4x10 Transcript

Transcribed by:
McManda
CASTLE
EPISODE 4x10
"Cuffed"


INT – DARK ROOM


KATE BECKETT is lying on a mattress. She was asleep, but is now waking slowly. She’s content; happy. When she rolls over she realizes there’s someone with her. RICHARD CASTLE is also sleeping, next t her on the mattress. She takes a second to take in their position – her left arm is underneath his head and her right hand rests on his chest. Her smile doesn’t falter until she realizes something is wrong and she has no idea where they are. She looks around quickly, then props herself up. Her movement wakes CASTLE, but he keeps his eyes closed.

CASTLE
Hmmm. Don’t get up yet. Stay in bed.

BECKETT
(hissed) Castle!

He opens his eyes, still sleepy. He looks over at her.

CASTLE
(sleepily) Kate. Hi.

BECKETT
Castle.

She’s firmer.

CASTLE
What?

BECKETT
Did you do this?

CASTLE
What?

He’s more alert now, but confused.

BECKETT
Stop saying ‘what’ and wake up.

CASTLE
I don’t … (he moves his left arm, but it doesn’t move far) We’re handcuffed.

It’s true; his left hand is handcuffed to her left hand.

CASTLE
Kinky.

BECKETT
Castle, it’s not funny.

CASTLE
I didn’t say funny, I said kinky. And I didn’t cuff us.

BECKETT
You think I cuffed us?

CASTLE
Well, they look like police cuffs.

He turns to look at their joined hands. They haven’t moved from the position they woke in – lying next to each other with her arm under his head. BECKETT realizes.

BECKETT
Somebody else did this to us.

She tries to sit up, pulling him with her. They maneuver their arms a bit, trying to bring them to rest in a comfortable position in front of them. BECKETT takes a good look around them. The room is dark and empty. They’re sitting on a mattress in the middle of the space.

BECKETT
Do you recognize this place?

CASTLE
No. But if I were writing a book, this is where bad things would happen.

BECKETT
My watch is missing.

CASTLE
Mine too. And my wallet.

BECKETT
So is my badge and my gun.

CASTLE
And my phone. I just renewed my contract.

BECKETT
Would you stop joking?

CASTLE
Hey! Do I begrudge you your coping mechanisms?

She stops.

BECKETT
What’s the last thing you remember?

CASTLE
I – (he thinks for a second) It’s kind of a blur.

BECKETT
Yeah. Me too. I think we were drugged.

CASTLE
Yeah, I think so, too. And not the good kind.

She turns around so her back is to him and leans forward.

BECKETT
Okay, lift my top.

He’s shocked.

CASTLE
I think you still might be under the influence, but okay.

BECKETT
Castle, not like that. Just check my back. There’s something that hurts.

He lifts the hem of her shirt and sees a red mark on her lower back, just above the waistband of her jeans.

CASTLE
There’s a needle mark.

He touches the puncture wound.

BECKETT
We were drugged.

CASTLE
Looks like the work of a pygmy with a blowgun.

He uses the opportunity to run his hand over the skin of her back to her waist.

BECKETT
Okay, you can put my shirt down.

CASTLE
Yeah, sorry.

He drops her shirt back into place.

BECKETT
Thanks.

She turns again to face him.

BECKETT
All right, Castle. I want you to think very hard. What’s the last thing you remember from this morning?

He draws in a breath.

CASTLE
I was with you. We were, uh … someplace seedy. A hotel that rents rooms by the hour.

BECKETT
Would you just knock it off?

CASTLE
(he’s not joking) It’s where we were. You called me and you asked me to meet you there.

BECKETT
Oh, I did.

CASTLE
Yes.

BECKETT
And then I took you up to the room and then we …

CASTLE
And then we …

They’re trying to fill in the blanks. She’s triumphant when she finally remembers.

BECKETT
Dead body! We went to go see a dead body!

CASTLE
Right. A dead body.

He’s still trying to fit together the pieces.

INT – SEEDY HOTEL, EARLIER THAT DAY

CASTLE
You know what I love about working with you? You always take me to the most charming places.

BECKETT is signing a paper held out by a uniform, but she smiles.

BECKETT
Well, I’m a simple girl, Castle. I go where the bodies are. Besides, for a mystery novelist, aren’t seedy motels kind of a standard?

CASTLE
Ah, yes. As a matter of fact, they’re a veritable advent calendar of salaciousness. Behind every door a delightful tale of desperation, depravity…

BECKETT
Or death.

They stop in the doorway of the room where the murder has taken place. LANIE PARISH is already there, arguing with DETECTIVE JAVIER ESPOSITO.

LANIE PARISH
You need to stop being a control freak.

JAVIER ESPOSITO
I’m not being a control freak!

LANIE
You are being a control freak.

ESPOSITO
I have never been a control freak. Nobody has ever called me -

They’re talking quickly and their voices have reached a higher than normal pitch. CASTLE and BECKETT pause for a second in the doorway, but interrupt them with a knock.

BECKETT
Sorry. Are we interrupting?

LANIE
No. (she turns away from ESPOSITO, back to the body) Victim’s a white male, late 30s.

ESPOSITO
Housekeeping found him when they came to clean the room.

They’re talking to CASTLE and BECKETT but they’re looking at each other.

BECKETT
Cause of death?

LANIE
Not entirely sure yet, but there are indications of asphyxia with some cyanosis around the face.

LANIE gestures to the victim.

BECKETT
So he was suffocated?

LANIE
Maybe. Then again, there’s this.

She points to a puncture mark on his arm. It looks like he’s been stabbed with a needle.

CASTLE
So he could have just OD’d, passed out face first, and suffocated.

ESPOSITO
Oh no, it’s definitely murder.

BECKETT
How can you tell?

ESPOSITO goes to answer, but is beat to it by LANIE.

LANIE
Someone torched his fingers. (she holds up the victim’s hand) Burned off his prints.

BECKETT
They wanted to erase his identity.

ESPOSITO
Yeah, and did a pretty good job, too. His wallet’s missing and we’ve been through the room a couple of times. There’s nothing here to tell us who this guy is.

BECKETT
Did he pay for the room in cash?

ESPOSITO
Yeah. And the clerk said that he registered as Jack Sparrow.

CASTLE
Well, there’s a possibility that’s his real name.

Even CASTLE doesn’t really believe his suggestion.

ESPOSITO
Sure it is.

ESPOSITO smirks and looks at LANIE. LANIE just looks away, like she knows something they don’t.

ESPOSITO
We’re running it … just … in case.

CASTLE looks from ESPOSITO to LANIE. LANIE is silently sassing ESPOSITO, giving him glares relating to whatever they were bickering about.

ESPOSITO
The clerk also said he appeared nervous when he checked in. He uh, kept looking behind him.

BECKETT
Did he have any visitors?

ESPOSITO
He couldn’t say. Place isn’t the most secure building.

CASTLE
I saw a camera in the lobby.

ESPOSITO
It’s a dummy.

LANIE
(under her breath) It’s not the only one.

