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Poof, You're Dead

Basic Details

Season 3, Episode 12

Original Air Date January 10, 2011


When a magician is murdered, Castle and Beckett must sift through the evidence to discover what is real and what is an illusion. Meanwhile, a new couple tries to hide their budding romance from the gang at the 12th and another calls it quits.

Episode Images

© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2010-2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Gilles Marini – Tobias Strange
  • Chadwick Boseman - Chuck Russell
  • Brett Cullen - Christian Dahl
  • Carrie Genzel - Naomi Dahl
  • Jeff Hephner - Edmund / Zalman Drake
  • Vanessa Lengies - Eliza Winter
  • Lenny Schmidt - Jerome Aspenall
  • Adrian Sparks - Thaddeus Magnus
  • Henry Hayashi - Lawyer



Ratings Information

Date Viewers (Mil) 18-49 Demo
Jan 10, 2011 9.05 2.1


Lanie: Javier Esposito, when we get to this crime scene do not wink at me, do not smile at me, and don’t even look at me with those puppy dog eyes. Got it?
Esposito: (takes picture of naked Lanie with his cell phone) Got it.
Lanie: (watching Esposito leave the room) Whew!

Castle: You know any good tricks?
Beckett: I do this one thing…with ice cubes.

Castle: X-ray specs. Got ‘em at the magic shop. I can see you naked.
Beckett: Really? How do you like my navel ring?

Castle: When he read your mind, did it take him very long?
Jerome Aspenall: No.
Castle: Didn’t think so.

Castle: The only things he killed last night were his brain cells.

Chuck Russell: What about you? You got a little something for the United Magician’s College Fund?
Beckett: As a matter of fact I do. (flashes badge) We need to talk to you about Zalman Drake.
Chuck: Abracadabra! (disappears in a large puff of smoke)
Beckett: (pulls Chuck out of compartment below performance platform) Alakazam, jackass.

Castle: You are the picture of a civilized evening at home.
Martha: And you are a caveman.

Martha: Have you spoken to her since your…PDA? Public Display of Anger?

Beckett: Wow, Castle. My grandfather would have loved this place. Look he has a guillotine…and an Iron Maiden! He even had a zigzag box. You know, you would’ve liked my grandfather. In fact, you remind me of him a little.
Castle: I’m flattered.

Castle: I’ll bet he killed his brother to take over his life!
Beckett: As an accountant in Poughkeepsie?!

Castle: What about this: Zalman gets in over his head. He lures his brother down here, suffocates him, sticks him in a tank so it looks like he’s dead. Meanwhile, Zalman as Edmund inherits his own magic shop, collects his own insurance all the while takes Edmund’s wife and children who love him as his own. It’s dead ringer!
Beckett: Are you still talking?

Lanie: It’s rabbit fur. Came from his teeth and throat.
Castle: So he was killed by a rabbit who did not want to be pulled out of a hat.

Lanie: That was close.
Esposito: No, this…(pulls her in for a kiss) is close.

Beckett: We know he was working on a trick involving C4 and a remote triggering device.
Ryan: Well, whoever he killed went out with a bang.

Martha: (about Castle’s ringing cell phone) You’re not going to answer that?
Castle: (rubs hands together to make the phone disappear) Answer what?
Martha: Oh well done. Of course, making your phone disappear doesn’t make your problem disappear.

Castle: Nothing’s going on. No, nothing at all. Everything is fine. Everything is just fine. It’s ordinary. Problem is I don’t want ordinary. I want…
Martha: Magic?

Castle: I gotta go!
Martha: Now you see him. Now you don’t.

Castle: Unless that isn’t Christian Dahl.
Beckett: Looks just like him.
Castle: Dummy…not you, in the cockpit.

Beckett: So where’s Esposito?
Ryan: Take a wild guess.
Castle & Beckett: (simultaneously) Lanie?
Ryan: Can you believe they still think that none of us know?
Castle: Let’s let them keep thinking that a while longer. The bubble bursts soon enough.
Beckett: Not if you’re in it with the right person.


