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Scared to Death

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Basic Details[edit]

Season 5, Episode 17 (98)

Original Air Date - March 18, 2013


Castle is freaked out when he accidentally watches a creepy DVD sent to his and Beckett's latest victims and becomes convinced that he too will die three days later.

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.
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© 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.
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© 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]

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Guest Cast[edit]

  • Wes Craven - Himself
  • Arye Gross - Medical Examiner Perlmutter
  • Bob Bancroft - Mitch Greenberg, Inn manager
  • Jeffrey Nicholas Brown - Freddie Baker
  • Brad William Henke - Mark Heller
  • Vivian Kerr - Amanda
  • Romy Rosemont - Nurse
  • Alison Trumbull - Val Butler
  • Sean Whalen - Leopold Malloy




© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: These are things to ward off evil spirits, like Perlmutter.
Perlmutter: I heard that.

Castle: Well, I’ll just point out that Val asked him if he believed in the power of evil and then was talking about how it was real. I hate to say it-
Beckett: Then don’t.

Beckett: Did you find anything yet?
Castle: Yes, a closet with more stilettos than yours. Didn’t think it was possible.

Beckett: Ryan, why don’t you take a look at this disc and see-
Ryan: Oh, I’m sorry, what?
Esposito: Et tu, bro?
Castle: What did you say about the story being a legend?
Ryan: Um, well, uh, Jenny and I, we are trying to make a baby, so we’re abiding by every superstition in the book.
Beckett: Ok. Fine. Here Espo.
Esposito: Ah, nah. I can’t. I can’t watch that. If I watch that it’s gonna make my partner out to be a wimp and I can’t have that.
Ryan: Thanks bro.
Esposito: Yeah.
Beckett: This is so pathetic.

Castle: Here hold my hand.
Beckett: Castle, I’m not scared.
Castle: I wasn’t asking for you.

Perlmutter: Ah, Detective Beckett and defective Castle.

Beckett: Did she have heart problems?
Perlmutter: She certainly did once it stopped beating.

Esposito: What if the worst happens and Castle is right? Do you think he’d put me in his will?
Ryan: Dude. Uncool.
Esposito: What?! I’m just wondering. I mean Castle’s death will be sad and all, but his Ferrari would lessen my grief.

Ryan: I’m just saying, maybe the reason we can’t trace this package’s origin is because it was sent from another realm.
Esposito: Ryan is right. It was sent from another realm, New Jersey.

Esposito: Hey, bro, I just want you to know, I just thought you should know that I really value our friendship.
Castle: Ok. Thanks.
Esposito: It’s priceless to me.
Castle: Right.
Esposito: But, if we could put a price on it, what would that be?

Castle: Ok, does anyone have a better solution, because we need one, if not for me, at least for Beckett.
Beckett: Castle, that’s so sweet. You want me to outlive you?
Castle: Of course. Who else is gonna tell my tale of sacrifice and selflessness?

Castle: You know, if there’s gonna be pictures of us hanging up there, we should really pick them out now.
Beckett: You know, Castle, we could always use the photo that I took of you in bed the other night.
Castle: I don’t know if that’s how I wanna be remembered.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Beckett: You know what? Actually, we could go back to my place tonight and take some more photos.
Castle: Well, I might be convinced…whoa what a minute! In every horror movie I’ve ever seen, having sex pretty much guarantees we will die, so for the safety of us both, I say we just hold off.
Beckett: Are you sure? I mean, think about it Castle. This could be our last time.
Castle: That’s, ok…what you’re doing, right now, this is not helping, this…I’m gonna remove myself from temptation. A good night’s sleep will give me some perspective.

Castle: I need some advice.
Wes Craven: Is Stephen King beating you at Texas Hold ‘Em again?

Ryan: In 2008, Val would have been 24, Jason would have been 66. An affair would have been-
Castle: Gross.
Ryan: I was gonna say unlikely.

Castle: The Inn must be the place where some unspeakable horror befell the spirits. Think about it: The Ring, Psycho, The Shining. It’s when we get to the creepy old motel that everything really starts going south, so this must be the location of the spirit’s origin story.
Beckett: Or somehow Val and Jason connected with the human killer at that Inn.
Castle: My version’s better.

