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The Blue Butterfly

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Basic Details

Season 4, Episode 14

Original Air Date February 6, 2012
Repeat: July 14, 2012


A mysterious necklace called the Blue Butterfly connects a modern-day murder and the journal of a 1940s private investigator, which stirs Castle's imagination. To solve the case, he envisions himself, Martha, Alexis and his friends at the twelfth as characters in the diary: Castle is Joe Flynn, a crusty private investigator, Martha is his secretary, Alexis is teenaged Sally Schofield, Beckett is Vera, the knockout girlfriend of vicious mobster Tom Dempsey, Lanie is lounge singer Betsy Sinclair, and Ryan and Esposito are two of Dempsey's muscle. When Sally hires Joe obstensibly to find her sister, Vera, and Joe and Vera fall for one another, they plot to escape Dempsey's clutches and in the process, discover Sally isn't as innocent as she seems.

Episode Images

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
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Main Cast

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Guest Cast

  • Mark Pellegrino - Tom Dempsey and Tom Dempsey III
  • Lorin McCraley - West Side Wally




Joe Flynn: (to himself, after seeing Vera for the first time) Where have you been all my life?

Esposito: Do you know of anyone who’s been threatening Stan lately?
Landlady: I’m the manager here, not the den mother.
Ryan: Ok then. When was the last time you saw him?
Landlady: This morning. Stan was all smiles. Gave notice that he was moving out ‘cause his ship was coming in.
Ryan: What ship?
Landlady: Oh, I don’t know. The Titanic from the looks of things.
Esposito: Well, if you can remember anything else, can you please give me a call?
Landlady: Don’t hold your breath hot shot.
Ryan: I think she likes you.

Beckett: I got a hit on that threatening money call to Stan’s wife and turns out it came from a dry cleaners.
Ryan: Maybe clothes aren’t the only thing they’re laundering.

Castle: Listen to this: ‘Usually wives turn on the water works when shown pictures of their husbands stepping out, but not this dame. She wanted payback. So what’s worse? That I pitched woo with a client or that I invoiced her for services rendered after?’
Beckett: (unethusiastically) Cute.

Castle: Um, Beckett, can I take this home for the night? I mean, it might be the key to what Stan was looking for.
Beckett: You just wanna read it because you think it’s cool.
Castle: Yeah, well, that too.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: (out loud to himself) The blue butterfly: it’s a necklace! That’s why Stan Banks was killed! Why am I narrating?

Castle: Boy-o.
Ryan: Boy-o.
Castle: Boy-o.
Ryan: Boy-o.
Castle: Like a leprechaun.
Ryan: Castle!
Castle: Sorry.

Castle: So, it’s five days since Joe and Vera met and they are very much in love.
Beckett: After only five days? C’mon.
Castle: Well people didn’t waste time back in the 40s. Matter of fact, they were so much in love, they risked it all.

Castle: It happened backstage, right upstairs. They were stealing a moment together which was dangerous because she was Dempsey’s girl. As they stared into each other’s eyes, Kate’s heart quickened-
Beckett: Did you just say Kate? Are you picturing the PI as you and me as a gangster’s moll?
Castle: What?! No! And I didn’t say Kate, I said fate. Fate’s heart quickened. I was being poetic. God. Anyway…

Betsy: You better wise up, Vera. Dempsey will have you butchered if he finds out. I mean he’s a helluva smoocher and all, but damn it girl, is this yum-yum really worth it?
Vera: He’s the cream in my coffee.
Betsy: You two are a walking fairy tale. Good Lord!

Vera: It’s funny. Back when I was a cigarette girl, I’d watch Dempsey coming in with his girlfriend wearing this thing around her neck and I wanted it. Pretty soon I was his girl and I had it. But it’s not a necklace, Joe. It’s a diamond noose. It’s getting harder to breathe.

