5x23 Transcript

Transcribed by:
McManda
CASTLE
EPISODE 5x23
"The Human Factor"

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

A toy glider lands at the feet of DALE TANNER. He picks it up and hands it to the boy running toward him.

DALE TANNER
Here you go.

The kid takes it and runs back to his mother. DALE continues on his walk to his car. He notices a black car that seems out of place, but he gets into his car before giving it a better look. He sits back and sighs and his car explodes.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

RICHARD CASTLE is playing with a remote controlled tank. He’s got a whole terrain laid out in his living room.

RICHARD CASTLE
An explosion! Is this incoming artillery fire from above? No, Rommel’s troops have driven our boys into a minefield. Will the M4 Sherman tank’s armor be able to withstand this cowardly barrage from below?

He drives the tank off the terrain and into his bedroom.

CASTLE
Yes it can! And the Sherman smashes through Nazi lines to reach the – (he trails off when he sees KATE BECKETT come from the closet in her underwear) Whoa. That is not the Suez Canal.

He uses the camera on the tank to watch her get dressed appreciatively.

CASTLE
If you’re trying to decide what to wear, just keep wearing what you’re wearing now. Or less.

She looks around, confused. When she realizes she’s being watched through the tank she throws a shirt over the camera.

KATE BECKETT
Pervert!

CASTLE tries to shake the shirt off the tank but he can’t make it work.

CASTLE
That is Field Marshal Pervert to you.

Her phone rings.

BECKETT
Castle? Can you grab that?

CASTLE
Got it.

It’s the Twelfth Precinct. He answers.

BECKETT
This is Detective Beckett’s office. (he listens) Seriously? A car bomb?

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

CASTLE and BECKETT arrive at the scene. There are a bunch of SWAT guys and they’re already towing away the car.

CASTLE
Wow. Talk about heightened police presence.

BECKETT takes in the scene.

BECKETT
Wait a minute. What is this? Something’s not right. Hey Espo. Why are they taking the car away? CSU’s not done with it, is it?

JAVIER ESPOSITO
They were barely started before the Feds came in and seized the vehicle.

CASTLE
Why would they seize the vehicle?

ESPOSITO
I tried to ask but they iced me out.

BECKETT
Who’s in charge?

ESPOSITO
See that guy over there? (ESPOSITO nods) His name is Agent Guerrero.

She lifts the crime scene tape and walks towards him.

ESPOSITO
Trust me. He’s not going to budge.

BECKETT
Agent Guerrero, I’m Detective Beckett –

She flashes her badge but he cuts her off.

AGENT GUERRERO
Let me save you the trouble. We’re taking the car.

BECKETT
CSU hasn’t finished processing it yet. This is a murder scene. I’m going to need to find out who the victim was.

AGENT GUERRERO
I’m sorry, but that vehicle is part of a federal investigation. (he flashes his Homeland Security badge) And if you people hinder us in any way, I’ll arrest you for obstruction.

He nods and walks away. BECKETT gapes at him as KEVIN RYAN comes up.

BECKETT
What the hell is going on here?

CASTLE
And why is Homeland Security involved?

KEVIN RYAN
I don’t know. This whole thing stinks. According to witnesses, those two guys were staking out the car even before it blew up. And Homeland Security isn’t letting me talk to them.

CASTLE and BECKETT walk toward the other agent looking men.

CASTLE
A mysterious car bombing, the Feds giving us the boot, and now men in black. I’ll say it. I’m intrigued.

The other AGENTS get into their car before CASTLE and BECKETT can reach them. BECKETT sticks her head in the window anyway.

BECKETT
Who are you guys? Identify yourselves.

CASTLE
Hey guys. You get this a lot? Agent J, Agent K?

BECKETT
Why were you guys surveilling that car? Who was in it when it exploded?

They don’t answer any of her questions. They just drive away.

BECKETT
Hey! Hey! (she watches them go) Well, we don’t have a body, we don’t have a crime scene, and we don’t have any witnesses, but –

CASTLE
At least we have each other.

BECKETT
We still have a homicide to solve.

CASTLE
And that.

BECKETT watches the crime scene.

ESPOSITO
Hey. I think I got an ID on our vic. (he looks around and pulls a bag out of his jacket) A uniform found this wallet about a half a block down that way. Matches the description of the guy that witnesses saw get in the car. His name is Dale Tanner.

INT – DALE TANNER’S HOUSE

BETH TANNER
I always knew this day might come. Dale did too. It was one of the hazards of his job.

She dabs at her eyes with a tissue.

BECKETT
What kind of a job would lead to this?

BETH
When Dale was 16 his father was convicted of murder in Texas. Wrongly convicted. Right before the retrial his father died in prison and so fighting for the underdog, that kind of became his life’s mission.

SHAWN TANNER
So about 10 years ago he started the website. Whistleblower Anonymous.

CASTLE
I know that site. He exposed the waterboarding memos, the Orton geo-fracking scandal. I had no idea he was the one behind it.

BETH
Dale felt it was more important to keep attention on the issues rather than himself.

CASTLE
Was your husband working on anything recently?

BETH
Yeah, I think he was planning on posting some documents. And whatever they were they were making him nervous.

BECKETT
Where are the documents now?

BETH
Probably at his law office in Queens.

CASTLE
Why would Homeland Security be interested in your husband?

BETH
Half the government was interested in my husband. After he posted those photos of Abu-Grave they tried to get him to reveal his sources. They harassed him, followed him everywhere he went. It got so bad that we actually moved into our rental unit in Queens. He said that he was concerned about our safety.

SHAWN
And now he’s dead.

BECKETT
Mrs. Tanner, witnesses say that your husband parked on Mercer just before 8, waited on the sidewalk until 8:15, and then got back into his car. Do you know what he was doing downtown?

BETH
(shakes her head) I have no idea. He felt like the less we knew the better. I should have talked to him more.

BECKETT
Did he work with anyone else who might have known what he was involved in?

BETH
He had a partner, but I have no idea who it was.