Ryan: Whoa, you’re volunteering to watch that thing again?
Castle: Yeah, it’s not like I can get any deader.

Beckett: You’re not buying into Castle’s spirit craziness, are you?
Esposito: No! You think I’m afraid of some old campfire story. I’m a grown ass man-
Inn Manager: Need help?
(Esposito recoils in fear)
Esposito: Just so you know, um, that was me being startled, not scared.

Castle: You’re a cop. I’m a cop…helper.

Beckett: You know what? You can stop worrying about the spirits getting to you because I just might kill you myself.
Castle: Seriously? You want to spend our last day on earth fighting?

Castle: Can this get any worse? A dead serial killer has gone missing. We’ve both seen a cursed disc, a cabin in the woods with no cell phone reception? I don’t need Wes Craven to tell me how this ends.
Beckett: Well think about it this way, Castle: in all those horror movies, someone survives.
Castle: Yeah, someone, one of us. The other one is cursed with being charming and funny. I don’t think I need to tell you what kind of chances the comic relief guy has.

Beckett: “Be with Kate”? That’s your number 1? When did you write this?
Castle: Like three years ago. Ooh! I can cross that one off.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: Sorry. Still one minute to midnight.
Beckett: Are you serious Castle?
Castle: Yes, I’m serious. I’m not taking any chances. This is one deadline I want to miss.
Beckett: You know you’re right. It would be a shame if something happened to us because there is one thing on my bucket list that I would like to accomplish and it involves a little trick that I do with ice.
Castle: See now that definitely sounds worth living for.
Beckett: Hey Castle!
Castle: I just-
Beckett: Ice is melting…
Castle: Ok, I just…in three, two…


  • Romy Rosemont appeared in the 2012 independent film adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with Nathan Fillion

Full Episode Recap[edit]

A young woman barricades herself in her apartment as midnight comes. She calls 9-1-1 for help, but when her power goes out, she drops the phone in fear, resolved to die, and screams.

The next morning, Detective Javier Esposito plays the 9-1-1 call for Detective Kate Beckett and Richard Castle as all three enter the woman’s apartment. Esposito identifies the victim as Val Butler and says the call came in at 11:59 the night before. Castle sees Val lying on her living room floor, her face frozen with fear and guesses she was literally scared to death. Medical Examiner Perlmutter doubts this and tells Beckett he found no outward trauma on Val’s body pointing a cause of death. Castle suspects the killer isn’t human, noting that on the 9-1-1 call, Val said “it” was coming to kill her, and pointing out books on urban legends in the apartment as well as devices for warding off evil hanging from the walls. Beckett says Val died looking scared because she saw her killer and tells Esposito to canvas the building. Val’s roommate, Amanda, arrives and tearfully asks what happened. After telling her the news, Amanda says Val had been acting paranoid over the last few days, but refused to tell her why. She points the finger at Val’s ex-boyfriend as her killer.

At the precinct, Detective Kevin Ryan briefs Castle and Beckett on Freddie Baker, Val’s ex, who has a violent past and against whom Val had a restraining order. He notes that Val’s family hadn’t heard from her in three days, which matches with when Amanda said Val began acting strangely. Ryan shows Beckett Val’s financial history over the last three days and says, except for a train ticket to Greenwich, she had no unusual activity. Castle notes that two days ago she bought evil-fighting items, almost as if she knew something was coming for her, but Beckett remains skeptical. Esposito joins them and says a neighbor of Val’s saw Freddie entering her apartment an hour before she died.

In an interrogation room, Freddie explains that Val begged him to come to her apartment the night she died then asked him if he sent her a package. When he said he didn’t, she freaked out and kept asking him if he believed in evil. He left to avoid violating the restraining order and swears she was alive when he left.

Back at the precinct, Esposito confirms Freddie’s alibi, eliminating him as a suspect. Castle points out that Freddie’s story supports his theory that a spirit killed Val but Beckett cuts him off.

At Val’s apartment, Beckett and Castle search for the package Val was afraid of. Beckett finds an envelope and guesses the package contained a DVD or CD. Castle turns on the DVD player in Val’s bedroom and a short, very creepy video full of evil symbols and eerie noises plays. At its end, a voice says that the watcher will now die in three days. When Beckett tells him that Val received the package three days before she died, Castle becomes convinced that he will suffer the same fate.

