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Head Case

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Basic Details[edit]

Season 4, Episode 3 (61)

Original Air Date - October 3, 2011


Castle and Beckett are baffled when their latest murder case lacks a body. The investigation leads them into the controversial field of cryonics, where an individual with a serious medical condition agrees to have their body frozen once mainstream science declares them dead in hopes of being resusitated and cured in the future. Meanwhile, Alexis is devastated when she receives a rejection letter from Stanford University, ruining her plan to attend classes there with her boyfriend.

Episode Images[edit]

© 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[edit]

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies. Inc.

Guest Cast[edit]

  • William Atherton - Dr. Ari Weiss
  • Jordan Belfi - Beau Randolph
  • Susan Grace - Carla
  • Jared Hillman - Eddie Peck
  • Judith Hoag - Cynthia Hamilton
  • Shaun Toub - Dr. Philip Boyd
  • Tiffany Panhilason - Monica
  • Andy Umberger - Johnny Rosen




Martha: What did you expect? Her to live here forever?
Castle: Her yes, you…
Martha: Watch it.

Capt. Gates: You’ve narrowed the victim pool down to men?
Castle: Uh, well in New York City that actually eliminates 4 million women so...
Capt. Gates: Mr. Castle, I don’t know what the Mayor sees in you, but I know how you’re alike: he’s term limited.
Castle: Maybe if I sent her flowers.
Beckett: No. No.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: Where do you start when you don’t know who the victim is?
Beckett: You…You know, you could…(exhales)
Castle: We really need to find the body, don’t we?
Beckett: Yeah, pretty much.

Castle: Does anyone else have the sudden urge to run into the streets screaming ‘They’re here!’?

Castle: Cryonics. That explains the room full of human popsicles.

Tech: We cryo-preserve them.
Castle: To be brought back to life in a science fiction future where death has a cure.
Ryan: Think they can put me under ‘til the wedding?

Dr. Weiss: I imagine you have many questions.
Beckett: Yes, like who’s the murder victim you took from my crime scene?

Dr. Weiss: He conducted cutting-edge research developing life extension techniques.
Castle: Not that it did him any good.

Castle: You got any celebrities in here? Ted Williams? Jack Frost?

Castle: This has all the hallmarks of a vast and insidious conspiracy.
Beckett: I’m still trying to figure out how to explain it to Gates.

Castle: I couldn’t even get a carry permit! How did he get one?
Ryan: The hard way. Several guys saw their girlfriends in his videos and beat the hell out of him.
Castle: No longer jealous.

Castle: Would you do it? Would you get the implants?
Beckett: I don’t think I need them, huh?

Castle: What if you could stay the same way you are now for the next ten years?
Beckett: I don’t wanna stay the same.

Beckett: One thing I’ve learned is that you never know how much time you have and if I thought I had more, I just might end up wasting it.

Beau Randolph: Are you sure you’re not here to audition for my 'Post-Docs Play Doctors' series?
Beckett: No!

Lanie: I mean the bullets in Lester Hamilton’s chest were not fired by Beau Randolph’s gun.
Castle: Are you sure?
Lanie: No, I just sit down here all day and make stuff up. Of course, I’m sure.
Castle: Sorry.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: I have a theory, but you’re not gonna like it.
Beckett: Yeah, I’m open to anything right now.
Castle: Randolph is innocent.
Beckett: Yeah. You’re right. I don’t like it.

Beckett: Yeah, I think I can manage without you for a few hours.
Castle: Don’t look so happy about it.

Ryan: What was he doing here for a month?
Hotel manager: Sweet pea, this is a don’t ask, don’t tell hotel.
Esposito: So you didn’t ask, but could you tell?

Castle: Any word on what was going on in Hamilton’s Hotel of Horrors?

Castle: So Lester wasn’t doing the procedures on someone else. Someone else was doing them to him.
Lanie: Well -
Beckett: And he decided to put his money where his mouth was using himself as a test subject.
Castle: But then who was doing the procedures on him?
Beckett: And how did it even get him killed?
Lanie: Can I just -
Castle: Maybe the treatment was a success. Hamilton realized he was on the cusp of a revolutionary life extension breakthrough.
Beckett: Oh my gosh -
Lanie: GUYS! Hold up! Stop doing that thing you do for one second. Thank you.

Lanie: You gotta be kidding me.
Beckett: Are you saying you lost his head!?

Castle: Talk about taking a header!

