Season 3, Episode 21 (55)
Original Air Date - April 11, 2011
While Castle and Beckett investigate the death by drowning of a champion swimmer, Castle frets over Beckett becoming closer to his protege, Alex Conrad (guest star Brendan Hines).
- 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
- Michael Connelly - Himself
- Dennis Lehane - Himself
- Brendan Hines - Alex Conrad
- Ben Bledsoe - Brian Morris
- Roy Huang - Aaron Choi
- Andrew Lawrence - Tommy Varone
Castle: He wants to learn more about my writing process.
Martha: And by "process" you mean your procrastination until the very last second.
Alexis: And then writing out of a desperate panic in a caffeine induced haze?
Martha: That one?
Castle: No, not that one.
Castle: C’mon. He’s a writer. How much trouble could he possibly be?
Castle: (notices Beckett’s eyes wandering to watching an Olympic swimmer walk away in just his swimsuit) What were you looking at?
Ryan: Uh, no, but her brothers could. In grand Irish tradition she has four of them each over 6 foot each with his own claim to fame. Assault.
Ryan: Agg. Assault.
Ryan: Assault on a city employee: parking enforcement.
Castle: Doesn’t count.
Capt. Montgomery: (seriously) Easy.
Ryan: (seriously) Dude.
Castle: Uh…just jokes!
Castle: What kind of accent? Spanish? Asian? Russian?
Witness: Do I look like I work at the UN?
Castle: Where was he going?
Beckett: I’m hoping that you’re asking that just for effect because you already have an answer.
Castle: Nah, I got nothing.
Ryan: They were in New Paltz when Zack was killed.
Beckett: All of them?
Beckett: For what?
Ryan: They were at a sporting event, of a sort.
Beckett: Which was?
Ryan: Leprechaun toss. Don’t ask!
Beckett: Why don’t you just give me a buzz when the two of you are done?
Conrad: I mean, if it’s ok with you?
Castle: Why wouldn’t it be ok?
Castle: (that evening to Martha and Alexis) It’s so not ok.
Alexis: Dad, you ever think that maybe you’re overreacting a teensy bit? You ever think that maybe he admires you so much that spending time with Beckett is to understand you better?
Castle: Don’t confuse me with your reasonableness.
Conrad: No way. You’re inviting me to your mystery writers poker night?
Castle: Oh c’mon. you’re a mystery writer now, right?
Conrad: Yeah, but those guys are legendary, I mean…
Castle: Yeah, they are. Oh well, if you’re unavailable. (begins walking away, then quietly counts to himself) Three, two, one…
Conrad: Well, wait, wait, wait.
Castle: (quietly to himself) Bingo.
Conrad: Hang on a second.
Castle: Oh yeah. They’re gonna love you.
Castle: That’s Cannel’s seat.
Lehane: That’s the rule. We lose a member. Nobody sits there for a year.
Connelly: How many books have you written?
Conrad: Just the one.
Lehane: And this one book made you like a crime solving genius?
Connelly: You know what I did after I wrote my first novel? I shut up and I wrote 23 more.
Beckett: To hear him describe it, it sounds like someone was trying to teach him a lesson.
Castle: What? Why would I want to do that?
Beckett: Because you didn’t want him to spend time with me?
Castle: That is completely…
Castle: Yes. Fine. It’s true. I’m jealous. There, I said it. I want you all to myself and to have you spending time with another writer that upsets me! And if that makes me petty, so be it. Guilty as charged.
Beckett: Actually, I kinda think it’s sweet.
Castle: You do?
Beckett: I do. And that’s why you don’t have to worry about me hanging around with Conrad anymore. From now on, I’m a one writer girl.
Esposito: So, dude can be a muse right, bro? I mean it’s not weird or anything is it?
Castle: No, that’s not weird.
Beckett: No. (shakes head)
Castle: That’s a little weird.
Castle: Thank you.
- Baby Baby Baby performed by Make the Girl Dance - photo shoot scene
- Liquor Store performed by Uncle Lucius - dive bar scene
Full Episode Recap
Late one night, a young man mounts the starting block over an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool. When a timer reaches zero, he dives in and completes a single lap in less than twenty seconds. He ducks under the water and when he looks up at the surface, he sees a hooded figure looking down at him.
