7x10 Transcript

Transcribed by:
McManda
CASTLE
EPISODE 7x10
"Bad Santa"


EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

A man races down the road. He’s being followed by a car, but he does his best to try to escape. Except he can’t escape the bullets fired from the gun of the person driving the car. He stumbles, crashing through the glass of a display window.

The man in the car stops and gets out. He’s wearing a Santa suit, but he’s not bringing Christmas cheer. He walks over to the man lying in the display and takes one last shot, ensuring the man is dead.

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

RICHARD CASTLE finishes cracking open nuts.

RICHARD CASTLE
All right, ladies of the Castle household. Just a reminder that your portion for the holiday poem is due in less than 72 hours.

KATE BECKETT blanches.

ALEXIS CASTLE
I just have to do a polish.

CASTLE
I can’t wait to see it. (to BECKETT) How’s yours coming along? Are you ready for your big debut in the Castle family Christmas card?

BECKETT forces enthusiasm.

KATE BECKETT
Yeah, absolutely.

CASTLE
This is going to be the best year ever!

Everyone laughs.

CASTLE
I’m so excited!

He rushes away. MARTHA, ALEXIS, and BECKETT drop a bit of the enthusiasm.

BECKETT
(hissed) You guys, I completely forgot. He said that it wasn’t a big deal, but I think it actually kind of is.

ALEXIS
It’s a very big deal. We even get a little competitive.

MARTHA RODGERS
I started working on mine in July.

BECKETT
Wha-?

ALEXIS
Welcome to the family.

MARTHA
(laughs) Yeah.

BECKETT
So what do I have to do again?

ALEXIS
Write six, funny, poignant, eloquent lines describing highlights of the past year. For you.

BECKETT
Oh. Yeah.

ALEXIS
And they must rhyme.

MARTHA
Yeah.

BECKETT
What word rhymes with “I’m screwed”?

BECKETT’S phone rings. She answers.

BECKETT
Beckett.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

BECKETT
It’s just that rhyming isn’t exactly my thing.

CASTLE
This coming from a woman who skipped prom to crash a poetry slam.

BECKETT
Spoken word, Castle. That’s a totally different jam. I mean, I could write a haiku for you instead.

He raises the crime scene tape for her and she ducks under it.

CASTLE
Nah, that’s against the rules.

BECKETT
Since when do you follow rules?

CASTLE
Since I’m the one who made them. (she sighs) You should probably get me your first draft by the time we get to the precinct holiday party.

BECKETT
That’s two days away!

CASTLE
See? Plenty of time.

She scoffs.

JAVIER ESPOSITO
Hey.

CASTLE
Hey.

ESPOSITO
So get ready for a murder with a little holiday spirit. It went down around 10:30PM. Witnesses saw a black Mustang, no plates, chasing after this guy.

He gestures to the man lying dead in the window display.

BECKETT
This was a drive by? I mean, it looks like he was shot close range.

ESPOSITO
Yeah, and the shooter capped him in the head to finish him off.

BECKETT
So this wasn’t random. Did anyone get a good look at the assailant?

ESPOSITO
Yeah, when he drove by like a bat out of hell. Fuzzy red hat, big white beard?

CASTLE’S jaw drops and he looks to the sky.

BECKETT
Seriously? Our killer is Santa Claus?

ESPOSITO
Three witnesses all told the same story.

CASTLE
Guys. Squeezing down countless chimneys, delivering millions of presents in one night? It’s bound to happen. Santa finally cracked.

ESPOSITO
Or … our victim was naughty instead of nice.

He and CASTLE laugh. BECKETT glares.

CASTLE
That was tasteless.

BECKETT
Or our killer just wore a Santa suit because that was the prefect disguise at this time of year. So, what do we know about the victim?

ESPOSITO
His name is Eric Mercer. Lives in Midtown. His hospital ID says he’s an ER doctor at St. Simon's.

BECKETT
Do we know where he was coming from?

ESPOSITO
Not yet, but he bought a latte at a coffee shop six blocks away from here before our gun-toting St. Nick came after him. And the barista there said that Mercer was carrying a blue backpack. But witnesses who saw Mercer running said there wasn’t any backpack.

BECKETT
Okay. Let’s set up a search from here to that coffee shop. That backpack may contain clues as to why he was killed.

KEVIN RYAN
Or maybe the last person that Mercer talked to can shed some light on that. Ten minutes before he was shot Eric Mercer called someone at St. Simon's Hospital.

INT – ST. SIMONS HOSPITAL

DR. DEB LANDER
That was me. I just talked to Eric a few hours ago. I’m sorry. This is just such a shock.

BECKETT
How did he seem when you talked?

DEB
A little on edge, I guess. Like he was in a hurry.

CASTLE
Did he say why?

DEB
I assume it was his uncle. His uncle has cancer and lives alone. Eric tried to be there for him. He missed work last night, too.

BECKETT
Do you know his name?

DEB
Edward, I think. Edward Mercer. Maybe he knows why this happened to Eric.

INT – MORGUE

ESPOSITO
Hey.

LANIE PARISH
Hey.

ESPOSITO
What’chu got for me, girl?

LANIE
I found these on the arm of the vic’s jacket. (she hands him a bag) Some kind of tiny crystals.

ESPOSITO
Could they be from the Christmas decorations he landed on after he crashed through the window?

LANIE
No, these are mineral crystals. Hopefully the lab can ID them.

He tries to feel her out.

ESPOSITO
Hang on. You always call me down here after the lab results are in, which leads me to believe that you may have some ulterior motives.

LANIE
Javi, I want to ask a little favor.

ESPOSITO
Anything you need.

LANIE
So … my parents barely ever leave Louisiana and they’re flying out to Paris tomorrow and they have a last minute layover in New York. (his face falls) They want us all to get together.

ESPOSITO
So it’s … uh … meet the parents?

LANIE
Are you okay with that?

ESPOSITO
Yeah. Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be? That’s not even really a favor. That’s just me … stepping up.

LANIE
Mmhmm.

He’s clearly not okay with that.

LANIE
See, I didn’t get to the favor part. Yet.

