S1 E03 Hedge Fund Homeboys

03/23/09 | TV-PG | CC
We see the prow of a rowboat drifts across the lake in Central Park. The lifeless body of a teenage boy lies in the boat—his shirt is covered in blood. Cue up a new case!

Castle and Beckett arrive at the crime scene to learn that the victim is Donny Kendall, 18, a senior at Redding Prep. According to Lanie, the lack of blood indicates he was shot elsewhere then dragged to the boat.

Castle and Becket meet with the boy’s parents and school and we learn that when Mr. Kendall lost his job—when Lehman Brothers went under last year—it forced changes in the family lifestyle, which hit Donny rather hard. The school’s headmaster reveals that when the Kendalls could no longer afford tuition, the school put Donny on scholarship.Though Donny was one of their brightest students, he had been having trouble.

[break] Castle and Beckett interview Donny's friends—Romy, Max, Brandon, Amanda and Spencer. The five claim they hung out with Donny after school, but that everyone went home around five. We see that they appear forthcoming, but too much so. Beckett confides to the kids that she understands the need to protect your friends, but that the truth will eventually come out. The kids admit that Donny fell apart after his family lost their fortune. We learn he supported his own drug habit by dealing in the park.

At the precinct, Esposito has a female witness who was walking her dog in the park when she heard a shot. She identifies the man as a known drug dealer named Kent Scoville.

In the interrogation room, we hear Scoville confess that he sold drugs to Donny the previous night. He then goes further to say he sold to Donny and to his friends.

[break] The kids confess that they were in the park with Donny when he was shot. They tell Beckett and Castle that Donny was accosted by a drug dealer asking for a couple hundred dollars—who then pulled out a gun and shot him. The kids ran off in panic, but got a good look at the guy. In the lineup, Romy points out Scoville as Donny's shooter.

The next morning, we watch Alexis awaken. Castle asks if she's done drugs. She hasn't. In fact, she hasn't gotten into any trouble. To reassure him, we hear her add that if she ever got into trouble, her friends would bail her out. Hmmm. This gets Castle thinking.

At the precinct, Castle poses a question to Beckett and company—why didn't Donny's friends just give him the money?Why would the kids peg the wrong guy for Donny's murder?Simple, answers Castle—because one of the kids did it.

[break] Beckett and Castle meet with Romy and her parents in their apartment. Beckett asks to see Romy's wallet, which we see contains several hundred dollar bills— enough to pay the alleged drug dealer. Then Romy confesses to playing Russian Roulette with her friends, with what they thought was an empty gun. Romy says that Max shot Donny.

The pair head to Max's apartment, only to find he's out. Beckett gets a call that the authorities have found Max dead in the park, the victim of an apparent suicide.

At the morgue, we watch as Lanie points to an abrasion on Max's right index finger. We discover that someone may have "helped" him pull the trigger. And considering Max had a blood alcohol level of 0.28—Yikes!—he may not even have been conscious. So basically what we’re saying is that Max was murdered.

[break] Beckett theorizes that someone must have wanted Donny dead, so while they were all playing Russian roulette, that person put a bullet in the gun without Max knowing it. We sum up that whoever did that is the real killer.

It was Spencer’s gun and his bullets, but he says that when Max was killed, he was at his father's club—The Century—with Brandon. At the Redding Prep cafeteria, Brandon corroborates Spencer's story. He pulls out his cell phone and shows them a video of the group playing Russian roulette. He explains that the friends took videos just for laughs and that their cell phones automatically synced up their videos.In the video, we see Max shoot Donny.

[break] We’re wondering, why did the kids keep filming the game after the first few rounds?Then, it hits us—it's because they knew what was going to happen.

Amanda is questioned next. She vehemently denies knowing anything was going to happen that night to Donny. Furthermore, she admits that Donny broke up with her, but it was only because she had hooked up with Brandon. Ding-ding-ding! Castle asks Amanda if it was Brandon who told her to shoot the video that night. Surprised to realize this, she says that it was. Looks to us like Max wasn’t the only one tricked in this tight circle!

Castle and Beckett confront Brandon, telling him that Spencer has now admitted that he made up Brandon’s alibi. But Brandon is unfazed, and challenges them to prove his guilt.

[break] At the precinct, our two heroes discuss how they can prove Brandon and Max were together on the night of Max's death. Esposito jokingly bemoans the fact that Max didn't take a video of Brandon killing him. If he'd even been near him, we hear Castle note, their phones would have synced up. On hearing this, Beckett grabs Max's phone, checks its sync history and finds the proof they've been looking for!

Castle and Beckett confront Brandon. At first, he's adamant in his innocence, but we watch him eventually crumble under the weight of the evidence. Ironically, if Brandon hadn't moved the body, they might never have figured it out.
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