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'Castle' recap: I spy a private eye

Season 7 | Episode 11 | “Castle, P.I.” | Aired Jan 12, 2015

After the shocking midseason finale left Castle banned from working with the NYPD due to his connections with a known mobster, it was unclear just how Castle was going to continue to solve crimes, with or without working alongside his wife and friends. Luckily for us, the solution is Castle living out one of his lifelong dreams of being a private eye. And thus, the long era of Richard Castle, mystery writer turned NYPD consultant, has come to an end, ushering in an even more fantastical era that gives us Richard Castle: Private Investigator. Oh, this is going to be fun.

The victim this week is Shana Baker (Gia Mora), an admissions director for a prestigious New York preschool. She’s found shot to death in her apartment, and right off the bat this investigation is Castle, P.I., versus Beckett and the NYPD, in a race to find the killer.

The first lead goes to Castle, who uses the tracking device in Shana’s missing dog to track it down after it disappeared when Shana was murdered. He tracks it down and comes face-to-face with a friend of hers who says she had asked him to watch the dog while she was going out of town. Which means she had recently traveled, which probably had something to do with her death.

Advantage: Castle.

Over at Beckett & Co., their first lead is an aggressive dad who threatened Shana recently when his kid wasn’t accepted into the preschool (even coming to her apartment once to threaten her in person), but claims he ended up backing off because she agreed to let his kid in after all.

The team also uncovers that Shana met with a high-profile lawyer shortly before she went on her trip, and in what turns out to be a joint effort (much to Beckett’s dismay), Castle and Beckett interrogate the lawyer, Nicole Morris (Heather McComb) together and discover that Shana had traveled to Boston to visit Radnor University. Morris is unclear why, but reveals Shana had asked a lot of strange questions about felony murder law in Massachusetts, so there’s no telling what she was up to.

Beckett then finds out that it was Mr. Aggressive Dad who was the one that put Shana in contact with the dean at Radnor University. He claims he has no idea why she needed to meet with the dean there, but was more than happy to trade that connection for his kid getting into the preschool.

Advantage: Beckett.

When the investigation seems to hit a speed bump for both sides—Beckett knows she went to Radnor, and Castle knows it had something to do with an event that happened on campus in 1999. The two employ an adorable Mr. and Mrs. Smith-esque charade to try to get the other to divulge what they know, and it comes out that she was looking into police records detailing the death of her then-boyfriend, Jeff, who died after falling off the balcony at a party back in 1999.


The last puzzle piece to fall into place regarding Shana’s actions before her murder is one Frank Jackson, a reporter at the New York Ledger whom Shana had contacted after her trip to Boston. Jackson was the editor of the Radnor campus paper in 1999 and had a hand in covering up Jeff’s murder, so naturally, Shana had a lot of questions for him.

Castle actually gets to him first, but in an act of decency and camaraderie, he brings him to the police department so Jackson can be interrogated properly. Jackson reveals he had spoken with Shana, and he told her the truth: He knew Jeff didn’t fall accidentally, but was pushed. He had been ready to print the story of Jeff’s death until he was pressured by someone who promised him career success if he just kept his mouth shut. So he did, and the coverup of Jeff’s murder went on as truth from that moment on. The mystery man who pressured him into the coverup? None other than New York’s top prosecuting attorney, Spalding Elliot (Tim Griffin).

Nathan Fillion, Castle, ABC

Elliot proclaims his innocence, insisting he’s being framed for Shana’s death. And though there is a cigarette butt with Elliot’s DNA on it, insert Castle, P.I., to the rescue! Castle brings to Beckett’s attention that Elliot couldn’t be the killer, because he’s deathly allergic to dogs and wouldn’t have been able to get inside Shana’s dog-hair-covered apartment, murder her, and then show up at a fundraising event just an hour later without looking like he had just gone through hell. Framed, indeed.

Advantage: Castle.

And when the trace evidence comes back to reveal a hint of barbecue sauce on the cigarette that was planted at the scene, Castle tracks it back to the barbecue joint Elliot had been at earlier that week, where the butt must have been taken from. And what does the security cam footage reveal? Good ol’ Nicole Morris rifling through the ashtray to grab one of Elliot’s cigarette butts to plant at the crime scene.

Advantage: Beckett.

Morris is called in and Beckett and Castle, together, pin her for the frame job of Elliot and the murder of Shana Baker. It’s still unclear who Morris works for, who must have ordered her to convince Shana to investigate and to lead her to Elliot, but perhaps that will lead to a bigger story later down the road.

Love. (Get it? Like the score in tennis but also TRUE LOVE. Because there ain’t no team like a Castle and Beckett team.)

So, at least for the first case, Castle, P.I., was a success! Able to work with the NYPD, but not in an official capacity, and a wife that supports him no matter what, equals a pretty strong start to Castle’s career as a private investigator. Now to see how other cases will stack up!

Oh, and by the way:

  • Beckett giving Castle a magnifying glass and a Holmesian deerstalker hat was so cute, I almost died.
  • Ryan acting as resident “mini-Castle” was perfect.
  • Castle and Beckett Mr. and Mrs. Smith-ing each other was top-notch TV. Their relationship is so layered and so beautiful, it was nice (and funny!) to see this interaction play out. I love when genuine relationship moments are shown in the midst of a murder of the week, and this was a really special one.

Castle airs Mondays at 10/9C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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