Season 3, Episode 16 (50)
Original Air Date - February 21, 2011
Castle and Beckett investigate the apparent robbery-homicide of a New York cab driver, only to discover that the victim was involved in a mysterious conspiracy with unimaginable consequences. As the stakes continue to rise, hard-charging federal agent Mark Fallon (guest star Adrian Pasdar) takes over the investigation. Together, Fallon, Beckett and Castle must race to unmask the truth about the victim before it's too late.
- Nathan Fillion - Richard Castle
- Stana Katic - Kate Beckett, Detective
- Molly C. Quinn - Alexis Castle (Castle’s Daughter)
- Susan Sullivan - Martha Rodgers (Castle’s Mother)
- Ruben Santiago-Hudson - Roy Montgomery, Captain
- Jon Huertas - Javier Esposito, Detective
- Seamus Dever - Kevin Ryan, Detective
- Tamala Jones - Lanie Parish, Medical Examiner
- Adrian Pasdar - DHS Agent Mark Fallon
- Victor Webster - Josh Davidson
- Alon Aboutboul - Fariq Yusef
- Matt Bushell - Leeman Jones
- Piter Marek - Jamal Alhabi
- Billy Mayo - Senior Officer
- Lochlyn Munro - Kevin McCann
- Bahar Soomekh - Nazihah Alhabi
- David Weidoff - Craig
Esposito: Everything points to him being popped for cash and car parts.
Lanie: Not everything, baby.
Beckett: Did you just call him baby?
Lanie: Ooh. Did I?
Castle: (silently) Dirty.
Lanie: Time of death fits a robbery. He was killed at 11:15.
Castle: So specific. I’m impressed.
Lanie: His watch broke when he fell.
Castle: Ah, you shouldn’t have told me. Less impressed.
Castle: That guy does not have the improv skills to make up a lie like that.
Martha: I have scored two incredibly hard to get spots at The Oasis of Serenity.
Castle: That’s fantastic. What is that?
Martha: You haven’t heard of the Serenity?
Martha: It’s a sanctuary, place for reflection, getting in touch with your inner self.
Castle: In your case is that wise?
Castle: What brings Motorcycle Boy here...Dr. Motorcycle Boy?
Beckett: Does he need a reason?
Castle: It just looked personal.
Beckett: It was.
Castle: Amir took his cab down St. Nichols Ave to the 1600 block. He parked mid-block.
Beckett, Ryan, & Esposito: (simultaneously) So?
Castle: Wait, how we gonna get it open?
Beckett: Well, if all else fails…(holds up a pair of heavy-duty bolt cutters in a sexy pose)
Castle: For reasons too disturbing to mention, I find that hot.
Castle: What do you think’s in there?
Beckett: I don’t know. Might be empty like Al Capone’s vault.
Castle: No, think of all the amazing things that are found in storage units at times like these. (imitating Asian voice) Ark of the Covenant, Dr. Jones?
Castle: It’s a bomb. There’s a nuclear bomb in that locker.
Beckett: Castle, we don’t know that it’s a bomb.
Castle: Well, we will soon as it goes off in that nano-second before we’re vaporized.
Castle: That radiation detector of yours, does it have a scale on it like chest x-ray to Chernobyl?
Beckett: (nods) Maxed out.
Beckett: It’s so funny, Castle, you know at first I loved that he was so busy. It’s just, um…just gave me an opportunity to keep one foot out the door, just in case.
Castle: But with one foot out the door it’s hard to know where you stand.
Beckett: Why is it that the thing that attracts you to a person always ends up being that thing that just drives you crazy? I just wish I didn’t…I wish that I had someone who would be there for me and I could be there for him and we could just dive into it together.
Ryan: I told Jenny I’d be late. Tried to get her to go visit her mom.
Esposito: Yeah, I did the same with Lanie. Didn’t work. She hates her mom.
Esposito: They were together, bro. Could you be a terrorist without Jenny knowing?
Castle: What’s your take on Fallon?
Beckett: Smart cop, driven, killer instinct. As a person, kind of a douche.