ESPOSITO
(his tone is directed at LANIE) It’s used to scare away drug dealers.

BECKETT picks up on the tension between the two and tries to get them back on track.

BECKETT
Okay, um…. You don’t go to the trouble of trying to erase someone’s identity unless you have a very good reason to.

She’s talking, but ESPOSITO and LANIE are still exchanging glares and sneers.

BECKETT
Lanie, what are the chances of us recovering some of the prints?

LANIE
(considers) Depends on how bad the burns are. Let me get him back to the morgue.

BECKETT
Okay, in the meantime, let’s get Ryan to run his photos through missing persons and see if anything pops.

As interesting as this case could be, CASTLE is more interested in the LANIE and ESPOSITO drama.

ESPOSITO
You got it.

He turns to leave, giving LANIE one last glare.

INT – DARK ROOM, PRESENT

BECKETT
John Doe in a seedy motel with his fingerprints burned off. How did we get from there to here?

She stands but is pulled back onto the mattress by the handcuffs binding her to CASTLE.

CASTLE
Whoa, easy.

BECKETT
Jeez.

CASTLE
Easy. Easy there. Well, I hate to state the obvious, but we’re kind of joined at the hip here.

She stands again.

BECKETT
Okay, let’s just stand up. C’mon.

He stands with her.

CASTLE
Are you always like this in the morning?

They take a step forward. It’s awkward, like they’re learning to walk. The take a second and realize that they’re handcuffed together left arm to left arm, making it so that standing next to one another they’re not facing this same way.

CASTLE
Well, this is awkward.

BECKETT
Yeah.

CASTLE
They couldn’t just handcuff us Midnight Run style?

BECKETT
Wait a minute. Ryan did run our guy through missing persons. And there wasn’t a match. Then what?

He takes a second to think.

CASTLE
Then … Ryan asked me … if he spent Thanksgiving at his parent’s house did that mean he had to spend Christmas at Jenny’s family’s house.

It’s not the details she was looking for.

BECKETT
Castle, I’m talking about our case.

CASTLE
If you want me to reconstruct it I have to do it in order.

BECKETT
Okay, fine. Um … burnt fingerprints, suffocated, uh … needle marks?

CASTLE
The morgue. We went to the morgue.

INT – MORGUE, EARLIER THAT DAY

LANIE
I told you, it’s none of your business.

CASTLE
Of course it’s none of my business, that’s why I want to know.

BECKETT
Know what?

BECKETT isn’t paying attention. She’s looking at her phone.

CASTLE
What she and Esposito were fighting about.

BECKETT
It’s none of your business.

CASTLE
That’s the point.

BECKETT rolls her eyes and turns to LANIE.

BECKETT
Where are we?

LANIE
No ID yet, but his hands have calluses, so most likely he had a job that required physical labor.

LANIE holds up one of the victim’s hands. The fingertips are blackened and burned and BECKETT squicks up her face in disgust.

BECKETT
What about fingerprints?

LANIE
Outer skin is too damaged. (she pauses) But, I may be able to macerate the skin, pull some from the underside of the epidural layer.

CASTLE
You can do that?

LANIE
Yes. In some cases. But it’s going to take a couple of days. In the meantime, I did find this. It was tucked in the fold of his pants pocket. It would have been real easy for our killer to miss.

She hands BECKETT a small, ripped piece of paper.

BECKETT
147 West 97th Street, 4PM.

She looks at LANIE in confusion.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

KEVIN RYAN
It’s the address of the Canbury Café, half block off Broadway.

He hands the bagged piece of paper to CASTLE.

BECKETT
4PM he was meeting someone.

CASTLE
Or met someone.

BECKETT
Okay, you and Esposito take this up there and see if anyone remembers seeing our victim. Maybe that’ll help us ID him.

She hands RYAN a photo from the murder board.

RYAN
On it.

He leaves. BECKETT and CASTLE are regarding their murder board.

BECKETT
What was so special about our victim that our killer wanted to erase his identity?

CASTLE turns to her with a theory but she doesn’t even look at him.

BECKETT
Don’t say spy.

He turns back to the murder board but has another idea. He turns back to her.

BECKETT
Or mob hit.

CASTLE
Mob hit of a spy?

She finally turns to look at him, but it’s with a glare. It’s an empty threat.

BECKETT
Crazy theories aren’t going to help. Not until we figure out who this guy is.

CASTLE examines the bagged paper in his hands. He’s got an idea.

CASTLE
Beckett?

BECKETT
What?

She’s still not paying attention to him.

CASTLE
This is a postal barcode. Our victim wrote this on the back of an envelope.

BECKETT
A postal barcode?

CASTLE
Yeah, those little hash marks you see on mailing labels and envelopes. It’s a way of exactly identifying an address, but in a machine readable way. We get that decoded and we’ll be able to tell exactly where our victim was when he wrote that note.

He’s proud of himself.

INT – DARK ROOM, PRESENT

BECKETT
Okay, then we called the post office and they gave us the address.

They think for a moment.

CASTLE (together with BECKETT)
The house in Queens.

BECKETT (together with CASTLE)
The house in Queens.

EXT – QUEENS

CASTLE and BECKETT pull up to a house in the suburbs.

CASTLE
So do you know what Lanie and Esposito were fighting about?

BECKETT
Everything. They both want to be together, but neither of them wants to admit to it.

CASTLE
Ugh … why do people do that to themselves?

BECKETT
Maybe they just don’t see it.

CASTLE
How could they not? It’s just so obvious.

The approach the front door of the house.

CASTLE
This is the place?

BECKETT
It matches the address.

CASTLE
It doesn’t look like anybody's home.

BECKETT looks though the glass of the door as she rings the doorbell. No one answers and she knocks. The door opens.

BECKETT
Hello? NYPD, anybody here?

The house looks empty. BECKETT looks at CASTLE and cautiously makes her way inside.

BECKETT
Hello?

CASTLE follows her into the house. It looks like there’s no one living in it.

BECKETT
Anybody here?

She makes her way through the house. CASTLE stops by the counter and looks through some left behind mail. BECKETT’S hand goes for the gun at her hip when CASTLE speaks.

CASTLE
Bill and Nora Ranford. (he holds up a letter) Maybe Bill is our John Doe.

A noise behind them startles them and BECKETT whips around, gun drawn.

BECKETT
NYPD, identify yourself!

The sound of a woman’s voice responds; it’s gravelly and low, scary.

RUTH
Help me.

BECKETT and CASTLE make their way slowly though the house towards the sound. In an empty bedroom they find a cage with a woman inside. The woman is worse for wear and BECKETT holsters her gun and tries to open the door.

BECKETT
Ma’am … ma’am, are you okay?

The door won’t open. BECKETT keeps trying, pulling on the door, but it won’t move. CASTLE bends down to get a better look at the woman. She turns to him and smiles; it’s creepy. Things get blurry in that moment. The last thing they remember is the creepy woman and her creepy smile before things go black.

INT – DARK ROOM, PRESENT

CASTLE
An old woman in a cage.

BECKETT
Yeah, that’s the last thing I remember.

