6x07 Transcript

Transcribed by:
McManda
CASTLE
EPISODE 6x07
"Like Father, Like Daughter"


INT – KIM’S HOUSE, 1998

KIMBERLY TOLBERT falls over a half wall. Things go crashing to the ground and she reaches for a phone. She’s pulled back and flipped over a table before she can touch it. She cries out in pain and fear, but it doesn’t stop her from getting up to fight back. It’s no use. Her attacker swings a fireplace poker and she crumbles to the ground.

INT - KIM’S HOUSE, 1998

FRANK HENSON leans over her body. She’s not moving and her head is still bleeding from where she was hit. There are sirens in the distance. FRANK looks up and scrambles to wipe down anything he touched before he runs out the door. He’s too late. The police are waiting.

POLICE OFFICER
On the ground! Now!

FRANK complies. He’s handcuffed and led away to a police car. Before he’s pushed in, he sees his brother outside their house across the street.

JOHN HENSON
Frank? Frank.

FRANK doesn’t say anything.

POLICE OFFICER
Take a seat, son.

FRANK lets himself be pushed into the cop car.

INT – COURTROOM, PRESENT DAY

BAILIFF
Please rise.

FRANK stands.

JUDGE KERRY FALLBROOK
Frank Henson, fifteen years ago you were convicted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the 1998 murder of Kimberly Tolbert. You were sentenced to death. This court has found insufficient evidence to grant an emergency stay, thus your execution will proceed as scheduled at midnight three days from today. Court is adjourned.

The courtroom is silent. MAGGIE INGRAM starts to cry. ALEXIS CASTLE is quiet, but it’s not the verdict she wanted to hear.

PROFESSOR EDGAR MCDONALD
John. (he turns) I’m so sorry.

JOHN
Thank you, Professor. You folks did everything you could. I know my brother appreciates it.

MAGGIE watches as they handcuff FRANK again.

MAGGIE
(tearfully) Frank.

ALEXIS stops MCDONALD.

ALEXIS
This can’t be it. There’s got to be something more we can do. What about the lab work we were going to test again, or what about -

MCDONALD
Alexis, we’ve played every card. Sometimes the good guys don’t win.

He leaves her. She turns to watch them lead FRANK away.

INT - CASTLE’S LOFT

RICHARD CASTLE
I am not giving up. And you know why? Because it’s the best idea ever.

He follows BECKETT out of his bedroom.

KATE BECKETT
Castle, I am not getting married in space.

CASTLE
Why not? We could be the first. Commercial space flight is only a couple years away. And you said you wanted it to be special.

BECKETT
Yes, because when I was a little girl imagining my wedding day, being stuck in a small tin can with a thousand tons of rocket fuel strapped to my ass was exactly what I had in mind.

He chooses to ignore her sarcasm.

CASTLE
Then we agree.

BECKETT
If you don’t want to go and look at wedding venues this weekend, then just say so.

He pauses.

CASTLE
I don’t want to go look at wedding venues this weekend.

BECKETT
Too bad.

His phone chimes and he fishes it out of his pocket and checks the text. He makes a face.

BECKETT
What?

CASTLE
Nothing. It’s um … a text alert on a project Alexis is working on.

BECKETT
I thought you guys weren’t talking.

CASTLE
We’re not. Rather, she’s not. So I insulted her boyfriend. What’s the prison sentence on that?

BECKETT sighs.

BECKETT
Oh Castle, just give her some time. She’ll get over it.

CASTLE
That’s what you think. Once when she was three I refused to buy her a candy bar. She held her breath until she passed out. You have no idea how determined she can be.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

JAVIER ESPOSITO
Alexis, we looked at the case files like you asked. I gotta say, there’s nothing in there that says this guy’s innocent.

ALEXIS
What about the swabs from Kim Tolbert’s body that were submitted to the New York Trace Lab for retesting? I mean, they’ve had them for weeks.

ESPOSITO doesn’t have an answer.

KEVIN RYAN
Well, we’ve been calling every day to move things along, but it’s not in our jurisdiction.

ALEXIS
You don’t understand. A man is going to die in three days unless we do something.

RYAN
We do understand. There’s just not much that we can do.

ESPOSITO
What about your dad? Have you talked to him about this case?

RYAN
Yeah. Maybe he’ll spot something that no one else did.

She sighs. That’s exactly what she doesn’t want to do.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

CASTLE is bored. He’s supposed to be working on writing, but instead he’s leaned back in his chair balancing pencils on his face. His concentration is broken when he hears a door open.

CASTLE
Oh! (he sits up and finds ALEXIS in the door) Hey.

ALEXIS
Hey.

CASTLE
So … you’re here.

It’s awkward. She nods once and steps forward, not meeting his eyes.

ALEXIS
I need your help. (his face brightens) But just because I’m asking doesn’t mean things are okay between us. I’m still mad at you, okay?

He’ll take it.

CASTLE
Okay. What’s up?

ALEXIS
I’ve been working this Innocence Review case with my criminal law professor. This guy is on death row for killing his neighbor, a high school girl, but he didn’t do it. And they’re about to execute him for it.

CASTLE
How do you know he didn’t do it?

ALEXIS
Well, for one thing, he had rotator cuff surgery four months before. He couldn’t have swung the fireplace poker used to kill the victim.

CASTLE
Under the rush of adrenaline you’d be surprised what people are capable of.

ALEXIS
You sound just like the prosecutor. But there’s more. They found fresh tire tracks in the dirt outside the victim’s back door. Bicycle treads.

CASTLE
And Frank didn’t own a bike.

ALEXIS
No. He was 24 then. He worked on cars … (she trails off when she realizes) … wait, how do you know his name?

CASTLE
(shrugs) You just said it.

ALEXIS
No, I didn’t.

CASTLE doesn’t respond. He’s been caught.

ALEXIS
You know about the case. How.

He’s still playing dumb.

CASTLE
Yeah … how? (ALEXIS rolls her eyes) I must have seen the file on Esposito’s desk.

ALEXIS
You’ve been checking up on me.

CASTLE
No … no. Well, a little. Yes.

ALEXIS
You’re unbelievable.

CASTLE
I couldn’t help it. You’re my daughter. I’m interested in your life but you won’t return my calls.

She’s still mad, but she can’t deny she needs his help.

ALEXIS
Okay, so, did you find anything in the file? Anything that could help?

CASTLE
(carefully) Alexis, he did have priors. What makes you think he’s innocent?

ALEXIS
Because I know him, Dad. I’ve spent time with him. He’s not a killer. I know what the evidence says, but he didn’t do this. I need you to come to Pennsylvania with me. I need you to help me prove it.

