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Ep110 A Death in the Family

05/11/09 Season 1 TV-PG D,L,V

We open on the windshield of a blue Mercedes covered in parking tickets, being lifted into the sky by a tow truck. Inside, a male body is jostled by the movement.The head is encased in a plastic bag, wrapped with duct tape at the neck.

In his loft, we see Castle sitting across from top forensic pathologist Clark Murray. They go through morgue photos of a cold case victim—Beckett’s mother. We just knew he’d go snooping into this! Castle is hoping to find something previously missed. Murray reminds Castle that the odds of finding a killer after ten years are astronomical.

Martha tells Castle he needs to let Beckett know he’s looking into her mother’s case. Suddenly, Alexis comes running in to announce that Owen has asked her to the Junior-Senior prom. Castle gives his blessing, but only if Alexis promises to stay out past her bedtime and have a good time. Where was he when we were growing up?

[break] Our next revelation is that the murder victim from the car is Dr. Joshua Leeds, a plastic surgeon. Lanie estimates Leeds has been dead a week and, before he died, he was tortured—his fingernails were removed and each finger was broken. Ick!

Leeds’ fiancée, Courtney Morantz, identifies the body. She’s devastated, as they were getting married in a month. She swears Josh was never in contact with any criminal elements. What’s more, Courtney has no idea how his car could have wound up on 133rd Street, since he worked in Midtown and always took the Midtown tunnel to the L.I.E.

On their way to Leeds’ office, Castle asks Beckett whether she’s ever given thought to re-opening her mother’s case. Oh, boy. Beckett warns Castle that if he touches her mother’s case, then their partnership is over. (We told you so!) She says it took her a year of therapy for Beckett to realize that if she didn’t let the case go, it would destroy her.

Castle and Beckett visit Dr. Leeds’ office and interview his three nurses—Mario Guerrera, Julia Hammond and Maggie Dowd. None of his patients ever had medical complications, although recently one patient, Jacey Goldberg, had begun threatening to ruin Leeds’ life when he refused to give her a fourth facelift. Looks to us like anger is skin deep, too!

[break] Beckett and Castle question Jacey Goldberg. She’s shocked at the allegation that she murdered Leeds. She threatened to ruin him, not kill him.Plus, she has an alibi—on the day Leeds was murdered, Goldberg was in the hospital, getting more plastic surgery.

At the precinct, Beckett and Montgomery work the murder board. Could Goldberg have hired someone to do the job, we wonder? By breaking his fingers, someone was definitely trying to send a message.

Ryan and Esposito scour Dr. Leeds’ office and find a hidden case file with the patient’s personal information blacked out. Now we’re on to something!

They ask Leeds’s senior nurse, Julia, to examine the file. She doesn’t recognize it, nor can she identify the procedure in question. But the patient was a male in his mid-50s.She says that Leeds never operated without her. On the date of the procedure, March 18th, Leeds was supposed to be attending a panel on reconstructive surgery. Why would he lie?

[break] The hospital information desk says they can’t find any files at all on the operation. It looks like a dead end, until Castle suggests they try the one department where nothing ever falls through the cracks—Billing.

Beckett finds out that the patient’s hospital bills were paid by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.We surmise that the patient was likely in Witness Protection program, meaning our heroes have to find the witness before the killer does.

Because it’s an ongoing Federal investigation, the Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge refuses to reveal the name of the witness. Castle decides to meet his mob contact, Sal Tenor, at an old dive bar. Tenor is sure the witness is Jimmy “The Rat” Moran, a former underboss for the Spolano family who turned state’s evidence a few months back. But Tenor warns Castle if he crosses these guys, they’ll gut him without blinking an eye.

[break] We next see Beckett approach her ex-boyfriend FBI Agent Sorenson about Jimmy Moran.Sorenson replies that he doesn’t work organized crime cases, but Beckett knows he can pull some strings.

Sorenson got the U.S. Attorney’s Office to agree to a meeting with Moran. He ushers Beckett and Castle into the backseat of a black SUV, where we meet Jimmy “The Rat” Moran, his face obscured by a ski mask. When Moran finds out the way Dr. Leeds was killed, he starts to freak out. The bag and duct tape are his MO. They’re sending him a message. And if they got to the doctor, they’ll soon get to him. He demands the Feds get him out of here.

Beckett and Castle return to the precinct and share the bad news—they scared Moran so much, he now refuses to testify in the Federal case. Suddenly we see Montgomery step out of his office, looking grave. On the way back to the FBI safe house, someone pulled up next to the SUV and opened fire, hitting both Moran and Sorenson. They’re still in surgery.

[break] Castle shows up at the precinct to find Beckett at the murder board. She’s been there since four in the morning. Beckett figures the mole was someone they’d spoken to.

Beckett and Castle arrive at Leeds’ office and begin interviewing the staff again when they get a call from Esposito. He called the nursing schools again, and this time he asked them to fax pictures. The Maggie Dowd that works in Dr. Leeds’ office doesn’t match the picture faxed over from her nursing school. They’re two different people?! If Maggie has a hospital ID, she has access and can easily finish the job on Jimmy Moran.

At the hospital, we find Maggie Dowd dressed in hospital scrubs at the bed where Moran lies half-conscious. She pulls out a syringe and we see a flicker of panic in Jimmy’s eyes. His EKG starts to speed up. Maggie relays a message from Junior—“Go to hell.”

But before she can finish the job, we watch Beckett, Castle, U.S. Attorney Robinson and the FBI Agents arrest her for the murder of Dr. Leeds and attempted murder of Moran.

[break] Back, at his loft, Castle learns from Murray that Beckett’s mother’s murder was a targeted killing, not a random killing like the police concluded. Martha insists he tell Beckett about the new findings. The information could finally lead to her mother’s killer.

At the hospital, Beckett sits bedside next to Sorenson. Castle shows up and asks to speak with Beckett, and our nerves start kicking in!

Out in the corridor, Beckett notices Castle’s seriousness and asks if something’s wrong.“It’s about your mother,” he responds.And off Beckett’s look, we cut to black as the first season ends.

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