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Knockdown
Season 3, Episode 13
Castle-Beckett-First-Kiss-Knockdown
Air date January 24, 2011
Written by Will Beall
Directed by Tom Wright
Episode guide
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Season 2   Season 4

Knockdown is the thirteenth episode of the third season of Castle.

Summary

Castle and Beckett investigate the murder, right in front of them, of the lead detective on Beckett's mother's homicide case.

Recap

Detective John Raglan is loading a gun, clearly distraught, as his eyes wander over the news clippings and documents that outline his life and career. He puts the gun to his head and cocks the hammer. But instead of shooting himself, he calls Kate Beckett. There are things about her mother's case, things he has to tell her. He wants to meet with her at a coffee shop in an hour. "Just you. No cops."

Cop or no cop, Raglan isn't happy that Beckett's brought Castle to the meeting. But he goes ahead with his story, haltingly and slowly and reluctantly. He's dying of lymphoma; his doctors gave him six months to live. And so, staring death in the face, he's had to re-examine his life as a cop. Raglan mentions Jacob Marley, forced as a ghost to drag the chain he forged with his sins in life. Guilt, then, and a recognition that he will soon be dead anyway, drives his confession to Beckett. As lead investigator of her mom's murder, he felt that his handling of her case is one of his worst crimes.

Raglan explains that he'd written off the case as random gang violence because he'd been instructed to do so by some very powerful people. He was afraid, and so did as they requested. When Beckett killed Dick Coonan in the precinct, those same powerful people took note. But the story goes further back. Seven years before her mom's murder, nineteen years ago in all, Raglan did something very bad that started it all.

But we'll never know what Raglan was going to say next. Instead, a shot rings out and the cup of coffee Raglan was holding shatters, and he falls to the floor. A bullet hole in the glass shows that the shooter was firing from an open window in an office building across the street. Beckett, Castle and the rest of the people in the diner take cover as Beckett calls for backup.

Montgomery is not happy. He's not happy that Beckett didn't have any backup, and he doesn't believe Esposito and Ryan when they claim they'd been down the street in case of trouble. And although he lets himself be talked into it, he's not happy at all about the idea of letting Beckett work the case. He warns her, her mission is to find Raglan's murderer, that this isn't a license to re-open her mom's case. Meanwhile, Castle is deeply disturbed. Beckett at first guesses because a man died right in front of him, but that's not the case. When Castle saw all of Raglan's blood on Kate's shirt, he thought she'd been the one who was shot. She realizes this, and the two share a look, but then it's back to business.

The murder weapon was a highly specialized anti-personnel round. The shooter fired from a secure building; while there was no physical evidence left behind, the entrances are monitored and the shooter had to have gotten a key card somehow.

Ryan's rundown of Raglan's associates went pretty fast: he had no associates. He was retired, a widower, and his only friend was his old partner, Gary McCallister. McCallister doesn't want to talk at first. New York City was a different place twenty years ago, and policing it took a very different kind of cop. He doesn't want any part of tarnishing his best friend's memory, but he's finally convinced to cough up a name.

Vulcan Simmons runs half the drug trade in New York. He's dangerous and powerful. He had a very long criminal career, but then eventually the arrest records stopped as he became untouchable. McCallister explains that Raglan was deep in debt from betting on horse races twenty years ago. And the, suddenly, he wasn't. McCallister speculates that he might have been a courier, running drugs in his patrol car, or perhaps used his later position in homicide to cover up murders. Ryan later adds another piece to the puzzle from his days in narcotics. Simmons got his start taking over the Washington Heights drug trade.

Beckett recalls that her mom was involved in a group working to clean that neighborhood up. Perhaps she was a threat to his drug trade. As a drug importer, Dick Coonan might have known Simmons and arranged the hit, and then Raglan took care of the coverup. Later, when Raglan goes to pour out his heart, Simmons has him killed to keep him silent.

Simmons is an old hand at interrogations. He immediately notices Castle's affection for Beckett, and her emotional involvement in the case. As Beckett works on him, he recites verbatim from the police instructional manuals on interrogation. When Beckett shows him a picture of her mom's murder scene, Vulcan doesn't admit to the crime, but taunts her until she breaks. Beckett slams him against the mirror, shattering it and threatening him. But Vulcan's won. She's lost her temper and assaulted a suspect without any evidence. Montgomery has no choice, but to cut Simmons loose. He cuts Beckett loose, as well: she's off the case. Castle, too. Ryan and Esposito are now the lead investigators, whether they want to be or not.