Capt. Montgomery: Sir, Beckett’s the best I have and Castle may be a pain in the ass sometimes, but he thinks outside the box.
Fallon: It’s not your party anymore, Captain.
Castle: A 600-thread count shower curtain murder board…It’s like our own mini-precinct.
Beckett: Except it smells better.
- This episode contained an Easter egg
- Sympathique performed by Pink Martini
Full Episode Recap
Richard Castle is being dragged through a tented hallway, sirens blaring all around him, by two people in hazmat suits. At the end of the hallway, he is unceremoniously shoved into a large tent. He turns and sees Detective Kate Beckett standing at the other end, a look of fear on her face.
36 hours earlier a security guard finds a stripped down cab near an abandoned warehouse. Detective Javier Esposito is already on the scene when Castle and Beckett arrive. He shows them the cab, then the body of the driver, Amir Alhabi, their victim. Esposito tells Beckett he already has auto theft out looking for the stripped parts and that no money was found on the body or in the cab. He guesses Amir was killed for the cash and car parts, but Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Esposito’s girlfriend, disagrees, and in the process slips up, calling him “baby”. Esposito is surprised, but Castle and Beckett merely tease her briefly then get back to the case.
Lanie states that Amir was killed at 11:15p.m., indicating a robbery, and Castle is very impressed until she says his watch broke when he fell. Amir was shot in the head, which also indicates a robbery, but his fingers were broken one at a time. Castle suggests he was tortured to reveal where he was hiding his money from his fares, and Beckett tells Esposito to find out who Amir picked up before he was killed.
Back at the precinct, Detective Kevin Ryan runs down Amir’s history: he emigrated from Syria seven years ago and became a citizen last June, and owned his cab and medallion with a cousin, Jamal Alhabi. During the briefing, Castle notices Beckett is distracted as she fiddles with her cell phone and seems upset. She suggests that the Taxi & Limo Commission would be able to track his cab, but Ryan says Amir shut off his meter at 10:02pm. However, he did subscribe to a GPS tracking service that assists with routes and where to pick up fares. Beckett finishes with her phone and drops it on her desk, clearly not happy. Ryan continues saying that Amir drove up to Washington Heights, parked in the 1600 block of St. Nicholas Avenue for six minutes then continued to the warehouse. Castle theorizes that Amir might have been carjacked and forced to drive to the warehouse. Ryan says that Amir’s phone indicates he called his wife Nazihah at 10:01 and made a notation “C4121652” about an hour before he died. Ryan says he ruled out the possibility of the notation being a license plate number and Castle guesses it is a phone number. Ryan says he tried that too, but came up empty.
Castle and Beckett go to visit Nazihah and Amir’s cousin Jamal. Nazihah says Amir called to tell her that he would be late because he planned on trying to get more fares from the theater district. Beckett tells her he didn’t do this, but instead went to Washington Heights, which is an area notorious for drug dealing and prostitution. Nazihah denies that Amir was into such things and does not know what the notation in Amir’s phone means. Her baby begins crying in another room and she excuses herself. Jamal says he was merely an investor in the cab company, since most of his income came from his moving company. He says that Amir drove one cab and rented others to drivers Kevin McCann and Dimitri Voldov. Beckett’s phone then rings with news from Esposito.
At the precinct, Esposito tells them that a Leman Jones was caught selling the taxi parts at a chop shop. In an interrogation room, Beckett tells Jones they have a witness who places him at the crime scene stripping the cab around the time of the murder. Jones admits to stripping the cab, but says their witness has it wrong, that he didn’t kill anyone. Beckett then admits that she made up the story about a witness, but Jones insists he saw someone else at the scene: someone who did a number on the car’s interior.
In the observation room, Castle and Beckett tell Esposito they believe Jones’ story. Beckett asks Esposito to have CSU look over the cab anyway, then her call phone rings. She excuses herself to answer the call, even ignoring Ryan’s approach. Castle asks Esposito what’s up with Beckett, and he says he doesn’t know since she keeps private things private. He then heads back to his desk. Ryan reports to Castle that Dimitri Voldov’s alibi for the night of the murder checked out and that he remembered a fight between Kevin McCann and Amir two days ago that resulted in Amir’s threatening to fire McCann.