ESPOSITO
What?

LANIE hesitates.

ESPOSITO
You didn’t?

LANIE
See, um… my parents … my parents kind of think we’re engaged.

He stares at her in shock.

ESPOSITO
Why do they think that?

LANIE
Well, you and I were on again, off again. They just got so worried about their unmarried daughter –

ESPOSITO
So you told them we got engaged?

LANIE
I didn’t mean too. I just … popped out.

ESPOSITO
Now how does something like that just pop out?

LANIE
I wanted them to stop bugging me. I’m sorry, Javi, but once I said it there it was and now here they are.

ESPOSITO
So the first time I meet your parents, you’re asking me to lie to them?

LANIE
I’ll be lying to them, too. But I’ve been doing it longer.

ESPOSITO
Wow.

LANIE
Can I just bring them down to the precinct to say hello and you could just pretend for just ten minutes. (she wraps her arms around his neck and lowers her voice) I’ll make it worth your while.

ESPOSITO
Yeah. Yeah. I can do that.

She kisses him.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
So we looked into Eric’s family history, contacts in his phone and computer. And he doesn’t have an uncle named Edward Mercer. In fact, he doesn’t have an uncle at all.

CASTLE
Then why did he miss his shift and where did he go?

RYAN
I may have an answer to that. It turns out that Eric used the Hitch ride-share app to catch a ride to an address in Queens tonight, a couple of hours before he was killed. In fact, he took numerous trips to that same address, which line up with shifts that he missed at the hospital.

BECKETT
And what’s at this location?

CASTLE
Certainly not Uncle Edward.

RYAN
Offices. It’s an office building owned by Evergreen Sanitation NYC.

BECKETT
Are you sure about that?

RYAN nods.

BECKETT
Evergreen Sanitation NYC is a known front for organized crime.

CASTLE
Why would Eric Mercer be visiting a mob owned building?

BECKETT
Let’s head to Queens and find out.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

INT – OFFICE BUILDING

BECKETT
No placards, no names. It’s like this whole place is unoccupied.

CASTLE
And yet, Eric missed work to come here. Repeatedly.

BECKETT
Yeah.

A man backs out of a room. He’s a janitor.

BECKETT
Oh! Excuse me. Sir? NYPD. Could you help –

The man doesn’t acknowledge her. He scurries off in the other direction.

BECKETT
Wait, sir! Could you please just help us? We …

But he’s gone. BECKETT sighs.

CASTLE
Beckett?

He gestures into the room from which the man came.

INT – SURGERY SUITE

The room is sterile and cold. It’s full of medical equipment.

CASTLE
Whoa. This is a surgical suite.

BECKETT
Owned by organized crime.

CASTLE
Eric wasn’t just a doctor. He was a mob doctor.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORK ROOM

DETECTIVE MCBRIDE
I’ve worked with organized crime for 16 years and know most of the players. But this guy? No.

He hands a photo of ERIC back to BECKETT.

BECKETT
Well, we believe he may have been the family doctor for whoever controls Evergreen Sanitation NYC.

MCBRIDE
Yeah, that’s the Carlucci family. They’ve been moving up the charts since Dino Scarpella took over. But I didn’t know that they had a doctor.

CASTLE
Whoa. Um … Dino Scarpella? I know that guy.

BECKETT
Seriously?

CASTLE
Yeah. He helped me with research for a Derrick Storm novel. But back then he was just a mid-level guy.

BECKETT
Detective McBride, if Eric was a doctor for the Carlucci family, do you have any idea why he would have been targeted?

MCBRIDE
I haven’t heard anything, if that’s what you’re asking me. But um… the way he was killed sounds like somebody was sending a message.

CASTLE
Where would we find Dino Scarpella?

MCBRIDE
His main offices are over in Queens. It’s a strip club called Chica Chica Boom Room. Why?

CASTLE
Well, we should go talk to him. (to BECKETT) Dino knows me. He likes me. If Eric was his mob doctor he’d want to help solve this.

BECKETT
Assuming he wasn’t involved. (to MCBRIDE) You know, I’ll have Detectives Ryan and Esposito coordinate with you on the Mustang and ballistics. We’ll see if any of that connects to anyone in organized crime.

CASTLE
Field trip to a strip club.

She gives him a wary look. He bolts from the room.

INT – CHICA CHICA BOOM ROOM

CASTLE takes in the Christmas themed show from the strippers.

BECKETT
Castle, you keep staring like that, you’re going to have to pay for the two drink minimum.

He tears his gaze to her.

CASTLE
I’m sorry, what where you saying?

BECKETT
I wasn’t saying anything. You were talking about Dino, about how he’s a nice guy in spite of the fact that he’s a mobster.

One of the dancers trails her hand along CASTLE’S back as she leaves the stage.

BECKETT
(annoyed) Really?

CASTLE
No … I know you find this hard to believe, but he is a really nice guy.

BECKETT
Yeah, sure. Up until the point he guts you like a fish.

DINO SCARPELLA
Rick. Is that really you?

CASTLE
Dino!

They shake hands.

DINO
Oh, man. You know I just finished your book, Raging Heat.

CASTLE
Really?

DINO
Terrific. Wonderful story.

CASTLE
Thank you.

DINO
Wonderful. Yeah. So what brings you here? (he looks at BECKETT) And who is this Venus?

CASTLE
Dino, this is my wife, Kate Beckett.

DINO
Wow.

She flashes her badge.

BECKETT
Detective Beckett, NYPD.

DINO’S demeanor changes.

CASTLE
Uh, she’s okay. I’m actually consulting with the police now. And we’re here for your help in a murder investigation.

DINO
For you, Rick? I’m happy to help. And the boys are too. Rocco Carlucci, he’s my … my chief of security. And this is Christopher Carlucci. VP of corporate affairs.

CHRISTOPHER CARLUCCI
Who got whacked?

BECKETT
A doctor. Eric Mercer.

She hands DINO a picture. He hesitates only a moment before he hands the photo back.

DINO
Um … I do not recognize this person.

BECKETT
Mr. Scarpella, we’ve connected Dr. Mercer to a surgical suite paid for by your organization.

