The red-haired daughter on “Castle” is just hitting adulthood these days, and her grown-up self is starting to appear. More than just a smart girl who loves her daddy, it looks like Alexis has a crime-solving bent too in “Like Father, Like Daughter.”
It’s just that Alexis is more into the justice of it all, rather than the murders. This is a nice contrast to Rick Castle. The fact that the development only helps to bring Alexis and Castle back together after their fight is just a bonus.
“Sometimes, the good guys don’t win.”
Several weeks have passed since Alexis decided her father was persona non grata for having been mean to Pi. But the girl hasn’t wasted any time on sulking. Instead, Alexis is actively pursuing a role in a justice project through her university: The group is trying to exonerate a young man accused of murder back in 1998. If they fail, he dies.
At the beginning of the episode, it looks like they’re going to fail.
This is hardly Alexis’ fault. In addition to hanging out in the courtroom, she is actively chasing leads and hounding about half of the NYPD to help review evidence.
It isn’t working. Frank Henson, the convicted murderer, has three days.
Although far more focused on healing the rift with his daughter, Castle has other things on his mind as well. That would be wedding venues. Unfortunately for Beckett, the only venue that seems to excite her fiance is the Moon.
Wedding talk gets tabled immediately when Alexis swallows her considerable pride and asks dad for help proving Frank’s innocence. She is even willing to road-trip to Pennsylvania for this, so obviously Castle jumps at the opportunity.
The awkwardness persists.
Murderer or super-unlucky guy?
Back in 1998, the police found Frank exiting the house of a teenage murder victim, Kim Talbot. Covered with her blood and having a criminal record, Frank quickly became the only suspect.
He has never admitted guilt though. Plus, Frank seems like a nice guy who has managed to keep hold of his high school sweetheart (“Justified” actress Joelle Carter) and very nice manners. Obviously he’s innocent.
Frank’s version of the story involves hearing screams and rushing over to find Kim. He used a car-repair rag to wipe off his prints, but the cops got there too soon. Not knowing who would kill the nice chemistry tutor, Frank implicates Lyle Gomez, Kim’s boyfriend at the time.
Examining the evidence, healing the rift
Believing that Alexis might never speak to him again if he fails to solve this case, Castle plunges in headfirst. Not that there’s much to go on.
No evidence points to anyone except the guy who happened to be on the scene, Frank. Locals — particularly a cop named Officer Lane — get mad at Alexis for dredging up the past. Trace evidence won’t be analyzed in time. There’s nothing.
Except that this is “Castle,” and nothing is enough to go on.
Castle figures out that the murderer had to have left the door open, and a lack of grease on the knob indicates that Frank didn’t wipe it down. Lanie expedites the evidence analysis and finds ammonium nitrate. An interview with Lyle, the ex-boyfriend, reveals that Kim had been out at Jasper Grove, a local party spot, on the night of her death.
Lyle isn’t the killer though. He had a great alibi. But he does point to “other guys.”
Ryan digs up evidence that links Jasper Grove to a meth-cooking operation. Since Kim was a chemistry tutor, the theory now becomes that she witnessed the drug stuff and was killed to keep quiet. Which of her students was she unknowingly tutoring to become the next Walter White?
The key clue is a chemistry book found next to the body. It belonged to one John Henson, Frank’s younger brother.
In a rather shocking turn of events, Frank isn’t interested in hearing about their new suspect. That’s because Frank has known all along that John did it.
A new story emerges: The year before the murder, Frank and John got into a car accident, and John ended up with a head injury. This led to falling behind at school (hence the chemistry tutoring), blackouts and drug use. But Frank has always felt this was his fault. On the night of the murder, Frank ran over to Kim’s house when he heard the screams, only to find John standing over the body. Shooing his brother out the back, Frank got caught trying to clean up evidence of John’s murder.
But this isn’t going to help Frank. Like any good brother, he doesn’t want John to take the fall, especially since John doesn’t even remember this period in his life.
Alexis is still not okay with any of this, and Castle chooses to be not-okay for her. Going through the crime-scene photos one more time, he notices a broken clock at the scene that reads 7:32. But the 911 call that alerted police to Kim’s murder didn’t come in until 8:04. Something is not right!
Further examination of the evidence yields a small, dolphin-shaped charm that did not belong to the victim. There’s a little DNA on it, but the trail to the actual murderer turns out to be a paper trail: Kim was paid by check for her tutoring.
Tracing the money and matching the dolphin to an old photo leads the father-daughter duo to …
Back in the day, Lane had gotten involved with meth cooking and didn’t want some nosy girl to derail his plans. So he killed her, much to the dismay of Lane’s police chief father.
Hugging it out
Thus, the case ends in happiness for all of the good guys. Frank is released and rushes to the arms of his long-suffering girlfriend and non-murderer brother. Alexis contents herself with justice. And then a hug from her father.
Back in New York, Alexis also shares one of those hugs with Beckett. Castle could not be prouder of his little girl.