Season 4, Episode 4 (62)
Original Air Date - October 10, 2011
The investigation into the shooting death of a young college student turns personal when ballistics reports that the murder weapon used was the service revolver that the serial killer 3XK stole from Detective Kevin Ryan. As his colleagues rally around him for support and to solve the case, Castle, who is haunted by the fact that he let 3XK slip through his fingers, questions his value to the team.
- 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
- Francois Chau - Clifford Lee
- Tim Jo - Ben Lee
- Lanny Joon - Philip Lee
- Billy Lush - Finn McQueen
- Ross McCall - Seth Carver
Castle: Execution-style murder? Cement trucks? Can anyone else say mob hit? I’m looking at concrete evidence, right here.
Castle: You ok?
Ryan: I will be when Jerry Tyson’s in cuffs.
Castle: He told me he likes to change up his MO.
Ryan: Yeah, I must have missed that one when I was out cold on the floor.
Castle: You know, Ryan, none of this is your fault. The fact that he used your gun-
Ryan: That weapon was issued to me by the City of New York. I let it out of my hand and now a girl is dead, so please do not tell me that it’s not my fault.
Castle: It’s like I’ve been holding my breath for a year waiting for this day to come. A whole year of wondering about him, hating him, dreaming about him, trying to think like him and still having no clue how to catch him.
Martha: It’s not your job to catch a serial killer.
Castle: Because I’m not a cop. I like to pretend I’m Beckett’s partner, like I’m one of them, but days like today I realize that I’ve just been playacting.
Martha: Your playacting once helped save New York City as I recall. Be there for your friends. Stand beside them, work together. That’s plenty useful.
Castle: So how’s Ryan holding up?
Esposito: Three days after my last tour in Iraq, I’m at a diner with friends. A car backfires. My friends look around, I’m under the table. Ryan’s just waiting for the next hit.
Ryan: When I started in narcotics, I was so green I didn’t know how things got done. One day there’s this major bust: street gang cooking meth. They’re stacking up guys in the bullpen, taking their statements one by one, place is a zoo. I’m answering phones for the squad. Girl on the line, name of Alicia, asking for my Lieutenant, so I call out across the bullpen, “Hey Lou, Alicia’s on the phone for you.” It was her tip. Got these guys nailed and all them just heard me call out her name. Searched all day and all night, looking for her before the gang could get word back to the street that she was a narc.
Beckett: Did you find her?
Ryan: I did. Got her into witness protection, but...that was the stupidest thing I’d ever done as a cop ‘til the day Jerry Tyson got the drop on me and stole my weapon.
Beckett: Alibis can be bought. Video doesn’t lie.
Beckett: Castle, we just got some bad news, so no hypotheticals. Just give us a name.
Castle: Well, I have to start at the beginning.
Castle: Chin Hai Lee Chang.
Beckett: OK, start from the beginning.
Ryan: When you killed that girl, you used my weapon to do it and now I carry that weight. Trust me when I say to you that I will not rest until I make you carry it too.
Ryan: So, what we just write the name of Jane’s killer in a file and we let him walk free? That makes us clerks not cops!
Esposito: Hey wherever you’re going, I’m going with you.
Ryan: It’s my fight.
Esposito: Yeah, and you don’t want me getting involved. It’s my case too. And you’re my partner.
Beckett: What the hell were you two thinking going to see Ben Lee when Gates specifically said stay away.
Esposito: Who’s gonna tell her, Beckett? Not me. Ryan, are you planning on telling the Captain what we did?
Ryan: Not me. Castle?
Castle: Who me? No way.
Beckett: You guys took a helluva chance.
Ryan: Beckett, you’re starting to sound like our boss.
Castle: Jane Herzfeld deserves justice. Life in prison for Phillip Lee. No deals. We’ll get 3XK. And we’ll do it right.
Beckett: Damn, Castle. Look at you thinking like a real cop.
Beckett: Hey. You could look a little happier. Tonight was a win, right?
Ryan: I keep thinking about Seth Carver, sending Jane into the Lees all alone, no backup. Do I really get to call myself a better cop?
Castle: You are a better cop, Kevin. You’re a better man because you didn’t send him in there alone.
Castle: Let’s, uh, keep this party a little quiet. The Captain hears, I’m sure she’ll blame me.
Beckett: Who’s gonna tell her? Not me. You?
Beckett: What about you, Ryan? (shakes head) Well, then I think we’re good.