Beckett: What do you mean that’s it?! What happened to Joe? What happened to Vera?
Castle: I don’t know.
Beckett: Why would you tell a story if you don’t know the ending?
Castle: If you wanted a beginning and a middle and an end I have 27 novels you can choose from.

Castle: Dammit, Joe. You old sap. Dizzy with a dame and got yourself cooked.
Ryan: So, Mr. Bogart, what exactly are we looking for here?

Beckett: Yeah, but it can’t be Sally. The bartender said he saw her months after the murders. Unless-
Castle & Beckett: (simultaneously) He lied!

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Castle: Beckett, I just realized something.
Beckett: Huh?
Castle: I can’t give you anything but love.
Beckett: What?
Castle: That’s what was playing when we interviewed the bartender.
Beckett: Right. Right.

Beckett: Cursed or not, did you ever consider going back for it?
Older Vera: They don't get it, Joe.
Older Joe: We've had four children, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and each other. What do we need a blue butterfly for?

Beckett: Do you think we should have told Joe and Vera about the Blue Butterfly?
Castle: Oh no, why ruin it for them? It's the stuff that dreams are made of.

Vera: Tell me you love me, Joe.
Joe Flynn: Always.


  • This episode marks the first in which Tamala Jones sings. "I have never sang before outside of the shower. When I was asked to do that, I was a little nervous. But I shocked myself."[1] She adds that she based her singing on Billie Holliday, of whom she is a "huge" fan[2] and called the episode her favorite of the show's run.[3]

Featured Music

  • Comes Love performed by Tamala Jones, arranged by Robert Duncan: Betsy Sinclair (Lanie) performs in the Pennybaker Club
  • I Can't Give You Anything But Love performed by Louis Armstrong: Castle hears music playing on a phonograph

Full Episode Recap

Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett enter their latest crime scene inside the old Pennybaker Club, a famous nightclub from the 1940s. Beckett finds Medical Examiner Lanie Parish who explains their victim is Stan Banks who died of a single gunshot wound to the sternum between 6 and 8a.m. that morning. She also points out a steel rod in Banks’ left hand and guesses he tried to defend himself with it. Detective Javier Esposito guesses a botched robbery is unlikely since Banks’ wallet, cell phone, and a room key to a nearby hotel were found on his body. Detective Kevin Ryan notes that Banks’ pockets were turned out, indicating the killer searched him. He volunteers to visit the hotel where Banks stayed since Banks’ ID has him living somewhere. Beckett finds Castle crouching behind what used to be the bar and shows her the possible remnants of a homeless person’s squat. Beckett suspects the person may be a witness and says she’ll start a canvass of the area.

At Banks’ hotel, the crusty manager says she doesn’t know if anyone has been threatening Banks, but the last time she saw him was that morning when he said he was moving out because his ship had come in.

Back at the precinct, Castle and Beckett interview Banks’ wife, who says they’ve been separated for almost a year, so she has little knowledge of his life. She explains that once they couldn’t go two hours without speaking to each other, but everything changed when saw a documentary about famous treasure hunter Clyde Belasco and decided he also wanted to hunt rare antiquities. When they last spoke two months ago, he talked about how he was close to finding a blue butterfly. Also, two days ago, she got a call from someone demanding payment of a $10,000 loan to Banks.

Later, Castle and Ryan go through Banks’ effects, and find little of interest except books on 1940s mobsters and an old journal from the same time. Beckett says she traced the call to Banks’ wife as coming from a dry cleaner’s and Ryan leaves to check the place out as Castle chuckles. When Beckett questions him, he says he is fascinated by the old journal, which was obviously written by a hard-boiled private investigator. She is unimpressed then interrupted by Esposito who says the canvas found that a white Mustang had been parked outside the loading zone of the Pennybaker Club for the last three days. Beckett asks him to find out if anyone got a license plate off the car and he leaves. Castle asks if he can take the diary home on the hunch that it might provide a clue to Banks’ murder and while Beckett thinks he just finds it cool, she agrees.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