CASTLE wasn’t expecting that request.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT is on the phone with CASTLE.

BECKETT
No. C’mon, I get it.

CASTLE
It’ll only be for a couple of days, ‘cause that’s pretty much all the time there is left. And it’s a chance for Alexis and me to reconnect.

BECKETT
Castle, you don’t have to explain. We can look at venues another day.

CASTLE
You sure you’re all right with this?

BECKETT
Yes. I mean, she’s practically family. I care about her, too.

That stops him. He smiles.

CASTLE
(fondly) You’re pretty great, you know that?

BECKETT
(smiles) Yeah. Now go spend some time with your daughter.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY HOUSE

CASTLE walks out of MCDONALD’S house with a box, which he loads into his car.

ALEXIS
(to MCDONALD) Thanks.

They shake hands.

MCDONALD
Good luck.

CASTLE
It has been a long time since we’ve taken a road trip together. Remember the time we went to Amish country? Ended up getting chased by the cow?

He laughs. She doesn’t. They get into the car.

ALEXIS
Dad, this isn’t a road trip. And this isn’t about fun. It’s about having less than 72 hours to save a man from execution. Let’s go.

CASTLE
(dryly) All right. Fasten your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

He’s not talking literally.

EST – PENNSYLVANIA ROAD

INT – CASTLE’S CAR

CASTLE
So … uh … how is – how is Pi? Everything still good?

ALEXIS
Why are you asking about Pi?

CASTLE
I – (he shrugs) – just thought we should chat –

ALEXIS
Dad, I know what you’re doing.

CASTLE
What am I doing?

ALEXIS
You’re trying to bond.

CASTLE
No, I’m not.

ALEXIS
Yes, you are. We haven’t talked in weeks, so now you’re trying to make this about us.

CASTLE
(chuckles nervously) No, I’m not. (she sighs and closes her eyes) I wasn’t, so … Well, what if I was? Would that be so bad?

ALEXIS
I just thought you were here for the case.

CASTLE
(adamantly) I am.

ALEXIS
Then how come you haven’t asked a single question about it since we left?

She got him there.

CASTLE
Okay. Um … so what do I need to know?

ALEXIS
Frank Henson, the accused. (she holds up the file) We’re meeting him at the prison. He’s Pennsylvania blue collar. Struggled through high school, but he’s smart. He earned his automotive mechanic degree in ’95. He’s a little rough around the edges but he’s got a good heart.

CASTLE
Okay.

ALEXIS
Oh, and … then there’s Maggie.

CASTLE
Who’s Maggie?

ALEXIS pulls out a photo of the woman.

ALEXIS
Maggie Ingram. The love of his life. She’ll be at the prison, too.

CASTLE
Love of his life? Is that one of those prison pen pal romance things?

ALEXIS
Dad, no. She’s his high school sweetheart. He proposed to her two weeks before his arrest.

CASTLE
And she stayed with him.

ALEXIS
She’s been by his side the whole time. Every hearing, every appeal. She’s the one who wrote to the Innocence Review every week for three years to get us involved.

There’s a lot for him to process. And it’s not all good.

CASTLE
You know, Alexis, um … this is a long shot, you know that, right? I mean, it may not work out the way you hope. I - I just don’t want to see you hurt.

ALEXIS
Dad, I know these people. I care about them. It already hurts.

There’s a lot more at stake here than he realized.

EXT – PRISON

INT – PRISON

The door buzzes and CASTLE and ALEXIS make their way into the holding area. Another buzzer and they’re allowed into the meeting room. MAGGIE is waiting for them.

MAGGIE
Alexis.

They hug.

ALEXIS
Maggie, this is my Dad.

CASTLE
Hi.

They shake hands.

MAGGIE
Mr. Castle, thanks for coming. I’d almost given up, until Alexis called.

It hits him again, how big this is. There’s another buzzer and FRANK is being lead into the room. He sits at a table and waits while a GUARD cuffs him to it.

MAGGIE
Hey, baby.

FRANK
Hey, sunshine.

They all take seats at the table.

FRANK
So what is this? A going away party?

MAGGIE
No. They came back to help.

FRANK
Help how? I lost the appeal. It’s over, isn’t it?

MAGGIE
No. It’s not over. Not yet. This is Mr. Castle, Alexis’s father.

CASTLE
Hey. (he shakes FRANK’S hand)

FRANK
Nice to meet you, Mr. Castle. (he looks at ALEXIS fondly) Your girl’s one in a million. You should be proud.

CASTLE
Oh, I am.

FRANK
So are you some kind of lawyer?

CASTLE
Oh, no.

FRANK
You a cop?

CASTLE
No … I’m a … mystery writer.

FRANK’S hope falls away.

MAGGIE
He’s more than that. He’s helped the NYPD crack their biggest cases.

CASTLE
Well I – I don’t want to oversell it.

FRANK
You ever save a guy on death row?

CASTLE
No.

ALEXIS
But my dad’s a genius at uncovering the real story. Frank, I know you’ve been through this more times than you can stomach, but if you can, tell him what happened that night.

FRANK looks down. He doesn’t really want to. Not again.

MAGGIE
(pleadingly) Frank.

She reaches for his arm.

FRANK
I was working on my Camaro. I spent every waking hour with it back then. That night I was working on the exhaust system. The house alarm went off.

INT – FRANK’S HOUSE, 1998

FRANK
(on the phone) I was doing some welding and the smoke set off the garage alarm. The code is ‘stingray 7’.

He waits a second and the alarms turns off.

FRANK
It’s off now. Thank you.

There’s a sound. It sounds like a scream.

FRANK (VOICEOVER)
That’s when I heard the screams across the street. I ran over to see what happened.

FRANK pounds on the door.

FRANK
Hello? Is everyone all right?

There’s no answer. He runs around to the back of the house.

FRANK (VOICEOVER)
The back door was open, so I went inside.

INT – KIM’S HOUSE, 1998

FRANK stops when he sees KIMBERLY on the ground.

FRANK (VOICEOVER)
She was lying there. Blood … whatever happened, I was too late.

FRANK leans down to see if she’s still breathing. She’s not.

FRANK (VOICEOVER)
I heard the sirens and I panicked. I mean, I knew how it looked, so I took a rag and tried to wipe down all my prints. But I ran out of time.

FRANK runs out of the house and is stopped by police. The memory fades.

INT - PRISON

FRANK
I had her blood on me and a police record. (he shrugs) It went the way you’d expect.