Esposito: To my partner, Kevin Ryan, a credit to the job.
Castle: To Ryan.
Beckett: To Ryan.
Ryan: I’d like to make a toast. To bravery and commitment. To love and sacrifice. To Jane.
- Regarding Detective Ryan's being placed center stage in this episode, Seamus Dever said: "I had a conversation about the idea of a cop never feeling like he was ever good enough, always feeling like he's a step behind. And that's something about Kevin Ryan, he's always paying attention, but always feels he's not as fast or facile as the other cops. This season I really wanted to change that. This season it was his time to grow up, and I think this episode was a wonderful time to show that this was a big step up to that responsibility and owning up to it."
- As a 3XK themed episode, the opening titles feature special music and a special title card with heavy, looming clouds
Full Episode Recap
As the sun rises over New York City, construction workers go to work pouring wet cement, but are surprised to find a body in the mixture.
Detective Kate Beckett arrives at the crime scene and is greeted by Richard Castle with her favorite type of coffee. She thanks him heartily then hisses in pain, which she attributes to the scar from her heart surgery. Castle asks if she remembers anything from the day she was shot and she lies, saying no, but Castle looks suspicious.
They find Medical Examiner Lanie Parish at work over the corpse which is now encased in dry cement. She guesses the victim was shot to death, which Detective Kevin Ryan confirms, saying the hit looks like that of a professional: he shoots the girl, whacks her over the head to be sure she is dead, then leaves her to be buried. Castle guesses the hit is mob related, until Ryan gives Beckett the victim’s purse in which is her college ID. She is a blonde college student named Jane Herzfeld who doesn’t strike Beckett as a likely mob target.
Back at the precinct, Ryan tells his partner, Detective Javier Esposito, that ballistics should have a report on the bullets by the end of the day since he called in a favor. Esposito reports that Jane was an only child and her mother is on her way. He also says that Jane was a tutor at college and that her students told him she had cancelled all her appointments on the morning she died, which wasn’t like her, saying only that something more important had come up.
In the morgue, Lanie estimates Jane’s time of death as being between 10p.m. and midnight the night before. She also shows Beckett and Castle some recent bruises on one of her wrists, which Castle guesses she could have sustained when her killer pushed her into a car. Lanie adds that she founds cocaine residue on Jane’s shirt, but no evidence of the drug in her system. Lastly, she shows them a small crucifix which she found clutched in one of Jane’s hands. Castle guesses the killer let her say a prayer before she was killed, which would rule out a mob hit, and leads Beckett to believe Jane knew her killer.
In the precinct break room Beckett and Castle talk to Jane’s distraught mother, who doesn’t know why she would have cancelled her tutoring appointments for the day before. Castle asks if it was possible that she got into something that would have caused her death then Beckett tells her about the cocaine. Jane’s mother emphatically denies that her daughter was into drugs, but cannot rule out the possibility that she knew someone who was. She then describes an ex-boyfriend of Jane’s who she didn’t trust.
Later, Ryan hangs a picture of Finn McQueen, Jane’s ex-boyfriend, on the murder board and says he did time in prison for possession of cocaine, explaining the residue on Jane’s clothes. As Beckett and Castle look over his record, Castle doesn’t see any gun crimes, but Beckett suggests he could have graduated to something more violent. Ryan then says that McQueen’s parole officer told him he is current working in construction.
Later, Ryan and Esposito have McQueen in an interrogation room, who says he last saw Jane a couple weeks ago and that they stayed friends despite having broken up. As Castle and Beckett watch from the observation room, Beckett’s cell phone rings and she is shocked at the news she receives. She ends the call and Castle can tell something is wrong. She knocks on the window to get Ryan’s and Esposito’s attention. They enter the observation room where Beckett says ballistics traced the bullets to Ryan’s old service weapon, a Glock 17, which was stolen by the serial killer Jerry Tyson, also known as 3XK.
Outside the precinct on the street, Ryan tries to focus, but has trouble. He can’t get his mind off how Jane clutched a crucifix in her hand and wanted mercy from her killer, who wouldn’t give it. A little later, he and Beckett brief Captain Victoria Gates on the 3XK investigation, telling her how Ryan lost his gun. Gates says she doesn’t care where fault lies just that 3XK is caught.