That night in his loft office, Castle reads the diary whereby the writer, Joe Flynn, who he envisions as himself, describes how a young newlywed named Sally Mulqueen Schofield (Alexis) came into his office one day in 1947 asking him to help her find her older sister, Vera (Beckett). She asks that the case be kept quiet and Joe agrees. Sally hands over a picture of Vera and Joe is taken by her beauty. That night, Joe stops into the Pennybaker Club in hopes of hearing his favorite singer Louie Armstrong and of finding Vera. He isn’t disappointed when he finds that singer Betsy Sinclair (Lanie) is performing and when the bartender points out Vera, dressed to kill and on the arm of vicious mobster Tom Dempsey. His and Vera’s eyes meet and they are instantly smitten. Dempsey notices and orders two muscle (Ryan and Esposito) to teach Joe a lesson. They drag him into a back room where Dempsey tells him to knock off ogling Vera and the muscle beat him up then toss him into the alley behind the club. They head back inside and as Joe is dusting himself off, he knocks a brick out of a wall in the alley, leaving a small hole. Vera check s on him, further captivating him, but the muscle remind her not to leave their sight on Dempsey’s orders as long as she’s wearing something. She brushes aside her fur wrap to reveal a spectacular blue jewel-encrusted necklace in the shape of a butterfly around her neck. Castle now knows what Banks was looking for.

The next morning at the precinct Ryan reports to Beckett that a bookie on parole named Ray Horton rents out the back room of the dry cleaners’. Beckett supposes Banks was meeting Horton at the club to settle his debts, when Castle walks in and tells them about the necklace, the Blue Butterfly, from the journal. He explains that it would be worth $1 million, giving someone a motive for murder, was last owned by Dempsey before disappearing in the 1940s and is rumored to be hidden in the Pennybaker Club. He also suggests they go back to the club because his research tells him Dempsey’s office in the club was painted the same color as the rod found in Banks’ hand, indicating he had searched there before being killed. Additionally, rumor has it that Dempsey kept the necklace in a secret safe in his office. Beckett tells Ryan to get in touch with Horton while she and Castle go back to the club. On their way out, Castle tries to get Ryan to say “Boy-o” like he envisioned the muscle from the diary saying, but Ryan becomes put off and Castle drops the idea.

Once back at the club, Castle brings Beckett up to speed on the story from the diary, saying that Joe promised Sally that he would arrange a meeting with Vera, but leave her name out of things. Castle then sees where Banks took the rod from and guesses he used it to pry open the secret safe. However, Beckett finds an easily accessible wall safe and says it isn’t likely that anything has been hidden there for some time, but Castle doubts that is the secret safe since people often had two safes in that time, and hid one that contained the rare valuables much deeper than the other. When Beckett demands to know where the safe is, Castle returns to Joe’s story.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Five days after he first meets Vera, they are in love and stealing a moment backstage. As Castle describes how Vera and Joe come close to kissing, he accidentally uses the name Kate instead of Vera, but plays it off as his meaning to say “fate” when Beckett calls him on it. Joe and Vera’s moment is interrupted by the muscle who threaten Joe again, but to cover for him and Vera, Betsy comes off stage and kisses Joe as if the two of them are together. This fools the muscle who leave them alone, but promise to keep watching them. Betsy then warns Vera about sneaking around under Dempsey’s nose, but Vera assures her Joe is worth it. Vera pulls Joe into a back room and says he has to take her away from everything, including Dempsey. When Joe wonders what they’ll do for money, Vera tells him how when she was first hired at the club as a cigarette girl, she envied Dempsey’s woman who always wore the butterfly necklace, but now that she is forced to wear it, it feels like a hangman’s noose. She adds that she knows the location of the safe where Dempsey keeps it when she isn't wearing it.

Beckett, enthralled by the story, wonders where the safe is, but Castle says that’s the end of the journal entries. Beckett becomes more frustrated, wanting to know what happened to Joe and Vera then notices what looks like wooden paneling that’s been pried off the wall. She dislodges it and finds an empty safe in the wall, meaning Banks found the butterfly and was most likely killed as a result.

