The scene opens with beauty pageant contestants practicing their routine together when they discover that Miss Illinois has been murdered. Meanwhile, Alexis talks to Ashley and tells him to go to the college that he wants. Castle asks what is wrong and she says that Ashley got accepted to all colleges and Ashley wants to Stanford. She says that long distance relationship hardly ever work out. Castle says that you never know with love and Alexis tells that another murder happened when Castle’s phone rings. Castle gets on scene and Beckett tells him that the case is right up his alley. They walk in the studio and Castle recognizes Bobby Stark, a tv sitcom start. Beckett says that Candace Ford is the one running the pageant. Ryan comes up and says that the victim is Amber Middleberry and the Medical Examiner says that she was chocked with her own sash. Black sequence is found in her hair.
They talk to Mr. Middleberry and he says that he was against it at first, but it allowed Amber to be closer to her mother who died. He says that this pageant was her dream. Victor Baron comes up and asks to talk to the Beckett upstairs. He introduces his wife, Karen, and they tell that they are putting the weight of the empire on the investigation. Beckett tells them to turn off the cameras and they hesitate for a moment and then turn them off. Castle and Beckett get back to the station and all the contestants are there. Esposito tells that he has attempted to match the sequence found in Amber’s hair to the outfits to the girls, but they don’t match. Ryan says that one contestant has something to say. They meet with her and she says that she went to the stage and heard arguing. It was Amber and some guy. When it got loud, she left. She tells that she didn’t recognize the voice. Ryan gets off the phone with Amber’s dad and he doesn’t know of any boyfriends, but the girls told him to talk to Justin Hangle, Amber’s pageant agent.
They meet with Justin and he says that there were no boyfriends because that is a rule of his. However, he says that Amber was hiding something and there is a lot of pressure on the girls and they get “political”. Esposito shows Beckett and Castle the video from the dinner before the murder and they see that Bobby Stark says something to Amber and afterward, she has a disgusted and angry look on her face. They look further and realize that Bobby is wearing a jacket with black sequence. They bring the blazer in and it is a perfect match. Ryan says that that Bobby has three women who have restraining orders and Candace Ford says that Bobby spent a lot of time with Amber. They bring Bobby in for questioning and he asks why he is a suspect. He says that he was trying to recruit her for “The Goddess Train”, a pageant that he is working on. Bobby says that he has an alibi, but he doesn’t remember anything. Castle can’t believe that he could be the killer. Esposito shows that Amber had her violin at dinner, but it wasn’t in her room or on her body.
Later, Martha shows her old picture when she was in a pageant and Alexis comes in and says that Ashley is going to college in New York, but she doesn’t want to stand in his way and broke up with him. The next day, Castle tells Beckett the news and she says that she is only being practical. Montgomery is asking Esposito what he should get his wife for their 30th anniversary. Esposito says that Bobby’s alibi checks out. Ryan comes in and says that they found the violin and Miss Georgia’s prints were all over it. They meet with Casey Joy and she says that Amber and her were friends and says that she only took her violin to get her to lose the competition. However, she says that she didn’t kill her. She says that she didn’t need to because she found something in her violin case that would have ruined her. She shows the pictures to Castle and Beckett. It is Amber naked posing for pictures. At the station, Beckett doesn’t understand it. Esposito tells that Amber didn’t have any money to pay for blackmail. Beckett sees that a professional took the pictures.
Esposito talks to Justin and says that it could have been six months ago. Beckett comes in and Montgomery asks her what he should get his wife. She tells that she doesn’t know. Castle tells him to give her the gift that she thought that he wasn’t listening. He asks what if he wasn’t listening. Esposito tells Beckett that he is going over to a photographer named Dax and he is for taking dirty pictures. Ryan meets up with him and they talk to Dax. He remembers Amber, but says that he never took dirty pictures. He says that she had a boyfriend with her who told him to have natural lighting. Beckett gets off the phone and says that Amber did have a creepy boyfriend named Jeremy Kaiper. Ashley comes into the station and asks him to advocate for him with Alexis. He says that he cares for her and wants to be with her. He says that he will see about it. Ryan comes in and says that Jeremy’s mother told him that Jeremy moved to New York to “make something of himself”.
The go to his place and find it deserted. There is a shrine of Amber on his door. It opens a little and Beckett opens it and finds Jeremy’s body on the door. The medical examiner says that it was a murder and not suicide and it happened before Amber was killed. Esposito shows that his hard drive has been wiped. Castle asks if there could be a partner. Castle sits down and Castle says that he has to go. He goes home and finds Alexis on the couch. He says that Ashley wanted him to help and Castle says that the long distance relationship could work. He tells her not to miss the whole picture. Castle gets an idea and the next day, he shows Beckett that the photo was taken somewhere familiar. They go to Victor Barron’s and ask them to tell them about the blackmail and the murder of Amber. Victor’s wife asks what is going on and she gets upset because it the picture was taken in their vacation home. Victor says that Amber was blackmailing her because she had her boyfriend take them while she was away. All he had to do was help her win the competition. His alibi checks out. He says that he told Candace Ford and said for her to make it go all away.
They talk to Candace and she says that she didn’t kill her because she wanted to kill Victor Barron. Candace says that she was with Bobby Stark and he doesn’t even remember. Her alibi checks out and Beckett says that her old roommate wasn’t a bad person, she just was horrible to live. Amber was cold and calculating and says that one of the people they talked to was lying. Meanwhile, they are doing a dress rehearsal of Amber’s memorial and Justin says that she met the world to him. However, Beckett and Castle are there and ask why he killed her. He runs and trips. He is caught and arrested. At the station, Beckett tells Montgomery that Justin confessed to everything and he says that they did good work. Montgomery’s wife comes in and the gift was that he is going to be retiring from the force. Esposito and Ryan give Castle a hard time for telling Montgomery to quit, but Beckett says that Montgomery always tells that he is retiring and says for him to give it a week or two. Beckett asks if Alexis made a choice and Castle says that she is going to keep showing up. However, he comes home and she says that she is going to Stanford. He is shocked.