CASTLE
Me too. (pause) What the hell is going on?

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BREAK ROOM

RYAN
It’s just, I always spend Christmas with my family.

ESPOSITO
Hey, well… you were the one who decided to get hitched, bro.

ESPOSITO finishes pouring his coffee and walks to the other side of the room.

RYAN
Yeah, but I didn’t think that meant driving down to Florida to spend the holidays with her grandmother.

ESPOSITO
Driving? You’re not flying?

RYAN holds his cup out and ESPOSITO pours a splash of milk into it.

RYAN
During the holidays? Are you kidding me? Besides, Jenny thinks that a road trip will give us some quality time together.

ESPOSITO grabs a coffee stirrer and stirs his coffee.

ESPOSITO
That is no road trip, brother. That is a relationship test.

Finished with the stick, ESPOSITO licks it off and puts it back before he leaves. It’s the last one and RYAN makes a face before sucking it up and stirring his own coffee.

RYAN
Relationship test? We’re getting married in a month.

He runs to catch up with ESPOSITO in the bullpen.

ESPOSITO
Well, we’ll see what happens after the test. It’s the pre-wedding road trip test. Locked together, for hours. That way she can confront you with any lingering doubts she may have about your future together. And you will have nowhere to hide.

VICTORIA GATES
Hey, have either of you seen Beckett?

ESPOSITO
She’s probably following up on a lead.

RYAN points to ESPOSITO in agreement.

GATES
Don’t think that I don’t know that you guys cover for each other.

RYAN and ESPOSITO feign innocence.

ESPOSITO
Uh… what’s that?

GATES decides to let it go.

GATES
Any progress on our John Doe?

ESPOSITO
Yeah. Turns out he did show up at the Canbury Café yesterday and he wasn’t alone.

RYAN
Waitress recognized immediately. Said he sat in a corner booth, met with a guy, long hair, goatee. Said our vic looked nervous.

ESPOSITO
We have the waitress working with an artist to see if we can come up with a sketch of the goateed man to use on a canvass.

GATES
All right. Keep me apprised.

She heads back into her office.

RYAN
C’mon, Jenny loves me. She wouldn’t test me like that.

ESPOSITO
Right. Just watch out if she wants to take you canoeing.

He’s confused.

RYAN
Canoeing? Canoeing is a test?

ESPOSITO
It’s all about power, direction. Like a marriage. If the canoe goes straight, it shows her that you can compromise, work together, find a rhythm, move forward in the same direction. But, if it’s going around in circles? So is your relationship.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE and BECKETT are still handcuffed, trying to find a way out of the dark room. They’re walking in circles with BECKETT leading.

BECKETT
Castle, would you just work with me?

CASTLE
How about you work with me? How come you always have to lead?

BECKETT
How come you always have to step on my toes?

CASTLE
Since when do I – okay, you know what? Tell me this. Why do you always have to be first? First out of the elevator, first through the door.

BECKETT
Um, I am a cop. I’m the one with the gun. Being first through the door is my job.

She walks past him but doesn’t get far because of the cuffs.

CASTLE
In the elevator? Look, how ‘bout this? Would it kill you to let someone open the door for you once in a while?

BECKETT
You do realize that if somebody opens the door for me then I will be going through it first anyway, right?

CASTLE
Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot. You have to be the smartest, too. Everything’s a competition with you.

BECKETT
That is so not true. Are you always like this in the mornings?

CASTLE
You know, I’d argue with you but then I’d have to let you win.

BECKETT
Okay, fine. Go ahead. You lead.

CASTLE
Thank you. (pause) Where did you want to go?

She can’t suppress her smile.

BECKETT
I think that there is a light switch over there. Or do you want to stay in the dark?

He doesn’t say anything. He just gives her a look and leads her over to the switch. She stands by as he flips it on.

CASTLE
Oh, I liked it better in the dark.

BECKETT
This door is sealed. There’s no way we’re getting through here.

CASTLE
The walls are cinder block.

They walk back to the middle of the room.

CASTLE
What do you suppose is in that big freezer? You think it’s the old woman? And what if we’re in some psycho’s lair and we have to kill each other like in Saw?

BECKETT
Castle, stop speculating. It’s not helping.

CASTLE
Oh, c’mon. An old lady in a cage? Us cuffed together in this creepy room? What am I supposed to think?

BECKETT sits on the freezer and swings her legs over to get to the other side.

BECKETT
You’re supposed to think we need to get the hell out of here before someone comes back.

CASTLE
How long do you think we were out?

BECKETT
A couple of hours.

CASTLE
How can you tell?

BECKETT
‘Cause I’m hungry.

CASTLE
Oh.

He rummages through his pockets.

CASTLE
I’ve got some beef jerky.

He holds up the pack and she smiles.

CASTLE
What?

BECKETT
Hold my hand.

He gives her a confused look and she shrugs.

BECKETT
So that the cuffs don’t cut into us.

CASTLE
We could just try to get them off. You got a bobby pin?

BECKETT
What is this, the 1940s? These are my police cuffs. You’re not gonna open them with bobby pin. Face it. We’re stuck.

CASTLE considers this.

CASTLE
You think anyone knows we’re missing?

BECKETT
Martha and Alexis will notice if you don’t go home, right?

CASTLE
Actually, my mother is taking Alexis on a tour of colleges this weekend. Esposito and Ryan?

BECKETT
Yeah, they’ll probably notice, but it doesn’t mean they’ll –

She trails off. Something has caught her attention above them.

BECKETT
- find us here.

He follows her gaze.

BECKETT
What is that?

CASTLE
It’s a hatch.

BECKETT
If we can up get there we might be able to get out.

CASTLE
Yeah, but it’s too high.

BECKETT
Not if we climb on top of that.

She points to the freezer.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ESPOSITO clicks off his phone.

ESPOSITO
That was Lanie. Preliminary autopsy report shows that our victim was in fact smothered.

RYAN
Guy his size, you think he’d put up more of a struggle.

ESPOSITO
He couldn’t. Tox report showed that his system was flooded with so much sedative that it could put down an elephant.

RYAN
Huh.

ESPOSITO
Where are we with that sketch?

RYAN flips it to show ESPOSITO.

RYAN
Well, I’ve got unis looking through mug books and I sent a team up town to canvass.

ESPOSITO turns to look at BECKETT’S empty desk.

RYAN
Still not back, huh?

ESPOSITO
No. It’s been hours. Every time I call it goes straight to voicemail.

RYAN
You think they’re really running down a lead?

ESPOSITO
What lead? There was nothing new on the board when we came back.

RYAN sighs.

ESPOSITO
You think you can hit up dispatch? See if they’ll run a trace on the transponder on Beckett’s unit. I want to know where they are.

RYAN picks up the phone and dials.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE and BECKETT are trying to move the freezer. There’s a lot of grunting and groaning and pushing, but the freezer won’t move.

BECKETT
I can’t get a good angle on it.

CASTLE
Here. Try this.

He moves to stand behind her, his arms outside of hers. She leans forward, pushing her backside into his hips.