CASTLE
Dino, we know Eric worked for you, but who would want to do this to him? Can you help us out?

DINO
Sadly, I have no help to offer. But please, stay. Enjoy yourselves. It’s on the house.

DINO moves to leave.

BECKETT
Mr. Scarpella …

CHRISTOPHER
Like he said. We’ve got nothing for you.

She recognizes the threat, but she doesn’t have time to respond. Her phone rings.

BECKETT
Hey Espo.

ESPOSITO
So while you and Castle were busy getting lap dances, Ryan and I did some real police work. We found a Carlucci connection to the murder.

BECKETT
Wait, what kind of a connection?

RYAN
Well, it turns out the family’s number two, Christopher Carlucci, owns a black Mustang. Guess what was stashed inside? A Santa suit. With blood on it.

BECKETT whirls around.

BECKETT
Christopher Carlucci? We need to talk.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

She places the photo of ERIC in front of him.

BECKETT
Why did you kill Eric Mercer?

CHRISTOPHER
I didn’t.

BECKETT
Okay, then why don’t you clear this up for me? Where were you at the time of the murder? And why did witnesses see your Mustang at the crime scene? And why did we find a Santa suit stuffed in the trunk of your car with Eric’s blood on it?

He doesn’t respond.

BECKETT
Look, Christopher, I don’t think you just woke up one morning and decided to kill the family doctor. That kind of order comes from above. Did Dino Scarpella give the order?

He leans forward.

CHRISTOPHER
I want a lawyer.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT OBSERVATION ROOM

CASTLE and RYAN watch BECKETT and CHRISTOPHER through the glass.

RYAN
I wonder why the Carluccis would kill their own doctor.

CASTLE
Maybe he saw something he shouldn’t have? Let the wrong mobster die on his table?

RYAN
Mmm.

CASTLE’S phone rings.

CASTLE
Excuse me.

RYAN
Yeah.

He steps away to take the call.

CASTLE
Richard Castle.

DINO
Rick. We need to talk.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
He said he wanted you to meet him at the strip club? Why?

CASTLE
He just said that it was urgent. And when Dino Scarpella issues an invitation you don’t RSVP with no.

BECKETT
Yeah, you do. Especially if he put a hit out on Eric Mercer.

CASTLE
Look, he called me at the precinct. He knows I’m married to you. I’m in no danger here.

She rubs her face.

BECKETT
Oh God, Castle. This just sounds like an epitaph. Um … you know what? I’m going to go with you.

CASTLE
He said to come alone. You’re going to have to trust me on this. Dino … he’s an honorable man.

BECKETT
Yeah, well, I bet that’s what Eric thought, too.

EST – CHICA CHICA BOOM ROOM

INT – DINO SCARPELLA’S OFFICE

DINO hands his daughter, JANE, a roll of money. She sniffles.

DINO
Buy yourself something nice, okay sweetheart? Take your mind off this tragedy. And don’t tell your mother, okay?

He leads her to the door just as CASTLE is being led in.

JANE
Thanks, Daddy.

She kisses his cheek and leaves.

DINO
Jane. The roll of cash she spends on clothes could choke a horse. I even bought an imitation couture company, but the fake stuff isn’t good enough for my girl, right? Plus, you know, she’s upset about Eric. They were very close. Very close. Since they were kids.

CASTLE
So you’re admitting he was your doctor?

DINO
I don’t like that word, admit.

CASTLE reconsiders.

CASTLE
Acknowledging?

DINO
Oh, Rick. Me and you, we had a good relationship once, huh?

CASTLE
We still do, don’t we?

DINO
I don’t know. I need to know I can speak freely. That you’re not going to turn around and repeat what I say to the authorities.

CASTLE
Dino, you can trust me.

DINO considers.

DINO
Eric was family. My cousin Bruno’s kid. By a girl he had on the side. Bruno, he died in the slammer, so I looked after Eric. I sent him to the best schools. I didn’t want him to work for the family, but you want to hear God laugh, you tell him – you tell him all your plans, right?

CASTLE
So what happened?

DINO
A few years back, one of my guys got shot. It happens. He would have croaked, but Eric stepped up. Next thing I know – next thing I know he’s got a taste for the life. I need to find out who did this to him.

CASTLE
Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you already do know.

DINO
(quickly) It was not Christopher.

CASTLE
All the evidence says that it was.

DINO
He was framed. He’s innocent. When it comes to this, anyway. I know because I was with him.

CASTLE
Dino, if that’s true all we have to do is call Beckett. You can alibi him.

DINO
No, that’s no good. See, at the time me and Christopher, we were engaged in a sensitive business transaction.

CASTLE
And by sensitive you mean illegal.

DINO
I don’t like that word, either. (CASTLE nods in acknowledgment) My point is this: the cops are not looking for Eric’s killer because they think they’ve already got him. Even if they are out looking for him, nobody in my world’s going to give them the time of day. And this is where you come in.

CASTLE
Me?

DINO stands and walks close to CASTLE.

DINO
Yeah. I need you to prove Christopher’s innocence and find Eric’s killer. Hey, nobody connected is going to talk to the cops. But if I vouch for you it’ll give you access no cop has ever gotten.

CASTLE
Dino, I don’t know if I’m the guy –

DINO
I could crack a joke about making you an offer you can’t refuse. But you cannot refuse.

He doesn’t like it, but –

CASTLE
Understood.

DINO
Good.

CASTLE
But if I figure out who did this, you have to let me bring the killer to justice. And by justice I mean legal justice. Not just taking him out when the time comes. I need to call Beckett.

DINO
We will swear by the code of silence.

DINO picks up a knife and slices the palm of his hand.

CASTLE
Omertà?

DINO takes CASTLE’S hand and slices the palm of his hand, too.

CASTLE
Ow!

DINO doesn’t react to CASTLE’S discomfort. DINO just takes his hand and presses it against CASTLE’S.

CASTLE
Ow!

DINO
You’re blood now, Rick. You’re family. Do not let me down.