They leave Gates’ office and Ryan brushes past a concerned Castle to study the murder board. Esposito tells Beckett that McQueen’s alibi checked out and she tells him to let him go. Castle tries to reassure Ryan, saying that Jane fits the profile of targets he liked, but Beckett disagrees, saying 3XK’s preferred method of murder is strangulation, not shooting. Castle guesses he might be changing his MO since he told him he changes his appearance, but Ryan remains frustrated. Castle tries to tell him it’s not his fault, but he insists he was irresponsible in letting his guard down and losing his weapon. Ryan calms himself then leaves to canvass Jane’s apartment for any sign of Jerry Tyson. Castle steps back to Beckett’s desk from the murder board, shaken by Ryan’s rebuke. Beckett tells him not to worry, and he agrees, but still seems upset. Esposito joins them saying according to Jane’s metrocard and bank account records, she spent most of the day she died at Grand Central Station withdrawing money from her bank totaling $800. Esposito volunteers to organize a team to ask the vendors at the station if they’d seen Jane and Castle adds for him to ask about 3XK as well, since he stalked his victims before killing them.
That night at his loft, Castle tells his mother, Martha Rodgers, how for the past year, the memory of how he let Jerry Tyson get away has haunted him and that as much as he sees himself as Beckett’s partner, today reminded him that he’s just acting like a cop. Martha consoles him saying his playing cop saved New York City from a dirty bomb. She advises him to be there for everyone and help them out the best way he knows how.
The following morning, Ryan and Beckett interview Jane’s roommate who doesn’t recognize a picture of Jerry Tyson, but suggests it could be a mysterious boyfriend Jane had who she never brought around. She says she simply figured the guy was married, but that 6 weeks ago, Jane seemed to cry all the time and she would get late night phone calls after which she would be really upset.
Later, Esposito hands Jane’s cell phone records to Beckett, Ryan, and Castle, saying the phone calls the roommate remembers originated from a pay phone at a bar in Midtown. Beckett notices a pattern: two calls a week from the same number over the last six weeks and Ryan suspects it is 3XK.The four head to the bar where Ryan and Beckett show the bartender Jane’s picture. He recognizes her, saying she would come in with a guy named Seth. Ryan shows him 3XK’s picture, which he doesn’t recognize. He suggests they wait around for Seth, since he’s a regular who comes in everyday meet with odd characters and uses the pay phone to make calls. He also says he noticed that he carries a gun.
Later, Ryan and Esposito have Carver in an interrogation room. He explains that despite what her mother and roommate said, when he first met her, he pulled her over for running a red light and found cocaine in the glove compartment of her car, which she said was given to her by Ben Lee, son of notorious mobster Clifford Lee. He agreed not to charge her with possession if she agreed to be his informant, since she was tutoring Ben twice a week at his house. He guesses she got herself killed by tipping the family off that she was working with the cops. Ryan becomes infuriated at Carver’s blasé attitude, accusing him of stalking Jane, and planting the cocaine in her car so he could force her to become an informant and lastly for not giving her any backup, but Carver throws it back in his face saying he should have kept better control of his gun. Ryan loses it and pins Carver against a wall. Beckett bursts in, followed by Castle, and separates the men. She reminds them that they’re all on the same side and thanks Carver, who leaves. She then tells Ryan to cool off before Gates begins asking questions.
In the break room, Beckett consoles Ryan by saying Carver is jerk. Ryan tells her about how when he started in narcotics he blew the cover on one of their informants, who he was eventually able to get into witness protection. It was the dumbest thing he’d ever done as a cop until 3XK took his gun and badget and while Carver may be a jerk, he thinks he’s right.
As they head back to their desks, Beckett guesses that if Carver is right, Ben would have a strong motive to have Jane killed. She asks if Ryan feels like going to Chinatown and he readily agrees. Esposito joins them saying a clerk at Grand Central Station remembers Jane as having rented a post office box on the day she died and invites Ryan to join him in checking it out. He declines, but Beckett invites Castle to join them. Castle says it occurred to him that if the killer is someone in Lee’s organization, then they got his old gun from 3XK, meaning to Ryan that one of Lee’s mobsters could lead them to the serial killer. Beckett reminds them all that there is no connect ion in Jerry Tyson’s record to the Chinese mob, but Castle suggests they could have met up with Tyson while he was in prison. He volunteers to wade through years’ worth of prison records to see what he can find.
