Season 4, Episode 21 (79)
Original Air Date - April 16, 2012
Castle is creatively stymied, not to mention bored, with Beckett preparing for a trial, so he hitches a ride with Detective Ethan Slaughter, a no-holds-barred cop famous for getting his partners killed, to investigate the death of a gang member. But when Slaughter's tactics cross the line, Castle goes to Beckett for advice, only she may not able or willing to help him. Meanwhile, Alexis' decision about what college to attend becomes more complicated when she is accepted to Stanford University, her dream school that broke her heart when it denied her early admission.
- 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
- Adam Baldwin - Detective Ethan Slaughter
- Michael Dorn - Dr. Carter Burke
- Michael McGrady - Brian Reilly
Martha: Playing with dolls, are we?
Castle: These are action figures.
Slaughter: Thirty-twos, I’m guessing? (looks at the female ME’s chest)
Medical Examiner: You’re talking about the bullets, right?
Slaughter: I need a writer hanging around like I need a case of the crabs.
Castle: That was awesome! Beckett never drives on the sidewalk!
Slaughter: You’re gonna hang with me, we’re gonna lay out some ground rules. Rule number one, do not use the word awesome. You’re a grown man. Rule number two, stay outta my way.
Castle: Is that it?
Slaughter: It’s kinda all encompassing.
Slaughter: Speaking of partners, I seen pictures of yours. She’s smokin’ hot. You’re tappin’ that, right?
Castle: What? No.
Slaughter: No? What’s wrong with you?
Castle: There’s nothing wrong with me. We’re just friends.
Slaughter: Man needs a friend, he gets a dog. Woman like that, you storm the beaches or die trying.
Slaughter: You packin’?
Castle: Packing? No, I’m not a cop. My vest says “writer” on it.
Slaughter: Rule number three, you ride with me, you ride strapped. C’mon. (hands Castle a hand gun)
Castle: Hey, hey! What about regulations?
Slaughter: You signed a waiver didn’t you? Ok, you take the front. I’ll take the back.
Castle: Shouldn’t we call for backup?
Slaughter: You got a skirt that says “writer” on it too?
Castle: (announces to a crowded bar) NPYD! Associate civilian investigator!
Castle: Besides, guys like Slaughter they just float from precinct to precinct. You know, they’re like nomads wandering the streets of New York City kickin’ ass and takin’ names, which isn’t the most original turn of phrase, but the character is so great. It’s really gonna help me shake up this next Nikki Heat book.
Beckett: Yeah, sure. If you live long enough to actually write about it.
Dr. Burke: What do you think he’s telling you with his behavior?
Beckett: That maybe he’s not there anymore? That maybe he’s not ready? What if I waited too long?
Dr. Burke: You weren’t waiting, Kate. You were healing.
Beckett: Yeah, but then in the meantime he’s moved on.
Dr. Burke: Or he’s protecting himself by not taking more emotional risks.
Beckett: So then what do I do?
Dr. Burke: What do you want to do?
Slaughter: You know who I’m mackin’ on is this hot new redhead just started working there. That girl’s barely street legal.
Castle: A redhead?
Castle: About 5’ 5”, blue eyes, intern?
Slaughter: Yeah. You know her?
Castle: That’s my daughter!
Slaughter: Seriously? That girl got an ass- (Castle punches him)
Ryan: I feel like he’s cheating on us.
Beckett: He’s not cheating on us, Ryan. He’s just…branching out.
Castle: (on cell phone): Yeah, it’s Castle. I have a partial Texas plate I need you to run. First letters “R” and “X”.
Ryan: Yeah, Castle. That’s gonna be really tough for me. I’m pretty busy.
Castle: Really? You too, huh?
Esposito: (to Ryan) Get the Ferrari.
Ryan: You know, Castle, Jenny’s been bugging me to set you up with her cousin Ramona. She’s a dental hygienist.
Castle: Mm-hmm. Sounds good.
