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The prosecution’s star witness enters the courtroom prepared to tell the truth, a credible, reliable eye witness. A man of enchanting bonhomie, now toned- down charm, a polite man, a people pleaser, he proceeds. He nods a greeting to the defense table, bumbles a bit in taking the truth oath; the jury smiles seeing nerves displayed by a rich and famous author: Richard Castle.
He settles in, heeding Kate’s earlier advice not to be too charming for that can be condescending, misconstrued. Be level. He has it under control, although he wonders, as only Rick can, how you can ask Superman to be less than super.
Young, brilliant, relentless, Caleb Brown assumes Nina O’ Keefe’s defense case in the last minute. He is Kate’s nemesis in the LokSat affair. Warning hackles signal; be prepared for anything. We are braced.
In flashbacks, we learn that five months earlier Rick witnesses Sadie Beekman murdered by a hapless caterer’s assistant, Nina O’Keefe. While seeking a restroom after delivering a special charity reading of ”Driving Heat,” Rick stumbles upon the murder scene, observes the accused, her hands holding a poker, the weapon used to murder Sadie, and he chases after O’Keefe. She runs; she is guilty, but she never confesses and she claims innocence.
The next scene is stunning, revealing, and breathtaking: riveting. The episode written by Terrence Paul Winter and directed by Bill Roe, is that good, illuminating all “Castle” can be, rich dialogue, the dichotomies, the push pull between drama and comedy, serious and ridiculous and Rick and Kate. On the stand, the star witness for the prosecution is victimized, interrogated, exposed, and eviscerated.
Rick claims: “I saw the defendant kill Sadie Beekman.”
“Is it possible that you are wrong?” Caleb Brown sets Rick up for the fall. “I know you have a history of memory loss.” Of course, he is referring to Rick’s disappearance, abduction and subsequent memory loss of eight weeks, an abduction and memory loss that destroyed his wedding day and so much more.
“How can you be sure?” Brown calls Rick’s testimony in question.
“Because I was an eyewitness.” The words “see” and “eye witness” sink Rick.
Now Brown pounces, damns Rick with his own words. Indeed, since the rich and famous author was reading from “Driving Heat” at the charity function, perhaps he would like to read a specific excerpt written by him, a police adviser and expert consultant. Rick reads and he knows where this is going. His face tells all. Nathan Fillion is brilliant; reminding us of what he can do when called upon, the acting is superb, filled with tension and explosive exposure.
No longer the amusing bumbler, the charmer, Rick is a man fighting for his own honor, his livelihood, his life, his past experiences raw and exposed, his credibility reeling on the abyss. It is humbling and embarrassing for him, and for us, hard to watch the buzz saw evisceration of a kind and honorable, hopeful man.
“Nikki had seen it often as every cop had; otherwise reliable eye witnesses just conflict or confuse details that seem indelible to those now caught up in the trauma of the incident.”
Rick is condemned as unreliable by his own words, this expert, observant, brilliant and perceptive man.
“I know what I saw,” Rick firmly asserts, but the public damning piles on and discredits him.
“Just like you recall…” Brown continues to elaborate on Rick’s experiences in being an eye witness to another crime in which he was proven wrong. “So you’ve been wrong before.” Brown presses.
“That incident was a set up. …I saw the defendant kill her.” Rick struggles in the losing battle.
Brown rips: “Says the man whose own writings speak to the unreliability.” He presses on Rick’s memory loss and the previous example of his being an eye witness with incorrect accusations.
It is hard to watch this proud man eviscerated and discredited. He testifies only in the name of truth and justice. Kate is shook, bleeding, hurting for Rick; neither she nor Marcus the prosecutor can stop it, can help Rick as he sinks deeper into the abyss of public humiliation and discrediting.
With his next question we sit riveted; the crux of the Rick and Kate relationship is questioned; their solid belief in each other and their bond, their love. We have become a nation, a world schooled in Castle sub text and we are all experts. It’s true.
“Would Nikki Heat think you were a reliable witness?” Silence sounds for a long couple of seconds.
