3x08 Transcript

Transcribed by:
McManda
CASTLE
EPISODE 3x08
"Murder Most Fowl"

EXT – CENTRAL PARK, NIGHTTIME

Two bikers are riding in the park. It’s nighttime and they’re the only ones around. They’re doing tricks and jumping over anything in their path as they race through the park. BIKER 1 runs over something and falls.

BIKER 2
Ah… dude!

BIKER 1 groans and rolls over, looking for what knocked him from his bike. It’s a body of a man.

BIKER 1
Dude.

BIKER 2
Dude.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

A rat is running in a wheel.

RICHARD CASTLE
Oh. Science project?

ALEXIS CASTLE is making breakfast. The rat is in a cage next to her.

ALEXIS
No, it’s a pet. Say hello to Theodore, Dad. I’m rat-sitting him for Ashley.

CASTLE
(looks into the cage) Hello, Theodore. How goes the rat race?

ALEXIS
Did you know the average lifespan of a rat is two to three years? Ashley has had Theodore for five. And this is the first time he’s left him with anyone.

CASTLE
Trusting you with a treasured pet. That’s a big step in a relationship.

ALEXIS
Yeah. I guess it kind of is.

MARTHA RODGERS
I must say, the little plague pusher is not very diligent about his exercise. (she makes a disgusted face) I don’t know why. I think it’s just those beady little eyes.

CASTLE
It’s a rat, Mother. They all have beady eyes. That’s where the phrase comes from.

CASTLE reaches down and snags some nuts from ALEXIS.

ALEXIS
Dad, those are for Theodore. He has a very specific diet I’m supposed to follow.

CASTLE
Well, unless he’s Ben I’m sure he won’t hold it against me. (he pops a nut into his mouth as he turns away) If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the park with a dead body.

ALEXIS and MARTHA wave goodbye.

ALEXIS
(to MARTHA) Who’s Ben?

MARTHA
Killer rat movie. Before your time.

EST – CENTRAL PARK, DAYTIME

EXT – CENTRAL PARK


CASTLE has met up with KATE BECKETT. They’ve arrived at the crime scene to investigate.

CASTLE
You know, I understand ferrets as a pet. Snakes, spiders, even a hairless mole, but a rat?

BECKETT
Probably kids in the city who keep cockroaches as pets.

CASTLE
Ah, you’re probably right. What’s the strangest pet you’ve ever had?

BECKETT
(dryly) You. Hey Lanie.

CASTLE
What’s this, a hit and run?

LANIE PARISH
In a manner of speaking. Two BMX bikers rode over the body, then called it in. But the cause of death are the gunshot wounds. One to the chest and two more in the back.

BECKETT
So he’s wounded on both sides?

CASTLE
Maybe there were two shooters? And he was caught in the crossfire?

LANIE
Won’t know ‘til I get him back to the lab.

BECKETT
Got an ID?

LANIE
Leonard Levitt, Ozark Park, Queens. Wallet, cash, keys … everything’s still here.

BECKETT
Which means it wasn’t theft.

CASTLE
No. (he spots something) Something much more nefarious. A feather. (he pulls out a feather from LEONARD’S pocket and examines it) Alternating stripes, uniform color … (he smells it and touches it with his tongue. LANIE looks disgusted) This is no ordinary pigeon feather. This is from a bird of prey.

BECKETT
So what are you suggesting, Castle? That a bird shot him three times?

CASTLE
Not just any bird. This is the calling card of a murderer known only as The Falcon Killer.

BECKETT
(rolls her eyes) Or, maybe before getting shot he just bent down and picked up the feather.

CASTLE
See, that’s why you’ll never be a bestselling novelist. No sense of drama.

BECKETT
I find that dead bodies are usually enough. (she takes the keys and wallet from LANIE). Thanks, Lanie.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT is starting to assemble her murder board while CASTLE looks on.

JAVIER ESPOSITO
Yo, so we ran background on your vic. It’s pretty thin. He was a New York City Transit employee, worked in the subway out of 116th Street station.

BECKETT
He worked uptown and he lived in Queens? Then what was he doing in the park? That’s pretty out of the way.

ESPOSITO
Well, we thought that he was looking to buy some weed or some love, but he has no drug history, no convictions of solicitations, no nothing.

BECKETT
What about his family?

KEVIN RYAN
Both parents are deceased, guy never married, has no children. It’s like he barely existed.

CASTLE
Making him the perfect victim. Mild mannered city employee, lured into a conveniently wooded area, struck down by a murderer with the speed and cunning of a bird of prey.

ESPOSITO looks confused, then looks to BECKETT.

BECKETT
Don’t ask. You guys go to his apartment. Find out who he is and what he was doing in the park.

They nod and head out.

INT – MORGUE

LANIE
Lividity and temperature puts time of death between five and seven PM. The victim also has a broken wrist; could be post mortem from those BMXers playing X Games on his corpse.

BECKETT
What about the gunshot wounds?

LANIE
All three entry wounds were made by the same weapon, a .45. There was only one shooter.

BECKETT
So the same person shot him in the front and then shot him in the back?

LANIE
Didn’t make any sense to me, either, so I decided to take some measurements. Turns out, the wounds are of different depths.

LANIE shows BECKETT the X-rays as a visual aid.

LANIE
The wound on his chest is very shallow, indicating the shot came from a distance.

CASTLE
How far?

LANIE
About a hundred and fifty feet.

CASTLE
That’s quite an accurate shot with a handgun.

LANIE
Yeah, I’d say your shooter had some shooting experience. But the next two shots, in the back, were close range. Inside six feet, maybe.

BECKETT
So he got shot in the chest at long range, turned around to run –

CASTLE
But he’s wounded. The killer goes after him to finish what he’s started with a double tap to the back.

BECKETT
He wasn’t just shot. He was hunted down and killed.

CASTLE
But why?

INT – LEONARD’S APARTMENT

The super lets RYAN and ESPOSITO into LEONARD’S apartment. There are blueprints and lots of gadgets. He was clearly working on something.

RYAN
What was this guy up to?

ESPOSITO
No idea.

They look over things on this desk – wires, pictures, and plans. ESPOSITO points to a counter on the wall reading 1,247,686.

ESPOSITO
What abut that?

RYAN
Looks like some sort of counter.

ESPOSITO
What do you think he was counting?

RYAN
Nothing good. Night vision, spotting scope, parabolic microphone. Top quality, too. What’s a subway worker doing with all this?