SHAWN
Why are we even talking to them, Mom? (to BECKETT) The government killed my father and you’re helping them cover it up.

BETH
Shawn, please.

SHAWN isn’t having it. He gets up and leaves.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN hangs up his phone.

RYAN
Now I’m not going to call this a cover up, but I will say this. The Feds are not helping us out. They won’t tell us what evidence they found in Tanner’s car.

BECKETT
Okay, so we’ll just work it from other angles. We know he had a partner. Why don’t we look into his phone records, see who it was.

RYAN
Because they’re not being released to us. Neither are Tanner’s financials.

BECKETT thinks.

BECKETT
Maybe we can get it from his law office?

RYAN
We tried to search there; they sealed the place and they took his computers.

CASTLE
Wow. I’m starting to see what you mean by the Feds not helping.

BECKETT
Then we’re just going to solve this without their help. Where are we on motive?

RYAN
Well there’s plenty of that to go around. Tanner wasn’t afraid to take on the big boys. Banks, big oil, dirty politicians. In the past year he posted highly damaging, and, I might add, truthful information on 30 corporations, government agencies, and individuals. And that’s just what I found before his site was taken offline. With no solid information it’s hard to even know where to start.

BECKETT thinks then stands.

BECKETT
We start with manner of death. We know we’re dealing with a bomb, a bomb that was already in Tanner’s car.

RYAN
Right, because if he stayed near the vehicle no one could have tampered with it.

CASTLE
And whoever planted the bomb had to have access to the car at an earlier point.

ESPOSITO
Like in his garage. That’s where the car was before Tanner drove it down town and when I talked to neighbors, one of them saw an unfamiliar motorcycle jet out of the garage last night at 1AM.

CASTLE
Did they happen to get a plate?

ESPOSITO
No. (CASTLE and RYAN sigh) But this traffic cam did. Bike’s registered to a Monica Lane and get this, she works as a security contractor at Orton Geo.

CASTLE
That’s the fracking company Tanner almost put out of business.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

They show MONICA LANE the photo of her leaving TANNER’S house.

MONICA LANE
Man, the camera really does add 10 pounds.

RYAN
You were coming from an apartment building garage before that was taken. What were you doing there?

MONICA
That’s none of your business.

ESPOSITO
It became our business when Dale Tanner got blown to bits.

MONICA
What? He’s dead?

RYAN
Yeah. And I bet the company you work for likes him a whole lot better that way.

MONICA
Look, I had nothing to do with his death. This is not what you think.

ESPOSITO
Then what is it, Monica?

MONICA
(ashamed) He and I were seeing each other.

That wasn’t what RYAN and ESPOSITO were expecting either.

ESPOSITO
Wait a minute, you and Dale Tanner?

MONICA
We met in the park a few months ago. We just connected.

ESPOSITO
Yeah. I can see you’re real busted up.

RYAN
You were spying on him. (he sits across from her) Isn’t that what this is really about?

She’s silent.

MONICA
Okay, Orton Geo lost half a billion dollars in contracts because of Dale Tanner. My job was to get close to him and find out who was leaking him information. But it did not involve killing him.

RYAN
Was anyone else after him? Besides you, of course.

MONICA thinks.

MONICA
Oh, God. His wife. He said she had called. She had just found out about us. She threatened to kill him.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

BETH
I felt betrayed. Don’t you see? I stood by him for 24 years.

BECKETT
You withheld that he was having an affair and then you went out of your way to make it look like his work got him killed.

BETH
Because it did. All right, look, I admit it. I said some things to Dale. I was upset. Besides, I didn’t go near that apartment –

BECKETT
You could have hired someone else to do it.

BETH
With what money, huh? (she sits back) It’s not like Dale and his website ever made anybody rich.

There’s a knock on the door and RYAN sticks his head in.

RYAN
Beckett? There’s something you need to see.

BECKETT leaves and follows him.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORK ROOM

RYAN
So CSU sent this over. Based on what little they had they were able to piece together where the explosion originated.

CASTLE
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the explosion originated in the car.

RYAN
Right, well, normally a car bomb is placed inside the engine compartment or underneath, but this one went off near the front seat.

He pulls up a photo of the damage.

BECKETT
So it was planted inside the car.

RYAN
Actually it wasn’t planted at all. CSU found these metal fragments and they were able to trace it to a very specific device. They put together this reconstruction of the explosion.

He plays a computer generated video and they watch as a something drops onto the car and explodes. CASTLE smiles.

BECKETT
Is that a missile?

RYAN
Specifically a kind of missile deployed from an unmanned aerial vehicle.

CASTLE
Dale Tanner was taken out by a drone?

That can’t be right.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN
One second Dale Tanner’s sitting in his car, the next – boom.

He adds a photo of a drone to the murder board.

RYAN
Poor guy didn’t even know what hit him.

ESPOSITO
This couldn’t have been a drone strike. There’s gotta be a mistake here.

RYAN
There isn’t. (he checks a paper)CSU found PVXN-112 explosive residue and fluoridated aluminum from a missile casing.

ESPOSITO
There’s no way that a military drone could fly over New York City and smoke a guy.

BECKETT
Actually, it could. There’s a drone training facility at Fort Drummond. Ryan, while Castle and I look into that, can you talk to anyone that knew Tanner? Let’s see if we can find out who his partner was.

ESPOSITO
What, you and Castle are going to Fort Drummond?

BECKETT
Yeah, the head of the drone program agreed to a meeting.

She smiles and leaves.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT ELEVATOR

They enter the elevator.

CASTLE
What is going on here? Do you really think the military took him out?

BECKETT
I don’t see how they could.

CASTLE
Because they wouldn’t cross that line?

BECKETT
Because in my experience huge bureaucracies don’t act with that kind of efficiency.

CASTLE
Well that’s comforting.

BECKET
No wild theories about the military industrial complex.

CASTLE
I just don’t want to believe my country could do something like this.

The elevator dings and opens.

BECKETT
Me neither.

EXT – FORT DRUMMOND, DAYTIME

INT – ARMY CONFERENCE ROOM

The door opens and two ARMY men walk in.