CASTLE’S eyes widen.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BREAKROOM

BECKETT
So let me get this straight. You want to reinvestigate Eric’s murder on behalf of your friend, Dino the mob boss.

CASTLE
Okay, well, when you put it like that it sounds bad.

BECKETT
It sounds bad no matter how I put it. Castle, we have the killer.

CASTLE
Christopher was with Dino at the time.

BECKETT
According to Dino. Dino is playing you.

CASTLE
Mobsters get arrested. It’s a cost of doing business. Dino knows that. So why go through the trouble of asking me to look into it unless Christopher was innocent?

BECKETT
Firstly, he didn’t exactly ask you. Secondly, he just wants his number two back.

CASTLE
Well, there’s more to it than that. (he sighs and holds up his hand so BECKETT can see the cut on his palm) Omertà. We made the blood oath. (off BECKETT’S shocked look) It was not my idea and I did not have a choice.

BECKETT
So you believe Dino because he gave you a paper cut?

CASTLE
Look, if I look into Eric’s murder and the trail leads back to Christopher Carlucci, so be it. But if it doesn’t … don’t you want to know who the real killer is?

She hesitates. She knows that he knows she does. But not at his expense.

BECKETT
Fine. But you have to promise that Captain Gates isn’t going to find out that we’re poking around an already closed case. And you have to keep me looped in every step of that way.

CASTLE
I promise. And since Dino gave me an all-access pass to with family, I’m going to start with talking to Christopher.

He leans in and kisses her cheek before he leaves.

BECKETT
(low) Thank you.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

CASTLE gets looks from RYAN and ESPOSITO when he leaves.

RYAN
I heard Dino Scarpella and Castle had a sit-down. What do you think that’s about?

ESPOSITO
I don’t know. But I don’t like him going around us like this.

LANIE
Hey, baby.

ESPOSITO
Hey!

His enthusiasm falls when LANIE’S parents walk in behind her.

ESPOSITO
(forced) Hey!

LANIE laughs nervously.

LANIE
Javier, these are my parents, Walter and Melinda.

ESPOSITO offers his hand to LANIE’S dad, but he gets pulled into a hug instead.

ESPOSITO
(shocked) Oh.

WALTER PARISH
We’re huggers in the Parish family, son. And go ahead. Call me Dad.

ESPOSITO
Oh. Okay.

WALTER and MELINDA wait. ESPOSITO tries to sidestep. He turns to LANIE’S mom.

ESPOSITO
Oh, I can see where Lanie gets her beautiful eyes from. (to WALTER) And her medical brain must come from you. I hear you’re a surgeon?

WALTER
Cardiothoracic. But retired.

MELINDA PARISH
No shop talk, dear. The only talk I want is to hear the story.

LANIE
What story?

MELINDA
The proposal, of course!

LANIE
(nervously) Oh! That story. Right. (she forces a laugh) Javi?

ESPOSITO hesitates.

ESPOSITO
Yes, the story. Um … well, we … um … you know, baby, you tell it so much better than me. Why don’t you –

RYAN
This guy! (he forces his way between ESPOSITO and LANIE) You should have seen him. He rows Lanie out into the middle of the Central Park boat pond. He gets down on one knee, so nervous he nearly capsizes the boat. Almost sends them both into the water.

MELINDA gasps.

RYAN
That’s just what Lanie did when – (he pulls her left hand up) – she saw that ring. Ugh. Perfect fit.

ESPOSITO
Right.

RYAN
I’m Kevin, by the way. Espo’s partner and proposal planner in crime.

WALTER laughs.

MELINDA
That’s so romantic. I want to hear all about the courtship.

LANIE
I just wish we had time for all of that, but you know, with us having to get back to work and you having to catch your plane –

WALTER
Actually, I just got a text that our flight’s been delayed til tomorrow. So why don’t we all go out and have dinner a little later?

LANIE laughs nervously.

ESPOSITO
Yes, that sounds … great, Walter. (off WALTER’S expectant look) I mean … Dad.

INT – CENTRAL BOOKING

CHRISTOPHER
You sure he’s good? (off ROCCO’S nod) Ask your questions. I’ll tell you what I know.

CASTLE
Thanks.

He sits opposite CHRISTOPHER.

CASTLE
So, Dino says you were set up. So who would want to frame you?

CHRISTOPHER
(laughs) I’m his right hand man. I know fifty who would slit my throat like that. (he snaps) But they’d kill me. Not one of them would frame me.

CASTLE
All right, then let’s talk about Eric.

CHRISTOPHER
Eric … uh … recently had some concerns.

CASTLE
Concerns that someone was after him?

CHRISTOPHER
Not exactly. See, Eric, being our doctor, we kept that secret. So he could have a life outside the family. But I guess he was afraid that his secret got out. Because a few days ago, he comes to me and he asks a favor.

CASTLE
What kind of favor?

CHRISTOPHER
He wanted phone tap detectors. You know, tracing equipment. He thought he was being watched.

CASTLE
By whom?

CHRISTOPHER
I don’t know. At the time I thought he was just being paranoid. But I wanted to be safe, so I uh, I hooked him up with Cyber Rita.

INT – CYBER RITA’S OFFICE

RITA is working, talking into her headset.

RITA
Are you morons ready? I’m cutting the alarm in three – two – one. (she hits a button) Bam. (to CASTLE) Yeah, I helped the doc.

CASTLE
Well, did Eric tell you who he thought was watching him?

RITA
What are you talking about?

CASTLE
When he asked for the counter-surveillance equipment.

RITA
That’s not what he asked me for.

CASTLE is confused. He looks to ROCCO.

CASTLE
It isn’t?

RITA
No. Christopher called me and told me to give Eric whatever he needed. So I did.

CASTLE
And what did Eric need?

RITA
Well, it sounds like Eric told Christopher one thing and me another. So I’m not going to say another word until I’m sure that Lurch over there isn’t going to have me sleeping with the fishes.

CASTLE
Uh, Lurch, would you – (he startles, realizing his mistake) – Rocco, I mean, could you - ?

CASTLE freezes. ROCCO gestures for RITA to continue.

RITA
He wanted hot credit cards.

CASTLE
Stolen credit cards? What for?

