Martha is in the middle of her “48-hour first line” ritual. She does this whenever she’s in a play. She does nothing but repeat her character’s first line for the two days before the show premieres. Her opening line this time around: “Is he dead?” If she had been asking this about Sid Ross, creator of the hit sketch comedy series Saturday Night Tonight, the answer would be yes. He was strangled with his own tie and thrown down an elevator shaft. That’s show biz!
Sid’s wife tells Ryan and Esposito that her husband said someone was out to get him. The head of Sid’s production company, Gene Vogel, announces that the show will go on. He says most of the staff was in the studio the night Sid was killed. This includes one of the stars, the volatile Mickey Franks (guest star Jaleel White), who was about to be fired. Beckett quickly subdues the sword-wielding star when he charges her. Castle is completely giddy. Mickey is hilarious even under arrest!
With a sock puppet on his hand serving as his attorney, Mickey shows signs of having had a psychotic break. The guy snaps back to reality once he hears Sid is dead. He admits that he’s been acting crazy to get out of a contract. He claims Sid was yelling at someone about a deal that was happening around midnight. Guest host Danny Valentine may know something about this. Castle and Beckett swing by the set to chat with him. They catch the star rehearsing a skit that’s actually a spoof of the two of them.
Castle puts the kibosh on Danny Valentine’s flirting with Beckett to get some info on the case. Sid left the studio to take a mystery subway ride to Brooklyn. There were gunshots in an alley. Video footage shows Sid fleeing the area. A masked man with a gun is also spotted. The pistol-packing stranger is likely Kurt Van Zant, a drug kingpin who claims Sid got rich from a show that he initially funded. Studio page, Chad, called in a guest pass for Van Zant on orders from Danny Valentine. The two men are caught in violent struggle.
Van Sant claims that he and Sid had made a deal as long as he got him an unregistered gun. He saw what went down in the alley. Sid was making an exchange of some kind involving a duffle bag. All signs point to this being a ransom gone wrong. Sid’s first wife, Evelyn, is missing. Her last known whereabouts are at an abandoned warehouse in the Bronx. Evelyn is found gagged and bound, but alive.
Evelyn’s description of her abductor hints that this was all an inside job. After heading down to the studio, Castle runs into Saturday Night Tonight’s musical guest, Carley Rae Jepsen. He’s a big fan. Castle’s inquiry into the internal logic behind “Call Me Maybe” gets put on hold by that pesky murder investigation. Oh, and there’s also a live show happening. As Carly Rae performs her hit single “I Really Like You,” Castle takes advantage of the opportunity to share a backstage dance with Beckett. Their impromptu fun ends when Chad the page shows up wearing a ring just like the one Evelyn’s abductor had.
Chad claims he’s not a killer even though a gun is found at his apartment. Castle and Beckett believe their prime suspect may be a fall guy. They’re right. The killer was also part of an embezzling scheme orchestrated by Sid’s business head, Gene Vogel. Case closed. Well, not quite. Vogel makes a run for it. Beckett is forced to take him down on live TV. The audience goes wild. Castle joins hands with his partner in crime-solving to take a well-deserved bow to the crowd.
As experienced as Martha is, she’s a little nervous about her upcoming preview performances. She’s afraid of being humiliated in the viral world. She considers dropping out of the play. A pep talk from her son quickly turns her around. Castle offers to show up for the preview for moral support. Martha would prefer he come opening night—just like he always does. As for those early reviews, Martha is described as being “amaze-balls,” which she learns is a good thing. Castle makes a toast to his mother calling her the “best second act on Broadway.”