Season 4 Episode 416 (74)
Original Air Date - February 20, 2012
As Castle and Beckett work to find the linchpin which will start a series of events that is predicted to end in worldwide catastrophe, they find that the very people they thought were their enemies may be on their team, and the people they thought were on their team, may be their enemies.
- 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
- Jennifer Beals - Sophia Turner, CIA Operative
- Josh Stamberg - Martin Danberg, CIA Operative
- David Chisum - Thomas Gage
- Russell Edge - Agent Jones
- Burnadean Jones - Tech #2
- David Lim - Agent Trahn
- Lak Rana - Tech #3
Castle: I guess the good thing about having your daughter at a crime scene is she can bring you dry clothes. (hands Beckett coffee)
Beckett: Thanks…and, uh…thanks.
Castle: You’d have done the same for me.
Beckett: Yeah, probably.
Castle: That whole sinking car thing? Much cooler in movies than it is in real life.
Beckett: And for the record, I prefer watching spy thrillers to being in them.
Esposito: So, tell me. How can your victim look like Nelson Blakely when he supposedly died ten years ago?
Beckett: Yeah, uh…
Castle: Weird. Isn’t it?
Esposito: Yeah, weird. Fake deaths, car in the water. Don’t you think now is a good time to tell us what the hell’s going on?
Beckett: I’m sorry, Javi, it’s classified.
Esposito: I was Special Forces. I used to eat classified for breakfast, and yet Writer Boy can know?! Ok, I’ll be over there with the Harbor Patrol, trying to figure out how to get your unit out of the drink. I’m glad you’re ok.
Beckett: Thank you?!
Castle: Writer Boy?
Beckett: So…you slept with her.
Castle: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I slept with her.
Beckett: Have there been others?
Castle: No. Why?
Beckett: I just wanted to see how big the club was that’s all.
Beckett: I thought you were off the case.
Castle: You heard what Sophia said: I’m a reckless, self-centered, immature jackass. If you’re stupid enough to keep going, I’m stupid enough to go with you.
Castle: How did they get a court order that fast?
Beckett: I don’t know. Maybe you should ask your girlfriend.
Castle: Yes! Ok, we slept together. It was a long time ago. What’s the big deal?!
Beckett: There is no big deal. Sleep with whoever you want! The more the merrier!
Alexis: (clears throat loudly) I have those toxicology reports you wanted?
Castle: So, enjoying your new internship?
Alexis: Well, I’m learning a lot.
Castle: Too much, I think.
Alexis: And I thought the dead bodies were going to be the grossest part.
Castle: Funny. Good night.
Castle: It doesn’t matter who she is because I’m never going to see her again, now go to bed.
Alexis: You know, if you’re going to keep secrets from me, I might start keeping secrets from you too.
Castle: At your age I’m thinking that might be a good idea.
Sophia: I know you’ll keep digging. It’s your nature. You need to know how the story ends. (brings up Castle’s electronic murder board of Beckett’s mother’s murder) Like with her. Does she know about this?
Castle: Uh, that’s…(turns off murder board)
Sophia: You always did like playing with dynamite. Just be careful it doesn’t blow up in your face.
Castle: She’s different.
Sophia: Is she? Or do you just think she is?
Castle: Why aren’t you with them?
Beckett: Because my car is at the bottom of the Hudson and Gates won’t issue me another one until I write up an incident report which I can’t do because this case is classified.
Castle: Nothing. It’s just that’s a perfect example of a linchpin. This case may go unsolved all because you don’t have access to a car.
Beckett: Don’t make me shoot you.
Ryan: What do you think this is about, huh?
Esposito: Smells like an intelligence op.
Ryan: CIA, NSA, DHS?
Esposito: Same letters, different alphabet. I had some buddies from the service volunteer for intelligence ops.
Ryan: How’d they like it?
Esposito: They all died.
Beckett: Do you think you can identify that building for us?
Witness: I think so.
Beckett: (to Ryan) I gotta borrow your car.
Castle: I thought you were the bad guy.
Gage: If I were the bad guy, you’d be dead by now.
Gage: (to Beckett) You really want me to take that gun away from you again? We don’t have the time!
Castle: Make time.
Castle: I got no idea what they're talking about, but this is very exciting!
Beckett: So what happened if you don’t mind my asking?
