Archive for the ‘Castle Reviews’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Castle: Murder Most Fowl – A Review Of The Police Procedure

This week we followed Beckett and crew into a very odd plot that brought us to an ending that was even wackier than the story. The writer, Matt Pyken, a former D.C. speechwriter and campaign manager, must have been having flashbacks of writing National Lampoon material (Blind Date) when he sat down to scribble out this mess. Oops…I believe it’s appropriate to start with something good so I’ll say this…the show only lasted for one hour. Any longer and I’d have been digging in the medicine cabinet for something to take me out of my misery. Even the applause bears were fighting me for the remote. I heard the larger of the three say something about preferring to watch Gilligan’s Island reruns.

Anyway, let’s get on with the show. Of course we start out with the queen of Ouija board forensics, Lanie Parish, and a dead body in the park. (Reminder—this review is intended for writers. At the beginning of the first season several mystery authors asked me to point out the incorrect procedure on the show. Believe it or not, I actually like Castle).

- Lanie “predicts” the cause of death – a gunshot wound to the chest and two to the back. Again, no way of knowing this for sure until autopsy. We learned later that the victim was shot while in a tree snapping photos of birds. The fall could have killed him. But this isn’t the worst of her babble. Not by any means. Oh, she did say, “I won’t know for sure until I get him back to the lab.” That was good. It meant that she needed to confirm the cause of death. BUT, how many M.E.’s say lab instead of morgue? Generally, M.E.’s and coroners don’t work in labs, right?

- At the scene Castle removed a feather from the victim’s clothing. That would be a NO in real life, especially for a civilian.

- What happened to the Lanie Parish of two weeks ago? At that time we saw a well-informed and believable M.E. who knew the difference between lividity and liver temps and rigor. This week Lanie combined lividity and body temp to determine time of death. Lividity cannot be used to accurately determine TOD.

- She looked at the bullet holes and determined that all three were made by .45 rounds. Can’t be done. You cannot look at a bullet hole in the flesh and accurately determine the bullet’s caliber. But, believe it or not, things got worse. Lanie claimed to measure the depth of the bullets (in the body) and then, using those depths, concluded how far away the shooter stood when he fired the three rounds. I’m still scratching my head over that one. This just may have been the most ridiculous thing she’s ever said. If the writer was going for comedy he certainly reached his goal.

- Beckett commented that investigators should search for not only things at the scene but also what’s not there. Great line. Often it’s the one thing that’s missing from a murder scene that leads you to the killer.

- Again, Beckett’s briefing room speech to the troops was good stuff.

- I’m still impressed with Ryan and Esposito. Those two characters have grown tremendously since the first episode. They play their parts well. And, they’ve developed individual personalities that stand out on the screen. Good cops.

- I was a bit confused about abduction of the child. First, it made no sense that it was a parental abduction, which is what the writer seemingly wanted us to think. And he did so by telling us and not showing it. The clues (if you can call them that) pointed to something else entirely.

- For me the story totally fell apart at this point. We’d watched the good guys get tunnel vision about the father as the kidnapper when they clearly had a photo of someone else taking the child. They also had a photo of the getaway car that didn’t belong to the father. The father was poor and certainly couldn’t afford to hire someone to take the kid. Besides, why would he have had to go through all that stuff just to abduct a kid who was already staying with him for the weekend. All he had to do was leave town with the boy.

- I was glad to see that Beckett didn’t call in the FBI. They don’t work all kidnappings.

- I’m liking the captain’s sudden involvement in the cases. He’s playing a good role.

- The surveillance vehicle was a nice touch. I’ve spent many hours sitting inside one while watching bad guys do what they do. The trucks look cool on TV but there are a few things they don’t show…like no bathroom and you can’t use the vehicle’s heat and a/c. An idling vehicle attracts attention.

For me, this episode lacked emotion, with the exception of Castle’s scenes with Alexis.

This episode also lacked tension and, quite frankly, it lacked a story. The bad guys did all they did just so they could ride an elevator to the top floor with a building maintenance guy? Come on…

Anyway, this is what I had to deal with when I refused to turn the channel at the halfway point.

