4x21 Transcript

Transcribed by:
McManda
CASTLE
EPISODE 4x21
"Headhunters"


EXT – NEW YORK CITY ALLEY, NIGHTTIME

A homeless man pushing a grocery cart catches sight of something. He gets closer and realizes it's a man, propped up against the dumpster with his hand on a bag. The homeless man shakes the other man a few times, but the guy doesn’t move. He’s dead. The homeless man goes for the bag. He unzips it to see if there’s anything valuable inside. He screams when he can see the contents – there are three human heads inside.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

RICHARD CASTLE is at his desk, playing with a toy dinosaur and a Barbie doll. He’s acting out some sort of scene.

RICHARD CASTLE
(as the dinosaur, with an accent) You are very beautiful, Nikki Heat. It is too bad I have to kill you now. (as the Barbie) Uglier men than you have tried, Draco. (the Barbie slaps the dinosaur, then switches to voice the dinosaur) You have slapped me. Now I will have to –

MARTHA RODGERS
Playing with dolls, are we?

He looks up as MARTHA RODGERS enters.

CASTLE
These are action figures.

MARTHA
Ah.

CASTLE
I’m using them to envision a scene. I owe a few chapters of Frozen Heat to my editor and I’ve not been able to write a page.

MARTHA
Maybe a case with Beckett will be able to spark … something.

CASTLE sighs heavily.

CASTLE
She’s prepping for a trial. (it’s more than that, but he shrugs it off) Is that the mail?

MARTHA
Oh, yeah. Yeah. (she hands it over and he starts to sort it) Thank God Alexis is finally getting some college acceptance letters. Her friends started getting them weeks ago.

CASTLE takes a stack of letters and sticks them in a drawer on his desk. MARTHA is aghast.

MARTHA
Richard Castle, what on Earth are you playing at?

CASTLE
I don’t want Alexis to have to live through that Stanford rejection nightmare again so I’m holding the letters. This way she gets them all at once and she’ll get all the good news with the bad.

He’s proud of his idea. MARTHA’S not.

MARTHA
Richard, that is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had. Now, you’ve got to give her these letters before she has a nervous breakdown.

She goes to pull them out of the drawer but he stops her.

CASTLE
Okay. I will. I will. Though you have to admit, watching her have a nervous breakdown is pretty funny.

MARTHA
Unlike yours. (his smile falls) Now, what are we going to do about your writing?

CASTLE
Oh, I don’t know. I just need something … different. Something new. Something like … (he trails off as he catches sight of the news playing on the TV) … severed heads.

MARTHA
Severed heads?

He’s turning up the volume on the newscast.

NEWSCASTER (on TV)
The victim was found shot to death after midnight. According to police, his bag contained 3 severed heads.

He’s so engrossed with the newscast that he doesn’t see MARTHA open the drawer and grab ALEXIS’S college decisions.

NEWSCASTER (on TV)
Detective Slaughter, what can you tell us about –

SLAUGHTER stalks toward the camera and pushes on the lens.

SLAUGHTER (on TV)
Get that camera out of my face before I put a bullet in it!

The newscast stops and CASTLE laughs.

CASTLE
Oh, oh, oh… Mother, forget severed heads. I want to meet that guy.

MARTHA
Well you already have a muse, darling.

CASTLE
Yes well, muses are to provide inspiration and right now I ain’t getting’ any. (he picks up the Barbie doll) So, Detective Nikki Heat, meet Detective Slaughter.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

KATE BECKETT is directing a uniform pulling a cart full of boxes.

KATE BECKETT
You know what? Put that in the conference room. (the UNIFORM nods) Thank you.

She walks toward her desk. CASTLE is sitting on the edge and he stands and faces her, two coffees in his hands.

BECKETT
Hey, Castle. What are you doing here?

She’s genuinely happy to see him.

CASTLE
I just haven’t seen you in a few days, thought I’d drop by, (he hands her a coffee) see how you’re doing.

BECKETT
Thank you, that’s so sweet. Um, I’m great, actually. The trial prep is going really well, I’ve been getting home at a decent hour, and… (she pauses, smiles widely) It’s great to see you.

CASTLE
It’s good to see you, too. Hey, listen. Do you know anything about this gang cop named Slaughter?

Her smiles falls a bit and she tries to cover it.

BECKETT
The severed heads homicide? That’s why you’re here?

His smile falls, too.

CASTLE
Well, no. I mean, just since you’re busy prepping for the trial I just thought I’d look into this Slaughter guy, get a sense of who he is for the background research … the … the … (he trails off) Unless that’s a problem.

She tries to figure out how to respond; how to get out of this with her pride intact.

BECKETT
No. Not a problem.

She sets the coffee on her desk and walks away.

CASTLE
Great. So … where would I find him.

She stops in the doorway and turns back to CASTLE, forcing a smile.

BECKETT
(shrugs) Wherever the body is?

She walks away, leaving CASTLE to mull over her very obvious suggestion.

INT – MORGUE

DETECTIVE ETHAN SLAUGHTER pushes his way into the morgue. A medical examiner named LAURA is stitching up the body, autopsy complete.

SLAUGHTER
Darling, you might as well confess. I know you killed him so we could spend some quality time together.

She doesn’t even look up.

LAURA
Not even if you were the last man on Earth.

SLAUGHTER
Not up to the challenge?

LAURA
How about we skip the macho fantasy and I just tell you cause of death?

SLAUGHTER shrugs.

SLAUGHTER
Let me guess. Lead poisoning?

LAURA
Three shots to the chest. Most likely died of blood loss within minutes.

SLAUGHTER
Always figured Glitch’d end up on this table. (LAURA looks at him questioningly) Glitch. It’s his street name, on account of he’s such a screw up. You fish the slugs out for me? (LAURA holds up a bag) Ah, see? You do love me. (SLAUGHTER examines the bag, his eyes drifting to her chest) 32s I’m guessing?

LAURA
You’re talking about the bullets, right?

SLAUGHTER
Yeah.

CASTLE
Aren’t you gonna ask about the heads?

CASTLE is at the table behind them, lifting the sheet to get his own view of the severed heads.

SLAUGHTER
Who the hell are you?

LAURA
That’s Castle. He’s a writer. And he consults with the 12th.

She very clearly likes having CASTLE around over SLAUGHTER.

CASTLE
It’s weird. You can tell they aren’t fresh. You can smell it. Formaldehyde with a sous-jacent of decay. Judging from the dirt in the hair, I’d say our victim dug the bodies up and then cut the heads off.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah, no kidding, Sherlock. I already got unis checking out the local cemeteries. Not that it’s any of your business.

CASTLE walks over and holds out his hand.

CASTLE
Rick Castle. And like Laura said, I work out of the 1-2 with Detective Beckett. (CASTLE takes his hand back when SLAUGHTER doesn’t take it) Here’s the thing. I was hoping I could ride along with you on this one. (he ignores LAURA’S headshake) Just for a day or two.

SLAUGHTER
No.

CASTLE
No?

SLAUGHTER
I need a writer hanging around like I need a case of the crabs.

CASTLE
That’s – (he’s thrown off by SLAUGHTER) What can I say to change your mind?

SLAUGHTER considers him.

SLAUGHTER
Well, that is a very fine coat.

CASTLE looks down at his brown leather jacket.

CASTLE
And it would look fabulous on you.

He takes it off and holds it out to SLAUGHTER, who takes off his own jacket and throws it away from him. CASTLE helps SLAUGHTER into the jacket.

CASTLE
So, are we good?

SLAUGHTER
No. (he pushes past CASTLE and turns to LAURA) See you later, gorgeous.

