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  • Absentee Actor:
    • Lanie (Tamala Jones) is absent in a few episodes, replaced by the grumpy male ME Pearlmutter.
    • Notably, neither Lanie nor Perlmutter appear in the episode "Headhunters". Instead, there's a different coroner in the morgue, whom Detective Slaughter (played by Adam Baldwin) hits on.
    • Both Lanie and Captain Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) were missing in "Nikki Heat", presumably to make way for the big guest star (Laura Prepon).
    • Captain Gates has been missing for swaths of episodes at a time in the 4th season. There's hating your boss so much you avoid her at every opportunity, and then there's this. This also applies to a few episodes in season 5 as well.
    • Interestingly, Lanie is nowhere to be seen in the season 5 premiere, the episode after Beckett and Castle finally get together. Justified, though, as no homicide really occurs in the episode to necessitate her presence.
    • Neither Alexis nor Martha appear in "Swan Song". Justified, in that the documentary crew get permission to follow the detectives at work as far as it pertains to the investigation of James Swan's murder, but presumably their home lives were out-of-bounds.
      • Alexis and Martha (and of course, their portrayers Molly Quinn and Susan Sullivan) have had several absences throughout the series (and probably have more non-appearances of any of the series' regulars, with Penny Johnson-Jerald's Captain Gates coming quite close); both actresses appeared in almost all of the episodes during the first season, with an increasing number of absences during the later seasons. Incidentally, this coincided with the beginning of the shift in storylines from a primary focus on Castle and Beckett's investigations and a secondary focus on Castle's family life to more of a focus on the former and less on the latter, a situation that became more prevalent from season five onward as Sullivan and Quinn mainly appear in only one or two brief scenes in the episodes they do appear. And even then, the two of them rarely appear together in the same episode, let alone the same scene, compared to earlier seasons.
      • The first half of season six was a little bit better about this in regards to Alexis. That part of the season featured a storyline in which Alexis began dating a guy named Pi,note  whom Castle did not approve of and whom Alexis would briefly live with (first moving him into Castle's apartment and then moving in with Pi into their own apartment). This sparked a bit of a rift between the two, which would be resolved after the two teamed up to prove that a death row inmate charged in a murder did not commit said crime in "Like Father, Like Daughter", and later culminated in Alexis deciding to break up with Pi in "Limelight" and ultimately move back in with Castle and Martha.note  Though the resolution of this storyline led to the return of the previous status quo regarding Alexis' appearances in subsequent episodes.
    • "Cool Boys" (the second Slaughter episode) is the first episode in the series where Beckett doesn't appear.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer:
    • "Last Call" comments on the New York sewer system (including the "alligators in the sewers" myth), making a sewer system near one of Castle's old haunts (called, well, The Old Haunt) a perfect access to the storeroom for a speakeasy, which houses whiskey made by Mayor "Beau James" Walker.
    • Castle actually warns Beckett to be careful of C.H.U.D.s, explaining the acronym. Beckett says that she's surprised, because she thought he'd be more of an "alligator in the sewer" guy.
    • Given a Call-Back in "Valkyrie" where the aforementioned case helps both Beckett and Castle figure out independently that the person who broke into the office complex used the drainage system to escape.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: "Heroes and Villains" opens with a mysterious person cutting someone in half from head to groin.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Castle in "Boom!", with appropriate Firefly Shout-Out ("I was aiming for his head!"). Although Castle had proved himself a good shot in an earlier episode (albeit against a stationary target and not against another person in the field). This discrepancy is usually explained by Castle being a crack shot on the gun range, but bad when under the influence of large amounts of adrenaline. As many people are.
  • Accidental Marriage: Beckett discovers that she's had one in "For Better or Worse." The bulk of the episode is Beckett trying to get the guy to sign divorce papers, and the guy getting into more and more absurd situations.
  • Adorkable: Most prominently, Castle and Ryan. Castle, because he often gets giddy for the dorkiest reasons, and Ryan in general, because he's awkward, but in a cute way.
  • Adult Fear: In the season 5 episode "Target", a college student at Columbia is kidnapped and her parents are frantic to have her returned. The situation becomes personal for Castle when it turns out that Alexis was with her and was taken as well.
  • Aesop Amnesia: In season 8, Beckett is once again fixated on solving an element of her mother's case (this time involving the Attorney-General) at the expense of her personal relationships, going so far as to separate from Castle so that she can do so. What makes it worse is that numerous characters have pointed out to her that her actions are clearly unhealthy and risking the complete destruction of her marriage to give into her obsession over a matter that is only tangentially connected to her at best is hardly a wise move, but she stubbornly refuses to listen.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Lockwood, introduced in "Knockdown". For a ruthless hired assassin he certainly seems quite courteous and considerate, taking a moment to genuinely compliment Ryan and Esposito on their work in "Knockdown" and allowing the man he's about to kill (McCallister) a moment to prepare himself in "Knockout".
    • Detective Ethan Slaughter is an inversion. There is nothing at all "affable" about him, and despite his deplorable methods and crass personality, his goals and intentions are not the least bit evil. It's outright stated that his reason for wanting to get Vales framed for Glitch's murder, is to prevent Vales from wreaking havoc on the city. He's more a case of Good Is Not Nice, taken Up to Eleven.
    • Senator Bracken, on rare occasions. When Beckett saves his life, despite both of them knowing all of his dark secrets and that she outright hates him, he becomes quite a bit more friendly to her and even suggests that he (a Big Bad mind you) owes her (the Protagonist) a favor. If it isn't this, then it's at the least nothing personal for him that she hates him.
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • Kay Cappuccio in "An Embarrassment of Bitches" is a good-natured parody of "celebrity bimbos" who appear to have gotten incredibly rich and famous for doing little of note; she's essentially depicted as being a bit of The Ditz, but sweet, vulnerable, good-natured and a bit more intelligent than you'd expect under it all.
    • The sci-fi show Nebula 9 in "The Final Frontier" is a loving parody of various slightly cheesy but well-loved science fiction TV franchises and their stars and fan-bases. The star (Gabriel Winters) and his character (Captain Max Renard) are used to place a few affectionate jabs at a certain starship captain and the Large Ham who plays him... and maybe also to Nathan Fillion himself and (almost) every single character he ever played.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket:
    • Alexis to her father as he was bound and gagged to a chair in the episode "A Rose For Everafter". She says he wouldn't respect her otherwise.
    • Beckett picks Castle's phone in "Poof! You're Dead".
    Castle: "You had your hand in my pocket and I didn't even feel it? Do it again."
    • In "The Limey", Beckett lifts a golden case from a man's pocket while dancing with him. It had his prints on it.
  • Agent Mulder/Agent Scully: Whenever a case takes on a supernatural, paranormal and/or unusual edge, expect Castle to eagerly and credulously buy into the far-out explanation and Beckett to be the voice of pragmatic, down-to-earth skepticism. In the beta duo, Ryan's usually the believer and Esposito the skeptic.
    Castle: Law of averages demands that I'll eventually be right.
    • In "He's Dead, She's Dead," Castle actually calls Beckett "Scully" when she keeps finding logical explanations for a so-called psychic's visions.
    • He also calls himself "Mulder" in "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind", which revolves around aliens.
    • In "Undead Again," he admits to Ryan that the reason he does this is to annoy Beckett, not that he actually believes it (at least with regards to zombies in this case).
    Ryan: Castle, do you really believe in all that zombie stuff? Cause I swear on my Nana's grave that Kyle Jennings was dead.
    Castle: No. You know what I do believe in? Driving Beckett crazy.
    • In "Scared to Death," the victim of the week was apparently scared to death exactly three days after watching an incredibly creepy video (The Ring shout-outs abound). Castle watches it and spends the entire episode really freaked out. Beckett is less affected. But when she asks him to, Ryan declines to watch the video for clues. Surprisingly, Esposito also declines.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: "The Wrong Stuff" plays with the trope. The computer running a mission is tampered with by the astronauts on it and threatens Castle and Beckett in a deliberate Shout-Out to 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the engineers point out that it's not actually an artificial intelligence.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Played with in "Food To Die For" and the bad boy chef who is the victim of the week: He was in love with his adoptive brother's girlfriend and got her pregnant, but she ultimately rejected him because if she couldn't trust him as a man, she couldn't trust him as a father; this inspired him to change his ways and to propose to her. It's hinted that their relationship shares some parallels with how Castle and Beckett's seem to be developing.
    • A closer examination of the Castle/Beckett dynamic, however, would suggest a Gender Flip or an inversion. While Castle might have the surface reputation and appearance of a "bad-boy" playboy and ladykiller (and admittedly, in the early seasons in particular, can be something of a smug, self-absorbed dick), closer examination reveals him to be genuinely generous and kindhearted, a devoted father and son, a loyal friend and partner and overall a good and decent man — not quite the 'bad boy' we're initially lead to expect. The more we learn about Beckett, however, suggests there's more of a "bad girl" to her nature than the surface suggests; as well as some of the wilder Hidden Depths she's hinted to have (or once had), the fallout over her mother's murder suggests a more broken and much darker character than just the upright police officer.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The murder victim in the season 2 finale gets killed while in the middle of a "spycation" that plays out a lot like an ARG. Castle and Beckett spend the first third of the episode thinking he's a real spy, with hilarious consequences when they try interrogating one of the other players who thinks they're part of the game.
  • Alternate Universe: In "Time Of Our Lives", an Inca artifact sends Castle into an alternate universe. In this universe, he's never met Beckett. Because he never met Beckett, several things are different. Castle never wrote the Nikki Heat novels and instead wrote uninspired dreck. Beckett never solved her mother's murder, so she eventually became captain and never softened. Because Castle stopped making money, Martha had to actually work and goes back to Broadway. Alexis moves to LA to live with her mother because Castle has given up. Lanie is pregnant with Esposito's child. Ryan never got married to Jenny due to increased caseload. And Alexis is a brunette!.
  • Always Someone Better: Beckett gets a dose of this in "Hong Kong Hustle" with Inspector Zhang, who's basically Beckett, but better. Castle tries to comfort her by telling her about how he got over being James Patterson's literary inferior. Of course, Zhang's perfection comes with a price: A crumbling marriage, and the very case both are working.
  • Amazon Chaser:
    • In "Headhunters", Slaughter watches Beckett intimidate a mob boss with words alone and exclaims, "That's sexy!"
    • In "Death Gone Crazy", Esposito is much impressed with Scarlet breaking a guy's nose and ribs.
  • Americans Are Cowboys: Scotland Yard detective Colin Hunt seems to be under this impression in "The Limey" when he impersonates an American Homeland Security agent.
  • Amnesics Are Innocent: Played a part in "Like Father, Like Daughter"; while investigating a man on death row that his daughter Alexis believes is innocent, Richard Castle learns that the man believes the murder he was arrested for was actually committed by his younger brother, who suffered minor brain damage after a car accident the older brother caused that gave him irregular amnesia, so the older brother believed his sibling genuinely didn't remember committing the crime and blamed himself for the original injury.
    • Ultimately subverted as it turned out someone else killed the victim and the younger brother just found the body.
  • Amicably Divorced:
    • As shown in "Always Buy Retail", Castle genuinely likes Alexis’ mother Meredith; he just doesn't particularly want to be married to her. They appear to have a quite cordial relationship and very little custody friction. The nature of their relationship is revisited and elaborated on in "Significant Others".
    • Similarly with Castle and his second wife, Gina. She's still his publisher. However, they do fight whenever they try to start dating again.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • The District Attorney in an episode where the victim died while serving jury duty. The victim had found out that the man on trial was innocent and framed for the murder of a socialite and did everything he could, including sending the evidence to prove the actual killer's identity to the DA's office and buying his way onto the jury to save an innocent man... It's too bad that the DA was being paid off by the murderer's parents to keep their son out of jail. He didn't kill the guy but tampering with evidence and getting a man executed because you want to be re-elected...
    • Senator William H. Bracken, the Big Bad, was Assistant District Attorney at the time he has Johanna Beckett murdered
  • Anchored Ship: Castle and Beckett, due to Beckett not being able to have the kind of relationship she wants until she catches her mother's killer. Firmly cemented by the episode "Eye of the Beholder". As of "Always", however, They Do get in relationship:
    Castle: Beckett, what do you want?
    Beckett: You. [She kisses him]
    Beckett [Whispering]: I'm so sorry, Castle. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The end of "Hollander's Woods"; after everyone involved in Castle's life (even Tory Ellis, the computer tech) attend an award ceremony in his honor, Beckett gets a phone call: "There's been a murder". And the gang moves out as the camera pans away. Thus contributing to the episode's Series Fauxnale feel.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: "A Deadly Game" manages to both play this straight and subvert it. When a man is murdered with a lot of cool spy gadgets, Castle and Beckett assume he was involved with something. They catch a man who seems involved but he refuses to talk in interrogation, smirking that "any minute now, you're going to get a call that tells you to let me go" and hinting they're into something over their heads. Checking the guy's phone, they seem to find evidence of a hitman out to kill a diplomat. Beckett is about to call the United Nations and FBI but Castle finds something odd, looks up on his phone and discovers the country this "diplomat" comes from doesn't exist. He and Beckett go back to their suspect and relate what they now know: That this whole thing is one massive live-action role playing game. The guy hisses "you're messing it up!" but they make it clear they're not playing, they're real cops investigating a real murder and the man's suave demeanor drops as he realizes he's over his head.
    • Beckett and Castle proceed to confuse several more players in the game who assume they're part of the show. It turns out the victim was being chased by the killer because of his business. He, however, assumed that this was just another player in the game, ready to confront him for a fake fight and shocked when he was shot dead.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    • Castle to Beckett in the Season 3 finale, after she is shot.