Sophia: You ever meet someone and have that intense attraction, right away, that tension? Well, we fought it for months and then we just couldn’t stand it anymore. But afterward, tension was all we had, really, and without it, all we were left with was that…well, those things that drove us crazy about each other. I mean, you know how he can be. Beckett: Yeah. Yeah, I do.
Sophia: Sometimes I wish we had never slept together and kept that longing.
Castle: Why bring us here? Why not leave us at the facility?
Sophia: Because you just don’t stop. You need to know the story, the whole story, and if something doesn’t add up you just don’t let go.
Sophia: Don’t worry. I’ll make it sound heroic. Your father would be very proud.
Castle: My father?
Sophia: Well, you don’t think you’d gain special access to the CIA back then because of your charm? You really don’t know, do you? I guess you never will. (cocks gun and aims it at Castle’s head)
Esposito: So what do you think this was all about?
Ryan: (teasing) They didn’t tell you? Huh.
Esposito: They told you?!
Castle: You think she was telling the truth? About my father? I mean that would explain why he completely disappeared.
Beckett: I…I think that Sophia told a lot of lies. Must be tough: finding out that she’s a traitor, especially after you based Clara Strike on her and all.
Castle: Well, Clara started off as Sophia, but she ended up being more like you: smart, fierce, kind. I think that’s one of the reasons I was drawn to you, as a muse. You think Dr. Blakely was right about the linchpin? You think we actually saved the world?
Beckett: I think that we saved a little girl’s life and that’s enough for me.
Castle uncovers a traitor in 'Linchpin' by Kimberly Schure
Full Episode Recap
As Detective Kate Beckett's squad car sinks into the Hudson River with her and Richard Castle inside, they try to open the doors, but can’t budge them and suspect the car’s frame was bent when the SUV hit it. Beckett also discovers that both her seatbelt and her seat are stuck, trapping her, and remembers that she has a knife, but it is in the trunk. She suggests Castle find her gun so they can shoot her seat belt off and Castle climbs into the back with a flashlight, dunks under the rising water, and finds the gun under Beckett’s seat. He tries to pull it out, but fails before he has to surface for air. As the water rises to the steering wheel, he tries again, but can’t extricate it and struggles for breath. Beckett notices Castle’s splashing stop and the light from the flashlight go still. She calls his name twice, but gets no response. With the water level at her chin, she tries to break the driver’s side window with her elbow, but fails. The water rises over her head and she pounds on the windshield in desperation, but eventually resigns herself to her fate. Her hands go limp as the car sinks lower, then five shots ring out and a window breaks.
Later, a wet Beckett stands on the end of the pier. Castle brings her a cup of coffee and she thanks him for saving her, but he brushes it off saying she’d have reciprocated. She teases not to be so sure and they both agree they’d much rather watch spy thrillers than be in them. Detective Javier Esposito demands to know what is going on, but they refuse to say. He becomes frustrated that Castle knows, but he, who served in the Special Forces while in the military, can’t know. He steps away to help the harbor patrol try to retrieve Beckett’s car, but turns back to say he is glad they are ok.
Castle and Beckett figure Thomas Gage shot Nelson Blakely in an effort to cover up his having gone rogue, but they still don’t know exactly what Pandora is. Beckett wonders if something on his body will give them a clue, but Alexis, Castle’s daughter, says they found nothing on him and Medical Examiner Lanie Parish adds that someone rifled through his pockets. Beckett tells Detective Kevin Ryan to search the building near the pier, figuring Blakely brought them there for a reason. CIA Agent Sophia Turner arrives, with her partner Martin Danberg, and angrily orders Castle and Beckett into her car.
At the underground CIA facility, Sophia is furious with Castle and Beckett for not telling her they cracked Blakely’s code. They explain that Blakely told them about how he was hired to search for vulnerabilities in U.S. security and found one in the economy that would devastate the country if exploited. Sophia throws them off case, adding that Castle is as arrogant as self-centered as he used to be. He tries to apologize, but Sophia will have none of it, saying he can’t just rewrite the story like he did with them.
In the precinct elevator, Castle confirms he slept with Sophia and Beckett wonders how many other muses he slept with and how big “the club” is. As Ryan and Esposito look on, Beckett asks if they’ve found anything else, but Castle stops her, denies there being a club and reminds her they’re off the case. She tells him she still has to catch Gage and predicts that if they find Blakely’s linchpin, it will lead them to Gage. Esposito puts in that Blakely’s fingerprints were traced to a Scott McGregor at a bogus address. Castle suggests they find someone who played chess with him who might know more, leading Beckett to ask if he is back on the case. He agrees to follow her and she tells Ryan and Esposito to canvas chess parks just as her phone rings.
