Castle 5-19: The Lives of Others

Castle hit a milestone last night – episode 100. And they did it in grand style. It was a classic fun episode, and everyone got at least one scene. Yes, there was a mystery, but they had lots of fun doing it.

They also took on Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Not the first time they’ve borrowed the plot of a movie, even Hitchcock, but I think this might have been the most fun they’ve had doing it. And I always love the fact that they acknowledge the source when they are stealing something like that.

The episode opens with two security guards who spot a murder taking place on a video feed outside their building. One rushes out there and finds the body stuffed in a dumpster.

Then we shift to Castle’s apartment. He’s two weeks into being laid up with a broken leg, and it’s driving him crazy. It doesn’t help that it’s just before his birthday, and his mom is going away for a retreat where she won’t be in cell phone range. She booked it when Castle and Beckett were supposed to be away for his birthday, a trip that got canceled thanks to his broken leg. And he can’t write because his pain medication is making him a bit loopy.

So it’s just Beckett, Esposito, and Ryan who show up at the crime scene where Lanie is working on the body, although it’s fairly obvious she was hit over the head, and the video gives them time of death.

The victim was an IRS agent. She went after tax cheats, and many people hated her as a result. In fact, her husband (who is obviously distraught) remembers one who approached them recently at dinner.

That man, however, claims to be innocent. While yes, his marriage had fallen apart and he was facing criminal charges, the victim had come to him saying she’d drop the charges if he helped her create a new identity and vanish. They find a secret account she had, but she’d made that helping a mobster keep his records perfect so the IRS couldn’t send him away for tax fraud.

They keep circling back to the husband. The victim’s sister says she feared him, but he claims her sister has never liked him. He recently took out a huge life insurance policy on her. But he was working an overnight shift at the grocery store in Queens where he’s a manager. In fact, he was out in the story the entire time when usually he hides in his office. Suspicious, but hard to break the alibi.

Meanwhile, Castle has found a case of his own to pursue. As a joke, Alexis has given him a pair of binoculars, and they make the requisite Rear Window reference at the beginning. He finally gets so bored he does begin to spy on his neighbors out the window. He sees a man and woman who are having an affair, and they get caught when her boyfriend comes home. The lover escapes, but the boyfriend finds his hat.

Later that night, Castle witnesses the tension between the two. They are making dinner but not speaking and the looks the boyfriend is sending are murderous. And then, when the woman goes into the bedroom next door, the boyfriend grabs a knife and stalks after her. The blinds are closed, but someone is pushed up against them, and then the boyfriend returns to the kitchen alone.

Naturally, Castle thinks he’s just witnessed a murder. He calls Beckett, and Esposito and Ryan head over there to take a look. They can’t find a body, and the boyfriend claims that he and the woman have broken up and she’s heading to her parents. They even call her, and hear her confirm everything.

But Castle knows what he saw, and he keeps watching the apartment looking for clues. Clues like the boyfriend dragging a carpet out of the bedroom at 3:30 in the morning. Clues like the boyfriend going into the bedroom with cleaning supplies and spreading stuff from a purse like credit cards. At this point, Alexis has joined him, and she watches from the loft as Castle hobbles over on crutches and looks for evidence. He not only grabs the shredding, but he heads into the bedroom where he finds red spatter on the closet, bleach and other heavy duty cleaning supplies, and a receipt for a storage facility from the night before in the very early morning hours. He’s almost caught, but he manages to hide under the bed, where he hears a phone call that sounds like the boyfriend is going to borrow a boat to dump the body.

Beckett, meanwhile, has talked to the lover, who says he is taking a class with the woman, and hasn’t heard from her since the night Castle witnessed the murder. Her parents don’t seem to know where she is either, even though that’s where she was going.

Even though they don’t have a warrant, Castle convinces her to go check out the storage place. They have a story all set so Castle can find the body without Beckett getting into trouble and things can be reported. However, the carpet is just a carpet – nothing inside. And the other bags in the storage room are clothes. No body to be found.

They are caught in this escapade, and Gates takes great delight in dressing Castle down for getting Beckett involved in something like that. One more step out of line, and he’s done working with them.

And Castle is ready to let it go. It’s the night of his birthday, and he and Beckett are going out for a fancy dinner. He even apologizes for all he’s dragger her through.

But just before they go, he witnesses the boyfriend grab a soda from the pantry. Not the frig. And he doesn’t get ice either. That must be where the body is. Beckett, knowing that Castle will obsess over it through dinner, agrees to go over and sneak a peak in the frig. She does, but the man freaks as she starts to head over to the frig. He keeps pulling her away, then grabs a gun and turns out the lights.

Castle calls Esposito and Ryan, who rush down and break down the door…

…to Castle’s surprise party. The entire thing was a set up, the people involved actors from Martha’s acting school. And everyone but Gates is there (including Martha, who didn’t really go away). In fact, everyone was in on it the entire time. It was Beckett’s gift to Castle.

As the party gets going, Castle says something about how he can’t believe it was all staged. That gets Beckett thinking about her case (you know, the one I haven’t talked about in a while), and the next day she reviews the tape from the security guards who witnessed the murder. Sure enough, there’s some graphiti that appears during the murder that wasn’t there on the rest of the tape. Beckett confronts the female guard who confesses. She was having an affair with the murder victim’s husband, and he decided to kill his wife rather than get a divorce so he can marry her lover. They faked the murder in the ally earlier, and then the husband killed his wife, placing the body in the dumpster. Then, when he was at work, she spliced the tape together and showed it to a co-worker so they could “find the body.”

My roommate did bring up the time of death. Why didn’t Lanie find that different from the video tape? It would depend on the actual time of death. It’s always a window, and maybe it was close enough that it didn’t give them a clue. Or maybe she didn’t really look since they thought they knew.

Anyway, I had fun all the way around. They very much ripped off Rear Window, but the fact that it was faked for Castle’s benefit made it so much fun for me. Plus the fact that this aired on April Fool’s Day – I felt like I should have seen the ending coming.

No episode next week, so I’ll see you back in two weeks with Castle back on the case.

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4 Responses to Castle 5-19: The Lives of Others

  1. Irene Kautto says:

    I really liked this episode. One of their fun, better ones. I was totally surprised that the whole “Rear Window” thing had been staged. I just laughed out loud and said I did not see that one coming. Coming next – Big Foot. That looks like fun too :)

    • Mark Baker says:

      I agree, I did not see the ending coming. Considering they were basically ripping the movie off plot point by plot point, I was happy for the twist. After all, they usually put at least a little bit of their own spin on things.

  2. WookieeGunner says:

    On the time of death, it could be as you stated they already knew. The other thing is that the initial (within a few hours) determination marker is how fast the body cools. If the body was kept in something insulating (say a tarp and rug :) ) or warmer then the outside then that would throw off the time of death.

    • Mark Baker says:

      Oh yeah. There are lots of ways to explain it away. Frankly, it’s one reason why I didn’t worry about it that much until my roommate brought it up. Since this wasn’t really the focus of the episode, they probably didn’t have time to worry about it. If it had been the real focus, I’m sure it would have been explained.

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