Castle has finally changed out of the pajamas he’s been wearing since he got banned from working with the NYPD. He keeps his reason for suiting up a secret from Beckett, who has a murder to tend to anyway. A preschool admissions director named Shana Baker was shot dead in her apartment. A cigarette butt is found on the fire escape. Ryan throws out a wild theory as to why her dog is missing. Hey, someone has to do it now that Castle’s gone. Or is he? Castle steps into the crime scene. He’s there in his new position as a private investigator.
Shana’s school is a hub for the city’s elite. People like Spalding Elliot, the state’s top prosecutor, send his kids there. Shana had been working long hours to finalize admissions for new students. She received a threatening voicemail from someone who may have been rejected for the school. Brian Whitman is a corporate big shot with anger issues. He’s the one who left the threatening voicemail. He claims he had no reason to kill Shana because she changed her mind about admitting her son. The team learns that victim withdrew $300,000 from her bank account before she was killed.
While Beckett wrestles with the ramifications of her P.I. hubby solving the case before she does, Castle tracks down the murder victim’s missing dog. The guy who was carrying the cute pooch attacks him in an alley. Castle learns he was Shana’s friend. He was watching her dog because she was going on a trip. Castle sneaks a peek at Perlmutter’s M.E. report to verify that this is true. Shana was in Boston and returned home just hours before her death.
Shana met with a high-powered attorney named Nicole Morris. Beckett tracks the woman down at the brand new office of certain brand new P.I. Castle allows her to sit in on his interview. It’s just like old times. The victim was asking lots of questions about murder. Beckett rushes off to follow a lead when Espo calls. Castle can’t come. That’s not just like old times.
Shana took a trip to Radnor University before she left. She had asked Brian Whitman to help get her a meeting with the dean. She was also looking into 15-year-old police incident reports. Both Castle and Beckett separately try to connect the dots to the clues they have. Of course, it would be easier if each one knew what the other does. This leads to a little trade of information. Their investigative juices start flowing sending our favorite partners in crime-solving into passionate celebration of their concurrent breaks in the case.
Castle and the cops realize that Shana was trying to contact a newspaper editor named Frank Jackson. Fifteen years ago, the guy ran a club that hosted a party where Shana’s boyfriend had died. Castle tracks down Jackson. The two of them take a trip to the police station. Jackson believed Shana’s boyfriend may have been murdered. He was pressured to change a newspaper article he’d written. All indications are that Spalding Elliott may be behind both murders.
Castle heads off to swipe a sample of Spalding Elliot’s DNA, but Ryan and Esposito beat him to it. The DNA from the cigarette butt found at the crime scene is a match. Elliot claims he’s being set up. Castle bursts into his interrogation to say that he’s right. He brings in Shana’s dog as proof. Elliot is allergic. The sneezing fit and hives he gets help prove he’s being framed. As much as Castle has helped with the case so far, he’s still not allowed to work with the police—officially that is.
Beckett lets Castle know that she tracked down the person who swiped the cigarette butt that was used to set up Spalding Elliot. She invites this person to visit his office. Castle revels in the opportunity to ask Nicole Morris just who it was who hired her for the frame job. That’s not something they’ll know in the immediate future, but Spalding Elliot will not rest until he finds out. As for Castle’s P.I. career, that’s something he’s looking to continue for a spell. Beckett is more than supportive as evidenced by the Sherlock Holmes-friendly hat and giant magnifying glass she gives to him as a gift.