At home, Castle has to face his superior officer: his mom. Martha saw news of the shooting and is terrified of losing her son. Castle is surprised at the depth of her emotion for him. She tells him that if he's going to keep doing this, he needs to recognize the risks and admit to himself why he's doing it. Martha reminds him he wrote almost thirty novels without needing to spend every living day in a police station. Castle responds that it isn't about the books anymore.

Ryan and Esposito are reviewing the lobby video from the office building. The problem is that the gun, disassembled, could have fit into a briefcase, and everyone in that building has a briefcase. Then they notice a pair of people bumping into one another in the lobby. Ryan immediately realizes that it wasn't an accident; that as he helped her up, the mystery man expertly picked her key card from her pocket. Their break is that he wasn't wearing gloves. Esposito points out that they don't see him touching anything either, but Ryan disagrees: he touched the girl he helped up. If they can get prints off a dead body, why not a live one? It's an early Saturday morning; maybe she'd gone out Friday night? If she had a late night, and if they hurry, they might track her down and bring her in before she has a chance to grab a shower.

Kate is home, crying. Josh is in Africa saving the world, but fortunately Castle shows up to save her, with flowers. He points out that the best fictional policemen do their best work after they've been booted off a case. Kate points out that they also have a plucky sidekick. Castle offers to steal her mother's case file, but Kate has a better idea. Behind a shuttered window in her apartment, she secretly keeps her mother's murder board. She's never shown it to anyone else before. She started this new one in her new apartment over the summer, while Castle was in the Hamptons with Gina. It's easy for Castle to forget, but Kate lives with this case every day.

The day she was murdered, she'd requested a court file. The file's since gone missing. Was it a court case she was working on with the Justice Initiative? That would explain Coonan's murder of two of her assistants and a documents clerk. Castle and Beckett start over, reviewing her mom's old files. Beckett's been over them a million times, but Castle finds something new. While looking at her pictures as a teen, he realizes that while the negatives have twenty four exposures, her collection only has twenty pictures. The missing four exposures leave Kate flabbergasted. The photos were taken a week before her murder. They are pictures of the alley where she was killed. Why take pictures of her own crime scene before there was even a crime?

Beckett can't return to the precinct, but Castle can. He leaves to go sneak back in and find some record of a crime from nineteen years ago that took place in that alley.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito have tracked down Kathy Moore, the woman whose key card was stolen. She did sleep in late, so the pair get two things from her: a frenetic review of her love life, and a fingerprint. The fingerprint leads to thirty two year old "Hal Lockwood". His sparse record suggests that it's a cover ID. His credit card is still active, and in fact shows a current residence: a corporate suite in midtown. The police arrive in force to arrest him, but the apartment is empty. They find some pills, weapons, surveillance equipment, and photos of Beckett.

Captain Montgomery briefs Kate on the threat at her apartment. He caught Castle in the men's room rummaging through the old files, and Kate begs him to let them back onto the case. He refuses, and places a protective detail on her.

Ryan discovers that the pills Lockwood had were a highly concentrated anti-anxiety med. This makes perfect sense to Esposito; some of his sniper friends in Special Forces used these drugs to slow their heart rate, allowing them to more easily shoot between heartbeats. Ryan's narcotics experience lets him trace the pills to Chad Rodrick, a drug dealer in SoHo specializing in designer drugs. In addition to being a douche, Chad reveals that he sold the drugs to some girl named Jolene. He doesn't recognize the picture of Lockwood and doesn't know how to contact her (she contacts him).

Castle returns to Beckett's apartment with a file. She's holding her gun as she lets him in, alert to the threat of Lockwood. She asks Castle to quit the case. He's not a cop and it's too dangerous. Castle refuses, which leads Beckett to ask the same question as Martha. Why does he keep doing this? He doesn't reply directly. Instead, he tells her that, like it or not, he's her plucky sidekick. She points out that the plucky sidekick always gets killed. Castle glances at the open curtains, and then intentionally sits down right in front of them on her couch.

