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Recap / Castle S 7 E 13 I Witness

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Castle is asked by Eva Whitfield, a former AP Chemistry classmate who attended Faircroft Preparatory Academy alongside him, to investigate her stockbroker husband Cole after she suspects that he's cheating on her. He confirms her suspicions, and that night, he drives to the Whitfield residence to give her pictures he took of Cole's mistress Taylor McKinley. However, Castle witnesses Eva's bludgeoned corpse being dragged out of the house's kitchen by someone who highly resembles Cole. Pursuing Eva's killer by driving after them, the faceless perpetrator is able to knock him out in a neighboring forest by punching him in his face.

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The ensuing investigation into Eva's murder features several twists and turns that ultimately leave Castle questioning his decision to become a Private Detective.


Tropes that appear in this episode:

  • Amoral Attorney: Aubrey's far more amoral than anyone anticipated, as she had been waiting for years to avenge Mallory's murder.
  • Big Bad: At first, it's believed that Eva orchestrated the Frame-Up that's plaguing Cole's life. However, the real mastermind behind everything was Aubrey, who then killed Eva and Cole.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Years before marrying Eva, Cole Whitfield had a wife named Mallory who died in a hiking accident that only he witnessed. It's because the "accident" was an Inheritance Murder he got away with, motivating the episode's Big Bad into doing what they did.
    • Aubrey Haskins, Whitfield and Galloway's general counsel, doubles as a Punch-Clock Villain who's just being a professional attorney for both Cole and Taylor. It's a bit shocking to learn that she is the above-mentioned Big Bad.
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  • The Chessmaster: Aubrey turns to be this, especially given that no one caught on to her vengeful scheme for years. That only happens after her Xanatos Speed Chess backfires.
  • The Corrupter: Aubrey was this for Eva, and Eva was this for Robert.
  • The Corruptible: Eva and Robert were this after Aubrey corrupted the former into being a Woman Scorned, as they both came to want revenge against Cole since he betrayed their trust.
  • Connected All Along: It turns out that Aubrey knew both Mallory and Eva. The former was the victim of an Inheritance Murder that Cole perpetrated, and the latter was a frustrated wife whom she corrupted into becoming a Woman Scorned.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Part of Aubrey's Xanatos Speed Chess was making it appear that Cole murdered Eva upon finding out that she faked her death before hanging himself to death.
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  • Dude, Not Funny!: Esposito has a reaction to this effect once he learns that the Ryans created a Match.com profile for him without his permission.
  • Faking the Dead: Eva and Robert agreed to have him pose as Cole and "fatally bludgeon" her. It's subverted later on when Aubrey actually bludgeons her to death offscreen.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Aubrey was clearly in a hurry when she tried to make sure her Xanatos Speed Chess went as intended, as she forgot to clean up implicating evidence she left behind at Eva's corporate apartment and in the trunk of her own car.
  • Frame-Up: Cole continuously asserts that he's on the receiving end of this in spite of his own suspicious and unfriendly behavior. By the end of the episode, he's posthumously proven to be correct.
  • The Heavy: Eva and Robert share this role with each other, as it's their actions that drive much of the episode's plot forward.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Stressed out and regretful over a plan that was never her idea, Eva set out to come forward to the police about everything. She was doing just fine after calling Robert and talking to him about it, but after doing the same with Aubrey, she's doomed to be betrayed in the form of a fatal bludgeoning.
  • He Knows Too Much: Not wanting years of plotting to be ruined by Eva coming forward to the police, Aubrey decides that a Heel–Face Door-Slam is a fitting end for her ex-accomplice.
  • Inheritance Murder: Cole murdered Mallory so that he could inherit several million dollars.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: In Cole's case, it runs out after he's exposed as an adulterous man. It's taken even further when he's murdered, as he was responsible for killing Mallory.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Cole killed Mallory by pushing her into a ravine in Angeles National Forest during a hike they were on. The police know what he did, but since the evidence they found was circumstantial...
  • The Mistress: Beckett finds out that Cole's affair with Taylor began less than a year before the episode's events. Later on, Castle is informed by Beckett, Esposito, and Ryan that Cole was also having a second affair with Robert's wife.
  • Narcissist: Even Castle himself points out that Cole is this. As such, it's not too shocking to find out that he was cheating on Eva with two other women.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Aubrey's plan for revenge would have worked without a hitch had she taken the time to get rid of all the evidence against her.