SLAUGHTER walks out of the morgue. CASTLE follows him.

CASTLE
You said I could ride along if I gave you my coat.

SLAUGHTER doesn’t stop.

SLAUGHTER
I never said that.

CASTLE
It was implied.

SLAUGHTER
Look, I work alone. Nothing you can say is going to change that.

SLAUGHTER pushes open the door and walks out.

CASTLE
I’m friends with the Mayor!

SLAUGHTER returns through the swinging door.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah?

CASTLE
And seeing as how I’m asking you for a favor here, that would mean that I owe you one in return.

SLAUGHTER
Well … any friend of the Mayor is a friend of mine.

SLAUGHTER wraps is arm around CASTLE’S shoulder and pulls him forward.

CASTLE
What’s our first move?

SLAUGHTER
Break the news to Glitch’s dad.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DAYTIME

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

SLAUGHTER drives his car around the corner, screeching to a stop.

CASTLE
(laughs) That was awesome! Beckett never drives on the sidewalk.

SLAUGHTER
You’re gonna hang with me, we’re gonna lay out some ground rules. Rule number one, do not use the word ‘awesome’. You’re a grown man. Rule number two, stay out of my way.

CASTLE
(nods) Is that it?

SLAUGHTER
It’s kind of all encompassing.

They exit SLAUGHTER’S car.

CASTLE
This is the hardest part of the job, breaking the news to the family. So what’s your style? Terse, yet compassionate? Sensitive but strong?

SLAUGHTER eyes the guy he’s looking for and walks up to him.

SLAUGHTER
Brian! Glitch is in the morgue. Someone pumped 3 rounds into him.

CASTLE
Uh … sorry for your loss.

SLAUGHTER gives CASTLE a look.

BRIAN
My what? My loss? Who the hell are you to talk about my loss?

CASTLE swallows tightly.

SLAUGHTER
Your boy was into something bad. Worse than usual. What do you know about it?

BRIAN
And why would I tell you even if I knew?

SLAUGHTER
Well it involved cutting the heads off of dead guys. It sounded like your boy’s brand of stupid.

BRIAN
My son was a simple lad operating in difficult times. You disparage his memory at your peril. Now, I’ve gotta go tell his mom. Make arrangements.

BRIAN saunters away from SLAUGHTER and CASTLE.

CASTLE
That’s a hard man.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah, you don’t get to be top breaker leg breaker in the Westies by being soft.

CASTLE
No wonder he didn’t give us anything useful.

SLAUGHTER
Never thought he would. (CASTLE stops and looks at him) He’s a “take the law into your own hands” kind of guy.

CASTLE
You think he’s going to hunt down Glitch’s killer himself.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah. And we’re gonna follow him. Tricky part is going to be interceding before he kills the guy. (they watch BRIAN leave in his car) Let’s go. He’s on the move.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DAYTIME

INT – SLAUGHTER’S CAR

CASTLE
Where do you think he’s going?

SLAUGHTER
I don’t know. That’s why we’re following him.

CASTLE nods. Clearly they’re not speculating. SLAUGHTER’S phone rings.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah? (pause) Outstanding. (to CASTLE) Unis found the cemetery where Glitch got the heads 4 blocks from the crime scene. (he’s taking notes) Uh huh. Thanks brother.

SLAUGHTER hangs up.

SLAUGHTER
Go back to the office, run these names down, figure out who these heads belong to.

CASTLE pulls out his phone.

CASTLE
Why wait when I can have my team run them right now?

He dials and waits.

SLAUGHTER
You got a team?

He just gives SLAUGHTER a side look.

JAVIER ESPOSITO
Hello?

CASTLE
I am texting you three names, all recently deceased. I need you to run ‘em for me.

ESPOSITO
Beckett’s not working a case right now.

CASTLE
No. I’m running and gunning with Slaughter from Gangs. (he throws SLAUGHTER a smile)

ESPOSITO
Have him run the names. I don’t work for you.

CASTLE
(laughs) Ah, Esposito. You are too funny!

ESPOSITO
He’s there, isn’t he?

CASTLE
(laughs) Uh huh.

ESPOSITO
All right. If you want me to make you look good, it’s gonna cost. Front row Knicks tickets.

CASTLE stops, his fake smile dropping from his face. He looks at SLAUGHTER, then back out the window.

CASTLE
Sounds good.

ESPOSITO
Oh, and uh … you boy Slaughter? He’s got quite a reputation in Gangs. His nickname is The Widowmaker. His last three partners were killed in the line of duty.

For the first time, CASTLE considers that maybe this was a bad idea. He hangs up with ESPOSITO.

SLAUGHTER
All good?

CASTLE
Yeah.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

CASTLE and SLAUGHTER haven’t gotten out of the car yet. They’re just watching.

CASTLE
You think one of those guys could be the killer?

SLAUGHTER
Nah… he’s just trolling for info. Which means we watch and wait.

SLAUGHTER takes a swig out of his flask and then holds it out to CASTLE.

CASTLE
Uh, no thanks. (SLAUGHTER gives him a look) Okay, sure.

CASTLE takes the flask and takes a drink.

CASTLE
So… they call you the Widowmaker.

SLAUGHTER
Hey, not my fault they keep sticking me with idiots. Speaking of partners, I’ve seen pictures of yours. She’s smoking hot.

CASTLE doesn’t know how to respond.

SLAUGHTER
You’re tappin’ that, right?

CASTLE
What? (now he’s almost offended) No.

SLAUGHTER
No? What wrong with you? (he looks down)

CASTLE
There’s - (quickly looks at his lap) - nothing wrong with me. We’re just friends.

SLAUGHTER
Man needs a friend he gets a dog. A woman like that, you storm the beaches or die trying. C’mon. (he sees BRIAN walking into a building) He’s heading into that bar. Show time.

SLAUGHTER gets out of the car, CASTLE right behind him. SLAUGHTER pulls out his gun and checks it.

SLAUGHTER
You packing?

CASTLE
Packing? No, I’m not a cop. My vest says writer on it.

SLAUGHTER
Rule number three, you ride with me, you ride strapped. (SLAUGHTER hands CASTLE a gun in a leather holster) C’mon.

CASTLE takes a second to look at the gun, a little astounded. SLAUGHTER has moved forward, casing out the building. CASTLE scurries to catch up to him.

CASTLE
Hey! Hey! What about regulations?

SLAUGHTER
You signed a waiver, didn’t ya? (he doesn’t wait for an answer) Okay, you take the front, I’ll go in the back.

He pushes CASTLE forward.

CASTLE
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Shouldn’t we call for backup?

SLAUGHTER
You got a skirt that says writer on it, too?

CASTLE
No.

SLAUGHTER
C’mon. (he pushes CASTLE forward) Give me 10 seconds and go in hard, yelling ‘NYPD’, The louder the better.

SLAUGHTER takes off toward the back of the building. CASTLE peeks around the corner, watches him go, then situates himself by the front door. He unholsters the gun and takes a second to psych himself up before pushing the door open and entering.

INT – BAR

CASTLE walks past the bar and takes his stance.

CASTLE
NPYD! Associate civilian investigator! Nobody move!

He raises his gun at BRIAN and for a second, no one moves. Then, in a flurry, everyone scrambles. CASTLE gets pushed around as people rush for the exit or for cover. BRIAN doesn’t move from his spot. He’s holding a gun on SHAY.

CASTLE
Drop the gun, dirtbag!

BRIAN shifts his gun toward CASTLE.

BRIAN
What did you call me?

CASTLE
(quietly) Dirt – dirtbag. Dirtbag.