"Fine, partner, then." Beckett realizes that he's intentionally put himself in full view of another sniper attack, and acknowledges that he's committed.

Castle found the case from nineteen years ago. In those days, there had been a club that opened in that alley, a mafia hangout called Sons of Palermo. A murder took place in that alley, of an undercover FBI agent named Bob Armen. After the murder, the club was shut down and was long gone by the time Johanna Beckett was murdered. Kate had no idea. The man convicted of the murder was a mob enforcer named Joe Pulgatti. The arresting officer? John Raglan.

Pulgatti is still in prison for the murder. He pled guilty to avoid the death penalty, but denies being the murderer. He claims he was a witness, though. Three men in ski masks had accosted them in the alley, trying to kidnap them. When Armen tried to resist, he was shot and killed. It wasn't a rival mob family: there was a group of professional kidnappers attacking all five families at the time, and a truce was in place while they all worked to shut them down. So how did Raglan place Pulgatti in the alley if the only people there besides Pulgatti and Armen were the kidnappers? Was Raglan part of the kidnapping ring?

Of course, Pulgatti remembers Johanna Beckett. She was the only one who would listen to Pulgatti's story. Kate looks just like her, and he says that from her mom's description, he should have realized that she would eventually become a cop.

Montgomery isn't happy, but he lets Beckett rejoin the case. She goes over Pulgatti's story, and Ryan adds another wrinkle: Gary McCallister is listed as having backed his best friend Raglan up on the Pulgatti arrest. He was a kidnapper, too.

In the box, McCallister is defiant. Beckett and Castle have no idea what the city was like twenty years before. In those days, mob enforcers, including Pulgatti, ran the city. Politicians and judges and prosecutors were all bought off; the mafia was untouchable by cops. Vigilante action was the only way to get the mob under control. But he didn't kill Johanna Beckett, or Raglan, or any of the others. That was.... someone else. McCallister warns Beckett that she has no idea what she's gotten herself into, that this is so much bigger than she realizes, that she woke "The Dragon". And with that, he clams up.

Ryan and Esposito have tracked down two possible candidates for "Jolene". Beckett and Castle take one lead, and Ryan and Esposito take the other. The two pairs race off, followed by another interested party: Hal Lockwood, who's been watching them all along.

Castle and Beckett arrive at Jolene Granger's apartment to find the door open and her, tied up and strangled to death, on the floor. They call Ryan and Esposito, on the way up the stairs to Jolene Anders's apartment. The two stop and head back down stairs to go to the Granger apartment when a flash-bang grenade goes off. They're still on the phone when the grenade goes off.

Montgomery's team at Anders's apartment finds Esposito's and Ryan's phones. They'd been dumped to avoid GPS tracking. Castle recalls that Lockwood didn't dump Jolene's phone... in fact, it hadn't been found at all. They realize that there must be some incriminating call that ties Lockwood to Granger. If the two can track down her most recent calls, they can find Lockwood.

They don't have much time. Lockwood is interrogating Ryan and Esposito. He's impressed; no one had ever gotten this close to him before. They've gotten far too close, and now Lockwood has to interrogate them to find out how much they know. He has a great deal of respect for policemen, so he offers them a deal: if they tell him everything, he'll kill them quickly and painlessly. If not, they'll die slowly and painfully. Ryan and Esposito go with the "slow and painful" option-- they won't be telling him a damn thing.

The first torture is ice water. As Ryan struggles, his head underwater, Lockwood explains to Esposito that eventually, Ryan's lungs will give out and that once he gets ice water in his lungs, he'll be burning from the inside out-- but he won't lose consciousness. Esposito's former Special Forces, and Ryan did twelve years in Catholic School, but Lockwood tells him that this will be enough to break them.

Castle and Beckett finally get a number and GPS tracks it to an abandoned building. There's a guard on the front entrance; the first hint of an SWAT team will get Ryan and Esposito killed. Beckett's open to dumb ideas, and fortunately, Castle's got one. Feigning to be two drunken clubgoers who took a wrong turn, the two lurch down the street towards the apartment. The guard starts towards them, suspicious. Beckett reaches for her gun, but Castle's got another plan, the only one they have left.

