“Veritas” – A secret investigation conducted by Beckett related to her mother’s murder goes awry when a man she has been surveilling is killed. When evidence links Beckett to the victim, she and Castle become the target of a manhunt that puts both of them in grave danger.
A few things first | After two weeks of filler episodes, we jump right back into the drama with “Veritas.” We knew from the post-episode discussions from “In the Belly of the Beast” the show was going to dip its toe back into the Bracken storyline. It was more than a toe, but a full body immersion into the storyline. If you had problems with the way “In the Belly of the Beast” was set up, you shouldn’t have any worries here. And if you were worried Beckett was conducting a secret investigation (all the more reason why you should not read much into the episode synopsis) without Castle, you can check that theory at the door. Castle is very much a part of the investigation.
The case | The best way to describe this case is multifaceted but with a single focus: Bringing Bracken to justice for all his wrongs. But first, a few particulars out of the way. Jason Marks, a consultant with Bracken’s campaign, is found dead in an alley. Beckett and Castle been tailing him for some time it seems. So when his body drops, it no doubt freaks Beckett out. Castle and Beckett are worried because if bodies are starting to drop, it’s only a matter of time Bracken sets his eyes on her. When Vulcan Simmons becomes the prime suspect, Gates kicks Beckett off the case. After his body drops is when Beckett becomes the center of an investigation because whoever killed Simmons planted evidence pointing the finger at her. That’s where the juicy part of the episode begins.
On the run | Beckett gets out of the precinct before IA can arrest her. Donovan questions Castle but he doesn’t say anything. The boys know this is a whole lot bigger. Castle fills them in on what’s going on and Ryan and Esposito know the stakes are high. Then a bombshell: Smith, the guy Montgomery tasked with keeping Beckett safe is alive and well and still trying to take Bracken down.
Clandestine meeting in the garage | After their meeting in the park and later talking to the doctor who signed Smith’s death certificate, Castle and Beckett meet with Smith in a parking garage. He tells them about a tape, a recording where Bracken admits to murder. Everyone’s been trying to find the tape, including Bracken. Smith tells them to disappear.
The boys tell Gates everything | The only thing Gates knew about Beckett’s mother murder was that it was random stabbing. She wants to help Beckett but can’t do that if she’s in the dark. They fill her in—on everything—Bracken, the cover-up, etc.
A face-to-face meeting | Castle leaves Beckett alone in a hotel room when somehow, someway Bracken was able to find them. He’s smug as ever and Beckett just tells him to kill her. She wants him to do it, but he lets his goons do it. They try to drug her, get her drunk before putting a gun in her hand to make it look like a suicide. Beckett turns the tables on the two goons. She grabs the gun from one of them and double taps him in the chest. The second guy, well let’s just say—if you break a bottle over Kate’s head beg for mercy. She passes out in the hallway where Castle finds her. He decides they need to hide for a while.
Oh hey, I remember you | Beckett has a very vivid dream. She’s back in her uniform and runs into Captain Montgomery at the 12th precinct. It’s the first time they met. She tells him about her mom’s case and how she’s trying to solve it. He tells to look beyond the file, look at her papers, her notes, and specifically mentions recordings. They have to go to her apartment.
A diversion gone wrong | Beckett and Castle go to her apartment to retrieve her mother’s belongings. Turns out Beckett has sent her mom’s appointment notebook to everyone but MI-6 and the KGB to decipher her mother’s shorthand. No one could figure it out. But Castle does—at least one part of it.
If you remember from “Knockout” Montgomery tells Kate in the hanger that he tried to protect Johanna but couldn’t. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. Turns out, Johanna had a meeting with Montgomery where he gave her evidence exposing Bracken’s dirty deeds.
The elephants are the key | After Castle and Beckett are arrested, Beckett realizes the tape has been in her possession the whole time. The elephants belonged to Johanna.
The conspiracy exposed | Everyone listens to the tape and Bracken’s exposed for all his dirty deeds.
Bracken goes down | Bracken is giving an interview about why he’s running for president when he spots Beckett walking into his office. What better way to bring him down than with a room full of press. She slaps the cuffs on him and the last charge she says is for the murder of her mother. This one is all Kate, the boys are waiting outside with Castle nearby. Castle tells Beckett that wherever her mother is, she’s proud of her. Beckett tells Castle she could not have done it without him.
A final few thoughts | Like many, I had a few concerns about how they were going to wrap up the story arc with Bracken. I did not find it contrived and felt it was a fitting end for round one at least. I am fairly sure this storyline is going to be revisited next year with a trial. When you put your best on an episode, you have a great shot at success. And this episode shined. Part of me wishes Rob and Terence wrote “In the Belly of the Beast.” “Veritas” flowed a lot better. It definitely kept my attention from start to finish.
Quotable | “Is that how you justify murder? It builds character? Then why don’t you let me get a chance to build yours?”
Rewind scene | Beckett kicking ass in the hotel room.
Slight slip-up | If you followed @castleseries during the live airing, I shared that I found a fallacy with the episode. It’s a small minor tick and it’s not a big deal. In Johanna’s notebook she wrote D Me W/ Family. As Castle explained: Detective Montgomery evidence with family. This was on the day she died. So that means by the time Beckett ran into Montgomery two years later as a rookie cop, he was a captain. And how do I know Beckett was a cop by 2001? When she was shot in season three finale (2011) she had a “10” on her uniform which means she’d been a cop for 10 years. Montgomery sure did march up the promotions ladder, didn’t he? It was an LOL moment.