CASTLE
And what about your home security company? Did they have a record of your call?

ALEXIS
Yes. But the prosecution argued it still left plenty of time.

CASTLE
How well did you know Kim Tolbert?

FRANK
Not that well. I mean, her mom and her lived there a few years. Kim flirted with me a little bit. I was friendly, but that was it.

MAGGIE
They entered her diary into record. She wrote that she had a crush on Frank, so the prosecutor made Frank out to be some sort of predator.

CASTLE
And you didn’t see anyone as you ran to the house?

FRANK
(shakes his head) No. They must have bolted out the back before I got there.

CASTLE
(thinks) Well, what about back then? Anybody she was having a problem with?

MAGGIE and FRANK exchange a look.

MAGGIE
Lyle Gomez. Kim’s ex-boyfriend. They had a very stormy relationship. Plus, she dumped him a week before she was killed.

CASTLE
Police talk to him?

FRANK
They didn’t have to. They had me. Mr. Castle, I’ve got three days left on God’s earth. I don’t need you to find the real killer. I just need somebody to prove it wasn’t me.

CASTLE nods. He looks from FRANK, to MAGGIE, to ALEXIS. This is more than he signed on for when he said yes to helping ALEXIS. He smiles tightly.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
Castle, take it easy. Calm down.

She leaves her work to take his call.

CASTLE
Calm down? You should have seen the way these people looked at me. Like I’m some kind of savior. I don’t even know if he’s innocent.

He’s freaking out. She takes a breath.

BECKETT
Okay, how can I help?

CASTLE
I don’t even know if I can help. I mean, what if I can’t? Alexis would never forgive me.

BECKETT
Just do your best, Castle. I mean, she loves you. And I’m here. For both of you.

CASTLE
She’s coming. I’ve gotta go.

He ends the call as ALEXIS walks up.

ALEXIS
Hey.

CASTLE
Hey.

He tries to calm himself from his little freak out.

ALEXIS
Ready to get started?

CASTLE
(quickly) Uh huh.

It’s a little too quick and a little too brisk, but ALEXIS doesn’t notice.

ALEXIS
Let’s go.

He takes an extra second, but he follows her.

BECKETT looks at her phone. She wants to help make it better for both of them.

EST – PENNSYLVANIA MOTEL, NIGHTTIME

INT – MOTEL ROOM

ALEXIS is unpacking their evidence boxes.

ALEXIS
This is everything spanning the life of the case.

CASTLE
The least your professor could have done was thrown in some CliffsNotes. (he sits) So what do we know about this ex-boyfriend of Kim’s, Lyle Gomez?

ALEXIS
Uh … he was a varsity football player, hot and cold relationship with Kim. Everyone that knew him said he had a temper.

CASTLE
Did you guys talk to him?

ALEXIS
Professor McDonald and the defense lawyer tried, but Lyle told them he didn’t want to relive it. Said it was too painful.

CASTLE
And there’s no evidence indicates he might have done it? Nothing at all?

ALEXIS
Uh uh.

He looks at a photo of the crime scene.

CASTLE
What are all these little things on the floor around the body?

ALEXIS
Charms. They broke off of her bracelet during the struggle.

CASTLE
So before the attack there might have been some pushing and shoving. Lover’s quarrels can start like that, before they turn into something else.

ALEXIS
But aside from Maggie’s theory, there’s nothing tying Lyle to any of this. But maybe you’ll see something we missed.

CASTLE forces a tight smile.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
Hey. So that evidence the Innocence Review submitted to the Trace Lab, how close are they to looking at it?

ESPOSITO
Well, from what we heard it’s going to take weeks. Which means they’ll never get to it in time.

RYAN gives her a sympathetic look. She sighs.

INT – PENNSYLVANIA DINER

CASTLE puts down a file.

ALEXIS
What?

CASTLE
Well, by all accounts Kim was a bright, beautiful girl who everyone loved. She had no enemies to speak of and nothing close to anyone other than Frank.

ALEXIS
Because they didn’t look at anyone other than Frank.

CASTLE
Or maybe because … it was Frank. (ALEXIS sighs) Look, I’m sorry, Alexis. It’s just, sometimes –

ALEXIS
Okay, fine. Fine. But if it was Frank, what was his motive?

CASTLE thinks.

CASTLE
All right.

OFFICER TED LANE
Wow. You Innocence Review folks just won’t give up, will you?

CASTLE
Can I help you, Officer … (he reads his nametag) … Lane?

LANE ignores CASTLE.

LANE
Kim’s murder tore this town apart. I guess we’re just wondering what you all are fighting for.

ALEXIS
Justice.

LANIE
Justice? He had her blood on his hands when they caught him. He was holding the shop rag that he used to wipe down the crime scene. You want justice? (he shakes his head) Let him meet his maker.

ALEXIS doesn’t back down. LANE walks away.

CASTLE
Has it been like that the whole time?

ALEXIS
(sighs) Pretty much.

CASTLE takes one last look at LANE leaving before he turns back to ALEXIS.

CASTLE
Okay, let’s go over this again. Frank hears the scream, he runs across the way, he bangs on the door. It’s locked. He runs around the back.

ALEXIS
He finds the back door open, he goes inside.

CASTLE realizes.

CASTLE
The back door was open. Wait. (he checks his phone) What time of year was the murder? November?

ALEXIS
Yeah. The 13th. Why?

CASTLE
1998. The temperature that night was … (he checks) … 40 degrees.

ALEXIS
So?

CASTLE
So that’s far too cold for Kim to have left the door open. Yet according to Frank, it was open. Presumably because someone else committed the crime.

ALEXIS
Yeah, but everyone thinks he’s lying.

CASTLE
Yes, but what they don’t see, what no one sees, is that we can prove whether or not he was lying. C’mon. (he grabs his jacket) I’ll get the car. You pay the check.

He gets up.

ALEXIS
What? Dad –

He’s gone.

INT – PENNYSLVANIA MOTEL

CASTLE opens the door and goes straight for the evidence.

ALEXIS
C’mon, Dad. Would you please tell me what you’re doing?

He flicks through a folder.

CASTLE
If Frank is guilty, then he would have opened the back door. Which means he would have wiped down the doorknob to get rid of his fingerprints.

ALEXIS
But if he’s telling the truth and the back door was already open he wouldn’t have needed to wipe it, because he never touched it.

CASTLE
And that would mean someone else was there that night. But the question is, did CSU dust that doorknob for fingerprints? (he scans another folder) Here it is. They did.

ALEXIS
And?

CASTLE reads more. He sighs.

