A young woman’s body is found burning in a barrel. The victim is Melanie Rogers. Phone records have her making a bunch of calls to a Washington, DC number. Castle and Beckett hear an audio recording of Melanie’s murder on a voicemail message. She was killed in a parking structure as she rattled off part of a license number. Sounds of a lighter being clicked are heard after the gunshot. Castle and Beckett learn that Melanie was dropped at a swanky hotel before she was killed. She was there to meet Senator William Bracken. As we learned in “After the Storm,” this is the man responsible for killing Beckett’s mother.
The Washington number Melanie had been calling is for Bracken’s cell. When Ryan and Esposito interview the shady senator, he says that Melanie was working with him on an important legislation he’s unveiling. Bracken quickly realizes that the boys work with Beckett. He also alibis out. In other news, the team finds the car matching the license plate Melanie mentioned. There’s high-powered rifle in the trunk along with a map of the hotel where Bracken is going to give a speech. The senator isn’t the killer. He’s the target.Captain Gates recommends that Bracken cancel his big speech. Whoever killed Melanie Rogers is still out there gunning for him. The speech will go on as planned, as the senator is unveiling an environmental initiative that will send his career to the next level. During a private chat, Bracken says that he believes having someone out there trying to kill him must be a dream come true for Beckett. That’s not true at all. Beckett says, “In my dream, I’m the one that gets to pull the trigger.”
While sifting through the senator’s threatening hate mail, Beckett comes across a note that’s a viable lead. She pockets the letter before Castle can see it. The handwriting matches that found in a notebook used by a suspect they’ve identified through the rifle’s serial number. Beckett talks about hiding the evidence to her therapist, Dr. Burke. She believes that if she finds this suspect then someone far worse is going to escape justice. There’s no right choice here. She holds a match over the letter. If she burns it, this particular lead goes up in flames.
Beckett doesn’t burn the letter. She’s about to tell the team about it until another lead sends them to Jersey where they find the home of a mechanic named Robert McManus. The guy has a schizophrenic history with recent episodes having been triggered by his son’s death. As the team checks out the suspect’s apartment, Beckett comes across McManus in the hall. She draws her gun, but the guy takes off. BANG! BANG! Beckett has McManus in her sights, but her two shots only hit a back wall. Did she miss on purpose?
Beckett comes clean to Castle about the letter. McManus believes Bracken killed his son, who was an intern for the senator’s reelection campaign. He was found hanged shortly before he was to meet with a reporter presumably about something he had on Bracken. Beckett could see the pain in the eyes of McManus. It’s the same pain she felt with her mother. Beckett wonders if she wanted the guy to get away with killing Bracken. Her guilt is compounded when Captain Gates tells her that McManus was building a bomb. Bracken is no longer the only one in danger. Now innocent people could be killed.[break]
Esposito and Ryan find McManus. They bring him in to the station where Beckett tries to gain his trust during the interrogation. Captain Gates is confused when it seems as though her detective is accusing Bracken of killing her mother and going after her friends. Castle says Beckett is just trying to find the bomb any way she can. Gates interrupts the interrogation to say they found the device. The threat has been neutralized. Beckett isn’t so sure. The vest containing the C4 was done by a pro. She believes McManus is being set up as a patsy.
Beckett knows that her career is over if her hunch is wrong. The bomb squad comes up empty during a sweep of the hotel. Bracken is furious. He promises to take Beckett down. As the senator walks away in a huff, Beckett hears the clicking sound of a lighter. It’s the same noise she heard when Melanie Rogers was killed. Bracken’s driver is the one clicking the lighter. He walks away as the senator approaches the car because that’s where the bomb is. Beckett rushes to Bracken. She tackles him to the ground. BOOM!
An explosion rocks the night when the driver flips a remote switch. Beckett and Bracken survive the blast. Castle tackles the driver before he can get away. He later lets Bracken know that he wouldn’t have done what Beckett did. He’d have stood and watched him blow up. As for the driver, Bracken learns that he was paid off by a nemesis. He lets Beckett know that he is in her debt. He also reaps the rewards of all the publicity this incident. It’s the kind of story that could make a guy president. Beckett isn’t sure about that. Bracken will slip up eventually. When he does, she’ll be there.