Season 4 Episode 17 (75)
Original Air Date - February 27, 2012
While Martha puts the finishing touches on a one-woman play that embellishes hers and her son's life and success to Castle's great consternation, Beckett and Castle investigate a series of murders where the crime scenes were staged to look like Grimm's fairy tales and the victims each dressed up like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.
- 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
- Megan Markle - Charlotte Boyd
- Taylor Kinney - Darren Thomas
- Sarah Jane Morris - Leslie Morgan
- June Squibb - Jamie Isaacson
- Jason Thompson - Noah Curtis
- Gloria Garayua - Jesse
- Nicholas Downs - Marcus O'Neil
- Lindsey Santefort - Amy Morgan
Marcus: So you actually gave birth to your son while on the Metro?
Castle: No, she didn’t. She also didn’t run a marathon the week before she had me, or beat up a mugger while nine months pregnant.
Martha: It’s called dramatic license, darling.
Castle: Actually, it’s called wild exaggeration. Dramatic license applies to writing.
Marcus: Mr. Castle, I’m a huge fan. Just being in this office is a dream come true.
Castle: For me too, for me too, only in my dreams I’m usually by myself.
Martha: We just felt that this room had the best creative ju-ju.
Castle: Oh, it does, it does. I wrote twenty best-sellers in here. I’d like to write another one…now.
Castle: First, Alexis is interning for Lanie…now my mother is taking over my office? I feel like my whole world is being invaded.
Beckett: You’ll get used to it. I did.
Castle: It is not the same thing. Ok, it’s similar.
Castle: Red cloak, in the woods, animal attack. She’s Little Red Riding Hood!
Beckett: Great, Castle, I’ll call in an APB for the Big Bad Wolf.
Castle: You have a better theory?
Beckett: (thinks then is embarrassed) Hey Ryan!? Do you think you could call dispatch and see if there are any reports of a violent animal running around the park?
Ryan: Like a wolf? A big bad one?
Ryan: That is exactly how I pictured her. It’s freaky.
Esposito: Speaking of fairy tales, turns out that our victim really was Red Riding Hood.
Beckett: Are you drinking Castle’s Kool-Aid now?
Esposito: No, I mean that she was actually wearing a Red Riding Hood costume. It said so right on the label.
Beckett: Ok, so why was she wearing it in the middle of the woods at night?
Castle: On her way to grandmother’s house.
Beckett: That was Ryan. He just left Animal Control and there was only one recent report of an animal lose in the park: a beagle…named Fred.
Castle: There’s this whole adult role-playing subculture obsessed with fairy tales. Not THAT, kind of adult role playing, although there is that one too.
Beckett: And you know this how?
Castle: Did a little research…(thinks) Bo Peep…Anyway, these people get dressed in the outfits, they play the characters, they even reenact the stories. Maybe that’s what Amy was doing when everything went horribly and tragically wrong.
Beckett: Castle, that is a surprisingly reasonable and grounded theory.
Castle: Yeah. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed in myself.
Esposito: We all are, bro.
Beckett: Contact her bank. See if they know why she made that withdrawal.
Esposito: As you wish.
Martha: We’re having a staged reading of my one-woman show here tomorrow night.
Castle: Ah, it’s too bad you don’t have an acting studio to do this kind of thing. Oh, wait! You do.
Castle: You slept with my first publisher?
Marcus: Mr. Castle, I’m sure your talent would have gotten you there eventually.
Castle: My talent did get me there. I didn’t get published because of her.
Martha: Technically, I slept with him after your book was out. This is just to be more salacious.
Castle: Wasn’t he practically my age?!
Martha: Honey, you know I’ve always loved younger men. They have so much energy, enough to keep up with me…most of the time.
Castle: I’m going to erase that image from my mind with a bottle of scotch.
Martha: Oh darling! I invited Beckett to the reading tomorrow night, so you two might want to make a date of it.
Beckett: Why are you so against your Mom’s play?
Castle: Because she’s rewriting history, my history. Trust me. I lived through it. She’s making it sound like it’s her own personal fairy tale.
