Season 1 Episode 10

A Death in the Family

Aired Monday 10:00 PM May 11, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
569 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a plastic surgeon. Meanwhile, Alexis has her first prom and Castle snoops around Beckett's past with surprising results.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • A great end to the first season!

    But who knew it would end with such an intriguing cliffhanger? It's a great addition to the show, but it's quite frustrating since we will have to wait a few months to find out what happened. It all started when Castle started looking into Kate's mom's death. He had someone help him investigate, and this guy found out something important. Castle was about to tell Beckett, but the episode ended before it was revealed. The rest of the episode was alright. Alexis gets ready for her first prom. Her dress was so beautiful! Her prom date was good looking too XD But that's beside the point. Anywho, Castle wanted to scare the boy, so he got a zombie head, and an apron with "blood" on it, and was about to answer the door, but he was caught, and forced to give up the charade. The main plot to the story was about the investigation of a plastic surgeon's murder. Beckett and Castle were eventually led to a guy who is in witness protection. They talked to him, but on their way back, he was shot at, and so was Beckett's ex-boyfriend. At the end of the episode, it looked like they were getting together again, but it will be awhile until we can find out for sure...moreless
  • A very good ending for the season, leaving us wondering about the two protagonists' personal relationship in the future, and putting in a nice family touch at the same time.

    One of the best Castle epis and a more than decent season finale - although much too quick, I understand the season ends somewhere around the middle of May but they could've carried the show a few episodes further in my opinion. However, the cliffhanger ending ensures we are getting a second helping, so no complaints there! The execs made a wise decision renewing Castle, it's just about the only exciting, original and well-done police show out there right now.

    The story is about a plastic surgeon, who is found executed mob-style in his car. The reason for a contract being put out on him was that he helped the government in a witness protection program case, by performing plastic surgery to change an ex-mobster's identity. The mob family involved desperarely wanted to track down the witness, so they tortured and killed the surgeon to get that information. While the solving of the case proceeds Beckett pulls in a favour from her ex-boyfriend, the FBI agent. It all bounces back on them however, when the mob follows them and shoots at the witness and Beckett's ex. She ends up at the hospital, feeling guilty and keeping him company.

    In the meantime Castle does the unthinkable, and probes into Beckett's mother's murder case. Beckett gets really pissed off and tells him to stop, but when did he ever listen to her? A forensic pathologist who is his friend discovers that the case wasn't a random stabbing after all, but part of a series of similar murders that were tossed aside at the time by the coroner and the police. Should he tell her and risk ending his collaboration with her forever, or should he keep his investigation to himself? His mom proves to be wiser than she seems, when she tells him Beckett needs to know regardless. And, of course, he chooses to do the right thing in the end. So with Beckett seeming to re-bond with her ex, and Castle about to do something that will certainly hurt and anger her very much, does he really stand a chance with her after that? We'll just have to wait and see!!

    A very good ending for the season, leaving us wondering about the two protagonists' personal relationship in the future, and putting in a nice family touch at the same time, with Alexis going to the prom, her grandmother helping her pick the dress, and her father being anxious about how fast she grows up. Well done and can't wait for next season!moreless
  • The season finale really shows us why we love this show.

    Castle is an amazing show that really hit the ground running, launching its season long premise from episode one. This episode was truly the climax of all the subtle developments woven throughout all the previous episodes. The cast really took the emotional characterization of each role to new heights. Castle's relationship with his daughter, mother, and detective Beckett are presented in a light which throws them into even greater relief. As Castle nears the conclusion of his novel, next season's story line is hinted at, as his relationship with Beckett becomes yet another layer more complex. It's hard to say more without delving into the realm of 'spoilers' but the future of this show looks brighter and brighter.moreless
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Exciting and intense story, entertaining guest characters, convincing Stana Katic performance but awkward genres mix, anecdotic Alexis arc and missing ex-wife

    A finale about plastic surgery sounded intriguing even if I knew it wouldn't be as disturbing and dark as Nip/Tuck. But the story wasn't a naive vision of that twisted world and in fact I found it as exciting as the Home is Where the Heart Stops episode one. Moreover for once the characters involved in the investigation weren't as stereotyped and predictable as in Nanny McDead for example. From the funny gangster to the surreal blonde its gallery of portraits was entertaining to watch. Also Beckett and Castle's complementary skills were well used and they managed to pull the right strings to solve the case. The intensity was progressive as unexpected events happened one after the other until the unavoidable sensational development.

    Otherwise a better writing that in most other installments couldn't hide all the show flaws. First I found the mix between humorous and serious genres a bit awkward, specially at the end. Second Alexis attempting her first prom was anecdotic. Of course Molly C. Quinn looks beautiful in her dress but her character is just too sweet and one dimensional. They probably profiled her that way to balance the relationships with her playfather and extravagant grand-mother but it only makes her boring. I'm not even sure girls of her age can identify with her because being a teenager is more a crisis than a peaceful journey. But again Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers, the vivid grandma, saved the day again as her speech about being a woman was inspiring. An other element that disappointed me was the absence of Gina Cowell, Castle's gorgeous ex-wife and editor played by Monet Mazur in the pilot. I can't believe she wasn't featured when covering his writing career could have been the sparkle the show needed to appeal some angry viewers like me and convince them to watch the second season.