    • Castle delivers another one to Beckett in the Season 4 finale as part of a desperate attempt to both convince Beckett to drop the investigation into her shooting/her mother's murder and as part of his justifying why he kept the knowledge of his contact secret from her. At the end, while she doesn't actually say the word, Beckett's declaration of her feelings to Castle is this trope in almost every other respect.
    • Beckett's first 'I love you' in "Still".
  • Anthropic Principle: In the real world, of course, a mystery writer doing research with a police department wouldn't have nearly the amount of access to police operations as Castle does, and certainly wouldn't have a role in solving mysteries or act as the lead detective's partner. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a mystery series if Castle just hung back scribbling things into a notebook and didn't get involved, so this is one the audience just has to accept for the series to function. That a writer doing research with a police department might fall for a police detective is, of course, more plausible.
  • Anyone Can Die: In the Season 3 finale, Captain Montgomery.
  • Appeal to Obscurity:
    • Brad Melville had a rather hilarious one in "Dance with Death":
      Brad: If she went to the producer, I could be fired from the show. I'd be Brian Dunkelman.
      Beckett: Who's Brian Dunkelman?
      Brad: Exactly.
    • In "Swan Song", when Castle is discussing why a lead guitarist going solo would be a motive for murder:
      Castle: And they weren't about to let him play George Michael to their Andrew Ridgely.
      Esposito: Andrew who?
      Castle: Exactly! So, they pick up a guitar and Wham!
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In Season 4, Kate's therapist generally asks her these as a means of getting her to realize her true feelings.
  • Arch-Enemy: Castle and Beckett each have one in the only two recurring villains. Castle has the serial killer 3XK/Jerry Tyson, and Beckett has the man who killed her mother, Senator William Bracken.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Inverted by Castle in "Death Wish". Drug smuggling is too mundane a motive for the murder.
    Castle: The storyteller inside me craves an explanation far more....
    Becket: Farfetched?
    Castle: Yeah.
    Becket: Pirates' booty, cold fusion? Alien cadavers!
    Castle: No, those are all ridiculous theories....
    Did you say "alien cadavers", though? Because I saw a documentary once....
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account:
    • Richard Castle is known to be wealthy (he's an author with over 20 New York Times Best-Sellers, so yeah), but its often implied in the show that not only is he wealthy, he's very wealthy. Wealthy enough that he really doesn't have to worry about ever over-spending, regardless of what he's buying. The series hints, several times, that not only did his family have money before he became a best-selling author, he's been pretty smart with his money and made some amazingly good investment decisions over the years.
    • To put it in perspective, it's hinted that Alexis is herself worth upwards of $50 million just from following her father into some of his investments with her trust fund money.
  • Arc Words: "Always."
    • The Season 4 finale is titled "Always." Strangely enough, neither Castle nor Beckett actually say the word in the episode, at least in the context in which it has usually been said. Instead, Alexis ends her graduation speech with the word.
    • The word comes up again in "Hunt", when Castle's father tells his son that he'll always be proud of him.
    • And in "Hollander's Woods": Castle ends his speech with "Always", after dedicating his lifetime award to Beckett.
  • Aren't You Forgetting Someone?:
    • Gates loves doing this to Castle.
    Castle: Well, a murder solved and a notorious hoodlum off the streets for good. I call that a solid win.
    Gates: I agree. All because of the hard work and dedication of this team.
    Castle: Thank you, Captain, that means a lot.
    Gates: Of police officers. Team of police officers, Mr. Castle.
    • Martha invokes this very nicely in "For Better and for Worse," when giving Beckett a family heirloom — a pair of earrings — to wear at her wedding to Castle.
    Martha: Only women of substance have worn these gems. They've been waiting, Katherine, for you.
    • A sincere and heartfelt compliment to Beckett, but it takes on a new dimension when you realise that this is Castle's third wedding, and Martha didn't give the earrings to Meredith or Gina.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?:
    • Beckett and Castle realize that their victim was afraid of change. They muse for a few seconds.
    Castle: [claps hands] She hated Obama!
    [Beckett ignores him]
    • In "The Limey", a British model has been killed, and Castle and Beckett interview the victim's boss, where they learn that models can actually be hired to "pretty up" parties. At the time Castle was feeling betrayed by Beckett, but was (barely) hiding his pain. In their conversation afterwards:
    Beckett: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
    Castle: Yeah, that we should put together a party and hire a bunch of models.
    Beckett: No, that maybe Naomi somehow got into that party last night and that that's where she met her killer. That's what I was thinking.
    Castle: Weird. We're usually more in sync than that.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: In "Cops and Robbers", Trapper John describes Beckett as having a "bedroom voice."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • In "Cuffed", after Castle and Beckett wake up in a bed in a dark room, handcuffed to each other, they realize their belongings are missing:
    Beckett: My watch is missing.
    Castle: Mine too. And my wallet—
    Beckett: So is my badge and my gun—
    Castle: And my phone. I just renewed my contract.
    Beckett: Would you stop joking?
    Castle: Hey! Do I begrudge you your coping mechanisms?
    • This incident from "An Embarrassment of Bitches:"
    Kay Cappuccio: He could have seen me in the shower! He could have seen me and Reggie in bed together! [beat] He could have seen me without my makeup!
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Gates confronts Castle in "Reckoning", after he rescues Beckett from the 3XK killer, using himself as bait:
    "That was the most reckless, foolhardy and irresponsible thing you've ever done, Mr. Castle. Thank you."
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" features a radio astronomer involved with SETI. One plot point is that the victim was following an anomalous signal that turns out to have been a Chinese spy satellite and thinks it might be an alien signal. Radio astronomers have to be careful to eliminate satellites first thing and have a number of ways to do just that. No professional astronomer would be confused, titillated, or even momentarily stymied by a satellite. Well, maybe titillated. For giggles. The plot did also involve her being subject to various mind-games, truth drugs and fake abduction techniques, however, which might have explained her disorientation and confusion.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In "Murder Most Fowl", Ashley's pet rat is stated to be five years old. This is technically possible, but the rat seen on the show must be far younger to be that active.
  • Artistic License – Law: In "Still", a bomber is demanding to be allowed to walk in exchange for the code to disarm the bomb that Beckett is standing on. Everyone balks at the idea, reacting as if they'd have to honor the deal. A first year law student would know that the police don't have to honor a deal made under duress, such as when someone has a gun to their head, or in this case, a bomb under their feet.
  • Artistic License – Military: "Dreamworld" turns on an operation run by the current Secretary of Defense a year ago, when he was a general in Afghanistan. Anyone who's served in the military in the last seven years is ineligible to be Secretary of Defense.
  • Artistic License – Economics: In "Linchpin", in a Ripped from the Headlines move, the writers of the show demonstrate a total lack of understanding of how economics and the US debt actually WORK. China currently owns less than 10% of our national debt. While China suddenly stopping to buy US debt would be a moderately big deal, in reality all it would really cause would be a slight uptick in inflation of the US dollar. Even if Beckett stating that so-called 'austerity measures' being imposed were true, it would not suddenly result in our military being gutted and totally unable to respond to threats, as she claimed, and would CERTAINLY not start a war.
  • Ascended Fangirl]: Kate Beckett is secretly a big fan of Castle's, and Nikki Heat — the main character in his new books — is based on her. So much so that people mistook her for a character actress when she showed up for a book premiere. This gets to be problematic in "Tick, Tick, Tick..."/"Boom!" when an obsessed serial killer stages his murders in order to test Nikki Heat.
  • Ascended Meme: As of "One Life To Lose," the Portmanteau Couple Name "Esplanie" has been made canon. And as of "Murder, He Wrote", the same goes for "Caskett". In "The Final Frontier", using "K-Becks" as Beckett's nickname becomes one.
  • As Himself:
    • The other TV and mystery writers that Castle plays poker with are actual writers, including (the late) Stephen J. Cannell, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Dennis Lehane.
      "Ah! Oh, um... [beat] That's Cannell's seat."
    • Joe Torre, a baseball player and manager, appearing in "Suicide Squeeze". Castle is fairly nonchalant, having met Joe before and not being overly interested in the game anyway, but Beckett can barely keep from Squeeing and immediately rushes off to call her dad to gloat. Torre asks Castle to say hi to Castle's mom for him.
    • Chef Rocco Dispirito appeared in "Food to Die For" during Castle’s date with Beckett's high school BFF.
    • Gene Simmons shows up in "To Love and Die in L.A." Castle finds this creepy because he was Simmons once for Halloween. Beckett does as well, for the same reason.
    • In "Scared to Death", Castle calls Wes Craven for advice on how to deal with having watched a DVD which threatened to kill him in three days.
  • Aside Glance:
    • In the episode "Setup", when Martha asks him if he's ever heard of the Serenity, although that was a Fourth Wall Psych at Alexis.
    • Once more in "Law and Murder" when Alexis was being evasive about her trip to Brooklyn.
    • There's another at the end of "Demons", where Castle and Alexis turn on their television to watch a zombie movie. Both Castle and Alexis look at the camera, and then Castle points the remote and presses a button, where the scene fizzes out.
    • Also happens at the very end of "Undead Again" with Castle in his zombie makeup creepily leering at the camera before it cuts to black.
    • "Swan Song" seems to run on them, with characters hamming it up for the documentary cameras complete with the numerous reaction shots from everyone else in the frame. Especially when Esposito does it.
  • Asshole Victim: A few of the victims have turned out not to be very nice people. A standout example is the victim in the episode "Heroes and Villains" whose own mother, after seeing his bisected corpse, reacts with mild indifference.
    • In "The Way of the Ninja", the unrepentant Yakuza boss responsible for the original victim's tragedy is himself killed by the same assassin before being able to reveal his identity.
  • The Atoner: As revealed at the end of season three, Captain Roy Montgomery.
    • "Under the Influence" reveals that Esposito is this as well, being a former juvenile delinquent.
  • Authentication by Newspaper: "Poof, You're Dead" has an accidental variant; Beckett notices that a set of wheelchair tracks at the victim's workshop run over a newspaper dated the day he died, implying that whoever was in the wheelchair must have something to do with the murder.
    • "Hunt" gives us the more standard version, with Alexis holding up a copy of a Paris newspaper as proof.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: The Medical Examiner (Perlmutter) occasionally takes a meal in the mortuary.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Castle’s opinion of his Ferrari in "Lucky Stiff". He doesn't mind it when Beckett gets behind the wheel, however, but a beautiful woman driving a fast car to a glamorous nightclub as part of an undercover operation probably counts more towards the 'awesome' part of the trope rather than the 'practical' bit.
    Castle: You know, I have one; not as cool as you'd think.
    Esposito: Yeah, but they're hella fast.
    Castle: As fast as any other car in rush hour traffic.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname:
    • Richard Castle. Justified, since that's only his writing pseudonym. Detective Ethan Slaughter on the other hand, makes you wonder why the writers even bothered to give him his Red Baron nickname — The Widowmaker.
    • From the episode "Hunt", Jackson Hunt, Castle's father.
      Castle: Sounds made-up.
      Hunt: It is.

  • Babies Ever After: The last scene of the series finale cuts to Castle and Beckett having breakfast with their three young children.
  • Baby's First Words: The title character mentions that Alexis's first word was "denouement" since he stressed story structure from an early age.
  • Back for the Dead: Mike Royce in "To Love and Die in L.A." Beau Randolph in "Death Gone Crazy". Vulcan Simmons in "Veritas". Senator Bracken in "XX."
  • Back from the Dead: Castle's apparently doing this with Derrick Storm, as a missing scene in "Always" discusses:
    Ryan: How can you bring back Derrick Storm when he's dead?
    Castle: I have magical godlike powers. Plus a daughter going to college; do you have any idea what that costs nowadays?
    Ryan: [Crushed] I was just beginning to accept his death.
    • Even better: His nemesis, returning in Storm Front, is named Gregor Volkov...who is based off a "real" crime boss who happens to be the nemesis of Castle's father, and the man who kidnaps Alexis.
  • Badass Boast: In "Knockdown", from Ryan, of all people.
    Ryan [while being tortured in ice water]: "Listen, assclown. I went to Catholic school for twelve years. Hell, they use to do this to me for talking in class."
    • In "Knockout" twice as an exchange of boasts, with the initial boast being thrown back in the boastee's face:
    Beckett/Lockwood:"You can't hide from me"
    Lockwood/Montgomery: "You got it ass backwards sweetheart/boy, you can't hide from me"
  • Badass Family: The Castle family — hinted at before, but really shown during 'Hunt.' Alexis manages to escape kidnapping and contact her father, helping her to be found, Castle shows exactly what he's capable of doing when his daughter gets kidnapped and we meet Castle's father, who's a career spy who, with only his writer son to help him, manages to rescue his granddaughter from the hands of a renowned international agent. Martha of course, is just epic.
  • Badass in Distress: Happens to Beckett far more often than happens to Castle. Averts the idea that of male hero saving female damsel and justified by the fact that Beckett is a cop and Castle is a writer — she's far more likely to be in dangerous situations than he is so by sheer number of situations, she's going to have a higher count than he.
  • Bad Liar:
    • In "Poof, You're Dead", Esposito turns into this in order to conceal his big secret — namely, his relationship with Lanie:
      Esposito: Saw him perform a couple of weeks ago. Awesome, awesome show. We loved it.
      Castle: "We"?
      Esposito: [cornered] Yeah... me and my buddy... Ray.
      Ryan: You have a buddy named "Ray" who you went with to a magic show?
      Esposito: Yeah. What about it?
    • Both Ryan and Esposito are called out on this by Montgomery in "To Love and Die in L.A." when they are covering for Beckett.
    • They get this again, from Gates, in "Cuffed".
  • Bad to the Last Drop: Mostly averted after the pilot episode, when Castle declared the squad room's coffee tasted like a monkey peed in battery acid; he buys the department a cappuccino maker featured multiple times thereafter.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: In the episode "A Deadly Affair", a double-dose of Stab the Scorpion variety, as Castle and Beckett apparently point guns at each other, then each take out one-half of a husband and wife team of counterfeiters standing behind them both.
