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Probable Cause

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Basic Details[edit]

Season 5, Episode 5 (86)

Original Air Date - October 29, 2012


While investigating a ritualistic killing, Beckett and her team uncover overwhelming evidence pointing to Castle as the killer. As he swears his innocence, the notorious serial killer 3XK emerges and taunts Castle, saying the frame is part of his plan to have him killed, leaving Beckett to race against time not only to prove Castle's innocence, but to catch the diabolical killer before his plan comes to fruition.

Episode Images[edit]

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.


Main Cast[edit]

Guest Cast[edit]

  • Michael Mosley - Jerry Tyson/3XK
  • Alexa Havins - Elle Daniels
  • Romi Dias - ADA Toni Gonzalez
  • Gerald Downey - Lloyd Kurtzman
  • Paul Anthony Scott - Paul Dyson
  • Dasha Flynn - Receptionist
  • Dawnmarie Ferrara - Female Uniform
  • Jason Sims-Prewitt - Uniformed Officer
  • Sylvester Foster - Precinct Detective




Castle: Don’t they have washing machines on campus?
Alexis: They’re not as nice.
Castle: And by nice, you mean free.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: Who puts a body on a ceiling?
Lanie: Beats me, but I probably won’t sleep for weeks.
Esposito: It’s like something outta one of your books, right?

Castle: The way he left the body, the time it took, whoever did this, he liked it.

Castle: Jewelry. I never would have thought of that.
Beckett: I guess I’ll have to remind you when my birthday’s coming up.
Castle: Why Detective Beckett, was that a hint you just dropped?
Beckett: Why Mr. Castle, I do believe it was.
Castle: Shameless.

Castle: Whoa, did I throw a party and forget again?
Esposito: It’s not a party. (He hands over a search warrant)
Castle: Search warrant, gloves, ok guys, I get it. The fingerprints thing, I’m sorry. Lesson learned. You can all go home.
Esposito: It’s not a joke, bro.

Castle: Guys, what is it? Kate?!
Esposito: Richard Castle, you’re under arrest for the murder of Tessa Horton.

Beckett: Sir, he’s not a killer.
Capt. Gates: Then how do you explain all this?
Beckett: The evidence isn’t the whole story. Castle’s taught me that.
Capt. Gates: You know, I’m not always a fan of Mr. Castle’s, Detective, but even I’m having trouble believing he’d so something so heinous.
Beckett: So then what do we do?
Capt. Gates: Our jobs.

Beckett: Sir, thank you.
Capt. Gates: Don’t thank me yet, Detective. We’re gonna follow the evidence no matter where it leads us.

Beckett: You guys, when you look through Castle’s phone records-
Esposito: It’s ok. We know.
Ryan: We won’t tell Gates unless we have to.
Beckett: You know? How?
Esposito: Well, I mean, it’s us, so…

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Capt. Gates: She was seeing someone, someone her roommate described as handsome and rich.
Castle: I’m flattered, but it wasn’t me.

Beckett: Castle, whoever is behind this, whatever is going on, I will figure this out. I promise you.
Castle: I know.

Beckett: I know him, Lanie. He is immature, egotistical, a self-centered jackass sometimes, but he’s not this.
Lanie: Are you sure?

Tyson: They say dogs can smell fear. Did you know that some humans can as well? You reek of it.
Castle: Tyson.
Tyson: I prefer 3XK.

Tyson: People think it’s killing that I like, but murder’s just an act. It’s all about the anticipation, the planning, watching you and your daughter taking a walk, you and Beckett making love, standing in your living room, being inside your life knowing that I’m gonna take it all away from you, that’s what I like.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: I know I sound crazy, a desperate story from a desperate man, just like he wanted.
Beckett: You’re right. It does sound desperate, but it’s the first time that this story has made sense.
Castle: You believe me?
Beckett: I never stopped.
(They entwine their fingers around the cell bars)
Castle: He’s gonna kill me, Kate. I can’t run, can’t hide. What am I supposed to do?

