The Late Shaft
Season 2, Episode 20
The Late Shaft
Air date April 12, 2010
Written by David Grae
Directed by Bryan Spicer
Episode guide
Wrapped Up in Death
Den of Thieves
Season 2
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The Late Shaft is the twentieth episode of the second season of Castle.


When a legendary talk show host is found dead after Castle appears on his show, and he has told Castle that his life was in danger, Castle and Beckett work to piece together a timeline of his final hours that could crack the case, even though it seems the victim died of natural causes. Meanwhile, Castle's fling with an actress, who is up for the part of Nikki Heat in the movie version of Heat Wave, has Beckett jealous.


Bobby Mann's late night talk show is in full swing. As he delivers his monologue, Castle is in make-up, preparing to do an appearance to promote Heat Wave, which is coming out in paperback and being made into a movie. Actress Ellie Monroe, also a guest for the evening, gushes over how honored she is to meet her favorite writer. Castle warms immediately to the beautiful movie star, and sparks fly when they flirt on the show as well. At home, Alexis and Martha love the banter, but at the precinct, Ryan and Beckett are less than impressed.

As the show closes, Alexis wonders out loud what the guests talk about with the sound off and as the credits roll. We're about to find out. Bobby thanks Castle for appearing, but then leans in and says, terrified, "They want me dead! You work with cops, right?" As his producer walks up, Bobby stops, but assures Castle that he'll call to explain. He never does. As Castle prepares Alexis for her camping trip the next morning, Martha arrives with the sad news: Bobby Mann died of a heart attack during the night.

Beckett is unconvinced when Castle tells his story. Neither Beckett nor Lanie expect to find anything, but as a favor to Castle, she re-examines the body and finds something. Bobby Mann was taking Phenelzine for depression. This drug has a powerful interaction with anything fermented-- even the slightest amount could cause a heart attack, and in the hours before his death, he'd only eaten three things: chewing gum, cranberry juice and balsamic vinegar. Mixed into cranberry juice, the (fermented) balsamic vinegar would have been undetectable, and certainly caused his death. This was no accident, this was a murder.

At the studio, Bobby's producer, Janine Marks, reports that Bobby had been acting strangely the day before he died. He'd spent the morning locked up in his office, alone, and after that had been rattled and paranoid. Hank McPhee, Bobby's sidekick, reminisced about their career together. The two had been friends long before their rise to fame. They'd been war buddies back in Vietnam. That's when Mickey Reed shows up, to express his condolences. Neither have any idea what could have made Bobby so agitated, but Hank remembers that Bobby left to see one of his ex-wives after he left the studio.

Mann, it turned out had been busy. He had six ex-wives, and had married a newer, younger blonde bombshell about every five years. Wife number 5 had been arrested over a fight with Mann at a restaurant. And Bobby Mann stopped by her building that night to visit. In the interview room, Cindy insists she hadn't seen him. But Barbara, his first wife, lived in the same building. Might he have gone there to see her instead?

Barbara Mann had seen her ex-husband. As the only one who'd loved and married him before his fame, he often came to see her when he was down. He hadn't confessed what was going on, but he'd looked haunted, guilty. He said something terrible was going on. He asked if she thought he was a good man. And then he left, at 1:15am, right before the kill window.

Ryan confirms Barbara's account with her neighbors, and just then, Ellie Monroe calls Castle. The two decide to meet up. Beckett responds cynically, but Castle points out that in light of the tragedy, it's important for people to offer one another moral support. Cut to Castle's bedroom door bursting open. Castle and Ellie are making out. Ellie throws Castle on the bed, and dives in. The morning after is bittersweet, though, because Beckett immediately guesses that the two slept together. Ellie calls again to schedule another bout of "grief counselling" that night, to which Castle eagerly agrees.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito, following a lead produced by Castle, finally track down Bobby's car, which has been missing since the night of the murder. It's parked at Mickey Reed's apartment. The doorman confirms it: the two met that night, well within the kill zone. Reed lied to them. At the studio, Reed is re-arranging Bobby's set, preparing to replace him. When Castle and Beckett confront him, he explains that he didn't want the tabloids reporting that the two had fought on the night Bobby died. While the two had always been friendly, on that night, Bobby had been livid about what a "disloyal punk" Mickey was. Beckett calls in a search warrant on Mickey's apartment and return to the precinct.