At the precinct, Castle reads from Val’s book on urban legends about a disc that marks its viewers for death and says it explains how Val knew when she was going to die and why she was trying to ward off evil spirits. Esposito and Beckett doubt him and Ryan agrees, but when Beckett tells him to watch the DVD for clues, he refuses, claiming that he and his wife, Jenny, aren’t taking any risks of bad luck in their attempts to have a baby. When Beckett hands it to Esposito, he also refuses, saying he doesn’t want to embarrass his partner. Beckett tells them to trace the P.O. Box on the envelope then says she will watch the disc. In the conference room, she puts the disc in the DVD player while Castle nervously draws the blinds to protect the rest of the precinct. After watching, Beckett admits it is creepy, but says that was the killer’s intention, and Castle points out that the disc included symbols representing resurrection, which indicates to him that that evil will be reborn. Beckett still says there is a more logical explanation and suggests they check in on Perlmutter. In the morgue, Perlmutter says Val died of heart failure, but cannot pinpoint the cause since she had no history of heart trouble and her blood work came out clean. He admits that contraction of the facial muscles is not unheard of, but otherwise, he pronounces the cause of death as unknown, much to Castle’s chagrin. He pulls out his bucket list to see what he can accomplish before he dies.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Meanwhile, as Ryan and Esposito walk to the store where the P.O. Box from the envelope is located, Esposito wonders if he will inherit any of Castle’s money, or at least his Ferrari, if he does die. Ryan tells him he’s creating bad karma by wishing for such thing, but Esposito tells him not to worry since Castle won’t die and they’re just dealing with a human killer.

Inside the store, the manager says that a woman had come by a few days earlier asking about the same P.O. Box and Ryan and Esposito guess it was Val. The manager says the box’s owner died three months ago.

At the precinct, Ryan updates Beckett, who suspects that the killer used a random P.O. Box to cover their tracks, but Ryan wonders if something otherworldly sent the package. Esposito bursts his bubble by saying that the number on the packing slip is one in a sequence which was sent by Jason Bennett from New Jersey.

Beckett and the guys burst into Jason’s apartment, which is dark and quiet. As they search, Esposito tells Castle how much their friendship means to him and asks how much it means to him, hinting at whether or not he wrote him into his will. Castle flips on a light and finds Jason’s body in an armchair, his face twisted in fear after he watched the DVD. Ryan guesses he died a day before Val did and Esposito notices that his power is out, like Val’s was, indicating that whoever killed her also killed Jason. Castle is now convinced that both he and Beckett will die.

As they exit the precinct elevator, Castle wonders if they should copy the DVD and send it to others to get the spirits away from them, but Esposito says it could result in more deaths. Castle desperately asks for an alternative solution that would at least save Beckett, if not himself. She is touched by his concern for her, but drops it when he says he would want her to spread the story of how he was so unselfish. She insists they will be fine and tells Ryan to see if anyone from Jason’s family recognizes Val and Esposito to cross check both of them for any connections. Castle then suggests they pick out the photos of themselves that will be posted on the murder board when they die and Beckett tells him they could use the one she took of him a few nights ago in her bed. He disagrees, not wanting to be remembered that way and she confesses that she was teasing him. She tells him they should go home then flirtatiously invites him to her apartment for another photo session. Castle almost takes her up on the offer, but catches himself, saying that in every horror movie he has seen, sex always foretells death. When Beckett offers again, he slinks away from the temptation.

At 3.a.m. that night, he is wide awake in his office and decides to call his friend, Wes Craven. He makes up the story that he is writing the screenplay for a horror film and has a bit of writer’s block. His plot is that of an evil DVD being sent to a ruggedly handsome hero and his practical girlfriend and that he cannot figure out how they can survive. Wes tells him to focus on the spirit’s origin story to find out its weakness and that since evil is using the disc as a means of entering our world, the disc should include clues as to how to defeat the spirits. Castle thanks Wes and hangs up excitedly.