SLAUGHTER is behind BRIAN, his gun at BRIAN’S throat.

SLAUGHTER
Shh. Drop it. Or your wife will be getting a volume discount at the mortuary. C’mon. Sit down.

SLAUGHTER grabs the arm BRIAN is using to hold his gun and grabs it away. For the first time since he was handed a gun, CASTLE relaxes a bit. SHAY takes that opportunity to rush past CASTLE.

SLAUGHTER
Get him, Sherlock!

SHAY pushes CASTLE into the bar, but CASTLE recovers and grabs him from behind. CASTLE lands a punch to SHAY’s face as they continue to fight. SLAUGHTER watches, holding BRIAN at gunpoint. He’s wholly unconcerned, taking a second to shell and eat a peanut from the bowl on the bar. CASTLE continues to fight with SHAY, trying to take him down. It’s not going well.

CASTLE
I don’t got him, I don’t got him!

CASTLE is losing his grip, ending up sliding toward the floor. He manages to keep a grip on SHAY’S legs, slowing him down.

CASTLE
A little help?

SLAUGHTER doesn’t move.

SLAUGHTER
You’re doing fine.

SHAY grabs a bar stool and moves to slam it onto CASTLE, who is still on the floor. CASTLE notices and swings his leg into SHAY’S knees, taking him down. CASTLE stands quickly, grabs a beer bottle from the bar, and slams it into SHAY’S head. He crumples, unconscious. SLAUGHTER just watches.

SLAUGHTER
Well done, Sherlock. ‘atta boy.

CASTLE nods, clearly shaken by the impromptu bar fight. He wobbles a bit as he tries to keep his balance, but he fails, falling backward and trying to catching himself awkwardly on the bar.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT is preparing paperwork.

KEVIN RYAN
What’s this I hear about Castle researching with another cop?

BECKETT doesn’t want to talk about it.

BECKETT
Don’t you have some 5s to fill out?

RYAN
Well I’m sure it’s just a phase. You know Castle. He’s probably caught up in the severed heads and the rush of the gangster squad –

She’s trying to staple her papers but having problems.

BECKETT
I don’t care (slams stapler) what (again) he’s wrapped up in, just so long as he (once more) stays out of my (RYAN hands her another stapler) hair. (she takes it) Thanks.

Just as she successfully staples her papers the elevator dings. CASTLE and SLAUGHTER lead out two men in handcuffs. BECKETT stops to watch CASTLE parade through the precinct proudly, like he’s a cop. She notices he’s injured, just a bloody nose, but it throws her.

SLAUGHTER
Put him on ice for me.

SLAUGHTER pushes BRIAN towards a uniform.

BRIAN
Shay, keep it in the family, huh?

BRIAN is led off.

SLAUGHTER
(to CASTLE) Where’s interrogation?

CASTLE
Right through. (points) First door, right there.

SLAUGHTER
C’mon, you.

SLAUGHTER pulls SHAY with him towards the interrogation room. BECKETT watches him go as CASTLE turns and sighs at her in satisfaction. She doesn’t notice SLAUGHTER checking her out.

BECKETT
What the hell happened?

CASTLE
You should have seen it. Slaughter got the drop on the one guy but the other guy tried to make a break for it. I had to take his ass down.

CASTLE takes the bloody tissue from his nose.

BECKETT
You what? Are you kidding me? You’re a writer, Castle, not a cop.

CASTLE
Hey, I can take care of myself. You just never give me a chance.

BECKETT
Yeah, because I’m not trying to get you killed. And what is he doing using our box?

CASTLE turns to look in the direction of the interrogation room.

CASTLE
I invited him to.

BECKETT
Castle, that’s not your place.

CASTLE
I didn’t think you’d mind. Besides, guys like Slaughter? They just float from precinct to precinct, you know? They’re like nomads, wandering the streets of New York City, kicking ass and taking names. (off her glare) Which isn’t the most original turn of phrase, but the character is so great. It’s really going to help me shake up this next Nikki Heat book.

BECKETT
Yeah, sure. If you live long enough to actually write about it.

She turns away, arms crossed. He deflates a little at her cold attitude.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

SHAY
I didn’t kill Glitch.

SLAUGHTER
Then why did his father come after you?

SHAY
I don’t know. But you gotta convince him that I’m innocent.

SLAUGHTER slams his head into the table.

SLAUGHTER
No, no, no, no. You gotta convince me or I’m gonna park you in holding and sit back and marvel at how Brian removes your limbs with his bare hands.

SLAUGHTER pokes at the cut on SHAY’S head. CASTLE makes a face, appalled at how different SLAUGHTER runs his interrogations.

SHAY
I was at my sister’s house on Long Island last night. You can call and ask her.

SLAUGHTER lets SHAY up from the table.

CASTLE
So why does Brian think you killed his son?

SHAY doesn’t respond. CASTLE tries a play from SLAUGHTER’S book and stands.

CASTLE
Really, Shay? Want me to bust out Jake and the Fat Man again? (he holds up his fists)

SHAY still doesn’t respond, instead giving him a look. He also gets a confused look from SLAUGHTER. Seeing that he didn’t intimidate anyone CASTLE sits down again. SLAUGHTER slaps SHAY on the head.

SHAY
Brian heard me and Glitch had a falling out, but we didn’t. It’s just… Finn Rourke told us to stay away from him.

SLAUGHTER
The head of the Westies made you freeze Glitch out? Why?

SHAY hesitates and SLAUGHTER flicks him in the forehead.

SHAY
He screwed up another job last week. He abandoned a truck full of stolen medical equipment on the FDR after he ran out of gas. The only reason Finn didn’t have Glitch killed was Brian. ‘cause he knew he was crazy enough to go after him if anything happened to his kid.

CASTLE
Why did Glitch have a bag full of heads?

SHAY
No clue.

SLAUGHTER
When was the last time you saw him?

SHAY
Two days ago. Said he was going to do something to get back in good with the Westies.

CASTLE
Did he say what it was?

SHAY
No. And I didn’t ask.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BREAK ROOM

CASTLE is spooning foam onto his coffee.

CASTLE
How could Glitch think that cutting the heads off dead bodies would get him back in good with the Westies?

SLAUGHTER
He wasn’t a deep thinker. I wouldn’t knock myself out looking for motive.

CASTLE
Cappuccino?

CASTLE holds out a coffee cup to SLAUGHTER, who makes a face. CASTLE’S face drops.

CASTLE
Rule four.

UNIFORM
Castle.

The uniform hands a folder to CASTLE.

CASTLE
Oh. Perfect. Thank you. (he opens it to read) Thank you very much.

The UNIFORM doesn’t leave and CASTLE glances at him.

UNIFORM
Esposito said you’d have something for him?

CASTLE glances out the break room window. ESPOSITO mimes shooting a basket until he sees SLAUGHTER is watching, too. He tries to turn the move into shooing a bug away, but it’s awkward.

CASTLE
That – tell him …. Tell him they’re on their way.

SLAUGHTER watches curiously as the UNIFORM walks away. CASTLE just continues on.

CASTLE
All right. Looks like we got IDs on our heads. All three belong to members of the Trench Town Posse.

SLAUGHTER grabs the folder from him.

SLAUGHTER
Well, hot damn. Mystery solved. (off CASTLE’S confused look) Trench Town Posse is a Jamaican gang, runs girls and drugs from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Been fighting a turf war with the Westies over the Morningside Heights.

CASTLE
I bet Glitch thought he could make his bones by cutting the heads off of Westie enemies. Bet he planned on puttin those heads in some high ranking Jamaican beds. (SLAUGHTER gives him a look) Like a horse’s head? The Godfather?