CASTLE
It was wiped clean. Sorry, sweetie. He lied.

He hands the folder to ALEXIS and sits on the bed.

ALEXIS
But it doesn’t make any sense.

CASTLE
I know. I wanted to believe him as much as you.

ALEXIS
No, I mean this report. It says the backdoor was totally clean. No prints, no nothing. So Frank couldn’t have wiped it down. The shop rag Frank used was covered in grease from working on his car. They found traces of grease in other places where he wiped down his prints. But there’s no mention of it on the doorknob. It isn’t in the report. Dad, if there isn’t any grease …

CASTLE
Then someone else was there, wiped down the doorknob before Frank got there, getting rid of their own prints. (ALEXIS nods) Someone else was there that night. (he stands) Sweetie, you were right. Someone else killed Kim Tolbert.

INT – PENNSYLVANIA MOTEL

They’ve set up their own version of a murder board with a whiteboard from the motel.

ALEXIS
Yes, Professor. I understand. (pause) Okay. Bye. (she hangs up)

CASTLE
What’d he say?

ALEXIS
It’s not enough.

CASTLE
But we know someone else wiped down the doorknob.

ALEXIS
Yeah, but he says you can’t build a case based on evidence that isn’t there.

CASTLE sighs. His phone rings and he checks the ID.

CASTLE
It’s Beckett. (he answers) Hey.

BECKETT
Hey. How’s it going?

CASTLE
(hesitates) Uh … not so good. We’d be grasping at straws if we had any.

BECKETT
Well, I might have one for you. I went to the Trace Lab last night. Their people wouldn’t run your case evidence. But I found someone else that would.

CASTLE
Who?

She hands her phone over.

LANIE PARISH
It’s Lanie. Put me on speaker.

CASTLE
Yeah. (he does) Um… you’re on.

LANIE
Alexis, why on Earth wouldn’t you come to me directly?

ALEXIS
(confused) Lanie? I didn’t know you could do –

BECKETT
She convinced a contact at the lab to run evidence after hours.

LANIE
Now, we retested every swab taken from Kim’s body fifteen years ago. Everything listed in Pennsylvania’s report came out in our report, with the exception of one thing. We found trace amounts of ammonium nitrate that their lab never picked up.

ALEXIS
Ammonium nitrate?

LANIE
It’s an oxidizing agent commonly found in cold pack, uh … explosives, fertilizer.

ALEXIS
Fertilizer. Wait. Lyle Gomez. Kim’s ex-boyfriend. He used to work at a gardening store.

ALEXIS
Dad, it’s him. That’s why he wouldn’t speak with us. We have to go talk to him.

BECKETT
Wait a minute. If you guys think someone out there is involved, then you need to get ahold of the police.

CASTLE
Yeah, I don’t think the police are going to be of much help out here.

BECKETT
Castle, if he’s your killer he’s dangerous. I can’t help you if something happens.

CASTLE
Uh, look, Beckett. Frank Henson has two days to live. This is our only lead. What else are we supposed to do?

EXT – LYLE GOMEZ’ HOUSE

CASTLE and ALEXIS pull up outside the house.

CASTLE
Now, odds are Lyle Gomez will not want to speak with us. (ALEXIS nods) But I’ve had experience with guys like this. You just leave it to me.

ALEXIS nods again.

ALEXIS
Oh, there he is.

LYLE walks out of his house. He stops when he sees CASTLE and ALEXIS, glares at them, and turns around and heads back inside.

CASTLE
All right, that does not bode well.

ALEXIS unbuckles her seatbelt.

CASTLE
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where do you think you’re going?

ALEXIS
To talk to him.

CASTLE
Whoa, Alexis, no. Absolutely not. He just gave us a none-too-subtle hunt.

ALEXIS
He was looking at you. He won’t talk to you. But I can reach him.

CASTLE
The man is a possible murder suspect.

ALEXIS
He won’t do anything with you here.

Probably not.

CASTLE
But what makes you even think he’s going to open the door to you?

ALEXIS
I’m a teenage girl. I’ll remind him of Kim.

CASTLE
No, I’m not –

ALEXIS
I’m not asking for permission.

He regards her. She pushing, but he’s agreed to let her live her life. He sighs.

CASTLE
I’ll be watching you like a hawk.

She gets out of the car. CASTLE watches as she walks up to the door, but before she can knock the door opens.

LYLE GOMEZ
You people need to stay off my property.

ALEXIS takes a second.

ALEXIS
I guess Kim was wrong about you.

LYLE
What do you mean?

ALEXIS
I read her diary. She said you were kind, caring. Made her feel safe.

It gets to him.

LYLE
What else did she say?

ALEXIS
Why don’t you let me in?

It takes him a second, but he nods for her to come in. She walks past him. LYLE gives CASTLE a look as he shuts the door behind them. CASTLE gapes. She wasn’t supposed to go inside.

INT – LYLE GOMEZ’ HOUSE

LYLE
Not a day goes by I don’t think about her. (he sits across from ALEXIS) You even been in love so bad it hurts?

ALEXIS
Is that why you don’t talk about it? (he’s silent) Where were you when it happened?

LYLE
Kim called me that night. She wanted me to pick her up from Jasper Grove.

ALEXIS
Jasper Grove, what’s that?

LYLE
Fogland woods, east of town. Kids party there. She must have gone to one, which surprised me, because she barely ever drank.

ALEXIS
But Kim broke up with you, right? (he looks down) So why’d she call you?

LYLE
She said I was the only one she could trust. She was upset.

ALEXIS
About what?

LYLE
She didn’t say. I figured somebody hit on her. Anyway, she asked me to drive her home, so I did.

ALEXIS
What happened then?

LYLE
I was hoping that her calling meant that she give me another chance. So I asked if I could come in.

ALEXIS
And did you?

LYLE
(shakes his head) She wanted to be alone. She said she had some decisions she needed to make. So I decided I needed to get drunk. I went and I shoplifted a pint of Jack, but the shop owner caught me. He made me pick up every single piece of litter in his parking lot as punishment. And when I heard the sirens I thought he was arresting me, too. (shakes his head) The sirens were for Kim. When I got to her house, I saw Frank. I saw her body on the stretcher. If I had just found a way to stay there, she’d still be alive.

ALEXIS
Did you tell this to the police?

LYLE
They didn’t ask. Why would they? They had the guy.

EXT – LYLE GOMEZ’ HOUSE

CASTLE is getting antsy every second ALEXIS is still inside the house. He doesn’t take his eyes off the door.