HOOPER
Detective Beckett. Mr. Castle. Thank you for visiting For Drummond. (they sit) So we gathered that you believe that occurred in the city that –

BECKETT
No, not an incident. A murder from a drone strike.

COLONEL FORTIS
That’s an outrageous accusation, Detective. What do you base it on?

BECKETT
Forensic evidence at the crime scene is consistent with a drone fired missile. (they’re silent) How many drones were in the area this morning?

FORTIS
That information is classified.

CASTLE sees where this is going.

BECKETT
Colonel Fortis, was there a drone flying over New York City at 8:15AM?

FORTIS
That’s classified.

CASTLE
Okay, how about this. Did anyone else have access to the drones? Any federal agencies, corporations –

FORTIS
That’s classified.

CASTLE
(nods along) – classified.

BECKETT
Okay, then I would like to take a look at your flight logs –

FORTIS
This meeting is over.

FORTIS stands.

HOOPER
Keep in mind, the waivers that you signed prohibit you from discussing what was said here.

CASTLE
Nothing was said here.

HOOPER
Well then we shouldn’t have a problem.

CASTLE
Touché.

They move to leave and BECKETT looks over at the other office.

BECKETT
That man over there. He was at the crime scene. (to FORTIS) Who is he? Does he work for you?

CASTLE
(sharply) Don’t bother. It’s classified.

BECKETT sighs and moves to follow CASTLE. Before she does she turns back to FORTIS.

BECKETT
You know, I don’t know what the hell you guys are up to, but I promise you I will find out.

She leaves then.

EST – BECKETT’S CAR

INT – BECKETT’S CAR

CASTLE
Now might be the time for wild military industrial complex theories. And here’s one. Tanner was about to post super-secret military documents. They took him out with a drone and now they’re covering it up. Which, actually, isn’t so wild.

BECKETT
I don’t know. Maybe they just fired the missile by mistake.

CASTLE
And just so happened to hit a vocal critic of the U.S government? And the guy form the crime scene shows up at our Kafka-esque meeting? I don’t think so.

BECKETT
I don’t even know why they took that meeting. All they did was stonewall. (he phone rings and she answers) Beckett.

ESPOSITO
Yo. Got a call from CSU. Feds just came in a seized all materials related to the Tanner case.

CASTLE
The explosive residue, the fragment samples?

ESPOSITO
All of it.

BECKETT
We’ve been played. They just met with us to find out where everything was and what we knew and then they grabbed all the evidence.

ESPOSITO
Yeah, and now we have no proof that a drone strike ever happened.

RYAN walks up to ESPOSITO and holds up a folder.

CASTLE
We’re no closer to finding out why it happened or who did it.

RYAN
(smiles) Well maybe Tanner’s partner can tell us.

BECKETT
Do you know who it is?

RYAN
Turns out Tanner taught law classes at Eastborough College to make ends meet and his colleagues say they remember seeing a former student named Omar Dixon hanging around. I talked to Omar’s girlfriend. She said that he did work for Tanner but it was all hush-hush what he did.

BECKETT
And where’s Omar now?

RYAN
The girlfriend said she has no idea, but Shawn Tanner might. He attends Eastborough too. Used to drop by and see his dad. Maybe he knows Omar.

CASTLE
Oh, I think he does. (to BECKETT) Remember what he did when you asked if he knew his dad’s partner?

BECKETT
He changed the subject.

CASTLE
Boom.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERVIEW ROOM

SHAWN hands RYAN back a photo of OMAR.

SHAWN
I’m telling you, I don’t know him. I don’t know anyone named Omar Dixon.

RYAN
Look Shawn, I know that law enforcement hasn’t already been on your guys’ side.

SHAWN
Try never.

RYAN
But we’re not the Feds, Shawn. We’re the guys trying to solve your dad’s murder. And no matter what you think, we’re not going to stop until that job is done.

ESPSOTIO
Here’s the thing, bro. If your dad was killed for what he put on that website, your boy Omar’s in danger, too.

RYAN
Help us out, Shawn.

SHAWN hesitates and then sighs.

SHAWN
Yeah, I met Omar. I knew him a little. He worked with my dad.

ESPOSITO
Where can we find him?

SHAWN
My dad gave me a number for him.

RYAN
We need you to call that number. Tell Omar you’d like to meet.

EXT – PARK

OMAR DIXON waits on a bench. He’s nervous.

BECKETT
Omar? (she flashes her badge) I’m Detective Kate Beckett.

He stands quickly.

OMAR DIXON
Whoa. Where’s – where’s Shawn?

BECKET
The couldn’t make it. We need to ask you a few questions about Dale Tanner.

He backs up.

OMAR
I’m not getting involved.

He turns and walks quickly away. She jogs a couple of steps to catch up to him.

BECKETT
Omar, you’re already involved.

OMAR
Then I’m not getting any more involved. It’s bad enough I saw his blown up car on the news, now I’ve got people following me. And not just you.

He doesn’t stop walking.

BECKETT
What people?

He’s right. The guy from FORT DRUMMOND is twenty steps behind them.

OMAR
I have no idea, lady. No idea who they are.

BECKETT
Who killed Tanner? Was it because of the documents he was going to post?

OMAR
(shrugs) How they hell should I know?

BECKETT
You’re his partner, aren’t you?

OMAR
His partner? Is that what people think? Is that why they’re after me?

BECKETT
If you’re not his partner then who are you?

OMAR
His assistant. I’m his part-time IT guy. I set up his website. He gave me files, I upload them, and for that the cheap bastard paid me $15 bucks and hour.

BECKETT
Did he tell you what he was working on?

OMAR
I didn’t know and I didn’t care. It was just a gig for me. And right now, I’m sorry I ever took it.

They round a food truck. The guy following them does too, but BECKETT is waiting. She grabs his arm and slams him into the truck.

BECKETT
Don’t move.

She’s got her gun at his back.

OMAR
That’s him. That’s one of the guys that was following me.

OMAR takes off running away.