SLAUGHTER
(nods) Yeah, that’s the stupidest thing you’ve said yet. It’s just dumb enough to seem smart to Glitch and knowing that boy, he’d run his mouth, the Jamaicans heard about it and they ambushed him. C’mon.

CASTLE follows SLAUGHTER out of the break room.

SLAUGHTER
I got a source on the street tied in with the Jamaicans. He’ll be able to give us intel.

CASTLE
I love this running gun police work.

CASTLE walks out with SLAUGHTER, passing BECKETT by. She watches him go, torn.

INT – DR. BURKE’S OFFICE

DR. CARTER BURKE
You’re upset.

BECKETT
No. (her demeanor suggests otherwise. She’s forceful and pacing) Yes, okay? Fine. Yes. I thought that the two of us were actually getting closer together and now it seems like he’s just pulling away.

BURKE
Have you asked him why?

BECKETT
Yes. And he said (mimicking CASTLE) “oh, everything is fine”.

He watches her pace, her attitude.

BURKE
What made you think it isn’t?

BECKETT
Because he’s acting like a complete jackass! He shows up at the precinct with these bimbos hangin’ on his arm and now he’s running around with another cop!

BURKE
Is this other cop a woman?

BECKETT
(quickly) No! (forcefully) No. What? (she sighs) Why would you even ask that? (she continues) That’s not even the point. The point is, I don’t understand why he’s acting like this. I mean, what did I do?

BURKE
Well maybe from his point of view, the question is what didn’t you do?

She stops.

BECKETT
Wait, what? What – what do you mean?

BURKE
When you were shot, Castle said that he loved you. How long ago was that?

BECKETT
Seven months ago, but I wasn’t ready to hear that then.

BURKE
What do you think he’s telling you with his behavior?

She pauses, thinks.

BECKETT
(deliberately) That … maybe … he’s not there anymore? That maybe he’s not ready?

She raises her eyebrows, searching BURKE to see if she’s guessed right. He just stares back. She gets it. It hurts to recognize and she looks away, sitting on the arm of a chair and sighing heavily.

BECKETT
What if I waited too long?

BURKE
You weren’t waiting, Kate. You were healing.

BECKETT
Yeah, but then in the meantime, he’s moved on.

BURKE
Or he’s protecting himself by not taking more emotional risks.

BECKETT
So then what do I do?

He tries to read her, raising an eyebrow.

BURKE
What do you want to do?

She gets what he’s not saying and she narrows her eyes.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

SLAUGHTER
I’d tell you what I do. I’d go all caveman on that partner of yours. Show her what time it is in real man land.

CASTLE
Real man land?

SLAUGHTER
Mmhmm.

CASTLE
Oh, is that what you were showing Laura when we were back at the morgue?

SLAUGHTER
Just throw a little attention her way. Make her happy. You know who I’m mackin’ on? There’s this hot new redhead, just started working there. (he chuckles as CASTLE realizes what he’s saying) Barely street legal.

CASTLE stands straighter.

CASTLE
A redhead?

SLAUGHTER
Yeah.

CASTLE
About 5’5”? Blue eyes? Intern?

SLAUGHTER
Yeah. You know her?

CASTLE
That’s my daughter.

SLAUGHTER
Seriously? That girl’s got an ass –

He doesn’t finish his offensive statement before CASTLE punches him in the face. SLAUGHTER is caught by surprise and falls against the car. CASTLE readies himself for more of a fight.

SLAUGHTER
Hey! Relax Sherlock. I’m just playing.

CASTLE is still cautious, but he relaxes a little.

CASTLE
All right. As long as we’re clear my daughter’s off limits.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah. (he flexes his jaw) You pack a little punch there, for a writer.

They regard each other for a moment, then movement catches SLAUGHTER’S eye over CASTLE’S shoulder. A man is walking down the street.

SLAUGHTER
There’s my guy.

SLAUGHTER heads towards him with CASTLE following. They pick up the pace when the man disappears through a door. CASTLE moves to follow SLAUGHTER inside when he’s pushed back.

SLAUGHTER
No, no, no. You stay here. Keep an eye out.

SLAUGHTER heads inside. CASTLE is left outside and he leans against the windows. A car dives up, heavy music pulsing. There are two Jamaican men inside and they stop, studying CASTLE. They must decide CASTLE isn’t a threat, because they drive away. Just as the car leaves, two gunshots and screaming from inside the building startle CASTLE. SLAUGHTER walks calmly out of the building.

CASTLE
You okay?

SLAUGHTER
I got a name.

SLAUGHTER picks up the pace and scurries back to the car.

CASTLE
What happened? Did you kill him?

SLAUGHTER
You don’t want to know. (he gets into the car) We were never here.

CASTLE doesn’t know what that means, but it can’t be good. He gets into the car too and SLAUGHTER peels out.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BREAK ROOM

CASTLE is watching SLAUGHTER through the window. He doesn’t notice ESPOSITO walk up behind him.

ESPOSITO
What are you doing?

CASTLE startles.

CASTLE
Jeez!

ESPOSITO studies him.

ESPOSITO
You okay?

CASTLE
That guy’s insane.

ESPOSITO
Yeah, I know. I tried to tell you.

CASTLE
No. He’s insane.

ESPOSITO
What’d he do?

CASTLE doesn’t answer. He turns back to look at SLAUGHTER, but he’s moved closer to the window. CASTLE startles again. SLAUGHTER gives him a weird look and CASTLE turns back to ESPOSITO.

CASTLE
(low) I can’t talk now.

CASTLE leaves the break room to meet up with SLAUGHTER looking like he’d rather be anywhere but.

ESPOSITO
I want those tickets!

CASTLE ignores him and walks over to SLAUGHTER.

CASTLE
Hey.

SLAUGHTER
What’s up? What were you talking about?

CASTLE
(hesitates) We’re … oh, we’re… (he shrugs) Nothing. (SLAUGHTER watches him) I mean, obviously not nothing. We’re talking. We weren’t just moving our (he stops talking but continues to move his mouth).

SLAUGHTER looks at him like he’s crazy.

CASTLE
I gotta go to the bathroom.

He turns to walk away. SLAUGHTER waits a second, then follows him. CASTLE checks over his should to be sure, but he’s not imagining it. On his way to the bathroom, the elevator door opens. The man from earlier walks off and walks past CASTLE. CASTLE turns to watch the man give SLAUGHTER a handshake.

SLAUGHTER
Hey.

CASTLE
What the hell? I thought you killed him?

The man looks surprised.

SLAUGHTER
(laughs) You should have seen the look on your face when I came out that door.

The other man starts to laugh, too.

CASTLE
That’s not funny. (he points) That’s not funny.

SLAUGHTER
(still laughing) Oh, no. It’s hysterical!

CASTLE takes a moment, trying to get over that he’d been played. Not knowing how to react he starts to laugh, too.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORKROOM

RYAN and BECKETT are working on their trial prep. RYAN’S stopped working and is watching CASTLE laugh with what looks like his new friends.

RYAN
Look at ‘em, laughing it up, just acting like they own the place. (he’s bitter) I’m gonna say something.

BECKETT
No, don’t. It’s not worth it.

RYAN sighs, still watching.

RYAN
I feel like he’s cheating on us.

BECKETT
He’s not cheating on us, Ryan. He’s just – (she tries to justify it) - branching out.

RYAN
Hmm.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

MARK GIBSON
Don’t take it personally, son. (he holds out his hand) Mark Gibson. I’m undercover on the Gang taskforce.

SLAUGHTER
I had to make sure I could trust you that you’d have my back if things got ugly. Luckily you passed.