At the Castle loft, Richard Castle reads a passage from the first best-selling murder mystery novel written by his protégé, Alex Conrad, to his daughter, Alexis, and his mother, Martha Rodgers. Both women are impressed and Castle takes much of the credit for the book’s success. Martha chides him saying he merely provided minor assistance, but Castle disagrees, saying his input helped fuel Conrad’s creativity. He adds that Conrad is in New York and asked to shadow him around the 12th precinct to learn his writing process. Martha and Alexis tease that his process is simply to procrastinate then, in a caffeine-induced haze, pull a frantic all-nighter. Castle denies this then expresses confidence that Detective Kate Beckett won’t mind having Conrad tag along, a fact Alexis doubts.
At the pool, Beckett makes it clear that she does mind having Conrad around and shoots Castle a skeptical look when he doubts he’ll be much trouble. Medical Examiner Lanie Parish identifies the victim as Zach Lindsey, a champion swimmer on the UNY swim team. She explains that he drowned when the killer shoved a rag soaked in chemicals over Lindsey’s mouth then pushed his unconscious body in the pool. She estimates the time of death was between 1 and 5 a.m. that morning. Beckett tells Detective Kevin Ryan to interview Zack’s teammates to see if anyone bore him a grudge while she and Castle interview the team’s coach.
Coach Rome tells Castle and Beckett that Zack was a dedicated swimmer, even refusing to drop out of a meet a few weeks ago despite suffering from food poisoning. He further explains how Zack came from the tough neighborhood of Bensonhurst and still lived in that area because it was all he could afford. He denies that there was any bad blood on the team, even though Zack and teammate Brian Morris were the team’s best chance at winning an upcoming meet. Beckett asks him for a team roster and list of everyone with access to the pool. Coach Rome excuses himself and as the coroners remove Zack’s body, Castle vows never to send Alexis away to college. Detective Javier Esposito approaches and says the pool’s night janitor told him he saw Zack with Olympic champion Rob “The Rocket” Tredwyck at the pool the night Zack died.
Beckett flashes her badge and interrupts a sexy cologne photo shoot Tredwyck is involved in. He recalls meeting Zack at a tournament when Zack was a freshman and immediately saw he was special, so he volunteered to mentor him, since both of them came from rough towns, him coming from Wilmington. He tells Beckett he met Zack at the pool because Zack said he wanted to run drills, but he suspected he needed someone to talk to after having just broken up with his girlfriend, Bridget McManus. Both of them took it hard and Zack seemed worried about her. He says after he left the pool around midnight, he went to a party thrown by an ad agency where he stayed until dawn. The photographer calls for Tredwyck and he drops the coat he wore over his Speedo suit and rejoins the shoot. Beckett can’t help but watch as he walks away.
At the morgue, Lanie conducts an identification of Zack’s body for his mother, Lorraine DiNovi, while Captain Roy Montgomery looks on. Back at the precinct, Lorraine emotionally tells Captain Montgomery how her son vowed to make something of himself after his father left them. Captain Montgomery tells her they are doing everything they can to solve his murder and asks about Zack’s ex-girlfriend, Bridget. Lorraine says they had been together since high school and doubts her son had gotten himself into any trouble that could have gotten him killed.
As Captain Montgomery escorts Lorraine out, Beckett asks if she had any information on Bridget. Captain Montgomery says to her knowledge, everything was fine between them, but Ryan disagrees. He shows them threatening text messages Bridget sent Zack the night was killed and notes that she has a record of disorderly conduct. Montgomery sees Bridget is petite and wonders how she could have pushed Zack in the pool. Ryan says she had four brothers, all of whom had police records, including an assault on a parking enforcement official. Castle pokes fun at this charge, but is quickly silenced by Ryan’s and Montgomery’s hard stares. Beckett tasks Ryan with interviewing Bridget’s brothers while she and Castle talk to Bridget.
In an interrogation room, Bridget tearfully denies killing Zack, but admits to being angry when he broke up with her. She said she meant nothing by her threats and suspected Zack was seeing another woman since he had been stressed and secretive, so she tailed him from his apartment a few nights ago. She caught him under a bridge having an argument with a man with a foreign accent. When she confronted him about it, he said it was nothing. Beckett asks her if she could describe the man to a sketch artist.