ESPOSITO
I don’t know. Whatever he was up to, it had something to do with the park. (he looks at a map of Central Park. It’s full of flags.) Look. This is right where his body was found.

RYAN
Five twenty-six. That’s right around our time of death.

ESPOSITO
Looks like he was tracing something, or someone, with the initials BHS.

RYAN
And it looks like that someone found him.

EST – SUBWAY

INT – SUBWAY STATION

CASTLE
Surveillance equipment, clandestine meetings, a professional hit? Mix in the subway and we’re looking at The Taking of Pellham 123, or better yet, Money Train. And one of these people could be a secret accomplice. That’s what I love about the subway. Down here everyone’s got a story.

BECKETT
See, that’s the difference between you and me, Castle. You see the subway as a place to pick up dialogue for your novels.

CASTLE
Or the occasional investment banker on her way to the gym.

The comment gets a look from BECKETT.

BECKETT
I, on the other hand, see it as a way of getting from point A to point B.

EST – SUBWAY

INT – SUBWAY OFFICE

MARIO
Lightbulb Len’s dead, huh?

CASTLE
Lightbulb Len?

MARIO
Yeah, it was his job to change the light bulbs in the stations and tunnels all over New York. I figured something was wrong. It’s the first time he’s missed work in twenty two years.

BECKETT
Mr. Rivera, Len was found shot to death in the park. Any idea what he was doing there?

MARIO
The guy changed light bulbs for a living, You know, a job like that, it’s not for the social. I mean, for the twelve years I was his supervisor, I don’t think we ever had one personal conversation.

CASTLE and BECKETT exchange a look.

MARIO
But you know who you should talk to?

BECKETT
Who?

INT – SUBWAY TUNNEL

A man is changing a light bulb.

BECKETT
Mr. Sansone! (he doesn’t respond) Arthur!

He looks over and CASTLE waves.

INT – SUBWAY TUNNEL

ARTHUR
I’m sorry. It’s just … why would anybody want to shoot him?

BECKETT
Well we were hoping that you could tell us that.

ARTHUR
The guy was one of the unsung heroes of this city. He saved a lot of lives.

CASTLE
I’m sorry. I thought … I thought he changed light bulbs.

ARTHUR
Bad things happen in darkness, Mr. Castle. Dimly lit tunnels, darkened stairwells … if Len heard about a blown bulb before shift end he would stay late on his own time to fix it. And of course there was his response to the Abe Lipschitz tragedy. (BECKETT looks lost) 1989? An electrocution of a bulb changer at the Brighton Beach station?

CASTLE and BECKETT can’t recall. ARTHUR turns around and points to a box on the wall.

ARTHUR
This is a circuit interrupter switch. (he flips a lever and the lights go out) Shuts down all the power inside a tunnel so that electrical maintenance could be performed safely. (he flips the power back on) Down here it’s called the Lenny Box, because it took a visionary like Len Levitt to design it and force the transit authority to install one in every station in this city.

BECKETT
What about high tech gear? Did Lenny ever use any night vision or microphones for his work?

ARTHUR
No, why?

CASTLE
How about the initials BHS? Does that mean anything to you? Maybe someone or something that Len was keeping tabs on?

ARTHUR
The only thing that Len Levitt ever kept tabs on was every single bulb he ever changed.

BECKETT
Did he have any enemies that you know of?

ARTHUR
You don’t make waves without making a few enemies. Because of Len we’re in the middle of a system wide changeover from incandescent to compact fluorescents. New technology comes in, the city ends up with a warehouse of old bulbs. That makes some guy in a suit at the old bulb factory very unhappy. You ask me? Corporations conspired to take Lenny out.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ESPOSITO, CASTLE, and BECKETT are staring at their murder board.

ESPOSITO
Lenny Box. So the guy’s an inventor.

CASTLE
Apparently he was an underground renaissance man.

His bad pun gets a glare from BECKETT.

ESPOSITO
Guess that explains all the electronics.

CASTLE
Yeah, and the counter in his apartment. All the light bulbs he changed.

ESPOSITO
Seriously, this guy changed over a million light bulbs?

CASTLE
The man was an unsung hero, all right? Cut down by the forces of Big Bulb.

ESPOSITO
Big Bulb?

CASTLE
The filament industrial complex.

BECKETT
Lenny’s buddy is delusional if he actually thinks that Lenny was killed by a light bulb conspiracy.

RYAN
Ah … I wouldn’t dismiss our subterranean friend just yet. I was running through Len’s phone records and one jumped out.

RYAN hands BECKETT a folder.

BECKETT
The outgoing call to the New York City employee tip line?

RYAN
(to CASTLE) It’s where you call to rat out your coworkers.

CASTLE
Must rat always be used in the pejorative? In the Chinese zodiac, the rat is the –

BECKETT
What was the tip?

CASTLE is disappointed she doesn’t want to hear his story.

RYAN
Well, all those incandescent bulb they were replacing? Levitt claims that he has evidence that his supervisor was stealing them and then reselling them on the black market.

BECKETT
You mean Mario Rivera?

RYAN
The same. The charges pan out, the guy could lose his job and his pension. Oh and get this, before he was in the Transit Authority, Mario was in the Marine Corps where he won a weapons medal for sharpshooting.

CASTLE loves the turn of events.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

CASTLE and BECKETT are interrogating MARIO RIVERA.

BECKETT
Where were you last night between five and seven PM?

MARIO
Working.

BECKETT
We checked. You clocked out at four thirty-four.

CASTLE
You hopped the B or the D, down to 59th Street in the express lane, that takes, what? Ten minutes? Plenty of time to get to the park, kill Len.

MARIO
Why would I kill Len?

CASTLE
Because he filed a report against you with the Transit Authority when he found out about Costa Rica.

MARIO
What the hell are you guys talking about?

BECKETT is done playing.

BECKETT
These are emails that were sent from you to your contact in Costa Rica.

She slides a stack of papers towards him, which he looks over.

MARIO
These are my private emails.

BECKETT
Sent from a workplace computer, which means we can look.

MARIO
So? I was thinking about taking a vacation down there.

CASTLE
Yeah. Drink a few cervezas, maybe going parasailing on the beach, sell some light bulbs to some locals.

BECKETT
The city has a warehouse full of old incandescent light bulbs that you figured no one would miss, so you sold them to a wholesaler in Costa Rica for twenty cents a pop. That’s a hundred grand.