Ryan: And I want the Ferrari for the weekend.
Castle: Alright. And hey, buddy, I am never gonna forget this.
Castle: They rejected you and you feel betrayed.
Alexis: How am I supposed to get over that?
Esposito: You need to do something.
Beckett: Espo, if the guy is hell bent on leaving the nest then there is nothing that I can do about it.
Esposito: You don’t really feel that way, do you?
Slaughter: Hey, you remember that favor you promised me? There’s this civilian review board thing coming up. Excessive force complaints, total BS, right? Anyway, you being a friend of the Mayor and all I figure a statement from you’d go a long way to making those charges go away, right?
Castle: You’re crazy.
Slaughter: Is that a no?
Castle: I’m not asking you to do it for me. I’m asking you to do it so the real killer doesn’t get away with murder.
Beckett: What makes you think I’m actually gonna fall for that blatant manipulation?
Castle: Because it’s true. (Beckett hands over a file) What’s this?
Beckett: A traffic cam shot of Vales’ car ten blocks from the cemetery heading away from the overpass where Glitch was killed.
Castle: 11:57. Glitch was killed after midnight. This shows that Vales couldn’t have killed him. You did this for me? All this time you had my back.
Castle: What can he do to you?
Beckett: Well, best case scenario, he suspends me.
Castle: And worst case scenario? (Beckett gives Castle a concerned look) Crap.
Beckett: Counselor, can I speak with your client for a second?
Vales: She probably wants my autograph.
Beckett: You feel cocky. I get that. You just dodged a murder rap. Probably gonna go out tonight and celebrate with your boys and you should paint the town. But then, in the morning, I want you to get the hell out of my city.
Vales: But I like it here.
Beckett: You might like it right now. But starting tomorrow, you’re gonna see just how hard a city like New York can be when the full force of the NYPD comes crashing down on you with 30,000 cops making it their daily duty to make your life a living hell. Counselor, you can take him away now.
Slaughter: That is sexy.
Slaughter: Detective, you ever wanna go out on a date that ends in hot sex after a drunken fist fight, you know where to find me.
Beckett: Yeah, in Never Gonna Happen Land.
Castle: Hey, thanks very much for your help.
Beckett: No problem, Castle. It’s what partners are supposed to do.
Alexis: Stanford has always been my dream school, but what if their initial rejection was the universe sending me a sign that I’m better of somewhere else.
Castle: Do you think you’d be better off somewhere else?
Alexis: I don’t know. Do you?
Castle: I don’t know either. I guess the question is, do you want it badly enough to get over being hurt?
Full Episode Recap
A homeless man pushes a shopping cart through a empty field under an overpass and finds a young man slumped against a wall. He pushes the man twice then, rifles through the bag that sits next to him. Inside, he finds three severed human heads.
The next morning in his loft office, Richard Castle works through a scene for his next Nikki Heat book, Frozen Heat, using a girl’s doll as Nikki and a dinosaur as her enemy. His mother, Martha Rodgers, enters and teases him, so he explains what he is doing and that he is behind in his latest book since Detective Kate Beckett is preparing for a major trial, leaving him uninspired. Martha hands over the mail and Castle, finding another college acceptance letter for his daughter, Alexis, in the stack, hides the letter in his desk. When Martha questions him, he says he does not want Alexis to be overly disappointed by rejection, so he plans to give her all the letters at one time. Martha faults the idea severely then asks what he needs to get his book back on track. He says he needs something new and different then spies a news report about the dead young man playing on the television in his office. As Castle watches a reporter question the lead detective, the burly, ill-tempered Ethan Slaughter, who then threatens the news crew, Martha removes the letters from his desk. Castle is captivated and pronounces it just what he needs.
At the precinct, Beckett arrives at her desk and finds Castle there with their standard coffees. Having not seen each other in a few days, they greet each other warmly, but Castle bursts Beckett’s bubble when he asks about Slaughter. Seeing her disappointment, he asks if it is a problem that he shadows him, but she denies this. He asks where to find him and she suggests the morgue.