BECKETT
You better not be enjoying this, Castle.

CASTLE
I’ll let you know in a minute. One, two, three.

BECKETT
Push.

They push together and there’s more groaning, but again, the freezer goes nowhere.

BECKETT
Okay.

CASTLE
Whatever is in here is a hell of a lot heavier than a little old lady.

BECKETT
It’s like it’s filled with rocks.

CASTLE
What if we emptied it?

BECKETT
That’s a great idea, Castle, except it’s locked and I’m fresh out of bolt cutters.

CASTLE
Yeah, but it’s a combo lock.

He moves around to the front side of the freezer with BECKETT behind him.

BECKETT
So?

CASTLE
So, when I was writing Storm Rising I studied with one of the best safe crackers in the biz. I can open this. I just don’t know if we want to.

She thinks a minute then smiles.

BECKETT
Let’s get crackin’, Castle. Before our captors get back.

He puts his ear to the lock and starts turning it.

EXT – EMPTY LOT

ESPOSITO and RYAN have tracked down BECKETT’S car.

RYAN
Transponder says her unit’s right over here.

They pull up next to the unmarked police car and get out.

RYAN
Yeah, that’s definitely Beckett’s car.

ESPOSITO sighs and RYAN glances through the window.

RYAN
Looks like it’s been dumped.

ESPOSITO
Yeah. Call it in.

RYAN moves to call in the car. ESPOSITO walks around, looking for another clue. His eyes fall on a security camera mounted on the side of a building aimed directly at BECKETT’S abandoned car.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORKROOM

ESPOSITO
Time stamp puts this at 5 hours ago.

They’re watching security footage of BECKETT’S car being driven to where they found it.

RYAN
But that’s not Castle or Beckett.

ESPOSITO
And he’s not alone.

A truck pulls up and the mysterious guy jumps in.

ESPOSITO
Someone picked him up.

GATES
Do we know who they are?

ESPOSITO
No clue.

GATES
Can we get a plate number?

RYAN manipulates the footage and zooms in, but there are no distinguishable numbers on the license plate.

RYAN
Too far away.

ESPOSITO
We also ran Beckett and Castle’s cells. They’re both off grid.

GATES
What the hell did Castle get her into?

RYAN raises his eyebrows at the insinuation that it’s all CASTLE’S fault.

GATES
I want CSU on that car with a fine tooth comb for any possible trace evidence. They were working the John Doe with you. Where could they have gone?

RYAN
Been over it a dozen times, we still don’t know.

ESPOSITO
Still no hits on our long haired man from the café.

GATES
Do whatever it takes to get an ID on that victim. And find out what in the hell he was into. If Beckett and Castle are still out there, then they’re running out of time.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE is still trying to open the lock on the freezer. The luster has worn off their plan and BECKETT sits awkwardly.

BECKETT
Oh, for God’s sake Castle, how much longer are you going to keep doing this?

CASTLE
Ugh, I almost had it.

BECKETT
Yeah, like you had it the last 100 times.

CASTLE
Oh ye of little faith. (he goes back to listening to the lock) You would make a terrible conjoined twin.

BECKETT
Can I have my hand back?

He stops his listening and drops his hand. They sit awkwardly for a second, not sure how to deal any more.

BECKETT
So you got a story to explain all of this? The old woman in a cage? John Doe with his identity removed? Us handcuffed but still alive?

CASTLE
Yeah, I don’t think that’s a story you want to hear.

BECKETT
Why not?

CASTLE
With those elements? I can’t think of a version that ends well. Not even a Disney version.

BECKETT
Yeah, I was afraid of that.

She sounds defeated and he tries to make it better.

CASTLE
The good news is, we’ve been gone long enough they’ve started to look for us by now.

She regards him and raises her hand.

BECKETT
101st time’s a charm.

They both smile and he goes back to playing with the lock.

INT – MORGUE

ESPOSITO
C’mon, Lanie. There’s got to be something else about this guy from his autopsy.

She finished covering JOHN DOE with a sheet and walks past ESPOSITO.

LANIE
He was in the beginning stages of heart disease, he had a degenerative hip condition, and mild scoliosis, probably from sitting too much. (ESPOSITO is crowding her and she pushes him back) And the last thing he had to eat was a pastrami sandwich. None of which will get you an ID.

RYAN
His hands were calloused suggesting physical labor and yet he spent too much time sitting?

LANIE
Maybe he drove a fork lift. I don’t know.

ESPOSITO
C’mon! We need something concrete, now.

LANIE
Then I can’t help you.

ESPOSITO
Lanie, they’re out there! God knows where and what kind of trouble they’re in.

LANIE
You don’t think I want to help? They’re my friends, too.

Before they can get into a hardcore fight RYAN turns to ESPOSITO and gestures a time out sign. RYAN walks to LANIE slowly. He’ll try to handle this civilly.

RYAN
So Beckett said, with enough time, you might be able to recover prints.

LANIE
Yeah, in a couple of days. Why?

RYAN
What happens if you do it now?

LANIE
If could damage the print beyond recognition.

He jumps on her wording.

RYAN
Could. So … it’s possible it might not, right?

He’s hopeful.

ESPOSITO
We gotta do something.

Both LANIE and RYAN turn to glare at ESPOSITO.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE is still trying to crack the lock. He moves slowly and something clicks into place. He raises his eyebrows and pulls on the lock. It doesn’t open. The hopeful look drops off BECKETT’S face, but she stays silent. He sighs and leans down to start over, but as he does the lock pops open.

CASTLE
I did it!

BECKETT
You did it!

He laughs and drops the lock to the ground. They stand and regard the freezer, but neither moves.

BECKETT
How bad can it be? I mean, we’ve seen dead bodies before, right?

CASTLE
Right.

She nods and they open the freezer. They stop.

CASTLE
It’s not a body.

BECKETT
No. It’s worse.

The freezer is full of chains and handcuffs. Attached to the top of the freezer is an assortment of sharp looking, bloody knives.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE
Manacles and bloody instruments of torture.

BECKETT
Yeah, looks like your crazed, sadistic, psycho killer theory might not be far off, Castle.

CASTLE
I don’t know whether to be smug or horrified.

BECKETT
I vote for motivated.

CASTLE
Right there with you. Let’s get the hell out of here.

They start grabbing the chains and pulling them out of the freezer.

INT – MORGUE

LANIE is working at the microscope trying to get a fingerprint from the skin she’s cut off the victim’s finger. ESPOSITO leans over her should to get a better look.

LANIE
Javi.

ESPOSITO
What?

He moves away.

LANIE
I can feel your impatience all over my backside. And rushing me is never a good idea.

ESPOSITO
You’re talking about that print, right?

She stops in impatience. He gets the hint and moves away and she goes back to work. Under the microscope the skin she was working on tears.

LANIE
Damn it.

ESPOSITO
What?

He and RYAN are around her for what she’s found.

LANIE
It tore. I guess the skin wasn’t softened enough. It’s ruined.

RYAN
Is any of it usable?

LANIE
I might be able to salvage some of it from the middle. Why?