CASTLE
Only someone did miss them. Someone with the word ‘lightbulb’ in his name. When you found out Len was on to you, you realized you could lose your job and your pension. You couldn’t afford to let him go to the transit authority with what he knew.

MARIO
I didn’t kill nobody.

BECKETT
Well then, why don’t you just come clean with what you did last night between five and seven? The thing about murderers, Mario, is that they tend to not have solid alibis.

CASTLE
(dryly) Generally because they’re murdering somebody.

MARIO
Look. Those old light bulbs were just going to get destroyed and end up in a landfill. I was doing the city a favor. So I make a little extra. Who gets hurt?

CASTLE
Uh … (he raises his hand) I’m going to go with Len.

BECKETT
Last chance, Mario.

MARIO regards BECKETT and CASTLE and decides he’s got nothing to lose.

MARIO
After work I went up to the Grand concourse to pack up a shipment of light bulbs. They went out to Costa Rica last night. You can check, I was there.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ESPOSITO finishes a phone call as he joins BECKETT and CASTLE.

ESPOSITO
Thanks. (hangs up) He’s telling the truth. Len’s call to the tip line? Turns out the transit cops had him under surveillance all last week. His tail has him in the Bronx last night, just like he said.

BECKETT
Call the transit cops and tell them that we just closed their case for them.

ESPOSITO
Right.

ESPOSITO leaves.

CASTLE
So if light bulbs didn’t get Lenny killed, then what did?

BECKETT
You know, it can’t be a coincidence that he was killed right there at about the same time that he has written down.

CASTLE
And what does BHS stand for?

BECKETT sighs in frustration.

CASTLE
Bronx High School.

BECKETT
Hmm.

CASTLE
(confused) Big honkin’ stereo.

BECKETT looks at him.

CASTLE
Boys have shoes?

RYAN shows up in that moment carrying the parabolic microphone that was in LEN’S apartment.

RYAN
Try Byron H. Singer. Found a small vendor decal on the parabolic microphone that we found in his apartment so I called the vendor to find out if he knew why Len bought the equipment. Turns out, Len didn’t buy it at all. It was purchased two months ago by an insurance actuary named Byron H. Singer.

CASTLE has been playing with the microphone and is startled when BECKETT talks.

BECKETT
BHS! (CASTLE jumps and she lowers her voice) Sorry.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGFATION ROOM

BECKETT
Mr. Singer, thank you for coming down.

BYRON shrugs.

BYRON
They said it was important.

BECKETT
Do you know a man named Len Levitt?

BYRON
What did that bastard tell you?

BECKETT
He didn’t tell us anything.

BYRON
Good! Because he’s a liar. He thought that he knew better than me. He thought he knew better than everybody.

BECKETT
Mr. Singer –

BYRON
I don’t care if he didn’t believe me. I don’t care how much it hurt him. I know what I saw.

BECKETT
And what did you see?

BYRON
The two of them. Together. In the park. Like a pair of lovebirds. But he accused me of making the whole thing up. I mean, why would I make something like that up? Why would anybody?

BECKETT
Mr. Singer, what exactly did you see in the park?

BRYON
I saw enough. And believe me, I was pretty shocked to see them together. I knew I had to tell Len before somebody else did.

CASTLE
Len must have been very angry when you told him.

BRYON
Very angry and jealous. But I had followed them and found their secret spot. And I told him when and where to find them. I even lent him some of my equipment so he could spy on them himself.

BECKETT and CASTLE think they understand.

CASTLE
(to BECKETT) So then he goes to the park and he sees for himself.

BECKETT
(to CASTLE) And then he confronts them in a jealous rage and they kill him.

BYRON has been listen to them build theory.

BYRON
They do what now?

CASTLE
They kill him. (BYRON looks lost) The cheating girlfriend and the lover.

BYRON
What are you talking about?

BECKETT & CASTLE
(simultaneously) What are you talking about?

BECKETT sends a look to CASTLE.

BECKETT
Uh, who did you see in the park that night?

BYRON
The red tailed hawks.

CASTLE is shocked by how wrong they were.

BYRON
There haven’t been a nesting pair in the park for forty years.

BECKETT
You … mean this is about birds?

BYRON
Not just birds. The red tailed hawks! Len oversees the log in the Central Park Boathouse where all the sightings are officially recorded. He refused to acknowledge my sighting. So I told him if he didn’t believe me he should go out to the park and see for himself. They nest at dusk.

CASTLE has been pretending to care throughout BYRON’S rant, but BECKETT can’t get over how lame it all sounds.

BECKETT
Mr. Singer, were you in the park yesterday between five and seven PM?

BYRON
Usually I am, but yesterday I was in my office working.

BECKETT
And can any of your colleagues verify that?

BYRON
I’m sure they can. But about the hawks, and I want this on the official record, I would never exaggerate or fabricate a bird sighting. It’s unthinkable!

BECKETT is exasperated; she’s done hearing about the birds. CASTLE is still pretending to care.

BYRON
They’re there. And I saw them first.

CASTLE
I’m putting that in the official record.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLEN

BECKETT
So the equipment, the park, the feather, and BHS. Looks like we’ve explained everything.

CASTLE
Yes, except why he was killed.

They’re at a loss.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, MORNING

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

CASTLE
Good morning, Mother.

MARTHA
Morning.

She’s standing on the coffee table reading the paper. She’s not amused. ALEXIS is crawling around on the floor.

CASTLE
So why is Gram on the table and why are you on the floor?

ALEXIS
Dad, he’s gone.

CASTLE
Theodore?

She nods.

ALEXIS
When I fed him his quinoa salad with wheat berries I must not have closed the cage door all the way and now he’s gone and Ashley’s going to hate me.

CASTLE
Oh, he’s not going to hate you. He’ll understand.

ALEXIS
No, he won’t! He trusted me and I let him down.

CASTLE
No, not yet you haven’t. We’ll find him. Have you looked in your room?

ALEXIS
(nods) And in Gram’s, too.

MARTHA
If that creature entered my room, I’m going to need a new bed. And wardrobe.

CASTLE rolls his eyes.

ALEXIS
Dad, what if he got out. Like out, out.

CASTLE
All right, Theodore’s an uptown rat. He’s here someplace. Okay, to find a rodent you have to think like a rodent. (he shuts his eyes to channel his inner rat) You are Theodore. What do you want?

ALEXIS
Food.

CASTLE
Nah, you’ve got a personal chef. You’re not hungry.