Back at the precinct, Ryan and Esposito have Ray Horton in an interrogation room. He denies killing Banks and claims he is his business partner, explaining that he agreed to give Banks the $10,000 he said he needed to buy an old detective’s diary in exchange for half the profits of whatever he found. He threatened Banks’ wife because he thought he’d been played, but Banks later told him he had found the last clue that would lead him to the Blue Butterfly.

Outside at the murder board, Castle tells Beckett that Banks bought Joe’s diary from Ruth Huntsacker, the granddaughter of Joe’s secretary, Florence Cunard, who promised to have her son look through Joe’s old papers and call him back if he finds anything. Beckett doubts there is any connection between Joe and Vera and their murder case, but Ryan disagrees, saying ballistics matched the gun used to kill Banks to one used to kill Joe and Vera in 1947.

Castle and Beckett lament Joe and Vera’s fate and Ryan tells them how their bodies were found in the back of Joe’s car which was parked in the alley behind the Pennybaker Club and the car was set on fire. Dempsey was the prime suspect, but there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest him, leading Beckett to guess Dempsey caught Joe and Vera trying to run away and killed them. Ryan guesses Dempsey killed Banks, even though he’d be around 90 years old, but Castle puts in that Dempsey died of a heart attack four months after Joe and Vera were killed. He suggests they pull out the old case file in case it contains a clue and Ryan agrees, even promising to let Castle drive, much to his glee. They leave just as Esposito arrives and tells Beckett he discovered that Clyde Belasco bought a number of Dempsey’s old guns at an estate sale. Beckett remembers how he inspired Banks to become a treasure hunter and Esposito adds that Belasco came into town a week ago and had searched for the Blue Butterfly for fifteen years. Beckett wonders if Belasco provided the last clue that Banks told Horton would lead him to the butterfly.

In the archives, Ryan and Castle find the old case file on Joe’s and Vera’s murders. Castle notices it has been dusted off recently, indicating someone else looked through it and Castle guesses it was Banks. He also says there has to be another connection to Banks murder besides the murder weapon.

In interrogation, Belasco admits to buying one of Dempsey’s old guns and that Banks came to him with a story about finding an old diary that provided new clues to the location of the Blue Butterfly. He didn’t believe him because he refused to turn over the diary and adds that a white mustang had been following him, so someone else was interested in finding the necklace.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Back in the archives, Castle finds a statement given to the police by Florence (Martha), Joe’s secretary, after his death. She had said that Vera met Joe in his office the morning they were killed to plot their getaway from Dempsey: Vera would excuse herself while Dempsey and his muscle listened to a high-profile boxing match on the radio and while she is wearing the necklace, and slip into the alley behind the Pennybaker Club where he’d be waiting with his car. Florence told them they were foolish and that Vera is bad news, but Joe insists he loves her anyway and is a better man because of her. Florence then urges him to tell her about Sally, and he does, only to have Vera say she has no sister. Castle now guesses that Sally set up Joe, but they don’t know why.

At the precinct, Esposito tells Beckett he identified the homeless guy from the club as a man going by the name Westside Wally and he is trying to track him down now. Esposito’s cell phone rings and he answers it. He hangs up after a short conversation and tells Beckett someone driving a white mustang forced his way into Banks’ hotel room and is still there. Beckett and Esposito burst into the room, with guns drawn, and find a man rifling through drawers. When he turns with his hands up, they are shocked to see that he is the spitting image of gangster Tom Dempsey.

In an interrogation room, the man says he is the gangster’s grandson, Tom Dempsey III. He denies killing Banks and explains that he came to him, only told him his name was Nathanial Jenkins and he was a biographer working on a story about his grandfather. He agreed and turned over his grandfather’s papers, but eventually found out Banks lied to him when he saw him at Betsy Sinclair’s funeral and that he had signed the guest book using his real name. He also remembers seeing him talking to an older man then running off. Castle then guesses that he followed Banks to get the Blue Butterfly then shot him when he found it, but Tom denies this, saying he read about Banks’ death in the paper and went to his hotel room to see what he could find.

