Credit: Michael Desmond/ABC Photo: Castle & Beckett Examine the Body in Episode 3.20, "Slice of Death"

You know the girl’s a keeper when you bring her to your pizza place at 4:30 in the morning and she asks...

“Is That Barbecued Pizza?”: No, sweetheart, it’s the nice crisp body of a divorced male in his mid-forties. Authentic Nick’s Pizza will now be known as the place they found a dead guy in the oven, a dead guy who was stabbed to death before the attempted cremation. Authentic Nick — real name Ralph Carbone — tells Castle and Beckett that one of the following pizzeria owners is responsible: Terrific Authentic Nick (aka Sal Malavolta), who used to work for Ralph and allegedly stole his recipes; Terrific Nick (aka Vinnie DelFino); or Authentic Terrific Nick (aka Luca Sabalini). Sigh. One of these three grown-ups put a gallon of soap in Ralph’s sauce two weeks earlier, and they all have a history of throwing flaming bags of poo at each other. A murder, or at least a pantsing, was inevitable. These are the kind of people who would laugh when they hear...

The Victim’s Name is Gordon Burns: Lanie IDs the vic by the titanium plates in his legs. The only other thing that survived in the unforgiving heat of the oven is a photo of a pretty lady in his wallet. His cell phone is missing, which in any other circumstances he'd probably find annoying. Castle recognizes the name right away. Burns was an investigative reporter and war correspondent for the New York Ledger. His editor says that he had fallen out of the game and into the bottle after his 10-year-old daughter was struck and killed by a car. He stayed on the paper writing fluff pieces. His most recent? Something on the pizza wars in New York. Burns told the editor he found some juicy stuff, at which point his boss probably put a pencil behind his ear and laughed heartily. The poor fool doesn’t realize...

Credit: Michael Desmond/ABC Photo: Ryan Questions Guest Star Darin Brooks in Episode 3.20, "Slice Of Death"

“Pizza’s Serious Business in This Town”: Burns’ apartment is trashed and emptied of anything that might be helpful to anyone. A neighbor says she was holding his mail for him because he was out of the country, so it looks like the reporter was hiding out in his own city. After that, Sal Malavolta’s fingerprints are found on Authentic Nick’s pizza oven; however, Sal was just getting revenge on Ralph by trying to steal his oven. Of course. Onto the next “Nick.” Another one of Burns’ neighbors heard Luca Sabablini threaten to kill him. Burns was going to reveal that Luca’s fat-free pizza was so delicious because of all the fat actually in it. But Burns called Luca and said he’d consider not running the story in exchange for a favor. The call was made from the Hotel Beta, where...

Burns Signed in Under the Name Melville: Love it. Castle and Beckett find Burns’ computer in the hotel room, and the pizza story really seems harmless and unworthy of a stabbing-burning. In Burns’ notes, however, they find two names — Johnny Farrell and Swede Anderson — on one page, and yesterday's date and a phone number on another. Beckett traces the number to the face of the girl in Burns’ wallet. Her name Monica Wyatt and she’s a real estate agent. Monica says she dated Burns for a couple of months a few years back, but they drifted apart after his daughter’s death. They’d bumped into each other on the street the other day after he had come from the Hall of Records. Monica was supposed to have a date with him (hence the note), but he never showed. Meanwhile, Ryan finds out that an ATM machine ate Burns’ card the night of the murder, which means maybe someone else stopped the transaction. But while we’re waiting for the surveillance footage...  

Here’s Harley: At the Hall of Records, Burns requested files from the 2003 murder of drug trafficker Harley Romero. This doesn’t connect to anything until Esposito brings in the ATM surveillance footage, which shows Burns being attacked by the very un-dead Harley. Burns’ editor doesn’t recognize Harley, but says the story that destroyed the reporter was about a high-end heroin distribution ring that set up shop in legit businesses in the city. To get the product, people would use film noir code names like Johnny Farrell (Gilda) and Swede Anderson (The Killers). Really? This leads to a discussion about Cavallo, a kingpin so cunning, people aren’t sure whether he’s real or imaginary. The editor believes he’s real since Burns’ daughter was killed the day after Burns got a lead on him. So what’s happening here? Is Harley really Cavallo? Meanwhile, Burns wrote an address on camera that turns out to be a heroin drug lab. Oh, and they found Burns’ phone in a storm drain, which has...

Credit: Michael Desmond/ABC Photo: Liz Vassey Answers the Door in Episode 3.20, "Slice of Death"

Pics of Monica Wyatt Looking Like a Criminal: Yeah, she’s on the phone leaving the drug lab. Then, she’s on the floor of her apartment bleeding. She says Harley beat her up on Cavallo’s orders. She’d been using her real estate know-how to help them relocate their mobile drug lab because she needed money and they had dirt on her. She claims Burns only dated her to get closer to the big boss. Burns had overheard the film noir names being used at one of the pizzerias and knew that this week’s code words were from The Maltese Falcon. Castle and Beckett go from Nick’s to Nick’s using the name Sam Spade, and are finally given a pizza box of heroin at Terrific Authentic Nick’s. Owner Sal says he never even smoked a joint, as though that’s relevant. He just let Cavallo use his business in exchange for burning Ralph’s place to the ground. These pizza people need to relax. Anyway, Harley asked Sal to put something in his oven, but the trace amounts of common sense Sal has told him to refuse. The team arrests Harley, but Castle wonders why Burns ditched his phone in the first place. It’s because...

Monica Wyatt is Really a Criminal and So He Took Photos of Her: Yep, she was the kingpin all along, turning her heroin holdings into "real estate holdings," which she sold to film noir characters. She used Harley as a pawn, and had Burns’ daughter killed when he got too close for her liking. She also beat herself up to throw the detectives off their game. And somehow...

Alexis’s friend, Lauren, Still Wins the Prize for Craziest Girl: Lauren uninvited Alexis from her party without explanation, kissed Alexis’s boyfriend, Ashley, in front of their classmates, put photos of the kiss on her website, and then scratched Alexis in the bathroom. So, Alexis punched her in the face before they hugged it out a day later. Good girl.

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Credit: Hulu Photo: Castle Season 3, Episode 20, "Slice of Death" Full Episode