Beckett: Oh, so you don’t like it when someone writes their own version of your life. Interesting.
Beckett: C’mon, Castle, you said so yourself everyone needs a fairy tale. What’s the harm in letting your mom her have one of her own?
Castle: Ok, let’s change the subject to something less likely to give me an ulcer.
Ryan: Ever since Chucky I haven’t been able to look at a doll.
Beckett: The doctors say we got there just in time.
Castle: Just like in the fairy tale.
Beckett: So what? You’re Prince Charming now?
Castle: Well, if the shoe fits.
Esposito: Maybe they were going in on something, pooling their money.
Castle: I think we can safely rule out lotto tickets.
Castle: He covered his bases.
Beckett: I know. It’s really starting to piss me off.
Castle: Yeah and you get cute when you get angry…but not when you get angry with me.
Castle: Murder does more damage to the living than to the dead.
Beckett: Yeah. All because of a terrible secret.
Castle: Secrets are like time bombs.
Beckett: Eventually they explode.
Beckett: And like any psychopath, he’s a great actor. Oh, speaking of-
Castle: Psychopaths or actors?
Beckett: I was thinking about your mom.
Castle: Oh, so little of both.
Castle: You want to venture into the dark, scary woods?
Beckett: Don’t worry, Castle. I got a gun. I’ll protect you from the Big Bad Wolf.
Castle: You’d use your gun on my mother? I’m touched. Thank you.
Ryan: After all these years, maybe Owen’s family can have some closure about his death.
Esposito: Yeah, but at what cost? Two women are dead, Darren’s still being charged with blackmail and I’m sure his marriage is over.
Beckett: And that’s why we need fairy tales. In the face of too much reality, to remind us that happy endings are still possible.
Castle: Speaking of fairy tales, my mother is ready to give her encore performance.
Beckett: Time to go back into the woods?
Castle: Still got your gun?
Martha: (performing) It was the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to originate the role of the Wicked Witch on Broadway, but with me being away from home six nights a week, two matinees, what was I to do?
Castle: (whispers to Beckett) Realize that none of it ever happened.
Martha: Francis Bacon once wrote ‘He that hath children hath given hostages to fortune.’ Well, if I was a hostage, then my son Richard was my captor, my enslaver.
Castle: Hey, I’m right here!
Beckett: That’s sweet.
Castle: You’re right. That is sweet.
Martha: Now, if Richard had only been able to embrace the role of son with the same level of commitment...
Castle: And into the woods we go.
- In one scene, Jon Huertas quotes a favorite movie of his, The Princess Bride, by responding to a request of Beckett's by saying "As you wish." Jon has also teased Stana Katic, who is also a fan of the movie, by walking off camera after Beckett has given Esposito an order, waiting until Beckett's closeup, then yelling the same phrase at her.
- Sad Clown performed by The Droge & Summers Blend
Full Episode Recap
A young woman dressed in a Little Red Riding Hood costume runs scared through the woods at night. She falls down on a path and screams in terror as she is attacked.
The following morning at Richard Castle's loft, he finds his mother Martha dictating to a young man in his office about how she gave birth to her son. He disputes her version of what happened, as well as several other stories he overheard. She introduces the young man as Marcus, a budding playwright from her acting school and explains that they are putting the finishing touches on act one of a one-woman play about Martha’s life. Castle politely asks them to leave and calls the play fiction. His cell phone rings just then and he answers.
At the park, Castle laments to Detective Kate Beckett how it seems like his life is being invaded since his daughter, Alexis, is interning with Lanie and now Martha is using his office to write. Beckett advises him that he’ll get used to it just like she did, but Castle says his problem is different. When Beckett shoots him a look, he agrees it is similar, but his shadowing her is less invasive.