At the Chinatown restaurant that fronts Clifford Lee’s organization, the mobster is at dinner with his four sons, Ben, Phillip, Steven and David. He immediately figures out that they are investigating Jane’s death, admits to her being Ben’s tutor. Ben says the last time he saw Jane was the week before, since she cancelled their most recent session. Clifford goes on to say that Jane told him a month ago that she was a police informant and that a cop was framing her, forcing her to work with him, but he told her she’d find nothing to report and that he hoped the cop would leave her alone. He implicates Carver in Jane’s murder, but Beckett says he’s been cleared. Ryan asks Clifford for an alibi and he says that he and his sons were all at home watching television on the night of the murder. He offers to let them verify this with his household staff and Ryan promises to do so. He and Beckett leave.
That night, Castle returns to his loft, carrying a box of prison files, where he is greeted by his daughter Alexis and Martha. He tells them what he is up to with the files and Alexis apologizes for not being able to help since she has taken on the job of class advocate to her school’s administration. Martha explains that Alexis hopes it will get her accepted to Stanford in the fall, but Alexis laments that she will be lucky to get in anywhere. She further expresses frustration that a friend of hers stuck her with the job when she offered to help her and that it is nothing more than just listening to endless griping from her classmates. Martha and Castle both agree that Alexis’ friend set her up, which gives Castle an idea.
Back at the precinct, Ryan gets off his phone and says that the Lee’s entire household staff confirm Clifford Lee’s alibi. Esposito arrives carrying a duffel bag he got out of Jane’ rented locker. Inside, he and Ryan find an envelope containing $500 in cash, men’s clothing, toiletries, and two tickets for late train to Phoenix for the night Jane was killed, meaning she was looking to get out of town with someone. Beckett guesses it is her mystery boyfriend and that when Carver wouldn’t leave her alone, she decided to skip town. They wonder why go to Phoenix and Esposito pulls out an unmarked asthma inhaler from her bag which must have belonged to Jane’s boyfriend since her autopsy report said she didn’t have asthma. Esposito says he plans on calling the pharmaceutical company to find out who the inhaler was sold to and that he pulled video surveillance footage off an ATM near the station. The three watch the surveillance video and see Jane walk up to the ATM followed by an insistent-looking Finn McQueen. Esposito says the clothing in the duffel bag wouldn’t fit McQueen, but the others remember he lied to them about the last time he saw Jane. They also notice he is carrying a gun that looks like a Glock.
The next morning, Beckett confronts McQueen with their evidence. He denies that the gun is his and reminds Beckett that his alibi checked out, but Beckett says his alibi could have been bought. She strikes a nerve when she mentions that Jane was in love with someone else, but is interrupted by a knock on the door. Outside, Esposito tells her ballistics didn’t match McQueen’s gun to the bullets that killed Jane, meaning it isn’t Ryan’s. Castle arrives with his box of records, claiming to know who their killer is. He explains that prison records show that Jerry Tyson got into a yard fight with a man named Chin Hai Lee Chang, who happens to be Phillip Lee. It seems that when Clifford brought his family to the U.S., he Americanized their names, but never made them legal, so Phillip was booked into prison under his Chinese name. Eventually, Jerry Tyson and Phillip became friends, but out of revenge, Jerry sold Ryan’s gun to Phillip knowing he would use it, which he did, on Jane, and that it would pop with the police. Esposito comes over saying the inhaler from Jane’s locker was traced to Ben Lee, meaning the two had fallen in love and tried to escape the Lee family, but Phillip found out and killed Jane to keep Ben from leaving. Beckett agrees it is a good theory, but says they need evidence. Ryan promises to get it.
Ryan confronts Finn McQueen who sits in a holding cell, with the fact that Clifford Lee had bailed him out of jail previously, so he sought to repay the favor and earn him points with the Lees by recruiting Jane to be Ben’s tutor. But it all went wrong when Jane fell in love with Ben and he started to worry that the family would blame him, so he tried to change her mind, but she refused. As a last resort, he called Phillip to tell him everything, and he killed Jane. Ryan then shows McQueen the crucifix Jane was holding when she was killed and he breaks down, recognizing it as a gift as he’d given Jane for her birthday.
In an interrogation room, Phillip Lee’s lawyer shoots down Beckett’s evidence, despite the fact that a cell phone call Phillip made the night of the murder bounced off a cell phone tower near the crime scene, effectively ruining his alibi. The lawyer refuses any kind of deal and leaves with Beckett. Ryan faces off with Phillip, and vows to make him feel the weight of Jane’s death just as he does. The lawyer threatens to sue the department for harassment if they try to speak to any of the Lee family without first contacting her.