BECKETT
Omar! (he doesn’t stop) Omar! (she turns back to the guy against the truck) Steady. (she reaches into his waistband and pulls out a gun complete with a silencer) You’re under arrest.

He rolls his eyes, but she takes great pleasure in hauling him away from the truck and cuffing him.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT OBSERVATION ROOM

CASTLE
He’s awfully calm for a guy walking around with a silenced pistol.

BECKETT
Yeah well, he’s been in rooms like this before.

They watch as the guy checks his watch and the door opens.

CASTLE
Hey.

ESPOSITO
Hey.

BECKETT
So what do we know about Robert Williams?

ESPOSITO
His ID is fake.

BECKETT
What about his prints?

ESPOSITO
There’s no record of them in the system. I don’t know who this guy is.

CASTLE
As is my way, I’m going to go with … government assassin.

BECKETT
Well, time to find out.

She leaves them and heads for the interrogation room.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

STACK is silent when she enters the room. She moves slowly and sits on the other side of the table. Neither says anything for a long moment.

BECKETT
What’s your name?

He shrugs.

STACK
Does it matter? It’s not like we’re going to get to know each other.

BECKETT
Who had Dale Tanner killed? (he’s silent) Were you a part of it? Or was your job just to clean up the mess?

STACK
You’re tenacious. I respect that.

BECKETT
Was Omar Dixon a part of the mess?

STACK
He went into hiding. By the way, how did you manage to draw him out?

BECKETT
I’ll be asking the questions.

STACK
You just won’t be getting the answers.

BECKETT
We’ll see. I can keep you for 24 hours and I fully intend to do so.

STACK
You have me for five more seconds. Use them well.

They faceoff until there’s a knock at the door. RYAN sticks his head in but BECKETT doesn’t move.

RYAN
Beckett? You’ve got a phone call.

STACK
Time’s up.

BECKETT is stoic as she leaves the room. She’s not letting him win.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT picks up her phone and waits.

BECKETT
This is Detective Kate Beckett.

SECRETARY
Hold for the Attorney General.

BECKETT
I’m sorry, what? Hold for who?

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Thank you. Is this Detective Beckett?

BECKETT
Uh, good evening, Mr. Attorney General, yes it is.

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Do you have a man by the name of Robert Williams in custody?

BECKETT
Yes we do.

ATTORNEY GENERAL
I need you to release him.

BECKETT
Release him? I –

ATTORNEY GENERAL
I’m asking this of you as the highest ranking law enforcement official in the country.

BECKETT
Look, sir, with all due respect, a man has been killed and he is a person of interest.

ATTORNEY GENERAL
This is a direct order and I expect you to follow it.

BECKETT
Fine. But then I’m gonna want something in return.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORK ROOM

STACK is on the phone with the ATTORNEY GENERAL.

STACK
Yes, sir. (he listens) I fully understand. Thank you, sir.

He hangs up and takes a second before he turns to BECKETT and CASTLE.

STACK
Well played, Detective Beckett. So, what do you want to know.

BECKETT
Why don’t we start with who are you?

STACK
Jared Stack, special investigator for the Attorney General’s office.

CASTLE
I’ve never heard of it.

STACK
(whispered) You’re not supposed to.

CASTLE is affronted.

BECKETT
And what is your connection with Dale Tanner?

STACK
Tanner was under scrutiny by the FBI, DHS, and the pentagon, not to mention the NYPD counterterrorism unit. Somebody objective needed to look into his death, so they picked me.

BECKETT
When did you realize he was killed by a drone and not a car bomb?

STACK
Once our people examined the wreckage.

CASTLE
Why the fake ID?

STACK
I didn’t know where this was headed. The AG needs deniability.

CASTLE
(to BECKETT) The secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. (he shrugs) It’s Mission Impossible.

STACK
Pretty much. I’m even wearing a mask.

CASTLE
Really?

STACK
No.

BECKETT
You claim that you have no idea where this is headed, but it seems pretty clear to me. The military launched an attack against Tanner.

STACK
I went over the logs at Fort Drummond. It didn’t come from there.

CASTLE
Where did it come from?

STACK
That’s what I’m trying to find out. The fact is, we’ve lost a number of drones. Some of them have fallen into enemy hands.

BECKETT
So one of our enemies killed Tanner? With a drone?

CASTLE
That theory is highly improbable. And coming from me, that’s saying something.

STACK
Think of it this way. Let’s say our government wanted Tanner dead. Why not just gun him down on the streets? Why use a drone. Why get rid of him in a way that could bounce back on them?

BECKETT
Same reason most killers do. ‘cause they think they’re going to get away with it.

His phone rings. It takes him a second to answer.

STACK
Stack. (he listens) What? You’re sure. All right, uh … send me a link to that feed.

He hangs up.

BECKETT
What is it?

STACK
That was one of my colleagues. The drone wasn’t from Fort Drummond, but it was one of ours.

BECKETT looks to CASTLE.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORK ROOM

STACK has gotten footage of the drone’s flight.

STACK
This is video feed off a drone on a routine training run from the international guard base near Syracuse at 8:16 this morning. (to CASTLE) Would you mind shutting those blinds?

CASTLE isn’t thrilled but he does.

BECKETT
Who’s flying the drone?

STACK
Funny you should ask. The pilot lost control 9 minutes earlier over Long Island.

CASTLE
Whoa, what do you mean, lost control?

STACK
Take a listen for yourself.

He plays the video.

PILOT 1
I don’t know, sir. It’s not responding to any command.

COMMANDER
Okay, try rebooting the console software.

PILOT 1
I already rebooted. That didn’t fix it. Do we need to notify TSA?

COMMANDER
Wait, what the hell is that? Are you running a targeting protocol on that vehicle?

PILOT 1
No! I’m not doing anything. I don’t know what’s happening.

They watch the video and see TANNER’S car go up in flames.

COMMANDER
Oh my God.

STACK
Somebody hacked into that drone and took out Dale Tanner.

This is so much bigger than they realized.

INT - TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN
Why is it so hard to believe? People hack in to banks all the time. The Pentagon, NASA.

