When the Bough Breaks
Season 2, Episode 5
When the Bough Breaks
Air date October 19, 2009
Written by René Echevarria
Directed by John Terlesky
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When the Bough Breaks is the fifth episode of the second season of Castle.


A woman who is an illegal immigrant is found dead in a manhole, prompting Castle and Beckett to uncover a dark secret about a successful doctor, and a possible connection between his son, and that of the victim. At the same time, Castle's first book based on Beckett, Heat Wave, is released to rave reviews (after Martha's prognostications of doom), and he is offered the writing opportunity of a lifetime, causing him to struggle with the fact that accepting the new gig would end his partnership with Beckett.


Paula Haas, Castle's agent, shows up (at 7 a.m.) to tell him that he has been offered the contract for three books on "a certain British secret agent". Castle is thrilled. This series inspired him to be a writer in the first place, but there's one catch: he can hardly follow Beckett if he's working this new project instead of Nikki Heat. Beckett calls to tell him about a murder.. but Castle decides to call her back.

Elsewhere, Kate Beckett and company investigate a murder scene where a Caucasian female is found murdered in a manhole. Later, at the morgue, Perlmutter suggests that she's almost certainly an eastern bloc immigrant. Starting with the candy wrapper found on her clothing, Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan find the place where it was sold, and the name of the woman who bought the candy, Eliška Sokol. At her apartment, Castle finds a picture hidden behind a dresser. It is of a woman and a child, and the woman's face is scratched out.

When Montgomery implies that Castle will be around for more Nikki Heat novels, Beckett complains about having to work with him, and that this was supposed to be a one-book deal. Montgomery responds that the Mayor wants Castle there, and she will have to cooperate. Meanwhile, Martha Rodgers makes Castle doubt his contribution to solving cases, and suggests that Beckett will be thrilled not to have Castle following her around anymore. Castle's confidence is shaken; he goes into the precinct with ideas for the case, but Beckett has already thought of them all and located the woman in the picture.

A hotel manager says that Eliška used to work there. She was fired when Melissa Talbot registered a complaint against her. Ms. Talbot tells them that Eliška would often be overfamiliar with her son Zane and give him chocolates and lollipops.

Eliška's ex-husband, Teodor Hájek, tells Castle and Beckett that she left him when their three year old son died of an incurable genetic disease. His slow, wasting death broke their hearts and destroyed their marriage. With seemingly no leads, they check on the apartment once again and find a tenant who tells them Eliška had an argument with a man who resembles Dr. Cameron Talbot, Melissa's husband. At his office, Talbot confesses that he was having an affair with Eliška and when she got too close to his family, he got her fired. He is alibied out by his head nurse, who says he was at the hospital all night on the day of the murder.

At the gala opening of Heat Wave, Beckett is touched by his dedication to her and the precinct. Castle mentions his "British secret agent" deal, trying to see if she wants him to keep working with her or if she really is as annoyed by his presence as she claims. Beckett clearly doesn't want Castle to leave, but doesn't want to admit it, either. So Castle and Beckett argue, a row that ends with Castle deciding to take the deal.

The next day, Beckett is still angry with Castle, who stops by only to pick up his sunglasses. By chance, Castle overhears that Eliška had an earlier incident at a playground, where she was again overly-friendly with another boy at a park. Meanwhile, the landlord has asked permission to rent out the apartment as Eliška's rent was paid till Friday. As the rent is taken weekly, Castle reasons that someone else must have paid this week's rent. When the landlord states that a blonde woman has taken all of Eliška's mail, they conclude it must be Melissa Talbot, and stake out the apartment to catch her in the act.

Beckett points out that this is ironic, since the police don't go through unopened mail without a warrant. Whatever incriminating evidence she's been trying to intercept, the police wouldn't have found it. Her attempt to cover up the evidence is what exposed her. Castle, complimenting her on her correct use of irony, is glad that even though he's leaving, he's left good grammar in his wake. Beckett, meanwhile, realizes that Castle really is leaving and hides her grief-stricken face from him. But when the blonde woman shows up, it isn't Melissa Talbot at all—it turns out to be the head nurse of Dr. Talbot's office.

The nurse confirms that the alibi she'd given Dr. Talbot was a lie. Talbot had his nurse pay for the extra week of rent and collect the mail every day, so she could intercept the letter. She was intercepting money he'd mailed the victim, to help him cover the affair. Meanwhile, Esposito and Ryan have tracked down the woman in the playground. They discover that her son was born the same day, in the same hospital, as Eliška's son. Castle suddenly realizes that the Talbot boy may have been born at the same time as well, and that this is the hospital where Talbot works. They call in the Talbots and tell them Eliška had done a mail order DNA test on the swabs she had used on Zane Talbot while giving him the candy.