“Yes, she would.” Rick affirms.
Brown’s shredding continues. When will this end? “Weren’t you once framed for murder?” We recall 3xk and “Probable Cause, “and Rick’s lonely battle to survive, protect and love. Sounding lame to the jury perhaps, Rick responds: “That was different, for he had a vendetta against me.”
“Why is it different?” Brown goes in for the kill.” What makes you so special? Is it possible that my client did not kill Mrs. Beekman?”
“Yes, it is possible. Yes.” What other answer can a truth teller assert? He must admit that possibility. And the case blows up before Rick and on his testimony.
Rick sits dazed, the wordsmith’s words broken, distorted, dismantled publicly, humiliated before friends, the public he loves and Kate.
Only twelve minutes have elapsed and we sit as dazed as Rick and feel his destruction.
Returning to the scene, we find Rick still sits on the stand, dismayed and forlorn. Everything he believes in is called into question, his honor, integrity, and reliability.
Dismissed by the judge and everyone else so it seems; discredited and in disbelief, the once cheerful man, the most hopeful of all heroes, the star witness doing his public duty searches for the exit; head down he walks out…alone.
Everything about him cries out: alone. He is a different man leaving the courtroom. The over head camera angle obliges, reinforces his singular rejection, looks down upon him, from a lofty height, highlights Rick’s solo exit: his testimony dismantled; his story ripped to shreds. The world is upside down as is the camera angle.
We remember vividly the same angle in “Probable Cause,” the same lone and distance shot from on high viscerally lacerating, breaking Rick’s heart, mind and soul. Rick remains isolated in jail, discredited, disbelieved, his fear permeating the air; it is that powerful an image.
We’ve seen other similar camera height vantages, some celebrating universal joy as in the last scene in “Still” or “Veritas” or “Head Case.” Truth prevails then. But this is no celebration. Rick is dying inside: truth has abandoned him.
After this tension, I surely need a break, some comic relief perhaps. It’s Valentine’s Day with a special “Castle” airing now, part of a double play event. We remember previous Valentine’s Day episodes. Who can forget Rick’s special delivery of stupendous earrings for his love, inadvertently placed in Captain Gates’ jacket pocket? Such a mix up occurs and some hilarious hi jinx to retrieve the lovely earrings, of course, to no avail.
Rick has to own up to his” nonsense, “for after all, when Captain Gates reads the love note, she is properly annoyed. “You are beauty, passion and fierce intellect.” She reminds Rick that she is a married woman and has her own Valentine at home. That was truly rich. Then the presentation of the empty drawer; Kate’s present to Rick and her loving invitation to him to be her love and in her life.
Last year’s “Resurrection” and “Reckoning” book end the holiday event, about a greater love, of redemption, and recall to life with no real Valentine. But “Castle” is a love story between a writer and his muse, and their great love and dedication resound throughout.
After the devastating courtroom scene, I am in search of a catharsis and I turn to twitter. After all Nathan Fillion is live tweeting and that very act speaks volumes. ABC, the cast and writers have a lot riding on the next set of episodes. So Nathan Fillion, Rick’s alter ego of sorts writes:
@Nathan Fillion… that’s the incredible Kristoffer Polaha; amazing work. Just amazing.
It was indeed, even if I tend to then hate the ones who come between Rick and Kate or do them dirty. The list of culprits and excommunicated for me is endless starting with Nathan’s good friend who shall not be named but who played Deming.
“I got torpedoed, “Rick, utters to the prosecutor upon leaving the courtroom, but also shouldering the blame.
“You got nuked.”
@Nathan Fillion: “Gripping. Ripped to pieces. Totally discredited.”
The team begins to work together and that is pure satisfaction to the faithful. They bring Nina’s cell mate in to question, for she may shed some light on Nina’s guilt or innocence. Then we have our Valentine treat.
“Thank you,” Rick tells Kate.
“For not giving up on me.”
“You’ve never given up on me.”