In the morgue, Slaughter walks in while the Medical Examiner, Laura, is finishing the autopsy. He flirts with her, but she rebuffs his advances, and pronounces the cause of death as blood loss as a result of three bullets to the chest. Slaughter recognizes the young man as a gang member nicknamed Glitch for his propensity to screw orders up. Laura hands over the bullets and as Slaughter examiners her chest, he guesses they are from a 32 caliber weapon. Castle interrupts asking about the heads and Laura introduces him to Slaughter. He notes that the heads look to be decomposing and that dirt indicates that he dug the bodies up then severed the heads. Slaughter says he already has uniforms canvassing cemeteries and refuses to let Castle shadow him after he asks, ignoring Laura’s silent signals to leave Slaughter alone, and introduces himself as Beckett’s partner. Castle asks what would change his mind and Slaughter asks for his brown leather jacket. They switch jackets, but Slaughter still refuses. Castle tells him he is friends with the Mayor and would be willing to do him any favor he asks, and Slaughter finally agrees.
They pull up to the residence of Glitch’s dad and Castle is thrilled by Slaughter’s reckless driving, but he chastises him for acting like a kid and warns him to stay out of his way. Castle asks him how he typically breaks the news to victims’ family members, but he doesn’t answer, instead bluntly barking at Glitch’s father, Brian, that Glitch is dead and asking why he might have removed the heads of three other men. His father refuses to answer then leaves, saying he has to tell Glitch's mother. As they head back to his car, Slaughter says since Brian is an enforcer in the Westies, an Irish gang, he suspects he will take out Glitch’s killer himself, so they'll follow him.
In the car, Slaughter’s cell phone rings and he is told what cemetery the heads were taken from and the names of the owners. Castle calls Detective Javier Esposito to ask him to run the names, only to have him refuse unless Castle gives him courtside Knicks tickets. When Castle agrees, Esposito tells him that Slaughter has a reputation for getting his partners killed to the point where his nickname is The Widowmaker.
They track Brian to outside a small bar where they watch as Brian digs for information. Castle asks about Slaughter’s previous deceased partners and he dismisses them as idiots then and asks if he is sleeping with Beckett. Castle indignantly says no since they are friends, but Slaughter says if he was in Castle’s position, he’d go after her. They see Brian enter the bar and exit the car.
Slaughter asks if Castle has a gun on him, and he says no, since he is just a writer. Slaughter hands over a backup piece and cocks his own gun then tells Castle to take the back and he’ll take the front. When Castle asks about backup, Slaughter calls him a sissy then heads around the back. Castle enters but muffs his announcement once inside where patrons scatter and Brian holds a gun on a young man. Castle tells Brian to drop the gun, but he levels his own gun back at Castle. Slaughter enters and disarms Brian, which allows the young man to break for the exit. Slaughter tells Castle to take him out and they grapple with each other as Slaughter casually holds Brian and munches on peanuts. Eventually Castle, having sustained a bloody nose, knocks the young man out with a beer bottle then passes out himself.
At the precinct, Detective Kevin Ryan asks Beckett why Castle is shadowing Slaughter, but Beckett makes it clear she doesn’t care. They then are surprised to see Slaughter and a bloodied Castle exit the elevator with Brian and the bloodied young man. Slaughter sends Brian to a holding cell then escorts the young man, who Brian called Shea, to an interrogation room, glancing at Beckett’s rear end as he passes her desk. Beckett asks what happened and when Castle recounts the bar fight, Beckett is incredulous. He pleads that he can take care of himself if only she’d give him the chance and she counters that she doesn’t want him to get killed. She then asks why Slaughter is using their interrogation room and becomes more incredulous that Castle gave him his permission. He calls Slaughter a wanderer whose style of “kicking ass and taking names” will shake up the next Nikki Heat book, only to have Beckett say he’ll be lucky to live long enough to write about it.