RYAN looks to ESPOSITO.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN
So what we did, we were able to join the partials from that scrap of paper with the print pieces that Lanie recovered.

RYAN arranges all the print pieces on the smart board and sends it through the database. It brings up a driver’s license.

ESPOSITO
Our victim is Hank Spooner, an independent trucker out of San Antonio. Owns and operates his own rig.

GATES
What was he doing in New York?

ESPOSITO
According to his folks, he got a contract last week to pick up a load from Del Rio, Texas and bring it to Queens. Last they heard from him was two days ago.

A man is walking through the precinct. He’s kind of grungy.

GATES
What was the cargo?

RYAN
All Spooner told them was that he got a last minute call from a special client who was paying him big money.

ESPOSITO
His folks also said it was unusual for him to be staying in a motel.

RYAN
Apparently Spooner never stayed in the city. He thought it was safer and cheaper to stay in his truck.

GATES
We need to find that vehicle. Get an APB out to all the major truck stops. If we’re lucky it may tell us why someone wanted Hank Spooner dead.

The grungy man walking through the precinct grabs the sketch off the murder board and walks into the break room.

CHUCK MARTINEZ
I think I might be able to answer that.

RYAN and ESPOSITO turn to look at him.

MARTINEZ
You looking for me? (he holds up the sketch) Chuck Martinez, DEA.

He holds up a police badge.

INT – GATES’S OFFICE

GATES
How did you know we were looking for you, Agent Martinez?

MARTINEZ
We had Spooner’s files tagged. He’s a person of interest, so I got notified when you ran his prints.

ESPOSITO
Why did you meet with him yesterday?

MARTINEZ hesitates.

GATES
Your man’s dead, Agent Martinez. And two of my folks are missing. We don’t have time for jurisdictional games, so I’ll ask you again. What’s your interest in Spooner?

MARTINEZ
All right. Look, half a dozen times a year Spooner takes a contract from Texas to New York, but he always makes a pickup in Del Rio. It’s a little border town.

ESPOSITO
You think he’s smuggling drugs from Mexico?

MARTINEZ
Cartels are really active in these towns. They’re extremely brutal.

RYAN
And if you knew Spooner was involved, why didn’t you arrest him?

MARTINEZ
All the signs were there, okay? But all we had him on was suspicious activity, and we don’t want the errand boy. We want the people he works for.

GATES
How’d you end up at that café?

MARTINEZ
Needed some leverage. So we set up a sting posing as runner looking to hire him to move some product, only Spooner made my guy. Now, instead of running, he wanted to meet. And he was scared. He wanted out and he was afraid of what they would do to him if he walked away. So he agreed to tell us everything if I guaranteed him safety and I took that to my bosses. They agreed.

GATES
But by then he was already dead.

MARTINEZ
Right.

OFFICER LT knocks on the glass of GATES’ door and holds up a file.

GATES
Excuse me.

MARTINEZ
So where were your colleagues when they went missing?

RYAN
We don’t know. We just know they were one the case.

ESPOSITO
Did Spooner say anything to you about the New York operation?

MARTINEZ
All he said was, it’s not at all what you think.

GATES comes back in.

GATES
Troopers found his semi. Truck stop, north of the city. (she grabs a gun from her desk drawer) Let’s go, boys.

EXT – TRUCK STOP

STATE TROOPER MCNICHOLS
According to truck stop records, the rig’s been parked here for three days. No one’s seen the driver for two. You’re going to want to take a look inside.

They open the bed of the truck. It’s empty, save for a box with holes in it.

ESPOSITO
That’s hair. These could be air holes.

RYAN
Hey! Over here.

He’s got his flashlight trained on a large patch of blood.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE is standing on the freezer, which they’ve managed to position under the hatch they found in the ceiling.

CASTLE
It’s still too high.

He helps BECKETT up to stand with him.

BECKETT
Not if I climb on your shoulders.

He looks like she’s crazy.

BECKETT
What? We’ve done it before.

CASTLE
Yeah, you say that like it was pleasant. And we weren’t handcuffed.

BECKETT
Who’s got no faith now? C’mon, Castle. We’ve got no idea when they’re coming back or even if they’re coming back at all.

He looks at her feet. She’s wearing heels.

CASTLE
Last time you were wearing sneakers.

BECKETT
Fine.

She bends to pull her shoes off but the awkward angle makes it hard. She turns her back to him.

BECKETT
I’m going to need your help.

CASTLE
Lift up my shirt, pull off my boots … now, under normal circumstances I would like where this was heading.

He grabs her shoe and moves to unzip the side.

BECKETT
You can fantasize later, after we get out of the room.

CASTLE
Just so you know, not as much fun if I have your permission. (he looks at her shoes) How do you run in these things?

BECKETT smirks.

BECKETT
Shut up and pull.

EXT – TRUCK STOP

GATES
Agent Martinez, are you sure these guys were smuggling drugs?

MARTINEZ
Ah, if I had answers I’d share.

ESPOSITO
Captain Gates.

GATES
What did you find?

ESPOSITO
Weigh bills.

RYAN
Spooner delivered to a furniture store in lower Manhattan two days ago.

GATES
Get on it.

ESPOSITO
Yep.

They leave and GATES turns to MARTINEZ.

GATES
Call your bosses. Tell them I want all the files on this investigation. I’m getting my people back.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE has BECKETT’S shoes off.

BECKETT
‘kay, ready?

CASTLE
Ready.

He cradles his hands together so she can use them as a boost.

BECKETT
One, two, three… ugh.

She’s trying to get height, but being cuffed together makes it hard to get her bearings. Instead of working like they imagined, she’s fumbling over him, holding on to him awkwardly to keep them both from falling.

BECKETT
Oh jeez.

They’re not getting anywhere but all over each other.

BECKETT
Castle! … okay, can you put me down?

He puts her down.

CASTLE
If we ever get out of here we should seriously consider joining the circus.

BECKETT
Let me try it from behind, okay?

CASTLE
All right. I’m game.

He turns at the same time she does and they end up facing one another again. She gives him a look and then moves behind him, grasping his hands.

BECKETT
Ready?

CASTLE
Ready.

BECKETT
One, two, three.

On three, she jumps and uses his hands to boost herself onto his shoulders. It works much better than their previous attempt.

CASTLE
Okay.

BECKETT
Okay, I need my right hand. Ready?

CASTLE
Okay.

She manages to free her hand and reaches for the hatch.

CASTLE
Not so fun as I would have thought.

She reaches and is barely able to reach the hatch.

CASTLE
You know, I’m getting kind of tired or you walking all over me.

She pushes and the hatch gives.

BECKETT
It’s open! Okay, I think I can pull myself up.

The hatch opens and a man appears in the opening. It startles BECKETT and she loses her balance, falling from CASTLE’S shoulders. Her fall throws him off balance too and they fall from the freezer, landing on the mattress behind them.

BECKETT
Hey! Let us out of here!

CASTLE
What do you want from us?

The man smiles evilly, then slams the hatch shut again.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN
Captain Gates! Store owner verified he took a delivery from Spooner a couple of days ago, but he said it was just a couple of coffee tables packed near the rear of the truck.

GATES
And you believed him?

RYAN
He’s a family man, didn’t have any priors.

ESPOSITO
But he did say something happened during delivery. Something weird. As they were unloading the shipment, a box fell off a stack and hit him in the shoulder.

RYAN
He said the box must have been empty because it bounced right off of him. He tried to joke with Spooner, asked him if he was shipping cotton candy or air, but Spooner kind of got squirrelly. Said it was just a couple of empties there packed there to fill some space.

ESPOSITO
He thought it wasn’t a big deal but then he heard something from behind the boxes. Something that sounded like breathing.

GATES
So Spooner takes a few small legitimate jobs in order to justify his smuggling trips and places a wall of empties in front of whatever his real cargo is.

RYAN nods.

GATES
Did the owner have any idea where Spooner was headed?

RYAN
None.

GATES sighs.

GATES
Beckett and Castle were on to something. Where in the hell did they go?

ESPOSITO
Well, the only thing we had at the time was this address.

He grabs the bag off the murder board and hands it to GATES.

RYAN
And we were already covering it.

GATES
Ah … they must have seen or heard something that you didn’t. Okay, I want you guys to –

She moves to put the bag back on the board but is cut stopped when RYAN grabs her hand. He grabs the bag from her and flips it over, showing her the postal barcode. She looks from it to RYAN.

INT – ABANDONED HOUSE

They’ve assembled a SWAT team to go with them to the address that the barcode leads them to. When no one answers the door they break it open and swarm in, yelling out that they’re NYPD.

ESPOSITO
NYPD!

They check the house but they don’t find anything.

ESPOSITO
Room clear!

RYAN
Clear!

ESPOSITO
This place is empty. You really think this is where they went?

RYAN
If they were here they’re not here now.

OFFICER
Hey, Detective. Look in here. There’s some kind of hatch.

ESPOSITO moves to look at what the officer has found. RYAN follows him. The officer opens the hatch and RYAN and ESPOSITO wait, guns drawn. There’s nothing down there except some broken furniture.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE is trying to break the links on the handcuffs with one of the tools they found in the freezer. It breaks the shears instead.

CASTLE
Damn it.

BECKETT
It’s hard cased steel, Castle. We’re not getting out of these without keys.

CASTLE
You know, there is another way.

She looks at him and he grimaces.

CASTLE
We don’t go through the cuffs.

BECKETT
You mean –

CASTLE
Mad Max. 127 Hours.

BECKETT
Are you offering to cut off your own hand?

He startles.

CASTLE
Whoa. Mine? No, I was thinking about yours.

BECKETT
My hand? Why my hand?

CASTLE
It’s smaller.

There are footsteps in the distance.

BECKETT
(whispered) They’re coming.

They each grab a weapon from the freezer top and walk to the door.

MAN 1
Tell me it’s a good prize. If he likes her, I got two more that fell into my lap that I can sell you at a discount. I just need to move them now.

CASTLE and BECKETT look at each other. The response is in a different language.

BECKETT
That sounds like Arabic.

They listen some more. The talking gets quieter.

BECKETT
(whispered) They’re going to the other room.

CASTLE and BECKETT move further down the wall, trying to follow the sound.

BECKETT
(whispered) Castle, someone else is in there.

MAN 2
She’s very beautiful.

MAN 1
Just like you asked.

A door slams on the other side of the wall.

BECKETT
They’re holding someone else.

CASTLE
The old woman?

BECKETT
No … it’s more like a girl. Like …

CASTLE
Like they’re trying to sell her.

BECKETT turns to him.

CASTLE
It’s human trafficking, that’s what this is. Abducting and selling people. That’s why we’re still alive. They’re not going to kill us. They’re going to sell us.

She gives him a look.

CASTLE
What? I’m a bestselling author. I wonder what I’d be worth.

BECKETT
Let’s not find out, okay?

CASTLE
Yeah, still.

They go back to listening at the wall.

INT – ABANDONED HOUSE

RYAN
Anything?

ESPOSITO
From the cut marks, it looks like this hatch was just installed.

RYAN
Any idea why?

ESPOSITO
No. CSU’s going to sweep for prints and trace. What did the neighbors say?

RYAN
That the bank foreclosed on the previous owners, Bill and Nora Ranford, 6 months ago. But a couple weeks ago, new neighbors moved in.

ESPOSITO
Get an ID?

RYAN
Uh uh. Kept a low profile. But neighbors think there were two of them, brothers, and they got an ID on their ride. Black F-150.

ESPOSITO
A black F-150? That means Beckett and Castle were here.

RYAN
Not only that, but a couple of nights ago a guy from across the street says he hears some noises in the middle of the night so he goes to the window and sees a semi pulling up.

ESPOSITO
Spooner was here, too.

RYAN
Mmhmm. Whatever was going on, this was the place.

ESPOSITO
Why don’t you wake up the registrar? See who bought the property. I want to know who these guys are.

INT – DARK ROOM

BECKETT is banging on the wall.

BECKETT
Hello? Can you hear us?

She pounds again.

BECKETT
Castle, I can hear somebody breathing.

CASTLE
Maybe she’s sedated.

BECKETT
Hello? Can you hear us?

She pounds again. Part of the wall crashes to the floor and breaks.

BECKETT
This wall is stucco tile.

CASTLE
So?

BECKETT
So, the others are all cinderblock. If we start digging we might be able to break through and help her.

CASTLE
How is getting out of one prison and into another going to help any of us?

She stops.

BECKETT
Well, let me ask you this. If it were Alexis on the other side, what would you do?

He bends down to help her chip away the wall.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ESPOSITO is on the phone.

ESPOSITO
Yeah, okay. (pause) The moment you hear. Thanks.

RYAN
CSU?

ESPOSITO
Yeah. Negative on prints from the house. The place was wiped. What did you get from the registrar?

RYAN
Well, the house was foreclosed on five months ago. It’s still owned by National Bank. Our guys must have been squatting.

ESPOSITO
Did you say National Bank?

RYAN
Yep. Why?

ESPOSITO
The files Agent Martinez sent over. (he grabs them and looks them over) Spooner made a delivery to a Brooklyn house two months ago. A couple of days later the Feds raided the place, but by then whoever was in the house was gone. All they found was a hatch cut into the floor that accessed the basement.

RYAN
Sounds familiar.

ESPOSITO
Yeah. And when they traced the property it was bank owned. By National Bank.

RYAN
Our guys must be targeting distressed properties to run their operations from.

ESPOSITO
Okay, get a list of all the National Bank owned properties in the New York area, starting with the properties that have a basement. If they’re working off the National Bank foreclosure list, that might be where they’re finding their safe houses.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE and BECKETT are still trying to put a hole in the wall.

CASTLE
Okay, that should do it. Switch.

The drop their improvised hammers and maneuver so that CASTLE is bracing BECKETT so she can kick at the wall.

BECKETT
Ready.

CASTLE
Go.

She makes a dent in the wall.

CASTLE
Okay, shift over.