In the morgue, Castle wonders how the CIA got a court order for Blakely’s body so fast and Beckett suggests he ask his girlfriend, Sophia. This surprises Lanie, and Castle demands to know what the problem is. Beckett denies that there is a problem and tells him to sleep with however many women he wants. Just then, Alexis clears her throat and announces she has toxicology reports for Lanie.
Back at his loft, Castle tries to avoid talking about Sophia, but Alexis insists on knowing who she is. Castle repeatedly refuses to say and orders his daughter to bed. She finally gives up, but not before promising to begin keeping her own secrets.
Castle heads into his office and finds Sophia waiting for him. She tells him she knows he is going after Gage, and that she wants him and Beckett back on the case, but had to throw them out in front of her colleagues to save face, and mainly because it is in his nature to keep pushing until he knows the full story, as he’s done with Beckett’s mother’s murder. She calls up the electronic murder board he constructed of the case and warns him against playing with dynamite. Castle shuts off the board and says Beckett is different. Sophia then pulls out of her blouse a list of account numbers they found in a getaway bag Blakely had hidden at the pier. She asks him to look into them since the CIA can’t then tells him to be careful and that she is still fond of him.
The next morning Castle brings Beckett a cup of coffee at the precinct, but it doesn’t assuage her anger about the case or Sophia. She tells him Ryan and Esposito are continuing their canvas of chess parks without her since she can’t write up an incident report to get a new car since the case is classified. Castle notes that her situation is a good example of a linchpin, but Beckett is not amused and threatens to shoot him. He then hands over the account numbers he got from Sophia and says she wants them back on the case, but had to grandstand for her colleagues. Despite her doubts, Beckett takes the list.
At a chess park, Esposito guesses Beckett and Castle are involved in an intelligence operation then remembers how some of his friends from the military volunteered for such operations, but all were killed. They show Blakely’s photo to one man who recognizes him and says he seemed friendly with a man called Yani.
Back at the precinct, Beckett tells Castle that Blakely received a deposit for a half million dollars into one of his accounts three months ago and another one a week ago in the same amount, but both are from closed offshore accounts. Esposito returns just then and says Blakely had been spending a lot of time in the park with economics professor Yanichek Spivey, who also advises the International Monetary Fund, UN Economics Counsel and a congressional committee.
In an interrogation room, Spivey recognizes Blakely’s picture, but says he knew him as Scott McGregor and that they talked about economic theory, particularly about the U.S. economy. He never mentioned any family or friends, but Spivey says he saw him enter an apartment building near the park and supposed that was where he lived.
Beckett and Castle pay it a visit and quickly find a closed off room where Blakely worked out the linchpin and all its consequences for Pandora using pictures, newsclippings, notes, calculations, and string to connect the related events (see picture at top of page) which include economic collapse, riots, and World War III. Castle finds the linchpin is a picture of a little Asian girl and pulls out his phone to call Sophia, but is interrupted when Gage appears and tells them to run. They comply when a grenade is thrown into the room, and explodes, destroying all of Blakely’s research. Gage points the way out, saying making a try for Beckett’s car would be suicide since it’s already been sighted. A hidden gunman across the street fires into the apartment, but Beckett and Castle dodge the bullets and follow Gage to his van.
Gage pulls into a parking garage and says Pandora will kick off tomorrow, so he needs to know who the target is immediately. He denies killing Blakely or Tracy McGrath and after some prodding agrees to lay down his gun. Beckett keeps hers trained on him as he explains that all indications are someone inside the CIA is helping execute Pandora and he is being made to be the fall guy. He demands to know who the target is, but before Castle or Beckett can answer, the doors to the van swing open and Sophia greets all of them. At the CIA facility, Danberg and Sophia explain that Gage was playing Beckett and Castle to figure out how much they knew about the operation and played the hero to gain their trust. Castle guesses he has a partner since he couldn’t have tried to kill them at the same time as he arrived to save them. A tech tells Sophia that the fire at Blakely’s apartment destroyed all his research and Sophia gives her the picture of the girl and tells her to do anything to find out who she is and why she is the linchpin. She then leaves to interrogate Gage.