In the interrogation room, Slaughter viciously questions Shea, who says he was at his sister’s on Long Island when Glitch was killed. When Castle asks why Brian thought he killed Glitch, he initially refuses to answer, seeing through Castle’s feeble threat, but responds to Slaughter’s. He explains that Brian thought he and Glitch had had a falling out, except the leader of the Westies, Finn Rourke, had simply told them to stay away from Glitch since he was such a screw up. He goes on to say that Rourke would have had Glitch killed, except he knew that Brian would go after him if he did. He doesn’t know why Glitch had the bag of severed heads, but recalls that the last time he saw him, he had promised to do something to get back in favor with the Westies.
In the break room, a uniformed officer brings Castle and Slaughter the names Esposito ran then reminds Castle about the tickets. He sees Esposito imitate shooting a basket across the bullpen, but both brush it off when they see Slaughter get suspicious. Castle notices that all three heads belonged to former members of the Trenchtown Posse, a Jamaican gang who Slaughter says has been in a turf war with the Westies. Castle spins the theory that Glitch took the heads to use as a threat on the Jamaican gang, and while Slaughter thinks it is a dumb idea, he suspects it worked for Glitch, but he ran his mouth about it too much and got himself killed by the Jamaicans in retaliation. Slaughter heads for the elevator, saying he has a source in with the Jamaicans who can give them intelligence. As Castle expresses his excitement, Beckett watches them leave.
Later, in the office of her psychologist, Dr. Burke, Beckett explains how just as she thought she and Castle had gotten closer, he begins acting like a jackass, running off to shadow Slaughter and dating bimbos, claiming everything is fine. At Dr. Burke’s prodding, she figures out that he has gotten tired of waiting for her to reciprocate his feelings and has moved on to protect himself from being hurt. She laments that she waited too long for him, but Dr. Burke reminds her that she needed the time to heal herself. She asks what she should do and he responds that it depends on what she wants to do.
Out on the street, Slaughter again announces his desire to sleep with Beckett, but says his true interest lies with a young redhead who just started at the morgue. Castle figures out he means Alexis and when Slaughter compliments her rear end, punches him square in the face. He sloughs it off, claiming he was just having fun with him and Castle makes him promise that Alexis is off limits. Slaughter then notices his contact enter a store front and he follows, ordering Castle to keep watch outside. A car of tough-looking Jamaicans pulls up, and Castle acts his toughest, so the car peels away. He hears a gunshot from inside then Slaughter exits, saying he got a name, and heads briskly for his car, telling Castle to forget they were ever there.
Back at the precinct, Castle watches Slaughter warily from the break room. Esposito startles him, but he recovers enough to call Slaughter insane. Esposito agrees and asks what he did, but Slaughter motions for Castle to join him in the hall and he reluctantly complies.
In the hallway, Slaughter questions Castle on his conversation and he convinces him it was nothing. To escape, Castle claims the need to go to the bathroom, but as he turns, he sees the contact he thought Slaughter killed exit the elevator wearing a badge around his neck. He and Slaughter greet each other then burst out laughing when they say it was all an act to test Castle’s loyalty and that he passed. Castle refuses to laugh, but eventually gets the joke and joins in. The man introduces himself as Mark Gibson, an undercover cop on the gang task force, and says he suspects Maxie, a low-level gang member in the Jamaican gang, killed Glitch.
From the conference room, Ryan indignantly watches the guys and says he feels like Castle is cheating on them. Beckett tells him it’s not worth getting upset over.