In Gates’ office, she scolds Ryan for going at the Lees a second time with thin evidence. Beckett insists they need to lean on the family, but Gates disagrees and orders them to leave them alone. Ryan disagrees more vehemently, and Gates responds by sending him home for the day. They all leave her office simmering with frustration.
At Ryan’s desk, Esposito tries to calm Ryan, who says all he needs is someone to corroborate their theory on the record. He leaves, purporting to be taking Gates’ advice, but Esposito follows him. Outside on the street, Esposito promises to follow his partner wherever he is going, even though Ryan resists the idea. He tells him he wants to make another run at Ben Lee and Esposito says Clifford Lee will probably have his son closely guarded. Ryan concludes that they can’t look like cops in that case.
At the library, Ben Lee does schoolwork under the watchful eye of a family bodyguard. Esposito walks in, dressed as a teenager, and loudly mistakes Ben for Phillip. When the guard escorts him outside, Ryan sits down next to Ben and tries to remind him of how Jane convinced him to get out of the family. He tells him he can protect him, but Ben is doubtful, since Jane was working for the police and still got killed. Ryan tells him it is his life and that he can honor Jane better by escaping. He hears the guard return, slips him his business card and leaves.
Back at the precinct, Beckett scolds Ryan and Esposito for disobeying Gates’ orders, but they all promise, including Castle, who takes a picture of the guys in their disguises, that she won’t find out. Beckett worries that Ben will tell his father and their attorney will call Gates, who will pull them both off the case. Ryan insists that Ben won’t rat him out since he could see the pain he is in, but Beckett remains convinced that they took a huge risk. Ryan teases Beckett about sounding like their boss, but is interrupted by Gates who says Ryan has a visitor. They all brace themselves for a confrontation with the family’s lawyer, but instead Ben Lee shows himself.
That night, Castle, Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito listen in a surveillance van as inside the Lee home, Ben confronts Phillip about Jane’s death, trying to get him to somehow reveal his complicity. The gang is doubtful the plan will work, but Ryan urges them to be patient. When Phillip suspects Ben is wearing a wire and pulls a gun on him, they all go in with a SWAT Team. As the team takes down Phillip, Ben pulls out his own gun and threatens the police and Phillip. One of the SWAT officers shoots Ben in the chest as a horrified Phillip is taken into custody. Esposito calls for an ambulance as Ryan desperately performs CPR.
Later, at the precinct, Beckett confronts Phillip and his attorney in an interrogation room with the evidence against him: cocaine on his jacket which matches that found on Jane’s clothing and his gun, which Ryan positively identified as his stolen service weapon. Beckett says he is looking at a life sentence and, as Castle watches from the observation room, Phillip offers to give her Jerry Tyson’s new location and new name in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Beckett finds Castle in the bullpen and tells him that with Phillip’s information they stand a good chance of finding 3XK, but Castle urges her to turn down the deal. He guesses that Jerry Tyson knew Phillip would eventually use Ryan’s gun and be caught by the police, so anything he tells him about his whereabouts would be a lie. He tells Beckett to turn down the deal and she is impressed, saying he is thinking like a cop.
Ryan and Esposito disassemble the murder board and Beckett tells them to cheer up since they scored a victory, but Ryan won’t be cheered. He wonders how he is different from Detective Carver. Castle says he is a better cop and a better man since he didn’t leave Ben on his own. Ben then joins them and they congratulate him for doing such a good job faking his death. Ryan introduces the group to a US Marshall who will escort Ben to his new home in Los Angeles as part of the witness protection program. Ben thanks Ryan for giving him the courage to leave his family. Ryan encourages him to live his life on his terms since that’s what Jane would have wanted him to do. Ben agrees and leaves.
Castle gets Ryan’s attention by offering him a drink of the whiskey he acquired last year (see Last Call). He passes cups to Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito telling them to keep the party down so Gates doesn’t find out. They all agree not to tell her and Esposito proposes a toast to Ryan. They all drink. Ryan proposes a toast to Jane’s bravery, commitment, love, and sacrifice, to which they all also drink.
- Victim: Jane Herzfeld
- Cause of Death: Shot twice in the head and left to be buried in cement.
- Perp: Phillip Lee
- Motive: Revenge: Jane fell in love with his brother, Ben, and convinced him to run away from the family with her, but Phillip discovered she was working with a narcotics detective and killed her to keep her quiet and his brother from running away.
- Stana Katic.com fan newsletter, October 7, 2011