Castle's Season 5 premiere, “After the Storm,” begins with Castle waking up in bed alone, a little startled. His puzzled face searches around the room, pondering if last night’s romp actually happened. Then, something catches his eye: Beckett, in his crisp, white button-down shirt, carrying two mugs back into the bedroom. “Made you a coffee.” It’s about time, Kate. It’s about time.
Castle turns to Beckett and asks if she actually wants this — him, that is. His question is valid. She did almost die and impulsively quit her job. Emotions run high in times like these. But Beckett reassures him that she is in. So is he. And with that, Caskett is officially on!
Neither Castle nor Beckett has any place to be that morning. What ever shall they do with all of their spare time? More horizontal tango? Their attempt at a kiss is interrupted by “Richard, I’m home!" coming from the other room. Martha? Aren’t you supposed to be in the Hamptons?! Frazzled and scared that his mother will find out he brought a girl home, to his own loft, Castle forces Beckett to hide in the closet, while he talks to his mother (and hides Beckett’s bra!) wearing only a comforter.
Castle enters the kitchen, fully dressed this time, to find Alexis hunched over the kitchen island. Someone has some explaining to do about why everyone is home, and not somewhere — anywhere — else.
Alexis is hungover! She had a little too much alcohol-infused fun at her graduation party and needed a ride back. Well, she is a Castle after all. Rick asks why she didn’t call him. She tried, but he didn’t pick up. Oh, right.
Meanwhile, Kate quickly gets dressed and tries to slide out the front door without being noticed. Girl, you forgot your bra. We suggest you check underneath the bed. Just a hunch. She runs back to get it, tries to exit again, and sneaks out before anyone catches on.
Cut to the police station. Detective Ryan and Captain Gates are making little progress on finding the man who left Beckett for dead, dangling from a rooftop. What do they know? A picture from Captain Montgomery’s wedding album was stolen. Seeing the sea of Xs on the other photos can’t be good for whoever’s face is in the missing pic.
With Esposito on administrative leave and Beckett gone, Ryan is all by his lonesome. To make matters worse, the VP on the United States, John Russell, is speaking in town so meaning security detail has been bumped up. Sorry, Ryan. You’re on your own for this one, buddy.
A bloodied Mr. Smith, the man keeping Montgomery’s file safe in order to protect Beckett’s life, is sitting across from Maddox, the man who tried to kill Beckett. Maddox wants the file and will use whatever method of torture necessary to retrieve it. Smith’s not cracking, but Maddox is as he starts in on Mr. Smith’s fingers. Ouch!
Castle shows up at Beckett’s house to apologize for the earlier situation. Kate, noticeably angry, thinks that Castle is embarrassed to be seen with her. Au contraire! Castle simply wants to keep their relationship private for a little while longer. How cute.
Moments later, Ryan knocks on Beckett’s door. He has a picture of the man in the missing photo and hopes Beckett might know him. Beckett doesn’t recognize him. Castle does, but not by name. It’s the man who has Montgomery’s file. If Maddox finds him and gets his hands on the file, there will be nothing left to keep Beckett from going six-feet under.
Without a name, the only info they have is the picture and Castle’s cell, which the man used to call him from a blocked number. Ryan opts to pursue the cell phone option back at the station.
Castle and Beckett try to identify any distinguishing characteristics about the guy in the photo. Castle spots a rather expensive watch on the man’s wrist, a watch selling at $10,000 and was made the same year Montgomery was married. Bingo. Caskett has another lead.
Esposito is back, but not for the city of New York. He is dropping off a military buddy of his, who says he can’t do what Espo is asking. Do what? Do what?
He wants him to tap into a military database for information. It’s a huge risk and his friend will lose everything if he’s caught. Esposito has something lose if his friend doesn’t help — Beckett.
Caskett are hot on the trail to finding out the name of the man keeping Beckett safe. Only a select number of super expensive watches, 17 to be exact, were made between the beginning of the year and the time of Montgomery’s wedding in 1981. Nine of them were given to a legal team after winning a huge case against a tobacco company. Looking up the case, they find a picture, but only eight lawyers. The ninth attorney must have been working remotely and was not pictured. Back to square one.
Detective Ryan is having absolutely no luck tracing the call. The burner phone really does its job. However, Ryan’s minuscule lead – the call from the burner phone was made from the Magellan Yacht Club in Connecticut — leads Castle and Beckett straight to a name, Micheal Smith.
A trip to Smith’s house finds Smith, barely alive and a recently lit fire, burning the contents of the file that Montgomery sent. Now there is nothing stopping Maddox and the man calling all of the shots from coming after Beckett.
Right before paramedics rush Mr. Smith to the hospital, he whispers to Castle ”The file. She’s not safe. 86.” Castle thinks Mr. Smith hid another copy of the file. They search his filing cabinet for clues. Before Beckett tells him to 86 the whole “86,” Castle discovers that Smith owns property in lower Manhattan, on Markwell Street. Guess what the address number is. You got it — 86.
Caskett enter the now demolished building. They see a mailbox with Mr. Smith’s name on it, but we see a creepy shadow behind Castle. Were they followed? Yep, but by whom? It’s Maddox and he has a gun pointed right at the newly dating duo!
Kate and Castle are tied up and locked in a bathroom. This definitely wasn’t something they were prepared for. Keys? Nope. A knife? Yeah right. Nail clippers? No. All they have are a dry wall screw and maybe some luck.
Maddox has already found the safe underneath the floor metal. Time is seriously running out for Castle and Beckett.
Beckett hears footsteps.
Castle panics, “If we got murdered right now, I would feel so ripped off. “
“Yeah me too,” responds Beckett.
“At least we had last night. We should have done that four year ago.” Castle says what we have all been thinking.