  • Never Suicide: Cole apparently commits suicide by wrapping a cord around his neck and hanging himself from his house's balcony. In reality, Aubrey drugged his drink with sedatives, wrapped the cord around his neck herself, and then hung him from said balcony.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Ryan confesses that his wife signed Esposito up for Match.com behind his back and that he's been managing his profile. It's too bad that it led to Esposito almost arresting who he initially thought was a Stalker with a Crush.
  • Not Proven: Cole murdered Mallory for her inheritance, but because the evidence was circumstantial, he couldn't be found guilty of the charges brought against him.
  • Private Detective: Castle.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Aubrey's just being an attorney since it's her job. The episode's final twists fully establish that she was an Amoral Attorney from the very beginning.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Before he was murdered, Cole was drugged with high levels of sedatives. Given that he had a habit of drinking alcoholic beverages and Aubrey probably knew about that, the most likely way she drugged him was by putting said sedatives into a glass filled with such a beverage that he was drinking from at that time.
  • Smug Snake: Even as Beckett and Castle confront her, Aubrey denies everything and even voices her doubt that her plan will end just because of her arrest. See The Summation below to learn more about how deep her smugness runs.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The trope is averted when Esposito mistakes a woman named Stacy for this. The truth is that the Ryans signed him up for Match.com behind his back in the hopes of getting him a date for an upcoming weekend of skiing.
    Ryan: What’d you think of Stacy?
    Esposito: Oh, man, she was great.
    Ryan: Yeah.
    Esposito: Until I started getting the stalker vibe from her.
    Ryan: What?
    Esposito: Yeah. We were right in the middle of appetizers, and that’s when she told me that the blue shorts I was wearing during the triathlon made my legs look sexy. Which is true, but how did she even know I competed? Never mind what color shorts I was wearing. And that’s when she told me that she saw a photo on my profile.
    (Ryan can't help but laugh about the whole debacle.)
    Esposito: Did you think I wouldn’t find out? I almost arrested that girl.
    Ryan: Well, we were hoping that you’d be so into her that you’d just let it go.
    Esposito: What the hell is wrong with you? I can find my own dates.
    Ryan: I know. But you haven’t. And the ski weekend is coming up. Look, look, look, look. We were just trying to help.
  • The Summation: Beckett and Castle's final conversation with Aubrey doubles as this since it explains everything that she did.
    Beckett: Ms. Haskins, you should know what Cole Whitfield’s bloodwork came in showing high levels of sedatives.
    Castle: So high, in fact, he wouldn’t be able to hang himself.
    Beckett: So we rechecked his phone records and noticed that you called his house on numerous occasions.
    Aubrey: Of course I did. I’m general counsel for Cole’s company.
    Beckett: Yeah, but most of these phone calls came in after Cole was at work.
    Castle: That’s when you found out her marriage was falling apart. And about her prenup. So you whispered in her ear. Told her how she could punish Cole and make a little walking away money in the process.
    Aubrey: Really? And why would I do that?
    Beckett: You know, we were surprised to learn that Cole’s first wife, Mallory, was a sorority sister of yours in college. And you were devastated by her death.
    Aubrey: We all were.
    Beckett: Yeah, but you were the one who told friends that he got away with murder, so why, after all of these years, would you leave a top-level law firm to join Cole’s company?
    (Aubrey has a few moments of Stunned Silence to herself.)
    Castle: Here’s a theory. You took the job to insinuate yourself into Cole’s life. Searching for the right way, the right moment, to get revenge for Mallory. And you found it with Eva.
    Aubrey: That’s absurd.
    Beckett: Is it? Eva called your cell phone from the corporate apartment landline after she was already supposedly dead.
    Castle: Eva got cold feet. She wanted to come forward but you couldn’t have that, not after all those years, after all that planning. So you decided that Eva’s fake murder would have to become a real one. And killing Cole was just a way of tying up loose ends.
    (Aubrey is visibly taken aback that her Xanatos Speed Chess backfired.)
    Beckett: It’s over, Ms. Haskins.
    Aubrey: I doubt it.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Both Eva and Robert were ultimately this to Aubrey.
  • Woman Scorned: Aubrey convinced Eva to become this by faking her death (with Robert's help), transferring the $7.4 million in their joint bank accounts to a bank account she made for herself in Switzerland, and then flying to that country so she can live there.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: After Eva decides to tell the truth to the police, it only takes a few hours for Aubrey to change her plan. Murdering Eva at her corporate apartment, she tossed her corpse into the Hudson River and planted evidence that would implicate Cole before she kills him as well. It almost worked.
  • You Killed My Father: Aubrey's real reason for becoming Whitfield and Galloway's general counsel was to exact revenge against Cole for killing Mallory years ago.
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