Last night's Castle had so many awesome moments. Even the shake-up with Castle no longer being allowed to work with Kate and the boys didn't cause a stumble.
We start the episode out with a young woman coming home. Her apartment is dark, and just as she realizes a window is open, a shadowy figure appears and shoots her.
Cut to Castle's loft and he's in the kitchen cooking. His mother and Beckett come down and seem shocked that he's dressed. That made me laugh. There have been weeks in every writer's life I'm sure where the writer and the pajamas are very well acquainted for days. Maybe weeks. Beckett gets a call about the murder and has to leave, but not before Castle tells her he has a surprise for her.
And what a surprise it is. The team is gathering evidence and Ryan is trying to take Castle's place with thinking outside of the box, when Castle shows up at the crime scene and proudly shows everyone his PI license. Beckett is more than surprised, but tells him he still can't be there. Perlmutter uses his clipboard to prevent Castle from looking at the victim, Shayna Baker, any longer and Esposito points Castle to the door. So funny. Castle says he has to go follow up his own confidential leads and leaves.
He beats Espo and Beckett to the victim's workplace because as he said, "the neighbors didn't know much, so I figured this would be your next stop." They go in and find out that the victim was in charge of admissions at an elite preschool, but after all the acceptance letters had been sent out, she took a few days off. Espo and Beckett head back to the precinct and Castle seems kind of forlorn watching them leave. He notices a picture of the victim on her desk, with her dog Sparkles. He takes a picture of the collar then starts tracking its chip. A large muscular man has it and Castle starts to follow him. He's terrible at following people and when the guy goes down the alley, Castle goes, too, and gets jumped. And pepper-sprayed. When Castle can finally show him his PI papers, the guy tells him he was friends with Shayna and she unexpectedly asked him to look after he dog and didn't say where she was going.
The team has found a threatening message on Shayna's answering machine and they track down the voice to someone whose kid was denied entrance to the school. They bring him in, but he says he was being dramatic and Shayna changed her mind and let his kid in. (And his alibi checks out). So they let him go.
Castle heads down to the morgue and Perlmutter finds him reading the victim's chart and they chase each other around the table while Castle says what the contents of Shayna's stomach were. Stuff you'd find on an airplane, so she traveled somewhere before she died. Perlmutter is furious and so when Beckett calls he tells her what Castle found out.
The boys are following financials and street cam footage, etc., and they find out she went to Boston. But she stopped for a lunch meeting with a high-powered attorney before she left. (Castle also finds out this information by breaking a few rules.) Ryan calls her office and are told that maybe they can catch her at her 3:00 appointment. When Beckett gets to the building, she finds Castle there with the attorney. And Beckett is at Castle's new PI office. They argue a bit in the hall about telling each other things, but they both sit in on the interview with the attorney, Nicole Morris. Nicole says she didn't want to know what Shayna was after, but she was asking about statutes for murder in Massachusetts, what the charges are for conspiracy, stuff like that. When she leaves Castle and Beckett start to theorize together like they have hundreds of times before, but just when it was really going somewhere they stop. We can't do this, Beckett says. She gets a call from Espo about a coincidence and has to leave. Castle is so fun and flirty. "You can tell me. We're alone here, no one will know." Kate almost caved!
They brought the threatening dad back in because they found out he sits on the board of Radnor University, where Shayna went on her Boston trip. He finally admits that she asked him to get her a meeting with the Dean of Students so he did. That's it. The Dean of Students says that Shayna was looking for campus police files from 1999. The boys are pressuring Beckett to call Castle and see what he's got so far. It was so funny with both of them trying to get information about the other one's day and making sure it was clear that their day was good. Great. Excellent. (And it was a cute dinner scene with Alexis, too. I like her so much more this season!)
Castle comes home to find that Kate has poured him a large glass of wine. He pours more into her glass. They talk about trading information, for the victim's sake and it comes out that Shayna was looking into her old boyfriend's death. Kate texts Ryan the information which puts them ahead of the "competition." Castle isn't exactly pleased. But he continues with his own investigation (and is able to hack the victim's social media because her password to everything is Sparkles, haha) and he's looking through old newspapers and notices something odd. There is an ad next to the story about the boyfriend's death and it's above the fold. You don't do that unless you have extra space at the last minute. He tracks down who was responsible for that at the time and he's a New York reporter now.
The team has zeroed in on the same guy, but they can't track him down. They receive information that he was seen with a man resembling Castle and Beckett gets worried when Castle doesn't answer his cell. But he comes to the precinct with the reporter who tells them that he was asked to cover it up by a powerful father whose son was in the room with Shayna's boyfriend right before he died. It's the dad of the now top federal prosecutor in the state.
They bring him in for questioning (and that's who I thought the murderer was) but the man insists he's being framed. Castle brings in Shayna's dog and proves that the murderer couldn't be the prosecutor because he's deathly allergic to the dog and breaks out in hives. He didn't have any hives at the fundraiser he was at that night right after the murder.
Castle is once again booted out of the precinct and the team tracks the "frame" evidence down to the real killer---Nicole Morris. Beckett lets Castle ask her who hired her to kill Shayna and frame the federal prosecutor guy before she puts the cuffs on. It's a nice little "team" moment, I thought, since they both worked so hard on the case. At the end, Beckett gives Castle a cute little Sherlock hat and magnifying glass.
I was so glad that the P.I. thing went so well. It brought a freshness to the episode and the competition was funny. I'm interested to see where they take it next week since it looks like Castle gets himself in trouble with a new client.
Did you watch? What did you think?