Their loving words echo their exchange in” Kill Shot.” Then Kate thanks Rick for giving her space to work out her problems. He responds: “Always.” The Castle theme is always alive, the theme of being there for each other and never quitting. It’s a special Valentine message that never gets old. I like that message and add my own to Kate as if from Rick: “Stay little Valentine Stay. Each day is Valentine’s Day with you.”
“Ours is a great love story.” Rick has said during tumultuous times. “Castle” is most powerful when it celebrates the love story of a writer and his muse, the bedrock of the “Castle” story. Then every Monday is Valentine’s Day.
All that Nina’s cellmate can offer is that Nina had a boyfriend to whom she may have revealed information. Through surveillance videos and financial reviews, Ryan ascertains that Nina’s friend is a girlfriend with whom she has a relationship: Sadie Beekman.
Now motive is shored up, for they were seen fighting on the surveillance tape and the affair is a clandestine one for the married Beekman.
At Roger and Johanna Masters’ home, the host and hostess for the charity fund raiser, Rick and the guys observe a moved basketball back board and hoop, a method of entrance that suggests the murder was premeditated, raising concerns regarding Nina’s guilt.
To the prosecutor who just wants to complete the case, Rick offers objections. “Who else could have been there? We don’t know the whole story. Don’t we have to be sure?” Marcus is not buying this argument. The case is done. But Rick is always dogged in his truth pursuit.
“What’s worse than letting a guilty person go free?” Rick asks Kate.
“Sending an innocent one to jail.” They are in sync as in old.
At home Rick is convinced that he has to find out for sure and he has just the plan as he always does. First he must delay the trial and second he must speak to Nina in the prison holding cell.
“I take it you have a plan,” Martha drolly suggests.
“Oh, you know I do, Mother. I am going to get thrown in jail.” Rick grins and we cut to commercial.
What can possibly go wrong?
Indeed, Rick plays the judge, claiming he wants a do over. She takes pity on him. Then he goes for the juggler and bad mouths her alma mater Hudson University. “Explains why you are so bad at your job. And everyone knows only criminals attend Hudson.” Actually he has solved three homicides there, ah that den of stupidity.
Martha gets in on the act by calling the judge and informing her of a security breach at her home and da judge just suspends everything.
“Contempt!” That’s for sure with Rick remanded to the holding cell, of course, right next to Nina. Now indeed with “Castle “and probably every television show, we must suspend our disbelief and so we do. Disbelief Suspended! Everything cannot be logical especially with the 40 some odd minutes the writers have to work their magic.
Rick wins Nina over; he does have this soft spot for young women or girls who remind him of Alexis and of innocence; sometimes he is downright gullible. But Nina rings true. He caught the end of the scenario. Nina was attempting to save the woman she loves by pulling the poker out of her chest. Observed by Rick, she runs, for she has distrust for police and she does have an unsavory record.
Nina explains she was trying to get Roger’s champagne glass for Sadie. Rick concludes Sadie wanted his DNA to possibly prove that Roger fathered Sadie’s daughter for Roger and Sadie were a renowned team reporting on the Iraq war.
@Nathan… Told you! It was so. Tucwatkins that killed her!
Hmm sprinkling a few red herrings it seems.
But that is not so, for Roger is infertile; so it must be something else she wanted such as his fingerprints.
@Nathan Fillion “Not important! Infertile …Things@Tucwatkins says.
The wife, Johanna knows the truth. If he didn’t “knock her up” he was “knocking boots” with her. The dialogue is colorful. Sadie and Roger were a team, reporter and cameraman for twenty years.
Rick sees she is interested in coming clean and learning the truth about her husband and his hidden stash in the safe. Knowing she is a Nikki Heat major fan and wannabbe, he says: “How would you like to have a main character named after you in my next book.”
I ask you: What would you like to be if you were promised this?
“How about a villain?” Johanna replies.
Roger’s fingerprints unlock the safe and Roger removes a tape which chronicles Sadie and Roger’s discovery of five million dollars while on their assignment in Iraq. Sadie claims she would not confiscate the money, but she does, and Roger holds the tape, blackmailing her for a share of the money.
