The second Castle episode in as many days, Dead Red gives Stana Katic a chance to show off her Russian speaking skills and a Red Heat type plot line allows Rick to get close to a Russian Cleaner. The dead “red” in this episode is the son of a Russian official and since all staff at the embassy have diplomatic immunity, the killer may well go free.
Sidenote: Is it just me, or does everyone hear Arjen Judd, aka the actor Joss Ackland sneering “Diplomatic immunity,” from the 1989 film “Lethal Weapon 2?”
A security officer, who is Russian a’la Red Heat, is assigned to Rick and Kate. He is a huge Richard Castle fan, and nothing, in this post cold war mystery is as it seems. Rick gets to meet his stepmother Rita (Ann Cusack) and Nick E. Tarabay guest stars as the “Arnold Schwarzenegger” character for Dead Red, Vasiliy Zhirov.
A young man, Grigory Mishkin is murdered in an abandoned building and as the police begin their investigations Zhriov is assigned to help as a gesture of good will. The attached red officer is overjoyed to be working with Rick and Kate and later arranges to have the two work as a team again.
This “re-joining” seems to be a flag post of the faux separation soon coming to an end. Even Martha and Alexis have noticed that Richard is no longer distraught at Kate’s leaving. Also, as mentioned in the Castle: Witness for the Prosecution review, Javi and Ryan have completely gotten over their rage at Rick’s “cheating.”
The first suspect in the murder investigation is “diplo-brat” Jurgen Kass, (played with a brilliant comic touch by Luke Stratte-McClure) who makes fun of Javi and Ryan when they attempt to question him. Rick goes with Vassily to get coffee and they run into Kass at the coffee shop. Kass is terrified by Zhirov’s suggestion that if he does not help, he will lose his feet.
The dipole-brat then reveals that he did not kill Mishkin but got the dead man to give him a ticket to a Russian diplomatic party.
As the investigations continue, Vassily is revealed to be a “cleaner” (something much more threatening than a security officer) and the cops learn that Mishkin’s mother was a “Sleeper” agent. Beckett reveals to Rita that she and Castle are still very much a couple after Rick’s stepmother tells Kate off for allowing loksat to kill her marriage.
Mishkin was trying to find out who killed his mother and it gets him killed. Clues lead back to another Sleeper, Anatoly Arkady, aka Frank Thomas. Vassily picks up the man to question him and Richard helps to do it painlessly. The two learn that something will happen at the party, as Frank was setting up fake ids in order to smuggle someone in.
Zhirov vouches for Beckett, Rick, Kevin and Esposito so they can attend the soiree and once inside, Kate saves Oborin’s life but Sergei is shot. After the party, Rita reveals herself to Richard and they share a special moment.
Mishkin’s mother turns up alive, it was she who attempted to kill Sergei (who she knows killed Grigory, her son) and the wounded diplomat is returned to Russia rather than face justice in America.
The episode ends with Kate and Rick learning that Sergei is to be sent to the coldest place on earth and the couple then get up to some “hanky-panky” in “Russia.”
Taraby is brilliant as the Russian cleaner who is also a fan of Castle and Nikky Heat. With his beard and long mustache, the Lebanese-American actor could pass for a younger Sean Connery and his charismatic performance shows why Nick is one of the busier actors in the business.
Dead Red was a splendid mix of mystery, cold war nostalgia and comedy, for instance, Strate-McClure’s performances with Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever was very funny:
Kass: “All right…I confess. I confess that, uh…I am rich…b*tches.”
The touching moment with Rick and Rita was just that. Taraby got the line of the show with his “Katherine the Great” remark when buttering up Katic outside the above referenced interrogation scene. Although arguably his pleading with the cops, and Castle, to behave since his “street cred” was on the line was pretty funny and came a close second.
While this was another step away from the “big bad” that Kate and Vikram are pursuing, loksat was not left out in the cold as Rita is not only Castle’s stepmom but also the one helping Beckett and Singh to take down the corporate villain.
Castle normally airs Mondays on ABC, the next episode should air on February 22. Tune in and get your Nathan Fillion/Stana Katic fix.