Beckett: Jav, how secure is holding?
Esposito: Whoa, you’re not even thinking about that.
Beckett: We’re talking about his life. We can’t let them take him.
Esposito: Are you crazy? It’d never work. You’d never even get hold of-
Beckett: Tyson did it.
Esposito: Because nobody was looking for him. He had weeks to plan maybe even longer…I know how you feel about the guy. I love him too, but there’s nothing we can do.

Castle: This is so much less fun than the other night at your place. Do you remember the first time you hand cuffed me? We were at the New York Public Library. Remember how angry you were that I wouldn’t stop investigating that case?
Beckett: Yeah, I remember.
Castle: What I wouldn’t give to be there now.
Beckett: Castle, this isn’t over. I promise you, I will get you out.
Castle: It’s ok. Whatever happens, it’s ok.

Esposito: I’m sorry.
Beckett: Don’t be sorry. I don’t need sorry. I need to find this son of a bitch and put him in the ground.

Beckett: Thank God you’re ok.
Castle: Thank God you understood my message.

Castle: (about meeting a Richard Castle look-a-like) You know, now that I’m up close, I really don’t see it.

Castle: Thank you.
Beckett: For what?

Castle: Believing in me. I mean, given my reputation, my history, when you saw those emails it would have been real easy not to.
© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Beckett: Yeah well, things have never been easy between you and me.

Castle: How does a wanted man stop being wanted? It has to be public and it has to be final.
Beckett: Do you know how crazy that sounds?
Castle: No one’s gonna be looking for him anymore.
Beckett: You shot him. He’s dead. It’s over.
Castle: For now.

Beckett: They started up about eight weeks ago, according to those e-mails. He met her after one of his book signings, and he asked her out for coffee, and that was a... it was just a couple of weeks after we started seeing each other.
Lanie: (sympathetically) Oh, sweetie.
Beckett: He told her that needed to keep it a secret, because he was with someone else. And then when he tried to break it off about a week ago, she threatened to go and tell his girlfriend. He offered to come over to her apartment to talk things through. And that was the night of the murder.
Lanie: He had motive. What did Castle say when you talked to him?
Beckett: He said that the e-mails were faked. He said he never wrote that story and that he was being framed. You should have seen him, Lanie. He looked like a little boy, he was so scared. I know him, Lanie. He is an immature, egotistical, self-centered jackass sometimes, but he's not this.


  • The nameplate on Jerry Tyson's police uniform identifies him as "J. Rook," a reference to the main character in Castle's Nikki Heat books.
  • The actor who plays the Castle look-alike is Nathan Fillion's stunt double, Paul Scott[1]
  • In Anatomy of a Murder, Beckett promises to break Castle out of prison and Martha tells her son that "that is true love."
  • Beckett's also said she believes in Castle in The Final Nail.
  • In this episode, Castle reveals that he and Beckett did make use of handcuffs without the tiger, like she had suggested in Cuffed.
  • In a podcast interview with Tamala Jones, Tamala said that during the emotional scene with her and Stana Katic, Stana didn't get up between scenes in order to stay in character

Full Episode Recap[edit]

A young woman enters her apartment and calls for her roommate, Tessa. She hears no response and notices a red stain in the middle of the living room carpet. As she comes closer, red liquid drips on her face. She looks up, sees her roommate’s dead body strapped to the ceiling, and screams.

At his loft, Richard Castle is surprised to find his daughter, Alexis, has visited to do her laundry and that she has finished off the orange juice and the ice cream. He invites her to join him in playing Guitar Hero since he needs a break after writing all weekend, but she says she is late for a study group and leaves.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

At the crime scene, Castle wishes to Detective Kate Beckett that Alexis had come home for more than just supplies. She asks how his weekend of writing went and Castle answers that he knocked out two chapters since his mother, Martha Rodgers, wasn’t around. Detective Javier Esposito joins them and explains that their victim is Tessa Horton, that her roommate found her body strapped to the ceiling, and points out a symbol carved into Tessa’s forehead. Even Medical Examiner Lanie Parish admits the scene freaked her out and identifies the likely cause of death as strangulation. Detective Kevin Ryan reports that CSU found fingerprints in the hallway, but that the apartment was wiped clean. Castle and Beckett realize that the killer must have known Tessa’s roommate would be out of town, so he could take his time. Ryan adds that the front door of the apartment shows no sign of forced entry or of a struggle, meaning Tessa knew her killer. Beckett orders a canvass of neighboring apartments and for one of them to research the symbol on her forehead. She then suggests they talk to Tessa’s roommate.