ESPOSITO
Yeah, but a drone? Maybe the pilot was just pretending he wasn’t flying.

BECKETT
No, no, you can’t fake that kind of panic.

CASTLE
I agree. He was having a pants-soiling moment. But there is one possibility we are neglecting. (he points at a picture) The drone itself. It’s Rise of the Machines. Not unlike SkyNet and the Terminator.

ESPOSITO looks less than amused by RYAN nods along.

CASTLE
The machines have achieved consciousness and they a pissed.

STACK
Sorry to disappoint, Mr. Castle, but it’s a human perp we’re after. NSA picked up an encrypted signal that was sent out the exact moment the pilot lost control. That signal basically overrode the controls and allowed the hacker to take over the drone.

BECKETT
And where did this signal come from?

STACK
From the lower half of the state of New York. Uh, NSA’s trying to narrow that down as we speak.

RYAN
So for all we know we’re looking for some 14 year old nerd with a computer?

STACK
It’s not likely. Whoever did this had to know how to defeat the signal encryption and have the software to run the drone. (he pauses) Warburg.

The gang is confused.

ESPOSITO
What’s a Warburg?

STACK
It’s not a what, it’s a who. He’s the only guy that could have pulled this off.

BECKETT
Okay. How do we find him?

STACK
He’s been off grid for about a year. The guy’s a real ghost. You’ll never find him. (he pulls out his phone) But I might by tracing the signal.

He moves to walk away but BECKETT grabs his arm.

BECKETT
Maybe we can work on this together.

STACK
Hey. I agreed to tell you what I knew, which I’ve done. It’s been real fun, Detective Beckett, but I’ll take things from here, all right?

He leaves.

CASTLE
Wow. And here I thought we all had bonded.

BECKETT sighs and turns to RYAN.

BECKETT
If Warburg hacked that drone then he’s our murder suspect and I’m not buying Stack’s word that we can’t find him. Let’s dig into this guy and see what we’re dealing with.

ESPOSITO
Right.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ESPOSITO pulls up a bunch of articles on his computer.

ESPOSITO
Simon Warburg, a programming legend, overcame severe OCD to become chief designer for the operational software used in military drones.

BECKETT
And then what?

RYAN
Well, he got busted for sabotaging that software but he fled before the FBI could arrest him.

CASTLE
Warburg. Sounds like a Bond villain, right? Petting his cat while forming a plan for world domination. And what is that plan, you ask?

BECKETT
Actually I didn’t ask.

CASTLE
Talking about the boys. (to RYAN and ESPOSITO) To create a drone army. A drone army that can think. That possesses awareness. And who better than the programming genius who designed their software to give them that spark of life?

ESPOSITO is not on board with this theory, but RYAN is interested.

BECKETT
Castle, you don’t actually believe that. And keep in mind, if you say yes I will find you less attractive.

CASTLE
Well it is conceivable and I have to say, a far better story.

By her expression, BECKETT doesn’t agree.

ESPOSITO
Yo, check it. Warburg posted a video just before he went into hiding.

He plays the video and they watch.

SIMON WARBURG
People don’t understand why I tampered with the drone software.

CASTLE
That’s Warburg? I was expecting –

RYAN
Doctor Evil?

CASTLE
Well, someone a little less nerdy.

WARBURG
It’s because I’ve seen the future. And I know their plan.

CASTLE
Here it is. Building a drone army.

WARBURG
They’ll introduce surveillance drones to monitor traffic. (he shrugs) Seems harmless enough, right? So we let it happen. Next there’ll be security drones. Because who doesn’t like to feel safer. And then armed drones, to protect our skies. And by then it’s too late. Because the system to monitor, to control, to kill any one of us will already be in place. Someone has to stop this. Even if that someone is me.

ESPOSITO pauses the video.

CASTLE
He wasn’t building a drone army, he was preventing one from being built. I was pretty close.

BECKETT
If by close you mean opposite. Warburg believed that drones were going to be used to target US citizens. That’s why he killed an activist like Dale Tanner – to show us the future was already here.

ESPOSITO
This guy basically framed the government to try to stop drone use.

BECKETT
So we get Warburg, we get our killer. And I think I know how. (she leans forward) Guys, look at those books.

CASTLE
All on science, all first editions. (he points) That’s Origins of Species.

ESPOSITO
So?

BECKETT
So he was a book collector.

CASTLE
A book collector with OCD. A habit like that would die hard.

RYAN
I’ll start checking antique book stores in the morning, see if Warburg contacted any of them.

EST – CASTLE’S LOFT, NIGHTTIME

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

CASTLE is asleep in bed when he hears a whirring noise. He sits up and sees his toy tank making its way across the bed. He gets up but the tank follows him.

CASTLE
(hissed) Beckett.

He reaches for a baseball bat.

CASTLE
The tank is going to get it.

He smashes the tank, but as soon as it stops moving his toy helicopter flies from the ground. CASTLE takes a swing at it.

CASTLE
Beckett! (he pulls the comforter back) Beckett, get up. We’ve gotta go.

She just sits up and laughs.

BECKETT
You totally fell for it. You acted like it was Rise of the Machines!

CASTLE
No I didn’t. I – I didn’t think it was Rise of the –

She’s doubled over in laughter.

BECKETT
If that was actually a killer tank, you bailed!

CASTLE
(indignantly) I went to get the bat to protect you and eliminate the threat.

BECKETT
Really? (she holds up the remote) There’s a camera here, Castle. I saw the look on your face. (her phone rings and she flips on a light to answer it) Beckett.

RYAN
Hey Beckett, sorry to call you so late, but I think I got something.

BECKETT
Ryan, what are you doing at the precinct?

RYAN
Well, I was looking at websites of antique bookstores and I was checking out one near Woodstock and I think I’ve noticed a pattern.

BECKETT
What kind of a pattern?

RYAN
According to this inventory grid, the bookseller sold seven books on the same day last month. And I see all seven of those books on one shelf of Warburg’s bookcase.