The next morning, Beckett cannot believe that there appears to be no connection between Val and Jason, but Ryan and Esposito insist they found none and that neither’s relatives recognized the other. Castle joins them and explains how he tweeted one of the images on the disc and one of his fans recognized it as the Brunswick Inn in Port Campbell. Later, Ryan and Esposito discover that both Val and Jason were at the Inn at the same time in November, 2008. They rule out an affair and Castle spins a theory about the Inn being the beginning of the evil spirit’s origins, but Beckett simply suspects that Val and Jason met up with their killer there. She tells the guys to look into the Inn’s history for past crimes while she and Castle travel there, but Castle begs off, saying he’d rather watch the disc again.

Beckett and Esposito arrive at the Inn, which seems to be deserted. As they wait for service, Esposito seems nervous, but denied buying into Castle’s theory about evil spirits. When the manager does arrive, he spooks him, but he says he was merely startled. Based on the rooms Val and Jason stayed in, the manager says they must have been witnesses at a trial being held at the local courthouse. He remembers the trial of serial killer Nigel Malloy going on at that time.

She and Esposito get Ryan and Castle on her cell phone and they confirm the manager’s suspicion: saying one image in the video is of the courthouse where Nigel was tried, other images are of scenes where his victims were found, and Jason and Val were witnesses at his trial. Beckett now believes that Nigel is exacting revenge on those who testified against him except Castle tells her Nigel is dead.

Later on, Castled and Ryan brief Beckett on Nigel’s case. He killed six people in 2008 and tortured them by searing symbols, like those in the video, onto his victims. Jason and Val saw him kidnap his first victim who he tortured in his basement for days before killing her. The local police arrested the wrong man and only caught up with Nigel after he’d killed five more people. Beckett rules him out as a suspect, but Castle disagrees and shows Beckett video of an interview Nigel did where he claims to have figured out a way to keep his spirit going after his body dies. Castle theorizes that Nigel transferred his spirit to the DVDs then sent them out to everyone who witnessed his crimes. Beckett says that she and Castle should be safe in that case since they aren’t witnesses, but Castle believes that Nigel would target them anyway since they work for the police. Beckett tells Ryan to make sure the other witnesses from the trial are safe, thinking someone is working on Nigel’s behalf, and when Castle asks how anyone else would know who the witnesses are, Ryan remembers that Nigel had a brother, Leopold. He was accused of helping dispose of the bodies, but found legally insane and committed to mental institution in Greenwich, where Val visited before she died.

© 2012-2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

At the hospital, a nurse confirms that Val visited Leopold before she died, briefs Castle and Beckett on the rules, and escorts them to Leopold’s secure cell. Leopold denies having anything to do with additional murders since it would jeopardize the appeal of his commitment. He admits that Val visited him, but denies sending her or the other victim anything. Castle catches his slip up, saying he never mentioned that someone besides Val died and he refuses to say anything more.

In the car on the way back to the precinct, Beckett strongly suspects that Leopold is behind the murders, but Castle thinks he got the information on Val and Jason by communicating with Nigel. Beckett doubts this, but Castle reminds her that both of them are running out of time. He pulls out his bucket list, scratches off an item, and confesses to breaking a vase in Beckett’s apartment when he was playing video games. Beckett calls Ryan and asks him to subpoena records of any calls or contacts Leopold made and Ryan agrees, then tells her he found that Nigel’s casket has recently been dug up and opened to reveal no body inside, meaning to Castle that Nigel has risen from the dead.

In the precinct break room, Castle asks Beckett for an explanation as to how Nigel’s grave has been disturbed, but she cannot come up with one right now. She remains convinced that Leopold is responsible, until Esposito confirms that Leopold has had no contact with anyone except Val. He says the only other possible victim could be Mark Heller. Jason testified first and died first, then Val, and then Mark. Mark’s girlfriend said he got a DVD three days ago , meaning he will die in three hours, but after watching the disc, he freaked out and nobody knows where he went. Ryan puts in that Heller’s financials show that he bought groceries yesterday near to his family’s cabin in a wooded area. Beckett tells Esposito to keep looking into Leopold’s background, and Ryan is to locate the other witnesses from the trial while she and Castle head for the cabin. As they walk to the elevator, Castle is fearful about the trip, but refuses to let Beckett go alone. He asks if they can make a stop before heading there.

