Castle is not a subtle show. Nor is it usually a very political one. It makes an exception with “And Justice for All,” though, a giant “screw you” to the mounting American political movement to villainize immigrants. Definitely not subtle, but any time Martha delivers a life lesson, it is impossible not to be a little touched.
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Castle Goes Undercover as a Chef
The episode opens with Castle suffering from writer’s block and re-reading theories about his missing time to try and get story ideas. No dice. Luckily for him, a zoo worker and Salvadoran immigrant named Eddie Ramirez is murdered and dumped into a cage filled with deadly snakes. Beckett initially forbids Castle from working on the case, since they are still (badly) pretending to be broken up. But she soon realizes that his involvement is necessary.
Eddie was a student in an ESL class. Not only were his fellow students his confidants, but he received a threatening text from the school shortly before his death. Since all the students are from countries that have corrupt police (like South Korea?) and therefore don’t trust the cops, Castle goes in undercover as Jean-Luc, a French-Canadian chef who speaks suspiciously good English.
Meet the Class
The ESL class is filled with an assortment of characters: Hyun Joo is an au pair from South Korea; Ida is an aspiring painter from Senegal; Alistair is a “Geordie,” which means he’s from England but speaks in a dialect that hurts to hear; Achmed used to work in some kind of government job in the Middle East; Diego is a janitor from I think Mexico, but to be honest I kind of lost track of everyone. I also didn’t catch the teacher’s name, and he’s not credited on IMDB. But I can positively identify him as the awkward friend from Smart Guy (the late-’90s Disney Channel classic!), so we have that.
Though Castle and Beckett initially believe that one of the students killed Eddie, it quickly becomes apparent that he was actually their friend and protector. Eddie was a corrupt cop in El Salvador, and may have been trying to make amends for his misdeeds by doing good in America. One example is Ida. Until recently, she was a waitress at a club. But because she is undocumented, a huge chunk of her earnings was extorted from her. The club owners fired her when she demanded her money, so Eddie beat the crap out of them and walked away with $10,000 rightfully belonging to Ida.
The club owners alibi out, so the police focus on another instance of Eddie’s protection. Achmed’s neighbor Anita, also an undocumented immigrant, had gone missing recently. Eddie began to investigate and told Achmed that he discovered a big and dangerous conspiracy, dying before he could give any more information. Deciding that pursuing Anita may be the best way to solve Eddie’s murder, Ryan and Esposito are led to career criminal Marco Sutter. Marco shoots at them during his arrest, so he’s definitely guilty of something.
The FBI are Jerks Again
As it turns out, though, that something is not Eddie’s murder. He’s involved in something a lot bigger. Ryan and Esposito find this out when they go to a locker belonging to Marco and are jumped by the FBI. Continuing in the long and proud tradition of crime drama cop-feds relations, the lead of the FBI case is a jackass. This is the first time Beckett has had to deal with the dynamic as captain and she handles it well. The agent allows the team to keep Marco in custody but warns them not to interfere with the mysterious investigation. Like that ever works.
Vikram manages to track Anita to a deportation center in Texas. Thus unravels a complex and corrupt immigrant extortion operation. Marco and other low hanging fruit shake down undocumented immigrants for money. When they can’t pay, a judge named Jason Caldwell sends them to the Texas deportation center, which pays him for keeping a steady stream of people their way. Caldwell is the main target of the FBI investigation and possibly Eddie’s murderer.
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The police can’t interfere, but interfering is Castle’s specialty. The ESL class works together to distract the FBI teams tailing Caldwell long enough for Castle to get him alone. He then has Hayley pretend to be Eddie’s revenge-seeking fiancee, and she pretends to shoot Castle in order to scare a confession from Caldwell. Caldwell eludes to having contacted people from Eddie’s past, saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Unfortunately, he figures out the ruse before they can get more information and heads straight to his lawyer.
The FBI is pissed about the whole situation. But Beckett points out that since Caldwell admitted to being an accessory to murder, they can work together on the case and both win. They track down Alfonso Sanchez, the man Caldwell contacted. Alfonso’s brother was murdered by Eddie years ago, and his arrival from El Salvador coincides with Eddie’s murder.
But Eddie didn’t actually murder his brother. Even back then, he was beginning to regret his corrupt ways. Alfonso did intend to kill Eddie but says that Eddie produced sufficient evidence that he had been helping his brother instead of hurting him. Combined with a solid alibi, Alfonso turns out to be a dead end.
That is, except for the fact that someone must have told Caldwell about Alfonso’s past with Eddie. The only people who would have that information are in the ESL class. But Eddie wasn’t betrayed by the students, all of whom are national treasures. It was the teacher, Mr. Used-To-Be-On-Smart-Guy. Some investigation reveals that a large number of his students ended up in that Texas deportation center, thanks to his ongoing relationship with Judge Caldwell. The connection means they both go to jail, and the ESL class gets to have a multi-cultural celebration.
Welcome to Korea (Town)
One other important thing happens in this episode. After mentioning his missing memory for the first time in ages, Castle follows up by having a flashback. Hyun Joo’s traditional Korean dish triggers a memory of him eating the same thing while looking at a temple. He initially thinks this means he was in Korea, but another memory reveals that he was actually in Korea Town, a part of Los Angeles. Though he previously vowed to let this mystery go, Castle is fundamentally incapable of it. He’s off to Hollywood.
Castle airs Mondays at 10pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)