Beckett and Castle find McCann at a taxi garage and he admits to arguing with Amir over Amir’s high rental rates. He says Amir flashed around lots of money which he really hadn’t seen much of in the past. He also says at the time of the murder he was driving his cab to the Upper West Side. As Beckett and Castle walk out of the garage, Castle wonders what Amir was doing with wads of money if his wife said they were struggling to pay medical bills for their baby. Beckett’s cell phone beeps and she says Esposito needs them at the crime scene.
They arrive at the scene and Esposito says CSU found hidden pinhole cameras and recording devices inside the cab. Castle says now they can easily solve the murder by rewinding the video and audio, but Esposito says the hard drives have all been removed.
That night at Castle’s loft, he explains the case to his daughter Alexis, and they bounce theories back and forth, eventually concluding that someone was spying on either Amir or his riders. Castle’s mother, Martha Rodgers enters and excitedly tells Castle that she plans on taking Alexis with her on a trip to an exclusive spiritual retreat called The Oasis of Serenity. Alexis explains that Martha wants to reduce her ego before she begins teaching acting classes at her new acting school, then behind Martha’s back, mouths to her father that she doesn’t want to go. Martha, however, is ecstatic about taking her granddaughter and asks Castle’s permission. He picks up on Alexis’ cue that she has a physics exam to study for and Martha relents.
The next morning, Castle enters the precinct with his and Beckett’s usual coffee and finds her arguing quietly with her boyfriend Josh. Both see Castle approach and Josh kisses Beckett lightly, and leaves. Castle asks her what brought him to the station, and she admonishes him saying he doesn’t need a reason and that it was personal. She changes the subject back to the case and Captain Roy Montgomery reports that the cameras installed in the cab were not installed by law enforcement but by surveillance professionals. Ryan joins them and reports that Amir and his wife were in debt because of medical bills, but all of a sudden a few days ago had $10,000 deposited in his bank account. Esposito then tells the group that according to the GPS tracking service, Amir picked up a fare at about 4p.m. the day he died, drove the passenger for 26 minutes, then dropped the person off at the same place where he was picked up. Beckett concludes someone wanted to talk to Amir and Montgomery tells them to check traffic cameras to find out the passenger’s identity. He then says they identified the company that installed the cameras in the cab.
Castle and Beckett interview the technician who installed the surveillance equipment who at first denies any knowledge of the installation. When Beckett threatens to arrest him for violating privacy law, he admits that Amir had the equipment installed “for security reasons.”
At the precinct, Esposito shows Montgomery a photo of Amir’s passenger from a traffic camera and points out that it looks like the man is carrying a gun. Montgomery tells him to canvas the area of the traffic camera to get the man’s identity.
Beckett and Castle next revisit Nazihah who claims to have no knowledge of the surveillance equipment or the $10,000 deposit. Beckett shows her a photo of Amir’s passenger who Nazihah remembers as having visited their home last week. When she asked Amir about him, he told her the man mistook him for someone else. As they head to their car, Esposito calls Beckett to tell her the canvas revealed that the passenger frequents a coffee shop nearby the location of the traffic camera. Beckett and Castle head for the coffee shop and find the man. Beckett disarms him and notices his gun is the same kind that killed Amir. She asks him if he has a permit to carry the gun and he directs her to one of his pockets where she finds his diplomatic credentials which identify him as Syrian diplomat Fariq Yussef. Beckett asks him about his cab ride with Amir and about the murder, but he asserts his diplomatic immunity and refuses to answer her questions. He asks for his gun and Beckett refuses to hand it over.