But he does not kill Sadie. His alibi holds: “I was in the basement “getting baked.”
@Seth Green Wait @Nathan Fillion and @tucwatkins. What does”toking” mean- Is@Clair Grant guilty or no @Castle_ABC
@ Nathan Fillion It means, chatting. Like let’s tok about it.
I am taking a few liberties in trying to copy this exactly for all the lack of grammar inherent in tweeting.
The scene switches to the courthouse. Barging into the courtroom, demanding the proceeding stop, Rick and Kate must halt a miscarriage of justice.
“Now what?” Kate asks when everyone stops.
“I don’t know. I didn’t think this one all the way through.”
Kate’s eyes roll; she mutters, albeit quietly, “hmmm.”
Oh, have we been here before and rather frequently, but once upon a time, Rick had quite a revelation with Ryan explaining how theory must fit and work.
“For a truly Castle-esque theory, it has to be fully thought through.”
“Since when?” Kate deadpans. She’s more loving now; or maybe it’s a wife thing.
Out of order, Kate stands up and begins her explanation to the judge.
Caleb puts Rick back on the stand. Rick to judge: “Looks like I get my do- over after all.” Cheeky one.
Rick explains that the case hinges on bad timing, his own and his realization that the true killer never left the house. He was in the downstairs bathroom cleaning up his muddy boots after accessing the room by shimmying up the basketball back stop and hoop.
Rick stands up to identify and point the finger at the villain. The husband did it. Do I ever remember his delight in pointing his finger and proclaiming: “The Butler did it,” in “Secret’s Safe with Me.” Beekman, an outraged husband thought he would catch Sadie with her male lover, only to discover that she and Nina were having an affair.
They move in on Beekman, Rick and Kate, working theory and details together as they’ve always done, anticipating each other perfectly.
@Nathan Fillion. What judge would let this go down in her courtroom? “I’ll allow it.”
Someone, another observer and party, tweets @Nathan Fillion Courtroom histrionics! Perry Mason_ Castle.
We can add Matlock to the mix, the list headlined by Perry Mason. It is so de rigueur for the genre.
“Sadie caught you spying at the window.”
“I didn’t mean to. “ (Kill her) Kate arrests him.
@Nathan Fillion I can’t tweet. I’m too wrapped up in the show.
Oh in case you are wondering about the nose I love you signals and their provenance?
@Nathan Fillion still wanna know more who came up with that nose signal
@Nathan Fillion I carefully crafted that over a period of a month.
The perfect plan?
@Nathan Fillion That’s so Castle.
@Nathan Fillion Hey @Clare Grant_ how many people did you kill to prepare for your role?
@ClareGrant Just like 47? #Castle
Indeed it was a memorable Valentine night, with an exciting episode. I wanted to tweet also, but with taking notes, writing and reading and juggling everything during commercials, I didn’t have a prayer, not ambidextrous enough.
Back in the station Esposito remarks that Caleb is a stand up guy. And so he seems while Vikram seems otherwise, as in kind of slithery and shadowy, and I’ll stake my reputation on it… shady.
“Caleb is a monster,” Kate remarks, “who is desperate to do good. So we were looking for his weakness and now we just found it.” Caleb looks for justice.
Together in the loft, albeit still sneaking around, Kate supports Rick. “You kept an innocent woman out of jail, Rick, I’m proud of you.” (It seems she’s started calling him Rick more, and I am totally on board.)
“I couldn’t have done it without you.” It is so: Together. I am here for you. It is their theme, the Castle signature, reflecting the power and beauty of Rick and Kate together in a love story for always. Castle is their story, a writer and his muse, a man and his wife, finding their way. Stay little Valentine, stay. Each day is Valentine’s Day with you.
This episode is encouraging and engaging, a hopeful step in the right direction to restore the Castle mystique and the energy we have come to love.
They toast and Rick asks about LokSat.
“I can tell you this. I am getting close.”
“That’s good because so am I. “They kiss.
And so to you sub text specialists and analysts: Sub text away.