They find Medical Examiner Lanie Parish kneeling over the body. She pegs time of death as between 10p.m. and midnight the night before and notes that dirt on the victim’s feet indicates that she was running from something. Castle notices lacerations on the victim’s face, leading Beckett to wonder if the woman was mauled to death, but Lanie says they look to be too shallow to be fatal. When she adds that she can’t identify the victim since she found no wallet or purse, Castle pulls Beckett away to privately point out that the woman is Little Red Riding Hood, but Beckett is not amused, refusing to put out an APB for the Big Bad Wolf. However, she calls Detective Kevin Ryan over to ask him to find out from the parks officials if any animal attacks have been reported. He then brings up the Little Red Riding Hood connection, but Beckett remains unmoved.
Back at the precinct, Beckett reveals herself to be a fan of Grimms’ fairy tales and she and Castle discuss the merits of fairy tales in general, particularly how they help us cope with our primal fears. Detective Javier Esposito disagrees that the tales are horror stories, but rather life lessons that reward those who do the right thing. He also confirms that the victim was wearing a Little Red Riding Hood costume based on its label. Castle guesses the woman was on her way to Grandma’s house, but Esposito says the victim’s grandmother lives in Florida and that he identified her as Amy Morgan.
Later in the break room, Castle and Beckett speak to Amy’s sister, Leslie, and Leslie’s husband, Darren. Leslie says she has no idea why her sister would have been in the park at night and that the cloak she died in wasn’t hers. She adds that they typically would talk every day, but she hadn’t heard from her in a week and simply figured she was busy with work, since she worked long hours as a litigation attorney.
At Beckett’s desk, Castle brings her a mug of coffee and she says that the only reported incidence of an animal loose in the park involved a beagle named Fred, so it is unlikely Amy was mauled to death. Castle studies the murder board and builds the theory that Amy blew off steam from her stressful job by joining a role-playing club where members dress up like fairy tale characters and reenact the stories. Beckett teasingly asks how he is aware of such a group and he claims to have come across them in research for a book, but loses the argument when he recalls a woman dressed as Little Bo Peep. Beckett concedes that the theory is surprisingly grounded for him, and Castle agrees, but admits he is disappointed in himself. Esposito comes over and says in looking through Amy’s financial records, he found a withdrawal she made four days ago of $50,605 in cash, but he can’t match it to anything outgoing nor did he find the money in her apartment. Beckett asks him to contact the bank for more information and he complies just as Beckett’s cell phone beeps.
In the morgue, Lanie holds up a long hair she found on Amy’s body and announces it is wolf hair. Castle howls in excitement, but Lanie calms him and explains that the slashes on Amy’s face were made by a single claw, meaning to Beckett that the killer was just trying to throw them off. Lanie goes on to say that she found two needle marks in Amy’s back which she couldn’t have made herself, and that toxicology reports identified ketamine and oxycodone in Amy’s system. So the killer knocked her out with the ketamine and dressed her in the costume, but Amy woke up and tried to run. The killer caught up to her and killed her with the oxycodone.
Back in the precinct, Beckett and Castle ask Ryan about Amy’s work and he reports that she had been agitated lately and missed a mandatory staff meeting this past Friday at 1p.m. for personal reasons. Beckett remembers the time and date as being the same as when she stopped talking to her sister, so she asks Ryan to look into her phone calls and emails from work. Esposito hangs up his phone and tells Beckett there is something she has to see.
Later, at another park, she and Castle approach a crime scene where a young woman dressed as Snow White lays dead propped against a tree with an apple in one hand. As they examine the body, Esposito tells Beckett that their latest victim is Kristina Curtis and that her only next-of-kin is a husband named Noah. Beckett tells them to interview him and find out in particular if Kristina’s and Amy’s paths ever crossed. Ryan suspects that they might be able to find the killer by searching for recent costume purchases from costume stores and Beckett tells them to give the lead a shot. She turns back to the body and Castles confirms that the women aren’t reenacting the fairy tales, but the killer is. Lanie adds that Kristina has the same injection marks on her back as Amy did and that the time of death is between 5 and 7 a.m. that morning. Beckett wonders if the short turnaround time indicates a serial killer.