At her desk, Beckett confirms Tom’s alibi, ruling him out as a suspect, but Esposito says they found Westside Wally. Castle adds that maybe Jerry Maddux could help them as well. He tells Beckett and Esposito how Jerry was the bartender at the Pennybaker Club and that Banks had been spending a lot of time with him after seeing him at Betsy’s funeral.

Beckett and Castle visit Jerry and his wife and Castle notices he has Louie Armstrong playing on an old phonograph. Beckett asks Jerry about Banks and he admits to discussing the Blue Butterfly with him, but says he wasn’t much help since he was only the bartender at the Pennybaker Club. He also remembers when Joe and Vera were killed and that Sally was the daughter of Priscilla Campbell, the woman Dempsey was with when he was hired at the club and when Vera was working as a cigarette girl in 1946. He describes how Vera caught Dempsey’s eye, so he cut Priscilla and Sally off to be with her and Priscilla eventually committed suicide. The last time he saw Sally was the night of Dempsey’s funeral when she came to club dressed to the hilt, had a drink, and announced she was free. Castle now theorizes that Sally blamed Vera for her mother’s death and used Joe to find her so she could exact revenge. Beckett reminds him that it still doesn’t help them solve Banks’ murder.

At the precinct, Ryan and Esposito interview Westside Wally who says two days ago Clyde Belasco paid him $400 to move his squat so he could shelter behind the bar at the Pennybaker Club.

Beckett and Castle put Belasco into interrogation again and confront him with their evidence. He denies it and they begin to leave, promising to see him at his sentencing, but Belasco calls them back. He admits to being at the club when Banks was killed because he knew Banks was close to finding the Blue Butterfly. He planned to disguise himself and threaten Banks into turning it over to him. That night, he waited as Banks went into the basement of the club, saw him come out holding the Blue Butterfly, but before he could stop him, someone knocked him out by placing a sedative-soaked rag over his mouth. When he came to, Banks was dead, so he searched his body, but didn’t find anything, meaning whoever killed him took the necklace.

Outside at the murder board, Castle wishes they could arrest Belasco, but Beckett says without a witness they only have a circumstantial case. She gets on her phone to get a warrant to search Belasco’s things as Castle begins taking down the murder board and says he had hoped solving Banks’ murder would help them figure out what happened to Joe and Vera. Beckett says they already know, but Castle reminds her they never figured out Sally’s real motivation. As Beckett continues to hold, Castle remembers how Joe described Sally in his journal and Beckett has a realization. She hangs up and shows Castle the photo of Joe’s burned out car with the bodies in it, pointing out a shoe laying nearby that matches the one that Joe described Sally as wearing when she asked for his help. Beckett guesses Vera wouldn’t have been wearing such a shoe meaning Sally was the one who was killed and her body burned. Beckett then remembers how Jerry told them he saw Sally after Joe and Vera’s murders, leading both of them to suspect that he lied. Castle then realizes that Jerry had Louie Armstrong playing when they visited him and Joe’s favorite artist was Louie Armstrong.