At the precinct, Howard Weisberg, president of the network, is thundering with rage. He storms out of Montgomery's office in a fury, and then stomps out of the station, bellowing threats and insults at anyone in his path. News of the murder investigation has gone public-- and another network got the story first.

Meanwhile, if Bobby left his car at Mickey's place, where did he go next? A few leads lead them to surmise that his next stop was a comedy club, the Comic Factory. Ryan and Esposito find out who he was there to see: rising star Angel Santana. Bobby arrived (in disguise), watched her act, and then left. When they try to question Angel, she assumes it was over vandalism that night on her bike. Someone smashed it, then scrawled "Late night bitch" on the gas tank. Angel assumes it was Bobby, who has a reputation for being vengeful.

Castle has another sex scene with Ellie, who again tears off his clothes and jumps him. The next morning, a producer for the Heat Wave movie calls, and Castle assures him that Ellie would be perfect to play Nikki. Beckett suggests that Ellie is only sleeping with him to secure the role. Castle is insulted and doesn't believe a word of it. And Beckett is clearly not jealous. But the case intervenes.

Ryan and Esposito have finally searched Bobby's car. In the glove compartment are a compromising picture of Bobby and Kayla, the show's young intern, with a threat typed on the back. When they meet with Kayla, she insists that they were in love (and had been for their entire three-week relationship). She was terrified that her mom would find out. Especially because her mom is Janine Marks, the show's producer. Sure enough, Marks is shocked and furious when she finds out, threatens to kill the (already dead) Bobby, and storms off to confront Kayla. Hank intervenes, asking Beckett and Castle to keep the affair under wraps in the name of Bobby's memory.

Armed with the information about the blackmail, Ryan identifies yet another suspect. Bobby had secretly sent hundred thousand dollars to a lowlife private investigator named Zach Robinson. Might this be the blackmailer?

Castle preps for the interrogation that night with a little bedside roleplay with his "Nikki Heat". As he mentions (in jest) Beckett's suspicion that she was just sleeping with him to get the part, she is horrified and insulted. She can't believe that Castle would think even for a moment that she would prostitute herself for a role. She leaves the room, sobbing. When Castle rebukes Beckett the next day for suggesting it, Beckett points out that actors are all professional liars, and are trained to lie on cue.

Zach Robinson's never seen the blackmail picture, but he does have a story to tell. Bobby paid him to bug Howard Weisberg's office. Robinson explains that Bobby was suspicious and wanted to know what was going on. He delivered the CD's with the recordings to Bobby on the morning before he was murdered. Beckett and Castle realize that that's why he had been locked in his office all morning: he was listening to the CDs. Ryan finds the CDs hidden in Mann's office. Sure enough, the recordings include Howard Weisberg plotting to fire Bobby due to low ratings. When his employees remind him that his contract will last for five more years, Weisberg speculates on how easy it would be for Bobby to have a "heart attack", and how Mickey Reed has been asking to replace Bobby for weeks.

Weisberg proves to be every bit as charming and convivial as he was the first time he was in the precinct. Only this time, he's cut short by the inadmissible but damning recordings. He explains that he did threaten Bobby with termination (and paying Bobby the $80 million penalty clause) if Bobby didn't start making major changes to appeal to a younger audience. He had no reason to kill Bobby Mann. He even has an alibi: an actress had been sleeping with him that night in exchange for a part on one of his network's sitcoms. Upon being told it was Ellie, Beckett is left smug at having been proven right while Castle is in shock. Ellie confirms Weisberg's alibi, though not without having to share a shamefaced look with Castle.