In the car, he looks over a bag full of implements for fighting evil, including a glass jar of holy water and asks Beckett if she wants one. She says she’ll stick with her gun and refuses to admit that even a tiny part of her thinks he is right. Her cell phone rings and despite the poor connection, she makes out his message that all other trial witnesses did not receive a disc and he wonders if the killer hasn’t gotten around to sending them one yet. As the signal fades, Esposito shows Ryan a further connection between Val, Jason, and Mark, but before he can relay the information to Beckett, the call cuts off, further worrying Castle.

They arrive at Mark’s cabin and see his car, meaning he is there. Castle continues to worry that they are headed for a bad end, but Beckett reassures him that in most horror movies someone lives, but he is unmoved. They enter the cabin and Mark is there, but refuses to go with them to the precinct, saying nobody can protect him. Castle urges him to leave since it is two minutes to midnight, but he still refuses, saying that neither he, nor Val, nor Jason wanted to testify against Nigel or the other guy. Beckett thinks he means Leopold, but before Mark can explain, the power goes out.

Beckett looks outside near where the circuit breakers are and sees a shadowy figure lurking. She hands Castle her backup gun, telling him to watch Mark, and goes out through the back door to try to trap the intruder. She catches someone who runs off into the woods. She gives chase with her gun drawn, but loses them for a few minutes. When they try to escape, she tackles them and finds the mysterious person is Leopold’s nurse. She denies being the killer and explains that she is trying to save Mark. Leopold worried that people would think he was behind the murders, so she volunteered, out of love for Leopold, to try to stop the killer. She admits to being the one who dug up Nigel’s grave, but found his coffin empty. Beckett refuses to believe that Nigel is responsible.

In the cabin, Mark mentions that he, Val, and Jason all felt guilty and have blood on their hands. He tells Castle that the police arrested, David Collier, before discovering Nigel was the killer. They pushed him, Jason, and Val to pick David out of a lineup so they could pin the murders on him, but he was innocent. He couldn’t handle all the lies being told about him, so he killed himself by breaking a light bulb in his cell and electrocuting himself at midnight on his third night in prison. Castle now knows that the murders aren’t about Nigel or Leopold, but about David. Mark remembers that he had a daughter named Amanda, and Castle recalls that Val’s roommate is also named Amanda. Just then they hear floor boards creaking and someone enters the cabin, announcing that Mark’s three days are up. Amanda enters the bedroom where Castle and Mark are hiding and Castle pulls his gun on her. She uses a taser to blind both of them with light, then shoves past Castle, who drops his gun, to where Mark is huddled in a corner. Before she can shock him, the power is restored, Beckett bursts inside, and Castle breaks his bottle of holy water over Amanda’s head, knocking her unconscious. He tells Beckett he knew the holy water would come in handy someday.

At the precinct, Beckett tells Castle that Amanda had a mental breakdown a year ago and became fixated on avenging her father’s death. She became roommates with Val not only so she could kill her, but so she could find out where Jason and Mark were. Esposito joins them with Amanda’s taser, explaining that the electric shock it emits is enough to stop someone’s heart, just as her father died, and to paralyze their facial muscles in a look of fear. Beckett explains that to knock out the power to her victim’s apartments, she used a wire that emits an electromagnetic charge sufficient enough to cut off the power. Just as Beckett says there is a logical explanation for everything, Ryan reports that Nigel’s body went missing from the morgue and to keep the mystery quiet, the police simply buried an empty casket. Nigel’s body has never been found.

The next night at Castle’s loft, he and Beckett toast the solving of the case. Beckett takes Castle’s bucket list, intending to destroy it, but notices that his number one objective was to be with her. He says he wrote the list three years ago and tells her she can cross off number one. She leans in to kiss him, but he backs off, saying there is still a minute until midnight and he doesn’t want to hasten anything. She teases that he’s right and that on her bucket list is a trick she does with ice cubes. She then seductively heads for his bedroom while he watches the seconds tick down. She calls for him, saying the ice is melting, and once midnight hits, he grins.


  • Victim: Val Butler
    • Cause of Death: Heart failure due to shock from a taser

  • Victim: Jason Bennett
    • Cause of Death: Heart failure due to shock from a taser

  • Perp: Amanda Collier
    • Motive: Revenge: Her father was falsely accused by two of the victims and a third man of kidnapping a young woman and committed suicide as a result. She had a mental breakdown and fixated on taking revenge on the three accusers.

Episode Analysis[edit]

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