In an interrogation room, Sophia questions Gage, but he remains calm and repeats his accusation that someone at the CIA is framing him and accusing her of sending Gary Harper to kill him. He adds that he saw the assassin at the pier who killed Blakely and tried to kill Castle and Beckett and knows he’s CIA. Sophia grins and exits.
Beckett doesn’t buy Sophia’s story that Gage is lying since he isn’t showing any physical signs of it, but Danberg says he was trained to do so and that he’s just trying to divide the team. Sophia insists that they needn’t worry about Gage, but about finding the girl.
The tech tells them they found no matches through facial recognition yet. Beckett says she doesn’t believe that the girl could be the first domino in a chain that ends in World War III, but Sophia tells her that Blakely is the one who advised them that, to end the Soviet Union, they just had to outspend it. She suggests they take another crack at Gage, but find him in the interrogation room dead from a point blank gunshot wound to the head.
Sophia has the facility locked down and, now realizing Gage was right about a mole in the CIA, orders a tech to find out who could have hacked into the video surveillance system to hide any view of Gage’s murder. After several high tech keystrokes, all of which impress Castle, she discovers that the order to bypass the normal video feed came from the computer of an Agent Trahn. Everyone pulls a gun on Trahn, who is shocked and proclaims his innocence, but the tech stops them, saying their mole piggybacked his computer’s IP address to frame him. After several more keystrokes, she traces the original order to Danberg. Everyone now turns on Danberg, who begins backing away towards the elevator. He takes a female hostage, boards the elevator, and orders it to rise. As soon as the doors close, Sophia has a tech stop and return the elevator. When the doors open, Danberg is gone and his hostage is unhurt.
In the conference room, Sophia isn’t surprised Danberg turned out to be the mole since he traced Pandora to Gage and tried to convince Sophia to get rid of Beckett and Castle. Beckett can’t figure out how someone dedicated to serving the country would want to start World War III, but Sophia says it could be for any of a number of reasons and adds that they’ve also heard that Pandora will happen tomorrow. Castle looks again at the photo of the girl and suggests they search try matching the topography in the background of the photo to their database of the planet’s topography to narrow down who the girl might be. Sophia is so impressed that she kisses Castle on the cheek, much to Beckett’s chagrin.
As the search begins, Sophia says it is estimated to take 32 hours, so Castle heads off to make all three of them coffee. Beckett rests on the end of a desk and observes how Sophia likes him. She admits that she did once, but doesn’t anymore leading Beckett to ask about what happened. Sophia explains that she and Castle were instantly attracted to each other, a feeling Beckett acknowledges that she can relate to, and fought off their desire for months, but eventually gave in. However, afterward, the spark was gone and they only annoyed each other, leaving her to wish that they’d never slept together in the first place and kept the longing between them.
Early the next morning, the topographical search registers a match to a province in China. Sophia orders a tech to pull up all school insignias from the region to match one with the patch on the girl’s uniform. They find a match to a girls’ school in Shanghai, hack into the school’s website and match the photo from Blakely’s apartment to a girl named Mia Ganghong.
In the conference room, Sophia tells Beckett and Castle that the girl’s father, Xiang Ganghong, is an influential Chinese businessman with close ties to the Chinese Finance Minister, who the CIA was watching because he made his fortune selling military equipment to enemies of the US, but who the ultimately left alone because he was a supporter of China’s purchasing United States’ debts. No impact would be realized if he was killed, but if his daughter was murdered and the crime was traced back to the US, he’d likely use his influence and contacts to stop China’s buying of United States’ debt, resulting in the collapse of the US’ economy. Our enemies would then take advantage of the country’s weakness and inability to defend itself and its allies and regional conflicts would break out all over the world with any possibly resulting in World War III, which the US would be unable to win. An agent interrupts and reports that Xiang Ganghong, his wife, and daughter just arrived in New York for a trade conference.
Beckett suggests that she call her colleagues and get a protective detail put on the Ganghongs, but Sophia refuses, saying a CIA agent will be able to easily identify them and they don’t want to make things worse, nor risk publicizing the threat. She, Beckett, and Castle board an elevator and Sophia says she called in reinforcements from a nearby CIA facility.