ALEXIS
Warmth. I’d want to stay warm and safe.

CASTLE
Yeah. Cozy, quiet place out of the way where no one’s going to step on you.

ALEXIS
Front hall closet!

CASTLE
Nice.

ALEXIS opens the door to the closet and starts to look inside.

CASTLE
You see him?

ALEXIS
No, he’s not here. (she was so sure)

CASTLE
(spots a camera) He’s not here.

ALEXIS
What?

CASTLE looks hopefully at ALEXIS.

ALEXIS
You need to go?

He really wants to go follow up on his hunch, but he’s hesitant.

CASTLE
And leave you rat-less?

She shakes her head.

ALEXIS
It’s my responsibility, Dad, not yours. I’ll find him.

She forces a smile.

CASTLE
Are you sure?

Her smile is more real now.

ALEXIS
Yeah.

CASTLE
All right. Call me. (he kisses her forehead) If you need anything.

He’s almost out the door.

MARTHA
Just so you know, I’m checking into the Plaza.

CASTLE forces a smile.

MARTHA
And you’re paying!

His smile falters but he’s got things to do.

EXT – CENTRAL PARK

CASTLE is buying coffee from a vendor when BECKETT shows up looking like she’s just woken up.

BECKETT
Okay Castle, I’m here. What was so important?

CASTLE
Your first clue is – ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’.

She looks at him blankly.

BECKETT
Oh geez Castle, I haven’t even had my coffee yet.

He holds up a cup of coffee.

BECKETT
Thank you.

CASTLE
From the Sherlock Holmes story, "Silver Blaze". Holmes unmasks the murderer because of what didn’t happen. The dog didn’t bark. That’s how he knew the dog must have known the killer.

BECKETT has been taking long drinks of her coffee; she seems more awake now.

BECKETT
Okay, yes, I remember the story.

CASTLE
Then you know the hardest form of detection is looking for the thing that isn’t there. (she doesn’t follow) Byron said that Len was going to verify the hawks. Verify, as in, provide proof, which means …

BECKETT
He would have had a camera.

CASTLE
Which we didn’t find. And if he was taking pictures …

BECKETT
We should be able to figure out what he was up to.

EXT – CENTRAL PARK

CASTLE and BECKETT have arrived at the crime scene.

CASTLE
We found the body here where he took the last two bullets.

BECKETT
Running away from his killer.

CASTLE
Yeah, a broken wrist.

CASTLE is thinking out loud.

BECKETT
From the BMX guys riding over his body.

CASTLE
Or he fell from a tree.

They walk a few steps.

CASTLE
This tree. There’s a fresh divot.

They look up and find LEN’S camera hanging from a branch.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT has loaded the pictures from the camera onto her computer.

BECKETT
It’s all birds.

CASTLE
Hmm. Red tailed hawks! Looks like Byron Singer was telling the truth after all.

BECKETT
Yeah, remind me to notify the bird police.

She’s not amused and continues to click through the pictures.

BECKETT
But I doubt it was the hawks that killed him.

The next picture is a picture of a man forcing a young boy into a car at gunpoint.

CASTLE
Woah.

BECKETT
Lightbulb Len witnessed a child abduction.

The last picture is a picture of the man firing his gun at the camera.

CASTLE
And the last thing he saw was his killer.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

Because of recent developments, LEN’S murder case has turned into a child abduction investigation. The whole precinct has gathered to try to find the boy.

BECKETT
We don’t know his name or age, but we’re estimating between ten and twelve years old. He has brown hair, hazel eyes, and was last seen wearing shorts, sneakers, and a grey and white jacket. Now, our kidnapper is male, brown hair, between five ten and six foot. He was carrying a Glock .45 which matches the size of the slugs we found in our victim’s body. Now both photos have timestamps on them, so we know that the abduction took place at five twelve PM on Tuesday.

MONTGOMERY
After forty eight hours the chances of finding a child abduction victim alive go way down. The only thing that matters is finding that kid.

Everyone scatters. CASTLE heads to the murder board.

CASTLE
If he’s been missing for thirty six hours, how come his parents haven’t reported it?

BECKETT
They might not know. Or they might be under duress.

CASTLE
He was wearing shorts. Which means he probably knew he was going to the park.

BECKETT
Well, if he wasn’t lured there maybe he knew his kidnapper.

CASTLE
Well, then why would the kidnapper need a gun?

RYAN
I emailed the photo to the New York State Police and the parole division. They’re looking into any kidnappers with this abduction MO. And Esposito is canvassing that part of the park looking for any witnesses.

CASTLE
What about schools? If the boy goes to a local school they’d know he was absent.

BECKETT
Have uniforms fax his photo to all schools in the five boroughs.

RYAN
Done.

CASTLE
That car looks to be a compact or a sub-compact. Can we get the make or model?

BECKETT
Lab’s already looking into it.

RYAN
We’re pulling video from all traffic cameras leading in and out of the park on Tuesday evening. Maybe we’ll catch a license plate.

BECKETT
Or the driver’s face.

RYAN leaves.

CASTLE
What if we were to enlarge this part of the photo. (he points) Not the face, just this part of the window.

BECKETT
Are you thinking of the reflection?

CASTLE
I’m wondering if maybe we can see the kidnapper’s face in that side view mirror.

BECKETT
It’s worth a shot.

She’s at her desk, picking up the phone.

BECKETT
I need a CSU photo tech up here, now.

EST – CENTRAL PARK, DAYTIME

EXT – CENTRAL PARK

ESPOSITO is canvassing the area of the park where LEN was found.

ESPOSITO
Are you sure you haven’t seen him?

VENDOR
Man, I see so many kids every day I couldn’t tell one from the next.

The VENDOR hands ESPOSITO back the photo.

ESPOSITO
What about a blue car at the same time, somewhere around this area?

VENDOR
Tuesday about five?

ESPOSITO
Yeah.

VENDOR
Yeah, as a matter of fact, a blue Saturn.

ESPOSITO
You sure?

VENDOR
Yeah, people I forget. Things that get in my way I remember. It was parked right in front of my regular spot. Instead I’ve got to set up at the edge of the roadway. I almost get clipped by a cab.

ESPOSITO
Anybody inside?

VENDOR
No, because I would have yelled at the driver if there was. I don’t know what’s wrong with people in the city.

ESPOSITO
Yeah. Thanks.

VENDOR
Yeah.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT is just getting off the phone. She’s exhausted.