Alexis: How do you do it, Dad?
Castle: Do what?
Alexis: That letter that you have framed in your office.
Castle: My first manuscript rejection.
Alexis: Yeah. How can you stand having it there?
Castle: Because it drives me. And I got twenty more of those before Black Pawn ever agreed to publish In a Hail of Bullets. That letter reminds me of what I’ve overcome. Rejection isn’t failure.
Alexis: Sure feels like failure.
Castle: No. failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.
Alexis: My whole life has been about making sure I could get into any college I wanted. What’s it about now?
Castle: Give it time. You’ll figure it out.

Castle: So Detective, would you consider this to be a crime of passion?
Beckett: I would consider this a crime of love.
Castle: Nice. Though that would depend on whether Cynthia Hamilton was in love or insane.
Beckett: Well sometimes there’s a fine line between the two.

Castle: Wouldn’t it be something if they reunited a hundred or even a thousand years from now?
Beckett: Well anything’s possible.
Castle: You really believe that?
Beckett: That’s what the great love stories are about right? Beating the odds?
Castle: I hope they make it.
Beckett: Me too.

Featured Music[edit]

  • The One performed by Black Mustang

Full Episode Recap[edit]

In a dark alley, a dead body is thrown in the back of a van that speeds into the night, leaving a pool of blood behind.

The following morning, Richard Castle brings his mail back to his loft where his mother, Martha Rodgers, is having her morning coffee. He finds a letter from Stanford University addressed to his daughter Alexis and guesses it is in response to her application for early admission. Martha and Castle both muse over how fast the teenager has grown up. She soon joins them, opens the letter and is devastated to discover her application has been rejected.

Later on, Castle tells Detective Kate Beckett what happened as they walk towards the crime scene and she reminds him that last week he didn’t want her to go away to college at all. He agrees that’s true, but adds that he didn’t want her to be rejected either, then observes that Beckett got accepted to the same school. She says she probably wouldn’t now and reminds Castle that despite however he feels, Alexis is probably devastated. He says she is actually in denial since when he left she was trying to convince university officials that they had made a mistake.

At the crime scene, Beckett asks Medical Examiner Lanie Parish where the body is, which Lanie observes is a good question. Lanie guesses that with the amount of blood, it is unlikely the victim survived and points out marks to indicate that the body was dragged somewhere else. Detective Kevin Ryan joins them saying witnesses told him they saw a white van leaving the scene just after 7a.m. that morning. Beckett then sees tire tracks and tells Ryan to get a cast in hopes that CSU could get a make and model of the van. Castle also notices bloody footprints of two different sizes that were left behind, meaning two people took the body. Beckett sees that the prints have no tread, so Lanie guesses the people were wearing some kind of body suit. Castle wildly speculates that the murder was a Black Ops killing, but Beckett ignores him having seen an impression in the pool of blood that looks to Lanie like a box of case. Beckett asks Ryan to see if CSU can identify the pattern and he grumbles, since he has been stressed picking out various patterns for his wedding to his girlfriend, Jenny. Beckett cocks an eyebrow at him and he leaves to carry out his orders. Detective Javier Esposito joins them and says witnesses told him they heard gunshots at 6:40. Beckett is confused at why so much time would elapse between the gunshots and the van leaving the scene.

Back at the precinct, Beckett and Castle brief Captain Victoria Gates on the case. Beckett says CSU matched the imprint to a high-end briefcase which is sold by only two stores, so they are running down customer information, as well as waiting on tire tread analysis and Ryan is reviewing traffic camera footage. Gates asks about the victim and Beckett says Lanie was able to narrow it down to males, so Beckett is looking at missing persons reports from the area. Gates is not impressed, so Castle tries to help by suggesting, at least, they ruled out females, but Gates is unmoved. She heads back to her office leaving Castle wondering if he should try sending her flowers. Beckett disagrees and examines the murder board, saying authorities elsewhere have conducted investigations without a body, but she can’t say how without knowing who they’re looking for. Ryan and Esposito join them, having identified the van and its registrant, a storage company located six blocks from the crime scene.

They head to the location and find a white van with a blood smear on it. Inside the warehouse they find what looks like a science lab with large vertical tubes protruding from the floor. Castle rubs the condensation off the glass on one and finds a frozen body inside. The guys find the same on other tubes.

