It’s Detective Beckett’s first day back post-suspension and already the forecast is “Cloudy With a Chance of Murder.”
Beckett’s trying on several different outfits to make a statement that reads, “I’m not dating Richard Castle.” If word gets back to Gates, it’s splitsville for our favorite crime-fighter and crime writer, and we can’t have that. So in public, they are normal, single people. We don’t see this working out so well.
Cut to the scene of the crime, a local park, and Beckett’s already worried they won’t pull off their mystery romance secret. Castle shows up — for the first time in four years! — without a coffee for her. And Esposito is right there to call him out on it. Oops.
Tonight’s victim is Mandy Michaels, a local weather girl for the WHNY television station, who was found dead in what appeared to be a “mugging gone wrong.” Gunshot wound to the chest, ripped blouse, and no sign of her cell phone or purse. The only problem was she was last seen 20 blocks away filming a weather spot at a local hospital charity event, and her apartment was in the other direction. So, what were you doing at the park, Miss Michaels?
Espo and Ryan, in all of their still-feuding bromance, track down the missing phone in a creepy man’s apartment, who claims to have found the purse in a nearby dumpster. He may have some repeat offenses, but murder isn’t one of them. They do, however, find a note in her purse saying, “If any of this gets out, I’ll kill you.” Yeah, that person could be our killer.
Lanie rules out a possible mugging, claiming someone was trying to cover his or her tracks. Beckett should have covered hers, too, because Lanie notices Beckett’s “glow,” but manages to escape without saying who he is.
Beckett and Castle head down the WHNY news station after finding a makeup stain, specially formulated for high-def cameras, on Mandy’s shirt. Within a matter of moments, they are led straight to Rebecca Fog, a meteorologist who was in line for Mandy’s coveted 5 p.m. timeslot, but she wouldn’t have to kill her to get it. Blond bimbo Mandy’s career was sinking fast, and all Rebecca had to do was sit and wait. However, she couldn’t wait to confront Mandy about her stolen meteorology equipment. The scuffle just happened to be caught on film and occurred an hour before Mandy was shot.
Too bad Visa confirmed Rebecca was somewhere else at the time of the murder. If they wanted to find out more info, they needed to talk to the owner of the Silver G Wagon that picked Mandy up later that evening.
While down at the news station, Castle runs into vixen entertainment reporter, Kristina Coterra. Her 9 p.m. guest cancelled and she needs “Ricky” to fill his place. Beckett, keep an eye on this one.
A quick conversation with Mandy’s makeup artists exposes the silver G wagon owner as Reggie Blake, a married pro basketball player that Mandy was dating. If word got out, Reggie would have to pay his wife a pretty penny for breaking their “no cheating clause.” Esposito and Ryan are sent to go pick him up, but they come back to the precinct with matching black eyes, delivered personally from Reggie’s bodyguards.
Reggie claims that he and Mandy weren’t having an affair. They are on the hospital board together and he just stopped by the toy drive. Reggie said that he dropped off a nervous Mandy at the park later that night and headed downtown. His alibi checks as well. He mentions that Mandy really cared about the sick children at the charity event and that a few days before, Mandy was a patient at the ER herself. In true Castle fashion, this must have something to do with the murder.
Ryan comes back with some valuable info. Neighbors heard Mandy and someone fighting in her apartment. Security cameras confirm it was WHNY reporter Miles Haxton. What exactly were they fighting about? Their relationship. Wait, but WHNY has a similar policy to the NYPD — no fraternizing with co-workers. Miles and Mandy had to keep their relationship under wraps. At first, the secret romance was hot and heavy, but workplace relationships implode. Castle and Beckett seem concerned, because they are still in the hot and heavy stage and think their relationship will spell serious terrible over time. Look, you two. Stop thinking such nonsense.
Now, its Esposito’s turn to come up big in the case. Mandy was taken to the ER, because she suffered a severe asthma attack. OK, nothing new. But what seems a little — er, make that a lot — fishy is that she arrived by a WHNY helicopter. Everyone knew helicopters caused some of her asthma attacks, which is why she didn’t ride in them. So why would she be in one? Let’s ask the pilot, Lenny.
While Castle is prepping for his on-air time, Beckett finds out that Mandy gave the pilot, Lenny, $1000 to fly over Jersey for 20 minutes and to not tell anyone. When she started having an attack, that’s when Lenny took her to the emergency room.
Beckett has another piece of the puzzle and heads back to the television station in time to catch Castle being asked out on a date by Kristina Coterra. And since they are single in public, Castle has no reason to say no. Big mistake, Rick.
A search in Mandy’s apartment uncovers the equipment that she stole from Rebecca Fog. After checking the equipment’s data, it’s revealed that Mandy found unusually high levels of styrene, a chemical that causes severe respiratory problems, over a little league field. So much for the blond bimbo stereotype. Mandy chatted up some of the kids at the hospital charity event and found out there was a higher number of asthma patients in that particular area.
The helicopter flew over several factories during her short stint in Jersey, but only one of them produces the harmful styrene, Cazuli Carpeting. Oh, and look at that. The logo on Cazuli’s matches the logo at the bottom of the death threat note. Time to bring the owner in for questioning. He’s seen way too many episodes of Law and Order to spill anything before his lawyer comes. That is, until they play the whole “talk about the person being charged and imply that they murdered the victim while they’re in the room” trick. Works every time. Cazuli admits motives and only caves to trying to scare Mandy off with the note, but he didn’t kill her.
A file is recovered from the Cazuli factory and guess what’s inside: a picture of the Cazuli factory time stamped at 5:47 p.m. Since Mandy is on the air at the time, she has a partner in crime. Well, Castle won’t be finding out who, because he has a hot date with Kristina.
Kristina comes to Castle’s apartment with oysters, chocolate covered strawberries, and her man-seducing bikini. Castle accidentally butt dials Beckett, who only hears Castle screaming and glass shatter. In true detective mode, she rushes over to his apartment, kicks down the door in time to catch Miss(tress) Kristina straddling her man and both attached at the lips. Coming up for air, he knows who the killer it. But it’s too late. Beckett’s cry for Castle echoes the sound of disappointment.
Our duo, on the stench of the killer, head back to WHNY to re-interview a liar, Miles Haxton. In between the cat and mouse chase of Coterra and Castle, she said only one man ever resisted her signature bikini: Haxton. A little jealous digging into his personal life discovered a secret relationship — with Haxton’s boyfriend on the other end! He lied about having a relationship with Mandy, but he was the secret partner in her plot to take down Cazuli.
So what were Mandy and Miles really arguing about? Miles was at the end of his reporting rope and needed a big story to save his job. Mandy and her heart, masked by cleavage, wanted to help the severely sick children at the hospital and expose the factory sooner without all of the fact checking by the station. Miles would lose everything and he accidentally killed Mandy after she fought back.
At the station, Esposito sees footage of what really happened when he and Ryan were going to arrest Reggie Blake. Ryan took a punch for him, which seems to smooth things over for the two.
Castle and Beckett agree to only talk about dating other people, not actually date them. But Beckett can’t kiss Castle, because she can’t get the image of Kristina’s cleavage in Castle’s face. We wonder what the smirk at the end was for …