INT – LYLE GOMEZ’ HOUSE

ALEXIS
Why do you think Frank killed her?

LYLE
Maybe he got jealous. He didn’t like seeing her with other guys.

ALEXIS
What other guys?

LYLE
I didn’t ask. But I know they dropped by her house. Other boys.

EXT – LYLE GOMEZ’ HOUSE

LYLE opens the door and ALEXIS leaves.

ALEXIS
(low) Thanks.

She turns and gasps. CASTLE is by the door, ready to attack with a tire iron.

ALEXIS
Dad, what are you doing?

CASTLE
Overreacting, maybe. You were in there a long time.

ALEXIS
And I came away with some leads. Turns out Kim was seeing other boys.

That’s something to work with. She walks away. It takes him a second, but he follows her back to the car.

EST – PRISON

INT – PRISON

FRANK
What other boys?

CASTLE
We were hoping you could tell us.

ALEXIS
You lived across the street from her. Do you remember any other guys going to her house?

FRANK
That was fifteen years ago.

ALEXIS
This is important, Frank. One of them may be involved in her death.

FRANK
(to CASTLE) This is the only lead that you have?

CASTLE
We’re also looking into the party Kim went to that night. We have NYPD checking, seeing if anything was reported in Jasper Grove that could connect to her murder.

ALEXIS
Try to focus on kids that you saw at Kim’s house. Anything you can remember. Hair color, cars they drove, bikes that they rode. Not just that day. Any day. Try to think.

FRANK
I’m tired of thinking. I’m tired all around, to tell you the truth.

ALEXIS
Frank.

FRANK
It’s over, Alexis.

ALEXIS
Don’t say that.

FRANK
All these years Maggie has been leading this charge. She’s been my rock. And now I’ve gotta be hers. And I’ve got less than two days to help her make peace with what’s about to come. The last thing that she needs is more false hope.

ALEXIS
This isn’t false hope –

FRANK
It is false hope.

ALEXIS
- this could be what turns everything else around.

FRANK
It’s done. It’s done, Alexis.

They’re silent. ALEXIS tries not to cry at the defeat she’s facing. It doesn’t work.

FRANK
Guard.

The guard comes to take FRANK back to his cell. CASTLE watches ALEXIS.

FRANK
(to ALEXIS) Listen, I appreciate everything that you’ve done. Everything that you’ve tried to do. But it’s time to let it go.

FRANKS stands and allows himself to be led away. It’s over.

EST – PENNSYLVANIA TOWN

INT – CASTLE’S CAR

ALEXIS
Dad, we might be on to something. How can Frank just give up?

CASTLE
After what he’s been through, I can’t blame him.

ALEXIS
So you’re giving up, too.

CASTLE
We are going to follow every possible lead, but we can’t go back to Frank. Not until we have solid evidence that he’s innocent.

His phone chimes and he answers.

RYAN
Hey, Castle.

CASTLE
Hey, Ryan. Did you come up with anything on Jasper Grove?

RYAN
No police or incident reports from the night that Kim Tolbert died; however, I did find definite signs of trouble in Jasper Grove.

ALEXIS
What kind of trouble?

RYAN
A farmhouse there was foreclosed on in ’97, stood empty until ’99 when a young family bought it. But as soon as they moved in, they all got sick. Turns out the place was contaminated with toxic chemicals.

CASTLE
From what?

RYAN
Uh, high levels of residue from methamphetamine production, which might explain your ammonium nitrate.

CASTLE
Someone was using the farmhouse to make meth?

RYAN
Yeah. And it looks like it might have been kids.

ALEXIS
What makes you say that?

RYAN
Photos from the county’s assessor’s office show bicycle tracks in the dirt all over the property.

CASTLE’S jaw drops and he looks at ALEXIS.

CASTLE
Thank you very much, Ryan.

He hangs up.

ALEXIS
Bike tracks. There were bike tracks outside of Kim’s house. Dad, do you realize what this means?

CASTLE
That maybe the party Kim went to was at that farmhouse and she saw kids doing meth.

ALEXIS
Well, not just doing meth. Cooking meth.

CASTLE
And that’s why she had to get out of there. That’s why she told Lyle she had some decisions to make.

ALEXIS
(nods) She was thinking about turning them in. So maybe when she left the party –

CASTLE
One of our teenage meth cookers got word she’d go to the cops.

ALEXIS
He went after her.

CASTLE
On his bike.

ALEXIS
Mmhmm.

CASTLE
The tire tracks at her house? He knew where she lived because he’d been there before.

ALEXIS
He was one of the other guys Kim was seeing.

CASTLE nods.

CASTLE & ALEXIS
We need to talk to Kim’s mother.

CASTLE gapes and looks at ALEXIS.

CASTLE
Now that was weird. (ALEXIS smiles) Usually I do that with Beckett.

Her smile falls and she makes a face.

ALEXIS
Eww.

INT – MORGUE

LANIE is inspecting a body with a flashlight when BECKETT walks in.

LANIE
Hey. What are you doing here?

BECKETT
Hey. I um … I just wanted to thank you for all of your help with Castle and Alexis.

LANIE
Seems like you could have done that over the phone. (she takes off her gloves) All right. Talk to me, girlfriend. Tell me what’s on your mind.

BECKETT hesitates, but she finally steps further into the room.

BECKETT
Do you find it odd that Alexis has gone to everyone but me on this case?

LANIE
She hasn’t gone to Perlmutter yet.

BECKETT
Yeah, well, no one does if they can help it.

LANIE laughs.

LANIE
Well, you can’t take it personally.

BECKETT
No, I know. It’s just … (pause) … Castle and I are about to become a family, which is weird enough as it is. And he and Alexis have this whole history that has nothing to do with me. And it kind of feels like when it comes to the two of them, I’m always gonna be on the outside.

LANIE
Perfect families don’t exist. It’s going to be up to you to find a way to make your baggage match their baggage. It’s up to you to make your own history.

It’s not an answer, but it’s a start. BECKETT smiles tightly.

EXT – KIM TOLBERT’S HOUSE

CASTLE rings the doorbell. PATRICE TOLBERT opens the door.

CASTLE
Mrs. Tolbert, we’re very sorry to intrude.

She folds her arms.

PATRICE TOLBERT
You have some nerve. I know who you are. What you’re trying to do.

CASTLE
Whatever you may have heard about us, we’re not here to tell you Frank Henson is innocent.

ALEXIS
We’d just like to ask you some questions.

CASTLE
Questions no one else could answer, otherwise we would not bother you.

PATRICE
What questions?

ALEXIS takes the opening.