RITA
So he could buy things and not have to pay for them?

CASTLE
Thank you, that’s –

RITA
I gave him a dozen, so each is good for about two grand before it needs to be tossed.

CASTLE
Did Eric say why he needed twenty four thousand dollars?

RITA
Maybe for wheels? He asked if he could use the card to access a swipe and go car rental, but I told him he was definitely going to need a fake ID to go with the card.

CASTLE
Okay. (he hands her a card) Could you email me those credit card numbers so I can see if he used them?

RITA
Yeah. (there’s an alarm in her ear and she gasps, then talks into her mic) Which of you idiots just triggered the security door?

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
Stolen credit cards? A possible getaway car? It sounds like Eric was about to go on the run.

CASTLE
Only the killer got to him first.

BECKETT
Okay, so if Christopher didn’t kill him, then who did?

CASTLE
Maybe whatever Eric was charging on those cards could give us a lead.

RYAN
Unfortunately … cards are a bust. I ran the numbers. No recent activity.

CASTLE
Did we ever find those cards?

RYAN
No, not in his hospital locker or his apartment or on his body.

BECKETT
Maybe the killer took them.

RYAN
Well, I’ll have Tory monitor the numbers, see if any activity pops.

ESPOSITO walks in holding up a paper.

ESPOSITO
I think I got a lead.

RYAN
So we’re really thinking this killer’s not Christopher Carlucci, right?

CASTLE
Yes.

BECKETT
Maybe.

ESPOSITO
No. (off their looks) Oh, come on. The guy is guilty. Nobody thought otherwise until Castle over here started moonlighting for the mob.

CASTLE
I think that might be overstating it a little.

ESPOSITO
You took a blood oath. You let them turn you into an honorary mobster. What’s wrong with you.

RYAN
Oh, come on, man. How many people, outside the mafia, ever get to swear omertà? I think it is an experience of a lifetime.

ESPOSITO
Of course you would.

BECKETT
Didn’t you say you had a lead?

ESPOSITO
Yeah. The lab was able to identify the crystals that Lanie found on Eric’s sleeves. They’re made up of sodium ferrocyanide mixed with sodium chloride, which means –

CASTLE
It’s road salt. It hasn’t snowed in weeks. So why would Eric be, literally, up to his elbows in salt?

ESPOSITO
I don’t know. But there are only four salt depots on the island and one of them happens to be within three blocks of our crime scene.

BECKETT
The blue backpack.

RYAN
We searched for it. We never found it.

BECKETT
That’s because just before Eric died he hid that bag.

CASTLE
The salt depot.

BECKETT nods.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DAYTIME

EXT – SALT DEPOT

CASTLE
Man, the places we go to follow a lead. But if it points to our killer, it’s worth it indeed.

BECKETT
If that’s you trying to help me with my poem then it’s not working.

He smiles.

BECKETT
Right over here. (she points to a section of broken fence) This is where Eric gained access.

CASTLE
Wait, is that the – (he points) – right there.

He walks over to a pile of salt. There’s the top of a bag sticking out. BECKETT pulls it out.

CASTLE
The victim’s blue backpack. You were right. Eric must have stashed it here before he was killed.

BECKETT
Yeah, but what was he trying to hide that he didn’t want anyone to find?

She opens the bag.

BECKETT
Bloody clothes?

CASTLE
With bullet holes.

INT – MORGUE

The clothes have been laid on out LANIE'S table.

LANIE
Here’s what I can tell you. The guy who wore these clothes was about six feet, maybe 180, 200 pounds.

BECKETT
What about those injuries?

LANIE
Two shots to the back. Both bullets exited the front of his body. Based on where he was hit and the amount of blood, he probably didn’t survive.

ESPOSITO
So did any stiffs come in with those kinds of wounds? Minus his clothes, of course.

LANIE
No, I already checked.

BECKETT
Can you tell when he was shot?

LANIE
Blood coagulation says it was within the last two days.

ESPOSITO
Eric missed work two days ago and his Hitch app showed that he went to that surgical suite in Queens.

BECKETT
So maybe this was one of his mob patients.

CASTLE walks in.

CASTLE
He wasn’t. At least not according to Dino. No recent gunshot wounds in the family and Eric hadn’t treated anyone in the past week.

BECKETT
Then Eric must have treated someone else. Someone not connected to the Carluccis. Could that mean that Eric operated on someone from another family?

CASTLE
If he did, and said mobster is dead or missing, then perhaps Detective McBride has heard about it.

LANIE
Meantime I’ll run DNA to see if this blood matches anyone in the system.

BECKETT
Thanks, Lane.

CASTLE and BECKETT leave. ESPOSITO sticks around, following LANIE to her work area. He checks to make sure CASTLE and BECKETT are gone.

ESPOSITO
Hey, hey. Hey. So what’s the game plan to survive dinner with your parents?

LANIE
I don’t know! We barely survived five minutes with them.

ESPOSITO
(exasperated) You don’t – What if they ask us where we want to live? When we want kids? They’re going to see right through us. Maybe we should come clean.

LANIE
Javi, I can’t come clean. If I come clean I will never hear the end of this. Look, you met them. You kept your promise. You can skip dinner. I’ll say something came up, like a dead body.

ESPOSITO
No way. I can’t be the kind of fiancé that bails on the one time your parents were in town. I have to go. We’re engaged.

LANIE
We’re not engaged.

ESPOSITO
But we could be. Someday. And I don’t want them to hate me then because I skipped out now.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DUSK

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORK ROOM

MCBRIDE
So I asked around about the other crime families, looked into who might’ve gone missing or taken a bullet the last few days. (he throws down a folder) I think I got your guy. Six one, a hundred ninety pounds. He’d fit into those clothes.

BECKETT
Luca Tessaro? Of the Tessaro crime family?

MCBRIDE
Yeah. And the family’s beating the drums because Luca disappeared three days ago.

CASTLE
Aren’t the Tessaros and the Carluccis rivals?

MCBRIDE
More like sworn enemies. Which could be why things went bad for your doctor. You don’t cross family lines.

