'Castle' finale kills one, maybe two cops and exposes a dark secret

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They are dropping like flies.

Season 3 of "Castle" promised to end with death, but we may have just gotten more than we bargained for.

The first big departure came somewhat predictably in the last act -- after a game-changing revelation, naturally -- but the real shocker was reserved for the final moments, when another series regular was seemingly felled.

But how did we get there? We start, as we do with most noteworthy "Castle" outings, with looming mystery of Beckett's ( Stana Katic) murdered mom. She goes to meet the mystery killer's imprisoned associate Hal Lockwood --as she so often does -- only to find that he's been transferred to less secure facility where another accessory the conspiracy/murder, Gary McAllister, awaits his silencing execution.

Since even people in prison for murder can still be tried for another murder, Lockwood has a late-night hearing where something looks suspicious.

Now, did we accidentally stumble into a cold war thriller, or did the season finale of "Castle" actually include a helicopter breaking a gangster out of a New York City court room? It sure did. And with the closest known associate to Johanna Beckett's murderer on the lamb, the hunt pushes Beckett back into the danger zone.

This does not sit well with Castle ( Nathan Fillion). He tries to get his partner to back off, but she snaps. They fight, he even brings up the cuddles and unspoken-of kiss and then they appear to sever their partnership -- but it can't possibly last. They did that last finale.

While all of this is going down, Montgomery ( Ruben Santiago-Hudson) makes all sorts of foreboding comments, fatherly references and general red flag type statements that lead to the correct conclusion that he's going to die. What it did not prepare us for was the revelation that he's been part of the Johanna Beckett conspiracy from the beginning.

Oh yeah. That's right. We'll wait for you to affix your jaw to the rest of your face.

Turns out Montgomery was an unwilling accessory to the evil-doing. He accidentally shot another cop, made the wrong friends and ended up employing the woman who's mother he was tangentially involved in murdering. He promised the still-unnamed villain he'd keep an eye on her, in exchange for her safety.

But he's been doing a bad job, so a freed Lockwood pays him a visit and makes the situation clear:  either Beckett goes down or the entire Montgomery clan gets murdered.

He arranges to meet with Beckett -- while Esposito ( Jon Huertas) and Ryan ( Seamus Dever) do some sleuthing of their own, turning up evidence that puts Montgomery in the middle of the crimey web. Ryan is the first to point out the damning info. Esposito gets real mad at him for questioning the chief. The world's shortest bro fight ensues, and Esposito concedes that they need to tell Beckett.

But she's too busy having her world turned upside down by a confession from Montgomery, who hasn't sold her out at all. He's drawn Lockwood to the hanger to kill him and spare Beckett and his family. Only he makes two very big mistakes in the process.

1.) He does not tell Beckett who killed her mother, saying she won't be able to control or protect herself in possession of the information, so she can't have it. Lame.

2.) He dies.

He did get forgiven before he went though. It's sweet, but we bet she would have really forgiven him if he'd told her who the killer was. Beckett, Castle, Esposito and Ryan agree that the truth about Montgomery never come out. He'll die a hero.

And at his hero's funeral, Beckett even delivers a eulogy... for two!

We see her in the cross-hairs, just as Castle spots a laser sight, and though he dives to save her, she takes a bullet to the chest. There's blood everywhere, and her eyes roll back into her head, leaving her presumably dead and us extremely anxious until some unknown date in September when the show returns.

Could Beckett really be dead, though? Of course not. Unless there are some plans to kill off most of the remaining cast and reboot the series as a multi-generational "Cagney and Lacey" starring Susan Sullivan and Molly Quinn, she'll be just fine.
Photo/Video credit: ABC
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