    • Bonus points for it being Castle shooting the husband behind Beckett and Beckett shooting the wife behind Castle.
    • In "Linchpin", Sophia is about to shoot Castle on the back of the head when a gunshot is heard... and Sophia falls to the floor, having been shot by Danberg.
    • Happens again in "Hunt". Castle is betrayed by the man he paid to find Alexis, and just as he is about to be executed by her captors, five shots ring out in quick succession. The first thing Castle sees is the kidnappers dead at his feet, and he turns around thinking that his hired gun took them out, only to see him lying face down as well before the real shooter comes out of hiding.
  • Ball Cannon: In "Suicide Squeeze", a well-known Cuban baseball player is found dead of a wound to the head with an automatic pitching machines still throwing balls at him.
  • Bathtub Scene: Beckett has a "hot date"... with one of Castle's books.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Captain Montgomery's replacement after his retirement and death — Victoria "Iron" Gates. Where Montgomery was happy to go along with the Mayor's request to let Castle hang around the bullpen and go on ride-alongs with Beckett because he was both amused by Castle's antics and impressed by his intelligence as well as feeling sorry for getting Beckett's mother killed, the new girl wastes no time in telling Castle he's no longer welcome and is on thin ice — one screw-up and he won't just be ejected from the precinct, he'll be arrested. She warms up to him, though. Slowly.
  • Batman Cold Open: "Heroes & Villains", appropriately, opens with a vigilante superhero intervening in an attempted rape. By cleaving the attempted rapist in two.
  • Batman Gambit: In "Hunt", Castle's father sends Rick into the sewers below Volkov's house to cut off the lights and give him the way open to save Alexis, but Volkov's guards catch Rick on the act and bring him to Volkov. It is then when it turns out that the plan was for Rick to be caught, putting him in the perfect place to save Alexis while Castle's father distracts the kidnappers.
  • Beautiful All Along: Trina, the model who woos Castle in "Inventing The Girl" and whose advances Castle is keen to encourage until he realizes that she's actually Alexis’ old babysitter and not that much older than she is, apparently did this; Castle remembers her as Katrina, "a gangly girl with stringy hair and braces", hence why he didn't initially recognize her:
    Alexis: She did the whole 'ugly duckling became a swan' thing, shortened her name and became a model.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In "Flowers For Your Grave", Castle says that his book release parties are boring and predictable and he wishes that someone would say something new. Cue Detective Beckett walking up to him and telling him she needs to question him about a murder.
  • Bedmate Reveal: In the Cold Open of "Poof, You're Dead", Lanie and Esposito.
    • "Cuffed" has a slight subversion, Kate wakes up fully dressed with her arm draped over a chest and we pan over to Castle who is still asleep, and... enjoying himself very much. Needless to say, Beckett really wants to know what happened last night after she figures out that they are very awkwardly cuffed together. With her police cuffs. The more they find out...the worse it gets.
    • In the Cold Open of "After the Storm", immediately after the Previously On, we see Castle sit upright in his bed, alone, and for a second you might think the events of the Season 4 finale were all a dream... and then Beckett walks into the room, wearing his shirt and carrying coffee.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Played with; in "47 Seconds", one of the witnesses interviewed about the bombing is a homeless vagrant who claims he saw Beethoven conducting a symphony in the middle of the protest. It turns out that the person was actually the bomber, wearing a Beethoven t-shirt. The symphony came from a ringing cellphone in the bag containing the bomb.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Castle and Beckett. Oh so much.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • Captain Montgomery is made of awesome. One of his many highlights is a one-scene wonder in season premiere "A Deadly Affair". He offers to keep Castle locked up for not calling Beckett after the summer break. This isn't him offering a favor or because he dislikes Castle or anything like that. He's just that nice (well, okay so locking someone up isn't nice but you know what we mean) of a guy who truly worries about his officers.
    • In the Season 3 finale. It is discovered that he is the missing "third cop" who ransomed gangsters in the case of Beckett's mother. Lockwood threatens that he will kill his family unless he lures Beckett into a trap. Seemingly, he does, and Beckett falls into it, but he was actually luring Lockwood into a trap. He takes Lockwood's crew by surprise and kills three of them, before being fatally shot by Lockwood. And he still manages to take Lockwood out with him.
    This is where I make my stand.
    • Surprisingly, Captain Gates suddenly becomes this for a while in "Secret's Safe With Me" after Castle gives her a collectible doll he got from a storage locker he bought... which lasts only until Castle breaks said doll (including another one from her collection by mistake) to find what the murder victim was hiding from his killer.
    • Gates spends most of "Swan Song" trying to act like one of these for the benefit of the documentary cameras filming the investigation. Her subordinates are barely able to restrain their skepticism.
    Gates: I hope you're not going by the time-stamp on this video. [looking at the camera] That could be faked, you know.
    Beckett: It's not the only thing on this video being faked...
  • Best Woman: Ryan and Esposito spend an episode competitively sucking up to Castle to try to be his best man. At the end of the episode, he reveals that they're both welcome to be groomsmen, but his best "man" is definitely going to be Alexis. Then the wedding gets eaten by an end-of-season cliffhanger, so it becomes irrelevant...
  • Beta Couple: Ryan and Jenny. Their relationship has been completely devoid of anything more than the usual misunderstandings, in complete contrast to Castle and Beckett's ups and downs.
  • Better as Friends: Esposito and Lanie finally come to this realization after spending an episode pretending to be engaged.
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: Happens to Castle in "A Deadly Affair". Having found the body of the victim in her apartment, Castle picks up the gun to defend himself when he hears people approaching and thinks it might be the killer returning. Unfortunately it turns out to be Detective Beckett and her team. It turns out to not be the murder weapon any ways.
  • Big Bad: The person (always referred to as a single individual) behind the murder of Beckett's mother and connected to several other crimes that our heroes investigate. As of the season 5 premiere, the Big Bad is revealed to be Senator William H. Bracken, who profited from the earlier mobster ransom scheme and used that money to fund his first election.
  • The Big Board:
    • The police put one together for every case. Castle also has an electronic one in his office which he uses to plot his mysteries, first shown in "A Chill Goes Through Her Veins". The FBI brings in a fancy electronic smart board in "Tick, Tick, Tick" which Beckett shuns in favor of her old-fashioned whiteboard. In "Knockdown", Beckett reveals she's been keeping a big board on her mother's murder since the summer (since any board she might have had before then was blown up with her old apartment). Also, Castle reproduces the precinct Big Board at home in "Set Up", using a camera phone picture of it, a projector and a bed sheet. Beckett comments it smells nicer.
    • Beckett also somehow manages to get a Big Board in "To Love and Die in L.A." whilst in a fancy hotel in Los Angeles from Maurice the magical concierge.
    • In "Rise", Castle has repurposed the board he had used to plot his novels to investigate who shot Beckett's mother. In "Always", the season 4 finale, Castle deletes his files on Beckett, right before she arrives at his door and confesses her feelings for him.
  • Big Brother Instinct: "A Deadly Affair" has Ryan and Esposito act like this (in regards to Beckett) crossed with a woman scorned (themselves) in response to Castle’s return.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Esposito tries to be this to a young troubled kid in "Under The Influence". It doesn't go as smoothly as he'd hoped, but by the end of the ep, he'd convinced him to try and keep his nose clean (partly by letting the kid look at a police record...that turned out to be Esposito's).
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Beckett and Castle for Esposito and Ryan in "Knockdown".
    • Esposito for Becket in "Kill Shot".
    • Esposito and Ryan for Beckett and Castle in "Cuffed".
    • Ryan for Beckett in "Always". She hallucinates that it's Castle, however, which helps trigger an epiphany.
    • Jackson Hunt Castle's father in "Hunt", saving Castle from the men who kidnapped Alexis.
    • Esposito, Beckett, and Castle for Ryan in "The Wild Rover". And Ryan calls all of them out one by one.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: "Always".
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: "The Fast and the Furriest".
  • Big Secret: In "A Deadly Game," a suspect lies to Beckett's face about killing a guy. He didn't do it because he was having sex with the deceased's wife at the time. This is the go-to trope for many episodes of Castle.
  • Bitter Almonds: In "Law and Murder", a juror in a high-profile trial is killed by cyanide slipped in to one of his medications.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 4's finale. Beckett resigns from the force, Esposito is forced to take administrative leave, Ryan feels miserable because, even though his actions saved Beckett's life, he got his friends suspended. On the other side, Beckett finally realises that the only thing she wants is to be with Castle, and goes to his house, where They Do. Then the man that shot Beckett is still free and still plans to kill her for real and he just found Smith, the guy that had the info that was keeping her safe...
    • "Secret's Safe With Me" ends with Castle sitting on the steps in his apartment smiling sadly at an old childhood medal belonging to Alexis and musing about the fact that she's grown up and flown the coop.
    • "Under the Influence" ends with the team apprehending the killer and Esposito possibly convincing a teen criminal to change his ways. However, Shane Williams, the mastermind, is untouchable.
  • Black Best Friend: Medical examiner Lanie, Kate's first friend seen in the show, is a sassy black woman.
  • Black Dude Dies First: discussed in "Under The Gun," where Ryan jokes that Esposito would be the first to die in a horror movie as he was cocky and Hispanic. However, in "Knockout", this trope is played straight when Montgomery is the first (and so far only) member of the main cast to die.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • During "When the Bough Breaks", "James Bond" is never mentioned specifically invoking The Scottish Trope, referring the series to "a certain famous British spy" and invoking the typical guitar chord to make it clear about which book series Castle is geting a three-book deal for.
    • "Kill the Messenger" subtly lampshades this; Alexis is helping her grandmother create what the grandmother refers to as a MyFace account. Alexis then neatly obscures the "real" name of the networking site:
      Castle: Don't you mean a —
      Alexis: Save your breath, I've been correcting her all morning.
    • During "Suicide Squeeze", they never had licensing from Major League Baseball or any affiliate organization, so they used Joe Torre and an oblique mention of "The Big Move" (Joe Torre, at the time of the airing, had recently moved from the New York Yankees to the Los Angeles Dodgers) to sell the episode, though they kinda gave it away with "World Championship" instead of "World Series."
    • The numerous "Ray's" pizza joints in NYC are renamed to "Nick's" in "A Slice of Death".
    • Occupy Wall Street becomes Take Over Wall Street in "47 Seconds".
    • There is no "New York Times," only the "New York Ledger," mentioned in several episodes. Similarly, NYU becomes "UNY" in "The Dead Pool."
    • The International Society of Mystery Writers and their Poe's Pen Award in "Hollander's Woods" appears to be the Mystery Writers of America and their Grandmaster award.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands:
    • At several points in "The Way of the Ninja", characters have guns knocked out of their hands by thrown shuriken.
    • Beckett shoots a gun out of the killer's hand at the climax of the Cowboy Episode "Once Upon a Time in the West".
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The drug-dealer in "Sucker Punch" (Trucho) who, after Beckett and Castle literally walk in on him having the shit kicked out of him by a rather angry member of the Irish Mob, blithely attempts to persuade them that he fell... and hit his badly-battered eye on a door.... and put his hand on a hot grill to steady his fall.
      Castle: Well. Thanks for keeping it real.
    • Then there is the character Random in the episode "Under the Gun":
      Random: I wasn't running away. I was jogging.
      Beckett: So what were you doing climbing down the side of a building?
      Random: Cross training. Better cardiovascular workout.
    • In "Rise", Beckett herself lies to Castle and presumably everyone else regarding what she remembers about the shooting, but finally admits to her shrink at the end, "I remember everything". Castle inadvertently discovers this in "47 Seconds"; when a witness tries the trauma excuse on Beckett, she cites her own shooting to refute his excuse, while — unbeknownst to her — Castle is on the other side of the one-way mirror.
    • At the end of "Linchpin", Beckett thinks that most of what Sophia had said to her and Castle may have just been lies, including a hint to Castle that his father may have been in the CIA. Actually, that much was true as of "Hunt".
    • In "Recoil", when interrogating the man they suspect to be going after Senator Bracken, Beckett reveals to him that he's the man who murdered her mother and tried to murder her and her friends. Gates, who is listening in the observation room, naturally reacts with shock, but Castle tells her that she's just lying to try and get through to the suspect by any means necessary. The trope is played with, since Beckett is, of course, telling the absolute truth in this case.
    • "Target". Castle gets some information out of an accomplice to the crime by "...appealing to his humanity." The scene just before this one ends with said accomplice getting an Oh, Crap! look as Castle reveals that he's the father of Alexis, the girl who has been kidnapped. And that the cops outside are his friends and will say nothing about what he will do next. Cue screams of pain.
  • Bluff the Impostor: In "Heroes and Villains", Beckett's about to get a confession off of a guy for a murder by a masked superhero when Castle tips her off to something, so she asks him about the murder and slips a detail out of whack. When the guy answers without correcting the slip, she knows he's not the killer.
  • Bluffing the Murderer:
    • In "Inventing the Girl", it turns out that the victim was recording on her cellphone shortly before she was murdered. Beckett uses this fact to intimidate the murderer into confessing, making him think that the actual murder was recorded. It wasn't; the victim was recording something else entirely, and had the murderer known what she was actually doing, he wouldn't have killed her.
    • In "Poof! You're Dead" the murderer is exposed by the twin brother of the victim making a ghostly appearance while Castle and Beckett are sweating the suspect.
    • In "One Life To Lose" the murderer is exposed via a scene Castle has written for the soap opera that she and the victim wrote for, which exposes her motive — an act of plagiarism — via the characters on the show.
    • "Undead Again" has them making the murderer think that the "zombie" he used to kill the victim of the week is back to take revenge on him, which leads to him confessing to the murder. The zombie then reveals himself to be Castle in makeup.