Later, Castle tacks the artist’s sketch on the murder board while Beckett reads a message from Lanie: she found no drugs in Zack’s system and identified chlorine as the chemical that caused Zack to pass out. Castle theorizes that the European man is the killer, but Beckett says they have no evidence suggesting that, nor do they have a motive. Esposito enters and says Zack’s financials show that he took out no student loans, he paid all his expenses himself, had no job, and his mother barely made ends meet, leading him to wonder how Zack paid for his apartment and school since he only had a partial scholarship. The men then predict that Zack simply borrowed money and was killed when he could no longer afford the payments. While Esposito answers a cell phone call, Beckett is dubious of Bridget’s story. Esposito reports that uniformed officers found Zack’s apartment ransacked.
Beckett and Castle arrive at Zack’s small apartment to find it wrecked. Castle wonders if the break-in was a result of Zack’s debts, but Beckett states that if it was, the crooks would have taken his television. Castle notices what looks like medical supplies on a dresser and Beckett sees the mattress on the bed has been sliced open, meaning the vandals couldn’t find what they were looking for. Castle then observes a poster of Rob Tredwyck blow as if caught by wind and finds that it covers a hole in the wall in which a cache of steroids is hidden.
Meanwhile at the morgue, Lanie confirms that the vials contain steroids which include masking agents designed to appear untraceable on standard drug tests, but also says Zack had none of them in his body. She adds that she has heard rumors about similar performance-enhancers coming out of Eastern Europe, which dovetails with Castle’s theory that the foreign man is their killer.
Back at the precinct, Beckett and Castle study the murder board. Castle wonders if Zack was just dealing in steroids and the foreign man was his supplier. Beckett remains skeptical that Bridget was telling the truth just as Ryan enters, his suit disheveled. Embarrassed, he reluctantly confirms Bridget’s brothers’ alibi for the night of the murder as being at a leprechaun toss. Ryan volunteers to show the sketch to narcotics and vice to see if they recognize Zack or the foreign man. Beckett next asks Esposito to interview the rest of the swim team about the steroids.
At the pool, Zack’s teammates vehemently deny to Esposito that he was involved in selling steroids and are positive the drugs were in his apartment for some other reason. Meanwhile at the precinct, Castle recounts to Beckett how three of Zack’s neighbors recall him going out at night without his gym bag and staying out all night, meaning he must have been up to something shady, but he has no idea what. Just then, Alex Conrad, who has been silently studying the murder board, offers that the steroids may be a red herring. Castle introduces Beckett to Conrad, who flatters her saying he is a fan of Castle’s Nikki Heat books. He further suggests they look into people Zack knew from his old neighborhood since that is how he would write the case if it were in one of his books. Castle is surprised to find that Beckett readily agrees with Conrad’s idea and tries to drag him away. To his continued frustration, Conrad asks if he could meet with Beckett for research for his next book and she hands over her business card for him to call her when he is done meeting with Castle.
That night over dinner at his loft, Castle accuses Conrad of trying to steal his muse and is sure he is trying to replace him. As Martha and Alexis look on, he goes to his website, and replaces his review of Conrad’s book with the cover art for his next Nikki Heat book, Heat Rises. Alexis tells him he is just overreacting and suggests that Conrad’s getting to know Beckett is an effort at getting to know him. Castle reluctantly acknowledges that she has a point.
The next morning, a large basket of muffins adorns Beckett’s desk in the precinct when Castle enters with his and Beckett’s usual coffees. Beckett reports that Bridget gave her a list of Zack’s friends from Bensonhurst, for which Esposito volunteers to run down backgrounds on each. Beckett agrees and Esposito snitches a muffin from the basket before heading for his desk. Castle notices the basket and Beckett explains they are from Conrad in gratitude for her meeting him the night before. She seems to enjoy that Castle appears jealous and continues yanking his chain by implying that she and Conrad may meet again.
Ryan joins them and says vice and narcotics didn’t recognize Zack or the sketch of the foreign man, but he found that Zack’s fingerprints match prints taken off a car stolen from Queen two weeks ago. Castle then has a thought and pulls out the medical equipment he found in Zack’s apartment, purporting to know what it is used for. As Beckett and Ryan watch, he pulls up a website which shows a man using a device similar to a blood pressure cuff to break into a car. Now they all know how Zack paid his bills.
At the murder board, Beckett wonders if Zack was murdered because he stole a car from the wrong person. Esposito joins her and Castle, announcing a hit on one of Zack’s friends: Tommy Marcone who has a prior for auto theft and who Bridget said was Zack’s best friend.