At the precinct, Tessa’s roommate says Tessa was a commercial real estate insurance broker at Kurtzman Insurance. She also had a new boyfriend as of six weeks ago, but she never revealed the guy’s name, only saying he was like a prince out of a fairy tale.

Later, Castle studies the crime scene photos as Beckett updates the murder board. She tells Ryan to dig into Tessa’s phone records for information on the boyfriend and he promises to look into her emails as well. Beckett notices Castle’s disturbed expression and he tells her, given the time it took to stage the crime scene, their killer most likely enjoyed the killing.

In the morgue, Lanie says she found no sign of sexual activity and confirms that the cause of death was strangulation between 2 and 3 a.m. Saturday morning and that Tessa was strapped to the ceiling postmortem. She adds that she was confused by the fact that there was no evidence that Tessa fought her killer, so she ran some blood tests and found she had been drugged with chloroform. Additionally, talcum powder on the body indicates that the killer wore the same kind of gloves used by the police at crime scenes, meaning the killer knew what he was doing or had killed before.

Back at the precinct, Ryan says the symbol is a dead end, that Tessa spent a lot of time calling a blocked number which matches an unlisted burner phone with a stolen sim card, and that portions of her computer’s hard drive were wiped clean, indicating that the killer planned ahead. Beckett remembers Tessa’s roommate saying her new boyfriend bought her jewelry, so she suggests Ryan check her collection for fingerprints. Castle admits he hadn’t thought about the jewelry angle and Beckett teases that she’ll have to remind him when her birthday comes around.

Esposito approaches and pulls Beckett into the conference room to tell her CSU matched the fingerprints on the apartment’s outside doorknob and door frame as belonging to Castle. She guesses he merely touched them inadvertently when he arrived at the scene, but Esposito tells her CSU collected the prints before either her or Castle arrived. When confronted with the report, Castle is equally confused and supposes he did touch the doorframe accidentally. Esposito asks if he knew the victim, but Beckett stops him, saying CSU just made a mistake. They write the incident off as a learned lesson and Beckett warns Castle to be more careful. Her cell phone rings and Ryan reports that some of Tessa’s jewelry looks to be missing, as if the killer knew they would try to pull prints off it. However, he says a neighbor got a good look at a man entering Tessa’s apartment at 7:45 the night she was killed, so he called for a sketch artist. As he hangs up, a uniformed cop pulls an earring out of the couch.

At the murder board, Esposito hangs up the sketch and reports that Tessa’s roommate identified the man as Tessa’s boss, Lloyd Kurtzman, who has a sealed juvenile file. Beckett tells him to get the file unsealed and she and Castle notice how he fits the roommate’s description of Tessa’s new boyfriend: rich, handsome, and with a wife from whom he’d want to keep an affair a secret.

When interviewed, Lloyd Kurtzman says the last time he saw Tessa was at a Friday morning staff meeting and denies going to her apartment that night. When Beckett shows him the sketch and asks for his whereabouts that night, he lawyers up. In the observation room, Beckett tells Castle Kurtzman’s wife said he came home late that night, claiming he was working. She then gets lost in thought and wonders why, if he had been so meticulous at the crime scene, he didn’t have an alibi already prepared, but Castle guesses he figured he wouldn’t need one since he was confident he wouldn’t be caught.

