Archive for the ‘Castle Reviews’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Castle: Last Call – A Review Of The Police Procedure

Scott Williams is the writer who set this episode of Castle in motion. Williams, who has also written for Bones (see comment at the end of this post), Miami Medical, and Without A Trace, brought a new voice to the show, one that was obviously different than the others. However, a new voice didn’t stop us from hearing Lanie’s dribble.

The murder victim of the week (nicely posed in image above with hands placed on his lower chest) was snagged by a fisherman who bravely won the battle over a dead body that fought like a LIVE great white shark. Seriously, the guy was fishing with a bobber attached to his line, a line that suddenly began to peel off the reel so hard it caused the drag to squeal as if he’d hooked a monster catfish. Dead weight on a fishing line is exactly that…dead weight. Snagging a dead body is more like hooking an old tire, or tree limb.

So, with the body on deck, Lanie (again with the lividity – “Based on lividity and water temp the TOD was between 4 and 6 hours ago.”) at first says the time of death was 12 hours at most. She later changed it to the 4-6 hour time frame listed above.

Well, we all know that lividity is caused by gravity. When the heart stops pumping, blood begins to settle in the lowest areas of the body. Sort of like when it rains and you see water collecting in small ponds in the lowest areas of your yard. Anyway, the blood collects in those low areas and continues to do so, staining the tissue a deep purplish color, for approximately 6-8 hours. During that time blood remains in a liquid to semi-liquid state, becoming less fluid as time passes. At the end of the process (6-8 hours) lividity becomes fixed, which could only tell Ms. Parish that the stiff had been that way (dead) for at least 6-8 hours. HOWEVER…when a body is in water the rules change. In fact, lividity could be absent in a floater because of the water’s buoyancy. If lividity is indeed present in a body found in the water, then chances are he was killed elsewhere and later dumped in the river, lake, etc. On the other hand, lividity can be manufactured by fast moving currents. Picture the body lying on the bottom of river with rushing waters tugging at the victim’s limbs. That fast moving water can cause blood to be pulled to the downstream portions of the body, creating the purplish discoloration in those areas. But a good investigator/M.E. will know those details. Lanie does not.

Lanie – “The victim has a nasty crush injury along the temporal line.” The injury she was describing certainly didn’t match the huge laceration on the guy’s scalp. And a body in super cold water as long as this one would not show all the bright red blood around the wound. Blue, blue, blue!

Lanie Parish, V.D. (Voodoo Doctor) says something like, “Classic indicators indicate the injury was caused by blunt force.” What classic indicators? I guess the Voodoo Guide For Television M.E.’s spells those out in details we’re not privy to.

Lanie – “I’m going to zip his prints over to the precinct for an ID.” This was a good line for Lanie, much better than what she normally does—run the prints herself.

Lanie was able to look at a lead pellet and automatically determine it was a double-aught (00) pellet from a shotgun shell. That’s pretty good guessing. Actually, someone in firearms would need to make that determination. Must’ve been in her book. So was the information she used to know the pellet had been in the guy’s arm for 2 to 3 weeks.

Okay, enough about Lanie. No, wait. One more thing. She does seem to be delivering her lines in a more realistic manner—more M.E.-like. Not so cutesy. I like that. She’s at least delivering those dumb lines in a professional manner. I know, the writing is not her fault, so at least she’s attempting to make up for it by acting like a real M.E. So good for her!

Esposito is definitely emerging as a the tough guy, and I loved the takedown/clotheslining of the fleeing dockworker. And his line, “Man said don’t move,” was classic.

- Beckett undoing a button on her blouse at Castle’s request was humorous. Castle’s expression afterward was hilarious.

- Castle confronts the bartender about “skimming” money from the cash register. He knew the bartender was doing it because he was placing cherries and limes in a container as markers—cherries represented five dollars and limes ten. Crooked convenience store clerks have been known to do the same. However, instead of using fruit as markers they use coins—pennies for dollars, nickles for five dollars, etc. Each marker represents the amount of money they can safely remove from the cash register at the end of the shift without being caught (they’ve faked receipts throughout the course of the day and the extra is what they take). Anyway, good information from Castle.

And this brings up a good point. Who’s the cop here, anyway. It’s getting a little old seeing Castle know EVERYTHING while Beckett and crew slowly become keystone cops.

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- Beckett and Castle head down into the basement. The suspect brings up the rear. No way this would happen in real life. Cops never allow a suspect, or anyone else for that matter, to follow behind, especially into a situation like this one. Police Safety 101.

- Beckett examines a tiny hole chipped into a concrete wall and declares, “These are buckshot holes.” WHAT????? How in the world would anyone know this merely by looking at a hole. Could’ve been caused by someone trying to drive a nail in to hang a picture…anything. Ridiculous comment. Not believable at all. Besides, the soft lead pellets she found on the floor were still intact…perfectly round and not flattened at all after striking the very hard concrete wall.

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- Beckett mentioned the suspect owning a Remington 870. Just an FYI…the 870 pump (Remington 870 Wingmaster) is a popular shotgun for law enforcement officers.

- Again, Beckett and crew enter a public gathering and hold up their badges to get the attention of the speaker so they can place him under arrest. And again, this is not a safe way to arrest someone. The crowd could turn on the officers; the suspect has any number of hostages to grab, etc. Police Safety 101, page 2.

Is it just me, or is every episode becoming more and more predictable? I pegged the killer the second he appeared on screen. And the obvious clues throughout this episode were, well, obvious. And they were poorly planted. And Beckett explaining them info-dump style was sort of annoying.

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The final scene where the team fades out while singing Piano Man was a nice touch.

By the way, here’s what TV Guide had to say about this season:

“Castle”: “The first season was really fun. The second was fun, but some of the writing started to lag. This season seems to be very formulaic. It’s like you can tell who the murderer is within the first 10 minutes. It’s also starting to pull a Bones, with giving the main characters other main squeezes while the fans scream at the TV set wanting Kate and Rick to get together.” — qweely Source: TV GuideABC/Karen Neal – Tuesday, November, 30, 2010, 7:30 PM

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.

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