As they walk to Marcone’s favorite hangout in Bensonhurst, Castle muses about the tragedy of Zack’s starting out as a humble struggling swimmer, only to fall into the wrong crowd. Beckett is engrossed in her cell phone and finally giggles, arousing Castle’s curiosity. She says Conrad just sent her a message about meeting again that night and, to Castle’s dismay, pronounces him a funny guy.
Inside the bar, Castle and Beckett find Marcone, who denies any wrongdoing. Beckett asks him about Zack’s murder and he again denies any involvement, including that he and Zack were stealing cars together. Even Beckett’s threats to revoke his probation don’t get him talking, but the female bartender catches Castle’s eye. He offers to buy a round for the house then meets her at the end of the bar where she slips a napkin into his hand with the name Jimmy Lennon printed on it.
At the precinct, Esposito confirms Bridget’s sketch is of Lennon, an immigrant from Belarus with a nasty record who owns his own car repair shop. Castle and Beckett pay it a visit and spot Lennon, who Beckett takes down after Ryan and Esposito cut off his only escape route when he tries running. He denies any knowledge of Zack’s murder as Beckett tells him she thinks Zack wanted out from stealing cars and Lennon killed him to keep him from squealing. As Beckett continues to interrogate Lennon, Castle notices a car covered with a tarp that sports the license plate “SWM4GLD”. Underneath they find a Stingray sport car which Beckett says is registered to Zack’s teammate Brian Morris. Castle searches the car and finds a few more vials similar to those found in Zack’s apartment, meaning the steroids were Brian’s.
Later, Beckett and Castle have Tommy Marcone in interrogation. They get him to explain that he and Zack stole Morris’s car out of revenge for him poisoning Zack’s food before the meet a couple weeks prior. He continues that Morris was jealous of Zack’s better performance and that he and Zack resented Brian’s pampered upbringing while they struggled. Even though he encouraged him to report Brian, Zack was unsure what to do about the drugs. Marcone says he didn’t speak up previously out of fear and Beckett tells him to sit tight.
Next Beckett interrogates Brian, who is accompanied by his father and the family’s attorney, who fights off her questions as Castle and Captain Montgomery marvel at her skills from the observation room. Brian denies even knowing his car was stolen, but Beckett refutes this, saying he deliberately didn’t report the theft because he knew his steroids would be found. She goes on to say that she thinks Brian killed Zack when he confronted him about the steroids then tossed his apartment to cover himself. Brian gives a weak denial and his attorney produces a CD ROM which he says contains video of him at his family’s practice pool and affidavits from family and household staff attesting to his whereabouts. Beckett doesn’t buy any of it and Brian and his attorney leave. His father tells Beckett that he will not let her get in the way of his son going to the Olympics then also leaves.
Outside, Beckett doubts they’ll ever prove that Morris was anywhere but where they said he was and Castle suggests Brian and his father hired someone to kill Zack. Beckett tells Ryan to check the Morris’ financials for any activity indicative of a payment to a hit man. Ryan has already done so, and describes how Brian’s father cashed in a $25,000 savings bond three days after his son’s car was stolen. Esposito enters carrying boxes from Tommy Marcone’s place and says he found a bag with $25,000 in it from the Morris’ bank.
Back in interrogation, Marcone again denies involvement in Zack’s murder, but admits to blackmailing Brian against Zack’s wishes by using Zack’s email account to tell Brian he found the drugs and would report him unless he turned over $25,000. He never intended for anyone to get hurt.
Outside at the murder board, Beckett notes how Brian’s motive keeps getting stronger. Meanwhile, in Captain Montgomery’s office, Zack’s mother arrives and demands to know why Brian hasn’t been arrested. Montgomery tells her they are following the evidence, but Lorraine disagrees, saying his wealth is what is holding them back, which Montgomery denies. She insists Brian’s family would do anything to protect him, leading Montgomery to tell Beckett to find the connection between the murder and the Morrises.
In the conference room, Beckett, Castle, Ryan, and Esposito pore over the Morris’ records. Castle notices that Brian surprisingly made only one phone call after Marcone emailed him. Beckett recognizes the number as being of his father’s office. Ryan puts in that after Brian’s phone call, Mr. Morris made a half dozen phone calls to a number registered to a sports medicine doctor, Dr. Rex Calabro.