They arrive in a parking garage nearby the building where the trade conference is being held and Sophia introduces Castle and Beckett to Agent Corgan, who says the Ganghongs are estimated to arrive in five minutes and that Danberg was seen entering the building by a guard. He goes on to say that they have authorization and crews in place to kill him, but still haven’t identified his partner in the plot. Sophia tells him not to worry about Danberg, but to focus on saving Mia Ganghong.
They descend and begin crossing a lower level of the garage when Sophia and Corgan pull their guns on Castle and Beckett. Beckett aims hers at Sophia, but, realizing she is outnumbered, easily gives it up to Corgan. Sophia tells Corgan to kill Mia and he leaves. Sophia admits that she is the mole, that she brought them to protect the operation and has to kill them because they won’t stop until the truth is revealed. She also admits to framing Gage so that Mia’s murder would trace back to the CIA and to framing Danberg when she had to kill Gage after he figured things out. She says certain parties will pay anything to change the world, but Castle remains doubtful that Sophia would sell out her country. She answers in Russian, revealing her true allegiance, and orders Beckett and Castle onto their knees. She promises to make their deaths look heroic, such that Castle’s father will be proud, and alludes to the fact that he wouldn’t have gotten permission to shadow her in the first place without the approval of someone high up in the agency who knows him. She recognizes his confusion, proclaims that he’ll never know about his father, and aims her gun at his head. As Beckett yells at her to stop, a gunshot rings out and Sophia falls forward, dead. Danberg runs over holding his gun, and says they have to move. Beckett leaves Castle with Sophia to follow him.
The Ganghongs have arrived at the trade conference and Corgan watches as a delegation greets them. He follows close behind and waits until he has a clear shot before pulling his gun and aiming carefully. But before he can fire, Beckett tackles him and she and Danberg discreetly escort him outside.
That evening at the precinct, Ryan and Esposito watch Danberg, Beckett and Castle in the conference room. Esposito asks for his impression about what’s going on, and Ryan teases that he knows then heads for his desk, prompting an incredulous Esposito to follow him.
Danberg says he figured out Sophia’s deception once she threw him out and that CIA headquarters suspects she was a former KGB operative who joined the CIA after the Soviet Union broke up for lack of anywhere else to go, but they don’t know who she was working for in trying to enact Pandora and he couldn’t tell them if he did. Castle asks about his father being in the CIA and he says he knows nothing about such a claim. Beckett notices Castle’s crestfallen look, and is concerned, but brightens when Danberg hands over the keys to her squad car, which he had raised and refurbished. She thanks him and he says it was the least he could do then leaves. Castle asks Beckett for her opinion about Sophia’s claim regarding his father and she reminds him how she lied about lots of things to lots of people. Then she guesses that Sophia’s turning out to be a traitor must be tough on him since he admired her enough to base Clara Strike on her, but he explains that Clara started off as Sophia, but became more like Beckett. He then asks if she thinks they saved the world and she responds that it’s enough for her that they saved a little girl. Satisfied, Castle joins her in stepping outside towards her desk. As they head in the direction of the elevator, Beckett nudges Castle affectionately with her shoulder.
- Victim: Gary Harper, CIA Agent (see Pandora)
- Cause of Death: Fall from fourth story window, stabbed, choked, and shot
- Killer: Thomas Gage, CIA Agent
- Motive: Self-defense: Gage killed Harper because Harper was sent to arrest him for being a rogue agent
- Victim: Tracey McGrath, climate change researcher (see Pandora)
- Cause of Death: Gun shot wound to the head
- Motive: Secrecy: Killed because of her involvement in an operation to bring about the collapse of the U.S. government and World War III.
- Victim: Nelson Blakely, professor and former CIA advisor (see Pandora)
- Cause of Death: Shot
- Suspected Motive: Killed because of his knowledge of an operation to bring about the collapse of the U.S. government and World War III.
- Victim: Thomas Gage, CIA Agent
- Cause of Death: Gun shot wound to the head
- Killer: Sophia Turner, CIA Agent
- Motive: Killed to keep him from revealing that he was framed as a rogue agent by someone inside the CIA
- Victim: Sophia Turner, CIA Agent
- Cause of Death: Shot
- Killer: Martin Danberg, CIA Agent
- Motive: Self-defense: Killed by her former partner to keep her from killing Castle and Beckett, and because she was a mole who tried to bring about the downfall of the U.S. government