When he realizes that they have the DNA results, Dr. Talbot breaks down and confesses that Melissa's boy had Niemann Pick syndrome. This debilitating disease is incurable and fatal within a couple of years. Facing years of raising a sick son, only for him to die young anyway, he had switched the name tags on the baby's cribs so that his wife could take home Eliska's healthy boy as her own. There was no affair; Cameron killed her to cover up the baby swap; after searching her apartment he'd found the lab paperwork.

Melissa Talbot had no idea about the substitution. She later invites Teodor to her home to see Zane. While he will not take him away from her, they will both have a hand in raising his son. She asks about her own son, the son she never met, and he gives her a photo.

With the case over, Castle and Beckett are about to go their separate ways. Suddenly, their phones ring. Beckett's on with Montgomery, and Castle with his agent. Sales of Heat Wave are through the roof... and the publisher is making a very generous offer for three more Nikki Heat books. With that much money in play, Castle tells Paula to forget the British deal. There's just one catch...

Meanwhile, Paula has already contacted the Mayor and "encouraged" him to ask the NYPD to allow Castle to stay. With the Mayor facing re-election and her work with Castle good publicity, Montgomery orders Beckett to keep Castle around until those books are done. Horrified, Castle insists to Beckett that this wasn't his idea, but she is furious. Before Beckett can respond, the phone rings... it's another murder. Beckett strolls away to get on with her job, pauses with a half-smile, turns (during which time the smile takes a vacation), and asks irritatedly what's happened to her shadow. They both run out to fight crime together as the screen fades.


Castle 2x05 When the Bough Breaks

Castle 2x05 When the Bough Breaks


Main Cast

Guest Starring



Ryan: Yeah, body was found down that manhole over there, half eaten.
Castle: Eaten?
Ryan: Yeah, it was covered in some kind of green slime.
Castle: Whoa.
Esposito: Yeah. It was creepy. It's as if someone, or something, is down there.
Castle: Ah, that's... okay, very funny.
Ryan: We're gonna check nearby trash cans for the murder weapon.
Castle: Ah, what was the murder weapon, by the way?
Ryan: Some kind of death ray.
Esposito: Turns your insides out.
Castle: I almost ordered a Russian bride once. You know, a Czech mate?
Castle: Want a lollipop?
Alexis: Oh, yes.
Castle: Tastes like soap.
Alexis: I'll pass.
Castle: Suit yourself.
Castle: (to Beckett, regarding the dedication in the book) I meant it. You are extraordinary.
Beckett: I didn’t see it that way.
Castle: You’re saying that because you’ve never been scorned.
Beckett: What makes you say that?
Castle: Oh, c’mon. What man has ever turned you away?
Paula: Jeez. One night in Ibiza and what do I get? A chapter in Storm Fall?
Castle: A very hot chapter.
Paula: And she gets a whole book? She must be a pretty special girl. Let me ask you something, when she calls you, do you call her back?

Featured Music

  • "Everybody Loves Me" - One Republic
  • "Fever's Burning Up" - Alyx
  • "Do What U Like" - Bad Boy Bill feat. Alyssa Palmer



  • Castle says the James Bond (the implied "certain British agent" he is being asked to write) is the reason he became a writer. Stana Katic appeared in the 22nd EON Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.
  • Castle's agent, Paula, says that an unanswered phone gives her "agita", which actually references heartburn, and not agitation.[1]
  • Castle not only arrives late to the crime scene, he comes without coffee, and Beckett already has her own. This reinforces the sense that they are moving away from their old pattern.
  • When Beckett first learns from Captain Montgomery that Castle is going to be writing a second Nikki Heat novel, she is visibly upset.
  • As mentioned in "Flowers For Your Grave", Castle is seen at his book launch signing women's 'chests'.
  • After his and Beckett's argument at the Heat Wave gala Castle returns to the 12th saying that he is only there to pick up his sunglasses. However in the scene just before the gala Castle is show putting on said sunglasses.
  • Castle refers to Alanis Morissette's song "Ironic" (1995), in which the events listed in the song are not truly ironic.[2]
  • Castle and Beckett shake hands as they are about to part ways. But the handshake does not share the symbolism of the one shared in Secret's Safe with Me.
  • The closing scene foreshadows the season finale. Martha casts doubt on Castle's relationship with Beckett. He won't stay without any indication that Beckett actually wants him there, confirmed that Beckett can't bring herself to give. Fate intervenes in the form of one of Castle's literary contacts, his agent, Paula.
  • When Paula happened to asked Castle if he was sleeping with Beckett, he said no. But he and Beckett did sleep to together later in After the Storm.


  • The alley where the detectives find the body is actually found at 117 E 7th St in Los Angeles, California.


  1. Although Latin in origin, agita is not derived from the word agitation. Instead, it is an Americanized version of an Italian word meaning "heartburn" or "acid". The agita first appeared in common culture in New York during the 1980s. The word is used frequently on HBO's 'The Sopranos'.
  2. Dispute Over Proper Use of Irony