ALEXIS
Did Kim have problems with any of the other guys she was seeing?

PATRICE
There was no one else. Just Lyle. And she just broke it off with him.

ALEXIS
Well, it’s just that we had heard that some other boys had stopped by the house.

PATRICE
(incredulously) Some boys. Yeah, she was a tutor. Some of her students were embarrassed that they needed help so she kept things quiet. That’s who she was.

CASTLE
Do you remember these students' names?

PATRICE
I’m not about to let you hang this on one of them. Now you need to leave.

CASTLE
Thank you for your time.

PATRICE turns and moves to shut the door.

ALEXIS
Oh, oh! Ma’am, just one more question. What subject did Kim tutor?

PATRICE
Chemistry.

She shuts the door on them. CASTLE and ALEXIS turn to leave.

ALEXIS
Dad.

CASTLE
I know. Kim tutored chemistry. So what if one of her students tricked her into helping him learn how to cook meth, and when she figured out what he was doing he killed her?

ALEXIS
No, there’s something else.

ALEXIS puts the file on the car hood and opens it.

ALEXIS
As soon as Mrs. Tolbert said chemistry I remembered. (she pulls out two photos) Two identical chemistry books were found at the scene of the crime.

CASTLE
So maybe the other one belonged to one of her students.

ALEXIS
Right. But a textbook like this is expensive. If you lost one you’d have to pay a fine. You’d want it back.

CASTLE
Unless it would implicate you in a murder.

ALEXIS nods.

ALEXIS
Dad, if we figure out whose book this is, we might find our killer.

CASTLE
I don’t know if it’s possible, honey. That book’s over 15 years old.

ALEXIS
It’s worth a shot.

INT – SCHOOL

BETTY
Actually, some of them are over 20 years old. But because of budget cuts we still use them.

They follow her into the office.

ALEXIS
Can you pull up records all the way back to 1998?

BETTY
Well, even if I can I probably shouldn’t.

CASTLE
Uh .. (he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a checkbook) … perhaps a generous donation for new textbooks is in order.

BETTY
I suppose I could bend the rules.

She sits down behind her computer.

ALEXIS
These are the barcodes form each book.

ALEXIS hands over a paper and CASTLE pulls out a check.

BETTY
Make it out to cash.

She doesn’t notice the look that ALEXIS and CASTLE give her. She tries to sort through a spreadsheet of book assignments.

BETTY
Oh … let’s see. Both are them are actually still in our system. Loaned out September 8th, 1998. Neither was ever returned.

ALEXIS
Any way you can find out who they belonged to?

BETTY hums and looks back at the spreadsheet.

BETTY
Hum. One was Kim Tolbert’s. (ALEXIS nods once) The poor girl who died.

CASTLE
And the other one?

BETTY
Mmm … looks like it belonged to one John Henson.

ALEXIS
Oh my God.

CASTLE
That’s Frank’s younger brother.

INT – PENNSYLVANIA DINER

CASTLE
The chemistry book puts John in Kim’s house. But we’re going to need a lot more than that to prove he’s our killer.

ALEXIS
These files are all on Frank. There’s not a lot here on John. How long until Ryan finishes his background check?

CASTLE checks his watch.

CASTLE
He should be calling any minute. Have you managed to find anything that might link John to the murder?

ALEXIS shakes her head.

ALEXIS
No. But I did find something that links John to Kim. According to this accident report, Frank was speeding and got into a car crash in 1997. John was with him. He was hurt pretty badly. He had to miss a lot of school. He was taking chemistry that semester, which is probably why he needed tutoring from Kim.

CASTLE’S phone dings.

CASTLE
That would be Ryan. (he reads the text) John Henson. Clean record. No convictions, no arrests. No, wait. One arrest in ’98. 3 months before Kim was killed. For possession of a controlled substance.

ALEXIS
Meth?

CASTLE
Doesn’t say. And the charges were dropped. But this establishes John was involved with drugs.

ALEXIS nods.

ALEXIS
And if Kim had gone to the police saying he was a meth cooker he wouldn’t have gotten off with a slap on the wrist.

CASTLE
That’s motive for murder.

ALEXIS
We need to talk to John.

CASTLE
According to this he lives in Manhattan.

She gives him a look.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, MORNING

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERVIEW ROOM

BECKETT
Thank you for coming in, Mr. Henson.

JOHN
Anything for Frank. Of course, at this point he needs a miracle. I’ve always supported my brother. I never wanted to think he could’ve hurt Kim, but if someone else did this why haven’t they been found by now?

BECKETT
Well, maybe no one was looking in the right place. Now, how well did you know Kim?

JOHN
I saw her every day at school.

BECKETT
Anywhere else? Outside of class?

JOHN
Her house, sometimes. She tutored me.

BECKETT
And were you at her house the day that she died?

JOHN
No. Why?

BECKETT
We were just wondering what your chemistry book was doing at her house.

JOHN nods.

JOHN
Well, I must have left it there. Or forgot it.

BECKETT
And you never asked for it back? I mean, Kim was killed somewhere in the middle of your school term. Wouldn’t you have needed it?

JOHN
Well, I might’ve bought a new one. (shrugs) It was a long time ago. I don’t really remember. Why does that matter?

BECKETT
You know, it probably doesn’t. Um … now in your statement you said that you were in your room at the time of Kim’s murder but you didn’t hear her scream.

JOHN
That’s right.

BECKETT
Did you hear any other unusual sounds that night?

JOHN
Uh … not that I can think of.

BECKETT
What about the smoke alarm?

JOHN
Yeah, no, I did hear that.

She nods.

BECKETT
In Frank’s trial testimony he never mentions you coming down to the garage. So you were in your room the whole time the alarm was going off?

JOHN
Yes, I was.

BECKETT
Now, I find that odd, Mr. Henson. Because the security company logs show that the alarm sounded for a full two minutes and forty-seven seconds. But you stayed in your room that whole time, never got up to check and make sure that the house wasn’t burning down?

JOHN hesitates.

BECKETT
You never heard the alarm going off, did you? Because you weren’t in your house.

JOHN
What are you saying? That I killed Kim? That I did it?

BECKETT
Where were you that night?

JOHN
(scoffs) I’m not answering any more of your questions.

He stands and leaves. BECKETT smiles. She got what she needed.

EST – PRISON, DAYTIME

INT – PRISON

CASTLE and ALEXIS meet with MAGGIE and FRANK.

FRANK
What is this, guys? I thought we were done.

CASTLE
Mr. Henson, we’ve … uh … uncovered some new evidence. Evidence that suggests someone else killed Kim Tolbert.

