Crime blog? The way that you help me write police reports? Got a feeling I’ll be writing that one on my own.
Mr. Harvey: Bunch of dead beat tenants in here. If you ever get bored, I’m sure I could fill up a couple of holding cells for you.
Beckett: What is this place?
Castle: I’d say it’s about $4.99 a minute.
Sarah: It’s not just about the sex. That’s the part of this business some people don’t understand. Guys call, girls call. They’re looking for release. Sometimes that release is sexual, but sometimes-
Castle: It’s therapy. Or…so I’ve been told.
Castle: Brown cashmere? So we can narrow our suspects down to rich men with impeccable taste.
Beckett: Are you saying you’re a suspect?
Castle: Alexis is my alibi.
Castle: You know what I think? I think she’s hoping it’s him, because if he’s gone, I’m gone.
Esposito: You gonna tell her?
Beckett: I have to.
Ryan: This will destroy Weldon, you know.
Beckett: Yeah. I know.
Esposito: When he’s gone, first thing she’ll do is get rid of Castle.
Beckett: I know.
Capt. Gates: We are tasked by the City of New York to protect its people. Sometimes that task comes with a cost. I know what they call me, Detective. “Iron” Gates. I hear the whispers. She’s from IA she must hate cops. Well, the truth is I love cops. My daddy was a cop, my uncles were cops. But the Sergeant who assaulted my patrol partner under the color of authority, who holds him accountable? We do. Got to the Mayor, get him to voluntarily surrender his coat for fiber testing without a warrant. Tell him it’s the only way to keep it out of the media, but if he refuses you get that warrant and you do your job whatever the cost.
Castle: Well he has good reason not to turn over his coat.
Beckett: Yes, guilt.
Beckett: What am I supposed to do, Rick? I can’t just stop being a cop just because it’s inconvenient.
Castle: No, no, no, no. You can wait for something else, for another lead.
Beckett: For the coat to disappear? You think I don’t know what’s at stake at here? You think I actually want to do this?
Castle: Then don’t do it.
Beckett: I don’t have a choice.
Beckett: I met Weldon a few times before this. I liked him.
Ryan: You didn’t set his house on fire.
Beckett: No, I just threw gasoline on it.
Beckett: Jordan Norris is a pawn. I want the people controlling him.
Capt. Gates: Oh, it’s a long game, Kate. Play it piece by piece.
Man: The case is resolved.
Castle: Resolved? How is it resolved? Someone tried to destroy this city’s mayor and I wanna know who.
Man: Trust me when I say it’s not your concern.
Castle: It is if it involves Beckett or her mother’s murder.
Man: You’re a writer. Finish this sentence: If Weldon had been run out of office…
Castle: I’d be gone from the 12th precinct.
Man: And then who’d keep Beckett from looking into things she shouldn’t? Who’d keep her out of harm’s way?
Castle: So you did this to protect her? Why?
Man: You play chess, Mr. Castle? There are times when a well-placed pawn is more powerful than a king.
Castle: I have your number if I need to reach you.
Man: You don’t reach me, Mr. Castle. I reach you.
Martha: You've been down this road before with a friend. You believed Damian Westlake; he's rotting in prison for murder.
Castle: Damian and I were kids together. Believing in him was sentiment. My experience tells me Weldon is innocent. My experience tells me there's something very wrong with this whole situation.
- Prior to its airing, the title of this episode was incorrectly announced as Dial M for Murder. A tweet by Terri Miller corrected things.
Full Episode Recap
A young woman rides in the passenger seat of a car at night. She rests her head on the shoulder of the male driver, who wears a tan cashmere coat. He pulls the car to the side of the street, parks, takes the woman’s purse, and quietly exits the car as the woman slumps unconscious onto the drivers’ seat.