BECKETT
What do we know about Luca’s disappearance?

MCBRIDE
Well, three nights ago 911 got reports of shots fired near his neighborhood. Officers responded. They didn’t find anything, but Luca hasn’t been seen since.

BECKETT
Thank you, Detective.

MCBRIDE
Whatever you need.

BECKETT
Why would Eric treat Luca Tessaro, a member of a rival family?

CASTLE
See, this is the beauty of me being mobbed up. Temporarily. I can go straight the source and ask Dino.

BECKETT
Castle, just … be careful. If Eric treated a Carlucci enemy then Dino had motive.

CASTLE
Dino is not going to ask me to investigate if it’s going to lead back to his doorstep. (he leaves) I shall return with answers.

BECKETT
The boys and I will check the area where those shots were fired. Maybe officers missed something.

They part ways.

EXT – NEW YORK CITY STREET

The area is out of the way. There are a few broken down cars.

RYAN
Well if unis missed something I’m not finding it.

BECKETT
All five 911 callers said they heard shots near this underpass, so if Luca Tessaro was killed here there’s got to be evidence.

RYAN
Assuming he’s really our victim.

ESPOSITO
Oh, he definitely is. Lanie just texted. Luca Tessaro’s in the system and the prelim DNA markers on the bloody clothes are a match.

RYAN
Now how did Luca and Eric cross paths in the first place?

BECKETT sighs.

BECKETT
Yeah.

She’s almost out of ideas. But something catches her eyes. She goes to investigate, taking her phone out for a photo.

BECKETT
You guys? I found a slug. Call CSU.

ESPOSITO dials.

RYAN
Hey. (he uses a handkerchief to pick up a piece of gold) I found something else. Check this out.

It’s a bracelet.

BECKETT
That’s blood.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, DAYTIME

INT – ROCCO’S CAR

CASTLE
Rocco, you must be privy to the inner workings of the family. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

ROCCO doesn’t respond.

CASTLE
I’m going to go ahead and take that as a – as a yes, so … first of all, how well did you know Eric Mercer?

ROCCO still doesn’t say anything. He huffs and CASTLE is left to interpret that.

CASTLE
You’re a man of few words, Rocco. Very, very few words. How about Luca Tessaro? Eric have any history with him?

ROCCO
Luca’s a sore subject.

CASTLE startles at finally getting a response.

CASTLE
Uh, sore subject why? Because he’s a Tessaro?

ROCCO
Because he’s a stain upon this family.

CASTLE
Okay, I take it Eric didn’t like him?

ROCCO
Eric hated Luca. We all did. For what he did to Jane.

CASTLE
Dino’s daughter? How’s she involved?

ROCCO sighs.

ROCCO
One night she’s at this club. Luca was there and he tried to have his way with her. Word got back to Dino. He was ready to kill Luca. Wanted to pull the trigger himself.

CASTLE
And did he?

ROCCO
Uh uh. Jane stopped him. She didn’t want a war between the families. Besides, she’s a woman that can take care of herself.

INT – CHICA CHICA BOOM ROOM

CASTLE
Hey, Beckett. I just got some very interesting news.

BECKETT
Yeah, so did I. We found blood evidence at the scene where Luca was shot.

CASTLE
Go on.

BECKETT
It was Luca’s blood on a bracelet. CSU pulled a thumbprint off of it that matched a DMV record. For Jane Scarpella. She’s Dino’s daughter. Look, it’s possible that Jane killed Luca. She got Eric to help cover it up and then she killed him too. I just – I don’t know what her motive would be.

CASTLE
I think I do.

BECKETT
Good. Then, let’s hear it.

CASTLE
Can’t. I gotta go. I’ll call you back and tell you later. (he hangs up) I hope.

ROCCO
The boss’ll see you now.

CASTLE pockets his phone and heads in with more bravado than he feels.

CASTLE
Dino.

DINO
What news do you have for me, Rick? Who killed Eric?

ROCCO leaves them alone.

INT – DINO’S OFFICE

DINO pours a drink.

DINO
You come in here, to my house of business, and accuse my daughter of not one but two murders?

CASTLE
Not accuse, so much as … perhaps she’s a person of interest.

DINO
You think I don’t know what that means? You disappoint me, Rick. I came to you, I put my faith in you. I thought we had an understanding.

CASTLE
We did. We do. Look, you’re the last –

DINO pulls a small gun from his desk.

CASTLE
Whoa. Dino, what – what are you doing?

DINO
I don’t tolerate liars, Rick.

CASTLE
Dino! Hey. (he holds up his hand) Hey, we’re family, remember?

DINO slowly rounds his desk, coming closer and closer to CASTLE.

DINO
That’s right. You never disrespect family.

CASTLE
Who disrespects you? I respect you, Dino. I – I respect the hell out of you.

JANE
Dad, it looks like Mr. Castle has information on Eric’s killer. (she pauses when she sees the gun) What’s going on?

DINO
Step out, Jane. I’m conducting business.

CASTLE
Dino, ask her. Ask her. You at least owe me that much. If she’s guilty you need to know, otherwise you can’t protect her.

JANE
Guilty? Guilty of what?

DINO comes even closer.

CASTLE
Luca Tessaro’s murder. Police found your bracelet where he was shot.

DINO
Jane, you tell him. Tell him you weren’t there. Jane, you better tell him.

JANE hesitates. DINO cocks the gun and points it at CASTLE.

DINO
Tell him! Jane, tell him!

JANE grabs DINO’s wrist.

JANE
Daddy, I’m sorry! I was. But I didn’t kill him. I was trying to save him.

CASTLE
Save him?

JANE
Dad, Luca and I … we were in love.

DINO
You were in what? After what he did to you?

JANE
That story about him coming on to me? I made it up.

DINO
Made it up? What do you mean, you made it up?

JANE
What was I supposed to say? That I was in love with a Tessaro? If either family knew our secret we could never be together.

DINO is silent. He doesn’t even move.

JANE
Daddy?

DINO
I’m processing this news.

DINO slowly returns to his desk. He sets the gun down.

CASTLE
Jane, what happened that night?