At the precinct, Ryan and Esposito interview Noah in the break room. He says he last saw his wife around 5 a.m. that morning when she left for her regular morning jog. He explains that she jogged every day and worked as manager of an art gallery that she took over from her father. Esposito shows him a picture of Amy Morgan, but he doesn’t recognize her. He adds that they were supposed to have lunch this past Friday around 1p.m., but Kristina didn’t show and explained later that she had an emergency at the gallery.
In front of the murder board in the precinct conference room, Ryan tells Beckett and Castle that Kristina wasn’t at the art gallery when she missed lunch and her co-workers don’t know where she went. Ryan’s cell phone rings and he steps away to answer it as Beckett and Castle contemplate why the killer singled out Kristina and Amy if their lives never seemed to intersect previously. Esposito joins them and says Kristina took out $50,605 from her trust fund, forging another connection between her murder and Amy’s. He promises to check with her husband and Ryan returns, saying the Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood costumes were made by the same manufacturer, but he doesn’t know where they were sold yet.
That night, Castle arrives home to find Martha and Marcus rearranging furniture. Martha explains that they are having a reading of her one-woman show tomorrow night at the loft, and when Castle reminds her that she could use her studio, Marcus says they wanted something more avant garde. Castle asks his daughter, Alexis, why she didn’t intervene, and she says they made her stage manager and that she enjoyed learning about her grandmother and her father by reading the play. Castle is horrified when he opens the script and reads about how Martha got him published by sleeping with his first publisher. Martha admits she changed the story to make it more salacious and that she slept with the man after Castle’s first book came out. Castle is further horrified when he remembers that the man was younger than Martha and steps away to pour himself half a tumbler of scotch to erase the image from his mind. When Martha informs him that she invited Beckett to the reading so they could make a date out of it, Castle tops off the tumbler.
The next morning in the precinct, Beckett protests that she didn’t feel like she could refuse Martha’s invitation and presses Castle about why he is so upset about Martha’s play. He claims she is rewriting his own history, leading Beckett to point out the contradiction between his willingness to rewrite her life through his Nikki Heat books and his being upset at his mother for doing the same with his life. When Castle claims that both are different situations, Beckett disagrees and reminds him of how he said that everyone deserves their own fairy tale so he should let his mother have hers. Conceding defeat, Castle asks about the case and Beckett says they still don’t know why both Kristina and Amy took out the same amount of money, nor do they know where they went the previous Friday. Ryan joins them, saying that he tracked down the costumes through a website and found that they, in addition to a third Sleeping Beauty costume, were shipped to a Jamie Isaacson.
Ryan, Esposito, and a SWAT Team burst into Jamie’s apartment and find it done in girly pink accents and expensive collector dolls displayed at every turn. This rattles Ryan since he never got over a fear of dolls after seeing the Child’s Play movies as a kid. After pronouncing the apartment clear, an elderly lady hobbles into the bedroom using a walker and identifies herself as Jamie Isaacson. In her parlor, Jamie says she rarely has human visitors and that she never ordered a shipment of fairy tale costumes. In answer to Esposito’s question, she explains that deliveries to the building are typically left in the lobby. She then pulls her credit card out of her brassiere, where she regularly keeps it safe.
At the precinct, Beckett confirms that a package of costumes was delivered to Jamie’s building, but that nobody signed for it per the buyer’s instructions. Ryan adds that the lobby has no security cameras inside or outside and guesses that the killer knew Jamie since he also knew her credit card number, but Castle wonders if they didn’t find it by simply going through her trash. Esposito explains that tech found a map search made on Kristina’s tablet computer at 12:50p.m. last Friday to a café on the west side. Beckett sends him and Ryan to the café and suggests doubling foot patrols in parks until Castle reminds her how Sleeping Beauty was found in her bedroom. Exasperated, he goes back to the murder board and recalls from his research that serial killers always have a twisted logic when it comes to choosing their victims which would lead them to the third victim. Beckett says that his motive has to be connected not only to the fairy tale characters, but to the money the victims withdrew, then wonders if their third victim also took out the same amount.