BECKETT
Okay.

They move again, this time CASTLE is positioned to kick the wall, too.

CASTLE
Together. Ready?

BECKETT
Yeah.

CASTLE
Go.

They both kick at the wall, giving it all they’ve got. Pieces fall off and they get a decent sized hole in the wall.

CASTLE
I’ve always liked your legs, but now I respect them.

BECKETT
Yeah, yours aren’t so bad, either. You know, for the next police picnic we should do the three legged race together.

CASTLE
You’re on.

They take a second to catch their breath.

CASTLE
All right.

BECKETT
Hello?

She’s yelling through the hole they’ve made.

BECKETT
Can you hear us?

CASTLE
I guess you want to go in first?

She smiles.

BECKETT
No, you go ahead.

CASTLE
Don’t mind if I do.

BECKETT
‘kay.

They switch so he can get his head through the hole they’ve made.

CASTLE
Hello? Are you there? We’re here to –

He stops and looks around. There’s a growling and he looks up. He’s face to face with an angry tiger and he jumps back, dragging BECKETT with him.

INT – DARK ROOM

BECKETT
A tiger?

CASTLE
Yeah, it’s a tiger. And it almost bit my face off.

BECKETT
Well you know, that explains the case and the chains and the butcher knives for the raw meat.

CASTLE
A tiger. That’s what they were haggling over.

BECKETT
Yeah well, tigers are endangered. Trafficking them is illegal. We walked in on their operation.

CASTLE
Yeah, walking in on their operation is not our problem right now. That tiger walking in here is our problem.

The tiger is pawing its way through the hole, trying to make a big enough space to get through.

BECKETT
Don’t worry, Castle. She’s not going to get through that wall.

The tiger paws harder and BECKETT yelps.

CASTLE
Hey! Get back!

BECKETT
Is it just me or does she look a little bit hungry?

CASTLE
Yeah, that’s bad.

He rummages through his pockets pulling out his bag of beef jerky. He’s working quickly; hole the tiger is tearing in the wall is getting bigger by the second.

BECKETT
What are you doing?

CASTLE
I’m just gonna … buy us some good will.

BECKETT
No, no, no! Castle, Don’t go near her!

He’s not listening to her. He gets as close to the wall as he dares and throws a handful of jerky though the hole. The tiger stops gnawing on the wall and eats the jerky.

CASTLE
She’s going for it.

BECKETT
Yeah, and when she’s done with that she’ll want more.

BECKETT is right. The tiger busts a paw through the wall and CASTLE and BECKETT jump back.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

They’ve assembled a map of all the properties that they could look at.

ESPOSITO
National Bank has close to a hundred properties in foreclosure in the outer boroughs but our folks have certain needs, so we filtered out all the ones without basements.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE takes a knife from the top of the freezer before they shut it.

BECKETT
C’mon, Castle. We’ve got to cover that hole. Push.

They push on the freezer. It moves, but slowly.

BECKETT
Again.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN
Two houses we know they used had other common elements – close freeway access, long, wide driveways that can fit a semi, and both were situated between empty lots or unoccupied houses minimizing the nosy neighbor factor.

ESPOSITO
You cross reference all that, it leaves us with 11 likelys in the outer boroughs.

They take off the pins of the houses that don’t fit their criteria.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE and BECKETT are still trying to push the freezer against the hole they’ve created.

CASTLE
Beckett –

The tiger breaks one last board.

BECKETT
What do we do?

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

GATES
Divvy up the list. Get unis out to all 11 properties and let's bring them back alive.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE sighs.

CASTLE
We get in the freezer.

BECKETT
It’ll latch and we’ll suffocate.

CASTLE
Would you rather be eaten?

BECKETT
I was looking for option three.

The tiger breaks off yet another piece of wall.

CASTLE
Get behind me.

She moves behind him. He glances down, then at the tiger.

CASTLE
I have a plan.

The tiger growls at them.

EXT – DARK INDUSTRIAL NEIGHBORHOOD

ESPOSITO
817 Fincher Drive. Industrial building foreclosed on 8 months ago.

They get out of the car and walk over to the building.

RYAN
Looks empty, just like the last three places.

ESPOSITO
Let’s do a walk around, see if there’s anything in back.

RYAN
Yeah.

They turn on their flashlights and head around the building.

INT – DARK ROOM

The tiger is getting closer to breaking through the wall. BECKETT is using CASTLE to climb on top of the freezer, which they’ve turned on its end. Once on top, she helps CASTLE climb up, not a second too late. He’s barely on before the tiger busts through.

BECKETT
This is your plan? Do you know how high tigers can jump?

The tiger knows they’re there and keeps circling the freezer and lunging at them, getting pretty close.

BECKETT
High.

CASTLE
Well, we’re still alive, aren’t we? Okay.

EXT – ABANDONED BUILDING

RYAN looks in the window of the garage.

RYAN
Esposito, over here.

They open the door to the garage and find an F-150 truck inside.

ESPOSITO
Call for backup.

INT – DARK ROOM

The tiger is still trying to get to CASTLE and BECKETT. It can’t quite get to the top of the freezer, but it’s trying its hardest.

CASTLE
Remember what I said about joining the circus?

BECKETT
Uh huh.

CASTLE
Changed my mind.

The tiger lunges again. BECKETT and CASTLE recoil as far as they can.

BECKETT
She’s playing with us. She’s going to knock it over. What are we going to do?

CASTLE
There’s only one thing to do. Scream like little girls.

They start screaming for help.

EXT – ABANDONED BUILDING

RYAN and ESPOSITO are walking away, waiting on backup. They stop when they hear CASTLE screaming, joined shortly by BECKETT screaming.

RYAN
Wait, listen. You hear that?

ESPOSITO
Yeah.

They turn around and head back into the garage, toward the screaming. They find a hatch in the ground and open it. BECKETT and CASTLE are there and look up when they hear the door being opened.

ESPOSITO
Beckett! Castle!

BECKETT
Esposito!

The tiger jumps towards them.

ESPOSITO
Is that a tiger?

CASTLE
Yeah. Yeah, that’s a tiger. Hey, how ‘bout getting us out?

RYAN
Okay, hang on. We'll - we’ll be right there.

They’re interrupted by the cocking of a gun and the hatch closes. They turn to find the creepy woman from the cage standing behind them with a shotgun trained on them.

RUTH SPURLOCH
Drop the hardware boys, or I’ll blow you both away.

CASTLE and BECKETT are screaming for help.

BECKETT
Guys, open the hatch!

RYAN and ESPOSITO are in a standoff with the crazy woman.

INT – ABANDONED BUILDING

RYAN
Put your weapon down!

ESPOSITO
It doesn’t matter which one of us you shoot first. Whoever’s left standing will kill you.

RUTH
Maybe I’ll shoot the pretty one first.

This confuses RYAN and ESPOSITO. They’re not sure which one she’s talking about and each of them glance at the other.

RUTH
Luckily, I don’t gotta choose.

A man comes from around the corner with a gun. RYAN turns to face him.

