Maybe this private dick thing isn’t going to work out for Richard Castle after all. By the end of last night’s episode, it looked like Rick was looking to shutter his practice after getting too close to the fire on a case, and the trailer for next week’s episode teased the return of 3XK and an unspoken promise that we would see Rick playing the concerned spouse to Beckett and not a gumshoe in that episode.
And that’s good, because after injecting a little bit of life into this season at the midpoint, the effort to both keep Richard Castle P.I. connected and apart from the goings on at the 12th precinct has gotten downright comical.
This time, Captain Gates was on vacation, allowing Rick a chance to set foot in the precinct without fear of reprisal — which was helpful since yet another case found a way to involve both Rick and Kate Beckett. If not for 3XK’s return next week, I assume the Captain would have been recovering from cataract surgery, forcing Rick to tip toe and whisper while in the precinct — those scamps.
Getting back to the case of the week, this one involved a few twists and turns, while happily borrowing from the hardboiled paperback detective genre and Alfred Hitchcock, as Rick P.I. got a visit from a woman from his past who was looking for a bit of dirt on her adulterous husband. Initially hesitant to get involved in something so shady, Rick eventually conquered the mountain of doubt, understanding that THIS IS THE BUSINESS THAT HE HAS CHOSEN!
The woman’s suspicions confirmed, Rick went to provide the proof that his client (no names this week, let’s be tawdry) desired, only to witness a murder at her Westchester mansion… or did he?
After seeing the murder — or did he? — Rick pursued the killer into the woods because he’s an idiot. He then got out of his car because he’s a huge idiot and wound up getting hit on the head.
Some strange shit has happened this season when Rick has been hit in the head, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t fall into an alternate dimension this time. Instead, Rick woke up in the woods and immediately called Kate, who called a stereotypically doubty local cop who didn’t trust Rick’s story.
As the episode went on, even Rick started to have his doubts, sensing a double-cross by his client until she was found dead. The case seemingly clear cut at that point, and with a DNA match in hand, Kate and the local authorities went to arrest the husband but instead they found him swinging like a chandelier. Case closed? Guilt suicide? Are you new here?
Another layer of complication was unravelled, first leading us to the businessmen who had met with the victim’s husband early on — one barely explored, the other locked in a complicated scheme with the wife to get back at her husband for sleeping with his wife, and names might have been helpful, but it’s too late to turn back now!
With just a few minutes to go in procedural regulation and no ability to go into overtime, the Castle writers had time for a few more plays. So they ditched the businessman angle and went with the team’s general counsel. Alakazam jackass, the end.
But here’s the thing, Castle is so paint-by-numbers in its crime solving that even the unpredictable elements are predictable. Casting suspicion on a random acquaintance from the early part of an episode? Classic Castle. Even ditching them and going for the lawyer was something that they did a few weeks ago in Castle, P.I. when Nicole Morris was revealed as the killer (she gets a name).
Thankfully, next week seems like it will offer a brief reprieve from the norm (even if we’re once again revisiting an arch nemesis character), but as the dust settles, I now find myself hoping that the P.I. experiment, that I once loudly cheered on, will go away after the writers and producers showed that, while they were committed to it as more than a one-off lark, they weren’t actually committed to allowing Rick a chance to do this on his own or to truly change things up.