The bears loudly voiced their anger over another disappointing week.

PostHeaderIcon Castle: Almost Famous – A Review Of The Police Procedure

Last week’s episode was one of the best, if not THE best episode to date. This week…well, this one paled in comparison. However, the true test will be whether or not the applause bears show up, so stay tuned.

This episode, Almost Famous, was written by Elizabeth Davis who has a very strong track record of writing the worst episodes of Castle, such as Little Girl Lost, One Man’s Treasure, and Boom, the show featuring the obnoxious and totally unbelievable FBI agent played by Dana Delaney. Well, Davis can sleep soundly tonight because she managed to keep her record intact. Another boring episode leaked from her pen and fell onto the pages of a Castle script. Sure, there were moments when my wife didn’t have to nudge me to keep me from nodding off. But there were other times when I had trouble finding something to write about due to the lack of substance in the show.

Almost Famous started off with a bang. A male stripper, dressed as a cop, entertained a group of very-happy-to-see-him ladies. Unfortunately, the stripper’s night and life were both cut short when someone shot him to death outside in an alley (no respect for the uniform at all!). And this is the point where we’ll begin our analysis of the police procedure and forensics.

- M.E. Lanie Parish determined the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the chest. Of course she hadn’t removed the victim’s clothing yet, so he could’ve had massive piranha bites on his back and rear end for all she knew. But, she delivered the line in a very respectable and believable manner. So good for her. And, her M.E. persona has taken a huge turn for the better in the past two or three episodes. Still, I’m holding my breath fearing the return of the old Lanie. I do hope she’s gone for good.

- Beckett and Castle climb INTO the victim’s car and start pawing through his belongings, touching (gloveless) what could have been evidence in the MURDER case. I’m not saying that real-life detectives wouldn’t have dug around a bit to see if they could locate some important information, because they would. But they wouldn’t have settled inside the vehicle like they were at a drive-in movie.

- Okay, it didn’t take long for the old psychic M.E. to poke her head in the door. Yep, the evil twin Lanie popped in to tell us she’d found a hair on the victim’s clothing, a long blond hair. Okay so far…But, she went one step over the line when she said she tested the hair and found anabolic steroids and testosterone in the hair, therefore the hair belonged to a male. Why would she have tested the hair for steroids and testosterone? I’ll answer that one. No, she wouldn’t have done so. But not every M.E. has crystal ball. Besides, couldn’t the hair have belonged to someone who was currently undergoing a female to male sex change? Or, how about a female bodybuilder?

- I’m really liking the way Ryan and Esposito have developed into their own characters instead of the old two-guys-enter-the-room-at-once characters. They now dress differently and they have their own personalities and duties. And, they’re believable as cops.

- Beckett and Castle go to a male strip club to question a potential murder suspect.

Beckett pulls out her badge and approaches the guy while he’s on stage performing. In the real world she’d have waited until he’d completed his act.

For several reasons, her actions in the club could have been dangerous. The suspect could have attacked her. The patrons could have sided with the guy and attacked her. His partners on stage could have attacked her. But, I think the attack on Beckett by the writer of this show was enough to make the murder suspect feel sorry for her, so he left her alone.

- Beckett takes Castle with her to a rough and tumble biker hangout to question a possible murderer. In real life she should have taken along some back up. Foolish move to go alone, or with a civilian.

- Esposito spoke about talking to his CI (confidential informant). Good use of terminology.

- Detectives used real evidence bags in this episode.

- Now, here’s where the show took a weird turn for me. The whole stripper angle had moments where Castle was able to be his usual goofy self.

But when we finally learned the killer’s identity and why he committed the murder, well, the ending was a huge let down. It was almost as if the writer arrived at that point and realized that she had nothing, so she stuck in an ending from an entirely different show. An ending that really had nothing to do with the rest of the story. No real clues. Nothing much to help us help Beckett and team solve the case. And that’s a shame because part of the fun of this show is riding along with the detectives seeing the case develop at the same time they do.

Honestly, if not for writing these reviews I’d skip future episodes written by Davis.

Oh, remember the applause bears? I asked them how they felt about this week’s show and this is all I got…

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