BECKETT
Our pretzel vendor ID’d the kidnapper’s car as a blue Saturn sedan anywhere from ’07 to ’02. The problem is there are six thousand blue Saturns registered in the tri-state area alone. Ryan, where are we on the traffic cams?

RYAN
(he’s on the phone on hold) The make and model will help narrow it down, but there’s a lot of footage. (holds up a folder) There’s also no central database for school absences. We can’t sort by grade or gender and there’s a bad cold making the rounds, so more kids are out than usual.

CASTLE
What about state police?

RYAN
A whole lot of nada. And nothing popped on parolees with the same kidnapping MO. (into the phone) Yes, I’ll continue to hold.

CSU TECH
Detective, enhanced and enlarged.

She hands BECKETT a folder.

BECKETT
Thank you.

CASTLE stands to look at the photos over her shoulder.

CASTLE
The enhancement only increased the pixelation on all these. You can’t even see there’s a side view mirror.

BECKETT
It’s not like on 24, Castle. In the real world zoom and enhance can only get us so far.

CASTLE
Yeah but … you can’t even … there’s no reflection, it’s just mush.

He’s oddly defeated and BECKETT notices.

BECKETT
Are you okay?

CASTLE
Yeah. No. God, this kid isn’t that much younger than Alexis.

She’s concerned at how much this is affecting him.

BECKETT
Don’t worry. We’ll find him.

CASTLE
Alexis.

He’s looking a one of the photos.

BECKETT
What?

CASTLE
I’ve seen this before.

BECKETT
You’ve seen what?

CASTLE
This mark. On his sock. Alexis used to get these when she played soccer. They’re cleat marks from where other kids kicked her in the shin.

BECKETT
If he was playing soccer in the park he might be part of an organized team or a league.

CASTLE
And youth leagues have websites that you can go to that parents and kids can track scores and standings.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

CASTLE and BECKETT are gathered around RYAN’S computer.

RYAN
I spoke to the league commissioner and only one ten to twelve year old team had practice on Tuesday. The Wildcats.

He brings up the website and the team roster and scrolls through it.

BECKETT & CASTLE
(simultaneously) There!

They point and RYAN stops.

RYAN
Tyler Donegal. He’s twelve.

BECKETT
Ryan, let’s get everything we can on this kid. The clock is ticking and we’ve got to bring him back alive.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

The murder board has been updated with a better picture and a name.

BECKETT
Tyler Donegal lives with his mother in Westchester. Court records show that the parents' divorce was finalized two months ago.

MONTGOMERY
You reach the parents?

RYAN
Just got off with the mother, Mirielle Leftcourt. She moved out of the city last year, got remarried to an anesthesiologist last month. She says she has no idea that her son is missing. He was spending two days in the city with her ex. She’s on her way in now.

MONTGOMERY
If the father had custody, where the hell is he and why didn’t he report the boy missing?

RYAN
We’re working on that, sir. The father is a maintenance supervisor at a high rise on West Broadway and Canal. He lives six blocks from Central Park.

ESPOSITO
Yo. Donegal called in sick for work yesterday and today.

MONTGOMERY
Divorced parents, one child, one spouse remarries quickly.

BECKETT
So she dumps the janitor in the city for the doctor in the ‘burbs.

MONTGOMERY
All the father has left his is son. It’s got all the hallmarks of a custodial abduction.

BECKETT
You got a photo?

ESPOSITO
I’ll get one.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ESPOSITO puts a picture of a man on the murder board.

ESPOSITO
Dean Donegal. Five foot ten, one seventy-five, brown hair.

BECKETT
Well, the vitals match.

CASTLE
Yeah, but why do you need a gun to kidnap your own son? You just put him in the car, tell him you’re going for ice cream. What’s he doing?

RYAN
Hey Beckett? The mother’s here.

BECKETT
All right, Ryan, you go to Dean’s office, Esposito, you check out his apartment. Maybe something else is going on with that family.

ESPOSITO
Right.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERVIEW ROOM

MIRIELLE LEFTCOURT
Where’s my son?

BECKETT
That’s what we’re trying to determine, Ms. Leftcourt. When was the last time you spoke with him?

MIRIELLE
Uh, two days ago when I dropped him off at his father’s.

ELLIOT LEFTCOURT
He was supposed to be with Dean. Have you talked with Dean?

BECKETT
We’re trying to locate him now.

MIRIELLE
He’s not at work? He never misses work.

BECKETT
Can you tell me about the divorce? How did Dean take that?

MIRIELLE
Um, not well. He was very bitter and angry.

BECKETT
Does he own a gun?

MIRIELLE
A handgun. Yes. There were break-ins in his building.

BECKETT
Do you know what kind?

MIRIELLE
Why are you asking me about a gun? Was somebody shot? Was my son shot?

BECKETT
No, nobody was shot, Ms. Leftcourt. It’s just the man who took your son was carrying a gun. Now, I’m going to have to show you this photograph. (she passes over the picture that LEN took) Do you recognize this man?

MIRIELLE
I don’t know. Is that Dean?

BECKETT
I was hoping that you could tell me. What about this car? Is that his car?

ELLIOT
Dean doesn’t own a car. He rents one as he needs one.

MIRIELLE is trying to compose herself and absorb all this information.

MIRIELLE
A Glock. Dean’s gun, it’s a Glock. We had to itemize our property for the divorce.

BECKETT
Ms. Leftcourt, does Dean have a place that he likes to take Tyler? Any favorite hangouts?

ELLIOT
As far as I know, he’s never taken him anywhere.

MIRIELLE
(to ELLIOT) That’s not true. (to BECKETT) Dean’s family has a cabin in the Poconos.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT is just getting off the phone while CASTLE thinks.

BECKETT
Pennsylvania State Police are on their way to the cabin. With any luck, we’ll find Tyler.

CASTLE is oddly silent.

BECKETT
You okay?

CASTLE
Can’t imagine how Tyler’s mother feels.

BECKETT
Yeah, me neither.

CASTLE
When Alexis was four, we went Christmas shopping at some mall in White Plains. I was trying on some charcoal fedora. I turn around, she is gone. Vanished. I looked everywhere. So did mall security, so did the police. We searched for an hour. You have to be a novelist to think of all the worst case scenarios.

Even years later he’s still haunted.

BECKETT
Where did you find her?

CASTLE
Behind a rack of winter coats. She got bored. She crawled underneath there and went to sleep.