Slaughter tracks down Maxie and tosses him in the back of a recycling truck to get him to talk. As Castle watches in horror, Slaughter lowers the compactor until Maxie admits that he’d heard Glitch running his mouth about digging up their dead gang members and went to the cemetery to find him, but that a group of Mexicans got there first. After Glitch told them about the heads, they began shooting and he took off. Slaughter suspects he describes how the Mexicans were standing with a black Escalade SUV with Texas license plates that began with the letters “R” and “X”. Satisfied, Slaughter leaves Maxie in the garbage truck, claiming he would have merely mangled him, not killed him. That night, Castle calls Ryan from Slaughter’s car to ask him to run the license plate, but Ryan convinces Castle to loan him his Ferrari for the weekend and to go out with his wife’s cousin in exchange for the favor, and Castle agrees. Slaughter says they’ll look into the results in the morning since they have to celebrate his surviving his first day with him, unlike two of his previous partners. At first, Castle turns down the invitation, but when Slaughter gives him a severe look, he agrees.
The next morning, a hungover Castle is awakened by gleeful screaming and finds Alexis has opened her college acceptance letters to find she has been accepted virtually everywhere. She asks him why he hid the letters and he apologizes, saying he just wanted to protect her. In the midst of saying she can take care of herself, she pauses, and announces she has been accepted to Stanford, her first choice school which also broke her heart when it rejected her application for early admission. She knows she should be happy, but also wonders how she can get over such a rejection.
In Slaughter’s car, Slaughter says Maxie’s story panned out and that he traced the Escalade to a Cesar Vales, who runs a Mexican gang that is trying to muscle in on the Westies’ and Jamaican’s territory and business. Castle suggests that he could be trying to start a war between the two so he can take over their territory by letting a Westie turn up dead with a bag of Jamaican heads and Slaughter agrees. Castle then remembers how Maxie made Valdes sound dangerous, but Slaughter doubts he’ll be a problem, calling him a low-level punk.
Meanwhile, at the precinct, Ryan briefs Esposito on how Vales was a highly dangerous mafia figure back in Mexico and adds that Slaughter traced his plates last night, meaning he could be going after him alone with Castle along for the ride. Esposito says they have to warn Castle, but Ryan tells him his cell phone is going to voice mail.
Slaughter and Castle arrive at the Mexicans’ hangout, an auto salvage yard, and are immediately confronted by Vales who claims to know nothing about Glitch’s shooting. He quickly makes Castle as the weaker of the two and as Slaughter tells him of their suspicions, Castle sees the gang members begin drawing their weapons. They surround Slaughter and Castle, but Ryan and Esposito come to the rescue and get them out. Slaughter vows to return and blows off Esposito’s and Ryan’s criticism of his plan. He explains to Castle that he wanted to smoke out the weakest of the gang and succeeded, pointing to a young man watching them nervously, who he plans to get to roll on Vales.
Back at the precinct, Castle denies that things got out of control, and Ryan reminds him that next time they might not be available to save him. Castle gets a text message from Slaughter, and like a man headed to his own execution, heads for the elevator. Esposito watches him and tells Beckett she has to do something, but she says there’s nothing she can do if it’s what he really wants. When he tells her he doubts that she really feels that way, she gets to thinking.
In Slaughter’s car, he tells him not to worry about his colleagues’ concerns and Castle hears pounding coming from his trunk. Slaughter tells him he caught their weak link, Gilberto Mendoza, and heads for a vacant lot where Slaughter spins his car in circles, knocking Gilberto around to get him to talk. As he drives, he calls in the favor Castle promised him: he is up before a citizens’ review board for complaints of excessive force and wants him to support him, since his friendship with the Mayor will help get the charges dropped. Castle calls him crazy and Slaughter guns the gas, causing Castle frantically to agree to help him if he’ll stop the car. Slaughter complies and they get Gilberto out of the car where Slaughter threatens to let his brother, Hector, suffer in juvenile prison in Texas if he doesn’t turn on Vales. He agrees and reluctantly says Vales killed Glitch, but Castle is disgusted by his tactics.
Castle watches from the observation room, as Gilberto tells Slaughter in interrogation just what he wants to hear: how Vales used Glitch to start a war between the Westies and Jamaicans. Gilberto explains that Vales made Glitch fig up the bodies at the cemetery and planned to make the murder look like the work of the Jamaicans, but Glitch took off running. Gilberto is reluctant to talk about the murder, but Slaughter promises him that his brother will get time served and both of them will be put into the witness protection program if he talks. He explains that they chased Glitch, cornered him and that Vales shot him twice. Slaughter asks again how many times Glitch was shot and wiggles three of his fingers to get Gilberto to amend his statement.
