Soft music plays as we watch a man and woman ride in a car. The car stops, the man exits the car, and the woman slumps over onto the driver’s seat. Either she’s dead or she’s in a very deep sleep…
Castle and Beckett arrive to the crime scene, where one Laura Cambridge is found strangled and dumped in a car. Ryan runs the plates of the car: they’ve come from City Hall. The last person to sign out the car: Mayor Weldon, aka the only thing keeping Castle at the station.
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The Mayor, (he calls Castle “Ricky”) has an alibi for the night of the murder; he was at a fundraiser. One of his staffers reported the car stolen. And one of his overeager staffers, Brian, tells Beckett he did all of her work for her. He even collected a witness statement! How sweet.
Back at the station, Beckett meets with Gates. She is well aware of Castle’s connection to the Mayor and thinks he’ll be biased.
Esposito and Ryan look into Laura’s recent history and find that she didn’t own a cell phone and had no credit card activity for the past six months. Back then, she was a rising professor and then suddenly quit and did odd jobs. She rented an apartment in a questionable building, but the landlord had no complaints about her; she paid her rent on time. The last person he saw her with was a tall Caucasian man with dark hair.
Laura’s sister comes into the station; she doesn’t know whom that man could be. She hasn’t been in contact with her sister for six months except for one call a few weeks ago. Laura said she was in trouble, but wouldn’t elaborate.
The last pay stub led Castle and Beckett to a suite in a building labeled DAG. They hear what sounds like a woman in distress. Beckett kicks down the door and finds women speaking in separate booths. DAG – Dial A Goddess. Laura was a phone sex operator. They speak with Marilyn, the “Sex-ecutive,” who has nothing but great things to say about Laura. Marilyn tells them all of the calls are done anonymously; they’re only connected through a dispatcher, Sarah. When Beckett and Castle speak to Sarah, she bursts into tears, blaming herself for Laura’s murder. She gave Laura a client’s personal information – one Edgar Navarro.
Navarro is brought in for questioning, and he quickly denies any involvement with Laura’s murder. Laura reached out to Edgar because she wanted help copying a digital recording for evidence. Beckett and Castle go back to DAG to find the digital recordings Laura wanted to copy. Marilyn takes them back to the room where they’re stored, only to find the lock broken. She let the “gas man” in – a tall, Caucasian man with dark hair – to fix the leak.
Back at home, Castle gets a call from the same Mystery Man that called after Beckett was shot. They have to talk again regarding Beckett’s safety. He says there’s more at stake and left a number for Castle to call back when he feels it’s right. Very cryptic. Could Laura’s death be connected to Beckett’s mother’s murder?
There were fibers found in Laura’s mouth and esophagus – specifically, light brown cashmere.
If Ryan finds anything that could be related to Beckett’s mom’s murder or Beckett’s shooting, he is to tell Castle.
They find the phone Laura used to call Navarro. She purchased a pay-as-you-go phone and made two calls: one to Navarro and the other to a book agent, Trevor Haines.
Haines provides the reasoning for Laura’s life changes; she was writing a book from the point of view of the working poor. The last time he spoke with her, she mentioned uncovering a scandal involving a NY official.
Before her death, Laura also visited Gotham TV station. Here she stayed for hours, viewing footage of the Reading Train foundation. They watch the video only to find Laura standing next to the Mayor – and he’s wearing a light brown cashmere coat.
Castle is quick to defend his friend and can’t possibly believe that the Mayor could have murdered that woman. Beckett decides to give the Mayor the benefit of the doubt and lies to Gates about the newfound connection to Weldon.
Beckett leaves to see what she can find out about Laura’s role in the Mayor’s charity, but leaves Castle behind; he can’t be objective. Laura was only a volunteer for a few days before she was fired; she was caught copying accounting files. There’s an ongoing investigation into the charity’s funds – $2.3 million is missing, and the Mayor is the prime suspect.
With this additional information, Beckett now feels she must tell Gates of the Mayor’s possible involvement in the murder. But if the Mayor is removed, Castle will be, too. Beckett tells Gates she wants to tread lightly; she is afraid of destroying his career. Gates informs Beckett that this is all part of the job. But Gates isn’t in favor of special treatment for people in power. Gates shares a part of her past with Beckett, helping her understand her “Iron” Gates nickname. She encourages Beckett to try to get Weldon to cooperate voluntarily before getting a warrant.
Beckett tries to get the Mayor to voluntarily give his coat to CSU, but he declines. He says this murder and the missing funds are a part of a conspiracy to stop him from running for governor.
Castle phones Mystery Man. They meet in a dark parking lot, and he tells Castle the Mayor is right about the conspiracy. Castle wants guidance for the case, but Mystery Man only says, “Listen to the evidence” and disappears.
Castle takes the advice and tells Beckett to meet him at DAG. The video Laura watched at Gotham must’ve had footage and sound of her client. Sarah, the dispatcher, confirms that Jordan Norris (Wendell, from Bones), Deputy Assistant to the Mayor, is a frequent caller.
Norris is brought in for questioning. He’s responsible, under the guidance of an unknown party, for the embezzlement of the missing charity funds and framing Weldon. In a drunken phone call to DAG, he told Laura of his actions, and she confronted him. He called the people he works for, and she ended up dead. Beckett is just about to get him to give them a name, but his just recently hired lawyer interrupts. Norris is charged with criminal facilitation, but Beckett is unsatisfied. She wants the big fish.
Castle meets with Mystery Man once more. He wants to know who’s behind this. Mystery Man won’t say, but he tells Castle the Mayor is only in office so that Castle can keep Beckett from pursuing her mother’s killer.
I have a feeling he’ll be back.
This episode was very “case-heavy.” I expected to see connections with the still-unsolved murder of Beckett’s mom closer to the season finale but was nicely surprised by its inclusion in this episode.
I enjoyed learning more about Captain Gates’ past. I’ve come to respect her character more and more, and now I understand her seemingly harsh demeanor.
How will Beckett take it when she finds out Castle is preventing her from solving her mother’s murder?
Tune in next Monday, January 23, on ABC at 10/9c.