BECKETT chuckles at the thought, but CASTLE’S not laughing.

CASTLE
To this day I dream about that.

MONTGOMERY
Just got off the phone with Esposito. Looks like Dean’s on the move.

BECKETT
What did they find?

MONTGOMERY
It’s what they didn’t find. No toothbrush, no deodorant, no shampoo in the shower.

BECKETT
I’ll run his credit card for anything that indicates he’s travelling.

INT – DEAN’S OFFICE

RYAN is being shown around DEAN’S office by a coworker.

RYAN
Dean’s desk?

TERESA DE LA TORRE
You can’t miss it, right? Pictures everywhere. He calls it Tyler-Palooza.

RYAN looks at the bulletin board full of pictures of TYLER.

RYAN
Is this his only work area?

TERESA
Yeah, uh huh.

RYAN
How did he sound when he called in sick? Did he sound stressed?

TERESA
To tell you the truth, Detective, Dean didn’t call in sick. I covered for him.

RYAN
Why?

TERESA
His ex-wife got remarried to some rich doctor like five minutes after the divorce was final. He had legal bills up the ass. I figured he just needed to spend a little time with his son. So what if he didn’t call in sick. I had his back. That’s how we do it down here.

COWORKER
Hey, Teresa!

TERESA
All right, already!

She gives RYAN an apologetic look and leaves him to get back to her work. RYAN continues to look around DEAN’S desk. He hits the mouse on the computer, clearing the screensaver to reveal a screen where DEAN was looking at flights to Indianapolis.

RYAN
What’s in Indy, Dean?

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLEPN

CASTLE
Maybe he’s got family in Indianapolis? Uh, friends? Someone he can trust? Someone who can hide him.

BECKETT
Yeah, but there weren’t any airline tickets purchased in his name or in Tyler’s.

ESPOSITO
Yo. The cabin’s empty. PA State Troopers say it looks like there hasn’t been anyone there in months.

MONTGOMERY
Just got a hit on Dean Donegal’s financials. An hour ago he booked a motel room in Jamaica, Queens.

CASTLE
That’s not far from the airport. He might still be trying to get Tyler out of town.

BECKETT
If we’re lucky.

MONTGOMERY
He shot someone, he’s on the run, he under extreme duress. Let’s get him before this ends bloody for everyone.

INT – MOTEL ROOM

ESPOSITO kicks in the door and RYAN and BECKETT rush in, guns drawn.

ESPOSITO
NYPD!

BECKETT
Hands! Show me your hands!

ESPOSITO
Tyler! Tyler, are you here?

RYAN
Tyler!

ESPOSITO
Bathroom’s clear.

RYAN
He’s not here.

DEAN is sitting on the bed. He slowly raises his hands.

BECKETT
Where’s Tyler?

DEAN
I don’t know. They told me to check into a motel and wait for further instructions.

CASTLE
Who did?

DEAN
I don’t know! All I know is they took him. If I help you, they’ll kill my son.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

BECKETT
Where is Tyler, Dean?

DEAN
I told you, I don’t know.

CASTLE
Why were you going to Indianapolis?

DEAN
Indian– what are you taking about?

CASTLE
We know you were checking on airfare.

DEAN
I was researching a trip for the holidays. What, you think I took my own son?

BECKETT
You were in a hotel by the airport.

DEAN
That’s where they told me to go.

BECKETT
Who?

DEAN
Please… they said if I talked to the cops, he’s dead.

CASTLE and BECKETT share a look.

BECKETT
Dean, if your son is in danger then you need to tell us what you know.

He hesitates.

DEAN
I went to pick him up after practice. When he wasn’t at the usual spot, I figured he must have walked home. When I got back to my apartment, that phone was on my doormat. It had a text on it.

BECKETT grabs the phone from the evidence bag.

BECKETT
(reading) ‘We have your son. Tell no one. Use only this phone. Contact the police and Tyler dies.’ (she looks at CASTLE and continues) ‘Stand by, we will tell you where to go and what to do. Tell no one, your son’s life depends on it.’

BECKETT considers this. DEAN looks devastated.

CASTLE
What do they want from you?

DEAN
I have no idea.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT OBSERVATIN ROOM

MONTGOMERY is watching BECKETT through the glass when RYAN comes in.

RYAN
Dean’s Glock is a 9 millimeter.

MONTGOMERY
Right make, wrong model. Lightbulb Len was killed with a .45.

RYAN
The SIM card form his cell phone is a burner and the text messages aren’t coming from another phone. They’re coming from an internet texting service based in the Ukraine. No IP address. Untraceable.

MONTGOMERY
Track the SIM. And I want a printout of every text message. And get the electronic serial number off that phone. I want to find out when it was purchased and by whom.

RYAN
You got it, sir.

RYAN leaves.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

CASTLE
What do they want from you? Are they after ransom?

DEAN
(laughs) You’re kidding. I’m forty grand in debt after my divorce. I’m looking up at broke.

BECKETT
What about your ex-wife’s new husband? He has money.

DEAN
They’re not calling him, they’re calling me. What if they find out I’m here? I just want my son back.

BECKETT
Then your best option is to work with us. Let us help you.

DEAN
I need to get some air.

He’s up before anyone can stop him.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

DEAN doesn’t go far. He sits on a bench in the bullpen. CASTLE and BECKETT follow him.

BECKETT
Look, I know this is hard. But you have to trust us. We will find him.

He’s reluctant but he has no choice.

DEAN
Okay. Don’t let them hurt my boy.

CASTLE feels the pain for a fellow parent.

MIRIELLE
Where is he?

MIRELLE comes storming in.

MIRELLE
Where’s Tyler? (she’s in DEAN’S face) You should have been there to pick him up at soccer practice! This is why I should have never agreed to joint custody.

DEAN
We’re doing everything we can. It’s just … it’s going to be all right.

ELLIOT
How could you let this happen?

DEAN
(to ELLIOT) Stay out of this, you’re not family.

ELLIOT
He’s my boy too.

DEAN
Sit down!

MONTGOMERY
That's enough!

Everyone falls silent.

MONTGOMERY
Now I need everyone to calm down. Cooperate and think. Dean, you notice anyone unusual hanging around your son? Anything out of the ordinary going on in his life?

DEAN
No. I mean … I don’t think so.

MONTGOMERY
What about you two?

ELLIOT
Nothing comes to mind.

MIRELLE
No.

MONTGOMERY
Now this abduction was clearly planned, so the kidnapper had to know where Tyler was going to be.