  • Body of the Week: Naturally for a murder mystery.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The opening of "A Deadly Affair".
    • "Setup" begins and ends with Castle and Beckett, locked together in an isolated room (quarantine chamber, freezer), staring at each other in horror after making an unpleasant discovery.
    • The two photos of Jane the victim that Ryan hands to Ben Lee in "Kick the Ballistics."
    • The beginning and end of "Undead Again" as the "Stalker" passes by the photo of Alexis and Castle in search of the laser tag target.
    • The fourth season premiere "Rise" ends with Beckett and Castle sitting on a swing set, as Beckett describes the wall she built up around her heart after her mother's murder. The fourth season finale "Always" ends with Beckett, having resigned from the NYPD after nearly being killed pursuing her mother's killer, sitting alone on that same swing in a rainstorm, the wall around her heart finally falling, before she returns to Castle's loft and finally admits her love for him. The swing also appears at the end of the fifth season finale "Watershed" as the site where Castle proposes to Beckett. The swings return yet again in season 7 finale Hollander's Woods when Beckett and Castle discuss her having been offered the chance to run for state senate.
    • The pilot had someone killing people and framing a mentally ill man, and Castle finds him out because of a small detail. The same happens in the Season 7 finale.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: In "In Plane Sight", Castle and Alexis use the thumb of the murdered air marshal (still attached to his body) to unlock his cell phone.
  • Bottle Episode: "Cuffed" takes place almost entirely in a little room where Castle and Beckett are handcuffed to each other, with a few flashbacks as they tried to remember how they'd gotten there. In the DVD commentary, writers Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller acknowledged that they'd deliberately planned a bottle episode because they needed it to be under-budget after the last few episodes had gone over-budget.
    • "Still" takes place mostly within a single room, as Beckett stands on the trigger plate for a bomb and she and Castle discuss their relationship and adventures over the years, interposed with flashbacks. In this case, the network wanted another episode but production had mostly ceased by this point so they strung together an episode using the few sets that were still standing.
  • Brain Bleach:
    • From "Once Upon a Crime":
      Martha: Honey, you know I've always loved younger men, they have so much energy, enough to keep up with me... Most of the time.
      Castle: [haltingly] I'm... I'm going to erase that image from my mind with a bottle of scotch.
    • Castle again in "The Final Frontier," when he sees Alexis at a sci-fi convention wearing an extremely Fanservice-y costume.
      Castle: [after Beckett tries to tell him he's overreacting] How am I going to unsee that?
  • Brains and Bondage: Not shown on-screen but heavily implied for both Castle and Beckett. See Casual Kink below.
  • Brand X: In "Hell Hath No Fury", Castle purchases a coffee machine labeled "Espresso Intenso", which is actually La Spaziale S5 Compact Ek.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Alexis is a wonderful aversion of this trope. Her few almost-bratty moments have usually been inspired by Castle’s immaturity/over-protectiveness rather than teenage bitchiness. She displays the attitude mostly towards her mother... her mother, who in "Always Buy Retail" used the dead relative excuse (of someone who's been dead for six years already) to get her out of school to go shopping, which caused her to miss a Calculus test she studied a week for. At least her mom didn't take her out of the country again.
    • It's at times hinted that Beckett herself went through one of these stages as a teenager; whenever Castle approaches her for advice with an issue he's got with Alexis, Beckett often seems to advise him directly from the perspective of someone who knows first hand what a Bratty Teenage Daughter can be like. It can be safely assumed that the death of her mother put a rather brutal end to this stage, however, even if she hadn't grown out of it by then.
  • Breaking Speech: Castle and the killer exchange these on "3XK", with Castle starting his in reaction to the killer's "Then you don't know me at all."
    • In "Probable Cause", 3XK gives yet another one as he reveals himself to be the one who set everything up to frame Castle for murder.
  • Break the Cutie: "3xk" does a number on Castle and leaves him with a few cracks. Normally, even serial killers don't rattle Castle that much. He knows them very well. But the Triple Killer not only out-Castles Castle, but leaves him alive knowing that Castle couldn't stop him and because Castle couldn't stop him, the Triple Killer will resume killing.
    • In "Pandora"/"Linchpin", this may be what Sophia is doing to Beckett when she talks about her previous relationship with Castle. She says that sleeping with him after putting it off for a long time is what ruined their relationship, which is a strange thing to say knowing that Beckett hasn't gotten together with Castle yet. When Sophia's true allegiances are revealed later, Beckett suspects that this and many of her other statements are just blatant lies, specifically Sophia implying to Castle that his father may be a CIA agent. The last part was actually true, as revealed in "Hunt".
    • And in the first season episode Inventing the Girl, this is what happened to the victim prior to her murder. Her and her husband, two young newly weds, move from their small town to the big city so she can pursue her dreams of modelling. Instead she finds herself victimized by one of the other models, who befriends her while coldly manipulating her in order to get ahead, including slipping her diet pills to induce Sanity Slippage and having her boyfriend pretend to be a stalker in order to terrify her and her husband. Meanwhile, a photographer at the agency takes a liking to her, and refuses to take decent photos of her unless she sleeps with him, and when she tries to record him doing so to get him fired, he attacks her (and while its not shown, its implied he may've tried to rape her too), until finally as she leaves the photographer's place, her husband catches her and, believing she was cheating on him with the guy, attacks and kills her in a blind rage. Prior to her death, she ends up breaking down, crying that she just wants to leave the city and go back home after the nightmarish ordeal she went through. Once the case is over, Castle goes out of his way to encourage a friendship between Alexis and another model who used to babysit her for Castle, so that if anything should happen to her she'd at least have a friend.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: At the end of "Always", Esposito is on administrative leave and not talking to Ryan anymore since he went to Gates over his objections; Beckett resigns rather than join Esposito; leaving Ryan as the only member of the core cast still on the force; and Castle is ready to move on with his life without Beckett... until she shows up at his door and They Do.
  • Breather Episode:
    • "Almost Famous," which aired after "3XK," in which the bad guy got away in the end.
    • "One Life to Lose" after the tense two-parter "Setup" & "Countdown" In which Castle disarms the dirty Time Bomb
    • The episodes after episodes on Beckett's mother are breather eps ("The Third Man" after "Sucker Punch", "Lucky Stiff" after "Knockdown", "Heroes and Villains" after "Knockout" and "Rise", "An Embarrassment of Bitches" after "Dial M For Mayor").
    • "Cuffed", after "Kill Shot", where Beckett confronts some psychological trauma from her shooting.
    • "The Final Frontier", after "Probable Cause" (which turns out to be part of the 3XK arc).
    • "Reality Star Struck" after "Recoil", where Beckett ends up protecting the man responsible for her mother's murder.
    • "Scared to Death" after the season 5 two-parter "Target"/"Hunt".
    • "Number One Fan": That WRITER bulletproof vest finally came in handy. Castle even notes that they laughed at him when he had it made.
    • "The Good, the Bad, and the Baby" after "Disciple", the latter being a continuation of the 3XK arc.
    • "The Wrong Stuff" after "Reckoning" and "Resurrection", the latter two being the conclusion the 3XK arc.
  • Brick Joke: "Honey milk." Also the correct meaning and use of irony.
    • In the pilot, Beckett arrests Castle for being Castle. When he's getting handcuffed he says, "Handcuffs? Kinky. My safe word is 'apples'." Later, when he holds back information, Beckett grabs him by the nose, rather painfully, and he repeatedly says, "Apples."
    • In the pilot, Beckett tells Castle, after they have caught the killer, that Castle had no idea of how incredible it would be being with her. In "After the Storm", the season 5 premiere, Castle tells her she was right: he had no idea.
    • In the third season episode "Poof You're Dead", Beckett teases Castle by mentioning "there's this thing I do with ice cubes". At the end of "Scared To Death" it is implied that she finally shows him her "ice cube trick".
    • In the first season, when Beckett asks Castle why he became a writer, he tells her that he saw a corpse and he never got to know what happened to it. It is played out as a joke, but in the Season 7 finale, it turns out that he did see a corpse, and it did prompt him to become a writer.
  • Broken Bird: Kate. To put it in perspective, in most shows, her brokenness would be a background plot point and the underlying cause of some sort of wackiness that everyone just puts up with. Here... while her mom dies before the start of the series, her other two mentors in life die on screen in equally violent ways.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Beckett's former partner turned bounty hunter Mike Royce in "Under the Gun" throws it all away for a rumored buried treasure. Still, when he turns up murdered in "To Love and Die in L.A.", she chases the guy who killed him across the country even before she learns that Royce had done his best to turn his life around after relocating.
    • Castle faces this in "The Final Nail" when his old school friend Damian Westlake — who, years before, had supported and encouraged him in his writing — is the prime suspect in the brutal murder of his wife. Double subverted — Westlake didn't murder his wife, but he did hire another old classmate to murder his father years before.
    • Surprisingly averted with Captain Montgomery. After explaining how and why he did what he did, and that his entire career has been an attempt to atone for his actions, he performs a Heroic Sacrifice in order to Take a Third Option, and the only people who know his past decide to keep it quiet in honor of the man he became. Even after Gates learns about this secret, she agrees with Ryan and Esposito's decision to protect Montgomery's reputation.
    • Another one for Castle — Sophia, the inspiration for Derrick Storm's Clara Strike character, as revealed in "Linchpin."
    • Following his discovery in "47 Seconds" that Beckett remembered her entire gunshot ordeal, including Castle's admission that he loved her, Castle came away very hurt that his partner and love interest could have deceived him about it as long as she did. This has led him to pull away from her, which everyone at the precinct seems to notice (except for Gates, who likely doesn't give a damn). In "The Limey", Lanie appropriately calls her on her BS before it becomes apparent (read: Castle pulling up to a crime scene in a sports car with a hot blonde) that Beckett has missed her window.
    • A less emotionally-gutting version appears in "The Final Frontier", when Beckett encounters the various stars of her favourite sci-fi TV show Nebula 9. The star who plays the dashing heroic captain turns out to be a sleazy egomaniacal alcoholic lech, and she seems almost genuinely hurt when the actress who plays her favourite character reveals she has nothing but contempt for the show. And then it turns out the actress did it. Played with, however, when she proudly declares that although the actors may have feet of clay, the characters are who really inspire her.
  • The Butler Did It:
    • The victim in "Lucky Stiff" employed a butler. As it's the first time they've ever encountered one, Castle is desperate for it to be him. It wasn't, but the butler was ripping the victim off.
    • He lampshades it in "Famous Last Words" as who he'd pick as the murderer in a particularly tricky part of solving the case. The victim here didn't even have one.
    • Averted in "A Dance with Death". Surprisingly, the trope is not brought up at all by Castle this time (probably due to him being more interested in the victim and her non-biological double).
    • And it happens for realsies in "Secret's Safe With Me". Castle is appropriately excited.
  • Bumbling Dad: As often as this gets played straight, it gets averted a few memorable times, most notably when Castle’s daughter is at a party with spiked punch, and her friend got drunk, and he acts exactly as how every parent in the world would hope to.
    • Castle acts like this for a while in "After the Storm" after Alexis comes home with a hangover. He at first denies her request for some aspirin, claiming that she should experience her first hangover to its fullest. Subverted a few moments later when he finally obliges her, but only after Beckett is able to sneak out of his apartment unseen by Martha and Alexis.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Castle gets himself a custom one that says "WRITER" in "Always Buy Retail". Subverted, however, as he's not shot or even shot at while wearing it He wears it in subsequent seasons, and it's included in the opening montage. Yay for continuity!
    • In Season six episode "Number One Fan", Castle actually gets shot. The bullet dots the "I" in "WRITER".
      • Bonus points for THAT situation almost paralleling where Beckett was shot. His and hers matching bruises, anyone?
  • Busman's Holiday: It took until the fifth season ("Murder, He Wrote"), but the first time Castle go on vacation to his place in the Hamptons, with Beckett, a dying gunshot victim stumbles into his swimming pool. The couple end up putting their vacation on hold to help solve the murder.
    • In the seventh season episode "Once Upon A Time In The West", Castle and Beckett go undercover as a couple in a Western themed resort. Since Beckett and Castle officially got married in the previous episode "The Time Of Your Life", this case becomes a busman's honeymoon for the newlyweds.
  • Bus Crash: Rachel McCord, Beckett's partner in the DOJ, is killed offscreen in the season 8 opener.
  • The Butcher: Of Benin, in "Always Buy Retail".
    • And Tony The Butcher in "Heroes and Villains".
    • Variation: as if running around with the name Ethan Slaughter or being played by Adam Baldwin isn't badass enough, his nickname is The Widowmaker, for the three partners who've been KIA'd while working with him. Two on their first day.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Ryan seems to be the member of the team who usually gets everything dumped on him. He and Esposito sometimes manage to turn the tables, though.
      • A deconstruction of this in the S4 finale. Ryan's actions saved Beckett. Unfortunately, those actions were what Esposito didn't want him to do: Tell Gates about the case and get a real squad on the case. As a result, Espo and Beckett are suspended (and Beckett resigns), and Espo ignores Ryan.
    • Esposito fills the role in "Punked", thanks to the increasing amount of slapstick physical encounters — and resulting injuries — he's subject to.
    • Both get another taste in "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder", getting matching black eyes from a basketball player's bodyguards. Espo seeing the video footage, specifically Ryan taking a shot meant for him, helped to begin to mend the friendship that Ryan's actions in "Always" temporarily broke.
    • Inverted/played with in "The Wild Rover". At first it seems like Ryan has been sneaking off and having an affair... but as it turns out, this episode is A Day in the Limelight for him as his past as an undercover officer comes roaring to the front and he is unquestionably the Badass protagonist of the episode.

  • Call-Back:
    • In general, the series will often combine these with the Meaningful Echo to demonstrate how character relationships have changed.
