Original Air Date: Dec 6, 2010
Alexis P – Reviewer
In this week’s episode Castle and Beckett investigate the death of a pub owner who’s historical prohibition era speak-easy might be hiding a priceless and legendary treasure rich enough to kill for.
A fisherman casts a line off the docks and into the East River. But he doesn’t get a bite, he gets a body! Poor former dock worker Donald Hayes gets pulled from the river. Castle wants to blame it on a mob hit but it is not to be.
They find out that Donald had sold his union card for $25,000 dollars and that his entire bank account is cleared out a withdrawal of $150 thousand dollars paid to a Billy Pitt in order for Donnie to purchase Pitt’s grandfather’s pub The Old Haunt. Castle gets excited and turns to the teams who have never been there. “We’re cops we go to cop bars.” Esposito replies.
Lanie the ME finds red glass embedded in the head wound of the victim and buck shot in his shoulder but not much else. Beckett also uncovers a suspect. Donnie had outbid a bartender named Bryan for the tavern. Perhaps he was a bit resentful about it.
Castle is thrilled to make a visit to the Old Haunt. He tells Beckett he wrote most of his first novel there. It was a bordello and a speakeasy in prohibition days and it’s a classic, a dying breed. As he waxes lyrical on the nostalgia of the pub Beckett shakes out her hair and unbuttons her blouse a bit. Castle wonders what she is doing. “Can’t get much out of Bryan looking like a cop,” she tells him. “Unbutton one more to be safe.” He says. She smirks and does just that, rendering Castle speechless for a moment while he follows her into the pub.
The place is a beauty with plenty of atmosphere and history to boot. Castle points out a photo of himself on the wall. “You were so cute back then!” Beckett exclaims. “What do you mean back then?” Castle asks. Kate has no reply to that and moves on to the bar. Behind it is Bryan a rather cute bartender and the very person they need to see. Beckett pours on the charm while he pours a drink and flirts with Kate. Castle doesn’t like this at all and tries to interject into their playful conversation. Finally Beckett flashes her badge and they get down to business but Bryan seems off the hook.
Beckett wants to see Donnie’s office in the basement by way of secret passage. Too cool and Castle thinks it is awesome. Have they found their murder scene? They find fresh paint and buckshot in the wall. According to a female bartender there was an altercation with one of the regulars known as Pick up Pete. Donnie banned him from the bar for life afterwards and beat up Pete’s pick up. Could Pete have come back for revenge?
They pick up Pete and bring him to interrogation, and the man is as loaded as the shot gun in his truck. Ryan and Esposito discover there were no hard feelings and Donnie even gave Pete the money for repairs to the truck. Pete says Donnie peeled off a grand from a wad of cash as if it were nothing. Ryan and Esposito go back for the books at the pub, no blood or red glass was found in the office to make it the murder scene.
But where was Donnie getting that kind of money? They discover that the pub was barely making it and uncover a consignment from an auction house. Castle tells them of a local legend. Former New York Prohibition era Mayor Beau Walker was rumored to have a famous liquor collection hidden away. They visit the auction house and the auctioneer Mr. Heisler. The item that Donnie sold was a prized 1875 St. Miriam bottle of Scotch. Castle practically goes weak at the knees wishing he could taste a vintage like that. The red glass bottle of whiskey sold for $26,000 at auction Heisler tells them. That is one expensive murder weapon.
They track down the millionaire who had purchased the liquor. Castle is not impressed with the pipsqueak internet gaming mogul who is cocky, uncultured and stalling. Beckett threatens to arrest him and he turns over the empty bottle he was about to recycle. If I were 15 years younger… Castle mutters to Beckett as he cradles the bottle as if it were a rescued lost child. Lanie confirms that the glass is the same type as found in the vic but it wasn’t from that bottle.
While mixing drinks back at home Castle tells Martha he is inspired to open a tavern of his own and gets a sudden brainstorm about the case and calls Beckett. She shows up at the Old Haunt to meet him there and they go to the basement. Bootleggers went to extreme measures to protect their stock so they need to discover if Beau Walker really did have a secret stash in the Old Haunt. Sure enough they find a passage behind the bookcase in the office. That leads to a door with a mounted shot gun and a passage where they can hear the rushing of the East River.
Castle tries to create a torch from a roll of alcohol soaked tp on a plunger. “Not so fast Indie,” Beckett says pulling out a flashlight. This line struck my brother as really funny. So down they go in the damp, dark, cramped passage. They find a wall torn apart. Inside Castle lets out a laugh, they have found Beau’s secret collection. The walls are lined with 100 bottles of St. Miriam Scotch. They find broken red glass, signs of a struggle and drag marks leading out and down the passage to the river. They have finally found their crime scene.
But what of the murderer? They hear scuffling in the passage and pursue only to lose whoever was down there with them. They need to find another way in. They go to the library and look at old sewer line maps and discover someone else had the same idea two weeks ago, Mr. Heisler from the auction house. Turns out Heisler convinced Donnie to sell off each bottle one at a time but Heisler got greedy and found the location of the stash. Donnie found him there and Heisler was startled and ended up killing him with the bottle.
So the case is closed but there are two cases of St. Miriam’s that are unclaimed. Ryan and Esposito wheel them in while Castle fidgets wanting to get his hands on a bottle. Beckett wonders what will become of the Old Haunt. Don’t worry about that, Castle had bought it. And as for the liquor? The captain says it belongs to the city now and if Castle makes a generous donation he can have a bottle. Castle is beyond words and invites them all to his place to share it. And in a truly New York moment the team walks out together singing Piano Man.
I have to say this episode turned out quite good. I loved the history and secret stashes and passageways beneath an old speakeasy. It was intriguing and this episode had some great lines and humor from the whole cast. Can’t wait for more.