When interviewed by Fancast.com about working with Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, guest star Gilles Marini called Nathan "the nicest guy you could ever meet...very charming and very polite...an excellent actor". He called Stana "a beautiful woman" and said the two "get along really well."[1] In a different interview with the website Staying In, he called Castle his "guilty pleasure" and said he and his wife watch the show every week. He also said the way Nathan and Stana "welcomed me in was really beautiful. They all get along really well. It's a beautiful atmosphere. It's why the show works. That was really a point I wanted to make whenever I had an interview. This is why the show is great – because everybody gets along. Everybody works together. It was a great experience...."[2]

Filming Locations

Full Episode Recap

A young woman enters Drake’s Magic Shop one morning to open up for the day. As she sets up, she finds the dead body of a man floating upside down in a Chinese Water Torture tank.

In an apartment bedroom in another part of town, two people lay naked in bed together. A cell phone beeps and an arm emerges from the sheets to answer the page. Medical Examiner Lanie Parish reads the message and says she has to go. Another cell phone beeps and another arm reaches for another phone on a nearby chair. Detective Javier Esposito sits up and also says he has to go. They kiss and Esposito tells Lanie he will see her at the crime scene. He gets up from the bed and Lanie tells him in a serious voice he is not to wink at her, smile at her, or bat his puppy dog eyes at her when they see each other at the crime scene. He takes a picture of her in bed with his cell phone and agrees. As he turns to exit the room, Lanie admires his toned body and flops backward onto the bed, flustered.

Later on, Richard Castle approaches the scene arguing on his cell phone with his girlfriend and ex-wife Gina Cowell. He ends the call and, when Esposito greets him casually, pointedly tells him never to sleep with a co-worker. As he walks away, Esposito follows asking him what he means. Castle tells him doing so never ends well, to which Esposito, thinking Castle knows about him and Lanie, asks who knows. Castle tells him everyone knows just as Detective Kate Beckett joins them inquiring what everyone knows about. Both men answer nothing and Esposito, hearing his walkie-talkie crackle, quickly escapes inside the magic shop.

Beckett asks Castle why he seems upset and he denies that anything is wrong. She buys his answer and heads for the entrance of the shop as Castle excitedly realizes that the murder scene is inside. He tells Beckett how he has been coming there since he was thirteen, since it is a veritable playground for boys, and she surprises him saying her grandfather was an amateur magician who brought her to the shop every Sunday when she was the same age. Castle chuckles and admits he never thought of Beckett as a fan of magic. He playfully asks her if she knows any tricks and she teasingly responds that she knows one requiring the use of ice cubes. She turns on her heel and enters the shop, leaving Castle bewildered outside.

Inside, Detective Kevin Ryan explains to Lanie and Beckett that the victim is Zalman Drake and that his assistant Eliza Winter found him in the Chinese Water Torture tank when she opened up that morning. Lanie finishes taking notes on her clipboard and says she cannot figure out how people consider magic entertaining. Castle explains to her and Beckett how the water torture escape was a landmark event in the history of magic since the audience became invested in wondering if the magician would survive. Lanie then marks the time of death at eight to ten hours ago, or between 12 and 2 a.m. Lanie also points out hemorrhaging around the victim’s eyes indicate that he drowned, but says there are no marks on his ankles to indicate that he struggled. She guesses he was dead before he was put in the tank. Esposito arrives and shows the group a suicide note from the victim which points to the shop’s financial troubles as the reason for his suicide. His assistant, Eliza, overhears this and denies that Zalman would kill himself. She confirms that the shop did have financial troubles, but says that Zalman told her he had worked everything out, but he didn’t tell her how. She also says Zalman would never kill himself by putting himself in the tank because he respected magic too much. Beckett then notices that the suicide note lacks a signature and Esposito promises to have CSU check it for fingerprints. Beckett asks him to have them check the tank and the entry and exits of the shop as well. On his way out, he passes Lanie, who casts him a flirtatious look over her shoulder.