    But in the end I have to admit that A Death in the Family was a good last season episode. Even if it wasn't as hilarious as some previous installments it was still entertaining. Moreover Stana Katic's performance impressed me at times and I could feel how much Beckett's past was still haunting her. In one scene she even reminded of Jennifer Carpenter as Deborah Morgan in Dexter's Easy as Pie episode even if it wasn't as mesmerizing. Let's not forget that Castle is family-friendly so portraying Beckett as an obsessed and troubled female detective would be inappropriate. I wouldn't mind it as it would move the show to the upper league but let's not forget our younger audience.moreless
  • A complex mob murder and Castle finds too much information about Beckett's mother's murder.

    Another winner, great story and a continuation of Beckett's mother's murder case.

    Castle's daughter goes on her first date and restrained, Castle actually doesn't embarrass her. She did look very lovely, the color of the dress was particularly well chosen for her very fair complexion and hair. Very sweet kiss after the date and it was nice that Castle didn't interfere. He gives her a great deal of space which works because she is so responsible and she doesn't abuse it. It's a wonderful relationship and well played as always.

    Castle has a friend look into the autopsy records of Beckett's mother's murder and finds out the coroner botched the case. The killing stab was straight to the kidney, the killer would have to have some knowledge of anatomy since how many of us could manage that? Very deliberate and a signature that shows up in another three murders during the same time period. We could be talking serial killer here. Beckett forbade him to investigate, even threatening to disown him but he cares about her too much not to tell her. The whole end sequence was perfectly done, just the right amount of darkness and sensitivity on Castle's part.

    Beckett's still sensitive feelings for her ex when he gets shot was beautifully handled, got all that bottled emotion across without ever being overly dramatic or clichéd. Understated and elegantly acted.

    What is the rest of the story and will Beckett do the unthinkable and banish Castle from her life? Can't wait to see what happens next!moreless
Bailey Chase

Bailey Chase

Will Sorenson

Guest Star

Ion Overman

Ion Overman

Candace Robinson

Guest Star

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo

Clark Murray

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: After Castle suggests they should check out the billing department of the hospital, we see him coming back to the office with 2 cups of coffee. He gets near Beckett and after she gives Esposito a paper with an account number, the camera angle cuts back to Castle and he's now holding only one cup of coffee with both hands.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Castle:: If I say yes will you promise to stay out past your bedtime and have a good time?
      Alexis:: Yes!
      Castle:: Not... Not too good a time.
      Alexis:: Dad, all we've done is hold hands
      Castle:: Eww, okay please, don't need details

    • Capt. Montgomery (about a suspect who has undergone many face lifts): At the very least, she should be arrested for violating the laws of nature.

    • Beckett: You want to ask the mob who the witness is?
      Castle: Clearly they already know who he is if they're trying to kill him. Like you said, he's gotta be a significant witness in a pretty big case.
      Beckett: So what do we do? Hop in the car and drive down to the Bada Bing?

    • Esposito: Wow, look at her. How can anyone do that to themselves?
      Castle: Right? It's like she escaped from the Island of Dr. Moreau.
      Beckett: Come on guys, she's not an animal. She's a human being.
      Castle: Yeah, I know but...wait are you being sincere, or quoting the Elephant Man?

    • Beckett: I'm not running a background check on your daughter's date.
      Castle: Oh, come on! She says he's quiet, he keeps to himself, and he lives with his parents. Tell me that doesn't sound like a serial killer to you!

    • (Castle stares as a well-endowed blonde walks past)
      Beckett: (Clears throat) Ahem. What's the deal with men and boobs, anyway?
      Castle: Biological. We can't help it.
      Beckett: But doesn't it bother you that they're so obviously not real?
      Castle: (Pauses) Santa's not real. We still love opening his presents.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Vražedná identita (Murderous Identity)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Slovakia: February 24, 2010 on JOJ
      Germany: April 10, 2010 on Kabel Eins
      United Kingdom: June 10, 2010 on Alibi
      Finland: June 30, 2010 on Nelonen
      Czech Republic: November 10, 2010 on Prima

    • Featured Music:
      "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" by Minnutes
      scene: (Opening Scenes) The car containing the plastic surgeon's body is towed.
      "More to Luv" by Minnutes
      scene: Castle is sleeping in a chair when Alexis comes home with her prom date.
      "I Know You Are But What Am I?" by Mogwai
      scene: Castle's mother tells him that he has to tell Beckett what information he found while looking into her mother's murder.
      "Comes and Goes (In Waves)" by Greg Laswell
      scene: Kate talks to a recovering Will in the hospital and Castle shows up to talk to Beckett.


    • Castle: Yeah, I know but...wait are you being sincere, or quoting the Elephant Man?

      The Elephant Man was a 1980 film starring Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt about a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak.

    • Beckett: So what do we do? Hop in the car and drive down to the Bada Bing?

      The Bada Bing! is a fictional go-go bar from the HBO drama television series The Sopranos.

    • Castle: Right? It's like she escaped from the Island of Dr. Moreau.

      The Island of Dr. Moreau is a 1977 film, which is based on the 1896 book of the same name by H.G. Wells, starring Burt Lancaster and Michael York about an island inhabited by a scientist, Dr. Moreau, who in an experiment has turned beasts into human beings. The film was remade in 1996 and starred Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando.