Mitchell Haaseth/ABC
Sage Young
October 20, 2015 AT 05:46 AM EDT

Usually, when Castle and Beckett break a case, it happens after they force themselves to forget what they already think they know about it and approach it from a new angle. This week, the 12th Precinct meets a woman who has no choice but to approach the world from a wholly different angle. Mia Laszlo has a sense of smell so advanced that it might qualify as a superpower over at the CW.

Mia is a quirky woman with the rotten (ha) luck of occupying the same parking garage as a murderer and his victim. She escapes with her life, even after riding the elevator to street level with the man she assumes did the deed. Ryan and Esposito trace the anonymous call Mia made to 911 to report the shooting after the unit catches the case of who killed Justin Fletcher, age 38, owner of a tricked-out, Bond-appropriate vehicle. She’s not thrilled to have the detectives on her doorstep; Mia prefers solitude for reasons that become clear after she threatens to sue the NYPD for “assault with a deadly odor.” She has a condition called hyperosmia — an almost debilitatingly sensitive nose. Beckett can only pull short answers and hostility out of her (“Are you always this unpleasant?” “Yep.”), but a nosy Castle sees how Mia’s olfactory prowess has the potential to be a game changer in Operation Reunite Caskett 2015.

For a procedural that’s featured hundreds of murders, Castle can be awfully life-affirming. “The Nose” is a character of study of a woman who’s wiped all the risk out of her life and figures out that she kind of misses it. The case is beside the point, with all apologies to Mr. Fletcher. The detectives learn that the victim worked as a courier of priceless items — a transporter, if you will, and Esposito certainly does. (“Like the movie?”) His little brother and next of kin doesn’t know what Justin was transporting at the time of his death, but he does lead them to a company who often engaged his services, the Falcon Unit. The key to the case has to lie in the contents of the briefcase that Mia saw the alleged killer carrying; luckily the show’s new specialist in the trade of the rare and the high-priced shows up to offer her services.

Toks Olagundoye is back as Hayley Vargas this week, after disappearing for a couple of episodes. She’s still doing her bounty-hunting thing, and has been hired by an insurance company to recover the item Justin was carrying. The briefcase held a lost van Gogh painting that had sold for $65 million in private auction. Hayley wants to collaborate; if all goes well, the 12th will get their man, and she’ll get her payday. She also slots into the show as a Rick Castle replacement for Beckett to bounce ideas off of. But because his name is still in the title, the writer will always return at the 11th hour to get his hero moment.

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For most of the episode, Castle is being an accidental hero elsewhere. Mia mentions offhand on their first meeting that Beckett’s pheromones were going bananas when she saw her husband. (“Are you a wizard?” “A cursed one.”) Castle gets the bright idea to use Mia as some sort of feelings bloodhound, so he knows for sure when he’s turning Beckett on or off. It’s an afterthought when he realizes that her heightened sense could also help to identify the killer, especially in a case with little physical evidence to go on. Castle needles his way into Mia’s scentless sanctuary (i.e., her apartment) and gets his comeuppance for his presumptuousness when he finds out just what “decontamination” entails.

Castle calls Beckett to offer up Mia’s nose, and Beckett is desperate enough to take him up on it. All they have on the cop end is a two-bit criminal named Freddy Stark who was trying to steal the painting but was probably waylaid because his cat wanted a little stroll and then showed up too late. With more Beckett contact on the table, Castle pulls the dirtiest trick in the book to smoke Mia out of her apartment, so to speak. (“You were right about those tacos.”)

Beckett humors this new pair of unlikely partners and puts together a smell lineup; according to her nose, Freddy is telling the truth. He was hired to pick up the painting by Tom Gilliam, who runs the Falcon Unit. Ryan and Esposito visit Gilliam at his office to find out why he’d send low-level muscle to rob one of his own couriers. But someone else had already done the robbing. Transport commissions are secured when the item is safely delivered; Justin hadn’t booked the job but decided it was his anyway. This hijacking must have annoyed the transporter who had been confirmed, a Guy Ritchie-movie caricature named Liam Hollister.

NEXT: My buns don’t feel nothin’ like steel 

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