    • The pilot: "My safe word is apples." In the same episode, Beckett grabs him by the nose, making him scream "Apples! Apples!" Season two: They visit a dominatrix club. "My safe word is apples."
    • In "Sucker Punch", the senior coroner Lanie calls to confirm her suspicions about the murder (namely, that the guy who did it also killed Beckett's mother) is the same "Dr. Death" Castle regularly consults with, including in "A Death in the Family" to review Beckett's mother's case file.
    • In "Little Girl Lost", Beckett and Castle have a conversation in an elevator about Beckett’s ex-boyfriend which begins with Beckett preempting Castle’s curious question about him. They have pretty much the same conversation in "A Rose For Everafter", except with the roles switched and Castle’s ex-girlfriend the subject. ("I didn't ask." "Yes, you were 'not asking' very loudly.")
    • "Almost Famous": "Do you have any brochures? I'm looking for an apartment. Mine blew up."
    • "Countdown": The final scene, where Castle appears to be on the verge of asking Beckett out only to lose his nerve upon seeing her boyfriend Josh, mirrors the end of "A Deadly Game" where the roles were reversed and Beckett was in the exact same position as Castle, only for Gina to show up.
    • "One Life to Lose": Remember the Old Haunt, the bar Castle brought? It's brought up in this episode when Ryan mentions to Esposito and Castle that he found a quicker route to the place and mentions he knows the owner.
      • It is mentioned again at the end of "Cops and Robbers" when Beckett asked Castle if he wants to go there after they saved the day.
      • In "Law & Murder" the DA offered Montgomery a red bottle of 1875 scotch. Those could only have come from the old cache that was found under the Old Haunt.
      • In "Number One Fan" Castle says the rounds are on the house at The Old Haunt tonight, after Beckett gets her job back an episode after being fired from her DC job.
    • "Law & Murder": "Can we stop at Remy's for burgers on the way?" Remy's is the burger joint they went to after wrapping up the case in "The Third Man".
    • Natalie Rhodes is not on set because she went back into rehab in "To Love and Die in L.A.".
    • In "Rise", it turns out that Beckett has not called Castle in the whole summer. Pretty much like Castle did the year before.
    • In "Pretty Dead", one suspect claims as his alibi, "I was with Councilman Bollinger." Bollinger was the man running in the election from season 1's "Hell Hath No Fury."
    • A subtle one in "Always". In "Knockdown", Castle kisses Beckett, Beckett breaks it in surprise and then she kisses him with more intensity. In "Always", Beckett kisses Castle, Castle breaks it in surprise and then he kisses her with more intensity.
    • The conversation where Castle attempts to dissuade Beckett from pursuing her investigation of her mother's murder in "Knockout" mirrors the one in "Always" where the investigation now also leads to the one who shot Beckett. Both scenes occur in the same place. One subtle difference is that in "Knockout", Beckett ends their argument, while in "Always", it's Castle who walks away with the last word.
    • A five season long one happens in "After The Storm". During The Morning After Castle comments 'You were right, I had no idea'. This is a callback to the pilot episode when Castle comments that they would have been good together, after she rejects his advances, and she responds with 'You have no idea'. Later that episode, Beckett calls in Officer Hastings' favor from "Heroes and Villains".
    • "Murder, He Wrote" has Esposito trying to find out who Beckett's new boyfriend is, not knowing that it's Castle. He goes through each of Beckett's romantic false leads from previous seasons, including Josh (the doctor from season 3), Demming (the detective from season 2) and Sorenson (the FBI agent from the first season); Josh and Sorenson are stated as now being overseas while Demming has been dating someone else for the last several months.
    • In "Anatomy of a Murder", in a conversation with Castle about the case of the week Martha cites a willingness to break your significant other out of jail as a sign of true love, which prompts a heartwarming moment when Beckett, unaware of the conversation, makes an offhand comment about how she'd be willing to bust Castle out of jail. In "Probable Cause", when Castle's under arrest under compelling evidence of murder and the possibility of him being murdered in Central Holding arises, Beckett in a moment of desperation floats the possibility of a break-out to Esposito and has to be talked down from it.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but in "The Final Frontier", just after Esposito says he could see Ryan as an elf or a hobbit, a fan dressed as the vigilante from "Heroes and Villains" walks in front of the camera.
    • At the end of "Scared to Death" Beckett offers to show Castle that trick she does with ice cubes, which she mentioned before in "Poof You're Dead".
    • Beau Randolph, the proprietor of the Girls Gone Wild Expy in "Head Case", is the victim of the week in "Death Gone Crazy".
    • "Recoil" subtly resembles the pilot episode, wherein a mentally unstable person to whom all the evidence points turns out to be a patsy set up by the real killer, and only one person is savvy enough to figure it out despite a lack of evidence, and ends up being proven right in the end. Beckett is the one who guesses this time. Both episodes also each have one poignant scene between Beckett and Castle while they're searching through letters to identify a suspect.
    • In "Hunt" Jackson Hunt (who is Castle's father) confirms that he "greased the skids" for Castle's access to the CIA, which was first alluded to in "Linchpin".
      • On another note from the same episode, Castle once stated, when offered an opportunity to write for him, said that James Bond was the reason he became a writer. When Hunt said, he gave Castle Casino Royale when he was 10, Castle said that's the book that made him want to be a writer.
    • In the season 6 episode "Need to Know" we finally get to hear what happened to the "Nikki Heat" movie. The production was so bad it went direct-to-DVD.
    • In "Disciple", the documentary from "Swan Song" is heard because the victim used it as a pattern to learn how to speak like Esposito.
    • The song which Castle and Beckett dance to in "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the same song which played back in "Always" after Beckett quits the NYPD and before they finally get together.
    • In "Sucker Punch", Beckett tells Castle she hopes he will be with her when they take down the man responsible for her mother's murder. And he is there when she takes down Senator Bracken in "Veritas".
    • "The Time of Our Lives", given its premise, is full of them.
      • Early in the episode, Beckett is invited to the wedding of Will Sorensen, who in "Little Girl Lost" mentioned the time she stood in line for an hour to get Castle to sign her book. In the alternate universe, Beckett tells Castle about this, though she's always kept it from him in the real world.
      • Beckett asks Castle why he killed off Derrick Storm, which was a question asked very early in the series run but not since. And just like then, Castle never does answer.
      • Castle tells Beckett that he loves her (for the first time in this universe) in the alternate universe as he's shot. He told her he loved her the first time after she was shot.
      • Esposito asks Beckett if Castle is getting to her, something he asked in the pilot. In both cases, he did and Beckett does dig deeper.
    • In "Once Upon A Time in the Old West", Kate shoots the killer on the weapon, making him drop the weapon, just like Castle saved her in "Boom".
    • "Knockdown" has Vulcan Simmons telling Beckett that Castle "is sweet on you. Makes him brave. "In the Belly of the Beast" has Beckett being tortured by Simmons, and she thinks of Castle to give her strength.
  • Calling Me a Logarithm: After a safe deposit box belonging to a mob figure is broken into, the mobster claims it contained his stamp collection. One of the cops asks him how long he has been a philatelist. His response is "Hey! I don't roll that way!".
  • Camp Straight: Castle was called a metrosexual in "The Third Man," though he's a pretty mild example. He has a fine appreciation for good interior decorating and fashion.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Both Castle and Beckett.
    • It happened twice for Castle: first, in "When the Bough Breaks" at the launch party after Beckett read the sweet dedication he made to her in Heat Wave and rather than telling her how he felt about her, he launched into a theory about the Killer of the Week, giving Beckett Mood Whiplash; second, in the same episode at the end, when he thought they had worked their last case and instead of confessing his feelings he offered her an awkward handshake. Sigh. Oh, Castle.
    • Beckett suffered from a small version of this in "A Deadly Game" in a couple different occasions because Castle is apparently Oblivious to Love. The end of the episode resulted in her becoming The Woobie as she watched him walk away with his ex-wife and him not knowing how she felt. Sigh. Oh, Beckett.
    • When they're not mucking things up themselves, small events and bad timing seems to add to the confusion. Sigh. Oh, you two.
    • A darker version in "Knockdown"; Detective John Raglan, with vital information to pass on to Beckett about her mother's case, instead nervously rambles on about coffee and Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol for a few moments. This, naturally, gives the sinister conspiracy behind her mother's death ample opportunity to ensure Raglan never reveals anything to anyone ever again.
    • Also, in "Knockdown", When Castle shows up at Beckett's apartment, and she asks him "Why do you keep coming back, Rick?", the answer is all over his face, but not coming out of his mouth.
    • Castle also gets a heartbreaking moment in "Knockout"
      Castle: If, if anything happens to her... It...*sighs*
      Martha: Go on.
      Castle: I-I...
      Martha: Oh, Richard, Richard. For a man who makes a living with words, you sure have a hell of a time finding them when it counts.
    • Finally averted on Castle's end in the Season 3 finale. He confesses his love to Beckett as she's lying on the ground, losing consciousness, having just been shot in the chest by a sniper.
    • In "Eye of the Beholder", Kate's therapist asks her why the thought of Castle liking another woman bothers her and she responds, "Because he's supposed to be..." and stops before she can say what she really means, instead settling for "my partner."
    • In "47 Seconds", after thinking about how short life is after a bomb explodes in the middle of a protest, Castle is ready to tell Beckett his feelings for her (and she's smiling and ready to hear it), but he gets interrupted by Ryan. Apparently, Beckett was shocked by the experience too and, later in the same episode, tried to open up to him, but she's interrupted by Esposito. Castle later accidentally discovers that Kate remembers what happened after she was shot, which makes him stop trying to tell her.
    • Averted again in "Always". Castle tells Beckett that he loves her, and, after a Love Epiphany after nearly dying, Beckett tells Castle she loves him.
    • Another more serious case in "After the Storm". When Mr. Smith barely survives his encounter with Cole Maddox, he tries to tell Castle where the incriminating files are, but is only able to say "86" repeatedly. Luckily, Castle stumbles on what Smith was referring to when he and Beckett search his apartment: an address where the aforementioned files were located.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Wives of Wall Street, featured in "Reality Star Struck," is this to the Real Housewives franchise.
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Castle finally sings along with the other cast members (minus Lanie) as they head out for a drink at the end of "Last Call."
    • While not necessarily the normal definition of a cast showoff, "Kill Shot" gives Jon Huertas (Esposito) an opportunity to show off his military training and knowledge.
    • And in "The Blue Butterfly", Lanie (well, a fictional version, sorta; let's just say Tamala Jones and end it at that) does a few song numbers. And wow, she's pretty darn good.
  • Casting Gag:
    • In the season 1 episode Little Girl Lost, Judy Reyes (Carla) plays a mother who's child has been kidnapped. This is a reference to the Lifetime made-for-TV movie that Reyes starred in, "Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story". For extra irony points her character in the episode turns out to be one of the main instigators of the kidnapping.
    • In a two-part episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a one-shot character tells Cmdr. Data, who's in charge of a ship, that androids shouldn't be captains any more than Klingons should be counselors. In several third-season episodes of Castle, Michael Dorn (a/k/a Lt. Worf) plays Beckett's counselor. If that's not a casting gag, it's a highly amusing coincidence.
  • Casual Kink:
    • Beckett loves teasing Castle with this, by delivering the quotes listed in Cool Bike and Head-Tiltingly Kinky without blinking.
    • Just about all of "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" but especially...
      Beckett: Bondage cuffs, custom made. Looks like our killer liked public play.
      Castle: How can you tell the difference between custom and regular?
      Beckett: The leather is too high quality to be mass produced and it's hand stitched.
      Castle: No, I mean how can you tell the difference?
    • And...
      Lanie: I can do the chocolate, I'll even do the whipped cream bikini, but caramel? I prefer slippery to sticky.
      Castle: Does she know we can hear her?
    • In "Poof! You're Dead:"
      Castle: I never pegged you for a magic fan. You know any good tricks?
      Beckett: I do have this one thing with ice cubes.
      Castle: [steadies himself against a display window]
    At the end of "Scared to Death" it is implied that she finally shows Castle what she does with ice cubes.
  • Also, Castle has offhandedly mentioned that his safe word is "apples." Twice thus far.
  • Also Serena Kaye in "Eye of the Beholder":
    Castle: So you were kind of like the female Indiana Jones. Only without the hat and whip.
    Serena: Well... without the hat.
  • At the end of "Cuffed", Beckett suggests the possibility that she might be amenable to cuffing herself to Castle. Castle's face says everything.
Beckett: Next time, let's do it without the tiger.
Castle: ...Next time?
  • In "Secret's Safe With Me", Beckett casually mentions she has a box from her "kinky past", leaving Castle stunned.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Played with in the fifth season premiere, "After the Storm". The show starts with a Previously On segment that ends with a clip of the man who nearly killed Beckett in the fourth season finale, "Always", promising to finish the job. This cuts immediately to Castle bolting up from a nightmare. The editing makes it look like he dreamed of Beckett's assailant threatening to kill her. He then notices that he's alone in bed, which has him worried. Enter Beckett, wearing his shirt, a cup of coffee in each hand, assuring him that last night was not a dream.
  • Cathartic Exhalation: At the climax of a two-parter episode involving a domestic terrorist plot to set off a dirty bomb in the city. Castle and Beckett find the bomb, but with only mere seconds left on the clock. After seemingly resigning themselves to their fate, Castle goes ahead and rips all the wires out, preventing the explosion. Once the shock wears off, Beckett starts gasping with relief.
  • The Cavalry: Beckett is saved by Ryan, Gates, and a bunch of SWAT guys at the end of the Season 4 finale.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: Castle apparently makes his up without reading the books.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Played with; although Castle is overall quite happy being a famous, successful novelist, he was clearly getting a bit bored with the whole thing by the pilot, which is partly why he enjoys hanging out with the down-to-earth Beckett and solving mysteries with the other cops.