Back at the precinct, Ryan explains Yussef is chief of security at the consulate. Castle theorizes that Yussef recruited Amir as a spy then when he completed his last mission, he killed him and removed all evidence of the mission from his cab. Esposito doubts this, saying the night of the murder Yussef was at a soccer game with high ranking Syrian officials. As Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito try to guess what happened, Castle figures out the notation Amir made into his phone. He says the “1652” could be an address and Ryan verifies this, saying it is the address of a self-storage facility, meaning the “C412” is a storage unit.
Castle and Beckett find the storage unit and Castle asks how they plan on opening it. Beckett pulls a large set of bolt cutters from a bag, and strikes an attractive pose which Castle finds disturbingly hot. However, Beckett also pulls out Amir’s keys and is able to unlock the unit’s door, despite Castle’s protests that they might find something as momentous as The Ark of the Covenant inside. Beckett rolls her eyes and lifts the door to reveal a lone crate at the back of the unit. They approach it and open its lid, finding plastic explosives inside. A radiation indicator Beckett wears beeps suddenly and she orders Castle to get out of the unit. Both drop everything and run away from the crate. Beckett immediately gets on her cell phone and calls for medical assistance, claiming to have been exposed to a high level of radiation.
At the precinct, Montgomery tells Ryan and Esposito that they don’t know how bad Beckett’s and Castle’s conditions are but that they need to keep plugging away at the case. He tells them to dig deep into Amir’s life and bring in Nazihah and Jamal, while he talks to the Syrian consulate. A voice over his shoulder says the consulate won’t cooperate and Dept. of Homeland Security Agent Mark Fallon introduces himself.
In the tent, Castle watches hazmat workers outside and worries that none are staying inside the storage facility too long. He asks Beckett if the radiation indicator she wears had a scale on it and she says grimly that it maxed it out.
Montgomery has filled Fallon in on the investigation and Fallon suggests they check if Amir is listed on any terrorist watch lists. This arouses Montgomery who asks if Fallon is taking over the investigation. Fallon answers he is simply there in an advisory capacity and to help however he can. Esposito joins them and says according to immigration records, Amir got an engineering degree from a school in Damascus. Ryan puts in that he was working on a nuclear weapons program for Syria before he immigrated, to which Fallon responds that he is now taking over the investigation.
Back in the tent, Castle worries that they’ve uncovered a nuclear bomb. Beckett tries to reassure him, but he is unconvinced. He finally sees the level of her concern and apologizes for letting the writer in him take over. He sits down on a bench across from her and she asks to change the subject. Castle brings up Josh and Beckett says he left on another Doctors Without Borders trip to Haiti. She thinks for moment then admits one reason she was initially attracted to him was his busy life, which allowed her to keep “one foot out the door” if she needed it. She was further attracted to him by his passion for what he did, which now drives her crazy since he doesn’t have much time for her and she doesn’t feel like she can compete with his career. She then wishes she had a relationship where both people could just be there for each other and “dive in” to it together. Before Castle can add anything, a hazmat worker interrupts them, much to Castle’s frustration, and says the storage unit had residual traces of Cobalt 60 inside, but not in an amount high enough to cause health problems. They are free to go. Captain Montgomery greets the two and explains that they believe the storage unit contained a second bomb with Cobalt 60 and explosives: a dirty bomb that has since gone missing.
Back at his loft, Castle finds Alexis studying and Martha ready to leave to go the retreat. As Martha makes a production out of leaving, Castle tells Alexis he has changed his mind and that she should go. Alexis is suspicious of her father’s change of heart, but he tells her to take her books with her so she can study. Martha is ecstatic and runs off to help Alexis pack. Alexis reluctantly follows her as her father watches her head to her room with eyes swimming with tears.
The next morning, Castle finds Montgomery briefing everyone on the case and the importance of keeping a potential nuclear threat quiet. He turns it over to Fallon who tells everyone what they know so far. As he speaks, Ryan whispers to Castle how he encouraged Jenny, his fiancée, to get out of town, but she wouldn’t go. Esposito adds that he tried the same with Lanie, but she also refused. He and Beckett make eye contact across the room and her look emphasizes to Castle the seriousness of the case.
