Whereas last week's Castle indulged in the relationship side of the show, this week's episode is a straight-up procedural, complete with an intriguing sub-culture for Castle (Nathan Fillion), Beckett (Stana Katic), Ryan (Seamus Deaver) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) to poke around in.
One of the city's up and coming DJs is found murdered shortly after hosting an album launch party for aging pop star Regina Cane (Taylor Cole), pulling the team into the NYC music scene.
Aside from some passed out party leftovers and a guy who has misplaced his pants, nothing seems too out of order at Regina's place in the SoHo district. Regina herself informs them that she wasn't all that thrilled with the DJ, Holly Rhodes, skipping out early on her, but the album launched and that's all that matters. After her, a number of suspects are interrogated, including Tyrese Wilton (Geno Monteiro) - a local producer who offered to help take Holly's career as a DJ to the next level - and a gangster who was seen at the party threatening Holly about a stolen bracelet.
It's the theft that puts Castle and company on the right trail, a trail that leads them to a directionless orphan named Joey (Nadji Anthony Jeter) who was working with Holly and an unnamed thug higher up the food chain to pull off high-end robberies at Holly's gigs. While it would have been more fun to watch the street kid spend the night with Castle and the redheads, the show takes the traditional route and sends him to bond with Esposito. Both actors do a good job of building the relationship as the plot thickens without resorting to too many cliches, making the closing scene between them less cheesy than it might otherwise have been.
The wheels-within-wheels mystery was nice as well. Joey and Holly were both kids who had been all but abandoned and were headed for trouble when an older, richer benefactor bailed them out. Shane Winters (Michael Irby) has a keen eye for lost kids and follows a Dickensian model for how to best use them to his advantage. The plan backfires when he targets Tyrese, a man who offers to lift Holly out of the lower dregs of the musical world once and for all. When Holly discovers Tyrese is Joey's latest mark, she rushes to intercept Shane.
In a nice plot twist - and with some fancy detective work on Beckett and company's part - it's revealed that while Shane orchestrated the entire operation, this particular hit was ordered by none other than Regina. Fearing a younger musician would usurp what little audience she had left, Regina is the one Holly intercepts outside Tyrese's studio, and it's Regina who kills the DJ before scurrying back to her own party to return the phone before it's missed.
All's well that ends well, and while Shane may have gotten away with clean hands as far as the law is concerned, Esposito takes out some insurance of his own to buy Joey's safety. Nothing Emmy-worthy or flashy tonight, but it got the job done and was an enjoyable hour of television all the same.
Castle airs Mondays @10pm on ABC.