The next morning, at Richard Castle’s loft, his mother, Martha Rodgers, is rehearsing a scene from King Lear to the great disruption of the household with thunder, wind, and strobe lights, while Castle writes in his office and listens to head phones. His daughter, Alexis, blows in complaining she is bored since she is only taking one course this semester, having taken a heavier load in the fall because she wanted to graduate early. Castle suggests she explore the world, maybe go on a trip and Alexis agrees, thinking instead she can get an internship. Castle tries to protest, but Alexis’ mind is made up. She kisses him enthusiastically for his idea then leaves as Castle’s cell phone rings.
As Castle and Detective Kate Beckett walk to the crime scene, Castle tells her he is relieved that she called since Martha was teaching one of her acting classes at the loft since her acting school flooded after a scene from King Lear went awry. They find Medical Examiner Lanie Parish who says their victim is Laura Cambridge and the cause of death is strangulation between 8 and 10p.m. the night before. Based on bruising on Laura’s neck, she guesses the killer is male, bigger than Laura, and strangled her from behind. No evidence of a struggle was found in the car, so she was likely dumped after her death. Detective Javier Esposito says the car wasn’t Laura’s since she has a non-driver ID, but his partner, Detective Kevin Ryan, is running its license plates. She shows Beckett Laura’s purse which was found in a dumpster not far away with cash still in it, meaning a robbery is unlikely. Esposito adds that no cell phone was found in the purse or on Laura’s body and Beckett is confused since more women Laura’s age have one. Ryan joins them to report that the car is part of the City Hall motor pool and the last user was the Mayor, Robert Weldon, Castle’s friend.
At City Hall, Mayor Weldon says he doesn’t recognize Laura’s photo and suggests Beckett check with his staff. She asks for his alibi and he says he was at a small fundraiser for his unannounced run for Governor and promises to get Beckett the names of all attendees. He further says that the car was apparently used for the event, since one of his staff reported it stolen later in the evening. He also says he missed Castle at the fundraiser, and he responds that he was with Alexis, but sent him a check. The Mayor then shows Beckett out, offering his Chief of Staff, Brian Shea, as further help to her. They step outside the office and Shea invites Beckett to sit, excusing his assistant, Jordan. Mayor Weldon then offers to let Castle look at a new library initiative he would appreciate his endorsement on and Castle agrees, leaving Beckett with Shea. Shea tells Beckett the car was checked out by Elizabeth Watson, the director of communication who found it stolen when she left the fundraiser around midnight. He hands Beckett her statement, but Beckett rejects it, preferring to interview her herself. He says his job is to get on top of the story before it hits the news and Beckett reminds him that her job is to find Laura’s killer, so she will do her own interview and get statements from all Shea’s staff who might know Laura. He reluctantly agrees, but forcefully says his priority is protecting the Mayor from his enemies.
At the precinct, Captain Victoria Gates orders Beckett into her office for an update on the case. Beckett says the staffer who reported the car missing has an alibi and nobody in the Mayor’s office recognizes Laura, meaning her connection to the car could be coincidental. Gates reminds Beckett of the sensitive nature of the investigation and tells her others besides herself will be watching the case.
Beckett steps outside to her desk and where Castle states his belief that the Mayor is innocent, confirming Beckett’s suspicion that he cannot be impartial. Beckett asks Esposito about the car and he verifies that it was checked out at 5p.m. and reported stolen at midnight, which means to Castle since it was stolen off the street, that the connection to City Hall is coincidental. Ryan reports that Laura didn’t own a cell phone, her credit cards haven’t been used in six months, and around the same time she left her job as a respected college professor for no apparent reason, cutting ties with all her friends in the process. Afterward, all he could find on her is pay stubs for menial jobs as if she was fired frequently. Esposito says she has a sister who is her way, so Beckett tells them to dig into Laura’s life while she and Castle visit her apartment.
At Laura’s apartment, the super, Mr. Harvey, says Laura kept to herself and paid her rent on time. They find a very plain, sparse apartment, no sign of struggle, and no sign of a phone or computer which strikes Castle as odd. Harvey says Laura worked nights and left around 5p.m. the night before but he doesn’t know where she went. She had no friends or a boyfriend, but he did see a tall white guy leave her apartment last night around 9 or 9:30.