Castle confronts Slaughter once he steps outside and Slaughter says he isn’t going to pass up the opportunity to put away a major gang leader like Vales and asks if Castle is behind him. He refuses and Slaughter leaves, disappointed.
Castle heads for Ryan and Esposito, but they refuse him, saying they’ve caught a murder. He turns to Beckett who sees through his opening small talk and reminds him of how cool he once thought he was. Castle admits she has a right to be upset and tells her what Slaughter did to Gilberto. She refuses to help, saying since it isn’t her case that she can’t interfere due to strict department rules. Castle appeals to her sense of justice and she hands over a file that includes a traffic camera photo of Vales’ Escalade nowhere near the cemetery around the time of Glitch’s murder, meaning he can’t be the killer. She tells him she had Ryan pull the photo while he was looking up Vales’ license plate. Castle is touched that despite his leaving them, Beckett still backed him up, but she tells him the photo alone isn’t enough to change Slaughter’s mind since you can’t see who is driving the SUV. Castle puts in that one thing that didn’t make sense to him was why Glitch would have jumped a six foot fence that separated the cemetery from the overpass in making his escape when he could have ran to a nearby subway station.
He and Beckett head to the crime scene where Beckett doesn’t agree with Castle’s theory about Vales’ starting a gang war. She wonders if such was his goal then why leave Glitch’s body under the overpass instead of dropping it in Westie territory. Slaughter pulls up and angrily confronts Beckett about interfering in his investigation. Beckett tells him she knows about his coercion of Gilberto and Castle about the traffic camera shot of the SUV, but Slaughter remains unconvinced, saying he refuses to let Vales walk and threatening to report Beckett. She refuses to back down and he leaves. Castle asks what can happen to Beckett and she says she can either be suspended or thrown off the force entirely. They continue to work the scene and Castle concludes that Glitch wasn’t just hiding from the Mexicans, but waiting for someone to help him and since he wasn’t found with a cell phone on him, either the killer took it or he used a nearby pay phone.
Back at the precinct, Beckett and Slaughter, having agreed to back down from charging Vales, interrogate Glitch’s father, Brian, telling him they know Glitch called his cell phone the night he was killed and showing him subway surveillance photos in which he can be seen before and after the murder. He admits to killing his son since he’d betrayed the Westies.
In the hallway, Beckett, Slaughter, and Castle watch as Vales heads for the precinct elevator. Beckett confronts him and, while Slaughter and Castle watch, tells him to leave New York since she will have officers regularly harass his gang members to the point where they can’t do any business. He leaves and Slaughter calls Beckett sexy again then punches Castle in the stomach in revenge for not backing him up. He reminds him of his hearing and Castle agrees to attend. As Beckett rejoins them, he propositions her then leaves, not hearing her definite refusal of his advance. Castle croaks out a thank you and Beckett reminds him that she merely did what partners are supposed to do for each other.
That night, Castle returns to his loft where Alexis wonders if Stanford’s initial rejection was a sign that she should go to college somewhere else. Castle has no answer, but says she has to decide if she wants to attend badly enough to forgive being hurt previously. He becomes momentarily lost in thought about his situation with Beckett then suggests they consider it further over ice cream. Alexis makes a break for the kitchen, but Castle knocks her back onto the couch as she claims he cheated.
- Victim: Michael Reilly, a.k.a. "Glitch", a gang member
- Cause of Death: loss of blood due to three shots to the chest
- Perp: Brian Reilly, Glitch's father
- Motive: Embarrassment, revenge: Brian was ashamed at Glitch's incompetence as a gang member and that he had betrayed his own gang and family by agreeing to help a rival gang