Jerry’s wife answers their knock on her front door and they greet her as Vera and Jerry as Joe. As they question them about Banks’ murder, their caretaker, a young man in scrubs, asks if everything is fine. They promise it is and Jerry admits he lied to Banks about who he was, but Banks doubted him. He visited them and threatened to reveal how they’d killed Sally and her husband unless they told him where the Blue Butterfly was, so they agreed, but didn’t kill him. Castle doubts their story, saying the same gun they used on Sally and her husband was used to kill Banks, but Vera disputes this. Just as Joe admits they still have the gun, the young man in scrubs goes for it, but Beckett pulls her own gun and he gives up. Vera identifies him as Frank Huntsacker, and Castle realizes his mother sold Joe’s diary to Stan. Beckett guesses he read it and had begun looking for the necklace like Banks did. Huntsacker says he took the job as Joe’s and Vera’s caretaker six months ago to dig up more information as to the necklace’s whereabouts and couldn’t stand it when they told Banks its location so easily. He says he brought the gun just for protection and had planned to chloroform Banks and take the necklace, only Belasco ruined his plan. He knocked Belasco out and when Banks tried to take the gun from him, he got shot. Beckett leads him away.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Later at the precinct, Beckett shows Castle the Blue Butterfly which they found in Frank Huntsacker’s apartment. Castle is transfixed by its beauty, until Beckett tells him an appraiser pronounced it fake. Castle is disappointed then wonders if this is only a fake Blue Butterfly which has been switched for the real one. Beckett reminds him that regardless, they still have a case to close.

They return to Joe and Vera’s apartment and ask about Sally’s murder. They agree to come clean and Vera tells the story of how she, while wearing the necklace, Dempsey, and his gang were huddled around the radio at the Pennybaker Club listening to the boxing match. She was nervous, but managed to slip into the back alley where Joe waited with his car, according to their plan. She rushed into his arms, but Sally pulled a gun on them and declared that she’ll finally have her revenge on Vera. Her husband moved to take the Blue Butterfly from around Vera’s neck, but Joe stepped in to stop him. Sally shot at Joe, but killed her husband instead and is herself killed when she and Vera struggled over the gun. Joe quickly dumped the bodies in his car, doused it with gasoline, and set it on fire, figuring people would think the bodies were theirs. Vera then asks Beckett if she is going to arrest them. She thinks for a minute then says no, since it sounds like self-defense. They thank Beckett and Castle asks them why they didn’t take the Blue Butterfly and where has it been. Vera describes how she was convinced it was cursed and wanted to throw it away despite its value. Joe wrapped it in a handkerchief, slipped it into the hole in the brick wall, and replaced the brick, declaring that Dempsey can live the rest of his life thinking he had lost it. Beckett asks if they ever considered recovering it and Joe says their large family and each other are happiness enough.

© 2011-2012 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

As Beckett and Castle board the apartment building elevator, Beckett wonders if they should have told them the Blue Butterfly was a fake, but Castle disagrees, saying they shouldn’t ruin things for them. He then quotes the film The Maltese Falcon, saying “It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Back in the alley in 1947, Joe pulls Vera into his arms and she asks him to tell her he loves her. He promises he’ll always love her then they kiss passionately and run out of the alley as Joe’s car burns.


  • Victim: Stan Banks
    • Cause of Death: Shot in the sternum with a gun from the 1940s
    • Perp: Frankie Hunsacker
    • Motive: Greed: He wanted the blue butterfly necklace for himself and was furious when Stan was able to find it so easily

  • Victim: Lenny, Sally's husband
    • Cause of Death: Shot to death
    • Perp: Sally Campbell
    • Motive: Accidental: Sally shot Lenny as he and Joe struggled over Vera's blue butterfly necklace

  • Victim: Sally Campbell
    • Cause of Death: Shot to death after Lenny
    • Perp: Vera Mulqueen
    • Motive: Accidental/Self-defense: After Sally accidentally kills Lenny, Vera tries to take the gun away from her and accidentally shoots Sally in the struggle


  1. 5 Reasons to Watch Castle's 1940s Noir "The Blue Butterfly", by Adam Bryant, TVGuide.com, posted February 6, 2012
  2. Castle Video and Exclusive Interview:Tamala Jones Talks About Her Singing Debut the Castle Film-Noir Episode, by Laurel Brown, BuddyTV.com, posted February 3, 2012
  3. Tamala Jones Teases "Favorite Castle Episode Ever", by Matt Richenthal, TVfanatic.com, posted February 6, 2012