This leaves them back at square one, but not for long. Just as they're about to call it a night, Castle realizes everything: why Bobby felt so guilty, why he was at that comedy club, and who killed Bobby. The two meet again with Hank McPhee. Why was Bobby going to change his famous catch-phrase, "the boys will be back on duty tomorrow night"? It was a reference to his service with Hank back in Vietnam. But his idea book showed he was working on a new, gender neutral version. If Hank was replaced by a girl (like Angel Santana) then it would appeal to that younger audience Weisberg was demanding, it would require a change in the catch-phrase, and it would explain the vandalism (by Hank) on her bike. It would also explain why Bobby was murdered... by his own sidekick.

Confronted by the story, and faced with damning credit card information showing that he bought balsamic vinegar and cranberry juice minutes before Bobby died, and their suspicion that a test of his car keys would show traces of paint from Angel's motorcycle, Hank relents. He didn't kill for a job, he killed because he felt humiliated and wounded by this betrayal from a friend. The blackmail photo had been intended to remind Bobby how loyal Hank had always been, only to be dumped now. Hank had known everything, and had told Bobby that the two should let the network fire them, pay him the $80 million, go out as a team, just as they'd gone in. When Bobby refused, Hank pretended to give in, and offered him the cranberry juice as a toast to old times.

With the case over, Castle prepares for yet another big date... but this time with someone he knows he can count on: Alexis. He answers the door, expecting to see her back from her trip, but it's Ellie. She apologizes for using him, and expects him to rescind his recommendation of her. But Castle says he won't. He feels she'll be perfect for the role, and it turned out she's an even better actress than he thought. He had never had so much fun being used. They part on good terms, just in time for Alexis to arrive.


Castle 2X20

Castle 2X20


Main Cast

Guest Stars


Beckett: What are you doing?
Castle: It's called investigating, you should try it.
Beckett: I usually wait until there's a crime.
Castle: We should have a signature line. “She's armed, he's dangerous.”
Beckett: No.
Castle: No? How about “A whole new chapter in crime solving?”
Beckett: Ooh.
Castle: Chapter. Get it?
Beckett: No.
Ryan: Aren't famous people crazy and narcissistic?
Beckett: I don't know. Gotta ask Castle.
Esposito: Where is Castle anyway?
Castle: Your not paranoid if someone's actually trying to kill you.
Janine Marks: He was banging my daughter right under my nose?! I will kill him!
Castle: He's already dead.
Janine Marks: Well I will kill him again! I don't care! Where's the corpse?!
Beckett: Ms. Marks, we just...
Janine Marks: Kayla! My office, now! Move it! Move it!
Alexis: Do you think he's asked her out yet?
Martha: Your father? Pretty girl like that? He may have proposed by now.

Featured Music

  • "With You" - Graham Colton
  • "Turn Around" - Soul P


  • During Castle's interview in the opening scene, Bobby Mann promoted the fact that Heat Wave would be coming out in paperback on July 27, 2010. This was its actual release date.
  • Tom Bergeron hosts Dancing With the Stars, which airs immediately before Castle in the United States on ABC. Since his character died in this episode, he was unavailable to play the host of the show's fictional counterpart in "A Dance With Death".
  • While Castle speaks on behalf of Ellie Monroe playing Nikki Heat, the part eventually goes to Natalie Rhodes instead.
  • At one point in the episode, Castle suggests to Beckett that the two of them should have a signature line. He then pitches two: "She's armed, he's dangerous." and "A new chapter in crime solving." Both are promotional tag lines used for the show.
  • When the crew finds out that Bobby Mann visited Mickey Reeds apartment the night that he died Castle says "Oh Mickey, not so fine", referring to the song "Mickey" by Toni Basil from 1982, where she sings "Oh, Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind".
  • If caught, the joke that Bobby Mann told at the beginning of his show, about a golfer being in the news again, is a reference to the 2010 Tiger Woods sex scandal.
  • When Esposito plays the recording back for the rest of the team, his headphones are still plugged in. Most players won't play through the speakers if there are headphones plugged in.
  • You can see Beckett's jealousy of Ellie Monroe that hinted her feelings for Castle.


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