The door opens and it’s Esposito on the other side. He found out Maddox’s real name is Cedric Marks and then tracked his car, parked outside the building. Esposito gives Kate a gun and all three hunt for Maddox, aka Cedric.
Maddox is trying to open the safe, thief-style, with some high tech equipment. As he opens it, Beckett, Castle, and Javier are right behind him. Now it’s Maddox’s turn to have a gun pointed on him. He inconspicuously reaches for a second gun, presumably the one he stole from Beckett, points it at them from underneath his jacket and lifts the file. Mr. Smith was not playing around when he hid the second copy. Lifting the file activated a detonator. Our trio quickly hides behind a wall, escaping without a scratch. Maddox, on the other hand, isn’t so lucky.
Captain Gates and the NYPD are now down at the scene. Gates interrogates Beckett, Castle and Esposito, who were, um, leisurely walking by, when they heard an explosion. Yep, that’s the story they are sticking to. Gates isn’t really buying it, but Maddox is dead and everyone is keeping mum on the file that they were looking for. Ryan corroborates their story.
Back at Beckett’s apartment, Castle, Beckettm and Espo regroup. Without the file, they have nothing left to go on. But the man behind the whole operation doesn’t know the file is gone. And maybe it isn’t. Ryan joins the party, much to Esposito’s dismay, with the destroyed papers from the building. Time to break out those spare magnifying glasses and large tweezers, because piecing the sheets back together might to take a while.
After several hours, their efforts turn up minimal, or so they think. A cash money order. Now we are getting somewhere! Esposito then finds the number of an account the money was deposited in. The owner of the account has the most to loss, since he or she was funneling dirty money into it. If they can find out who owns the account, they will know who is behind all of this.
“Run it” Beckett signals to Esposito. The database search pulls up a closed account, belonging to a William H. Bracken, aka Senator Bracken, who is in town introducing Vice President Russell. Bracken was Assistant District Attorney during the time when Montgomery and his police friends were kidnapping mobsters. Knowing he couldn’t charge the cops (mobster aren’t much of the “testifying in court” kind), he got in on the action and wanted a cut of the money. But this kind of information is lethal on a path up the political ladder. Anyone with any connection to this scandal had to be eliminated.
But where’s the hard proof? The file was blown up to smithereens and it took hours just to get an account number. Right now, their only hope is lying in a hospital bed. Michael Smith is out of surgery and awake. Caskett head over to interrogate him, but Mr. Smith wants no part in helping them.
Outside the hospital, Castle tells Beckett that they just need to convince Mr. Smith to help them and turn to go back inside. But the guard who was outside Smith’s door was called off-duty, and now no one is watching over Smith. Castle and Beckett book it to Smith’s room, but it's too late. Smith is dead and so is the evidence against Senator Bracken. The security cameras around his room were disabled. Foiled again.
Later that evening, Beckett smiles as at picture of her and her mom, only to flash back to a visual of her lifeless body the day she was found dead in an alley. Clinching her necklace, she grabs a gun and leaves Castle sleeping in bed.
The next morning, Castle rises to find out Beckett having eluded the police detail that Ryan set up. She’s on her way to go to meet Senator Bracken, who is hosting a fundraiser. Correction: She’s on her way to kill Senator Bracken, who is hosting a fundraiser.
Ryan, Esposito, and Castle run into the event to try and stop Beckett. Beckett is already close to Bracken, close enough to slip something in his pocket without being detected. Seconds later, his pocket rings. It’s a cell phone. Kate tells him that she has info that could destroy his career. Bracken is all ears.
Even though Ryan, Esposito, and Castle sprint to the back of the fundraiser, Beckett and Bracken are nowhere to be found. Ryan, by instinct wants to call Gates, but remember how that turned out last time Ryan ratted on Beckett? If you don’t, Esposito’s facial expression does. Making the call will brand Beckett a potential assassin for life. Ergo, no call to Gates. Smart move, Ryan. Smart move.
Beckett and Bracken meet downstairs in the hotel kitchen, gun in her hand.
Bracken: “What do you want, Ms. Beckett?”
Beckett: “The truth.”
Bracken: “Never expect that from a politician.”
Bracken calls her out on not knowing much if she called him there to know the truth. Well played, Bracken.
Kate lays it on the line. She wants him to confess to trying to cover up his alleged scandal. Bracken goes into politician mode, recounting a story of why he wanted to be a politician, complete with a fake smirk that has Beckett in disbelief: “Who do you think you are talking to? How can you justify yourself to me? My mother was stabbed in an alley because of you. She bled to death, alone, in a pile of garbage.”
Beckett might be holding the gun, but it's Bracken who holds the power. He reminds her that she is a “disgraced cop obsessed with her mother’s murder” while he is “a decent man, looking out for the little guy.” He turns to walk away, but Beckett has one more trick up her sleeve.
“I have the file.” She tells him about the other copy, omitting the part that it was blown up, and recites his old account number back to him. Point for Beckett.
She uses it as a bargaining chip and makes a deal with Bracken. She remains safe and the file doesn’t get released. Mess with her friends and loved-ones, and the file goes viral. Rather than shake on it, Beckett seals the deal with a punch to the face with her gun.
Beckett walks away and runs into Castle. With the gun in hand, he expects the worst, but Bracken peers from around the corner, alive. Justice still isn’t served, but Beckett will live to see another day and find a better way, we’re sure, to take down Bracken.
Standing in Gate’s office, Beckett is requesting her job back. She assures Gates that she is not going after anything involving her mother’s case. Yeah, Gate’s doesn’t really buy it, either. But she thinks Beckett is covering for Roy Montgomery and finds it admirable. Hey, we’ll take it. As long as Kate gets to come back to work. She is still on administrative leave, which gives her and Castle plenty of time to get back to what they started.