Beckett gets on her phone to call for a small army of CSU Techs when Esposito hears movement. They follow the sound to a room where men in scrubs push their murder victim into what looks like a freezer. They tell the men to freeze and they comply as Esposito frisks them. One explains that the man was already dead when they arrived to pick him up and that they work for a cryonics company called Passageway. Castle is familiar with the process which entails cryo-preserving a body then bringing it back to life in when future science finds a cure for death. The other tech explains that the victim was wearing a GPS tracking device and pulse monitor, so when he dies, they are notified immediately. He says in this case they arrived 15 minutes after the victim died, explaining the gap in their timeline. Beckett is furious that they moved the body without calling police and one of the techs said they couldn’t wait since they had to freeze the body as soon as possible to preserve the brain. Beckett says it doesn’t matter since the man is dead, but Dr. Harry Weiss, the CEO of the company disagrees.

Dr. Weiss tells them the victim is Dr. Lester Hamilton, an old friend and a biology professor at a local university who was researching life extension techniques. Castle asks if he has any celebrity clients, but he refuses to discuss his customers. Beckett says he will have to once the ME arrives to take custody of the body, but Dr. Weiss’ attorney says Dr. Hamilton’s contract is binding and legal and threatens to sue if they try to take the body.

Later, Beckett ends a cell phone call to the D.A.’s office, saying they won’t back them on the case since the case law is murky. Castle agrees and spins a theory about a vast government conspiracy while Beckett tries to figure out how to explain it to Captain Gates.

Back at the precinct, Gates is furious as Beckett explains how they can’t get the body without a warrant, but they can’t get a warrant without using the body to prove Hamilton was murdered. She goes on to say that the technicians confirm that Hamilton was shot twice in the chest, the bullet holes in his chest are from large caliber bullets, and his money and wallet are intact, so it wasn’t a random mugging. Gates asks about the briefcase and Beckett says the techs didn’t find a briefcase at the scene, but Hamilton’s wife says he left their house that morning carrying one. Ryan interrupts saying that Hamilton’s office was broken into three days ago and his computer smashed. Gates tells Ryan to look into it and Beckett to get Hamilton’s wife to release his body.

In the break room, Cynthia Hamilton refuses to release her husband’s body out of respect for his wishes. Beckett insists Hamilton is already dead, but his colleague Dr. Boyd, disagrees, saying that to be cryo-preserved is what Hamilton wanted as a result of his research. Cynthia says he focused on life extension because they were madly in love with other and wanted to be together beyond their life on earth. Beckett asks about Hamilton’s briefcase and she says it contained his research into an implant with would cause the body to produce young cells instead of aging ones to keep a person younger longer. He called it the Ambrosia Project. Castle guesses pharmaceutical companies would have paid millions for such a product, but Dr. Boyd laments that most of the money would have gone to Beau Randolph, who Beckett recognizes as being the producer of “College Girls Gone Wild” videos. Boyd explains that while Randolph made a fortune in porn videos, he became Hamilton’s principal financial backer for the Ambrosia Project. However, Cynthia says Hamilton cut all ties with him three days ago because he wanted to publish his research online and get his peers’ help to speed up the process. Needless to say, Randolph wasn’t happy. Castle notices the time of their falling out coincides with when Randolph’s office was broken into.

Outside at the murder board, Ryan tells Beckett and Castle that Randolph owns a gun which is a large enough caliber to qualify as their murder weapon, but he also has a concealed carry permit, which he got after several of his actress’ boyfriends’ beat him up in public. Esposito reports that Hamilton charged breakfast the morning he died at a diner where witnesses remember seeing him have an argument with Randolph ten minutes before he was shot.

As Castle and Beckett walk through Randolph’s offices, amongst lots of attractive scantily clad teenage girls, Castle asks Beckett if she would get the implants Hamilton was working on, but she says no that she wouldn’t want to change herself nor buy herself more time to live since she’d probably waste the extra time. As they wait for Randolph, Castle expresses his disdain for the man, to Beckett’s surprise. He reminds her that he’s changed his tune since his daughter is on the verge of becoming a college student like those featured in Randolph’s videos. Randolph greets them and asks if Beckett is interested in auditioning for one of his videos. She emphatically says no and wants to know why he killed Hamilton.

In an interrogation room, Randolph admits to getting into an argument with Hamilton, but says he didn’t kill him since afterward he went home to call his lawyer to stop him from uploading the research. Beckett says his arrival home at 7:10 gives him enough time to have killed Hamilton, but Randolph maintains his innocence. He explains that a week after the National Institutes of Health turned Hamilton down for human testing, he found $100,000 missing from the bank account he started for him, leading him to suspect he went ahead with without approval and had a breakthrough. Randolph guesses one of his test subjects killed him, but Beckett describes how he had means, motive, and opportunity to commit the murder. She adds that his gun which could be the murder weapon was fired that morning. Randolph says he was shooting at pigeons which were keeping him from sleeping then asks for his lawyer.