MARK
Well… you were right about the Jamaicans taking out Glitch. Neighbors near the cemetery heard gunshots the night of the murder. Sources tell me a low level banger names Maxy was the one doing the shooting.

SLAUGHTER
Ah.

MARK
He’s holed up in a building on Avenue A and 5th.

INT – NEW YORK CITY ALLEY

SLAUGHTER leads out a smaller Jamaican man.

SLAUGHTER
Take a walk fellas.

The garbage men do as SLAUGHTER suggests.

GARBAGE MAN
Let’s go, man.

They leave SLAUGHTER and MAXY, with CASTLE watching.

SLAUGHTER
Maxy, why you gotta make this so hard? We both know you killed that Westie kid last night.

MAXY
I want me lawyer.

SLAUGHTER
Your lawyer? Sure, he’s right in here.

SLAUGHTER throws MAXY into the back of the garbage truck and reaches for the compactor lever and pulls it. MAXY starts to scream.

MAXY
Wait!

CASTLE
Whoa, whoa, whoa … what are you doing?

SLAUGHTER
Tell me you killed him and we’ll get you out of here, Maxy.

MAXY
I didn’t kill no one!

SLAUGHTER pulls the compressor lever again. CASTLE cringes.

MAXY
Wait, wait, wait! (SLAUGHTER stops) I get a card that some Westie boy was runnin’ his mouth about diggin’ up our dead. We went to the cemetery to ambush him but I never fire no shot.

SLAUGHTER shakes his head.

SLAUGHTER
(to CASTLE) You better stand back. This guy’s gonna pop like a grape.

SLAUGHTER pulls the lever again and CASTLE jumps, not knowing how to stop him.

MAXY
No, wait! I swear! He wasn’t alone. A group of Mexican’s was waiting there next to a tricked out Escalade.

SLAUGHTER
Are you telling me a 3rd gang is involved in this?

MAXY
Man, I don’t know who they are, man! But that Glitch clearly knew them. He told him he had the heads, then things went south. The Mexicans opened fire on him, him took off running, and so did I.

CASTLE
Okay, okay, okay. So the Mexicans hunted down Glitch and they shot him.

SLAUGHTER
Or he did and he’s making up a story.

SLAUGHTER pulls the lever again. The compressor closes in on MAXY.

MAXY
No! No, no, no, no. I can prove it! The Escalade had Texas plates. I saw the first 2 letters. R and X.

SLAUGHTER
Okay Maxy. But that license better check out or I’m gonna come back here and recycle your ass.

SLAUGHTER pulls the compressor lever one more time and MAXY screams again.

SLAUGHTER
Bye bye.

MAXY
Slaughter! Get me out of here!

SLAUGHTER is already walking away. CASTLE follows him. MAXY is left in the garbage truck, screaming for help.

CASTLE
Another gang? That’s plausible, right?

SLAUGHTER
Yep. You threaten enough guys, you get a feel for their honesty.

CASTLE
But you wouldn’t have really crushed him? (he gestures over his shoulder)

SLAUGHTER
Oh, ‘course not. Would have been more like a … mangling.

SLAUGHTER mimes something akin to mangling. CASTLE stops, not for the first time questioning his decision to follow SLAUGHTER. MAXY still screams.

MAXY
Slaughter!

EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN’S phone rings. He answers.

RYAN
Detective Ryan.

CASTLE
Yeah, it’s Castle. I’ve got a partial Texas plate I need you to run. First letters R and X.

RYAN
Yeah, Castle. (he sighs. the mention of CASTLE’S name catches ESPOSITO’S attention) That’s going to be really tough for me. I’m pretty busy.

CASTLE looks at SLAUGHTER. He knows what game RYAN is playing.

CASTLE
Really? You too, huh?

ESPOSITO
(whispered) Get the Ferrari. (RYAN nods)

RYAN
You know Castle? Jenny’s been bugging me to set you up with her cousin Ramona. She’s a dental hygienist.

CASTLE
(forces a smile) Mmhmm. Sounds good.

ESPOSITO
(whispered) Ferrari.

RYAN
And I want the Ferrari for the weekend.

CASTLE
All right. Hey, and buddy? I’m never gonna forget this. (he hangs up and turns to SLAUGHTER) All right. We’re all set.

SLAUGHTER
All right. We’ll get the results in the morning. Tonight we celebrate.

CASTLE looks at him.

CASTLE
Celebrate what?

SLAUGHTER
(chuckles) You survives the first day on the job with me.

CASTLE laughs.

CASTLE
Well did you ever have a partner that didn’t?

SLAUGHTER holds up two fingers and CASTLE swallows hard.

CASTLE
You know, I’d love to … ah… celebrate, but –

SLAUGHTER
But what?

CASTLE
But … nothing. But nothing. Let’s - (he scoffs) - let’s do this. What’s the worst that can happen, right?

SLAUGHTER smiles.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

CASTLE is passed out face down on the couch, drooling. He’s startled awake by MARTHA and ALEXIS CASTLE screaming in delight. He’s less than graceful trying to get up.

CASTLE
What happened?

ALEXIS CASTLE
Dad, I got in! I got in!

CASTLE
(he sits hard on the couch) Oh… where?

MARTHA
Almost everywhere, so far.

ALEXIS
Oxford, Princeton, Sarah Lawrence.

She’s so excited. His headache prevents him from being excited with her.

CASTLE
That’s great, honey. I knew it would work out.

ALEXIS
Really?

CASTLE
Yeah.

ALEXIS
Then why were you hiding the letters from me?

CASTLE
What?

ALEXIS
C’mon, Dad. I can read a postmark. Some of these came last week.

She thwops him gently on the head and he grimaces.

CASTLE
Oh. I just – (he groans) I’m sorry. Honey, I’m just trying to protect you.

ALEXIS
I’m 18 now. You need to trust that I can take care of my- … (she trails off, reading the letter in her hand) – myself.

CASTLE
What?

ALEXIS
(disbelieving) I got into Stanford.

MARTHA
Yes! (CASTLE cringes at the noise) Oh, great! That’s always been your first choice, right?

ALEXIS hesitates.

CASTLE
And yet I sense trouble.

ALEXIS
I – I don’t know. I mean, I should be happy. But after they shot me down for early admission …

CASTLE
They rejected you and now you feel betrayed.

ALEXIS
(nods slightly) How am I supposed to get over that?

CASTLE doesn’t have an answer.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DAYTIME

INT – SLAUGHTER’S CAR

SLAUGHTER
You look like crap. Here. (he holds out his flask) A little hair of the dog. That’ll get you flyin’ right.

He’s right. CASTLE still looks worse for wear. CASTLE rejects the offer of the flask.

CASTLE
No. That’s not going to do anything but turn back time. Anyway, where are we going?

SLAUGHTER
Salvage yard in the Bronx. I ran that Texas plate myself last night. Turns out Maxy was telling the truth about the 3rd player. Escalade was registered to a Cesar Vales. Runs with a Mexican gang. Rumor has it they’re making runs in New York trying to corner the market on the city’s crack trade.

CASTLE
So Vales is coming into town trying to muscle in on the Westies and the Jamaicans.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah. Which ain’t exactly easy to do.

CASTLE
Well it would be a lot easier if he could get them to take each other out.

SLAUGHTER looks impressed at the theory.

SLAUGHTER
That’s good. (CASTLE nods) So he’s sitting around, trying to think about a way to make that happen and overhears Glitch runnin’ his mouth.

CASTLE
Right. He realizes if a Westie was to turn up murdered with a bag full of Jamaican heads both sides would go to war.