CASTLE
Either that’s a statistical impossibility, or -

BECKETT
Or Warburg is rebuilding his book collection one shelf at a time.

RYAN
Which would mean he ordered books from this bookstore.

EST – WOODSTOCK, DAYTIME

INT – BOOKSTORE

CASTLE and BECKETT walk in.

CASTLE
Ah… that aroma. Old leather and moldering paper. It’s official. I love this place.

BECKETT
Castle, look. It’s ‘Storm Season’.

CASTLE
Oh.

BECKETT
Oh, on the clearance table.

CASTLE
And the love fades.

MARTIN TILLAGE
Can I help you?

BECKETT
(flashes her badge) Yeah, as a matter of fact, you can. (she hands him a photo of WARBURG) Do you recognize this man?

MARTIN looks at it and smiles.

MARTIN
Oh, yes indeed. It’s Mr. Smith. He’s quite a discerning collector. He’s purchased quite a few books from us here.

CASTLE
Really? Smith? That’s original.

BECKETT
Do you have his address? Does he have his books delivered?

MARTIN
No, no. He comes in and he picks them up.

BECKETT
Do you know what kind of car he drives?

MARTIN
(thinks) Well, he usually rides a bicycle.

CASTLE
So he’s local.

BECKETT
All right. (she pulls out her phone) I’m going to get the boys to look up all the properties bought or sold in the area over the past year since Warburg went missing. (she dials and waits) Um…

CASTLE picks up and holds out a copy of ‘Storm Season’.

CASTLE
Seriously?

MARTIN
Uh … uh … it’s a nice book.

CASTLE
(sarcastically) Thank you.

BECKETT raises her eyebrows.

EXT – OLD DIRT ROAD

BECKETT parks her car in front of a field and she can CASTLE get out.

BECKETT
So according to Ryan, the house at the end of this driveway was purchased ten months ago by an attorney.

CASTLE
Warburg is here. I can feel it.

BECKETT
Castle, you’ve said that about every place we’ve been to so far.

CASTLE
Yeah, but this time I mean it. The force is stronger with this one.

BECKETT sighs.

BECKETT
The problem is, it’s private property and I don’t have a warrant.

CASTLE
Just pretend you don’t see the sign. Look, we’re at the cusp of finding Warburg. At least he’s a person of interest and at most a maniacal supervillian with the power to bend drones to his will. And – (CASTLE opens the gate) – gate’s unlocked.

He walks through but BECKETT hesitates. He looks back at her.

CASTLE
Burning daylight.

She hesitates but ends up following him down the road through the field.

BECKETT
Maybe Warburg is here. It is remote and secluded.

CASTLE
I just had a deeply disturbing thought.

BECKETT
Much like most of your thoughts?

CASTLE
What if Warburg isn’t involved. I mean, we’ve been played before. What if Stack just mentioned his name to send us on a wild goose chase?

BECKETT
Oh Castle, I don’t think so.

CASTLE
Well, still. There’s no more proof that Warburg is involved than there is that the drone acted on its own.

BECKETT
(laughingly) Seriously? I haven’t gotten that SkyNet thing out of your system yet?

CASTLE
You mock me, but mark my words. The day will come. The experts call it the singularity, the emergence of a technological super intelligence.

BECKETT stops walking.

BECKETT
Wait, Castle. Wait, wait. (he stops) Wait, do you here that?

He listens.

CASTLE
Like a buzzing.

They search for the source of the sound. When they turn around they see a drone coming at them. They watch as it gets closer, until it starts spraying bullets. They dive to the ground and the drone passes over them.

EXT – OLD DIRT ROAD

The drone flies past them and BECKETT groans.

CASTLE
You okay?

BECKETT
Yeah. I think so.

They both stand.

CASTLE
That was just like North By Northwest.

BECKETT
Castle, don’t get too excited. It’s coming back.

She faces it and pulls out her gun.

CASTLE
What are you doing? We’ve gotta run.

BECKETT
We’re never gonna make it to cover. As soon as it gets in range I’m going to shoot it.

She takes her stance. CASTLE hesitates for a second and reaches down to grab her backup piece from her ankle holster. He limbers up and takes a stance behind her.

CASTLE
Okay. Okay, okay.

They wait for the plane to get into range. When it is, they both start firing. One or two of their bullets hits its mark and the plane flies over them before careening into the ground past them.

CASTLE
Wow. (he looks at her) I can’t believe you missed with every shot.

BECKETT
Really? Do you think that you shot down that drone with your marksmanship?

He looks down at the gun in his hand.

CASTLE
I rose to the occasion. No, this time I really did protect you.

BECKETT
Yeah, along with yourself.

CASTLE
You know, this makes up for what may be considered a momentary lack of manliness. No, I have eared my redemption. Nothing can take that away from me.

BECKETT reaches down and picks up one of the shells from the bullets the drone was firing.

BECKETT
These aren’t real bullets. These are blanks.

CASTLE
Blanks? Well, I didn’t know that, so that doesn’t – that doesn’t diminish the act of heroism. That doesn’t – are those really blanks?

SIMON WARBURG
Of course they’re blanks, you idiot. Meant to deter trespassers like you. You just obliterated my finest drone. I’m having the cops arrest you.

BECKETT
Let me save you a phone call. (she holds out her badge) We’re here about Dale Tanner, Mr. Warburg.

WARBURG
Knew somebody would be eventually.

INT – SIMON WARBURG’S HOUSE

WARBURG
Check out the quad. It’s my favorite.

BECKETT and CASTLE follow him into his house.

CASTLE
Oh, sweet. (he touches him and it shocks him) Ow!

WARBURG
Payback for wrecking my drone.

BECKETT
Mr. Warburg, let’s talk about Dale Tanner.

WARBURG
You want to know if I killed him, the answer is yes I did.

BECKETT
(her eyes widen) Would you like to tell me why?

WARBURG
It began two years ago. (he grabs a photo) With this.

BECKETT
I don’t understand what a car driving through the desert has to do with Dale Tanner.