That evening, Esposito tells Beckett he found nothing at Kurtzman’s office or home that connects him to Tessa and that his juvenile record indicates no violent tendencies. Ryan shows them the earring, saying it is a custom design from one particular jeweler and that the name and address of the buyer were fakes, but the buyer paid with a cashier’s check for $12,000 and that the store sent over their security camera footage. As they review it, they see Castle make a purchase at the exact time of sale. Beckett stalks into the break room, desperate for an explanation, but Esposito tells her it can’t be a coincidence. Ryan denies anyone is calling Castle a killer and Esposito suggests they look into Castle’s financials for any unusual activity. Beckett agrees, but tells them to keep it a secret from Castle. She leaves and before Esposito can follow, Ryan stops him and tells him about her relationship with Castle.

Back at their desks, Esposito says under different circumstances, he’d be happy for both of them and that he doesn’t believe Castle is involved. Ryan is confident he won’t find anything in Castle’s bank records, but is shocked when he finds something.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

That night, Castle answers his front door and finds a grim-looking Beckett, Esposito, and Ryan and a team of uniforms outside. He jokes that he’ll keep the wild parties to a minimum and promises he learned his lesson about touching things at crime scenes, but Esposito hands over their search warrant. They enter and a uniform directs Castle into the kitchen while Ryan and Esposito search. Beckett confronts him with the video surveillance footage and with a withdrawal from one of his accounts in the exact amount of the cashier’s check used to buy Tessa’s earrings. He claims he knows nothing about anything and she begs him to just explain himself, but is interrupted by Ryan who calls her into Castle’s office. Castle watches as them examine something on the floor and calls for Beckett to tell him what is going on, but she ignores him. Esposito joins him and places him under arrest for Tessa’s murder.

In the precinct conference room, they brief Captain Victoria Gates on their findings: a bag in Castle’s office, which is part of a luggage set he owns, and that contained the same materials used to hang Tessa from the ceiling, and a shirt spattered with blood that matches Tessa’s, all of which Castle says he has never seen before. Beckett insists Castle is not a killer and Captain Gates admits that while she’s never been a fan of Castle’s, she doesn’t believe he could commit such a heinous crime. She orders Ryan and Esposito to check his emails and phone records for any contact with Tessa and for Beckett to talk to Castle’s family to find out who else may have had access to his loft. As she leaves, Beckett thanks her, but she reminds her to do her job and follow the evidence. Beckett then turns to Ryan and Esposito to tell them about hers and Castle’s relationship, but they stop her, saying they already know. They ask if she was with him the night of the murder, but she says he cancelled their plans so he could write.

Later, Beckett watches Captain Gates interrogate Castle. He denies knowing Tessa and repeats that CSU made a mistake with the fingerprints, which Captain Gates disputes. When shown the bag, he admits it is his, which is how it got his fingerprints on it, but he says he didn’t put the contents inside. He asks about Kurtzman as a possible killer, but Gates explains that he was lured there by a text he thought came from Tessa, but that actually came from a burner phone. When he arrived at Tessa’s she sent him away and he lied because he spent the night with a prostitute. When Captain Gates presses him about his whereabouts the night of the murder, he says he was home alone writing and asks for his lawyer.

Meanwhile, Beckett explains everything to a distraught Martha and Alexis who say the only other person with access to the loft is a housekeeper. The security system is programmed to go off even if someone uses a key but doesn’t know the passcode and neither of them has seen anyone who could have been casing the building.

In the holding area, Castle’s lawyer leaves as Beckett approaches. She promises to figure out what is going on then lets Martha and Alexis visit with him. She heads back to her desk and a pained Ryan and Esposito tell her Castle’s computer had been wiped, just like Tessa’s, but they recovered a deleted file in which he had mapped out a story concept for the perfect murder where the killer gets away by staging a crime scene so bizarre that the cops miss that he is amongst them. The details are identical to Tessa’s crime scene. Additionally, they found dozens of emails linking Castle and Tessa romantically.