SLAUGHTER
And they could jump in and take over the territories.

CASTLE nods and thinks.

CASTLE
Are you sure it’s such a good idea to go after this guy ourselves? Maxy made him sound pretty dangerous.

SLAUGHTER scoffs.

SLAUGHTER
Piece of cake. Guy’s nothing but a two bit punk.

CASTLE nods, trying to convince himself.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN
He’s high level Mexican mafia, about as dangerous as they come. (he hands ESPOSITO a paper) According to the DEA, Cesar Vales is suspected in the deaths of over a dozen people, including three cops in Mexico who were killed with a sledgehammer and then cut up into pieces.

ESPOSITO
You don’t think Castle and Slaughter are going after them?

RYAN
I’d put money on it ‘cause I wasn’t the only ones who ran his plates last night. Slaughter did too.

ESPOSITO
If Castle and Slaughter go after this guy they’re gonna both end up dead. We need to warn Castle.

RYAN
I tried. But his phone keeps going to voicemail. I got a bad feeling that they’re on their way to take down Vales right now.

EXT – SALVAGE YARD

CASTLE follows SLAUGHTER out of the car. The stick out as not belonging, but SLAUGHTER doesn’t care.

CASTLE
You’re not going to mangle anyone today, are you?

SLAUGHTER
I like to keep my options open.

They’re walking towards the group of people who look to be in charge. CASTLE can’t help but notice all the large, dangerous looking men who SLAUGHTER doesn’t give a second glance to, especially when they start to follow them.

CASTLE
(low) There’s an awful lot of them.

SLAUGHTER
Just follow my lead. (he stops) Hola gentlemen. On behalf of the NYPD I’d like to welcome you to the greatest city on God’s green Earth.

He doesn’t say anything else. Instead, he draws his gun and trains it on the man approaching him from behind.

SLAUGHTER
Unless you want your friends to see what the inside of your head looks like, back off.

The man does, hands raised. CASTLE watches hesitantly, not trusting SLAUGHTER. Under the table, others are reaching for guns.

CESER VALES
Ah ha. Now what seems to be the problem, Officer?

SLAUGHTER
You Vales?

VALES
That’s me.

SLAUGHTER
The name Michael Riley mean anything to you? AKA Glitch?

VALES
No. I’m afraid not.

SLAUGHTER
That’s funny. Because I got an eyewitness who puts you and your girls here shooting the hell out of him in Queens two nights ago.

CASTLE watches, still not feeling right about this. Everything looks okay, but it’s not.

VALES
That is funny. (to CASTLE) Hey, you. Where’s your badge?

SLAUGHTER
In his other coat.

CASTLE tries to school his face into not showing his anxiety. It’s not working.

VALES
Hmm.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah, Vales. We know all about your plan.

VALES hasn’t stop sizing up CASTLE. He knows CASTLE is the easy link here.

SLAUGHTER
You use Glitch to spark a gang war so you can move your drug business into New York.

VALES
(to CASTLE) Wow. Your partner here, he’s pretty high strung, isn’t he?

SLAUGHTER rolls his eyes.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah. High strung. (he smacks VALES’S head with his pistol)

CASTLE startles.

CASTLE
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa…

He’s right to be nervous. They’re outnumbered and the other men are drawing guns from every available sport – under tables, out of garbage cans, from waistbands. Just as things look to be getting out of hand, sirens sound and ESPOSITO and RYAN come around the corner, guns drawn.

ESPOSITO
NYPD!

CASTLE relaxes a bit. He knows RYAN and ESPOSITO will have his back.

RYAN
NYPD, let me see your hands!

ESPOSITO pushes CASTLE back a bit. The Latino men back off a bit, not really wanting to start trouble with a bunch of NYPD.

ESPOSITO
Party’s over.

VALES
That’s too bad, because this was just getting interesting.

SLAUGHTER
If I were you I’d get your affairs in order because I’ll be back.

SLAUGHTER walks away. VALES watches him go. Halfway to his car, ESPOSITO stops SLAUGHTER.

ESPOSITO
Hey! Slaughter! Going in there without backup? Putting a civilian in harm’s way? That’s not only reckless, that is bad police work.

CASTLE nods along with them but stops when SLAUGHTER glances his way.

RYAN
You’re just lucky we traced Castle’s phone and found you guys in time.

They walk back to their own car. They’re angry.

SLAUGHTER
You think I’m going to thank you for almost ruining my play?

CASTLE
You had a play?

SLAUGHTER
I always have a play. Had to escalate things. Try to find the weak member of the herd.

He glances back.

CASTLE
That kid.

There’s a younger man standing back, watching them.

SLAUGHTER
Exactly. He’s the one I’m gonna get the flip on Vales, once I figure out how to separate him from the pack.

He gets in the car. CASTLE watches the younger guy walk away.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

CASTLE is by RYAN’S desk, watching him do paperwork.

RYAN
Who knew all these years we’ve been working together that you had a death wish.

CASTLE
What, that? That wasn’t bad. Slaughter had a plan.

The way his hands shakes as he takes a drink of his coffee contradicts his easy words.

RYAN
Yeah, he had a plan to get you killed.

CASTLE’S phone buzzes. He looks. It’s a message from SLAUGHTER.

CASTLE
It’s Slaughter. (he hesitates) I gotta go.

RYAN
All right. Next time we might not be there to save you.

CASTLE hesitates a second longer, then walks slowly down the hallway. He knows RYAN’S right, that things with SLAUGHTER could very easily go badly, but he doesn’t know how to stop. from the workroom ESPOSITO watches CASTLE leave.

ESPOSITO
You gotta do something.

BECKETT looks up sadly, watches CASTLE walk slowly down the hallway like he’s walking to his own execution.

BECKETT
Espo, if the guy’s hell bent on leaving the nest then there’s nothing that I can do about it.

ESPOSITO studies her.

ESPOSITO
You don’t really feel that way, do you?

She looks at him, then shifts her gaze to CASTLE. He looks back once, catching her gaze before continuing out.

EXT – SLAUGHTER’S CAR

SLAUGHTER
You don’t listen to those whiners, Sherlock. You got balls. And yeah, I may have needlessly put you in a little harm’s way there with Vales, but seeing as it paid off?

CASTLE
What do you mean, paid off?

There’s a pounding from the trunk.

CASTLE
What was that?

SLAUGHTER
What?

GILBERTO MENDOZA
Hey, c’mon man! This ain’t cool!

CASTLE
Is there someone in the trunk?

SLAUGHTER
(smiles) Gilberto Mendoza, our weak link.

CASTLE nods.

GILBERTO
Get me the hell out of here, man!

SLAUGHTER laughs.

CASTLE
Please tell me that we are just going to talk to him.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah, pretty much.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY ALLEY

SLAUGHTER is doing donuts in his car, circling as fast as he can. CASTLE is hanging on, but in the back GILBERTO is sliding all over, not knowing what’s happening. GILBERTO screams from the back.

GILBERTO
You can’t do this!

CASTLE
This is wrong. You gotta stop.

SLAUGHTER
Not ‘til he flips on Vales. (over his shoulder) Hear that Gilberto? The only way you’re getting out of that trunk is if you rat out your boss.

GILBERTO
Well guess what? I’m not sayin’ nothing!

SLAUGHTER guns is some more, then stops suddenly.

SLAUGHTER
Hey, you remember that favor you promised me? There’s a civilian review board thing coming up. Excessive force complaints. Total BS, right?

SLAUGHTER hits the gas again and GILBERTO goes rolling around in the trunk. SLAUGHTER slams the brakes again.