Outside, Gates takes out part of her frustration about the case on Castle and Beckett presses her to get the body, despite the threat of a law suit from Dr. Weiss and his company. Gates agrees since they have a better chance at beating a court challenge since they have a suspect. She, Castle, and Beckett meet in her office with Dr. Weiss and his attorney. After Gates says the D.A. is on their side and that if they don’t surrender the body, they’ll be hearing from the Department’s lawyers, Dr. Weiss suggests a compromise: they hand over the body but not the head since the brain is the most important organ when it comes to cryo-preservation. Gates agrees.

Later in the morgue, Lanie tells Beckett and Castle that the bullets she recovered from Hamilton don’t match Randolph’s gun to Beckett’s and Castle’s disbelief. As they wonder who else could have killed Hamilton, Beckett gets on her phone to call Hamilton’s wife and Castle gets an urgent text from Alexis. He asks if Beckett can continue without him and she tells him to go.

At the precinct, Ryan joins Esposito, saying he was at Hamilton’s office looking into the break in, then he notices a dead pigeon on Esposito’s desk. Esposito says it proves Randolph’s alibi and he is writing him up for animal cruelty. Ryan continues saying that the fingerprints on Hamilton’s smashed computer match those of one of his students named Eddie Peck, whose father is a lead researcher at a large pharmaceutical company, meaning he could have been trying to steal the Ambrosia Project research.

In interrogation, they confront Peck with their evidence. He frantically explains that he was failing Hamilton’s class and he broke into his office to try to change his grade since his father would never forgive him if he did. He broke the computer when he couldn’t figure out Hamilton’s password, so he followed him the next day in an effort to ask him, but he ducked into a seedy hotel in a bad part of town and when he came out, he agreed to change his grade in exchange for his never telling anyone he saw him at the hotel.

Ryan and Esposito head to the hotel and the manager claims to have no idea what he was doing in his room, but that it was rented for the month in cash and Hamilton insisted nobody enter even to clean. Ryan and Esposito find plastic sealing off a part of the room in which lie surgical instruments, equipment, and anesthesia on a table, leading them to conclude he had set up his own operating room like Randolph guessed.

The next morning at his loft, Castle thinks out loud about the case to Martha, who says she’d give such research a try if it meant she could live longer and look younger. Castle asks if she’s seen Alexis at all that morning and Martha says no. He tells her how she was so miserable, he had to carry her up to bed from the couch the night before, which he hasn’t done since she was little. Finally, Alexis descends the stairs and throws a box of old trophies and awards from her youth on the kitchen counter saying she wants to get rid of them since they didn’t help her get into Stanford. Castle tries to comfort her, but Alexis tearfully insists she is a failure. Castle says getting rejected from one school doesn’t make her a failure and she will have to accept it and move on, but Alexis says she doesn’t know how.

At the precinct, Castle worries to Beckett that he sheltered Alexis too much as a child, but she disagrees, saying everyone has had their hearts broken and she just needs time. At the murder board, Beckett says Lanie is testing the surgical instruments and that CSU found a note in the hotel room indicating that someone was upset that the testing wasn’t working out. Ryan says the only fingerprints found in the room were Hamilton’s and nobody knew about his research, even his wife and his colleagues. Beckett tells him to canvas the area in case he might have been using homeless people as subjects. Castle still can’t figure out why a mild-mannered college professor all of a sudden got into such a rush to publish his research that he’d go to a seedy motel and risk his reputation by using human testing. Beckett’s cell phone beeps and she says Lanie has their test results.

In the morgue, Lanie says the DNA from the surgical instruments belongs to Lester Hamilton, to the other's surprise. Castle and Beckett then build the theory that someone else was conducting testing on Hamilton since he decided to take the biggest risk and serve as his own subject and maybe he had a breakthrough. All the while, Lanie tries to get a word in edgewise but fails, so she uses a drill to get Beckett’s and Castle’s attention. She finally tells them that she found no probe marks on any part of Hamilton’s body, despite the Ambrosia Project called for the implant to be placed in one’s arm. In addition, she found some of Hamilton’s brain matter on the surgical instruments, meaning he was probing his brain and they need his head.

Beckett, Castle, and Lanie go back to Passageways lab with a warrant for Hamilton’s head, despite Dr. Weiss’ pleas against it. Lanie promises to be as minimally intrusive as possible. However, when they go to retrieve the head, they find it missing.

