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Ep312 Poof, You're Dead

01/10/11 Season 3 TV-PG S, V

Detective Javier Esposito and Dr. Lanie Parish are both summoned to a crime scene. Oh, did we mention that they got their pages while they were in bed together? There’s your first plot twist! A second twist is that Castle and Gina are feuding. Finally, there’s also been a good old-fashioned murder.

The killing took place at Drake’s Magic Shop. Beckett used to come to the place with her grandfather. Castle’s imagination runs wild when she mentions a trick she does with ice cubes. Speaking of things that are wet and cold, the shop’s owner, Zalmun Drake, was found drowned in a water torture tank. Chilling!

The shop’s business was hurting and there’s suicide note. Prints on the letter lead the team to a lowlife street magician named Chuck Russell, who held a grudge against the victim for blackballing him in the magic world. Russell admits to writing an invoice in invisible ink on the paper later used for the suicide note. The bill was for some C4. An explosive development!

Zalmun may have needed the C4 to design tricks for Tobias Strange (guest star Gilles Marini of Brothers and Sisters fame). Castle calls Tobias “the Johnny Depp of magic.” That means he’s cool. Tobias suggests they check out Zalmun’s workshop for the C4, though he has no idea where it is. Magicians are all about secrets.

[break] Lanie says Zalmun was asphyxiated before he was put into the tank. This was no suicide. Beckett tracks down Zalmun’s workshop address through some fancy detective work. Makes sense. She’s a fancy detective. Anyway, the place looks abandoned, but a secret entrance assures us that it isn’t.

There are gobs of illusion and trickery devices all around. Beckett says her amateur magician grandpa would have loved this place. Castle loves it, too. There are wheelchair tracks on the floor and ripped pages for trick designs. There’s also a surprising mystery guest who enters the workshop through a hidden door. It’s the recently-deceased Zalmun Drake! Castle says, “Best trick ever.”

Actually, the man who stands before Castle and Beckett is not Zalmun Drake. It’s his twin brother, Edmund, from Poughkeepsie. Beckett doesn’t consider him a suspect. Castle, however, thinks the guy may actually be Zalmun, the mastermind of a murder/switcheroo plot. He changes his theory when Lanie finds white rabbit fur in the victim’s throat. Castle says, “So, he was killed by a rabbit who did not want to be pulled out of a hat.” Yeah, the switcheroo theory was better.

[break] The wheelchair tracks at the workshop belong to Thaddeus Magnus, a well-known government protestor. The guy’s van was spotted outside Zalmun’s shop just before he died. Thaddeus says the victim asked him to make a mechanical arm for his greatest magic trick. Zalmun said he was getting paid a fortune to get away with murder.

Castle and Beckett believe Zalmun was hired to kill billionaire philanthropist Christian Dahl, whose private jet exploded in mid-air. Zalmun was caught on video placing a catering cart on the plane before takeoff. The team theorizes that the billionaire’s wife, Naomi (guest star Carrie Genzel), hired Zalmun to kill Dahl before he could cut her off from his fortune. But Dahl was in trouble with the SEC and was about to lose everything. Perhaps he hired a magician so he could simply disappear.

Castle and Beckett realize that Zalmun helped Dahl create the illusion of leaving on a jet plane. The billionaire then eliminated the only person who knew he was still alive. Castle theorizes that an eccentric like Dahl wouldn’t miss his own funeral, which is where they catch him in a bad disguise. With a little help from Tobias Strange and Edmund, Beckett and Castle scare a confession out of Dahl using a ghostly illusion. Boo!

With the case closed, Castle, Beckett and Ryan share a little chuckle. They’re laughing because Lanie and Esposito still think no one knows about their relationship. As for Castle, Beckett overhears her partner in crime-solving tell Gina that things are over. She doesn’t let Castle know that she knows, but does give him some flowers that she happens to have up her sleeve. This proves that whenever these two are together, it’s magic.

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