He grabs her, and kisses her passionately. At first, it's one-sided, but suddenly three years of sexual tension snaps like the Fonze starting a jukebox. She returns his kiss with the full force of her passion. The two make out like bandits. Literally and figuratively: the guard recognizes that the kiss is genuine and starts to walk away. The moment his back is turned, Beckett ends the kiss like every good her make-out session should end: with a roundhouse pistol-whip to a bad guy's head. He's down.

"That was amazing. The, the way you knocked him out, I mean." Beckett and Castle are shaken by the experience, but charge in to deal with Lockwood.

Lockwood has gotten tired of Esposito and Ryan cracking wise at him, and orders one of his guards to shoot out one of Ryan's kneecaps. This gets Esposito's attention, but before anything else can happen, Beckett opens fire. Both of Lockwood's other guards go down fast. Lockwood and Beckett end up dueling: his assault rifle versus her police pistol. She thinks she's under cover, but Lockwood gets a bead on her. He's about to take his shot when Castle jumps him from above and single-handedly beats the trained assassin into unconsciousness.

The casualties for the good guys: Castle's severely bruised hand, mild hypothermia for Ryan, and a severely wounded pride for Ryan and Esposito. Kate thanks Castle for having her back. "Always."

The episode closes in a prison interview room. Lockwood isn't talking, but Beckett doesn't mind. Many of the convicts there have become strangely attached to Beckett. They will be visiting him during his time in jail, like the ghosts that visited Scrooge. Until then, she'll be visiting him as well. Every week, to ask him who hired him.

Promo

Castle S03E13 Knockdown00:30

Castle S03E13 Knockdown








Cast

Main Cast

Guest Stars

Quotes

Beckett (about Castle): He's someone I trust.
Castle (to Beckett): "That was amazing."
Martha (to Castle) : You have gotten through most of your life on witt and charm and no small amount of talent but that is the real world out there. And you can’t charm your way out of a bullet.
Castle: You think I should quit?
Martha: I think you should be honest with yourself about why you are doing this. You have written twenty-two novels before you met her and you didn't need to spend every day at a police station in order to finish them.
Castle: It's not about the books anymore.
Esposito (to Lockwood): Listen to me. You're too late. The cops already know all about... me and your mom.
Beckett : Thank you, for having my back in there.
Castle: Always.

Featured Music

  • "Rise" - The Frames

Trivia

  • This is the first episode since the pilot where Beckett refers to Castle as "Rick".
  • This is the episode where Castle and Beckett share their first kiss.
  • In this episode "The Dragon" is mentioned for the first time. Later in Season 5 premiere, his name became known as William Bracken.
  • The title foreshadows the season finale, Knockout. The theme song "Rise" (and the word on which the episode closes) foreshadows the fourth season premiere, Rise.
  • This episode contains one of the highest individuated body counts in the series, counting all the victims who are named here for the first time.
  • The new photos of the murder scene and Beckett's old life use a different actress to portray Johanna Beckett than in previous episodes.
  • Montgomery keeps a photo of President Obama on his desk.
  • While not as lavish as Castle's residence, Beckett's new apartment is spacious, elegantly designed, and totally unaffordable for a New York cop.
  • Lockwood sizes up the pair and chooses Ryan to receive most of the torture, while directing most of the questions at Esposito. Esposito seems to be more of a tough guy, and his Special Forces training would have included resisting torture, but Lockwood realized that a fiercely loyal man like Esposito couldn't bear to watch his partner being tortured.
  • The scene after the murder, when Castle says to Beckett "When I saw the blood on your shirt, I thought you had been shot", foreshadows Beckett's shooting in Knockout.
  • Beckett calls Castle "Chuck Norris" after Castle beats Lockwood into unconsciousness. Previously, after man-handling another trained assassin, Dick Coonan, she'd told Castle that Montgomery's report made him sound like Steven Seagal, another action movie actor.
  • Castle, discussing the best fictional police officers, mentions Cobra, Dirty Harry, and "the guy from the Police Academy movies who makes the helicopter noises." The last one is Larvelle Jones, played by actor and comedian Michael Winslow. Cobra was created by the late Stephen J. Cannell.
  • Actor Scott Paulin who plays Beckett's dad Jim Beckett had a scene in this episode, but it was cut from the episode, but can be seen on season 3 DVD as deleted scene.

Television References

  • "Fear does not exist in this dojo." A reference to The Karate Kid.

References

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