Back at the precinct, Ryan and Esposito talk to Laura’s sister who says she wasn’t dating anyone, had no connection to City Hall, nor did she know anyone matching the description of her visitor. She adds that they had been close, but six months ago, she stopped talking to her and basically dropped out of her life. The last time she spoke to Laura she said she was in trouble because of something that happened at work, but didn’t say what because it was too dangerous.
At the murder board, Castle and Beckett suspect that the man who visited Laura’s apartment was looking for her and not finding her, he went to her workplace. Ryan joins them and says Laura worked at a DAG Corporation in the Bowery. Castle and Beckett find the address and discover it is a phone sex line service named Dial-A-Goddess where women of all ages answer phone calls in individual booths.
They speak to the manager, Marilyn Kane, who says in only a few months, Laura had become one of their most popular goddesses, but the night before she didn’t come to work and had seemed upset the last few days. Beckett asks she knows why Laura left her career to work there and Marilyn Kane says she has women from lots of different backgrounds working since it is satisfying and makes them feel powerful. Beckett asks if a caller could have found out Laura’s identity and Marilyn says absolutely not since clients call a central line and are routed anonymously by a dispatcher.
They speak to the dispatcher, Sarah, who says Laura was so successful because she was not only good at the sexy talk, but because she listened. When asked if Laura had any problems with clients, Sarah becomes emotional and blames herself for Laura’s death. She explains that Laura came to her a week ago wanting a client’s contact information, saying it was a matter of life and death.
At the precinct, Beckett interrogates Edgar Novarro, who met with Laura before she was killed. He says she contacted him because he learned to fix computers in prison and she needed him to copy some digital recordings of something she overheard at work that she wasn’t supposed to hear. He says she agreed to call him with additional information he needed and shows Beckett the cell phone number she called from.
Back at Dial-A-Goddess, Beckett and Castle speak again to Marilyn who says Laura never asked her for copies of the phone recordings. She says she is the only one with access to the computer room where the calls are recorded. She finds the lock to the room’s door broken and Beckett steps inside with her gun drawn. She finds everything secure except the hard drive containing the last two months’ worth of calls has been stolen. Marilyn says this morning everything was fine, but that a gas man visited, claiming there was a leak because of construction in the building. Her description matches that of the man who last visited Laura’s apartment.
That night at his loft, Castle tells Martha how the case is going and cannot help but wonder why Laura gave up her job as a professor to become a phone sex operator. Martha asks if they can trace the calls to find out who called her and Castle says they subpoenaed the phone records but since the company gets so many calls it will take time to find their killer. His cell phone rings and he answers to find the mysterious man who contacted Castle after Beckett’s shooting on the line, saying they need to talk about Beckett’s safety. Later, he discusses the call with Martha, saying the man told him greater forces are at work, meaning whatever Laura heard on her call got the attention of someone with a connection to Johanna Beckett’s murder. He adds that the man gave him a number he could use to contact him and that he would know when the time comes to call. Martha asks if he plans to tell Beckett and he says no.
The next morning, Castle exits the precinct elevator with his and Beckett’s usual coffees and watches Beckett at her desk for a minute. He fails at entirely concealing the worried look on his face, but brushes it off when Beckett asks. She switches to the case, saying Lanie found fibers off a tan cashmere coat in Laura’s esophagus, meaning the killer was wearing it when he killed her. She adds that the gas company said the guy who stole the hard drive was an imposter and that CSU found no forensic evidence to identify him. Ryan joins them with a couple hundred pages of Dial-A-Goddess call logs and says he’s been working all morning to find those routed to Laura and he hasn’t found any from City Hall. Esposito arrives and calls Beckett away to talk to a uniformed officer. Seizing his chance, Castle quietly asks Ryan to let him know if anything connected to Beckett’s shooting or her mother’s case pops up, saying he wants to be careful, and Ryan agrees. Beckett re-joins them saying a cab driver remembers dropping Laura off at a TV station. Esposito puts in that the cell phone Laura used to contact Edgar Novarro was a pay-as-you go phone she used only to call him and book agent, Trevor Haynes.