    • Discussed in "Limelight", where the victim is a former teen star gone bad who's later revealed to have survived; her decoy was the actual victim.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Martha would just be in all the roles Susan Sullivan has had.
    • And, in fact, there's a scene in "Tick, Tick, Tick..." of Martha watching an old role of hers—Susan Sullivan in the pilot episode of The Incredible Hulk.
    • Since Castle seems to be familiar with Desperate Housewives, it would be interesting to know who played Adam and Katherine Mayfair in this universe (Dana Delany).
    • The allusions to Firefly have reached this level by now. While the show itself has never been named, Castle has claimed to have learned Chinese from a TV show he used to love in "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind", dressed up like a space cowboy in "Vampire Weekend" about four years before the show started, and when asked what sci-fi shows he liked in "The Final Frontier", he listed, among others, "that Joss Whedon show." One wonders what he thought of the lead actor. Or if Detective Slaughter (Adam Baldwin) from "Headhunters" (and as of the season 5 episode "Reality Star Struck", Penelope the reality star — played by Gina Torres) looked familiar to him.
    • In "Cops and Robbers", one of the bank robbers' code names is "Dr. Houser". Thing is, the star of that show was in Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog opposite, um, Nathan Fillion.
    • Fred Willard appears as a washed up late night personality in "Late Night Shaft," and is later mentioned by name in "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder."
  • Censor Box: In "Pretty Dead", Castle is examining some blackmail photos, and assures Beckett that he wasn't ogling the naked girl. When he hands her the photo, the viewer can see that he put sticky notes over the naughty bits.
  • Censorship by Spelling: Lampshaded when Esposito, nervously looking at Alexis who happens to be in the squad room, spells out B-I-T-C-H. Alexis and her father give each other a disgusted look.
    Castle: She can spell, Detective.
    Ryan: Probably better than you!
  • Cerebus Syndrome: There was a noticeable shift towards more hard hitting, emotionally engaging storylines roughly starting with the second season's two-part episode special "Tick, Tick, Tick..."/"Boom". The enjoyable light comedy is still there, but episodes focusing on Beckett's overall Story Arc tended to be darker in tone. Executive Producer Andrew Marlowe said that if Castle was renewed for a fifth season, that it would be a return to the lighter, funnier tone of the early seasons — general consensus is that he was right, though of course there are still episodes with a serious tone intermittent with the others.
  • Chained Heat: Castle and Beckett wake up handcuffed together and Locked in a Room in "Cuffed". This trope is lampshaded by Esposito and Ryan when discussing how a relationship can have a make-or-break moment when two people are stuck together in close proximity. Castle and Beckett pass with flying colors of course.
  • Character Blog:
  • Charity Ball: In "Home is Where the Heart Stops", the main cast goes to a charity ball in order to track down the murderer of the week.
  • The Charmer: Castle is very popular with the ladies.
  • The Cheerleader: Played with in "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" where Alexis considers trying out for the team but decides she doesn't want to devote the time and effort it would take away from her other activities.
    Castle: Well, we both learned a valuable lesson today. You learned you can expand your horizons and grow. I learned that if that involves short skirts and boys I'm not gonna like it.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In "Vampire Weekend", the grave that Castle notices before they find the body turns out to be the grave of the deceased's mother, who was murdered by the nanny, who then murdered the deceased when he confronted her about front of her grave.
    • In "The Fifth Bullet", when Castle arrives at the crime scene he is enamored by a dog that had been tied up near the crime scene. It turns out that the dog belongs to the amnesiac in the episode, thus helping to identify Jay.
    • In "Murder Most Fowl", the circuit breakers invented by the victim are critical to apprehending his killers.
    • "Knockout": The Captain is seen loading his revolver, and a two-shot derringer. Which makes the subsequent fight Dramatic Irony, since even viewers unfamiliar with the CG concept are likely counting the bullets fired from the revolver and waiting for the derringer to come out.
    • "Rise": Castle's Big Board which he used to plot his mysteries, is now co-opted for Johanna Beckett's murder.
    • "Heroes and Villains": Castle points out that the "hero" they're after based his costume on various comic-book heroes with dead parents, indicating they lost one or both of their parents. He's right.
    • "Kick The Ballistics": The gun that 3XK takes from Detective Ryan while escaping police custody.
    • "The Blue Butterfly": The brick that falls off the wall when Joe is thrown from the bar.
    • In "Secret's Safe with Me", Castle gives Captain Gates a small creepy doll that is apparently a collector's item. Of course, she's completely enamored of Castle the rest of the episode and of course, that couldn't last long. Turns out, it was hiding a missing piece of evidence in the murder and Castle had to break it to get into it. Too bad he didn't get the right doll on the first try. The first one he broke? Another one of Captain Gates'.
    • In "Recoil", the sound clip of a lighter being flicked open is heard in audio of the murder. In the nick of time, Beckett hears the same lighter held by the killer and makes it just in time to protect Bracken from the bomb which blows up his limousine.
    • Remember Alexis's vlog, from "Death Gone Crazy"? Guess how the kidnappers knew where she and Sara would be in "Target".
    • Sophia Turner's mention of Castle's father helping him to get into the CIA for information turns out to be true in the season 5 two-parter "Target"/"Hunt".
    • On Beckett's desk sit some elephants she got from her mother. It tuns out Johanna hid a cassette tape in them—a tape Montgomery made of then-ADA Bracken blackmailing the dirty cops, admitting to murder, and saying he would have Johanna murdered if she didn't back off.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Another go-to trope for writers of the series. For example, the deceased art gallery's owner's assistant in "The Fifth Bullet", Darius. Not only did he do it, but he's not Darius (he used his roommate's identity to get the job).
    • In "Heroes and Villains", we get a very specific shot of the officer who discovered the body of a "superhero"'s victim. Guess who turns out to be the superhero? But she actually didn't commit the murder.
    • The police officer from "Heroes and Villains" reappears in the season 5 premiere, allowing Beckett to confront the senator responsible for her mother's murder.
    • In "Swan Song", the first bystander that Ryan talks to in the episode is later revealed to be the murder victim's mentor, as well as the reason he gets killed in the first place.
    • In "Significant Others", the "woman of [Esposito's] dreams" that he and Ryan meet at the beginning turns out to be the golfer's missing ex-wife, as well as the divorce lawyer's killer.
    • Castle's father, mentioned in "Linchpin" as the reason Castle was able to get information from the CIA, finally appears in "Hunt" to help his son rescue Alexis.
    • In "Scared to Death", the victim's roommate — the very first person the detectives talk to — turns out to be the killer.
  • Chekhov's Time Travel: One episode has an assassin from the future come to kill a scientist before he can invent force fields. Even though he is running around the present, Castle still recruits another time traveller to stop him.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Alexis spends most of "Under the Gun" trying to get Castle to get her a scooter. In the end, she tells her dad that she no longer wants one after realizing she would have to sell a childhood memento to do so. Castle is much relieved and though he will not buy her a scooter, he will buy himself a scooter and maybe she can borrow it. To which she happily accepts and adds a:
      Alexis: ...and when you're using the scooter, I can borrow the car!
    • Jerry Tyson, a.k.a. 3XK in "Probable Cause". The episode is one big Xanatos Gambit. And he pulls it off, again.
  • The Chew Toy: Esposito's injuries in "Punked" are played for laughs...and he gets some of it back in the end.
  • China Takes Over the World:
    • In "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind," the killer was working for a Chinese intelligence agent looking to obtain U.S. military secrets.
    • In the two-parter "Pandora"/"Linchpin", the daughter of a Chinese official is the intended victim... but only because the villains have discovered that China has the power to destroy American pre-eminence forever with a stroke of the pen.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Castle.
    • "Love Me Dead" has Castle and Beckett enlisting the help of a call girl to solve the case. At first Castle reacts as you'd expect — "[When she gets here] tell her to wear something sexy!" — but when she shows up beaten in his house, his first instinct is to get her medical help, even when she tries to kiss him. Quite reminiscent of a previous role, in fact.
    • In "Tick, Tick, Tick," the other cops show up at Beckett's apartment to find Castle making her pancakes at 7:00 in the morning. When they jump to the (mistaken) obvious conclusion, Castle is quick to correct them instead of going along with it.
  • Christmas Episode: "Secret Santa".
  • Church of Happyology: The Church of Worldly Enlightenment in "Swan Song".
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Both agencies have appeared throughout the series. For the most part, while the FBI and NYPD have Jurisdiction Friction and Obstructive Bureaucrats, they're decent folk. Meanwhile, except for a few occasions, whenever the CIA gets involved, things are much shadier and sometimes outright antagonistic. The biggest example is in Season 8, when we find out that Senator Bracken had a partner in the CIA who was covering up his dirty money dealings and now appears to be the show's new Big Bad.
  • Clear Their Name: "Like Father, Like Daughter": Alexis enlists her father's help in clearing a death row inmate who is 3 days from execution.
  • Cliffhanger: Tick... Tick... Tick.... Beckett's apartment explodes just as Castle tells her over the phone that the real killer is still alive. Most people EVERYONE knows that her Plot Armor will protect her, but still. The creators even went so far as to introduce an attractive female FBI agent in that episode who would presumably have served as Beckett's replacement if she had actually died. Those bastards!
    • The other two-parters have usually had a similar cliffhanger. In Season 3, it was that Castle and Beckett are locked in a freezer, slowly dying of hypothermia. In Season 4, Castle and Beckett were in a car that was rammed into the Hudson River.
    • The cliffhanger for the season 3 finale, where Beckett is shot by a sniper and in critical condition.
    • The cliffhanger for the season 4 finale, where Beckett resigns, finally tells Castle that she loves him, and the man that shot Beckett tells the mysterious man that told Castle to keep her off the case that, as soon as he gets the information Roy sent the latter, he will kill Beckett.
    • The cliffhanger for "Target", where it's discovered that a kidnapped Alexis is in Paris and has been recaptured.
    • The season 5 finale "Watershed" ends with Beckett apparently having decided on taking the job in Washington DC, although the more significant cliffhanger is Castle's marriage proposal to her, her answer to which is Left Hanging.
    • The season 6 premiere, "Valkyrie", ends with Castle being taken from home to DC, where a distraught Beckett informs him that his kidnapper was killed via a toxin he was exposed to... which was communicable. And from his timeframe, Castle has less than a day to live.
    • The season 6 finale, "For Better or For Worse". Castle is driving towards their wedding, when his car gets run off the road by a mysterious SUV. The last thing seen is Beckett, wearing her wedding dress as she runs towards Castle's burning car.
    • The season 7 episode "Resurrection", number 14: 3XK and his psycho surgeon girlfriend are back. And they've taken Kate.
  • Clip Show: "Still" from season 5 is mostly a clip show. It was ordered late into the production schedule and about 13 minutes of the episode consists of clips.
  • Clue, Evidence, and a Smoking Gun
  • Coffin Contraband: In "Kill the Messenger", Perlmutter had a coffin of a woman who died years ago exhumed to determine cause of death, but the coffin contained nothing but sandbags. Castle started to leave, commenting that it seemed like a waste of a high-end casket, then turned around and suggested that some high-end caskets have a small drawer in the lid. Perlmutter found the drawer, which contained a photo of the victim with a prominent senatorial candidate from the '70s. This led to Beckett and Castle uncovering a scandal which led to the woman's murder and helped them finally get justice for the victim.
  • Cold Open: Every episode, except season and midseason finales, which have a Previously On. It's not unusual for the stinger and first commercial to not come until 8-10 minutes into the program.
  • Combat Stilettos:
    • "Home is Where The Heart Stops" has a close-up of Beckett's high-heeled boots crushing a suspect's hand, though they're not stilettos.
    • In "Boom!", near the end Special Agent Jordan Shaw catches the serial killer's gun with some pretty deadly heels!
    • "A Deadly Affair" has Beckett's introduction be a low-to-the-ground shot of her stilettos. While not a combat situation, it certainly sticks out.
    • Lampshaded by her former training officer in "Under the Gun" to which Beckett plays a straight answer.
    • Further lampshaded in "Nikki Heat" in which the actress (in-universe) playing Nikki Heat notices them and notes they must be hard to run in and that Beckett must use them to get a authority from the height advantage. Beckett acknowledges that it helps, but she mainly wears them because she likes them.
    • Lampshaded again in "Cuffed" when Beckett asks Castle to take off her boots. "How do you run in these things?"
    • Alexis wears them while playing laser tag with her dad in "Undead Again."
  • Comically Missing the Point: The assassin in “After Hours” killed his therapist because they diagnosed him as a sociopath with homicidal tendencies.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: A suspect in one episode alibis out on account of he was having sex with the victim's wife at the time.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Remember kids, Castle's bondage Safe Word is "apples". First mentioned in the pilot and again in the bondage themed episode "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" (2x16).
    • At the beginning of "Boom!", Beckett asks if anyone has seen her father's watch, first shown in "A Chill Goes Through Her Veins". Castle ducks out of the building saying, hastily "It's not in the hall". Turns out whether or not it was actually in the hall, Castle did find it, but it was broken, and you can see him tucking it into his pocket in that scene so that he can have it repaired before giving it back to Beckett.
    • During the cold open of the Season 3 opener, Ryan sees a cardboard cutout of Castle and says, "He really is ruggedly handsome," a phrase which Castle first used in "Always Buy Retail".
    • In 3x10 ("Last Call"), they find a cache of Prohibition era liquor which they turn over to the city. Nine episodes later ("Law and Murder"), the DA asks someone to celebrate with him, because he just got a bottle of it.
    • At the end of "Last Call", Castle buys the bar that was the center of the ep to avoid it being closed down; it's referenced at the end of several episodes afterwards.