Back at the precinct, Cynthia Hamilton is furious at Ryan that her husband’s head is missing and insists she has no idea what he was doing at the hotel. He reassures her that Beckett and the team are doing everything they can.

In an interrogation room, Beckett questions Dr. Weiss who insists somebody broke in to the storage facility. Beckett disputes this, saying it makes more sense that he killed Hamilton, he is covering for who did, or both. She further wonders how and why he has been obstructing her investigation from the beginning. Esposito knocks on the door and she steps outside.

He tells her there was a break-in at the warehouse and they go to the conference room to watch the surveillance video where they see Dr. Boyd steal Hamilton’s head.

They go to his apartment and as Beckett announces herself, she hears glass breaking from inside. She kicks in the door and they see a window with access to the fire escape is broken. They give chase down the fire escape and Beckett eventually catches Boyd and arrests him, leaving Castle to recover the head.

At the precinct, a tech checks on the head and sees that it is still preserved. In interrogation, Boyd insists he didn’t kill Hamilton. When confronted with Beckett’s evidence, he tells her that Hamilton was dying of a brain tumor and he came to him since he was researching a new treatment for tumors. Despite the fact that he was years away from human testing, Hamilton insisted they go forward with trying it out on him. They tested in secret to keep Boyd from losing his funding and his reputation and money from Randolph’s account for the supplies. However, the treatment failed.

Outside, Castle figures out that Hamilton wanted to go public so quickly in hopes that someone would continue his research. Beckett says she has Esposito checking Boyd’s alibi just in case. They then find Alexis waiting to speak to her Dad. They step into the break room and Alexis asks Castle how he can stand to keep his first rejection letter on his desk in his office. He tells her it drives him and reminds him of how much he’s overcome. He then says that rejection isn’t failure, but rather giving up is and how you handle the rejection defines who you are. Alexis then wonders what her life is about now since previously it was about ensuring she could get into any college she wanted. Castle encourages her that in time she’ll figure it out.

Back at the murder board, Beckett asks Castle about Alexis and he says she isn’t great, but will eventually be ok. Beckett then tells him that Boyd has an alibi for the murder leaving them with no suspects. He also provided an MRI which confirmed his story to Lanie. It occurs to Castle that their killer actually helped Hamilton since if he had lived the tumor would have destroyed his brain, the one part of the body that needs to be preserved in cryonics. They then figure out who had such motivation.

In interrogation, Beckett and Castle interview Cynthia Hamilton, who professes to be upset at the news about her husband's tumor. Castle tells her that Tech discovered that Hamilton had downloaded Passageways’ contract termination form on his computer, having decided that working on his research until his brain gave out was more important than cryonically preserving himself. Cynthia claims not to have known about her husband’s condition, but Beckett says if she did it would give her the perfect motive for murder. She again denies complicity, but Beckett says they found Hamilton’s briefcase in her building’s basement and it had traces of Hamilton’s blood on it. Finally, Cynthia admits having given him the briefcase when they got engaged. She confesses that she knew about the tumor since her husband passed out a few days ago and claims that he wasn’t in his right mind when he wanted to terminate his contract with Passageways so she killed him to preserve their future together.

Outside, Beckett disassembles the murder board as Castle asks her if she would consider the murder a crime of passion. She calls it a crime of love instead, but Castle supposes it would depend upon whether or not Cynthia is in love or insane. Beckett observes that one could easily lead to the other. Dr. Weiss is escorted from lock-up and Beckett gives him release forms to sign which will drop the charges against him and his staff. His beeper goes off and he tells both that one of his clients has died and the GPS tells him the person is in the building. They immediately suspect who it is and rush to the holding cells, where they find a uniformed officer kneeling over Cynthia Hamilton’s body. Castle notices her ring which obviously contained poison while Beckett sees the photo of her and her husband which she died clutching to her chest. Dr. Weiss asks if his people can claim Cynthia’s body and Beckett agrees.

At Passageways’ warehouse, Cynthia’s body is placed in a cryonics preservation chamber to be preserved as Castle and Beckett look on. Castle wonders if at some point in the future she will be with her husband again and to his surprise, Beckett agrees, saying the greatest love stories are about beating the odds. Both grin and say they hope they make it.


  • Victim: Dr. Lester Hamilton
  • Cause of Death: Shot twice in the chest

  • Perp: Cynthia Hamilton
  • Motive: Anger: She loved her husband so much they had agreed to be cryonically preserved so they could be together in the future, but Lester changed his mind.

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