Outside, Beckett and Castle continue questioning Eliza. She says Zalman left the shop the day before just after lunch and never returned, but didn’t tell her where he was going. She adds that he had been leaving early a lot more often in the last month and all he told her was that he was working on something. She also notes that he looked tired as if he hadn’t been sleeping. Beckett asks if she might know why he was acting different and Eliza tells of how last month someone came into the shop and attacked Zalman, throwing him through a display case and threatening to sue him.

At the precinct, while Beckett waits on her phone on hold, she explains to Castle how a lawsuit was filed against Zalman a month ago. Ryan and Esposito approach and tell Beckett that neighbors to the shop remember seeing a white van pull up around midnight the night of the murder. Beckett tells them to look into it and to find out what Zalman was doing when he left the shop. She also asks about next of kin and Esposito says he had a brother who they haven’t reached yet. After they leave, Castle gets Beckett’s attention and shows her the X-Ray glasses he is wearing which he bought at the shop and which now allow him to see Beckett naked. Without missing a beat, Beckett asks him if he likes her navel ring and he drops his playful attitude in surprise. Eventually, Beckett discovers that the lawsuit filed against Zalman was brought by Jerome Aspenall, but was thrown out of court the day before. Castle supposes Jerome decided to take justice into his own hands.

Meanwhile, at Ryan’s desk, Ryan tells Esposito how he’s found out that someone they know has a secret. Esposito grows worried as Ryan goes on about how he could understand why a guy wouldn’t want to share something personal. Esposito asks Ryan how he found out and Ryan tells him everyone knows then shows him a Page Six article about how Castle and Gina recently had a very public argument at a restaurant. Esposito is relieved and now realizes what Castle was talking about outside the magic shop. Ryan remains slightly upset, though, that Castle wouldn’t confide in all of them since they’ve become like family. Esposito guesses he is afraid of what they would all think and Ryan nods, knowingly, in agreement.

Later in an interrogation room, Jerome angrily explains how Zalman read his mind at a benefit he and his wife attended and revealed how he cheated on his wife by reading his mind. Now he is unemployed, living in a hotel and his mistress is refusing to return his calls. Beckett asks him for his alibi then tells Jerome how Zalman was murdered last night. Instead of answering her question, he happily proclaims how justice has been done. Beckett informs him how they know about his attack on Zalman last month and asks him if he took matters into his own hands. Jerome says he spent the night before at a bar.

As they leave the interrogation room, Castle guesses Zalman read Jerome’s mind by picking a receipt from his trip out of his pocket. Beckett then shows Castle his cell phone as evidence that she picked his pocket and he is thrilled and squeals for her to do it again. They are interrupted when his phone rings. Beckett hands it back to him and his face falls when he sees it is Gina. He refuses to answer the call, to Beckett’s curiosity, and she changes the subject by asking Ryan if he has tracked down Zalman’s whereabouts for the day he was murdered. He answers no, but says he confirmed Jerome’s alibi and that CSU found nobody else’s prints on the water tank other than Zalman’s. Beckett guesses Zalman did commit suicide and Castle interjects that the killer could have worn gloves. Esposito joins them and says the suicide note was covered in fingerprints matching those of Charles “Chuck” Russell, a street magician with previous arrests for arson and misusing explosives. Beckett asks if Chuck and Zalman knew each other and Esposito explains how Zalman got Chuck thrown out of the magician’s guild for misusing explosives which resulted in injury to one of his assistants, and that Chuck hasn’t been able to book any gigs since.

Later on, Castle and Beckett find Chuck performing on the street. After he makes a woman’s watch disappear, Castle tosses a dollar into Chuck’s hat as a tip. Chuck teases him about the low denomination then asks Beckett If she would care to tip him. She flashes her badge and says she needs to talk to him about Zalman. Chuck then says “Abracadabra”, snaps his fingers, and disappears in a puff of smoke from atop his small performance platform. Castle is impressed, but Beckett merely rolls her eyes. She approaches the platform, slides aside the top panel, and pulls Chuck out of the hidey hole in the platform, saying “Alakazam, jackass.”

