At the end of the very first episode, Beckett turns to see Castle, who has just manoeuvred himself onto the force, giving her the biggest, cheekiest, shit-eating grin he's ever flashed. You just know the show's going to be fantastic after that.
The first incident from Flowers For Your Grave deserves special mention because he manages it by working out the murderer's secondary motive for killing the victim while hostage, freaking the murderer out enough to make a mistake.
In Nanny McDead, Castle managed to weave a hypothetical tale about a potential Stalker with a Crush being the killer, managing to creep out seasoned homicide detectives and their Captain.
In 'Home is Where the Heart Stops,' Castle meets Beckett at the gun range and she starts to show him how to shoot while he acts like a complete novice. Then when he asks to borrow evidence photos, Beckett offers them if he puts any one of the next three shots through the center of the target. He casually shoots three bullseyes in a row, revealing he was only pretending in order to enjoy Beckett's Hands-On Approach to training.
In Fool Me Once, Alexis gets one after she drags her father into the police interview room and chastises him severely. Castle is visibly shaken afterward.
From the same episode, Castle being a consummate good parent when Alexis and her friend end up at a party with spiked punch.
Kill the Messenger is an entire episode of this for Captain Montgomery. The highlight: Rich Guy Blake Wellesley shows up to tell the Captain he needs to start scheduling police interviews with Wellesley family members in advance rather than just showing up. The Captain says, basically, "screw you" and sends him out.
Wellesley: I can get the commissioner on the phone in a second. Captain: Tell him I said hi - and that I really could use a raise. Castle:[giddy]That was awesome! Awesome!
Beckett: Hell of a shot. Castle: I was aiming for his head!
In Sucker Punch, Castle manages to surprise a professional killer that has a gun on him, bloodying the gunman's nose with a sharp reverse headbutt. Beckett then shoots him down before he can take aim at Castle.
Mitch Pileggi plays a murder suspect in "A Deadly Game" who informs Castle and Beckett that he's with the CIA, that they'll be getting a phone call very shortly that will inform them to let him go, which they will do contritely. Both are given chills by his cold, ruthless demeanor. What makes this a moment of awesome is that his character is actually not in the CIA, but rather in a role-playing spy game, and was unaware, at the time of his initial interrogation, that he was really under arrest and suspected of murder. His reaction to learning the truth falls into Funny Moments.
At the climax of the season opener, Castle actually drops a suspect with one shot, thereby saving Beckett's life. The even more awesome part? Beckett did the same for him simultaneously.
In 3XK, Castle discovers the real killer and exposes him, but the killer gets the drop on Detective Ryan and knocks him out, tying them both up while he gets his things to blow town. Castle then proceeds to stand up to the killer and analyze his backstory without an ounce of fear, and then answers a phone call from his mother and alerts her to something being wrong by only saying "I love you." Castle's utter fearlessness in the face of death makes this one of his most awesome moments in the show's run.
Season 5's Probable Cause only increases the awesome: the 3XK reveals to Castle that the only thing that separated him from disappearing and be able to commit more murders was Castle exposing him.
Natalie Rhodes gets one at the end of "Nikki Heat" when talks down a suicidal suspect with the same lines she used in the movie she was in at the beginning of the episode -the same lines that Castle had been criticizing.
Castle:Guess that script wasn't so wacky after all.
In Poof, You're Dead, Beckett, who's had experience as an assistant to her magician grandfather, sees right through a suspect's attempt to poof away. She brings him out of his hiding place and says, "Alakazam, jackass." She says this wonderful One-Liner at the end again when she caught the Corrupt Corporate Executive that murdered the Body of the Week.
Castle and Beckett's Fake-Out Make-Out (for some small value of "fake") to fool the Mook standing guard where Ryan and Esposito are being held.
Followed by Beckett's single-blow K.O. of said Mook with the butt of her gun. Castle himself thought it was 'amazing'
Both Ryan and Esposito, responding to a well trained and armed assassin, who has them restrained:
Hit man: Now, I'm gonna make you a deal: you tell me what I need to know, one pro to another, and I will put a bullet in your brain. You don't, you jerk me around, and you will be begging me to before this night is up. [Ryan and Esposito look at each other] Esposito: I'm gonna have to go with option B. Ryan: Oh yeah, we're definitely going to jerk you around. [cut to Ryan getting his head dumped in a tank of ice water]
Later when Ryan is lifted out of the tank for a quick breather:
Ryan: Listen, ass-clown, I was in Catholic school for twelve years, hell, they used to do this to me for talking in cla— [gets forced back into the water]
Later, again, Ryan is thrashing in the tank:
Esposito: Okay! [Ryan is lifted out, coughing and spitting up water] Ryan: Don't tell this jackhole anything. Esposito: I'm sorry bro, I can't watch this. [to Hit man] Listen to me. You're too late. The cops already know all about me and Your Mom.
