A woman with crosses carved into her face is chased by a figure wearing a black ragged coat and a white porceilan mask with black tears and a black cross down the middle. She runs into the road and is struck and killed by a truck, the driver describes the figure chasing her. Castle recognizes the description. When he was 11-years-old he found a woman’s body in Hollander’s Woods and was accosted by a masked figure who told him if he said a word, he’d be killed. Rick did anonymously call the police but they never found the body. As the years went by and he found no answers, he began to think it never happened.
The dead woman is Emma Malloy who was tracking her missing friend Zoey who disappeared after her boyfriend’s car broke down. The police think she simply took off and she has no family. Rick thinks it’s the same killer and that he targets people with no connections so that no one ever looks for their bodies. When Emma found him, he had to kill her.
Capt. Gates tells Kate that 1PP wants her in for a performance review, three months early and they won’t say why. Turns out they are interested in backing Kate to run for State Senator. Kate isn’t sure she wants to take the opportunity. Rick says he’ll back her play no matter what.
The investigation leads to a car owned by 72-year-old Connie Lewis. The detectives find Connie dead in her home. She’s been that way for three years. Her son, Noah, shoots at the police. They assume that he is their killer but when Castle meets with Noah’s psychiatrist, Dr. Van Holtzman, he recognizes the man’s voice as the man in the mask.
Ryan and Esposito question Rick’s memory from when he was 11-years-old. Castle is hurt when even Kate is skeptical. She later comes to him and says she believes him and she’ll back him no matter what. She found out that the doctor’s deceased parents own an old farm on the outskirts of the woods but she doesn’t have enough for a search warrant.
Rick enters the old barn while Kate sits in the car on the outskirts of the property. Castle finds the mask and a photo album with before and after photos of the killer’s victims. Then Holtzman appears and locks them both inside the barn. Kate runs to the rescue but can’t get inside. Castle and Holtzman fight and Holtzman has Rick on the ground with a knife to his throat. When Rick is able to reach his hand underneath the barn door, Beckett give him her gun and he shoots and kills Holtzman. The porcelain mask falls to the ground and breaks into pieces.
Later Castle wonders if he would be who he is, if he would have ever met Kate if it weren’t for Holtzman. Kate tells him that they are who they are because they both fight for justice in their own ways.
Rick Castle is honored with the Poe’s Pen Career Achievement award. All of his friends and family attend. In his speech, Castle says his mother and daughter are his red-headed pillars of unconditional love, thanks Ryan and Esposito for letting him be their brother in arms and tells Kate that she walked through his door and changed his world. She said he had no idea. Now he does.
A call about a dead body sends everyone back to the 12th for their next case.