In interrogation, Beckett presents Chuck with the suicide note, which he denies knowing anything about until Beckett tells him his fingerprints were found all over it. She then tells him how Zalman was found dead in his shop’s water torture chamber and Castle accuses him of murdering Zalman and staging the scene to look like a suicide. Chuck denies any involvement in Zalman’s death and refuses to answer anymore questions. When Castle and Beckett go to leave the room, he finally admits that he gave Zalman the note, but to read his message, one needs a black light. Beckett finds one and reveals writing on the paper which Chuck describes as an invoice he gave to Zalman for his finding him some C4 explosives. Chuck goes on to say how he agreed to help Zalman after he promised to get him reinstated in the guild. He also denies writing the note and says he has no idea what Zalman needed the explosives for. Beckett scoffs when he guesses it was for a magic trick, but he explains how rumor had it that Zalman was designing tricks for well-known magician Tobias Strange.

Outside interrogation, Castle sings Strange’s praises and tells Beckett how he once saw him make a Ferrari disappear at a show in Las Vegas. As Ryan and Esposito join them, Ryan is unenthusiastic, while Esposito says he saw one of his shows in town recently and absent-mindedly implies that he had someone with him. When Castle asks who, he covers by saying he took his friend Ray. While Ryan remains doubtful of Esposito’s story, Beckett tells them to hold Chuck for explosives trafficking while they look into whether or not Tobias knew what Zalman was up to.

Later on, Castle and Beckett walk in on Tobias rehearsing his magic tricks at a theater. As they watch he and his assistants set up for a dangerous looking disappearing trick, one assistant becomes distracted when Beckett announces herself and the trick seemingly goes awry. All are terrified that Tobias has been killed, only to have him appear at the back of the theater unscathed and furious at the interruption. Beckett calms him by flashing her badge. Later on, Tobias says Zalman worked for him until a month ago when he confronted Zalman about a rumor he heard that Zalman had been working for someone else. He goes on to say how Zalman had designed tricks for him for fifteen years and that if Zalman had had more stage presence, he’d have become a famous magician in his own right. Castle asks if Tobias was worried that Zalman would reveal his trade secrets and Tobias admits to being angry that Zalman left him, but denies that Zalman would ever talk. Beckett asks him about the C4 and Tobias assures Beckett and Castle that whatever Zalman needed it for was not magic related since it is too dangerous to use in magic. Tobias suggests they check Zalman’s workshop and assures them they will find whatever he was working on there. As they leave the theater, Castle spins a wild theory about how Tobias was upset at Zalman’s leaving him and killed him to protect his secrets. Beckett doubts his thought, saying they still aren’t entirely sure if Zalman’s death was murder or suicide. Her cell phone rings and she says it is Lanie calling.

At the morgue, Beckett and Castle find Lanie dressed to the hilt with hair and makeup done and impatient for their arrival. Beckett admits traffic was bad and Castle observes how she is all dressed up and eager to tell them what she’s found. He asks who she has plans with and Lanie promises to tell them if he tells what is going on with Gina. Beckett’s face brightens, and, to Castle’s embarrassment, Lanie shares the news from the paper about his public argument with Gina. He changes the subject back to the victim, to Beckett’s slight disappointment, and Lanie declares that Zalman was asphyxiated and had no water in his lungs, ruling out drowning. She also shows Beckett and Castle bruising on Zalman’s face, indicating that the killer held his hand over Zalman’s mouth, then put him in the water tank and wrote the suicide note on what he thought was a blank piece of paper. Beckett is still confused, wondering what Zalman was involved in that required explosives, and finally declares that they need to find his workshop.