FRANK isn’t as interested as he should be.

MAGGIE
Who?

ALEXIS
Frank, I know that this is going to be hard to hear, but we think it could be John.

FRANK doesn’t react.

MAGGIE
No, John. Based on what?

CASTLE
His chemistry book was found at the crime scene. His alibi for where he was when Kim died is falling apart.

FRANK
(low) What the hell is wrong with you? I told you to drop it.

ALEXIS
What do you mean? Frank, we’re really onto something.

FRANK
And I’m saying get off it. You leave John out of this.

MAGGIE
Honey, what’s wrong with you? If John did this –

CASTLE
He knows. (FRANK looks at him) He knows it was John.

MAGGIE shakes her head. ALEXIS tries to wrap her head around the idea. But FRANK looks at CASTLE and can’t stop himself from nodding ever so slightly before he shakes his head.

MAGGIE
Frank, is this true?

FRANK doesn’t say anything.

MAGGIE
You knew this whole time? Why would you do this? Why would you throw your life away?

FRANK finally breaks.

FRANK
Because I threw his away, okay? I’m the reason why he killed her.

MAGGIE
No, Frank, whatever John did, it can’t be your fault.

FRANK
(to CASTLE) Remember that Camaro I was telling you about? I rolled that car. With Johnny in it. I walked away. He didn’t. After that injury he wasn’t right for a while. He started taking drugs. Got violent. He’d have these memory lapses. He – he wouldn’t remember what he did.

CASTLE
Frank. What really happened that night?

FRANK
My worst nightmare came true.

INT – FRANK’S HOUSE, 1998

FRANK
It’s off now. Thank you.

There’s a scream and FRANK runs across the street.

INT – KIM’S HOUSE, 1998

When FRANK gets there he finds JOHN holding KIM’S hand. She’s on the ground, unmoving and bleeding, and he’s crying over her.

FRANK
God. What’d you do, John? What’d you do?

He grabs JOHN and pulls him away. As he does, KIM’S bracelet breaks.

FRANK
You’ve gotta get out of here. You hear me? Go back to the house. Get cleaned up. Go! Now!

He pushes JOHN out the door and turns back to KIM. He leans over her and checks to see if she’s breathing. There are sirens in the distance.

INT – PRISON

FRANK
The next thing I knew, the cops were there. I mean, what was I supposed to do?

MAGGIE
People need to know, Frank.

FRANK
No, they don’t. And if they ask me I’m going to deny it.

MAGGIE
They’re about to kill you.

FRANK
I know.

MAGGIE
And you’re going to let them! When it’s John that did this.

FRANK
Maggie, he doesn’t remember. It took three, four times for him coming here for me to realize that he – he doesn’t remember anything from that night.

MAGGIE shakes her head.

FRANK
I always hoped I’d get off on some kind of technicality, you know. Not this. Never this. He’s built a life. He’s got a wife. He’s got two kids. I’m not going to take that away from him.

MAGGIE tries to control her tears.

MAGGIE
Frank, please.

FRANK
I’m sorry. This is the way it’s gotta be.

MAGGIE lets out a sound that’s a half sob. She can’t stop her tears. CASTLE and ALEXIS are sad, too.

INT – PENNSYLVANIA MOTEL

CASTLE is repacking the case files. ALEXIS sits on the bed. She’s disappointed and sad and numb.

ALEXIS
There must be something we can do.

CASTLE
It’s not what Frank wants.

ALEXIS
But he’s innocent, Dad, and he’s going to die. Tomorrow.

CASTLE
I know.

ALEXIS
I actually started believing we could save the day.

CASTLE turns to her.

CASTLE
And we almost did.

ALEXIS
I know how much he loves Maggie. If he just had more time to think about this maybe he’d change his mind. But the clock just ran out.

That triggers something. CASTLE turns back to the case files.

CASTLE
The clock. (he pulls out a photo) What time was that 911 call again?

ALEXIS
(numb) Uh, a neighbor reported hearing the scream at 8:04PM. Why?

CASTLE
We missed something. Come take a look at this photo. (she joins him) This wall decoration could have fallen down during the struggle.

ALEXIS
You mean the solar system thingy?

CASTLE
Not just a solar system thingy. Our orbiting planets don’t line up like that. This is a binary clock.

ALEXIS
That’s a clock?

CASTLE
Yeah. For science geeks like Kim. You count the amount of planets in each quadrant and it tells you the time. In this case, 7:32.

ALEXIS
7:32. That’s a half hour before our 911 call.

CASTLE
That’s because the scream that Frank heard came from John when he discovered Kim’s body at 8:04. She’d already been dead for 30 minutes.

ALEXIS
Both brothers are innocent.

INT – PENNSYLVANIA MOTEL

CASTLE watches footage of the crime scene.

ALEXIS
Hey. I just got off the phone with Kim’s mom.

CASTLE
Whoa. You called Kim’s mom?

ALEXIS
Desperate times.

CASTLE
And she didn’t hang up on you?

ALEXIS
No. She mostly yelled. She wouldn’t tell me who Kim tutored, but she did say that all the checks Kim got tutoring went into her college fund.

CASTLE
So she was paid by check.

ALEXIS smiles and nods.

CASTLE
That means somewhere there’s a record of who paid her.

ALEXIS
Mmhmm. Ryan and Esposito are checking banks now. This is it, Dad. Jasper Grove, meth, the bike tracks. If it wasn’t Frank or John it has to be one of those other kids. (she notices the TV) You’re still going through that video?

She sits on the arm of his chair.

CASTLE
Yeah. Now that we know neither Frank nor John killed her, this video plays very differently. Watch this.

He rewinds and they watch the MEDICAL EXAMINER move KIM’S body to the side.

CASTLE
See that?

ALEXIS
No. What?

CASTLE
Frank said he found her body on the floor. Did he ever mention moving her?

ALEXIS thinks.

ALEXIS
No. According to Frank he just pulled John away.

CASTLE
Exactly, breaking her charm bracelet, spilling the charms on the floor. But watch as the medical examiner’s team moves her body for the first time.

He rewinds again and they watch. He pauses. KIM was lying on a dolphin charm.

CASTLE
See it now?

ALEXIS
It looks like another charm from her bracelet.

CASTLE
But if the charm bracelet broke after she died, how did the charm end up under her body?

ALEXIS doesn’t have an answer. It’s a good question.

INT – MORGUE

LANIE carries in an evidence box. BECKETT is on the phone with CASTLE and ALEXIS.

