Castle 5.09 Episode Recap And Review: Secret Santa


Merry Christmas Castle fans! Let’s go for a walk in the park, shall we? We can make snow angels and see Santa…. falling from the sky? Yes, indeed. Santa is dead folks, having literally fallen from out of nowhere and narrowly missing a lovely little family whose Christmas memories may now come with a therapy bill.

Speaking of therapy, Castle (Nathan Fillion) may need some to help him cope with the changes to his cherished Christmas traditions. It seems Martha (Susan Sullivan) and Alexis (Molly Quin) have made other plans for Christmas Eve, a time the family has always spent together. But we really can’t deal with that now, we have a Santa-cide to solve!

How did Santa die? Who is Santa? Did he fall from his sleigh after too much eggnog? These are just some of the questions our team has. Castle (of course) immediately embraces the fantastical angles of this case, well Beckett (Stana Katic) with her customary tolerant eye roll, is looking for real world answers. Santa’s wallet yields no clues, his I.D. says he is Kris Kringle and gives his address as the North Pole. But his boots, they are custom made and Beckett knows the shop. A call to this shop gives us Santa’s real name, Edmond Smith. He is a professional Santa, and he lives in a small apartment in the Bronx. His neighbors there, Beth Cabot and her teenage son Tim, say that Edmond was a true believer, a man who embraced the spirit of Santa Claus in every aspect of his life. He was evening helped them with their lawsuit against Suncove Funding, the mortgage company who took their home and caused the death of Beth’s husband. Their attorney was trying to back out of the case, Edmond had promised the lawyer that if she could hang on a few more days he would give her “something” that would turn the case around.

Turns out Beth and Tim saw another Santa, David Dunne, beating on Edmond’s apartment door, yelling cuss words, this man told Tim to tell Edmond he was going to kill him. An interview with David Dunne, who runs a Santa school, does shed some more light on Edmond’s past, but little else. David explains that Edmond was one of his great successes in Santa school. He showed up a broken man and David turned him into a much sought after Santa. So sought after that Edmond “stole” a job from David and this is what he was so angry about. David does have a pilot’s license, but he also has an alibi.

A quick check with air traffic control shows no planes or helicopters flying over the park at the time of Santa’s fall from the heavens. But it also highlights and somewhat disturbing (at least to my mind) fact that even in this post 9-11 world, not all flights in New York are tracked. So, it is still possible that Edmond fell from a small helicopter. Lanie (Tamala Jones) had found a paint chip that could have come from an aircraft…or a sleigh.

Also, Lanie has determined that Edmond died from a gunshot wound, not the fall. This is a start and leads our heroes to an interview with Edmond’s ex-wife, Gwyn, who tells them that he came to see her recently, to apologize for walking out on their marriage 5 years ago. Edmond had been a very successful private equity manager, but on Christmas five years ago, he literally had a change of heart and walked out on his life with just the clothes on his back and reinvented himself as Santa. When he left her home, he was being followed by a man on a motorcycle.

In the meantime, life continues for our team. In the midst of the case, there is still Christmas to consider and everyone has plans. Well, everyone except Esposito (Jon Huertas). His usual Christmas Eve tradition was to hang with Ryan (Seamus Dever), but Ryan’s wife has other plans (so does Ryan apparently as there is a cute scene with a very merry little negligee he is unwrapping at his desk). Espo even attempts to hook up with Lanie, but she shoots him down, telling him she doesn’t want to be one of those sad holiday hook ups. But if he wants to wait until after the holidays, she might agree to a date. Hmm, maybe there’s hope for this relationship? That would make this fan happy.

Anyway, back to the case! When Edmond left Gwyn’s home he got into a taxi and went to an ATM, where he took out $2000. From there he went to an airfield, but asked the cabby to wait while he met with someone. Beckett and Esposito go to the airfield where they find a small cherry red helicopter with blood, a lot of blood, in the seat. It seems this is the same airport that David Dunne uses, and he has flown this helicopter in the past.

A quick detour back into the lives of our heroes: Beckett tells Castle that she too has to cancel out on Christmas Eve. She claims she has to work, and of course couldn’t tell Captain Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) “no” without explaining why. Castle is crushed, all his holiday plans are going up in smoke. However, he finds out that Beckett volunteered t work the holiday. She lied to him, but why?

Oops, we still have a case to solve don’t we? We will have more on Beckett and Castle’s holidays at the end (so stay tuned). Candy canes found on Edmond’s body indicate he was at a Christmas party at Case Commerce prior to his death. A quick visit to their offices reveals that they suffered a theft during their Christmas party the previous evening. A valuable clock is missing from the office of Michael Case, and executive of Case Commerce. Edmond did work the party, but off the books, his agent knew nothing about this job. Turns out that someone called and cancelled the Santa scheduled to work the party. So, what was Edmond up to? Did he steal the clock? And who was following him?

The team has enough evidence for a search warrant for David Dunne’s apartment and they bring him in for questioning when they find the clock. He admits to flying the helicopter, Edmond paid him $2000 to pick him up at the Case building helipad. He had no idea that the clock was valuable and he claims he did not kill Edmond. He claims that Edmond needed the helicopter to transport something large, but that he abandoned the heist when someone started shooting at him. He was hit and could not close the door as they took off and fell from the helicopter when it banked.

A review of the security footage shows that Tim, Edmond’s neighbor was at the party too, carrying a motorcycle helmet. Here’s where it gets strange, apparently Edmond used to be employed by Suncove. He was a large part of the scam that cost Tim’s dad his life on Christmas Eve 5 years before. This give Tim motive, but when Beckett and Castle interview him he tells them that Edmond told Tim everything. And he wanted Tim’s help to get the evidence he needed to win the case against Suncove. He wanted Tim to pick the lock to a storage room door during the party. Suncove’s original loan documents are stored there. Michael Case was Edmond’s partner at Suncove and is now looking like our prime suspect. It seems the clock stolen from his office once belonged to the Cabot family, it was their collateral for their loan. With this information Beckett is able to connect Michael to Suncove. But he didn’t murder Edmond. He did however see another uninvited guest at the party who had motive. Gwyn was there. And her motive? Edmond didn’t just stop by to apologize. He came to warn her that he was taking Suncove down and that she would likely lose the only thing he left her, her lavish lifestyle. And that was worth killing for. Case closed.

Now, what about Castle’s Christmas plans? Well, Beckett explains her lie to him, she always works the Christmas Eve shift to give people with families the night off. This is her tradition, one she started as a rookie. Christmas is a sad time for her as it reminds her of her mom’s death. Castle is (of course) understanding and supportive. Fast forward to Christmas Eve dinner in the Castle household and we find that all Rick’s Christmas wishes are coming true. Martha and Alexis have both canceled their plans. And guess who is at the door?? Kate, of course. She go someone else to cover for her so she could be with Castle.

And what about Esposito? Our lone hero who has no plans for Christmas Eve? Well, he decides to play Santa and return the Cabot’s clock to them. Mrs. Cabot invites him to stay for dinner. Happy endings all around.

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ll see you in the New Year when Castle returns!


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  1. Nice but I think this was more a “recap” than a review. You didn’t really critique the episode, just gave us a “play by play.” ??? I get the feeling you liked it but…? And you might want to do a spell and grammar check before posting. 😉 Thanks.

  2. I’ve been a Castle fan since season one and am glad to see a Christmas episode. I enjoyed watching the mystery unfold but the best part was Castle & Beckett and their attempts at spending Christmas together…or not. Can’t wait til new eps in 2013.