At the café, a waitress remembers Amy and Kristina coming in with a third woman on Friday and that the three seemed to be arguing, but every time she came close to find the subject, they stared her down and she backed off.
At her desk, Beckett narrows down possible candidates for the third victim based on bank withdrawals reported to the IRS, and the age and sex of the account holder, until she is left with Charlotte Boyd. Ryan calls and explains what they found as well as the waitress’s description of the third woman, which matches Charlotte’s description. Castle tries calling Charlotte’s apartment, but gets no answer, so Beckett promises to text Ryan her address so they can meet her there. She and Castle arrive and find Charlotte in her bedroom, barely breathing, and wearing the Sleeping Beauty costume.
As they search the apartment, Beckett tells Castle that Charlotte is unconscious, having been drugged just like Kristina and Amy, but that she should live. When Castle observes that they saved her at the last minute just like in the fairy tale, Beckett teases him about being Prince Charming. Esposito reports that their sweep turned up no sign of the $50,605 and explains that Charlotte is a high-end real estate broker. Castle reviews what the three women have in common and Beckett says there has to be some other connection they’ve missed. Ryan then shows them a photo he found that depicts Charlotte, Kristina, Amy, and a young man partying together. The young man is dressed in fairy tale costume and the women in the same costumes they were wearing at the crime scenes. Castle notices the date stamp on the photo is May 5, 2006, which corresponds to the amount of money each woman withdrew. On the flip side of the photo is a blackmail note. Esposito wonders if the guy in the photo could shed some light on what happened on that date.
At the precinct, Ryan reports that crime scene techs determined that the photo was developed in the last week and that he is already trying to find out where it was developed in hopes of finding who developed it. Esposito joins them and explains that on May 5, 2006, the guy in the photo, Owen Thomas, was found dead by the side of the road from internal bleeding complicated by doses of ketamine and oxycodone, explaining the killer’s use of the same, and that ME concluded he was the victim of a hit and run. The police report indicated that earlier that evening Owen attended a fairy tale rave and was last seen at 10:45, but Castle notices that the photo is marked 11:23, meaning the three women were really the last to see him alive. Esposito agrees, and adds that they never gave statements to the police. Beckett tells him to find out who among Owen’s friends and family might have been out for revenge then answers a cell phone call from hospital that says Charlotte is awake.
At the hospital, Beckett shows Charlotte the photo and tells her that Amy and Kristina are dead. Charlotte doesn’t understand why they’d be all been targeted since they paid their blackmailer and admits that she, Amy, and Kristina were the last to see Owen alive, but denies knowing anything about how he died. According to her, they all took some ketamine and oxycodone after leaving the party, but Owen was having hallucinations and getting aggressive, so they left him on the side of the road thinking he’d find his way back to the rave. When they heard about Owen’s death the next day, they all made a pact never to talk about the incident and never to talk to each other again. Regarding the money, she says they followed the blackmailer’s instructions and left it at a specified street corner.
In the precinct conference room, Beckett tells Castle there are no traffic or security cameras on the corner where the women left the money and no witnesses. When Castle points out how the blackmailer covered his bases, Beckett admits that it’s ticking her off, but smiles when Castle says she is cute when angry. Esposito comes in and says Owen was close to his older brother, who happens to be Darren Thomas, Amy Morgan’s brother-in-law. Ryan then join s them and hands over a screen capture from a security camera where the photos were developed that shows Darren paying for them.
In the break room, Ryan and Esposito show Leslie the photo and explain that Darren had it printed. Leslie says he must have found the film when they were cleaning out her father’s attic and is in disbelief that he could have been involved with Amy’s death.
In an interrogation room, Darren denies everything until Beckett shows him the photo of himself getting the pictures developed and tells him they found the money in his storage locker in Queens. He admits to blackmailing the women, but denies killing them when Castle shows him the crime scene photos. When Beckett presses him, he lawyers up.