JACK SPURLOCH
Y'all put ‘em down.

RYAN
You first.

BOBBY SPURLOCH
Let’s just kill ‘em, Ma. Let Tony the tiger have at the others like we planned.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE
Get us outta here!

BECKETT
Open the door!

The tiger is getting bolder and pawing at their feet.

CASTLE
The stakes are considerably raised!

INT – ABANDONED BUILDING

ESPOSITO
Your boys shoot, I swear the last thing I do is put a bullet right through your head. Your choice.

RUTH
You New Yorkers ain’t nearly as scary as a Texas lawman. That being said, I’m betting more of you gonna be here soon. Let me tell you what’s going to happen. Me and my boys are gonna back on outta here. You either get yourselves killed trying to stop us or you can forget all about us and you can go save your friends. That’s your choice.

The woman backs away slightly. ESPOSITO doesn’t move.

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE
I’m so sorry. I’ve got nothing else.

INT – ABANDONED BUILDING

RYAN and ESPOSITO are still stuck in a faceoff with the Texan smugglers.

RYAN
Javi?

INT – DARK ROOM

CASTLE
Kate –

BECKETT
No, Castle! I did not survive a bullet to the heart to die as tiger kibble.

The tiger’s done playing with her food. She makes one last lunge and knocks over the freezer. CASTLE and BECKETT scream.

INT – ABANDONED BUILDING

RYAN and ESPOSITO hear the screams and the bang of the freezer falling. RYAN flinches. ESPOSITO finally relents.

ESPOSITO
Let ‘em go.

ESPOSITO moves toward the hatch to save BECKETT and CASTLE. RYAN stays a moment longer, his gun still trained on the crazy woman while ESPOSITO drags over a chain to hoist CASTLE and BECKETT out. RYAN opens the hatch. When they look in all they see is the tiger standing over the overturned freezer.

RYAN
Oh God. It ate ‘em.

BECKETT
It didn’t eat us.

Her voice floats through the opening and RYAN sticks his head in to see where they are. They’re hanging from the exposed pipes of the ceiling.

CASTLE
But it will if you don’t hurry.

His carefree tone disguises his panic.

RYAN
Nice hangout.

ESPOSITO swings the chain over to help get them out.

EXT – ABANDONED BUILDING

The Texan smugglers have started their truck. They’re going to run. They pull out of the garage but as soon as they do they’re surrounded by police cars.

OFFICER
Police!

There are screamed commands for them to raise their hands. GATES raises her gun.

INT – ABANDONED BUILDING

ESPOSITO is unlocking the handcuffs with a key.

RYAN
Handcuffed together that long? I’m surprised you two didn’t kill each other.

BECKETT
Yeah well, there were a couple of moments.

CASTLE
Until we found our rhythm.

RYAN
I think we’ll fly to Florida.

ESPOSITO raises his eyebrows.

BECKETT
What?

RYAN doesn’t have time to explain before GATES walks up.

GATES
I believe this is yours.

She hands BECKETT a box with their stuff.

GATES
This too.

BECKETT
Thank you. How did you guys –

ESPOSITO drops her handcuffs on the top of their stuff and CASTLE smirks. BECKETT tries to ignore the uncomfortable assumption of handcuffs being added to their mingled stuff.

BECKETT
- even find us?

ESPOSITO
Oh, we followed your breadcrumbs and it led us here.

GATES
And lucky for all of us, some of my detectives keep me informed as to their whereabouts.

BECKETT averts her gaze.

GATES
Thanks to you two, I’m instituting a new policy in our department. No one goes anywhere without calling it in.

CASTLE and BECKETT are speechless. They’re not sure that’ll work for them.

RYAN
Thanks guys. Really appreciate that.

ESPOSITO
Well, at least we won’t have to look so hard the next time we save your ass.

They turn to leave the building.

ESPOSITO
I missed you guys.

BECKETT
Really? Prove it.

ESPOSITO
Oh, I prove it.

BECKETT
Espo!

ESPOSITO
What?

RYAN
How’s that tiger? Was it grrr-reat?

INT – GATES OFFICE

MARTINEZ
Her name is Ruth Spurloch and it turns out her sons were major suppliers of endangered tigers to wealthy customers all around the world.

CASTLE
Hard to believe that’s worth killing for.

MARTINEZ
The exotic animal trade is a million dollar industry. Texas, which has almost no regulations, is one of the few places in the world where selling and breeding tigers isn’t illegal. Ruth and her boys were making millions off her breeding farm.

GATES
Spooner would truck them from Del Rio up to New York.

BECKETT
And then wealthy clients would smuggle them past customs and ship them out on their private jets.

MARTINEZ
Right. Except outside of Texas, trafficking endangered species is a criminal offense, so Ruth didn’t want Spooner rattin' her out.

BECKETT
Which is why when we showed up at her house she played the victim so she could get the drop on us.

CASTLE
Yeah, and knocked us out using animal tranquilizers. Which can’t be good for me. I still have a taste in my mouth.

MARTINEZ nods.

MARTINEZ
Yeah. Well, I’m – I’m going to turn the trafficking case over to the FBI and Customs. You can coordinate with them on your murder charge.

GATES
Thank you, Agent Martinez. I’ll walk you out.

They shake hands with MARTINEZ and leave her office.

ESPOSITO
Hey. As expected, the hair from the truck is tiger and the blood is from raw meat.

RYAN
They used the hatches to throw down food to the cats or sedate them with darts.

CASTLE
What’s going to happen with that tiger, anyway?

ESPOSITO
Shoot ‘em.

They all stop to look at him and BECKETT sighs.

BECKETT
She’ll get transferred to a sanctuary.

ESPOSITO
Or that.

BECKETT
Probably end up in a zoo. Why, you want to go visit her?

CASTLE
No. No thanks, I’m good.

BECKETT smirks.

BECKETT
All right, you guys. Get some rest.

ESPOSITO
Yep.

RYAN
You too.

They all scatter. CASTLE follows BECKETT.

BECKETT
That has got to be the strangest brush with death that I’ve ever had.

CASTLE
Me too. But I’ll tell ya. After that experience, if I ever have to be hitched to someone, it would be you.

She turns to face him.

BECKETT
Hitched?

He realizes what he’s said.

CASTLE
Hitched? No, I didn’t say hitched. I said cuffed. Handcuffed, not hitched, the colloquial or any connotation or meaning.

He helps her into her jacket.

BECKETT
It’s okay, Castle. I understood what you meant. And for what it’s worth, if I have to spend another night handcuffed to someone again, I wouldn’t mind if it was you, either.

CASTLE
Really?

She grabs her motorcycle helmet and turns to him.

BECKETT
But next time, let’s do it without the tiger.

He nods and she walks away. It takes a second for him to realize what she’s said.

CASTLE
Next time?

She doesn’t stop walking, but she does turn back to look at him. There’s no teasing in her look like there used to be; it’s almost like a promise instead. She continues walking to the elevator, leaving him there to contemplate the shift in their relationship. His smirk turns into a smile and he fixes his jacket, turning in the other direction.

THE END

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