Later in interrogation, Dr. Calabro smugly denies supplying anyone with steroids. When Beckett asks about his phone calls to Mr. Morris, he invokes patient-doctor confidentiality. Beckett reminds him that he stands to lose his celebrity clientele if his involvement in a murder and steroids scandal became public. Castle also points out that Mr. Morris wasn’t one of his patients, so confidentiality doesn’t apply. Castle coaxes out of him that he and Mr. Morris discussed how long steroids would remain in the body after administration and that an athlete could simply withdraw from a team claiming injury to avoid being tested and caught.
Outside, Esposito volunteers to get a search warrant for Dr. Calabro’s office, but Beckett says it won’t do any good since the Morrises have probably covered all their tracks. Ryan arrives and says the guys in narcotics and vice told him they recently intercepted some drugs entering the country from Romania, to which Beckett tells him to search for a connection between Romania and Brian’s family.
Alex Conrad arrives to meet Beckett, who steps away to get her purse. Castle laments how he won’t be able to join him for his poker game with Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly and begins to walk towards the elevators, letting a star-struck Conrad soak up the invitation. It doesn’t take him long to change his plans. As he runs off to tell Beckett, Castle gives him a devious look behind his back.
That night at his loft, Castle welcomes Conrad to the game and introduces him to Connelly and Lehane. They shoot down his attempt at flattery and stop him from sitting in an empty chair they say is to be left empty for a year to honor the late Stephen J. Cannell. As the cards are dealt, Lehane and Connelly put Conrad through the wringer being a new writer with only one book and no movies to his credit. They amp up their tough talk when they ask about Castle’s case and Conrad suspects Zack’s girlfriend Bridget is the killer. Laughing him off, they tell Castle to look at the person with the most to lose if the steroid use becomes public.
At the precinct the next morning, Coach Rome denies anyone on his team used steroids. Beckett exposes Brian Morris and notes the coincidence between the drugs coming from Romania and Rome’s frequent trips there. He covers this by saying his wife is Romanian, and eventually admits that Mr. Morris offered to donate millions of dollars to the team if he would put his son back on top after Zack became the guy to beat. Castle then reveals that they know he previously coached in Wilmington and wonders how long old drug samples are kept.
At the pool, Castle and Beckett find Rob Tredwyck ending a TV interview. Castle tells him how Coach Rome admitted to giving him steroids throughout his career, which he denies. Beckett says the drugs found in Brian’s car matched old blood samples of Tredwyck’s and found a chlorine-soaked t-shirt in his hotel room. Tredwyck maintains he was at the ad agency party all night, but Beckett says he could have easily slipped out though the crowd. She and Castle fill him in on their theory that Zack discovered Brian’s steroid use and confided in him, leading him to fear that if anyone found out that Coach Rome also gave him steroids, he would lose everything, so he killed Zack to keep him quiet.
At the precinct, Beckett tells Castle how she knows he and his writer friends were hard on Conrad over their poker game. Castle chalks it up to friendly hazing, but Beckett gets him to admit his jealously over having to share her with another writer. Beckett surprises him by saying she thinks his feelings are sweet and reassures him that she is a “one-writer girl.” Castle still feels guilty about Conrad, but Beckett again tells him not to worry as Conrad enters laughing with Ryan and Esposito. Ryan says they are taking Conrad to Rikers as he is planning a prison scene in his next book. Conrad agrees to send Castle a draft, but only after he changes the killer from the victim’s girlfriend. He and Ryan leave, but Esposito hangs behind to ask if it would be weird for a guy to be a muse. Castle and Beckett answer that it wouldn’t and Esposito leaves, but out of his earshot, they change their minds. Finally alone, Castle thanks Beckett for understanding to which she simply answers “Always.” They look into each other’s eyes, before Beckett turns her attention to the work on her desk. Castle takes his usual seat in the chair next to her desk, watching her contentedly.
Who: Zack Lindsey, a collegiate champion swimmer
Found: In the pool at NYU's training facility
Where Killed: On the deck of the pool
How: A chlorine-soaked rag was put over his face and he passed out. The killer then pushed him in the pool to drown.
Killer: Rob "The Rocket" Tredwyck, a retired Olympic champion swimmer
Motive: Cover up his own steroid use. Zack discovered that a teammate of his was taking steroids, and confided in Tredwyck, who feared Zack would connect him with his coach and figure out that Rob also took steroids.