BECKETT
Okay, Castle. We’ve got the evidence box from the lab. What are we looking for?

CASTLE
Okay, the evidence log says there should be a bag containing charms from Kim’s broken charm bracelet.

LANIE pulls it out of the box.

LANIE
Got it.

CASTLE
One of those charms should be shaped like a dolphin.

LANIE dumps the bag on a tray and BECKETT uses tongs to sort through them. She finds the dolphin and holds it up.

BECKETT
It’s here.

ALEXIS
You should have the rope bracelet there, too. Thread that dolphin charm onto the bracelet.

LANIE
Okay. Threading.

She tries but she can’t.

LANIE
Nope, can’t do it. The hole’s too small. It doesn’t fit.

CASTLE
That’s because it didn’t come from Kim’s bracelet.

ALEXIS
It was left behind by our killer.

CASTLE
Lanie, can you get DNA off that charm?

LANIE
Maybe, but it won’t help unless you have someone to match it to.

CASTLE makes a face.

ALEXIS
We need to know who she was tutoring.

INT – PENNSYLVANIA MOTEL

CASTLE sits at the table, his phone in front of him. He watches ALEXIS pace the room. It’s getting late.

ALEXIS
You should call them again.

CASTLE
I just called them twenty minutes ago.

ALEXIS
I don’t understand. Why is it taking so long? Ryan found the bank where Kim had her account hours ago.

CASTLE
The account was closed in ’98. The bank has closed three times since then. They may not have even kept the files.

ALEXIS
And what if they didn’t? We’re running out of time. We need to go to the judge.

CASTLE
With what? Frank’ll never admit to covering for John. That would put John at the crime scene.

ALEXIS
So what do we do? Dad, tell me what to do!

She’s getting desperate.

CASTLE
Hey, I don’t know. (he stands) But whatever happens we’re going to deal with it. All right? Together.

She stops pacing and then takes a step to give him a hug.

ALEXIS
I’m sorry I was mad at you.

He hugs her back.

CASTLE
Oh, no. I deserved it. I’m sorry.

Their moment is broken by CASTLE’S phone ringing. It’s RYAN.

CASTLE
Yes. (pause) What are the names?

ALEXIS grabs the nearest pen and paper.

EST – PENNSYLVANIA TOWN, MORNING

INT – PENNSYLVANIA DINER

CASTLE and ALEXIS walk in. They head straight to a table. It’s already occupied by POLICE CHIEF LANE and his son, OFFICER LANE.

CASTLE
Chief Lane.

POLICE CHIEF LANE
May I help you?

CASTLE
No, Chief. But we can help you.

He puts a photo on the table.

CASTLE
This little dolphin pendant was found in Kim Tolbert’s living room the night she died, underneath her body.

CHIEF LANE
So?

ALEXIS
So it’s not hers.

OFFICER LANE
You people are unbelievable.

ALEXIS
Officer Lane, how old were you when Kim died?

OFFICER LANE
Excuse me?

ALEXIS
You were in her class. In fact, she tutored you, didn’t she?

CHIEF LANE
What’s this all about?

CASTLE
Checks you wrote to Kim Tolbert, Chief. To pay for your son’s tutoring.

CHIEF LANE
He needed some help keeping his grades up.

CASTLE
(shrugs) Yeah, I bet because of the swim team. You guys took State that year. It was big news.

ALEXIS shows OFFICER LANE a news article with his photo attached to it.

CHIEF LANE
Teddy? What’s going on here?

ALEXIS
The night Kim Tolbert was murdered, she was in Jasper Grove, near a farmhouse you had foreclosed on a year earlier. That house was later found to be contaminated with methamphetamine residue.

CASTLE
We believe your son was one of the people who contaminated it. We also believe he wanted to be tutored in chemistry so he could learn how to cook meth.

OFFICER LANE
This is ridiculous!

CASTLE
But Kim caught on to you and that was bad for business. So when she left that party, you followed her.

ALEXIS
We found ammonium nitrate on her body. I’d be willing to bet that the tire treads outside the farmhouse are going to be a match to the bike treads behind Kim’s house the night of her murder. And then, of course, there’s that.

She enlarges the news photo. TED LANE is wearing a cord necklace with the dolphin charm hanging from it.

CASTLE
Now that’s enough circumstantial evidence for a judge. But it’s 2013. I mean, now we can even take degraded DNA, have it amplified, tested. And I’m sure that your evidence storage has kept your dolphin well preserved.

CHIEF LANE tries to comprehend what they’re accusing his son of. OFFICER LANE is silent, his face tense.

CHIEF LANE
Teddy. Say something. (he doesn’t) Look at me. Teddy.

OFFICE LANE doesn’t say anything. He’s been found out.

EST – COURTHOUSE, DAYTIME

INT – COURTROOM

JUDGE
Based on the overwhelming circumstantial evidence and the exculpatory results obtained from post conviction DNA testing, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby vacates Franklin Thomas Henson’s murder conviction and sanctions his exoneration.

FRANK gasps in relief. The courtroom – including JOHN, MAGGIE, CASTLE, and ALEXIS – murmur in approval.

JUDGE
I’m sure you’ve spent far too many years having judges look down on you. So I’ll come down from the bench and deliver the signed order of dismissal myself.

She stands and meets JOHN halfway. She hands him a paper and shakes his hand and the courtroom claps and stands.

FRANK
Thank you.

MAGGIE gives ALEXIS a hug and shakes CASTLE’S hand before approaching FRANK and giving him a joyous hug. FRANK meets JOHN’S gaze.

JOHN
I thought it was you. All this time you were protecting me.

He grabs FRANK and pulls him into a hug.

JOHN
How can you ever forgive me?

FRANK
Oh … forgive you? I love you. I’m just ready to live, brother.

They’re both trying to stop crying.

CASTLE and ALEXIS watch them from the back of the room.

CASTLE
(to ALEXIS) What you did here was amazing.

ALEXIS
(smiles) Thank you. For everything.

CASTLE
Any time.

ALEXIS
You ready?

CASTLE
Don’t you want to stay and celebrate?

She looks back at FRANK and his family.

ALEXIS
No. This is enough. (CASTLE smiles at her) Besides, there’s someone else I need to thank.

He follows her out.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DUSK

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

CASTLE stops in the bullpen. He’s looking for ALEXIS and BECKETT and he sees them in the workroom. He stands back, not able to hear what they’re saying, but he watches his daughter talk to his fiancée, watches them both smile, and watches as ALEXIS holds out her arms and BECKETT stand and accept the hug. It makes him warm and happy and he smiles.

THE END

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