To be or not to be? That is the question. Also, who used an old-fashioned writing quill from the prop department of a Shakespearean masterpiece to kill the leading man playing Hamlet? That’s the real question.
Our dead guy’s name is Zane, and he is one of those Hollywood types who can’t act to save his life. Castle suggests he was murdered by Shakespeare’s ghost for butchering his play. The director has other ideas. Zane was a friend of hers from theater school and admits that her classmate was notorious for sleeping around with his leading ladies. Head’s up: Ophelia is a method actor who is also crazy.
Ophelia also has an alibi for the night of the murder but does mention that Zane acted like he was cheating on her. This information leads the investigation to a suite at the Black Door Hotel, where Zane checked in under an assumed name. We learn that he’s been staying there for two weeks with another woman. Castle and the boys enter the room and find a woman lying in the bed. It only takes one shout of “NYPD” for Martha to pop up from under the covers. Castle is dumfounded that his mom is in Zane’s bed. I applaud Martha’s sauciness. Redheads always have more fun.
Martha explains that she was not having an affair with Zane. She was his acting coach. He was totally out of his depth playing Hamlet, so she agreed to train him. She made him dig deep, and as a result, he decided to confront his demons. That demon turns out to be his step-brother Johnny Toro, who just so happens to be a newly released inmate. It was not a happy reunion.
Back in the day, Zane and Johnny were charged with breaking and entering. Johnny took the fall. He went to the slammer while Zane went to Hollywood. Espo and Ryan think Johnny is harboring hard feelings about his brother forgetting about him in jail. Sure, Johnny is bitter, but he and Zane were arguing about money. It appears that Zane had a hard time paying his taxes. The question remains: Why did Zane take on a theater gig instead of a big-budget movie? Johnny claims he had a money-making plan.
Just when the precinct faces another dead end, Ryan notices a man filming him and Espo in the street. As luck would have it, this paparazzi weirdo has also been filming Zane since he got to New York so he could cash in on his inevitable crash and burn as Hamlet. Guess who has footage of Zane the night he was murdered?
It shows a bald man with legit tats giving Zane a burner phone in exchange for an envelope full of money. The guy is brought in to the precinct and sings like a bird after Espo threatens to move his little brother to a penitentiary that is hours away from his doting mother. This guy knew Zane back in the day. He claims Zane wanted to get in touch with his boss, El Oso. This is a very bad dude. Ten grand gets you a burner phone, and if El Oso wants to talk, he’ll call you. Rumor has it, Zane secured face-to-face time with the drug lord. When he asked for a second meeting, it didn’t go well. All signs point to El Oso at this point. The DEA, FBI, and the Mexican government have all tried to find him without luck.
NEXT: To thine own self be true[pagebreak]
That’s the deal with El Oso. You don’t find him. He finds you. And he finds Castle pretty quickly that night. That’s what happens when paparazzi upload videos of famed authors working with the NYPD to locate the murderer of a celebrity. Castle finds himself in El Oso’s lair. El Oso reminds Castle that if he wanted Zane dead, he would have killed him easily. And he wouldn’t use anything as cute as a quill. He’s not a murderer (this time). Zane contacted him because he wanted the rights to his life story. He thought it would win him an Oscar. El Oso gave Zane an ultimatum: If he dropped the big budget movie in lieu of a real Broadway play and he got a good review, El Oso would hand over the rights. But who cares about Zane now? Perhaps Castle would like to write his life story screenplay? Castle is flattered. Then he notices the bed and computer set up in the lair and suddenly realizes that El Oso means right now. It’s all fun and games until your surroundings remind you of Misery.
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Meanwhile, Martha informs Beckett that Castle stood her up for dinner. When Beckett pings Castle’s phone and discovers that it’s in a parking garage, footage is confiscated and the team realizes that Castle has been abducted. Beckett pings Castle’s super fancy YOLO card, the credit card for the obnoxious, and sends a recovery team in to save the day. El Oso shoots at the helicopter while units storm the building. All of the bad guys die, and just as El Oso is about to escape, Castle trips him, and he’s apprehended. Beckett considers it a victory, even though Castle’s life is probably in more danger now that he’s betrayed El Oso.
The DA was able to confiscate all the burner phones in El Oso’s lair, including the one Zane used to call an international line in Mexico. The receiver? El Oso’s younger brother, Hector. Castle soon figures out that this is a real-life version of Hamlet. There’s the rivalry of two bothers, as well as the fact that Hector has been sleeping with El Oso’s wife. Hector can’t own the throne until his brother is dead. Zane is the Trojan horse. He needed money. Hector solves that problem. But when El Oso wouldn’t meet with Zane a second time, Hector cut his losses.
Hector finds this story completely ridiculous. He could not care less about his brother’s biography. He even told Zane he could direct it for all he cared. So who would be unhappy to find out that they just lost a big time directorial debut? Why the director of Hamlet, of course. Her browser history and bloody shoes were a smoking gun. Ophelia’s not looking so crazy now, is she?
Beckett and Castle try and celebrate with a quiet night of Chinese food but are interrupted by a package being delivered. The music turns ominous, and I prepare myself for a severed finger. Or maybe something Loksat related since we left on sort of a cliffhanger last week? Instead, Castle opens a box full of script notes and biographical material. It’s clear that El Oso doesn’t want Castle dead — he still wants him to write his screenplay.