Later, Beckett transfers the photos from the case into a file at her desk. She and Castle then see Leslie being led out of the break room just as Darren is led away in handcuffs. Leslie angrily confronts him, who again admits to the blackmail, but denies killing anyone. They shout at each other and Leslie finally leaves, hysterical. Castle and Beckett then muse over how secrets are like time bombs that inevitably explode. Castle says the case still doesn’t make sense to him since blackmail is an impersonal crime, unlike murder and it’s unlikely he would have done both. Beckett cautions him against underestimating Darren, who she calls both a psychopath and a great actor. To Castle’s amusement, this reminds Beckett of Martha’s play that night. Castle asks if she’s prepared to venture into the dark woods of his mother’s imagination, but Beckett promises to protect him with her gun then becomes embarrassed at the implication that she’d willingly shoot Martha. Castle, however, is grateful.
That evening they arrive at loft and find a cozy group of people milling around over hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Alexis motions from across the room that they need Castle’s help in his office and he responds. Martha hugs him warmly and thanks him for coming then says she needs his help tying a bow in the back of the white apron she is wearing as her costume. When he helps her and sees the bow tied perfectly, he comes to a realization about the case and says they arrested the wrong man for murder.
At the hospital, Castle and Beckett tell Charlotte about Darren then ask her about damage to Amy’s car which she had repaired the day after Owen died. Eventually, she comes clean, explaining that Amy hit Owen by accident and refused her pleas to go back. When she swears that to be the truth, Castle notes the perfectly tied bows on Amy and Kristina at the crime scenes, but the crooked one on her own costume, which leads them to believe that Charlotte put the costume on herself. She denies this, but Castle also says that the doctors found half the dose of ketamine in her system as that which was used on Amy and Kristina, meaning she also drugged herself. He spins the theory that when Darren sent them the photos, she couldn’t trust Amy and Kristina to keep quiet the fact that Charlotte killed Owen, so she killed Amy and Kristina to contain the scandal. Charlotte firmly insists that Amy was driving until Beckett tells her that they know she paid Amy for the damage to the car and that her real estate firm handled Jamie Isaacson’s reverse mortgage, giving Charlotte access to her credit card so she could order the costumes. When Charlotte doesn’t respond, Beckett places her under arrest.
At the precinct, Castle, Ryan, and Esposito compare the case to a fairy tale, with its horror story of death and deceit, but Beckett suggests that fairy tales also serve the purpose of reminding us that happy endings are possible. Ryan and Esposito leave for the day and Castle tells Beckett that Martha is giving an encore performance of her play, and Beckett asks if Castle is ready to venture back into the woods.
At the loft, as Beckett, Castle, Alexis, and Marcus look on, Martha performs a scene about how she passed up the opportunity to originate the role of the Wicked Witch on Broadway to take on the most important role she has ever played, that of mother. Beckett is touched by the sweet comment, as is Castle, who until that point, had cringed at all the inaccuracies in the play. Just as Castle gets emotional, Martha turns on him, describing how he never accepted the role of son as enthusiastically as she did the role of mother. Beckett suppresses her wide smile and comforts Castle by taking his hand.
Victims and Perps
- Victim: Amy Morgan
- Cause of Death: Injected with drugs that stopped her heart
- Victim: Christina Curtis
- Cause of Death: Injected with drugs that stopped her heart
- Victim: Owen Thomas
- Cause of Death: Hit by a car in 2005
- Perp: Darren Thomas
- Crime: Blackmail
- Motive: Revenge: He discovered that Amy, Christina, and Charlotte Boyd failed to assist in the investigation into his brother Owen's death, so he blackmailed them for $50,605 each.
- Perp: Charlotte Boyd
- Crime: Vehicular homicide
- Motive: Accidental: She was high on club drugs and accidentally hit and killed Owen Thomas
- Crime: Murder
- Motive: Cover-up: She feared that Amy and Christina would report to the police that she killed Owen Thomas, so she killed them to keep them silent
- Castle's Stana Katic Sits Down to Discuss "Caskett", and More by Christi Kassity, BuddyTV.com, posted November 21, 2011