Horn’s distraught wife, Laurie, tells Beckett that her husband attended a campaign function and was planning to work late the night he was killed. Horn’s campaign manager, Frank Nesbit, says his boss never returned to the office after the scheduled fundraiser.
[break] Beckett discovers that Horn had a highly-charged public feud with hotel developer Calvin Creason. While Horn’s body was wrapped in one of the signature rugs from Creason’s mid-town hotel, the developer is eventually cleared of the crime.
Horn also had a mistress, a high-priced call-girl from an exclusive web-based escort service. What is it about New York politicians and high-priced call girls?! But we digress. The victim was only a councilman. It’s not like he was governor! Castle and Beckett dig deeper. This time with Jason Bollinger (Horn’s political foe), who refers them to a slick P.I. named Bruce Kirby. It was Kirby who uncovered Horn’s affair after Bollinger hired him to do “opposition research.” We’ll just call it “digging for dirt.”
[break] Castle breaks protocol (big surprise) by contacting the escort service and asking for a date with the call girl who had been dating Horn. Beckett balks, but we’re impressed. Castle’s way of infiltrating the escort service is way quicker than waiting for a warrant.
Castle meets Tiffany, Horn’s steady call girl, at a local hotel restaurant. When Beckett crashes their date, they discover that Horn had recently gotten violent with Tiffany. He thought she had exposed their affair because someone was blackmailing Horn with evidence of the relationship. But who?
Trying to figure out where the payoff money might have come from, Castle and Beckett re-visit Horn's campaign manager, Nesbit. All signs lead to Kirby, the P.I. who took the revealing photos. So they arrest him.
[break] Kirby, confronted with the evidence, admits to extortion but not murder. He thought he’d make a buck (actually 250-thousand bucks) by blackmailing Horn. Surprisingly, the councilman agreed to pay up. Beckett and Castle note that Horn was not a ridiculously wealthy man. They wonder where he planned to get the loot. After some research, Castle discovers that Horn's wife, Laurie, comes from money.
Laurie Horn, initially devastated by her husband’s murder, appears to have taken a class in speed-grieving. She jumps in to take over her husband's campaign, instantly climbing in the polls. Opponent Bollinger opts not to release the incriminating affair photos, as they'd only make Laurie Horn look better. Examining Laurie's finances, our favorite crime-solvers discover she recently unloaded $300k worth of stock. Seems she found out about the affair and the blackmail, and knew it was just a matter of time until it all went public. But she didn't kill her husband, as she was at home with her daughters when the murder went down. True, but Beckett tells Laurie they discovered the $250k at her house.
[break] Realizing the jig is up, Laurie breaks down. She was not going to throw away her life’s work of building up her husband. And she was certainly not going to be one of those humiliated women who stands by her husband while he performs his Kabuki-theater act of public contrition. We hate those, too.
She enlisted Nesbit, who knew his political career would be irreparably damaged by these revelations, in her plot to ensure that her reputation, her husband’s reputation, and all the political power and stature they’d earned was not flushed away. She made the call for Horn to meet the "blackmailer" where Nesbit ended up killing him. Gotcha!
[break] As Castle and Beckett discuss the case, he gets a call from daughter Alexis. He's supposed to be at a bookstore reading for Storm Fall right now! Castle does the reading for adoring fans. He's distracted, however, as Beckett show up. She looks pretty hot out of her cop clothes. She makes fun of his overly-dramatic reading of the material. We kinda liked it.
Ex-wife Gina comes over to Beckett saying, “And you must be Nikki Heat.” Turns out that’s the name of Castle’s new character, the one he’s basing on Beckett. Nikki Heat? We love it!