The burner phone chimes.

MONTGOMERY
Sir, this is a message. It’s from the kidnapper. There’s a video attached.

BECKETT plays the video. It’s Tyler.

TYLER
(from the video) Hi Dad. I know you’re worried, but I’m okay. They say if you do what they ask, everything will be fine, just don’t go to the police. I’ll see you soon, and don’t forget to feed Ace.

MIRIELLE
Oh, thank God he’s alive.

BECKETT
There’s a time stamp on it. One thirty-one AM. That was sent eight minutes ago.

MONTGOMERY
It’s a good thing, Ms. Leftcourt, it’s called a proof of life video. The kidnappers sent it to prove your son’s alive and that you do exactly what they ask.

MIRIELLE
Okay. (to ELLIOT) You’ll do exactly what they ask you to, do you understand?

DEAN
Wait. Play that last part again.

BECKETT rewinds the video a bit.

TYLER
(from the video) Don’t forget to feed Ace.

DEAN
Who’s Ace? I don’t know any Ace.

ELLIOT
We don’t have any pets.

CASTLE
He’s sending us a message.

DEAN
He’s a smart boy.

CASTLE
Ace could refer to a person or a business.

The phone chimes again.

BECKETT
Sir, there’s another text. (she reads it) 680 Canal Streel. Thirty minutes.

DEAN
That’s the building where I work.

CASTLE
What’s there? A jewelry store? A bank?

DEAN
No, just offices.

BECKETT
Why you? What’s so special that they need you?

DEAN
Uh … oh God. Because I have elevator access to all the floors in the building.

CASTLE
You’re a human key.

INT – MONTGOMERY’S OFFICE

BECKETT
Sir, I just talked to the building’s owner. He’s emailing blueprints and a tenant list for 680 Canal, including the secure floors.

MONTGOMERY
Ryan and Esposito are with me. We’ll take Dean to the building. (BECKETT shakes her head) I’ve arranged to have an ESU team standing by in striking distance.

BECKETT
Sir, you can’t take Dean to that building. It is way too dangerous.

CASTLE
He’s a father who loves his son. You’re not going to be able to stop him.

BECKETT gives CASTLE an exasperated look.

MONTGOMERY
And until we find the boy we don’t have any other choice. Scrub the video. Look for anything that could lead us to him.

BECKETT
Yes sir.

She’s not happy but she’ll do as she’s told. She and CASTLE leave.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

ESPOSITO drives and parks an unmarked van. He goes into the back where MONTGOMERY is with RYAN and DEAN. RYAN is fitting DEAN with a camera and microphone.

ESPOSITO
Okay, we’re a block away.

RYAN
We’ll be able to see and hear everything that’s happening, okay? And we cloned your phone so we’ll be able to read your texts in real time.

MONTGOMERY
You follow the kidnapper’s instructions to the letter. No cowboy stuff, you understand me?

DEAN
Yes.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

CASTLE and BECKETT are going over the video again and again.

TYLER
(from the video) Hi Dad. I know you’re worried, but I’m okay. They say if you do what they ask, everything will be fine, just don’t go to the police. I’ll see you soon, and don’t forget to feed Ace.

BECKETT
There are no identifying markers in the background. It’s all black. I don’t know if we’re going to find him in time.

CASTLE
The video was taken at one thirty-one AM but they didn’t send it until one thirty-nine.

BECKETT
Yeah well, sometimes it takes a while for a text to go through.

CASTLE
Yeah, but eight minutes? You want Dean to do something for you. You make a proof of life video. But you wait eight minutes to send it. Why?

BECKETT
Well, maybe there wasn’t a signal, or not enough bars.

CASTLE
Yeah. Maybe they had to walk a long way to get a signal. Maybe they were under a … (he trails off, thinking) Underground. Ace. (he heads to the murder board) It’s not Ace. It’s ACE. The A, C, and E subway lines.

BECKETT
They’re holding Tyler in the subway. He must have spotted a sign.

CASTLE
There’s half a dozen stations with an A, C, and E stop. That’s too many to search.

BECKETT
Yeah, but the last stop for all three lines is on Canal Street and West Broadway. That’s –

CASTLE
Right under Dean’s building. They’ve been holding him under everyone’s nose.

BECKETT
Let’s go.

INT – SUBWAY STOP

CASTLE and BECKETT are followed by uniforms for backup.

BECKETT
Check every room on the east end of the station. You guys check ticket booths on both ends. Go.

The uniforms take off.

BECKETT
Castle, what are you thinking?

CASTLE
The only reason to keep him here is for a quick getaway, which is helped by the fact that 680 Canal Street has its own entrance to the subway. If it were me? (he consults the subway plans in his hand) I get close enough to hook up with my partners but far enough that I’d be out of the way.

CASTLE looks around.

BECKETT
Which means he’s holding Tyler on the west end of the tunnel.

CASTLE scans the blueprints.

CASTLE
West end of the tunnel … this room. (he points to a mechanical room)

BECKETT
All right, you should stay back.

She walks off.

CASTLE
Not a chance.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

INT – STAKEOUT VAN

DEAN’S phone chimes with a new message.

RYAN
(reading) Go to the thirty seventh floor now.

DEAN
They said thirty minutes. It hasn’t been thirty minutes yet.

MONTGOMERY
They’re changing the time table. In case you went to the cops. What’s on the thirty seventh floor?

DEAN
Nothing. It’s vacant. It’s not even secure.

MONTGOMERY
(to ESPOSITO) Try Beckett.

ESPOSITO dials his phone.

INT – SUBWAY

CASTLE and BECKETT are walking through the subway tunnels. She has both a flashlight and her gun raised. CASTLE points to a door. BECKETT nods and kicks it in but it’s empty.

BECKETT
Nothing.

INT – STAKEOUT VAN

ESPOSITO
It’s going straight to voicemail. She must already be in the subway.

MONTGOMERY sighs.

DEAN
I gotta go.

MONTGOMERY
Remember, we can see and hear everything. Anything goes south and a hundred cops will be on you inside a minute.

DEAN
Not until you find my son.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

ESPOSITO jumps out of the back of the van and holds the door for DEAN before climbing back in.

INT – 680 CANAL STREET

DEAN walks into the lobby of the building where he works and waves to the night guard.

DEAN
Just my luck. Pulled graveyard tonight.

INT – STAKEOUT VAN

MONTGOMERY, RYAN, and ESPOSITO are watching his progress.