That night at his loft, Castle’s mother, Martha Rodgers, and daughter Alexis confront him about his argument with Gina, upset that he didn’t tell them. He answers that they’ve been fighting a lot, then tries to change the subject by pulling a quarter out of Alexis’ ear. She is unimpressed though, takes the quarter from him, and transforms it into a twenty dollar bill to Castle’s delight.

The next morning at the precinct, Beckett hurriedly takes her usual coffee from Castle and says she found Zalman’s workshop. She describes how Ryan found a metro card in Zalman’s wallet which indicated that he took the subway from near his shop to the Bronx. Rather than have to canvass the area, Beckett found, in checking Zalman’s financial history, that on one day recently when a power outage shut down the subway system, he hired a car to take him to his shop and she got the address from the car service.

Castle and Beckett arrive at the address in Queens and find what looks like a bricked up warehouse. Beckett then notices footprints leading into a brick wall. She feels along the wall, finds a lose brick, and pushes it inward, resulting in the wall sliding aside and revealing the hidden entrance to Zalman’s workshop. The door closes behind them and, using flashlights, they both explore the workshop. Beckett becomes increasingly enthralled, saying her grandfather would have loved seeing Zalman’s equipment and adds that Castle would have liked her grandfather. Castle approaches her, wearing a box from one of Zalman’s tricks on his head, and Beckett admits he reminds her of her grandfather sometimes. Castle tells her he is flattered and notices wheelchair tracks in the shop as he takes the box off his head. Beckett observes how the tracks look fresh and says she’ll have to get CSU to sweep the whole place as Castle notices a painting on one wall of what looks like tools painted in green on a field of white. Beckett finds a notebook in which several pages appear to be torn out, indicating to her that someone is trying to cover up Zalman’s latest project. Just then, an Iron Maiden opens to reveal a person who bears a striking resemblance to Zalman entering the workshop. He demands to know who Castle and Beckett are while Castle comments on how it appears that Zalman pulled off the best trick ever.

Beckett pulls her gun and tells the man to put his hands up. Castle asks if he is Zalman, and the man corrects him, saying he is Edmund Drake, Zalman’s twin brother. He explains how the Iron Maiden is a secret entrance and asks what Castle and Beckett are doing at the workshop. Beckett breaks the bad news to him about Zalman.

Back at the precinct, Castle is incredulous at Edmund’s resemblance to Zalman, which differs only in that Edmund wears glasses, and says he is convinced Zalman isn’t dead, but faked his death and disguised himself as Edmund. Beckett says she has no reason to believe Castle’s idea and points out how devastated Edmund looks. Castle then theorizes that Edmund is dead, and Zalman killed him and assumed his identity to conceal his crime. Beckett doubts this reminding Castle how if his theory were true, then Zalman would have traded his life as a magician for Edmund’s as an accountant from Poughkeepsie. Castle finally concedes her point.

In the break room, they interview Edmund who says he suspected something was wrong when Zalman called him a couple days ago, saying he needed help hiding from the government half a million dollars he had been paid for a job. He suspected he had gotten himself involved in something illegal and went to the warehouse after being unable to reach him and feeling in his gut that something was wrong. Castle asks him why he didn’t follow his father and brother into the magic business and he says he didn’t have the passion or the skill that Zalman did, but that they did have an act together as kids. He pulls a worn picture out of his wallet that shows the both of them dressed in top hats and black capes holding magic wands. He describes how they would make people, especially those who didn’t know they were twins, think Zalman could disappear by having Zalman disappear from their stage and Edmund appear elsewhere. Castle accuses Edmund of fooling lots of people, but Beckett deflects his statement, asking if he thought he could figure out what Zalman was into by looking over his possessions. Edmund says he most likely couldn’t since he doesn’t think like Zalman and that regardless of what he was into, he didn’t deserve to die like he did.