Bear in mind as well that this was just a few episodes after Ryan proposed to Jenny and Esposito got serious with Lanie, so both of them had a heck of a lot to lose. It's even bigger for Ryan than Esposito. Esposito we know was in the army, looks visibly buff and clearly knows how to handle himself. Ryan dresses in sharp three piece suits to a normal day of work, and isthe office Butt-Monkey so naturally you'd assume he'd be the one to break, and presumably the assassin did too, just by looking at him. So when we see that it's Ryan getting tortured and he's not breaking, it just shows that he can be badass too.
In retrospect, this scene also is really cool when you learn Ryan was an undercover cop dealing with organized crime, so he has experience dealing with people testing his loyalty.
The fact Ryan and Esposito finally had their chance to shine and crack the case in an episode can be considered a CMOA
Castle jumping on the assassin who was about to headshot Beckett and punching the guy unconscious. Clearly not all writers are Non Action Guys.
One cool One-Liner from Lucky Stiff has Castle, Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito tracking down two suspects who knew the victim of the week. Cut to a scene of them doing a rap called "Get on the Floor". Beckett interrupts the song and when the two rapper wannabes complain, Castle gets on the mike.
Castle: Three armed cops and a writer make four. You're under arrest, so get on the floor.
A small one during Setup when Beckett and Castle are kicked off the task force for contacting a witness with diplomatic immunity. The agent snarkily tells Castle that the governor has never heard of him as a Call-Back to Castle's bluff to keep himself on the case and Castle gives him the best "fuck off" look just before leaving the office with Beckett.
Captain Montgomery exposing the District Attorney in Law & Murder with absolute implacability, and a microphone behind his necktie.
Goes into minor Tear Jerker in the scene after where you can see the water in Roy's eyes over having to put away a long time friend who, legitimately, still did good things.
In the same episode, Ryan and Esposito are talking when they notice a door closing in the home of the victim of the week. Without skipping a beat, they continue their conversation while at the same time getting ready to ambush their attacker and using the conversation to plan their ambush. It's not often we get to see the two in fights so it's nice to see that when the show gives them the opportunity, it treats them as well as Beckett and Castle.
Season finale, Knockout: Montgomery's final stand 'nuff said.
A little one when Montgomery says that he allowed Castle to work at the station because he wanted to, not because the mayor pressured him into it. It just showed that Montgomery is willing to stand up to anyone who gets in the way of good police work, even his boss.
Ryan in the whole of Kick the Ballistics when his stolen weapon is used to kill someone and he hunts the murderer down.
Kate's negotiation in Cops and Robbers has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Extra points for the part where Kate threatens to put a bullet through the hostage taker's skull.
In that same vein, about 99% of all of Castle's actions during the hostage situation count as this, particularly the brilliant move of using his mother's bracelet to communicate Morse code on the ceiling so the cops could see. He also gets a lot of smaller-scale moments where his calm, authoritative and level-headed approach to what's happening leads the other hostages to view him as something of a leader.
Even the leader of the merc bank robbers was impressed with Castle, after Castle demonstrated Awesome by Analysis to show that he realized this was no ordinary bank robbery.
"Trapper John":[sincerely] Oh, I like you. That's why I'm going to kill you last.
The cop at the end who delivers one hell of a line to the episode's villain: (Points gun at head) "Now think real hard about your next move."
Esposito's ice-cold recreation of a sniper's attack in Kill Shot.
Also, he predicts where the sniper will shoot from, gets in position and takes him down before he can kill Beckett.
Castle demonstrates his usefulness to Gates by deciphering the sniper's paper doll clues.
Castle unleashing the murder victim's dog upon the murderer in An Embarrassment of Bitches.
Castle: Get 'im, Royal.
Also, the judo-flip that Esposito does to a fleeing suspect.
In Linchpin, Beckett tackling a rogue CIA agent that nearly killed the daughter of an important Chinese businessman, an event that could have triggered World War III according to a mathematical model just before he did the dirty deed.