    • In "Dead Pool" Ryan and Esposito tell a young writer Castle is mentoring about a previous case, which was "Knockdown".
    • The board in Castle's home where he plots his mysteries is first shown in "A Chill Goes Through Her Veins". It reappears in "Rise", where it's now being used to outline Beckett's mother's murder case. In "Linchpin", when Sophia visits Castle at his house, she refers to it as an example of Castle's incessant need for resolution. And in "Always", after Castle is unable to get Beckett to give up her mother's case, he deletes his files on it... before Beckett knocks on his door and confesses her feelings for him.
    • "Kick the Ballistics" has 3XK come back into focus. He's back again in "Probable Cause".
    • 4x07, "Cops and Robbers": Castle has apparently been keeping track of the many times he's saved Beckett's life (9 to be exact) and when she dares him to recount these incidents, he specifically mentions distracting the gunman in the Season 1 episode "Always Buy Retail" with a champagne bottle and the Season 2 episode "Tick, Tick, Tick" when he warns her about the bomb in her apartment.
    • In "Significant Others", Castle references Strangers on a Train, which was the inspiration to "The Double Down".
    • In the pilot, when Castle quips about how good they could be together, Beckett teases him with a whispered, "You have no idea." At the beginning of "After the Storm" (Season 5, episode 1), the morning after They Do, Castle tells Beckett, "You're right. I had no idea."
    • In "Poof!" (Season 3, episode 12), Beckett mentions that she has a trick she does with ice cubes. At the end of "Scared to Death", Beckett tells Castle that she really wants to do the ice cube trick with him.
    • Ryan's allergic to down feathers. This first shows up in season 1's "Home is Where the Heart Stops". It shows up again in season five's "The Squab and the Quail".
  • Continuity Porn: "Still".
  • Convection Shmonvection: "Under Fire" takes its title literally: Ryan and Esposito are trapped in a basement below a raging three-alarm warehouse fire. They're down there a good 45 minutes with little real sign of either heat stroke or oxygen deprivation until the very end of their entrapment. And, although either or both of their deaths are teased to hell, both make it out alive.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • In "Home Is Where The Heart Stops" Castle reconnects with Powell, a retired cat-burglar who was forced to retire because Castle, using him as a source for a book, ended up blowing his cover. Powell gets his revenge... by crashing a high-society benefit which Castle and Beckett have infiltrated. And bringing Martha along. Castle suddenly finds himself the subject of an impromptu one-man bachelor auction.
      Powell: [smugly] Now we're even.
    • In "Sucker Punch", Castle's proposed strategy for getting Johnny Vong to talk is "force him to watch Paris Hilton videos". The actual strategy is to tell him he's free to go, knowing that there's a hired assassin who is likely already acting on the assumption that Vong spilled his guts to the cops,
  • Cool Bike: As revealed in "Under the Gun", Beckett owns a Harley softtail.
  • Cool Gun: In the climactic scene of the episode "Under The Gun", Beckett and Ryan have their usual service pistols. Esposito? He has a M4A1 Carbine with various accessories. He also uses this gun in tactical strikes in other episodes.
    • In "Hunt", Castle's father also has one in his introductory scene.
  • Cops Need the Vigilante: The series both acknowledges that Rick Castle is an agent of the police and that his actions routinely screw the pooch. Good job, ABC!
  • The Coroner: ME Lanie Parish, who is also Beckett's Black Best Friend. Also, a different, grumpy coroner named Perlmutter was introduced in "The Double Down." He appeared several times in Season 2 and once or twice in every season since.
  • Corrupt Politician: A mild example in a DA in the episode "Law and Murder" willing to subvert the justice system and convict an innocent man to make sure he has funding for re-election. Okay, not that mild.
    • In "Dial 'M' for Mayor", the Mayor is suspected to have embezzled funds and tried to cover it with a murder. He claims he is being framed by a conspiracy. It turns out that he is right.
    • "After the Storm" introduces Vice President John Russell and William H. Bracken, Senator for New York. Bracken is the man behind the murder of Beckett's mother and the conspiracies surrounding it. A variation, in that he appears to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's genuinely trying to do good for the people in his jurisdiction... or at least believes himself to be so. Russell, as far as we know, is innocent of any wrongdoing. Oh, and that means Bracken was behind the conspiracy to frame the mayor, too.
  • Cosplay: Castle, Alexis and Beckett have histories as cosplayers. Castle has dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, a Space Cowboy and a Steampunk soldier on the show. Alexis dressed as a scantily-clad alien assassin at a sci-fi convention (much to Castle's chagrin). Beckett once dressed as a character from a short-lived Star Trek Expy called "Nebula 9" and also dressed in that costume again for Castle (adding a rubber fright mask to freak him out).
    • Also during their teens, both Castle and Beckett dressed as Gene Simmons for Halloween.
    • The season 6 episode "That '70s Show" has the entire Precinct 12 dressed as '70s heroes and villains to jog the memory of a retired mobster who was mentally stuck in the period. Including Esposito and Ryan as Starsky & Hutch Expy types, and Lanie as Foxy Brown. All curated by Martha, of course, who even drafted in extra actors to add to the mood.
  • Cowboy Cop: Deconstructed. It's revealed that a group of cowboy cops killed an undercover FBI agent investigating a mobster and set into motion the events that led to Johanna Beckett's murder.
    • Det. Slaughter (played by Adam Baldwin) in "Headhunters" plays this for laughs. It's exactly what would happen if Jayne Cobb became a detective. At least Slaughter's not just motivated by the money.
    • All the main characters whenever it comes to investigating the murder of Beckett's mother or covering up Montgomery's involvement in that murder. However, in "Always", Ryan eventually stops.
    • Esposito follows proper procedure 99% of the time and even gives Cowboy Cop Slaughter a What the Hell, Hero? speech. But in "Under The Influence", things get extreme enough for him to go just a little bit Cowboy. There is a criminal who manipulates juvenile delinquents into stealing for him, which ends up getting someone killed. They can't arrest him so Esposito threatens to kill him and make it look like self-defense if he goes near any kids again.
    • Even though he's not a cop, Castle does his best Liam Neeson impression in "Hunt" (it's even lampshaded by Ryan). It's eventually shown how far out of his element he is when the guy he hired to find Alexis sets him up to be executed.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Once Upon a Time in the West" features the duo solving a poisoning at an Arizona dude ranch resort, while pretending to be honeymooners there. As expected, it features a wide array of western-themed tropes, including the reason for the murder.
  • Cramming the Coffin: "Anatomy of a Murder" has the Body of the Week disposed of this way, but the ruse is discovered at the funeral when the pallbearers drop the coffin open.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: One of the benefits of being Richard Castle. If there's a situation where money will help grease the treads in a stalled investigation, Castle will not hesitate to reach for his wallet. A notable example from "Sucker Punch"
    Beckett: Okay. Here's the deal. You're going to contact Rathborne with a contract on Vong. You're gonna tell him that the police are taking him to the DA's office for a deposition, that he can't make it there alive.
    Coonan: It doesn't work like that. He wants his money up front. It's 100 grand, non-negotiable.
    Beckett: A hundred grand? The city is never gonna agree to that.
    Coonan: Look, you wanna catch her killer, the price is 100 grand.
    Beckett: I can't just shoot that kind of money out into space without any hope of getting it back.
    Castle: You can't. I can. This one's on me.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles:
    • The episode "Tick, Tick, Tick..." deals with a killer challenging the team to stop him before he kills again. It ends with a bomb going off in Beckett's apartment. The second part is fittingly titled "Boom!"
    • Sucker Punch, Knockdown and Knockout, dealing all with Kate's mum's case. The episode after Knockout is suitably named Rise which has Kate coming back from the critical hit done to her in the previous episode.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Gabriel Winters ("The Final Frontier") may have been a drunken philanderer, but when the killer had a gun to his head, not only did he casually insult her without a sign of fear, he took her out a second later. Even Castle, who hated the show, thought that was awesome.
  • Curse Cut Short: In "Swan Song", Esposito looks at the camera and asks: "Can we even say son of a—" cut to title. And what makes it even funnier? He just said "Son of a bitch" not two seconds earlier.
  • Cyanide Pill:
    • Subverted in "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" when Castle stops the Chinese agent from this:
    Castle: Cyanide capsule! (sweeps item from man's mouth) Eww, gum.
    • Played absolutely straight in "Head Case" when a murderer commits suicide by this method in order to join her husband in death/cryonic freezing after killing him.

  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Castle's father is a spy who had to leave New York City after one night with Martha due to a job "going south." According to him, it took him a year of work until he could come back to the States.
  • Daddy's Girl: Alexis Castle, Castle's daughter. Kate Beckett as well, to a certain extent.
  • The Dandy: Castle is such a metrosexual. He's starting to influence Ryan and Esposito, amusingly enough.
    Castle [searching an apartment]: You see this moulding? That's the original wood. Gorgeous! I bet the bathrooms have marble wainscoting.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: Happens in "Boom!" to FBI Special Agent Shaw of all people.
    • In "Significant Others", the Victim of the Week is stabbed to death with an icepick by a killer hiding in the back of her car.
  • Darker and Edgier: Though the show tends towards being a lighthearted comedy, episodes about Beckett's mother's murder and two-parter half season finales have a tendency to be very dark.
    • Any episode that 3XK shows up in is going to be dark.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Esposito gets much more of a focus than usual in "Den of Thieves." He gets two more episodes centered around him in Season 5's "Under the Influence," and in Season 7's "Kill Switch".
    • Ryan's time comes in the season 4 episode "Kick the Ballistics." And in season 5, he gets another with "The Wild Rover". And again in Season 7's "At Close Range".
    • "Hunt" may arguably be this for Castle, as he embarks on his first adventure without Beckett.
    • "Like Father, Like Daughter," "Hunt," "Caught" and "Limelight" could be seen as these for Alexis. The former has her (with Castle's help) try to prove the innocence of an accused murderer, the latter has her befriend a troubled pop star whose decoy is murdered, and the two others center around her kidnapping.
  • Dead Man's Chest:
    • In "A Chill Goes Through Her Veins", a body is hidden inside a freezer to allow it to be smuggled out of an apartment building. The freezer is later placed in a storage unit and turned on, and that is where the body remains for years.
    • In "In Plane Sight", the body of the murdered air marshal is stuffed into a suitcase in the cargo bay of the plane.
  • Dead Man Writing: Mike Royce's letter to Beckett in "To Love and Die in L.A." It's also a Voiceover Letter at the end, revealing Mike sees that she has something special with Castle
    • In "The Belly of the Beast", Beckett, trapped in a deep cover mission gone wrong, writes a letter to Castle, sticks it in an air vent and leaves a few drops of her blood in the vicinity to lead a forensics team to the letter if necessary.
  • Dead Partner: Used as Esposito's backstory for "Den of Thieves." Except it turns out he's not quite dead after all, and in fact is the suspect for the killing of the Body of the Week.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Beckett to Castle mostly.
  • Dean Bitterman: In "Smells Like Teen Spirit", it's revealed that Principal Dunham of Faircroft Academy was apparently this to Castle's High School Hustler. It seems that time (and memories of the prank — involving a cow on the roof — that got Castle expelled) hasn't mellowed him, although he does seem to respect Castle a bit more by the end of the episode.
  • Death by Looking Up: The Victim of the Week in "Wrapped Up In Death". Cause of Death: Falling Gargoyle.
  • Death by Origin Story: Beckett's mother.
  • Death by Sex: Conversed trope between Castle and Beckett in "Scared to Death."
  • Death Equals Redemption:
    • When Detective Raglan realizes he is dying in "Knockdown", he contacts Beckett and tries to tell her about his role in her mother's death.
    • In "Knockout", Captain Montgomery.
  • Death Glare:
    • Beckett has one and it is almost always aimed at Castle.
    • Castle, in turn, aims one at Beckett in "The Dead Pool" when she agrees to spend time with Alex Conrad, the writer he's mentoring.
    • Lampshaded in "Demons" when Ryan gets one from Beckett after offering to help Castle investigate the so-called "haunted house":
    Castle: Ooh, that's a look.
    Ryan: Yeah.
    Castle: I get these a lot. Just start walking. Faster. [They scurry off]
    • Castle glares at Beckett behind her back at the end of "47 Seconds", after he learns that Beckett actually remembered the circumstances of her shooting, including his confession.
    • In "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder", Beckett jealously glares at Castle on the television when he agrees to a date with his interviewer.
    • In "Target" Castle gives one to the accomplice in Alexis's kidnapping and there is nothing funny about it. When the man flatly refuses to offer any information that could help, Castle closes his eyes, and when they open again, you can just about hear a click as his humanity switches off and Papa Wolf takes over. Crosses over into Kubrick Stare territory.
  • Death in the Clouds: "In Plane Sight" revolves around the murder of an air marshal on a flight to London that Castle and Alexis happen to be on.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit:
    • What the real killer was trying to do in the pilot, though the patsy is insane, not dead. He might have gotten away with it had Castle not had the first of his many Your Princess Is in Another Castle! realizations.
    • In "Tick, Tick, Tick..." the perp kills another guy in view of Castle and Beckett and makes it look as though it was a suicide. Castle has another such realization and is able to warn Beckett just before the perp blows her apartment up with her in it.
    • The perps in "Setup"/"Countdown" were planning on this, but didn't count on one of their planned patsies getting suspicious and stumbling on their plan early, forcing them to off him ahead of schedule. Didn't stop them planning on doing the same to his wife, however.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: A quick scan of this page will show you how many tropes are subverted, lampshaded and otherwise played with — as befits a Police Procedural where the title character is a mystery writer.