As Edmund walks out of the precinct, Castle cannot believe Beckett is letting him go. Beckett says she cannot charge him with anything and guesses that whatever Zalman was into had nothing to do with magic. Beckett’s cell phone rings, she answers and Esposito tells her how CSU found no evidence of what or who Zalman was working on or for, but that they did find traces of C4 on his workbench. He adds that they are running down the tracks she and Castle found to find the make and model of the wheelchair, and as a result, its owner. As she ends the call, Castle spins another wild theory that Zalman found himself in financial trouble with the shop, lured Edmund to the city where he killed him, assumed his identity and took his wife and children as his own to further cover his tracks. Beckett ignores Castle until he finishes and proudly proclaims Edmund is Zalman.

At the morgue, Lanie ruins Castle’s theory by saying the fingerprints on their victim do belong to Zalman. Castle admits he is disappointed, but Lanie tries to cheer him up by showing him a small evidence bag of what Castle identifies as old man hair. Lanie corrects him, saying it is rabbit fur she found in Zalman’s teeth and throat. Castle jokes, to Beckett’s consternation, that a rabbit that did not want to be pulled out of a hat is the murderer. Lanie adds that she also found a low dose of organophosphates in Zalman’s system which could come from such things as nerve agents, oil, or jet fuel. The mention of nerve agents gets Castle’s and Beckett’s attention and makes them wonder if, combined with the C4, Zalman was involved in a terrorist plot. Lanie goes on to say the amount she found is too small to indicate that he was directly exposed to the chemicals, but she can say the exposure was recent.

She is interrupted by Esposito’s cheerful voice coming from the hall. Lanie covers his appearance by saying she’ll go get the test results he requested and Esposito plays along, telling Beckett the tests are for a different case. He goes on to say that he succeeded in identifying the owner of the wheelchair that made the tracks in Zalman’s office as Thaddeus Magnus, a man who has been arrested several times for civil disobedience and who also drives a white van like the one witnesses identified as pulling up to Drake’s Magic Shop the night of the murder. Castle says his history combined with the C4 point to Thaddeus resembling a Timothy McVeigh-like bomber. Beckett takes Thaddeus’ address from Esposito and the two leave to his relief. Lanie returns and observes how they just had a close call. Esposito sloughs off her warning and demonstrates his idea of close by pulling her to him for a passionate kiss.

At Thaddeus’ apartment, Castle wonders how a guy in a wheelchair could lift Zalman into the water tank and suggests the wheelchair is fake. Inside the apartment, Beckett sets Thaddeus straight by telling him Zalman didn’t fail at an escape, but was murdered. Castle explains how they know about the white van making an appearance outside the shop at the time of the murder and Thaddeus says he was working for Zalman, not the other way around. Castle, in playing with a fake foot Thaddeus built, says he could have used fake legs to put Zalman in the water tank, but Thaddeus implicates two men who called Zalman and demanded he meet them at the shop after closing. In addition, he describes how Zalman asked him to create a mechanical arm that could be used to trigger a switch remotely. Castle asks if it could have been used to detonate a bomb and Thaddeus insists he knew nothing about any explosives, but does say Zalman told him he was working on his greatest trick ever: one that would allow him to get away with murder.

Back at the precinct that night, Ryan, Castle and Beckett talk around the murder board. Castle laments how Zalman, who had such a respect for magic, could use his skills for something illegal and Beckett guesses the half million dollar payment for his services came at a time when Zalman needed the money to save the shop. She also guesses that whoever recruited Zalman for their plan figured it was better to kill him than to leave him alive and risk him squealing. The key to solving the crime is to find out who Zalman was being paid to kill. She doubts that so many deaths as a result of explosions took place in the city to make it hard to figure out who Zalman killed and dismisses them all for the night, asking them to see what they can find on their own.

The following morning at his loft, Castle sits in his kitchen searching online for news reports of deaths by explosion and is surprised by how many he has found. Martha joins him and asks him again about what is going with him and Gina. Before he can answer her, his cell phone rings and, seeing it is Gina, he again does not answer, but rather takes the phone in his hands and makes it disappear. Martha is impressed by the trick, but reminds him that his problem has not disappeared. She gets serious and asks him what is going on to which he responds that the magic has gone out of their relationship, but neither wants to admit it. He then notices a news story about a man who died in an airplane explosion and makes the connection to the chemicals Lanie found in Zalman’s system which could have come from jet fuel. He hurries out the door, leaving Martha alone in the kitchen.