Fallon thanks Castle for his work on the case thus far then tells him since he is a civilian he is off the case. He says it is for his own protection, but Castle pulls out his phone and purports to be calling his friend the Governor to protest. Fallon relents, but tells him to stay out the way. He then asks to speak to Beckett privately. Castle laments to Montgomery how Fallon doesn’t trust anyone, but Montgomery says he is just doing his job.
In the observation room, Fallon and Beckett watch Nazihah cradling her baby. He asks if Nazihah seemed to be telling the truth during their previous interviews and Beckett agrees. He then says he wants Beckett to join him in interrogating her since she is a friendly face for her. Before entering, he calls her baby “a nice touch.”
Outside, Castle is helping Ryan track the $10,000 deposit into Amir’s account. Ryan announces he has downloaded surveillance footage from the storage unit so they can see who paid it a visit. Castle reports the money was wired into Amir’s account by a James Smith from a bank in Dearborn, Michigan. Esposito is not impressed, since the name is so common and so many Arabs live in Michigan. Castle also says the money was wired through several banks leading Ryan to conclude the person behind it was trying to cover his tracks. Esposito hopes that Fallon can get Nazihah to tell them what’s going on, but Ryan disagrees, saying she may not know anything. Esposito challenges this, asking Ryan if he could be a terrorist without Jenny knowing.
In interrogation, Fallon interrupts Beckett’s questioning about Amir’s ties to terrorism, by asking where the bomb is. Nazihah says she knows nothing about it and that her husband loved the U.S., but Fallon says he must have felt the baby with its medical problems was becoming a money pit so Amir got desperate. Nazihah again denies knowing anything, and Fallon gets more aggressive, accusing Nazihah of being involved too. She becomes upset and continues her denials, only to have Fallon ignore her and angrily threaten to have social services take away her baby unless she tells him what Amir was involved in. Beckett tries to stop him, but he ignores her too, as Nazihah tearfully swears she doesn’t know anything. Finally, Fallon gives up and tells Nazihah, to Beckett’s shock, that he was just bluffing since he had to be sure she was being honest, and that she is free to go. Nazihah leaves and Fallon asks Beckett if she believes her. She says she does, but realizes she has to assume she is lying to find out what Amir was up to. Fallon then says he has placed her house under surveillance and congratulates Beckett for playing her part so well that Nazihah considers her an ally, which could be helpful in the future.
Castle has succeeded in tracking the money to Amir’s account from a bank in Afghanistan. Ryan then sees on the surveillance footage that Jamal visited the storage unit six hours before Castle and Beckett did and removed a large container on a dolly. Castle concludes that now he has the bomb.
Later, Fallon briefs everyone again about what they’ve learned. He guesses Jamal is the leader of a terrorist cell and enlisted his cousin Amir to help him, then killed him, and now has disappeared with the bomb. He then reminds everyone of how the city is their home as well as that of their loved ones and friends before dismissing them. Castle pulls Beckett into the break room to talk. He asks what she thinks of Fallon and she says she thinks he’s a great cop but “kind of a douche” as a person. Castle then tells Beckett he suspects all the evidence they have found so far that points to Jamal and Amir was planted to make them look like the terrorists. Beckett disagrees, citing the key to the storage locker on Amir’s key ring, and the money that Castle tracked from Afghanistan. Castle insists the details just don’t add up and refutes each of Beckett’s ideas: the key could have been put on Amir’s key ring, the money came from a bank nearby Bagram Air Force Base which is frequented by U.S. military personnel, an odd choice for a terrorist, and Jamal wasn’t nervous when he moved the crate out of the storage container, meaning he may not have known what he was moving. Beckett asks what he wants them to do, and Castle says he needs to talk to someone with a different viewpoint, but he’ll need her help.
A little later, Beckett reports to Fallon that all of Jamal’s moving trucks have been accounted for except one which Jamal checked out himself 12 hours ago and never returned. Fallon tells Ryan to call in an alert on the truck. Ryan notices Castle’s disappearance and asks Beckett where he is. She replies she doesn’t know, but guesses he just stepped out for air.