WARBURG
Intelligence support said there were three high ranking Afghan militants in this car. It was the right make and model traveling at a high rate of speed, so the drone pilot was given the green light to strike. But then he saw those red dots on the trunk and he had a feeling. So he aborted the mission. There were no militants in that car; the red dots were roses because the young couple driving down that desert rode had just gotten married. That’s when I knew I could no longer be a part of the drone program.

He puts the photo back.

CASTLE
I don’t understand why. They pilot didn’t fire.

WARBURG
Because the next generation of drones won’t have pilots. The new AI software will give drones decision making capability. They’ll assess the data and take lethal action all on their own.

CASTLE
It really will be Rise of the Machines.

WARBURG
Those new drones would turn that car to ash without hesitation. That’s why, when lives are at stake, we need a man who sees roses. We need the human factor.

BECKETT
And where was the human factor when you killed Dale Tanner.

He walks past them.

WARBURG
Let me show you something. (he sits at his computer) I wrote this program myself. Note the user-friendly interface. I’m rather proud of it. Now, these red dots are individual drones currently over New York state. Now if I click on one, I can monitor the drone’s function in real time. (he does) And with the push of a button I can take over control of the aircraft.

CASTLE
Just like you did with Tanner.

WARBURG
I was on a bike ride that day and nowhere near a computer.

BECKETT
You just said that you killed him.

WARBURG
Well I meant my software led to his death. But I didn’t do it. In fact, I was in touch with Dale Tanner. I wanted him to post the program, so I loaded it onto a flash drive and got it to him.

CASTLE
You wanted Tanner to post your drone hacking software on his website. If the Pentagon found out they’d have to ground their entire drone fleet.

WARBURG
Precisely. It’d bring drone development to a grinding halt. But Tanner refused to post the program. He sent it back saying he didn’t want any idiot with a computer being able to take over control of a drone. Realized he might have a point, so I decided to keep the program to yourself.

BECKETT
So if you didn’t use this and Tanner didn’t post it, then who killed him?

WARBURG
After I heard about his death I checked out the flash drive I sent him. Someone copied my program off of it onto a USB drive. Now it wasn’t Tanner. He wouldn’t order a drone strike on himself, and it was anyone on my end, because, well – (he laughs) - who else is there?

BECKETT
So then it had to be someone close to Tanner with access to his work.

CASTLE
And we only know one person like that – his assistant. Omar Dixon.

EST – BECKETT’S CAR

INT - BECKETT’S CAR

CASTLE
Okay, here’s my theory. Omar Dixon is working for Tanner, but he’s just scraping by. Along comes Warburg’s drone hack. Tanner doesn’t want it, but Dixon sees an opportunity.

BECKETT
He realizes how much a drone hacking program would be worth on the open market.

CASTLE
Exactly. He burns a copy, learns how to use it. The next step is a real world test. And Tanner’s a cheap bastard anyway, so – (he phone rings) – I’ll get it. (he answers) For Richard Castle press one. For Beckett, press two.

ESPOSITO
Yo. How about I just talk, jackass? (BECKETT tries to hide her smile) So, I put out an APB on Omar Dixon, but it looks like he’s already in the wind. His girlfriend says he packed a bag and snuck out down the fire escape.

BECKETT
Okay. Circulate his photo to airports and bus and train stations.

ESPOSITO watches STACK walk up.

ESPOSITO
Already on it.

STACK
Detective Beckett, I sure do appreciate you finding Simon Warburg for me.

BECKETT
Was that what you’re hoping for when you gave us his name?

STACK
Oh, I just thought you might think of something that we hadn’t. When I pinged your cell phone I realized I was right. FBI’s picking him up right now.

CASTLE
Well then it might interest you to know, he didn’t kill Tanner.

STACK
What are you talking about?

BECKETT
We have reason to believe it was Omar Dixon, Tanner’s assistant. The problem is, he’s on the run.

STACK
I can help with that.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORK ROOM

RYAN watches as STACK runs his computer program. He’s both interested and horrified at the power.

STACK
The facial recognition system is scanning footage over the last two hours from all the main departure points.

ESPOSITO
How accurate is this thin really?

STACK
Well, if he passed in front of one of those cameras it’ll spot him.

RYAN
Man, talk about Big Brother. There’s got to be a way to beat the system though, right?

STACK
Wear sunglasses, let your bangs hang down over your forehead. It totally messes with the software.

ESPOSITO
What if you don’t have bangs?

STACK
Wear heavy makeup. Paint random colored shapes all over your face.

ESPOSITO
(scoffs) Yeah, I’m not doing that.

The computer stops and narrows in on a face.

STACK
And there he is. JKF International terminal 92 minutes ago. We got him. (the computer continues) Now it’ll track him off his face and the color of his clothes. (it stops again) Damn it. Omar Dixon caught a flight to Beirut. Left an hour ago. He’s gone.

INT - TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

CASTLE and BECKETT are back and getting an update from ESPOSITO.

ESPOSITO
We reached the airline. Omar Dixon was definitely on that flight to Beirut by way of Abu Dhabi.

BECKETT
Why Beirut?

ESPOSITO
He’s got family on his mom’s side and dual citizenship. He flew out on a Lebanese passport.

BECKETT
Can we have him detained when he lands?

ESPOSITO
No, there’s a no extradition agreement. Probably why he went there.

CASTLE
And it’s an excellent part of the world if you want to sell some drone hacking software.

STACK
Speaking of drone hacking, say hello to our friend Omar Dixon.

STACK appears with OMAR in handcuffs. He passes OMAR off to a pair of UNIFORMS.

STACK
See you later, Omar.

They’re all confused.

BECKETT
I thought he was heading to Beirut.

STACK
He was. Until I asked the Attorney General to contact the FAA and have them recall the flight back to JFK. One of the perks of working for an 800 pound gorilla.

BECKETT tries not to be impressed.

BECKETT
Did you already interview him?

STACK
Well, you’re the reason we got him, Detective Beckett. Why don’t you do the honors?

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT OBSERVATION ROOM

STACK and CASTLE watch from behind the glass as BECKETT enters the room to face OMAR. She sits across the table and waits.