  • Defective Detective: Played with in Beckett's case; she was initially focused to the point of all-consuming obsession with solving her mother's murder before the events of the series, but managed to overcome it and get herself onto a more-or-less even keel by the time of "Flowers for her Grave" — but when Castle inadvertently stirs it all up again by digging into her mother's case, she gradually begins to spiral back into obsession and recklessness again. It is made fairly clear even before this that even after moving on from her fixation on her mother's case, she was still little more than a bitter, cynical workaholic all but incapable of enjoying life before Castle showed up.
    • Played straight in Season 4, where Beckett's issues over her shooting in the Season 3 finale gradually spiral further out of control until she suffers a full-on PTSD breakdown in "Kill Shot".
  • Delinquents: Frequently implied of Castle's younger years, to a minor degree at least.
    • In one episode he comments that he has been kicked out of most of New York's more exclusive schools, before ruefully commenting on the fact that now he's rich and famous, they're all willing to consider him alumni and keep trying to gouge donations from him.
    • "Famous Last Words" has Alexis skip school to drop by the precinct to check up on the case of the murder of her favourite musician, to which Castle responds that if she doesn't hightail it back to school right now, he'll have no choice to hand her over to the precinct's truancy officer. Upon learning from Montgomery that the precinct no longer has a truancy officer ("Cutbacks"), he jealously hisses to Alexis that "You're so lucky!" in a tone of voice that suggests a man who had frequent run-ins with a truancy officer in his youth.
    • "Under the Influence" reveals that Esposito grew up from a broken home and had a prior record as a juvenile delinquent.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Averted in "Vampire Weekend". Crow is bisexual and, as a member of a vampire cult, very strange, but he's the victim, not the villain. The killer hoped to take advantage of this trope to pin the murder on his freaky friends.
  • Dewey Defeats Truman: A minor example, but in "Pandora" a former CIA mathematician, who specializes in finding refers to his work helping jump start the Arab Spring as a positive thing. Given that these events led to ISIS and the Full-Circle Revolution in Egypt, this is somewhat debatable. Made worse by the fact that he was supposedly able to predict the long term outcome of events like this. So he should have seen the rise of ISIS and the reaction of the Egyptian military and Muslim Brotherhood coming.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:
    • Det. Ryan in "The Double Down" after "So much for my famous warm honeymilk with Jenny tonight." This is mentioned in a subsequent episode when Ryan is introduced to a Vice cop that Esposito knows, and right after the introduction the Vice cops asks Esposito "Honeymilk?"
    • Also in "Sucker Punch", when the team is investigating a late night infomercial host who's "I'll make you rich!" program — which Ryan has been slightly suckered into — is a front for heroin smuggling:
      Beckett: Someone on this end had to know which boxes contained the drugs.
      Ryan: [absently] And which boxes contained the secret path to financial independence.[Everyone looks at him; he realizes] ... What?
    • Inverted in "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" when, over the body of a young woman found in her underwear covered in caramel sauce, Lanie matter-of-factly discusses her own tastes in this area, much to Castle and Ryan's interest:
      Lanie: I can do the chocolate, I'll even do the whipped cream bikini, but caramel? I prefer slippery to sticky.
      Castle: ... Does she know we can hear her?
    • Upon seeing Natalie Rhodes enter the room wearing a wig and a suit to make her look like the double of Beckett:
      Castle: [wondering] Just like I dreamed it! [Beckett stares at him] Did I Say That Out Loud?
    • This also happens to Ryan in "A Dance With Death". He and Esposito test his theory that his wedding ring is what puts other women off on hitting on him, much to his annoyance. However, Esposito is still able to pick up a stripper despite wearing Ryan's ring. The following ensues:
      Ryan: You can't pick up on honeys while wearing the eternal symbol of my love and commitment to Jenny. Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
      Esposito: Mmm.
      Ryan: No wonder women won't flirt with me. I'm a lost cause — a man in love with his wife.
      Esposito: Enjoy it, my friend. A lot of men would switch places with you. Not me.
    • In "Secret Santa", Captain Gates is hosting her family Christmas and finds it a bit too difficult to not inject how much she hates her mother-in-law into every conversation, mother-in-law related or otherwise. The first occasion is lampshaded with the Trope Name pretty much word-for-word.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: In "Cloudy With A Chance Of Murder", Lanie immediately pegs that there's something different about Beckett on her first day back after suspension, and it doesn't take her long to figure out that it's because Beckett is having sex on a regular basis. Since Beckett doesn't want anyone to know whom she's having sex-on-a-regular-basis with and specifically that it's Castle, this causes a certain amount of fluster.
  • Die for Our Ship: In-Universe example in "One Life To Lose" though it's a writer, not a character, that the shippers want dead. The shipper didn't kill the writer, but she was quite happy about her death.
  • Dirty Bomb: The season 3 episode "Countdown" has the NYPD desperately trying to find one before it goes off. When Beckett & Castle find it, the obvious big red timer is counting down with less than a minute to go, and it's going to take five minutes for the bomb squad to make it through traffic. At 0:01, Castle yanks out all the wires, pointing out that one of them had to be the right one.
  • Disability Superpower: in "Target", one of the Frenchmen helping Castle is blind, but has a very fine sense of hearing.
  • Disappeared Dad: Castle doesn't know who his father is. Unlike many other examples of the trope, however, he seems quite free from bitterness or Wangst over this fact (as he says, it gives him the chance to imagine his father as whatever he wants to think). It probably goes some way towards explaining both why he's a bit of a Manchild and so devoted to Alexis, however.
    • Something Sophia said at the end of Linchpin may indicate that Castle's father worked at the CIA. However, given that she was a USSR double agent, it might have just been a bunch of Blatant Lies.
    • Meredith from "Significant Others" implies that he might be more hurt by this than he seems.
    • As revealed in "Hunt", Sophia wasn't lying. The episode finally introduces his father, a spy named Jackson Hunt (a pseudonym), who is the real reason Alexis was kidnapped.
  • Disney Dog Fight: Parodied at the end of "An Embarrassment of Bitches". Castle vs. Beckett, winner: Kay Cappuccio!
  • Distant Finale: The final scene takes place seven years after the events of the series.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: In "Always Buy Retail", our hero sees himself on an electronics store camera and remarks "I really am ruggedly handsome, aren't I?" Of course, he is played by Nathan Fillion. This was actually an aversion; he had actually gone over there to see if any footage of the killer might be available.
  • Distressed Damsel: Both Beckett and Castle seem to have a knack of getting into distressing situations requiring the other to rescue them. In "Cops and Robbers" we learn that Castle has apparently been keeping score and that by his count he's saved Beckett's life nine times while she's only saved his eight in return. Beckett is less than impressed by either revelation.
    • Averted and played straight in "Target"/"Hunt": Alexis manages to keep calm after being kidnapped and is able to unlock the door to the cell that holds her and her friend with an improvised lockpick, but ends up being caught. Also, Castle ends up being caught twice by the kidnapper's men, but the first he was saved by Jackson Hunt (his spy father) and the second was All According to Plan.
  • Documentary Episode: "Swan Song".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • At the beginning of "Always Buy Retail", there's a series of shots of subways entering tunnels and up-and-down profiles of rather phallic towers. Cut to Castle and his first ex-wife engaging in some rather physical reminiscing.
    • Would be a Stock Visual Metaphor but for the "Stock" bit. In the opening scene of "Wrapped Up in Death," we see a gargoyle plummet towards the soon-to-be-Body of the Week, and just before his head ends up being splatted much like a tomato by a hammer, we cut to a scene of a tomato getting splatted by a hammer (as wielded by Alexis).
    • In "Heroes And Villains", we see the victim of the week getting split in silhouette, then cut to Castle chopping vegetables with a cleaver. At the end, Castle and Beckett watch another writer and his muse (an attractive female cop driven by the death of her parent) leave the office. Castle invokes this trope... only to watch the other two kiss (as they are a couple). Cue an awkward exit, stage left by Castle.
    • The "let's try to push the freezer" scene of "Cuffed" purposely invokes the sexual version of trope for ship teasing purposes. It is incredibly effective. Also, hilariously lampshaded:
    Beckett: [with her back pressed to Castle's front before they push] You better not be—
    Castle: —enjoying this? I'll let you know in a minute.
    • "Headhunters" has Castle work with another detective while Beckett's busy in court. While what it might mean for the Castle-Beckett not-relationship is explicitly discussed by Beckett and her psychiatrist, Esposito and Ryan are both miffed, and Ryan openly says it feels like Castle's "cheating" on them.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Captain Gates, introduced in the season 4 premiere, insists on being called "sir".
  • Doorstop Baby: In the start of "The Good, the Bad, and the Baby", a wounded man bursts into a cathedral and hands the priest a baby, as his last act before dying. The baby was an abductee, being held hostage while his mother, a lottery presenter, was forced to help rig a big-number jackpot drawing. This guy (not his father) was able to save him, but it took the rest of the episode to free the kid's actual father.
  • Doorstopper: In "The Fifth Bullet," it's noted that a character was saved from a bullet because he was holding a copy of Crime and Punishment.
    Ryan: Good thing he reads Russian literature. If the guy was a Nicholas Sparks fan, he'd be dead.
  • Double Date: In "The Third Man"; they're too busy talking about the case to enjoy their dates... and by the end they both step out, leaving their dates to hook up.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Hunt" refers to both the hunt for Alexis and Jackson Hunt, the assumed name of Castle's father, the man who saved Castle and helped him rescue his daughter.
  • Double Standard:
    • The show is pretty good at making Beckett seem like the wronged party when it's her who's either overreacting or done something wrong. When Beckett lies to him about her job interview in D.C. the universe makes it look like Castle should have supported her upon finding out while his reaction is more than justified.
    • Ryan end Esposito, both detectives for years, seem Overshadowed by Awesome whenever Beckett is around. The show seems to think women can never be wrong.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted in "Cloudy with a Chance of Murder", Castle gets very forcefully pursued by a woman he has a pretend-date with, with her pushing him into the furniture and saying rape-y lines like "No man has ever said no to me" when he tries to keep her at arm's length. He even clearly says "Get away from me!" several times, to no avail. Beckett hears him protesting and kitchen ware breaking from the assault, because his phone accidentally dialed her, and so she comes to protect him, gun drawn. She finds the woman sitting half-naked on top of him and forcefully kissing him while he struggles, plainly not embracing her. Afterwards, he continues to explain that he tried to avoid having sexual contact with her, but didn't want to throw her out because he figured a platonic pretend-date would help hide that he and Beckett were secretly dating.
    • In "A Rose for Everafter," a bridesmaid slips roofies into a groomsman's drink and (maybe) rapes him. She knocked him out to get to the groom. It's acknowledged as both unacceptable and unnecessary.
    Castle: You want to take advantage of a guy, knocking him unconscious kind of defeats the purpose. Best way? Just ask.
  • Downer Ending: "3XK", though at least everyone gets out alive.
    • "Knockdown". Captain Montgomery is dead and Beckett has been shot
    • "Recoil". Beckett spends the entire episode having to protect Senator Bracken, the person responsible for her mother's murder, from a killer. Throughout this time, she is plagued with doubts as to whether she should just allow the killer to murder the senator, but still ends up doing the right thing (as in, saving him). And after all that, she is still no closer to taking the senator down.
    • "The Squab and the Quail": Beckett's beginning to have doubts about where their relationship is heading and wants to talk to Castle about them, but Castle — wanting to make up for making her feel a bit taken for granted earlier in the episode — either misunderstands what she's asking or deliberately avoids her question, leaving her confused and uncertain.
    • "Need to Know". Upon realizing that the victim's lover is being asked by the CIA to continue her boyfriend's infiltration of her family, Beckett anonymously tips off the press regarding her ties to the Russian mob, rendering her useless to the CIA. Later, Castle tells her that he just got an apartment in DC so he could stay close to her, only for Beckett's partner to walk in and tell Beckett that she's being fired for her anonymous tip.
    • "Disciple": 3XK is not only still alive and kicking — he's raising up a new protegé as well. Even worse for the viewers; it ends with Beckett driven to tears by the ominous and foreboding music file of "We'll Meet Again" his disciple left behind. The music is used again in "Resurrection".
    • "In the Belly of the Beast". Beckett's cover is blown when it's revealed that the "Lazarus" she's trying to bring down is Vulcan Simmons, a low-level thug who Beckett memorably slammed into the interrogation mirror during one of her investigations into her mother's death. He proceeds to torture her into near-unconsciousness, then orders her death in the woods. She's saved by the woman she was impersonating, who says it was payback from "Lazarus". Simmons is likely to go free from this, and Beckett now knows who the real Lazarus is—Senator Bracken.
    • "Bad Santa": Gates informs Castle that his invitation to shadow the NYPD has been revoked.
  • Dress-Up Episode: A season 6 episode requires the entire cast to dress and act like it's The '70s for most of the episode, in order to not confuse a witness who thinks it's still 1978.
  • Dualvertisement:
    • Tom Bergeron plays a murdered talk show host in "The Late Shaft". Not so coincidentally, Bergeron is the host of Dancing with the Stars, which airs right before Castle. Later, Castle did an episode with a Brand X version of Dancing With The Stars ("A Dance With Death").
    • They've also done a fairy-tale-esque murder, with appropriate Shout Outs to Once Upon a Time. The episode is titled "Once Upon a Crime".
  • Dude, Not Ironic: Played straight and inverted; Castle is very pleased when other characters correctly identify irony and occasionally hassles suspects over their incorrect usage. He is also picky about "your" and "you're", although he thinks "who" and "whom" is a more understandable mistake, being more difficult.
  • Dumb Blonde: Subverted with Natalie Rhodes in "Nikki Heat". She looks like a standard B-movie horror actress at first, and then the team gets to meet her and finds out she's smart, a good actress, very perceptive, and extremely dedicated to her art. The rumor about her living in a crawlspace for a week for a horror movie about a crawlspace wasn't quite true, though. It was actually a month.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: The final scene of the third season. Except that she doesn't, you know, actually die or anything.


Example of: