In “Room 147,” Castle takes a look at an interesting issue in law enforcement: false confessions. Our victim, struggling actor Justin Marquette, was shot in room 147 of a Best Traveler hotel, and three different people turn themselves in and confess to the crime. None of them have any idea why they wanted to kill Justin, and they all have alibis, but they’re each convinced that they did it, and they know unreleased details of the crime. They also report a few weeks of disorientation, but there’s nothing else that seems to link the so-called murderers, at least on the surface.
Of course, there are a few connections: they all draw the same mysterious symbol, and they were all followed by a bald man in a van, named Miles Madsen. They track Madsen back to a Scientology-like self-help cult called EHI – and the mysterious symbol is theirs, though none of the suspects say they are involved with EHI. The leader, Dr. Bauer, of course denies any involvement in the murder, but EHI gives classes to help with things like substance abuse and anger issues, and the non-suspects all went to classes like that. By noticing one tiny difference between what the suspects describe and the actual crime scene, Castle realizes that what the non-suspects saw was not the murder but a recording of a similarly staged event.
Once they find Justin and Dr. Bauer on security video together at a different hotel in the Best Traveler chain, Bauer finally admits that he had hired Justin to act in a film intended to be used as image therapy in EHI classes – but it worked too well, and the class members started to believe that they had actually killed Justin. The actual murderer, Pam, worked at the company that edited the video. Her brother had been killed during an EHI initiation event, and so she found Justin (getting involved in his off-off-off-Broadway play) and killed him in an attempt to get enough attention paid to EHI that the whole organization would crumble.
I particularly liked the Castle family plotline this week. Now that Alexis and Pi have broken up, Castle isn’t thrilled about Alexis living in a not-terribly-safe place alone and wants her to come home. Alexis resists, though, and when Castle says he thinks there’s another reason why, Beckett fears that he means Alexis won’t move back home because of her. So, in a refreshing show of adulthood all around, Beckett asks Alexis directly, and Alexis assures her that her future stepmother is not the reason at all. Instead, the issue is that Alexis feels that it’s obvious in retrospect that she was making a mistake – just as her father told her at the time – and so she should have to live with it rather than accept Castle’s help. And I’m so glad Beckett is there for her to talk to – she assures Alexis that she was “in the love haze” and that her penance is paid, but that punishing herself further wouldn’t be helpful for her or her future. At the end of the episode, Alexis asks Castle if she can come home, and the way she mouths “thanks” to Kate as she hugs her father is one of my favorite Castle family moments of the series so far.
(Image courtesy of ABC.)