The team faking out the killer at the end of Undead Again. The man literally committed the perfect murder, and yet he gets caught because Castle is that awesome.
In After the Storm, Beckett finally confronts SenatorBracken, the man responsible for not only her mother's murder but the attempt on her life, as well as all the psychological baggage that she bears as a result of both of those actions. She not only coldly dismisses his justification for his actions, but verbally beats him down, at the end revealing that even if he does kill her, she'll pull a Taking You with Me by exposing all of his crimes.
In Probable Cause, the 3XK is holding Beckett and threatening to kill her in front of Castle, but Castle instead manages to get Beckett's gun and shoots the 3XK without hitting Beckett, then shoots him several more times until he drops to the river.
Beckett before the scene above returns the favor by doing almost the same thing.
All of The Final Frontier. The entire episode is one big Shout-Out to sci-fi in general, with a healthy serving of Fireflyreferences.
Especially the ending, where Captain Max, who'd mostly been an airheaded lout and diva up until this point, elbows, judo flips, and disarms the murderer while quipping, "I've been waiting ten years to do that bitch. Nobody takes over my ship." Pure. Awesome.
In Under the Influence, Esposito goes to arrest a criminal in a bar. As the bartender requests his order, the criminal's massive bodyguard heads for Espo, who orders a bag of ice. As the bartender reacts in confusion, he knees the bodyguard in the groin, then explains: "It's for him." The next time they see each other, the bodyguard covers his groin and scurries off like a coward.
Another more dark — and to some, perhaps even crossing certain moral lines — sort of awesome comes at the denouement. When Javier returns one last final time to talk to a side criminal, he's not there to warn the guy. He's there to reveal a truth: if that criminal ever tries to use kids for his crimes again, Javier will find him and kill him while setting things up to look like it happened in self-defense. Jav even pulls out the gun he would plant on the criminal to do so.
One of Castle's Papa Wolf moments in Target. Alexis has been kidnapped and their only suspect refuses to talk. Castle requests a moment alone with him; Beckett silently gives him that. Castle then quietly tells the man who he is, that the police outside are his friends, and that he won't ask another question if the man refuses to answer. The man is terrified, but he says nothing. Castle closes his eyes, and when he opens them again, the light in them are gone. What follows is a Scream Discretion Shot.
Alexis managing to keep calm and help Sara do the same, then opening the door by putting the skills her father taught her to good use and making a good escape plan on the fly. The fact that they get caught again doesn't make it less awesome.
In Hunt, Castle's father manages to make a plan that takes down Volkov (the man who kidnapped Alexis) by exploiting the fact that Volkov was actually planning for an attack and that he was likely to get Castle and Alexis together, just so that the two can escape while he launches a frontal attack on the house. And he gets out of it alive, too!
It all starts with a pretty damn good moment too. Hunt is on the phone with Volkov, who taunts Hunt with the knowledge that he has both Castle and Alexis hostage and that he's going kill Castle while Hunt listens helplessly. There's a pause, and then
Hunt: You're not going to kill my son, Volkov. Volkov:[smugly] Oh? And why is that? Hunt:Because you'll be dead. The phone Volkov is holding starts beeping, and Volkov gets a momentary Oh, Crap! look on his face before he's blown up.
Earlier in the same episode, Beckett is interrogating the girlfriend of one of the men who kidnapped Alexis, a woman who vehemently expresses her dislike of the police and coldly orders Beckett to bring her a lawyer. Cue Beckett kicking the chair out from under her, leaping up to loom over the now-terrified woman and demanding that she tell her her dead boyfriend's address, as it will hopefully lead to clues about where Alexis is being kept.
Beckett:Do you haveany idea what this is about? Do you think I'm some beat cop busting you for possession? My partner's daughter is missing, and YOU—[throws the file at her, with the photo of the girl's dead boyfriend slipping onto the floor]—are inmy way. You say you don't talk to cops? I'm not a cop today, honey.
In Need to Know, after an ex-child actor/spy is killed, the CIA blackmails his girlfriend, the niece of a Russian mobster, into spying for them. If she refuses, the CIA will expose her relationship to her family. Either way, she is highly likely to get killed. Beckett anonymously tells the press that the girlfriend is under investigation, which makes her useless as a spy. This gets Beckett fired from her job with the Attorney General's office.
