Castle: He’s Dead She’s Dead – A Review of the Police Procedure and Other Nonsense

Is it over yet? That was my reaction ten minutes into this episode. As much as I normally enjoy the show, I must say this particular episode was exactly what I needed to take the final edge off the leftover Writers’ Police Academy adrenaline high. Sure, everyone looked nice, there was a dead body, and Det. Ryan even had a couple of spotlight moments (is it just me or he is beginning to really stand out as a key player in this show?), but there simply wasn’t enough to keep me interested. I actually fell asleep a few times while attempting to watch. It was sort of like going to a rock concert where the headliner is a band from the 70’s that plays all the chords and sings all the right lyrics, but there’s no life in the performance. They’re tired. And Castle and Beckett looked tired this week.

Or was it the writer who blew this one for me? Let’s look back at another episode written by Moira Kirkland. Tick, Tick, Tick was a two-part episode and here’s my opening comment from the first week’s review:

Tonight’s episode is the first of a two-parter, and I have to admit I’m thankful the network broke this particular show into segments. Why? Because there’s no way I could stomach this all in one sitting. The writers definitely went for over the top stupid this time.

So maybe the actors had nothing to work with this week. Anyway, on with the show…

– We start with a woman who found her mother’s dead body inside a sleeper sofa with an ice pick protruding from her neck—pointed end embedded into the flesh. I’m not sure how much room was inside the sofa, but there had to have been a lot because the weapon stood straight out. Wouldn’t a normal sleeper sofa mattress be tightly compressed, which wouldn’t allow the weapon to be so perfectly placed for the viewing audience? Not a big deal…just an observation.

– When the daughter opened the sofa her mother’s body rolled out and flopped into view like a wet fish. A few minutes later Lanie Parish states the body was in full rigor, therefore, it should have been as unyielding as a fireplace poker. Or, was the queen of all psychic pathologists looking into the future. Sure, that’s it. She had a brief flash. Maybe she’d just watched Chuck and a little of his abilities cross-contaminated the two networks.

Voodoo doctor Parish also went on to say:

1. No scratches on the metal part of the ice pick. Why’d she say that? Was it important information? I guess she said it because later in the show we’d learn that the predictable, obvious killer would purchase a new ice pick. But for Lanie to say it when and how she did was an info dump. I hope you guys insert your clues a little more tactfully.

2. Time of Death was 5-7 p.m. the night before. On what did she base this? Anyone know?

3. Cause of death was blood loss and asphyxiation and that the victim was alive when she was placed inside the couch—something about some scratch marks proving the latter. How’d she know the family cat hadn’t been trapped inside the sofa (It really must be like the Grand Canyon inside that piece of furniture).

– Det. Ryan referred to the patrol officers as uniforms and uni’s. Good information!

– Officers brought a suspect in for questioning. He supposedly wasn’t under arrest (not even any real evidence against him), yet he was handcuffed and the officers were manhandling him like two linebackers roughing up a quarterback during the Superbowl. However, in real life, anytime a person no longer feels they are free to leave an area (because of police actions) then they are considered to be under arrest. And that doesn’t always have to involve handcuffs or locked doors. This guy was definitely not free to leave.

– Was it just me, or were there far too many commercials in this episode? More than usual?

– Beckett made her usual, “Don’t leave town” comment. Police officers cannot order someone to stay put without the proper paperwork from the courts. And something was different about her this week. I did notice that she wore a lot more makeup than ever before. But that wasn’t it. Anybody?

The ending was as predictable as sunrise and sunsets. The only good thing about it was that it arrived, finally.

Sorry, Guys. This time I really didn’t like the show. So go ahead, start blasting me. I can take it.

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From the 2010 Writers’ Police Academy

Image by Diane McAndrew

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Writers’ Police Academy: Recruits In Training

The 2010 Writers’ Police Academy was a huge success. Not only did the event exceed my wildest dreams, we raised a ton of cash for the criminal justice foundation! And that’s what this event was all about. Well, that and introducing writers to a taste of real police, fire, and EMS training.

It pleased me greatly to see so many people having fun while learning valuable insider tips that will later serve to enhance their writing. Jeffery Deaver once said, “If I’m going to write about a particular subject or topic, then I must experience it.” And what great advice that is. Only a hands-on or eye-witness experience can bring the proper emotions and prose to page. So, last weekend we offered our WPA recruits a wide variety of realism to stimulate their senses.

Author Samantha Kane trying on turnout gear.

Recruits waited outside the academy for Saturday’s first event. And we sure started off with a bang!

One of the recruits (a real police officer planted in the crowd by us) was shot by a college student who was angry about a failing grade. Several WPA recruits flinched when gunshots (blanks) rang out and echoed throughout the hallways. A few whispered to their partners about how long the strong odor of burnt powder lingered in the air. Blood (blood packs were planted under the officer’s clothing for effect) oozed from the victim’s wound as he gasped for breath.

The shooter (a King N.C. police captain) then made his way down the hall and found a classroom full of students. He took a hostage, fired a few rounds, and began shouting demands.

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Rapid Deployment Team was called to handle the dangerous situation. WPA recruits looked on as the team engaged the shooter.

The threat was quickly terminated.

EMS personnel check the wounded shooter for signs of life.

He had expired.

Officers then focused on the remaining hostages, not knowing yet if a potential conspirator remained inside the classroom.

After the scene was declared safe it was time to begin the workshops.

Recruits split up to attend various sessions. The mat room was for defensive tactics, handcuffing, and arrest techniques.

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We’ve been receiving messages almost non-stop since the academy ended at just past 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Here’s one of the many:

“Still reeling from the amazing experience, Lee. Thank you so much! I knew the weekend would be informative and hoped it would be fun, but I didn’t except to be so blown away and so deflated when the weekend came to an end! Looking forward to next year!”  ~ Hannah Schwartz

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Writers’ Police Academy: Day One

The first day of the Writers’ Police Academy opened with one-on-one visits with police officers, firefighters. and EMS personnel. Various agencies set up equipment on the driving track and answered questions and demonstrated equipment.

Hazardous Devices Team members offered information about explosives and how they’re handled. They also brought along some pretty massive disposal equipment and vehicles.

Recruits made their way from one station to another, reluctant to leave any of them. The information was fascinating.

Dive team members explained their role in criminal investigations and search and rescue operations.

Recruits made themselves at home behind the wheel of various patrol vehicles. Yes, they played with the lights and siren.

The Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (S.E.R.T.) showed off some of their firepower.

Crime lab officers explained their duties.

Police motorcycles from several departments were on display.

Attendees toured the local sheriff’s office mobile command center.

N.C. Highway Patrol officers explained their role in law enforcement.

Bomb squad officers introduced their mechanical team member.

A fire sprinkler lab demonstration left recruits with a better appreciation of a firefighters job.

Crime scene investigators were often overheard saying, “It’s not like you see on CSI.”

FATS and VirTra training was a huge hit. Many writers said they now had a new-found respect for what police officers are faced with on a daily basis. I was extremely pleased to see everyone do so well under such stressful conditions.

Dr. Jonathan Hayes, NYC medical examiner, delivered a fascinating presentation on autopsy to a packed auditorium.

The event has already been described as Disneyland for writers.

More on Monday.

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