That night Beckett tearfully explains to Lanie that the emails indicate that Castle met Tessa two weeks after they started dating at a book signing. He told her he had to keep their relationship a secret because he was seeing someone and when he wanted to end things, she threatened to expose his cheating, so he offered to come to her apartment the night she was killed to talk things over. When she presented Castle with the emails and book idea, he insisted they were both fabricated and that he is being framed. She confesses that while Castle drives her crazy, she knows he is not a vicious killer.

Meanwhile, Jerry Tyson, the notorious serial killer known as 3XK, dressed in a cop’s uniform, shocks Castle with a visit to his holding cell. Castle calls for help, but Tyson says he made sure nobody can see or hear him. He then explains that he is framing him for Tessa’s murder out of revenge for Castle’s ruining his previous well-laid plan to disappear and continue killing without the police tailing him. He goes on to say that he let him live so he could have the gratifying experience of watching him with Alexis or making love to Beckett knowing that he will destroy him. His plan is for the D.A. to file charges against him tomorrow, which will result in his being transferred to central booking where he has arranged for someone to kill him, leaving Beckett to live the rest of her life knowing she couldn’t save an innocent man.

The next morning, Beckett tells Castle there is no evidence that 3XK visited him the night before. Castle knows he sounds desperate, but begs her to believe him. To his surprise, she does and says she never stopped. They entwine fingers and Castle asks her what is left for him to do to survive.

Beckett briefs Captain Gates on 3XK’s involvement, reminding her that Tessa was strangled, and pointing out that he has used misdirection in the past and that he switched his M.O. out of revenge. Ryan backs her up saying he used a body double in the previous case they investigated where he was the killer. Beckett asks Captain Gates to get the D.A. to give them more time and she agrees, but the D.A. refuses, saying they just want preferential treatment for a celebrity and promises they can put Castle in protective custody. Beckett insists that won’t do any good, but the D.A. remains unmoved.

As Captain Gates leads the D.A. to the elevator, Esposito, Beckett, and Ryan agree there’s no way to protect Castle in central booking. She returns to the murder board and tells them to search Castle’s loft from top to bottom looking for any sign that 3XK had broken inside. Ryan guesses Tyson was the boyfriend Tessa kept a secret, so Beckett tells them to search her office for a tie to him.

Later on, Esposito joins Beckett as she watches the jewelry store footage, telling her the team at Castle’s loft hasn’t found anything yet. She doubts she can save his life, but Esposito assures her they aren’t done looking. She then asks him about the possibility of breaking him out of central booking, but he says it’s impossible. Captain Gates interrupts them, saying the team to transfer Castle has arrived.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Beckett opens the door of Castle’s holding cell and cuffs him. He jokes that her doing so now is a lot less fun that the other night at her apartment then reminds her of the first time she cuffed him, in the New York Public Library, and wishes he could be there now. She promises to clear him and he tries to reassure her. She leads him through the precinct, past all his friends, and onto the elevator with his two guards. She watches as the doors close and heads for her desk, newly resolved to finding and killing 3XK. Her jaw drops when two guards approach her saying they have come to transfer Castle.

As Beckett works the phones, Captain Gates reports that Castle never arrived at Central Booking and has disappeared. Beckett hangs up and tells her the badge numbers of the men on the transfer paperwork are bogus, leading Beckett and Esposito to believe Tyson altered his plan so he can kill Castle himself. Captain Gates tells them that the D.A. now considers Castle to be a fugitive, based on his knowledge of police procedure and access to extensive resources. Esposito refuses to believe it and Captain Gates promises to sort things out with the D.A. while they keep working the Tyson angle. Meanwhile, Captain Gates’ reference to Castle’s resources struck a chord with Beckett and she disappears.

At the New York Public Library, she finds Castle waiting for her. They embrace, with Beckett thankful he is alright and Castle grateful she understood the veiled message he gave her in his holding cell. He explains that his lawyer sprung him and he got away by calling in a favor from a friend. On the flip side, he knows he is a fugitive and that his bank accounts have been frozen and his phones tapped and that once the evening news airs, cops won’t be the only ones looking for him. He then tells her that it occurred to him that 3XK could have used a body double in the jewelry store footage then shows her a newspaper ad for look-a-likes of famous authors to appear at a party.

