J Talks Double-Meanings and Shadowy Figures in Castle 4×12, “Dial M for Mayor”

I am going to start off this review by saying that Martha as King Lear is the greatest thing ever!  I would definitely pay to see a production that starred her as the mad king raging against the storm.  Martha’s character is one of the few on Castle that I have found consistently amusing, honest, and generally likeable.  Susan Sullivan does a great job bringing Martha’s over-the-top antics to life without making them so ridiculous that the audience loses their interest.  Somehow the craziness makes sense and feels believable coming from her.  And beneath all that frivolity, we can see Martha’s integrity and heart during serious talks with her son; there is a sense of mutual respect whenever Castle seeks her counsel.

And speaking of mutual respect, this case raised some interesting questions for Castle and Beckett’s relationship as well. I suspected that “Dial M for Mayor” was going to be a rehashing of last year’s “The Final Nail”, but the political intrigue and conspiracy theories expanded into a much larger mystery. I also think that Castle and Beckett have changed a lot since 3×15, and they’re much closer as partners and friends. After all, they’ve been through Montgomery’s death, Beckett’s shooting, and Rick’s admission of love. Though they’re not directly responding to any of this (at least at first), it definitely informs the way they proceed throughout the episode. Just take a look at the scene when Castle brings her coffee but doesn’t say anything; Beckett knows something is wrong just by looking at him.

I’m really glad I didn’t find out about the somewhat major spoiler in this episode, namely that Beckett’s protector contacts Castle again. He ultimately leads Castle to believe that the case with the mayor is merely a cover for a much larger web of crime and conspiracy, one which is connected to Beckett’s shooting and her mother’s murder. Thus Castle has even more incentive to keep Beckett off the mayor’s back. He wants to stay in the precinct, and not just for selfish reasons: he feels that it is his responsibility to prevent Beckett from being killed by digging into the details of her mother’s death.

For Beckett, who knows nothing about the mysterious man or the connection to her mom’s case, the politics involving the mayor are a stumbling block in the way of doing her job. She knows what accusing the mayor will mean for Castle’s presence in the precinct, but won’t be deterred from pursuing justice. We can see how torn she is because of her feelings for Castle, wanting to follow her procedure all the while knowing that it could lead to the removal of her partner. Ryan and Esposito recognize this, and though all three detectives want Castle to stay, Beckett feels she has no choice but to investigate the mayor as a possible murder suspect.

Castle and Beckett’s talk in the lobby of the mayor’s office – after he has refused to give up his coat for investigation – is really heartfelt and meaningful because of all the factors at play. Though they’re ostensibly talking about the case, their conversation carries much more weight because of its significance to their relationship. I liked that they didn’t fight about their differences, as they did in “The Final Nail”. Instead, because neither wants Castle to be kicked to the curb, we can see the struggle and sadness in both of them as they try to figure out a way to avoid separation. You always know things are getting serious when first names get hauled out, and that was certainly the case with this scene. They each take a step closer as they address the other until they are pretty much face to face, forced to confront a reality neither of them wants.

That reality is one that is also contingent on Captain Gates’s reaction to the whole case, and to Castle and Beckett in a broader sense. I think S will disagree with me on this, but I quite liked Gates’s little speech to Beckett about loving cops and pursuing justice. I find Gates to be a pretty flat character in general, but here we can see at least a little more of her motivation.  he knows what it’s like to see authority abused (her partner was assaulted by a senior officer), and given that, I think she’s being pretty reasonable in her instructions to Beckett. Gates encourages Beckett to try to get the mayor’s coat without creating a scandal, but if she can’t she has no choice but to pursue her investigation officially and publicly.

What with Gates, Martha, Castle, and Beckett, “Dial M for Mayor” certainly gave us some interesting character tidbits.  But we also have a lot to think about regarding Beckett’s mom’s case, and are left wondering when we will next see the shadowy man and discover another piece of the puzzle.  My guess is season finale!

Other favourite things:

  • Beckett on the phone to Lanie, while eating: “No, I’m not eating!”  Extra points because she said it so indignantly.
  • Castle and Beckett’s potential crime blog, “An Officer and a Gentlemen”.
  • Good for Beckett for raising the possibility that the mayor was playing on Castle’s love of conspiracy theories and cover-ups.  It proves that she, as well as the mayor, knows Castle really well.
  • Beckett’s coats and scarves.  Enough said.

What did you think of “Dial M for Mayor”?  Were you surprised by any of the developments?  How do you think this murder is related to Beckett’s shooters?  Feel free to share your comments!

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