JANE
Luca called me, gasping for breath. He’d been shot. By the time I got to him he was unconscious. Dying. He needed help, so I dragged him into my car. That’s probably how I lost my bracelet.

CASTLE
So you called Eric.

JANE
I didn’t know what else to do. Eric told me to meet him at the surgery room. He did everything in his power to save Luca, but … he couldn’t.

DINO
Which explains Eric’s murder. If the Tessaros found out Eric was involved with Luca’s death they would have retaliated. (he grabs JANE gently) What do they know, Jane?

JANE
(adamantly) Nothing. Eric got rid of the – the body and the clothes so nothing could lead them to our family.

CASTLE
Jane, did Luca tell you on the phone who shot him? Who wanted him dead?

JANE
No, but last week he said something was up with the Tessaros. Someone was making a power grab and he was trying to find out who.

DINO
I swear. If the Tessaros killed my Eric we’re going to war.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
Lovers from rival families. Wow. That sounds like Romeo and Juliet.

CASTLE
Right down to Eric as the apothecary.

ESPOSITO
Yo. Jane’s alibi checks out. Doorman places her at home during Eric’s murder.

BECKETT
What about the street cams in the area around Luca Tessaro’s shooting?

ESPOSITO
We looked. There’s no cameras out that way.

BECKETT
(sighs) Which means we’re dead in the water.

CASTLE
Which means I could be dead in the water. If one of the Tessaros killed Luca and Eric we need to figure out who it was.

BECKETT
Well, unless you’ve got a bud in that family too they’re not going to talk.

RYAN
Luckily a credit card just did the talking. Do you remember those hot numbers that Eric got from Rita? Well, someone just used one of them to order a pizza for delivery.

CASTLE
It’s the killer. He must have got the cards off Eric’s body.

BECKETT
Delivery to where?

RYAN
To a tile import business owned by Luca’s cousin, Dante Tessaro. And with Luca out of the way Dante becomes heir apparent to the Tessaro family.

BECKETT
This tile business, what’s the address?

EXT – PRISMATICO TILE COMPANY

BECKETT walks up to the door. She points to a truck nearby.

BECKETT
This is it.

She pulls her gun and slowly opens the door.

INT – PRISMATICO TILE COMPANY

BECKETT sweeps the area. She doesn’t get far before there’s the sound of a gun cocking.

LUCA TESSARO
One more step and I’ll blow your heads off.

CASTLE slowly raises his hands.

CASTLE
Luca Tessaro? You’re alive?

INT – PRISMATICO TILE COMPANY

BECKETT
Luca, put your weapon down.

LUCA
Why? So you can take me out? Finish the job? Who sent you?

BECKETT
Nobody sent us, Mr. Tessaro. We’re not here to kill you.

CASTLE
No. As a matter of fact, we thought you were already dead. Look, if you don’t believe us – (he raises his voice) – you can always ask Jane. Isn’t that right, Jane?

JANE
Wait! It’s okay, Luca. They can help.

It’s a tense moment, but LUCA finally lowers his weapon.

INT PRISMATICO TILE COMPANY

LUCA
We knew our families would never approve of what we had. So we were going to use the opportunity to leave the life. For good. Disappear.

CASTLE
Those credit cards that Eric got. They were to help you get away?

JANE nods.

LUCA
But when Eric got popped, I figured it was the same guy that shot me. Maybe he found out I was alive and went after Eric to get to me?

BECKETT
Who was trying to kill you, Luca?

LUCA
I didn’t see him. No one ever has, but he calls himself El Penumbra.

CASTLE and BECKETT exchange a look.

CASTLE
What do you know about him?

LUCA
He’s a new player who showed up a few months ago. He started hitting up store owners on our turf for protection payments.

BECKETT
Well then, the store owners must know who he is.

LUCA
He was reaching out to them anonymously. Through email. Wire the payment or face consequences. One of our dry cleaners refused to pay. His store burnt down to the ground.

CASTLE
The mafia 2.0.

LUCA
Whoever this guy is, he was moving into our territory and the family ordered me to track him down. I uncovered the account where the shopkeepers were wiring him money. The next thing I know I get a call from some guy saying he could help.

CASTLE
He tells you to meet him under the bridge but it’s a setup.

LUCA nods.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKETT
The shopkeepers we talked to confirmed Luca’s story. This El Penumbra’s been terrorizing them for months.

CASTLE
How do you track someone nobody’s seen?

ESPOSITO
Not through that bank info that Luca uncovered. It dead-ended at a private account in the Cayman islands.

RYAN
And given international banking laws there’s no way to determine who owns that account.

CASTLE
Maybe there is. I … uh… made a new friend that might help us skirt those pesky international banking laws.

INT – CYBER RITA’S OFFICE

CASTLE hands her a paper.

CASTLE
Now, Rita, I know this is a big ask, but if we can figure out who owns that account we’ll find Eric’s real killer.

RITA
Now is this Penumbra character the same guy that framed Christopher?

CASTLE
We believe so, yes.

RITA
All right, fine. I’ll help. (CASTLE scrambles to sit next to her) But only because I don’t want to sleep alone on Christmas.

CASTLE pauses.

CASTLE
You and Christopher?

She smirks before she sets to work.

RITA
Okay … and. … you’ve gotta be kidding me.

She gets a name. It’s “Michael M Ouse”.

CASTLE
It’s not even a clever alias.

RITA
You know … this guy might be using this alias to withdraw his cash, but I bet he created the account remotely.

CASTLE
You think you can trace the account back to the computer it originated from?

RITA
I think you should tell Christopher he’s sleeping over New Year’s Eve, too.

She smiles and types more.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

BECKET
Rita determined El Penumbra’s Cayman account was opened using a server at the Midtown Library branch.

RYAN
A public terminal. Makes sense.

ESPOSITO
Especially since most libraries don’t have security cameras.

CASTLE
But the convenience store across the street from this one does, so we pulled the video feed from the same day that El Penumbra created the account.

BECKETT
it’s time stamped so … (she watches the video and then pauses) … there. That’s the only person who leaves in the minutes after the account was opened. Well, hello bad Santa.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BREAK ROOM

BECKETT ushers in DETECTIVE MCBRIDE.