SLAUGHTER
Anyway, you being a friend of the Mayor and all, I figure a statement from you’d go a long way at making those charges go away, right?

SLAUGHTER hit the gas again, this time in reverse. GILBERTO is tossed around until they come to a stop again.

CASTLE
You’re crazy.

SLAUGHTER
Is that a no?

SLAUGHTER shifts into drive again and guns it, heading straight into an open intersection going faster and faster.

CASTLE
I’ll do it! I’ll do it if you stop.

SLAUGHTER does, stopping right in front of a delivery van coming in the opposite direction. CASTLE holds his hand up for an impact that doesn’t come.

SLAUGHTER
Outstanding. Next Tuesday. 9AM sharp. I’ll send you an email.

CASTLE is trying to recover from almost being hit and from SLAUGHTER’S mood swings. He can’t handle this guy anymore; he doesn’t want to.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY ALLEY

SLAUGHTER pulls GILBERTO from the trunk.

GILBERTO
Hey man, I know my rights, all right? This is kidnapping. Police abuse.

SLAUGHTER
Uh huh. I know something too, Gilberto. You got a brother in juvie back in Texas. Poor little Hector. I hear he cries himself to sleep every night.

CASTLE grabs SLAUGHTER’S arm and pulls him back.

CASTLE
Hey. What the hell are you doing?

SLAUGHTER
Just having a little chat here with Gilberto. (he turns back) Listen, unless you want something very bad to happen to Hector you’re gonna help me bury Vales, aren’t you? (he doesn’t respond and SLAUGHTER slaps his face) Aren’t you?

CASTLE watches uncomfortably.

GILBERTO
Okay.

SLAUGHTER
Okay, what? I need to hear the magic words.

GILBERTO
(he shifts his gaze away) Vales killed Glitch.

SLAUGHTER
Vales killed Glitch. Yes. (he claps CASTLE on the shoulder) Victory.

CASTLE doesn’t agree. He’s uncomfortable with SLAUGHTER and his methods and not sure who he can trust here.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

GILBERTO
Vales was looking for a way to take over the Jamaicans and the Westies turf. That’s when we heard about this punk ass Westie trying to prove himself and Vales saw his chance. He convinced Glitch that if he dug up a couple of Jamaicans and cut off their heads it would get him back in tight with his Westie pals.

CASTLE is watching from the observation room.

SLAUGHTER
So Vales wanted to use the heads to spark a gang war? For the Westies and Jamaicans to go at it until no one’s left standing and then he waltzes in and takes over the territory?

GILBERTO
Yeah.

SLAUGHTER
What went down at the cemetery?

GILBERTO
Vales got Glitch to dig up the bodies. The plan was to kill him and make it look like the Jamaicans did it. And Glitch must have sensed it or something, because he took off as soon as we opened fire.

SLAUGHTER leans forward.

SLAUGHTER
Tell me about the murder. (GILBERTO doesn’t say anything) Look, kid. I know you’re scared. I was a little rough. But I talked to the DA and the Feds, they said you cooperate with me your brother’s sentence will be reduced to time served and both of you get a free ride in WitSec. So, tell me how it went down.

GILBERTO
(sighs) We chased him. We cornered him.

SLAUGHTER nods.

SLAUGHTER
Under the overpass?

GILBERTO
Yeah.

SLAUGHTER
And?

GILBERTO
And then Vales shot him twice and just left him for dead.

SLAUGHTER
How many times?

SLAUGHTER taps three fingers on the table and CASTLE realizes what’s happening.

GILBERTO
Three. He shot him three times.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

SLAUGHTER leaves the interrogation room. CASTLE scurries to catch up with him.

CASTLE
What do you think you’re doing?

SLAUGHTER
Closing this case. I got an arrest warrant for Vales burning an hole in my pocket.

CASTLE
You coached that kid through his interrogation.

SLAUGHTER
Nah, nah. I just refreshed his recollection.

CASTLE
Really? Because the way he was talking he didn’t even witness that murder.

SLAUGHTER stops CASTLE with a hand to his chest.

SLAUGHTER
Hey. Vales has bodies on him like you wouldn’t believe: women, children, cops. I got a chance to put him away and I’m gonna take it. The question is, are you in or out?

CASTLE
I guess I’m out.

SLAUGHTER
Well that’s a shame. I had high hopes for you, Sherlock. Never thought you’d punk out on me like this.

SLAUGHTER turns and leaves CASTLE standing in the hallway. CASTLE turns back and finds RYAN and ESPOSITO leaving.

CASTLE
Hey. I need some help.

RYAN
Sorry Castle, caught a murder.

ESPOSITO
Talk to Beckett.

CASTLE looks to where BECKETT is working. It’s the last thing he really wants to do, but he sucks it up and approaches her.

CASTLE
Hey. How’s it going?

BECKETT
You can skip the small talk, Castle. What do you want?

She doesn’t even look up from her work. He figures he’s got nothing to lose.

CASTLE
Slaughter went to far.

BECKETT
Well isn’t that what he does? Along with kicking ass and taking names?

CASTLE
He pressured a kid into making a false statement so he could arrest Vales.

BECKETT
So you came to me so I can fix it?

CASTLE
You have every right to be mad. You warned me about Slaughter and I wouldn’t listen. I’m just trying to make this right.

BECKETT
It’s not my case, Castle. (she walks past him to her desk, picking up a folder) Even if I wanted to help we’ve got strict rules about interfering in another cop’s investigation.

CASTLE
I’m not asking you to do it for me. I’m asking you to do it so the real killer doesn’t get away with murder.

She closes the folder she's reading and turns to him.

BECKETT
What makes you think I’m actually going to fall for that blatant manipulation?

CASTLE
Because it’s true.

BECKETT studies him. After everything, he’s honest. She holds out the folder to him.

CASTLE
What’s this?

He opens it to scan it.

BECKETT
A traffic cam shot of Vales’s car 10 blocks from the cemetery heading away from the overpass where Glitch was killed.

CASTLE is shocked.

CASTLE
11:57. Glitch was killed after midnight. This shows that Vales couldn’t have killed him. (he stops, pauses, and looks up at her) You did this for me?

She doesn’t say anything, just gives him a look that hides a smile.

CASTLE
All this time you had my back.

BECKETT
I had Ryan run a traffic cam search while he was pulling a plate? (CASTLE looks ashamed) It’s not a smoking gun, Castle, okay? You can’t even see Vales’s face in that photo. It’s not enough to change Slaughter’s mind unless you’ve got something else.

CASTLE stops, thinking. His face brightens and he puts the folder down, reaching into his jacket pocket and pulling out a map.

CASTLE
There is one more thing that doesn’t make sense. This is a map of the area. This is the cemetery, this is the overpass. But to get to it Glitch would have to climb a six foot fence. Why do that when there’s a subway station a block away? Why hide when you can run?

BECKETT
Maybe we can find out.

CASTLE looks at ease for the first time since starting his run with SLAUGHTER.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY ALLEY

CASTLE and BECKETT are at the crime scene, trying to work through things. It’s dark in the alley and they’ve parked. BECKETT has a flashlight.

CASTLE
According to the CSU report Glitch was shot somewhere around here.

BECKETT
Uh huh.

CASTLE
He staggered away and ended up on the other side of that pillar.

BECKETT
So you think Vales’s plan was to use Glitch and the Jamaican heads to start up a gang war?

CASTLE
Yeah, why?

BECKETT
I don’t know, Castle. That’s not what I’m seeing. Let’s say I’m Vales and I shoot Glitch to start that war. Where do you think would be the best spot to drop off that body?

CASTLE thinks.

CASTLE
In the middle of Westie territory.