At the precinct, Castle approaches Beckett and proudly announces how he figured out who Zalman was hired to kill. He is disappointed when Beckett reveals she figured it out too: that Zalman’s target was billionaire Christian Dahl. Beckett tempers his excitement at their both making the connection by saying the evidence they have merely amounts to conjecture. She and Ryan explain how Dahl took off in a small plane planning to attempt to set a transatlantic speed record only to have his plane break up in mid air. Castle supposes that whoever wanted Dahl dead also killed Zalman to cover up the first murder, but Beckett tells him it is just speculation unless they uncover more evidence. Esposito arrives and says the FAA is sending over footage of Dahl’s takeoff.

Later on Beckett and the guys sit in a conference room watching news footage of Dahls’ takeoff. They see him board the plane and a white van with a green caterer’s logo on its side pull up and block the camera’s view of the plane. Beckett recognizes the logo as matching the painting Castle found on the wall in Zalman’s workshop and identifies it as a decal Zalman must have painted. They then see Zalman exit the van and pull out a large box, which he walks around to the side of the plane hidden from the camera. They speed up the video and see Dahl sitting in the pilot’s seat as the plane leaves the terminal. All assume that Zalman loaded explosives on the plane.

Later on, Esposito talks on his phone to Lanie, but cuts off the call when Ryan approaches him, and tells him it was the Coast Guard and he was asking if they found the data recorder from Dahl’s plane. Before Esposito can answer Ryan’s question if they found it or not, Beckett asks them for an update on their research into Dahl’s background. Ryan says he made his money by always being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to invest in exactly the right thing. Esposito adds that people loved him since he gave so much of his money to charity and to research in the occult. Beckett says he has to have some haters given all his wealth and Ryan shows her a magazine photo of Dahl and his ex-wife, a fashion model named Naomi, who Dahl caught cheating on him. As a result of her affair, she’d be left with nothing if she ended the marriage according to their prenuptial agreement. Beckett observes, however, that if Dahl were to die first, she would inherit all his wealth. Ryan then says the magazine photo was taken at a benefit for Dahl’s foundation six weeks ago, where Zalman had been the entertainment. Castle then remembers Jerome’s story about how that was the benefit where Zalman not only revealed his affair, but made someone in the audience disappear and guesses Naomi must have wondered if Zalman could do the same for her husband.

In interrogation, Naomi tells Beckett and Castle how when she heard about Dahl’s plane exploding she too thought it wasn’t an accident. When Beckett confronts her about her prenuptial agreement, she denies murdering Dahl to get out of her marriage and get his money, saying she can support herself with her own career, and that she never cheated on Dahl. When Castle asks her about the fortune she would have inherited, Naomi tells them that the District Attorney’s office had frozen all of Dahl’s accounts, so there was nothing for her to inherit.

Later Beckett hangs up her phone and tells Castle that Dahl was under investigation by the SEC for running a Ponze scheme and was weeks away from being indicted for massive fraud which would have cost him all his money and put him in jail for fifty years. Castle then says if he were in a similar position, he’d want to disappear too and use a magician to help him do it. Back in the conference room, Beckett, and Castle review the tape of Dahl’s takeoff again. Castle finally realizes that when the plane pulled away for takeoff, Dahl had been replaced in the cockpit with a dummy. Beckett then figures out that the box Zalman unloaded from his van contained the dummy, which was used to switch out the dummy for Dahl, but wonders how the plane was controlled. Castle guesses that Dahl used a console which was linked to the plane’s avionics to control it and detonate the explosives. He and Beckett then build the theory that Dahl remotely detonated the plane, making everyone who saw the takeoff believe he was dead, and later killed Zalman because he was the only person who knew Dahl was still alive. Once they reach this conclusion, Castle and Beckett excitedly lock eyes, but Beckett breaks it off by asking Castle if something is wrong. He quickly denies that anything is wrong and asks for their next move. Beckett is slightly confused, then guesses Dahl has left the country and is living off what is left of his wealth. Castle disagrees, having thought of a wild idea.