STACK
Look at that. How she uses the silence. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

CASTLE
Ha, you don’t know the half of it.

CASTLE watches STACK watch BECKETT. He’s not sure he likes it.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

BECKETT
Omar, right now your bags are being searched for a USB drive. Your best bet it to tell me the truth before it turns up.

OMAR
I told you the truth. I had nothing to do with what happened to Tanner.

BECKETT
Then why did you flee the country?

OMAR
Because I like being alive, that’s why. Somebody put a bomb in his car. I had people chasing me.

BECKETT
You and I both know there was no bomb.

OMAR
What do you mean?

BECKETT
You used the software hack to fire a missile from a drone.

OMAR
You’re out of your mind. Why is this happening to me?

BECKETT
You’re going to sit there and tell me that you had no idea about the flash drive Warburg gave Tanner?

OMAR
I had an idea, sure. Tanner sent me to pick it up from the dead drop.

BECKETT
At which time you copied it.

OMAR
I never copied anything! I didn’t even know what was on it. The next day, Tanner said he didn’t want it, and so he told me to return the flash drive to the dead drop so that’s what I did. That’s all I did.

BECKETT waits him out.

BECKETT
Did anyone else know about the flash drive or have access to it?

OMAR
Yeah. Just one person.

INT – DALE TANNER’S HOUSE

SHAWN TANNER opens the door.

BECKETT
Hey Shawn. You mind if we come in?

SHAWN
I guess.

He walks away and lets them in. They follow him into the living room.

BECKETT
Where’s your mom, Shawn?

SHAWN
She went to get groceries. What’s up? Is there news about my dad?

BECKETT
We talked to Omar. He said you started dropping by the office two months ago, mostly when your dada wasn’t around.

SHAWN
(nods) I like hanging with Omar. So what?

BECKETT
Or was it to connect with your dad? I mean, two months ago, that’s when he moved out, wasn’t it?

SHAWN
Okay, I – I’m not exactly sure why we’re talking about this.

CASTLE
Is that why you went to the college where he taught classes? So you could connect? I mean, it had to be hard, Shawn, having a father like that. So absent. So driven. A crusader who put his mission above all else, even the people who loved him.

SHAWN doesn’t say anything but he’s starting to break.

BECKETT
Warburg’s drone hack was copied onto a 4 gig USB drive.

CASTLE
It just so happens you bought the same kind of drive the day that copy was made.

BECKETT
You called your dad, you asked him to meet with you because you wanted to know exactly where he would be. Isn’t that right, Shawn?

SHAWN looks down.

CASTLE
So what pushed you over the edge, Shawn? Was it when you found out about the affair?

SHAWN shakes his head.

SHAWN
My mom held us together. Dad was always gone. We never had any money. We were being watched all the time. No friends, because of all the rumor and whispers. And that was it. That was our life. Also, he could expose wrongdoing and hold the authorities accountable. What about his family? Why didn’t we matter as much as some stupid scandal? And then, after all of it, after everything he put us through, he leaves my mom for another woman?

CASTLE
And you wanted to make him pay.

SHAWN
He broke her heart! (he pauses) Me. He broke mine, too.

BETH comes home with a bag of groceries.

BETH
What’s going on?

SHAWN looks away.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT grabs her jacket.

CASTLE
How about a nice glass of Zinfandel when we get back to my place?

BECKETT
(smiles) After the day we’ve had today that sounds great.

STACK
Detective Beckett and Mr. Castle. Both the President and the Attorney General have asked me to convey their thanks for your work on this case.

CASTLE
I don’t suppose the President’s appreciation could come in the form of a blurb for my book?

STACK
Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. (CASTLE nods) But Detective Beckett, could I have a word?

BECKETT
Yeah.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT OBSERVATION ROOM

BECKETT leads him somewhere they can talk.

STACK
Let me ask you something. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

BECKETT
(shrugs) I haven’t really given it that much thought.

STACK
As Lieutenant? Captain? At 1 Police Plaza, climbing the ladder?

BECKETT
That’s not really where my heart is.

STACK
Where is your heart? In that room? You want to be in that room five years from now busting some killer’s balls?

BECKETT
I don’t know you. Certainly not well enough to have this conversation.

She turns to leave.

STACK
I used to work homicide, too.

She stops and turns back to him.

BECKETT
Really?

STACK
Yeah.

BECKETT
Hm.

STACK
Chicago. ‘til some guy tapped me on the shoulder. Today I’m that guy. What I’m saying is this. I think you’re exceptional. You’re smart. You’re strong. You’re an asymmetrical thinker. I see bigger things for you.

BECKETT
Who says I want bigger things?

STACK
(laughs) Practically everything about you screams it. There’s a job opening in DC.

BECKETT
What job?

STACK
With the Attorney General. We report directly to him, we work with total autonomy on the biggest, most challenging cases. Cases like this. Where the stakes are high and the outcome can affect history. Not everybody has what it takes for the job. I think you do. (he hands her a card) Call that number to schedule an interview. (he shrugs) Think about it.

She considers.

BECKETT
I will.

STACK
I’ll be talking to you, Detective Beckett.

He leaves and she’s left with her thoughts.

EST – CASTLE’S LOFT, NIGHTTIME

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

CASTLE is delivering on that promised glass of wine.

BECKETT
So you can rest easy, Castle. It looks like the Rise of the Machines is still a few years off.

CASTLE
That’s what the autonomous drones want you to think.

He hands her a glass of wine.

BECKETT
Well the fact is, an autonomous drone would never have killed Dale Tanner.

CASTLE
Mmm, that’s true. Because with people, observations are personal. And where one person might see roses another may see the chance to move on from an old life and on to a new one.

BECKETT
The human factor.

CASTLE
The human factor. (he stands) And this human needs a shower. Care to join me?

BECKETT
I’ll be there in a minute.

He heads toward the bathroom.

CASTLE
You never did tell me what Stack wanted to talk to you about.

BECKETT
Nothing. (she pauses) It’s nothing.

But it is something. She sighs.

THE END

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