At Trevor’s office, he explains that they signed Laura six months ago after she proposed writing a book on those living below the poverty line, which explains why she gave up her career for a series of lower paying jobs. Trevor further says that he suspects Laura was killed because she discovered something scandalous about a very powerful public official. Beckett’s cell phone rings and Esposito tells her she needs to see something at the TV station.
Once there, a friend of Laura’s, Pat McConnell, tells Beckett and Castle Laura called him a few days ago out of the blue needing to see some raw footage for a research project she was working on. He set her up at an editing station where she worked for eight hours, even falling asleep at one point. Esposito says the footage was all of Mayor Weldon at various functions, leading Beckett to believe that the public official Laura was afraid of is the Mayor. Esposito plays some additional footage that shows the Mayor in a tan cashmere coat and Laura standing nearby, indicating that he lied when he said he didn’t know her.
In the precinct break room, Beckett and Castle argue about the Mayor’s involvement with Castle saying there’s no way the Mayor could remember Laura since he meets so many people and Beckett saying he is biased and even good men make mistakes. She reminds him that his aides said he left the fundraiser around 9p.m. giving him time to kill Laura. Captain Gates enters and asks about the case, but Beckett lies saying she’s found no connection to City Hall. Gates leaves and Castle thinks she hopes there is a connection to the Mayor because it would mean the end of his involvement at the precinct, but Beckettr disagrees. Beckett heads back to her desk saying they need to figure out the Mayor’s motive for murder before Gates will let her subpoena the coat. Castle is still surprised Beckett is going after him, but she says that if he is innocent, he needs to let her prove it. She turns to Ryan who says Laura was a volunteer for the Mayor’s reading charity. Castle insists it doesn’t mean the Mayor really knew her, but Beckett tells him she will pursue the case on her own since he can’t be objective. She takes Ryan with her to visit the charity.
They interview a staffer, Ms. Park, who says Laura was fired after a week for copying confidential accounting files. When pressed, she is reluctant to discuss the matter, but caves when Beckett threatens to take her downtown. She says they found approximately $2.3 million missing from their accounts and an internal investigation is ongoing.
Back at the precinct, Ryan confirms to Beckett and Esposito that the Attorney General is investigating. The three spin the theory that someone told Laura on one of her phone calls about the missing money, she investigated and the Mayor killed her to shut her up. Beckett looks at Gates’ office, knowing she has to tell her and that it will destroy Mayor Weldon and end Castle’s shadowing arrangement. She walks heavily to Gates’ office where she fills her in then worries that she is wrong and will end up disgracing the Mayor anyway. Gates says sometimes their job to protect the people comes at a cost. She then says she is aware of her nickname, “Iron” Gates, and the talk about how her work in Internal Affairs means she hates cops. She says in reality, she loves cops since her father and uncles were cops, but that love does not extend to those who abuse their authority, like a Sergeant did to one of her partners. She suggests Beckett get the Mayor to voluntarily turn over his coat, but if he refuses, she has to do her job whatever the cost.
The next morning as Beckett leaves the precinct to see Mayor Weldon, Castle intercepts her, saying he thinks he can help by recognizing if he is bluffing. He also says that while he thinks he is innocent, he’d want to know if he isn’t, making him objective. Beckett agrees and they leave.
At City Hall, Brian Shea tries to convince the Mayor not to talk to Beckett, but he agrees, saying he hasn’t done anything wrong. Shea and his assistant leave the Mayor’s office and Beckett confronts him with a capture of the footage where Laura was standing nearby the Mayor at his reading charity event. Now he remembers how she said she wanted to talk to him, but he got pulled away to talk to other donors. Beckett then asks him to turn over his coat for testing and Mayor Weldon becomes immediately concerned and defiant and refuses, saying he will not give ammunition to his enemies who are conspiring to bring him and his administration down. He denies killing Laura or embezzling from his charity, saying the charges are part of the conspiracy launched at the same time he is exploring a run for Governor.