Later, Castle and Beckett stand outside a large church where Dahl’s memorial service is being held. Castle speculates that Dahl, being wealthy, famous, and interested in the occult, wouldn’t miss the chance to attend his own funeral, just like he would were he in Dahl’s place. Beckett asks how they will find him and Castle describes someone in disguise, who is trying to fit in but only just so, and who isn’t making conversation but seems to be listening in on others talking. As he profiles Dahl, Beckett picks out a man with long brown hair, a mustache, beard and who is wearing expensive shoes. They confront him, Beckett flashes her badge, and Dahl tries to run, only is stopped by Esposito and Ryan.

Back in interrogation, Dahl sits smugly listening to Castle and Beckett explain how they caught him and how and why he killed Zalman. He laughs and Beckett tells him how he lured Zalman to his shop, and smothered him while wearing his rabbit fur gloves. Dahl proclaims not to be scared of Beckett or the SEC and maintains that he will bury them, and they will never find him once he gets out of jail. Dahl begins to ask for a lawyer, but becomes visibly distracted. He looks around and recovers himself, but remains disturbed. Castle and Beckett ask him what is the matter and he asks them how they are doing what they are doing. Dahl then sees someone walk past him and a hand reach out for him, so he jumps out of his seat and cowers in the corner of the interrogation room. Castle guesses he is having a flashback to the murder and Dahl insists that Zalman’s ghost is in the room. He screams at it that it can’t be him since he murdered him to which Beckett proudly responds “Alakazam, jackass.”

As a uniformed cop leads Dahl away in handcuffs, Castle asks Beckett how she knew he would believe their ruse. She answers that it was just a hunch and Castle tells her that her grandfather would be proud of her. Beckett turns and thanks Tobias and Edmund, who is dressed to resemble Zalman’s ghost, for their help in making Dahl think he was seeing Zalman. Tobias says it was the least he could do and that he planned to include the trick in his future shows as a tribute to Zalman. Edmund thanks both of them as Castle asks what will happen to the magic shop. Edmund and Tobias answer that they plan on finding a way to keep it going. Beckett bids them goodnight and they leave. Ryan enters with papers for Beckett to sign and she asks where Esposito is. Ryan then dares them to guess and they all predict he is out with Lanie. Ryan expresses disbelief that he still thinks none of them know about their relationship, but Castle tells them to keep up the charade since their happiness will fade eventually. Beckett disagrees saying it won’t if they are with the right person. Castle looks at her meaningfully then hears his cell phone rings. Seeing it is Gina, he excuses himself to take the call, leaving Beckett studying the case file. After a few moments, she goes to get a bottle of water from a vending machine and overhears Castle on his phone breaking up with Gina. She is surprised, but gathers herself quickly enough to return to her desk before Castle discovers she is there. Castle ends his call and puts on a happy face as he heads back to Beckett’s desk where she is gathering her things to go home for the night. He asks if she has plans with Josh and she answers no since he is working and that she planned on getting dinner out. She invites him to come along and he excitedly agrees. As they head for the elevator, he thanks her for not making a big deal out of his public fight with Gina. She nods, then once they are both on the elevator, pulls a bouquet of fake flowers out of her coat sleeve and hands them to him. They both grin widely as the doors close.


Who: Zalman Drake

Found: Upside down in a magic water torture tank in his magic shop
Where Killed: at his magic shop, the staged in the water tank
How: Smothered with fur lined, gloved hands

Killer: Christian Dahl, billionaire who is supposed to be dead

Motive: to cover up Zalam helping him "disappear" in a plane explosion. Zalman helped Dahl fake his own death to get out of an SEC investigation of his finances