BECKETT
Thanks for coming to see us, Detective.

MCBRIDE
Of course.

BECKETT
Our investigation uncovered something that we hope the organized crime might have information about.

MCBRIDE
Uh … what’d you find.

BECKETT
Luca Tessaro. Alive.

MCBRIDE
From the clothes that you told me about I assumed that he was dead.

RYAN
He almost was.

BECKETT
We believe the person that shot Luca also killed Eric Mercer to cover their tracks, which means the shooter knew that the two of them were in contact.

RYAN passes him a folder.

RYAN
The shooter goes by the name El Penumbra. Does that ring a bell?

MCBRIDE
I can’t say it does.

RYAN
Huh. Well, this El Penumbra, he planted evidence to frame Christopher Carlucci of Eric’s murder after using a Mustang like Christopher’s to commit the crime.

MCBRIDE
I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

BECKETT
Your neighbor owns a black Mustang. He said that you slipped him a little cash to borrow it for that night.

RYAN
We had CSU sweep the car.

BECKETT
They found traces of Eric’s blood on the floor mat, left there by your boot.

MCBRIDE
Are you accusing me of murder?

BECKETT
Along with the attempted murder of Luca Tessaro and felony extortion. We found the account in the Caymans. You’ve been working OCU for sixteen years watching bad guys get rich.

RYAN
So you decided to play both sides and get a little piece of the action.

MCBRIDE
This’ll never fly in court.

BECKETT
Yeah, well. There’s only one way to find out.

She tosses him her handcuffs.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BREAK ROOM

CASTLE pours another glass of eggnog, arranging them on a tray.

DINO
Rick.

CASTLE turns. DINO has come to see him with ROCCO and CHRISTOPHER.

CASTLE
Hey.

They shake. DINO claps CASTLE on the back.

CHRISTOPHER
Mr. Castle. I’m very grateful. And so is Rita.

DINO
And my daughter, Jane. She thanks you, too.

CASTLE
What’s going to happen to her and Luca?

DINO
I decided it’s better to bless her relationship and unite with the Tessaros than to lose my kid. Tis the season of peace, huh?

CASTLE smiles.

DINO
Rick, you did me a favor. I owe you. When the time comes, you call me.

CASTLE nods.

CASTLE
Thank you very much. (he clears his throat) That’s a call I hope I never have to make.

They move to leave. Before they do, ROCCO grabs CASTLE and kisses him on both cheeks. CASTLE is stunned.

DINO
Merry Christmas.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

MELINDA
Dinner was so great. We can’t wait to see you two lovebirds again. Maybe next time we can talk about the wedding.

LANIE
Maybe. One step at a time, Mom.

ESPOSITO
It was great to finally meet you both.

ESPOSITO shakes WALTER’S hand.

MELINDA
All right, pumpkin.

She and LANIE hug.

LANIE
Bye, mommy.

MELINDA
Love you. You be good.

LANIE
I will.

MELINDA
All right.

ESPOSITO
You guys have a good trip.

WALTER and MELINDA leave. LANIE turns to ESPOSITO.

LANIE
Thank you for that.

ESPOSITO
Oh, it was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.

LANIE laughs.

ESPOSITO
But … you know, it made me think seriously about us. And where we are.

He grabs her left hand.

LANIE
Javi, I don’t think we should do this here.

ESPOSITO
No, I have to say this. Lanie, being fake engaged to you made me realize how great we are together. But not the way that your parents are. (she exhales) Or Castle and Beckett, or Ryan and Jenny.

LANIE
I know. I feel it too. I mean, I’m crazy about you –

ESPOSITO
Oh, I’m crazy about you, too. But just – you know, not … not in that way. And you deserve what they have.

LANIE
We both do.

She kisses his cheek and smiles.

ESPOSITO
What are you going to tell your parents?

LANIE
The truth. But after the holidays. No need to spoil their vacation.

ESPOSITO
Mmhmm.

She grabs his backside and chuckles.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN
So they cut you with a little ceremonial dagger. Did it hurt?

CASTLE
Yeah, it hurt. But you can’t let him know that, right? So my face was life a stone.

RYAN
A black hand.

CASTLE
Right.

CAPTAIN VICTORIA GATES
Can I have a word, Mr. Castle?

CASTLE
Yeah, of course. (he hands the tray of eggnog to RYAN) Here.

RYAN
Tell me the rest later. (to the others) Who wants nog?

CASTLE
Is there a problem, Captain?

GATES
As he was being transferred to Central Booking, Detective McBride was shot and killed by unknown assailants. The DA learned that you were cooperating with members of organized crime in your investigation. People that might have wanted McBride dead. This doesn’t look good. Especially for you. I am so sorry, Mr. Castle, but the DA spoke to the mayor and – (she sighs) – you are no longer permitted to work with the NYPD.

She leaves. He’s stunned. He can’t comprehend what’s just happened.

BECKETT
Castle. Hey. Okay, so I um … I got my draft of the poem for the family Christmas card. Do you want to hear it?

CASTLE forces a happy expression for her. She’s excited.

CASTLE
Yeah.

BECKETT
Okay. (she clears her throat and starts to read) This has been an epic year. Life’s been full of joy and tears. Solving crimes and catching killers, just like Castle’s famous thrillers. We share our passion every day. As partners go we’re here to stay.

He forces a smile.

CASTLE
It’s great.

BECKETT
Thank you. (she studies him) Is something wrong?

CASTLE
What could be wrong? You’re here.

BECKETT
Oh.

He leans in for a kiss and wraps his arm around her back. He ushers her over to the others around the tree they’ve set up.

RYAN
All right, everybody. Let’s light this baby up!

He flips a switch and the tree explodes in lights. Everyone cheers.

RYAN
It looks great this year.

BECKETT smiles. CASTLE gestures for her to celebrate and she rushes forward, starting to dance with LANIE. He watches and sighs heavily. She’s so happy and he’s about to break that happiness. He walks forward and adjusts an ornament on the tree reverently, like he’s saying goodbye.

THE END


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