BECKETT
Exactly. So why did he leave it here?

CASTLE hears a car and turns. SLAUGHTER is driving up behind them.

CASTLE
Oh, crap.

SLAUGHTER
Well! Imagine my surprise when I got to the station with my killer and I hear you’re stirring up my crime scene!

CASTLE
Okay, look. I can explain –

SLAUGHTER
Save it. (to BECKETT) He don’t know any better but you do.

BECKETT
What I know is that you coerced a confession out of an 18 year old kid.

SLAUGHTER
I didn’t coerce jack. He works for a guy that’s got a trail of bodies that stretches all the way back to the Rio Grande. If he doesn’t go down for this the body count just grows.

BECKETT doesn’t back down.

CASTLE
We got a traffic video photo of Vales’s Escalade 10 block from here when the murder went down.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah, so what? Could you see him in the car?

CASTLE
(pauses) Not exactly.

SLAUGHTER
And if his lawyer gets a hold of it you’ve handed him reasonable doubt. And then Vales walks.

CASTLE
Maybe he deserves to walk.

SLAUGHTER
He deserves to be pulled apart by horses, but the law says I can’t do that. But what I can do is I can lock him up in prison for the rest of his life. Now the question is, are you gonna back off or am I going to have to report you for jumping my case?

BECKETT doesn’t flinch.

BECKETT
You do what you gotta do, Slaughter. And I’ll do the same.

SLAUGHTER shocks a bit, surprised BECKETT is standing up to him.

SLAUGHTER
Wow. (he turns and walks back to his car to leave) Wow.

CASTLE
(to BECKETT) Thanks.

BECKETT
We got about an hour to figure out who really killed Glitch before I get called on the carpet by the Chief of Detectives.

CASTLE
What can he do to you?

BECKETT
Well, best case scenario he suspends me.

CASTLE
And the worst case scenario?

She doesn’t respond, just giving him a wry look before walking away.

CASTLE
(sighs) Crap.

INT – NEW YORK CITY ALLEY

CASTLE
So I’m Glitch. I just dug up three bodies, cut the heads off, which was horrible, to try and win my way back in with the Westies. And then the kindly Mexican gentlemen that I thought were helping me suddenly pull out guns and try to kill me. (BECKETT nods) Running for my life I end up on the wrong side of this fence. (he points)

BECKETT
Where you can see a sign for the subway. (she shines her light on it) So why would you climb a barbed wire fence when you can just hang a right and hop a train out of here?

CASTLE
(thinks) Fear. For all I know, the Mexicans are driving the streets looking for me. With all these street lights on I’d be a sitting duck. But under here it would be pitch black. So I climb the fence and I hide.

BECKETT
Why hide when you can escape?

CASTLE looks around some more, thinking.

CASTLE
Because I wasn’t just hiding. I was waiting. I called for help. But when they found Glitch’s body he didn’t have a phone on him.

BECKETT
So … either the killer took it or –

CASTLE
Or he used that pay phone,

He points over his should to maybe the last working pay phone in the country.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

SLAUGHTER
Why did you call me down here?

BECKETT
Because we have definitive proof that Vales didn’t kill Glitch.

SLAUGHTER
And you want to rub my face in it?

CASTLE
No.

BECKETT
Look, Slaughter. We’re different kinds of cops.

SLAUGHTER
Yeah.

BECKETT
And although I’m not a fan of your methods, I know you don’t want to send an innocent man to jail when you know that the real killer is still out there.

She holds her ground and SLAUGHTER finally gives in. He sighs.

SLAUGHTER
‘kay. So who killed Glitch?

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
We know he called you, Brian. Your son dialed your cell from that pay phone about a half an hour before he was murdered and you answered that call. (she slides a photo across the table) We also have surveillance photos of you at that subway stop from before and after the murder.

SLAUGHTER
All those years, all those screw-ups. Must have been unbearable for a standup guy like you, huh, Brian?

BECKETT
And then Glitch calls to tell you he screwed up. Again. But this time it was different, wasn’t it?

He finally cracks. He’s emotional about it.

BRIAN
He crossed a line.

BECKETT
He was your son.

BRIAN
Which made him my responsibility. So I did what had to be done.

It’s enough for BECKETT. She looks at SLAUGHTER.

BRIAN
He wasn’t even surprised. ‘twas if he was waiting for it his whole life.

SLAUGHTER is appalled.

SLAUGHTER
Why didn’t you take the heads? That way none of this’d come back on you and the Westies?

BRIAN
He vanished into the dark after I shot him. (he sighs) Even with his last breath the boy managed to screw me up.

BECKETT looks at SLAUGHTER. Her job is done.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

CASTLE
Well, at least you finally get a conviction on Brian. That’s got to be a consolation.

SLAUGHTER
Vales still walks.

VALES walks by with his lawyer, freed from holding. He looks a them as he walks by. BECKETT pushes off from the wall.

BECKETT
Excuse me. (she walks after them) Counselor! Can I speak to your client for a second?

VALES
She probably wants an autograph.

BECKETT
(smiles dangerously) You feel cocky. I get it. You just dodged a murder rap. Probably going to go out tonight and celebrate and you should. Paint the town. But then, in the morning, I want you to get the hell out of my city.

VALES
(smiles) But I like it here.

BECKETT
You might like it right now. But starting tomorrow you’re going to see just how hard a city New York can be when the full force of the NYPD comes crashing down on you with 30,000 making it your daily duty to make your life a living hell.

VALES looks her up and down but keeps quiet.

BECKETT
Counselor, you can take him away now.

CASTLE and SLAUGHTER watch her. CASTLE is proud and impressed. SLAUGHTER is just in awe.

SLAUGHTER
Oh, that is sexy.

CASTLE gives him a look.

SLAUGHTER
What? You want to hit me for that, too?

CASTLE
No.

SLAUGHTER turns quickly and lands a punch to CASTLE’S stomach. CASTLE doubles over and groans when SLAUGHTER pulls him back up.

SLAUGHTER
That’s for not having my back. Oh, and if I ever see a character in one of your books like me, we’re going to have words. So I’m going to see you at the hearing on Tuesday, right?

CASTLE
(groans) You got it.

SLAUGHTER
Outstanding. (he slaps CASTLE on the back as he walks away) Detective. If you ever want to go on a date that ends in sex after a drunken fistfight, you know where to find me.

BECKETT turns away.

BECKETT
(over her shoulder) Yeah, in Never Gonna Happen Land.

CASTLE is still doubled over, the wind knocked out of him.

CASTLE
Hey. Thanks very much for your help.

BECKETT
No problem, Castle. It’s what partners are supposed to do.

She gives him one last look as she walks away, leaving him to think about the case and recover on his own.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

ALEXIS is on the couch, still mulling over her acceptance letter from Stanford when CASTLE gets home.

CASTLE
Ah. Basking in the glory of you?

He joins her on the couch.

ALEXIS
No. Just trying to figure out what to do. Stanford has always been my dream school but what if their initial rejection was the universe sending me a sign? That I’m better off somewhere else?

CASTLE
You think you’d be better off somewhere else?

ALEXIS
I don’t know. Do you?

CASTLE
(he thinks and sighs) I don’t know either. I guess the question is, do you want it badly enough to get over being hurt? (he thinks, realizing that this applies to him too)You know what I think would help with this decision?

ALEXIS (with CASTLE)
Ice cream.

CASTLE (with ALEXIS)
Ice cream.

They share a smile.

CASTLE
Race you.

She scrambles up off the couch but he’s quicker. He’s up first and he pushes her back down, laughing. He runs toward the kitchen, ALEXIS close behind.

THE END

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