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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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of each of these brave officers.

Corrections Officer Kellie Pena, 34

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

September 3, 2010 – Officer Kellie Pena died as a result of injuries he received during a struggle with an inmate.

Deputy Sheriff Mark A. Longway, 48

Hillsborough County Florida Sheriff’s Office

September 21, 2010 – Deputy Mark Longway died when his patrol car crashed head on with a tractor trailer. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Corporal David Ralph Slaton, 56

Texas Department of Public Safety

Texas Highway Patrol

September 20, 2010 – Corporal David Slaton was killed when his patrol car struck a cow then veered into the path of a tractor trailer, causing a second crash. He is survived by his wife and son.

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Writers’ Police Academy: Things You Need To Know!

It’s finally here, folks. The Writers’ Police Academy is only two days away!

We have an excellent program with top-notch instructors. We also have a surprise or two waiting for you. I do want to remind everyone that this is actual police training, not a writers conference. So be on your toes, expect loud noises (gunshots and yelling), don’t be shy, and HAVE FUN!

Here’s a list of need-to-know information put together by Nancy Metzner, the person who had the unfortunate job of keeping me straight throughout the planning. This list was sent via email  to all WPA attendees. If you did not receive a copy please let us know. In the meantime, please use this copy as your guide.

Nancy Metzner

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Nancy’s List

If you are participating in FATS then you will need to sign a release if you have not already done so. We will need this on file before you can participate. Lee would also like for you to read the two attachments prepared by the FATS instructor, Jerry Cooper. The Titles are Use of Force Tips Part 1 and Part 2.

All of these forms and information will be available at the registration table if you have forgotten yours.

Remember you must be at the FATS location at your assigned time or you will not be able to participate. It is not possible to fix the schedule to fit you in later if you miss. Every hour of the conference schedule is full with recruits taking FATS training so if you miss there will be no way to make it up. We are sorry if this means you will need to miss a class or speaker but the schedule is very tight.


Even though it is officially fall the weather here is still quite warm. Our high temperatures for the next few days are predicted to be in the low 90’s. Lows in our area will be 60’s and 70’s. It still feels like summer here, so dress for hot weather. There is a slight chance of rain on Saturday. Friday you will be outside a lot. There will be places to sit and water on hand. Saturday the majority of the day will be spent in buildings, although there are a few outdoor activities going on.


If you were on the FATS training standby list and received notification that you are now on the schedule, you will need to pay the fee at registration. T-Shirts fees will also be due at that time. We are not able to take credit cards or pay pal and will need cash or check.

Also, come prepared to buy raffle tickets for our great book baskets. Proceeds will go to the Criminal Justice Foundation of GTCC.

Lunch on Friday

Lunch is not provided on Friday. The campus is isolated and we are aware that many of you are without transportation so the Emergency Medical Services Student Association has decided to sell bag lunches. If you do have a car it will still be difficult to leave campus, return and park within the one hour window. We encourage you to take advantage of their desire to raise funds by buying a bag lunch. They request a donation of $6.00 per lunch. Lunches will include a sandwich, drink and chips. There are also lots of vending machines in the Public Safety building. You may prefer to pack a protein bar or small snack for yourself.

Lunch on Saturday

Lunch on Saturday is provided to everyone registered for the event. The hotel will be providing box lunches with a turkey or veggie selection.

Campus Map

We have attached a campus map, however it was created in Publisher and some of you may not be able to open it. We will have copies of it at the hotel desk for you to pick up. If you aren’t staying at the hotel and can’t open the map, please email and we’ll see about getting someone to put it in a pdf file to send you.

Photos and Video

Photographs should not be taken of officers or instructors without their permission being obtained first. Many law enforcement personnel work undercover and prefer not to have their pictures taken. It is too easy for these photos to end up on the internet and possibly endanger their lives and or affect their career.

Shuttle Bus

There will be a shuttle that runs between the hotel and the campus. Please note the posted signs at the hotel. There are a lot of people to be shuttled so if you drove and can open your vehicle to carpool with others this would be appreciated. It takes no more than 10 minutes to get to campus. Registration on Friday begins at 8:30. You’ll want to be checked in before the demonstrations begin at 10:00 am.


If you missed the chance to place a t-shirt order we will be taking orders for them at the conference. They proved more popular than we thought but time was a problem in getting more made in time for the event. They will be mailed to you after the event.

Clarion Hotel

The Clarion Hotel is located off I-40 at exit 213. This is the same exit whether you are coming EAST or West on I-40. The physical address is 415 Swing Road, Greensboro, NC.


Readers’ Services , ur division at the Library, has a box we carry to all events. It has everything inside it that we think a person might need and not have with them. Eyeglass repair kit, Pepto, Immodium, safety pins, kleenex, little bitty clothespins,tape, well you get the idea. If you need anything of this nature please track down someone wearing a shirt with the library logo and we’ll be happy to help you search through The Box. We want your conference experience to be great.

No guns or live ammunition can be brought to this event.
Writers’ Police Academy is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Safe travels. See you tomorrow!

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