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Villainess Review: Nicole Morris (Castle)

In this episode, Richard Castle's first case as a private investigator is a murder that uncovers--among other things--a lethal villainess.

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 3 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
Heather McComb as Nicole Morris

"Castle, P.I," a seventh season episode of Castle, kicks off with a woman named Shana Baker entering her apartment, only to find herself on the bad end of a gun held by an invasive assassin, who shoots Shana to death. The murder is investigated by Kate Beckett, Javier Esposito, and Kevin Ryan, but in a surprise, Richard Castle enters and reveals that a) he received his PI license, and b) he's also on his own investigation into Shana's murder. The dueling investigations see Castle a step or two ahead of Beckett and the NYPD in a number of forms, including Castle uncovering Shana's occupation as a teacher at a prestigious preschool, as well as interviewing a person close to Shana, her friend Nicole Morris.

Nicole, a lawyer, reveals that she met Shana months prior when she was touring her school for her daughter, and added that Shana was heading to Boston to investigate a murder, with Nicole expressing uneasiness over the subject. The murder, as it turned out, was committed 15 years prior, and the victim was Jeff Whelan, who was Shana's boyfriend at the time. It was believed that Jeff was shoved out a window of a fraternity house, and the main suspect was Spaulding Elliott, a budding politician who's cigarette was found at the scene of Shana's murder. Elliott ended up suspected of both murders, but he had a strange tic that cleared him. As it turned out, Shana's apartment was covered in dog hair, and as later revealed--Elliott was allergic to dogs.

The episode's climax, however, saw Beckett show Castle a photo of someone who was digging in an ashcan near a barbecue rib joint that Elliott dined at--and it was that same ashcan that the certain someone took the cigarette butt. Afterwards, Beckett brought in that very person into Castle's office, and it was none other than Nicole Morris, the so-called "friend" of Shana's. As it turned out, Nicole was a villainess enlisted and paid by Jeff's killer (who was never revealed) to get close to Shana and find out what she learned about her boyfriend's murder on her investigation. In the aforementioned opening scene, Nicole turned heel on Shana and shot her to death in her apartment, and she later planted the cigarette butt at the scene to frame Elliott. Nicole attempted to deny the claims against her, but the photo of her at the rib joint ended up her undoing, and Beckett arrests Nicole. Check and mate.

"Castle, P.I," was the 11th episode of the show's seventh season, and aired on January 12, 2015. I loved a lot of things about the episode, but my favorite attribute was the episode's villainess, Nicole Morris, played by Heather McComb. The only shame is that we do not see a lot of McComb on-screen, as she only had one scene prior to her villainous reveal. Even in that scene, McComb played Nicole's feigned concern very well, and in her Nicole's reveal, McComb expressed her character shock and defeat wonderfully in that scene. However, I want to talk about this:

Though both of Nicole's scenes were terrific, I can't help but love her lone villainous Hand of Death scene from the episode's opening. I love the Hand of Death trope and scenes overall, but I really adore this one because it represents Nicole's heel turn against Shana. The scene truly captures Nicole's persona as a lethal and (morally) corrupt villainess, and as displayed in her reveal, Nicole was ruthless in her sinister quest as well, making her one of my all-time favorite villainesses from Castle.

Heather McComb's lengthy acting career has included recurring as Frances Malone on Profiler, and playing Rita Morgan (Gretchen Morgan's sister) on Prison Break. She has the rare distinction of having guest-starred on all four of the CSI series (original, Miami, NY, and Cyber); playing a different character in each one. Nicole Morris isn't McComb's only villainous role; she has played villainesses on shows such as Crossing Jordan and Bones, and she recently played a Lifetime movie villainess for the first time in 2020, appearing as Lena Colbert in Mommy is a Murderer.

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Click here for Nicole Morris' profile on Villainous Beauties Wiki!


About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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