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Ep204 Fool Me Once

10/12/09 Season 2 TV-PG L, V

A chilling killing at the North Pole turns into a Manhattan murder mystery with more twists than the new Nikki Heat novel, which Beckett secretly reads behind Castle’s back.

Schoolteacher Jim Wheeler settles down his class of first graders for a live webcast from arctic explorer Steven Fletcher. But when Fletcher is murdered onscreen, his camera is knocked sideways revealing that he was actually broadcasting from in a New York apartment.

Castle and Beckett determine the apartment is on the Upper West Side and they find Fletcher’s body in the living room he used as his phony arctic home. Fletcher was a professional scam artist with multiple fake ID’s. They discover that he conned a woman named Patty Schultz out of her life savings. Since then, Patty has done several stints in a psychiatric hospital. Sounds like a strong suspect, right? Too bad she alibis out.

[break] Esposito and Ryan discover another con victim. Fletcher was engaged to a woman named Elise Finnegan, a member of one of the wealthiest families in New York. Elise refuses to believe Fletcher was conning her. She truly loved him.

That night, Castle gets a bit unhinged when he meets Alexis’ totally hunky new violin tutor, Dylan. Castle thinks that if he can go all “Daddy Dearest” on his daughter maybe Elise’s father, Gerry Finnegan, could have been just as protective. Ryan and Esposito confirm that Gerry Finnegan owns a gun of the same caliber that killed Fletcher. But the gun hadn’t been fired recently.

Gerry Finnegan found out Fletcher was a con artist after he hired a private investigator to check him out. But Fletcher convinced Gerry he was in love with Elise and said he’d sign a pre-nup. Castle and Beckett check out the P.I.’s investigative photos. They spot first grade teacher Jim Wheeler meeting with Fletcher. Wheeler admits that he found out that Fletcher was running a con and looked to cash in. He then points out Fletcher’s partner who is also in the photo. Guess who it is? Surprise, surprise—it’s Elise Finnegan!

[break] Elise says she helped Fletcher because he was working undercover for the C.I.A. This just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? Castle has a contact at the C.I.A., Agent Gray, who tells them Fletcher never worked at Langley. They inform Elise and her friend Sue about this, but Elise doesn’t seem fazed. When Castle asks Elise what she isn’t telling them, Sue blurts out that Fletcher is alive!

Elise plays a voicemail that Fletcher recently left for her. Castle and Beckett are puzzled. Lanie points out that they never got a fingerprint match on Fletcher’s real identity and no one actually saw Fletcher die on-camera. Esposito lets them know that one of Fletcher’s credit cards was just used to buy a plane ticket to Indonesia. He’s skipping the country. But why did he risk getting caught by contacting Elise?

Realizing that Fletcher wants to run away with Elise, they head to the Finnegan apartment, but Elise’s mother Gayle tells them she just left. Beckett sees a wedding booklet that Elise’s friend Sue made. It looks similar to the brochures Fletcher used for his fake Arctic trip. They realize Sue was Fletcher’s partner and that Elise was their latest target. But when Fletcher fell in love with Elise, he refused to go through with the scam and Sue killed him. Now she’s faking his existence in order to con the money out of Elise for herself.

[break] At the bank, Elise has just withdrawn a million dollars for Fletcher and handed it to Sue. But when Sue opens the briefcase, she discovers only newspapers. Castle and Beckett got in touch with Elise and worked with her to help trap Sue. There’s an old adage that says you should never con a con man. Well, we say you should never mess with a mystery writer.

Castle finally got Beckett a copy of his new novel, but she says she hasn’t read it yet. Well, that’s not exactly true. During off hours, Beckett draws a bubble bath, sinks into the suds and enjoys a glass of wine. She reaches over and opens the pages of the new Nikki Heat mystery. Beckett is in heaven. If only Castle knew. But this is her secret indulgence. That is until Castle sneaks into the restroom at the precinct, peers over a closed stall door and catches Beckett thumbing through the pages. Love it!

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