Elsewhere, Fariq Yussef sits sipping coffee with Castle, who tells him he shouldn’t want the U.S. thinking Syria is behind some kind of terrorist activity when it isn’t. Yussef says he is correct and admits to watching Amir since he was involved in Syria’s nuclear program, and to visiting him. Castle figures out that Yussef was trying to recruit Amir back to the nuclear program and Yussef says Amir left the program because he had “moral qualms” about what he was doing. He offered him money to come back, but Amir refused. Castle asks about the cab ride and Yussef says Amir wanted to see him because he incorrectly thought the $10,000 deposit was to pressure him into returning. Yussef then stands to leave, but gives Castle his business card in case he needs someone with his “skills.”
Back at the precinct, Castle recounts his talk to Beckett, but Fallon catches them. He brings them into Montgomery’s office, where Montgomery waits looking stern. Fallon tells Castle he had an agent following Yussef. Castle tries to explain only to have Fallon cut him off. He tells him that if the Syrians are behind the plot, he could have done excessive damage to the investigation, not to mention how many laws he broke by going outside diplomatic channels. Castle insists that Jamal and Amir are not terrorists, but Fallon is unmoved. Beckett tries to interject for Castle, but Fallon asks if she knew what Castle was up to. When she says she did, he kicks both of them off the task force. Montgomery tries to protest, but his pleas fall on deaf ears.
At his loft, Castle plugs his cell phone into a projector, creating an improvised murder board on a shower curtain hung in his living room. He also has the data from the GPS tracking company on Amir’s cab movements before he died on his laptop. Beckett says that just because Amir is innocent that doesn’t mean Jamal is, but Castle disagrees, saying that Jamal’s involvement is dependent upon Amir’s involvement and why he was killed.
At the precinct, Ryan shows Montgomery and Fallon a text message sent from a burner phone purchased by Jamal to another burner phone that reads “The package has been delivered.” Fallon tells Montgomery or organize a street-by-street grid search to find the truck with the bomb in it.
Castle and Beckett continue bouncing around theories: Amir overheard a passenger talking about a terrorist plot, installed the surveillance equipment in his car, found out about the bomb, and was killed as a result. Beckett discounts this theory because a passenger wouldn’t talk about the plan in front of Amir if he planned on framing him for the crime. Castle then wonders if Amir suspected one of his drivers of being involved. He pulls records of Kevin McCann’s movements the day before the murder and finds he traveled to both the storage facility and a warehouse near where Amir’s body was found. He says there is no way it is just a coincidence and convinces Beckett that they should check out the warehouse.
Montgomery gets a call that the missing moving truck has been found and alerts Fallon. They fly by NYPD helicopter to the site, but find the truck empty. Fallon orders everyone to sweep every block within a 4 mile radius.
Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett arrive at the warehouse. They enter and find a white minivan sitting unattended. In the back, they find the bomb. Shots ring out and a gun fight between Beckett and the unknown assailants ensues. At a lull in the fight, Beckett sees light emanating from a doorway nearby and tells Castle to head in that direction while she lays out cover fire. He obeys and they make it to their objective: an industrial sized freezer. Beckett shuts the door and stands ready with her gun aimed in case the suspects come back. To her horror, she hears the door’s lock being rammed home. She attempts to push it open, but to no avail. Castle then draws her attention to the frozen body of Jamal, dead from a gunshot wound to the forehead, lying at the other end of the freezer.
Outside, the suspects peel white covering off the minivan, revealing it is actually black, and disappear into the night with the bomb.
Who: Amir Alhabi, taxi driver
Found: in a warehouse, his cab parked outside
Where Killed: where found
How: single gun shot wound to the head, probably 9mm. Also had his fingers broken one at a time
Killer: unknown in this episode See Countdown
Motive: unknown in the episode, but probably has something to do with terrorism
Who: Jamal Alhabi, Amir Alhabi's cousin
Found: in a freezer container in the same warehouse that Amir was found
Where Killed: unknown
How: gun shot to the head and left in the freezer