A woman at the casting office confirms they placed the ad and that they sent a few headshots over to the client who made the request, but heard nothing in response. Beckett asks for the address of the client and Castle for the contact information of the Richard Castle look-a-like.

Later on, Beckett reports that the P.O. Box to which the agency sent the headshots was paid for in cash, rented for one month, and the owner left no forwarding address. They find Castle’s doppelganger who identifies the still of himself in the jewelry store as being part of a reality show he appeared in on store security. When Beckett shows him Tyson’s mug shot and he says he looks like the producer, Castle asks for his contact information.

That night at the library, Esposito tells Beckett that all contact information left by Tyson, who used the name Joseph Vacher, leads to a dead end, but Castle recognizes the name as that of a French serial killer from the 1800s, meaning 3XK is taunting him. Esposito adds that one check did come out of the dummy corporate account Tyson set up as Vacher and it was written to Kurtzman Insurance, Tessa’s employer. Ryan puts in that six weeks ago, Tessa has an entry in her date book for a meeting with a “J.V.” at an address in Manhattan, leading Beckett to suspect that Tyson was posing as a building owner looking for insurance when in reality he was looking for a base of operations. As Castle notices people pointing in his direction, they leave, telling Ryan and Esposito to meet them at the building Tyson had insured.

The four rendezvous at the building and Ryan says it is supposed to be unoccupied, yet they all see a light on in one corner window. They find the unit empty, but Beckett locates the uniform Tyson wore to the precinct and a table of photos of Castle, Tessa, and Kurtzman. Once Captain Gates arrives, Ryan tells her Tyson used latex and rubber cement to make a prosthetic hand with Castle’s fingerprints. They also found surveillance photos of Castle, a floor layout of his building, and even a map of the precinct showing where the security cameras are located. Castle explains that the whole scenario fits with Tyson’s love of the preparation that precedes murder, so a convinced Captain Gates pronounces Castle off the hook for murder and says that his lawyer should be able to argue the fleeing justice charge down to time served. She orders Beckett to return with Castle to the precinct to work up the paperwork and for everyone else to back off the building after their sweep and to place it under tight surveillance.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

On the way back to the precinct, Beckett stops as a drawbridge rises and Castle thanks her for her support, especially given his track record with women. She admits things between them have never been easy, and Castle’s response is interrupted when their car is violently struck from behind. In her rear view mirror, Beckett sees Tyson pull a gun and orders Castle to get down. Tyson fires and Beckett returns fire, fearlessly shooting him several times. She approaches his limp body in his SUV, but he knocks her to the ground with his car door, kicks her gun away, picks her up, and aims his own gun at her head, threatening to kill her. He moves to the passenger side of Beckett’s wrecked car calling for Castle to show himself so he can watch as he kills Beckett, bur he finds the car empty. Castle’s voice rings out and when Tyson turns, Castle shoots him multiple times. He stumbles backwards and falls several stories into the water below.

The next morning, Beckett tells Castle that while they’ve found no body, it is unlikely Tyson survived. Castle, however, is convinced that the entire murder, frame up, and his subsequent clearing were all part of Tyson’s plan to fake his death so he can go on killing and he was merely lucky to get away with his life. Beckett tells him he sounds crazy and that it’s over then walks away, not hearing Castle agree that it is over, but only for now.


  • Victim: Tessa Horton
  • Cause of Death: Strangulation

  • Perp: Jerry Tyson, a.k.a. The Triple Killer, or 3XK
  • Motive: Revenge on Richard Castle and Kate Beckett: He planned the entire murder as a way of framing Castle so he could have him killed in prison and leave Beckett feeling guilty about her inability to prove his innocence before his death.

Episode Analysis[edit]


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  1. Castle 5x05 "Probable Cause" delivers an edge-of-your-seat hour of TV, written by Kate Jennings, examiner.com, posted October 29, 2012

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