MONTGOMERY
All right, he’s in.

ESPOSITO
Not bad with the guard. Guy’s all right.

RYAN
Camera and mic are all good.

DEAN walks to the elevator, hits the button, and waits. He’s nervous, but he gets in and hits the button for the thirty seventh floor. When the doors open, two men dressed in black are waiting, guns drawn.

RYAN
Oooh.

BAD GUY 1
Take us to the thirty ninth floor.

DEAN
I want to see Tyler, first.

ROBERT KINCADE
Just follow instructions, you’ll see him soon enough.

DEAN follows instructions and uses his security clearance to get to the thirty ninth floor.

MONTGOMERY
What’s on the thirty ninth floor?

RYAN searches on a computer.

RYAN
A financial firm, Breskin and Wright.

ESPOSITO
Thirty seven was just a staging area.

MONTGOMERY
They let him see their faces. As soon as they get what they came for, they’re going to kill him.

RYAN is on his phone.

ESPOSITO
Just like Lightbulb Len.

RYAN
Beckett’s still going to voicemail. Castle too.

ESPOSITO
Sir. What do you want to do?

MONTGOMERY is weighing his options.

MONTGOMERY
If we go in before we find the kid we might lose them both.

INT – SUBWAY

CASTLE and BECKETT are still looking for TYLER. CASTLE spots a light under a door.

CASTLE
Beckett.

He points and they head over to it. They listen but they hear nothing. CASTLE has an idea and pulls out his cell phone. He holds it to the floor and takes a picture under the door. It’s TYLER being held captive.

BECKETT
One armed and the kid. If I go in he’ll kill him before I get a shot off.

CASTLE
He’s holding a flashlight. If we kill the ambient light he’ll light up like a Christmas tree. We just –

CASTLE stops. BECKETT follows his gaze to a Lenny Box that would kill the electricity to the tunnel.

CASTLE
It’s like it’s meant to be.

BECKETT
Maybe Lenny can prevent another tragedy. On my count.

CASTLE opens the box and waits. BECKETT is ready.

BECKETT
Three, two, one.

On "one", CASTLE cuts the power and BECKETT kicks open the door. She’s inside and two shots are fired, then another.

INT – 680 CANAL STREET

DEAN is still taking the kidnappers where they want. They’re done now and back on the elevator.

BAD GUY 1
Hit P1. The subway.

DEAN does.

DEAN
I did what you asked. Now where’s Tyler?

ROBERT
You’ll see him in a minute.

BAD GUY 1
Sorry Dean, last stop.

The elevator dings, stopping at the lobby.

ROBERT
We’re supposed to go to subway level. Why’re we stopping at the lobby?

The doors open.

BAD GUY 1
Don’t look at me.

MONTGOMERY
No, look at me.

MONTGOMERY has a gun raised, flanked by RYAN, ESPOSITO, and a SWAT ream.

MONTGOMERY
I suggest you drop your weapons.

DEAN
Where’s Tyler?

MONTGOMERY only looks at DEAN.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, MORNING

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

DEAN waits. He’s a mess. CASTLE and BECKETT come around the corner leading TYLER. When BECKETT points out DEAN, TYLER is off, running to greet his father. They hug. Everyone is safe. CASTLE and BECKETT are happy to witness the reunion.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DAYTIME

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT is briefing ESPOSITO and RYAN on what they’ve found out.

BECKETT
The ringleader was Robert Kincade, former bond trader. He’s the one who planned the entire operation. The economy might have collapsed but he was still going to get his payday. Most of them were ex-Wall Street-ers. They knew that they needed biometric clearance in order to get on secure floors and they knew that Dean wasn’t going to help them, so they took Tyler as leverage.

ESPOSITO
But all they took were files.

CASTLE
Financial files. Containing unpublished earnings reports. To a savvy investor they’d be worth millions.

RYAN
Would have worked, too, if Lightbulb Len hadn’t been taking pictures in the park. He helped catch his own killer.

CASTLE
And foiled a kidnapping. Kind of poetic.

BECKETT gives him a look.

CASTLE
In an unspeakably tragic sort of way.

MONTGOMERY
The guy you shot in the subway, the thug Kincade hired to do his dirty work, he just confessed to kidnapping Tyler, murdering Lightbulb Len, and no surprise, he ratted out Kincade in two seconds flat.

CASTLE
Oh. Speaking of rats. (he stands) I gotta … I gotta go.

He runs off.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

The place is a mess. ALEXIS has set every sort of trap she can think of to try to lure Theodore back into his cage. Nothing has worked and she’s sitting depressed on the couch.

ALEXIS
I’m the worst person in the whole world.

CASTLE
No, you’re not. You’re wonderful and kind and you’re sweet.

ALEXIS
I’m a rat killer.

CASTLE
You don’t know that. You may just be a loser.

ALEXIS looks shocked.

CASTLE
A rat loser. This did not come out right. Look, he cares. He’ll understand.

ALEXIS
He’ll understand, all right. When he sees me in the halls at school he’ll think ‘there’s the awful girl that lost my best friend’.

The doorbell buzzes. She’s out of time.

ALEXIS
It’s him.

ALEXIS opens the door. ASHLEY is waiting, ready to pick up Theodore.

ALEXIS
Hey.

ASHELY
Hi. I missed you.

ALEXIS
I missed you, too.

She doesn’t sound happy to see him and he notices.

ASHLEY
What … what’s wrong?

ALEXIS
It’s about Theodore. When fed him he must have got out of his cage and … and he’s gone.

ASHLEY takes in the mess in the loft.

ASHLEY
He’s gone?

ALEXIS
We looked everywhere, I swear. We turned this whole place upside down.

ASHLEY
How’d he get out?

ALEXIS
I must not have locked the cage right. Ashley, I’m so sorry. You have every right to hate me.

ASHLEY
C’mon, Alexis, I – I’m upset, but I don’t hate you.

ALEXIS
You don’t?

ASHLEY
I mean, n– look at this place. Look at what you did to try to get him back. Who else would do that?

CASTLE is pleased with the way ASHLEY is handling things.

ALEXIS
You cared about him a lot.

ASHLEY
Yeah, but… I care about you more.

ALEXIS is relieved. She leans forward for a kiss. CASTLE smiles and averts his eyes. Just as they get close, MARTHA screams from upstairs. ASHLEY pulls back, shocked.

CASTLE
(raises his hand) Found him.

THE END

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