Beckett has a crisis of conscious when she’s entrusted with the life of the man who ordered her mother’s murder.
A body is found, burnt to a crisp, in a trash barrel. The teeth have been knocked out, but a dental implant gives the detectives a solid lead. The woman in question is Melanie Rogers, a post-doc engineer. The last call she placed was to her sister…who has Melanie’s murder recorded on her phone.
Castle and Beckett question the concierge at a hotel where Melanie had recently been meeting a man with a Washington, DC number. They discover she was seeing none other than Senator Bracken…the man responsible for Johanna Beckett’s death. Esposito and Ryan come to see him, but, when he realizes they work with Beckett, he sends them away.
Thanks to the message on Melanie’s sister’s phone, they find the site of the murder…and a car containing plans to assassinate Bracken. Realizing that Bracken is the target, not the killer, Gates assigns Beckett to head up the investigation, unaware of their past connection.
Castle and Beckett comb through the threatening letters Bracken’s received over the years. Just after Castle leaves for the night, Beckett finds a match for the handwriting on the assassination plans, but no name or address to go along with it. Torn, she pays a visit to her therapist, who tells her she needs to make a decision she can live with.
Beckett nearly takes a match to the letter, but restrains herself. The next day, after seeing Melanie’s distraught sister in the station, she plans to bring it to the guys, who’ve found a new lead. They track the suspect, Robert McManus, to an apartment, but he’s not inside. Alone by the elevator, Beckett spots him and points her gun, but is unable to take the shot. She lets him escape, before firing twice at the empty wall.
All is not lost; Esposito and Ryan bring him in. McManus believes his son was murdered by Bracken. Kate questions him, trying to use their shared hate of Bracken to her advantage, but he doesn’t believe her. Once they find the bomb intended for Bracken’s eco-conference, however, his confession becomes a moot point.
Still, something doesn’t sit right for Kate. The plan was carefully crafted, just as Melanie’s murder and disposal were skillfully executed. McManus himself is a disorderly schizophrenic, barely able to tie his own shoes, much less put together a bomb. On a hunch, Beckett calls in a bomb threat to the conference, much to Bracken’s rage. No explosive is found in the hotel, but as Bracken walks to his car, Kate hears the tell-tale sound of a lighter clicking…the same sound heard on the message.
Beckett pushes Bracken out of the way, just as his car explodes. Castle tackles the would-be-assassin–Bracken’s driver–to the ground. Though he refuses to confess, evidence found in his apartment proves that he killed Melanie Rogers and, with the help of a fake beard and baseball cap, framed McManus for her murder. Despite the fact that Beckett still loathes him, Bracken tells her that he’s in her debt.
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