As they leave City Hall, Castle sympathizes with the Mayor’s concern about a conspiracy, but Beckett says he only told him what he wanted to hear, since Castle loves to spin conspiracy theories. She reiterates her plan to get a court order to force him to turn over the coat, and Castle warns her that his career will be over even if he is found to be innocent. He begs her to wait for another lead, but Beckett maintains that she has no choice. She leaves and Castle watches her go.
That night, Castle watches a press conference where Mayor Weldon proclaims his innocence and says he is cooperating. Castle tells Martha that he still believes the Mayor, but she reminds him how he once believed his friend Damian Westlake was innocent of murder, but he is jail for the crime. Castle chalks that up to sentimentalism, but now he is an adult. Martha suggests he call the mysterious man who called earlier about Beckett and he does.
They meet in a parking garage and the man confirms Mayor Weldon isn’t wrong about the conspiracy. As a car screeches towards them, he tells Castle to listen to the evidence like Laura did, but Castle says he has watched it and nothing is there. The man says he didn’t say to listen to it and disappears when the car passes between them.
The following morning, Ryan joins Beckett in the conference room as she watches a recording of the press conference. He reassures her, saying she didn’t create his problems, but she concedes that she made them worse. Her cell phone rings and she answers.
Later at Dial-A-Goddess, she meets Castle who thanks her for coming. She refuses to apologize for doing her job and he says he would never ask her to. He goes on to say he had a realization that they have been looking for evidence when they should have been listening for it. He says that Laura’s hearing something on a call started all her troubles and wonders if they figure out who she heard it from they may learn what she heard and who killed her. He reminds Beckett how her friend at the TV station thought she was asleep in front of the video, but guesses she may have been focusing on listening for the caller’s voice. Castle then says he asked Sarah, the dispatcher, to listen to the audio of the TV station tapes and she says she recognizes the voice of the caller as one of Laura’s regular clients. She plays the footage and they see Jordan, the assistant to Mayor Weldon’s Chief of Staff, whisper in his ear.
In an interrogation room, Beckett confronts Jordan with the evidence than he had been calling Laura and he admits to doing so, but says he didn’t know who he was talking to. She also confronts him with a text message of an account number he sent to a burner phone that she suspects was used to make it look like the Mayor was embezzling from his own charity. Castle guesses that his complicity made him feel so guilty that one night he spilled to Laura, who tracked him down in an effort to expose him and who he was helping. He admits that Laura visited him the night she was killed, but denies killing her himself. Beckett predicts that he called the burner phone and someone did it for him then destroyed all evidence that she knew anything. Beckett presses him for who he called, but he refuses, saying they are more dangerous than they know, but she won’t let up and Castle grows concerned. He finally agrees to reveal the person’s identity, but before he can, a lawyer, Bill Moss, enters, saying he has been asked to represent him, and he is terminating the interrogation.
As Beckett disassembles the murder board, Captain Gates tries to make her feel better by saying they’ve got Jordan on criminal facilitation and that the Mayor will be ok, but Beckett is unmoved, saying she would rather know who was behind Laura’s murder. A concerned Castle watches as Gates tells her to keep working at it.
That night in his loft, Mayor Weldon has a drink with Castle and says his ambitions for higher office are over so he plans on becoming the best Mayor possible. He laments that more powerful players wanted him to play their game their way, but he refused, so they took him out of the game.
In the parking garage, Castle meets the mysterious man again and demands to know who tried to take down the Mayor. He says it isn’t any of his concern, but Castle says it is if Beckett or her mother’s murder is involved. The man implies that he contacted Castle to keep the Mayor in office so Castle can stay in the precinct and keep Beckett away from her mother’s murder. He likens the arrangement to a pawn in chess that can become more powerful than a king. As he leaves, he says Castle isn’t to call him since he will call Castle.
- Victim: Laura Cambridge
- Cause of Death: Strangulation
- Perp: Unknown
- Motive: Secrecy: She was murdered to cover up what she knew about a plot to bring down the Mayor of New York City, and, as a result, get Castle out of the precinct so he can't protect Beckett anymore.