The sword-fight between Castle and the actor in Get a Clue.
Alexis standing up to her father over his treatment of Pi.
A Murder is Forever: Esposito and Ryan are attacked by a group of hitmen, who crash their truck against the detectives' car. Despite a very brutal crash, Esposito and Ryan not only manage to keep their wits, but manage to get out of their car and retreat in spite of the hitmen being armed with automatic rifles.
In "Under Fire" Gates listens to Castle's theory about the arsonist without sniping at him or calling it unlikely. A far cry from how she initially treated him. Castle has earned her trust and respect.
Castle's father coming in out of nowhere to SHANK the spy about to kill his son in Deep Cover. Then in classic CIA fashion, he finishes 'Gemini' off with a Double Tap.
In Smells Like Teen Spirit, Beckett overcoming her chronic irrational rationalism enough to not only admit but point out that the naturalistic explanation does not hold water. One of this show's single biggest moments of character growth.
The ending of Veritas, when Beckett, at long last, gets the evidence she needs to arrest Bracken for the murder of her mother... evidence which her mother left behind and the late Captain Montgomery guided her to.
Also serves as a Heartwarming Moment if you think of this as her mother's posthumous wedding gift to her, if not just for the long-awaited closure it provides.
And then she arrests Bracken while he's giving a press conference. Seeing the normally calm and collected Smug Snake lose his composure is very satisfying.
Beckett getting the drop on the two guys sent to murder her and stage it as a suicide by lulling them into a false sense of security, by making them think she's swallowed a pill that would drug her into compliance. Made even more awesome by the fact that while she didn't swallow the pill, she did unwillingly swallow a large amount of the contents of a bottle of scotch they brought to make it seem like she got drunk and took her own life, meaning that when she overpowered them she was completely hammered at the time.
For Better or Worse is padded with funny moments, but there's one awesome moment when Beckett, Castle, and Beckett's accidental husband are captured by a fugitive mobster looking for a laptop with pictures that could reveal his location. They escape by leading the mobster and his men back to Beckett's husband's apartment... where a gang of armed bikers that the husband had previously ripped off is waiting.
During those two months Castle was away that he could not remember, he apparently helped prevent an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack.
He may have been an unapologetic, brilliant sadist, but Jerry Tyson absolutely owned every single episode he was in. Being the only villain to not only escape justice, but do so multiple times, the mere mention of his name would prompt anxiety in characters and fans alike. Becket and Castle, two extremely accomplished investigators with a near 100% closure rate couldn't even get near the guy... unless he wanted them to.
Tyson even tries to stand up after being shot, desperate to shoot Castle before expiring. Rick just coldly stares the bastard down til he slumps over and bleeds out.
For an offscreen moment, consider this... Beckett only had a single hand free and by the time the rescue team arrived, she'd killed her captor. Although "killed" might be putting it mildly: Nieman's blood is dripping off the scalpel. Whatever Kate did with that scalpel, it was messy, and haunted her through the end of the episode.
Alexis manages to convince a (deservedly) angry flight attendant from shooting anyone in the plane, in "In Plane Sight".
Castle almost single-handedly manages to find out a serial killer he had met when he was a kid, recognizing him solely on his voice, and when he faces him he ends up killing the man using Kate's handgun.
During the two-part season premiere, Beckett is shot and wounded. She proceeds to sew the wound shut herself with just a hot needle and thread.
The Reveal that Alexis has been running Castle's P.I. business for a while now, and solving and wrapping up cases.
Alexis has received some tips from another P.I. on how to manipulate men. She quickly puts her new knowledge to the test when she tracks down an ambulance and pretends to be conducting an inventory so that she can get more info on where Beckett is.
Castle tells Bracken that if he doesn't give him the info he wants, Castle will establish a scholarship in Bracken's name and award it to the child of the first inmate to shank Bracken.
Castle engages in some Casual Danger Dialogue with a gun presssed into his ribs. Even his abductor is a bit impressed.
Castle manages to keep just enough composure to cut through his binding cuffs even with a bag of tarantulas all over his head. He then body checks one assassin and lobs a chair at another.
A government assassin breaks into Castle's P.I. office to kill the gang, holding them all at gunpoint. Castle activates a panel in his desk that operates a spring that pops a gun out, Castle catching it in mid-air and taking down the trained killer with one shot. (The guy is wearing a bulletproof vest but it doesn't take away from the sheer awesomeness of the moment.)