Mar 24 2015

Castle – “At Close Range” Recap. The Grassy Knoll…Sort of.


Castle Ink Spot logo (featured)Season 7, Episode 18

Air Date: Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10/9c on ABC





“Well, when you have a crazy theory, you don’t call the voice of reason.” – Det. Ryan

For Castle fans who’ve been eagerly awaiting another Det. Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) centric episode, “At Close Range” is right up your alley. From politicians and political activists, to family drama via the in-laws, “At Close Range” takes a shot (pun intended) from inside a swanky fund raising event. But who’s the real target? Could it be the up and coming Congressman Alex Lopez (guest star Ricardo Chavira), or perhaps the kind-hearted philanthropic Carolyn Decker (Annie Little), whose ambitious foundation, “Pure Water,” is helping people on a global scale. Let’s find out, shall we?


Security Detail

Ryan walks the red carpet with the congressman, his wife, and Carolyn.

Ryan walks behind with the congressman, his wife, Megan, and Carolyn to keep an eye on things while Frank walks ahead.

Ryan is still working some late night shifts doing private security with his brother-in-law, Frank Kelly (guest star David Conrad). Granted, Ryan is a new father and raising a child isn’t cheap, especially in the Big Apple. The job Frank brings Ryan in on involves a huge charity fundraiser where Ryan must keep a hawk eye out for any of the known activists on the watch-list Frank gives him. Congressman Lopez, his wife Mia (Reiko Aylesworth), his Chief of Staff Megan Brooks (Ali Hills), and Carolyn are all in attendance at the event. The use of multiple camera angles gives “At Close Range” a feeling of suspense as Ryan approaches a guy (Michael Blum) just as he reaches into his jacket to pull something out. Is it gun or grenade? No, it’s a bottle of “blood.”

As the night progresses, Ryan stands guard while Congressman Lopez talks to Carolyn backstage just as all hell suddenly breaks loose. Three shots are heard and both Lopez and Carolyn are hit. But who is the shooter? And better yet, where is Mia? Where is Megan, or for that matter, Frank? There is also an unidentified guy in a “gray suit” who fled the scene. Could he be the shooter?


Who’s the Shooter?

Ryan quickly and quietly diffuses a potentially disasterous situation

Ryan quickly and quietly diffuses a potentially disasterous situation

The opening scene of “At Close Range,” shows Ryan in the men’s room. Standing in his blood stained clothes, he lashes out, punching the mirror in front him. Like Beckett (Stana Katic), I know Ryan is going to internalize this, blaming himself until the shooter is caught. After Ryan knocks out the mirror, we flash back to six hours earlier when Ryan is in the car with Frank on their way to the function. It’s a great spin on reverse chronology by focusing on aspects of one person’s memory to pinpoint certain sequences of events that take place in “At Close Range.” From Ryan remembering the guy doesn’t wear jewelry but has a “blue” press badge, to a young hotel waiter Julian (Jeremy Tardy) who is photographed coming out of a room that should have been locked, the camera angles and narrative help tell the story in reverse to help the investigation move forward.

It turns out Mr. Gray Suit is Eric Chambers (Charlie Hofheimer), another political activist who is seen in an employee only closet talking to Carl Shelton (David Andrews), the hotel owner, who coincidentally isn’t fond of Congressman Lopez. Our young waiter Julian fills in the details for Beckett and Castle (Nathan Fillion) while Esposito (Jon Huertas) tries to help his buddy Ryan capture Chambers.

Is Chambers the shooter? It appears all the evidence points to him being the culprit but the way Shelton deflects questions from Beckett, it’s beginning to look like these two are working together. But when Shelton claims he never sent Chambers the press badge, it leads Ryan to do some theorizing on his own.


Interesting Moments

  • Ryan texts Castle in the middle of the night to bounce a theory around; it turns out the angle of the bullets couldn’t have come from where Chambers was standing backstage. “Physics” lesson done.
  • Ryan questions his brother-in-law about his possible involvement in the shooting

    Ryan questions his brother-in-law about his possible involvement in the shooting

    The shadow of doubt looms over Frank, especially when he runs from the police. Ryan visits his sister Gwen (Heather Mazur), who reveals Frank got in over his head when money got tight so he took some odd jobs to make extra cash. One of those jobs was to plant a press badge in Chambers’ mailbox. But who hired Frank to do it?

  • Who is Jim Boyce (actor uncredited) and how does he know anything about Beckett’s reputation? He introduces himself to Beckett and Castle while at the hospital saying he is the “state party chair.” Very interesting…I have a feeling this story line will come into play in the very near future. I wonder if Beckett would ever consider going into politics doing secret service type work.


The Reveal

When suspicions lead Beckett to believe Mia is the possible shooter, Mia shuts down those doubts by providing a solid alibi. Mia knows her husband and Carolyn were having an affair but what Mia doesn’t know is how Carolyn voiced concerns about another woman in Lopez’s life – his Chief of Staff Megan Brooks. It seems Megan took her job security into her own hands. It’s sad, though, hearing how much time Megan dedicated to Lopez’s campaign and political career.



“At Close Range” is an intriguing episode and a bit of a departure from some of the more somber and fun episodes we’ve seen recently. I appreciate it when the writers focus more screen time on Ryan and Esposito with their own adventures. Although, I love the collective team – Beckett, Castle, Ryan, and Esposito – episodes too, and hope the writers continue to highlight all of them individually, as well as in a group. And where is Lanie (Tamala Jones)? I know she’ll be back in next week’s episode, “Habeas Corpus,” but I’ve really missed her.


What did you think of “At Close Range?” Who did you suspect first? Leave me a comment below and/or tweet me @judybopp.

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Photos: ©2015 American Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.


© 2015, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.

Judy Manning

Dream chaser extraordinaire! Judy is a tad sarcastic and kind of goofy! She is an avid admirer of all things supernatural, paranormal, and mystical. She finally came around to zombies, but NO clowns...she loathes clowns. She loves to read, write, and watches way too much TV. She enjoys many genres of film and music of the Trance/Electronica variety (and let's be honest, most music from the 80s). She also has a wicked sweet tooth. Cupcakes beware.

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