Who killed Santa Claus?
As a family makes snow angels, a dead Santa Claus falls out of the sky. At the crime scene, Castle asks Beckett to join him for Christmas. Castle is convinced that he’s the real deal, and Santa’s identification proclaims him to be Kris Kringle from the North Pole. With severe frostbite on his hands and face, he has clearly fallen from a high altitude. Beckett notices that his boots are custom made from a leather shop in Queens, not the North Pole, but Castle remains convinced that Santa fell from a sled.
As Castle, Alexis and Martha prepare for Christmas, Castle learns that they both have plans for Christmas Eve, and those plans don’t include him. A Christmas traditionalist, he is devastated.
Lanie finds a bullet in Santa and a paint chip embedded in him. They learn from the boot shop that his name is Edmund Smith, formerly of the Bronx.
Castle and Beckett go to Edmund’s apartment, and discover that he was a professional Santa Claus. They learn from his neighbors that a man threatened Edmund the previous week. There is a picture on his wall of the man, David Dunne, a pilot. When they go to find him, they come across a “Santa School”. His motive? Edmund took Dunne’s favorite Santa gig. Dunne denies killing Edmund, and claims to have an alibi.
It turns out that James Edmund Smith was previously a successful financier. He took $2,000 out of the bank just prior to his death, and called his ex-wife. She tells them about a man on a motorcycle who followed Edmund from her home. They also find out about a class action lawsuit involving his next door neighbors, the Cabots.
Beckett tells Castle that she has to work on Christmas Eve because the precinct is short staffed. When Castle begs Gates to give Beckett the night off, he learns that she volunteered to work. After her mother died during the winter holidays, she and her father stopped celebrating. Instead, she volunteers every year so that other cops can spend Christmas with their families.
At an airfield, Beckett and Esposito find a cherry red helicopter with fresh blood on the seat. The fuel usage of the helicopter suggests that it flew to Long Island and back. There are five heliports in Long Island and they narrow down the possibilities to the roof of a Case Commerce building (based on the candy canes found in Edmund’s pocket). Edmund was the Santa at the Case Commerce party. While there, he stole an antique clock that was worth about $30,000.
A custodian found an empty soda can and pipe tobacco on the roof. They confront Dunne, who tries to escape, and Esposito is attacked by a pack of Santas. Ryan arrives to stop Dunne from getting away.
The clock is found in Dunne’s apartment. It turns out that he was Edmund’s accomplice, but he didn’t kill him. Edmund was shot while running towards the helicopter. He died shortly after they took off and fell out when the helicopter banked.
Not long before his death, Edmund’s neighbor’s son found out that he had been responsible for their financial struggles. Edmund asked for his help in stealing evidence regarding the loan documents to help them with their class action suit against the company he used to run.
Beckett and Castle get a warrant and find files at Case Commerce. It turns out that Edmund was a known associate of the executive from Case Commerce and an accomplice in their shady business dealings. He denies killing Edmund but says he knows who did.
Motive, opportunity…if the old business went under, Edmund’s ex-wife stood to lose everything. She killed Edmund to keep that from happening.
Because of Edmund, 42 people have an opportunity to get their homes back. “Maybe there is a Santa Claus after all,” says Beckett, just before they don’t kiss under the mistletoe.
Ryan is afraid to go home and spend the night with his wife, knowing that she wants to have a baby. He tells Esposito that he doesn’t want to bring a child into this messed up world. Esposito reminds him that it’s families that make the world a better place and tells Ryan to make a baby.
Alexis and Martha decide to cancel their plans and spend the night with Castle, but he chooses to spend it with Beckett. Just as he reaches his front door, Beckett appears having gotten someone to cover for her so she can spend the evening with Castle.
All alone for Christmas, Esposito brings the clock to the Cabots. It turns out that her husband had put it up as collateral for their house. Grateful to him, Mrs. Cabot invites him to spend Christmas with them.
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