Castle: A Deadly Affair – A Review Of The Police Procedure

They’re back, and Castle and team Beckett worked through a few hard feelings to reach the conclusion of the season’s first murder. M.E. Lanie Parish also dropped in sporting a new do, but spouting the same old nonsense and gobblty-goo.

So lets dive in. First, being in touch with Seamus Deaver (Det. Ryan) during the early part of the summer gave me an indication of just how into his character he really is. These folks work hard at what they do and it shows. The chemistry between the characters on this series is wonderful.

Anyway, on to the show.

* I’m not at home and I’m without a DVR so I’m sure I missed a lot of things, especially the little things that normally bug me. If you caught things I didn’t please let us know.

– The first body presented as a gun shot victim with multiple wounds. The body, as usual for this show, did not exhibit lividity, the gravity-induced purplish discoloration of the skin due to the settling of blood in the lowest points of the body.

– Lanie Parish, the psychic M.E., says the victim died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, not the fall. No way she would know this for sure without an autopsy. This is a normal conclusion for Parish. Very predictable, and very wrong.

– Beckett orders officers to begin knocking on doors to see what the neighbors may have heard or saw. Good stuff. That’s how most crimes are solved, by talking and listening to people.

– Blood stain. It was everywhere. Blood, blood, blood! The victim was shot with a handgun, not a bazooka. Too much blood for those wounds.

– Esposito says the second victim’s wounds were made by a large caliber weapon, the same as the first victim. There’s no way to determine this without an autopsy and bullet comparison. Rounds could enter the flesh at odd angles making the wounds seem much larger. A direct shot from straight on can also be misleading at times. Besides, the victim had on clothes. How could Esposito see all the wounds? Could have been two weapons, or three…

– Beckett checked the victim’s wallet and found cash. Based on her findings she said robbery was not the motive. Good.

– Beckett conducted a nice interview of the victim’s boyfriend. However, the boyfriend was one of the worst actors I’ve seen on this show.

– M.E. Lanie Parish interrupts Beckett’s interview of a potential suspect to deliver a piece of evidence. No way a medical examiner is going to do that. She/he would preserve the evidence and include the findings in their report. They would, however, probably call the investigator if the evidence seemed to be of great importance to the case at that moment. Otherwise, it would wait. But no hand delivery.

– Parish discovers writing on a victim’s body. She then tells Beckett how old the writing was…simply by looking at it!

– Beckett and entourage enter a suspect’s apartment through a partially open door. They can see the door had been pried open. Yes, they could do so without a warrant. This was obviously an emergency situation.

– Beckett arrested Castle. Sure, the arrest was justified, but why was it necessary to use his proper name when doing so? “Richard Castle, you’re under arrest for murder.” Besides the name thing, she didn’t really need to specify the crime during her announcement.

– Beckett’s interview of Castle, although cute, was not realistic. And it  wouldn’t have sounded so hot to a judge and jury.

– The new word of the season must be “slug.” It seemed as if they used it a million times to describe bullets. It may be used in NY, but I’ve never heard it used in my travels to departments across the country. Not by cops anyway.

Slug, the new cordite….

– At least Castle wore gloves when he illegally visited and contaminated the second crime scene.

– Lanie, Lanie, Lanie… Not only is she an expert in poisons, weapons of all types, and other odd things, now she’s an expert on tattoos. She merely looked at two tats and knew they were done by the same tattoo artist. I believe text speak for this is OMG!

– Speaking of Lanie’s vast knowledge of EVERYTHING…She stated that she found traces of all sorts of chemicals—acetone, bleach, etc. —on the victim’s body. She would not have found, or have been able to identify those chemicals, without specifically searching and testing for them. There’s no catch-all test for everything under the sun. Besides, why would she have been looking for this stuff in the first place?  She’d already said the victims died from gunshot wounds.

– Not bad procedure, just something I noticed…Esposito interrupted a conversation between Beckett and Castle by sort of shouting to them from his desk. He said information about the victim’s boyfriend had just come in and his record was clean. Well, Esposito was sitting in his chair, behind his desk, referring to notes attached to the inside of a folder. Why would he have waited until he firmly attached the paperwork to the inside of the folder before making what seemed like such an urgent announcement? Wouldn’t he have simply glanced at the printout as he received it and then relay the important news to his boss?

– Castle is seen walking through the police station with a box of evidence, a purse, I believe. So now he, a civilian, has access to the evidence room and all things inside?

The ending –

I was a little disappointed that the end of the season opener was so predictable, including the scene where Castle and Beckett stood facing each other with guns drawn. Who didn’t realize there was a bad guy behind each of them?

And how many lawsuits would the city of NY lose after a detective gave her weapon to a civilian who then shot someone? He’s not a police officer and he’s not trained to shoot that particular firearm. Brut he is a good actor, and you’ve got to love the chemistry between he and Beckett.

So, tell me…what did you guys think of the show?


14 replies
  1. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Great job, Lee, and with no DVR. I think you caught everything but then you always catch a lot more than I do. The tatoo remark really jumped out at me. If it was small town America instead of NYC, I might have believed it…but gee she knows the work of every tatooist in NYC. Remarkable!!!

  2. halaci
    halaci says:

    It was good to read your review! I like Castle very much as a show so I do not make myself tired to catch all the odd things, but it’s a fun to read them.
    I would like to ask as you seems like somebody who has knowledge in the procedures: what decides that somebody is questioned on the scene, in the precinct or go out to him. I understand that when eg. kncking all the doors, they question the people in their home. But in Castle as often they call somebody in for interrogation as they are going after him. Is it just to bring some variety into the show or is it real procedure?

  3. Ilonka
    Ilonka says:

    I wondered about the scene where Beckett interviewed the boyfriend. She was wearing her gloves during this scene. Is that correct procedure? And would such an interview be conducted at the crime scene?

  4. Bob Stewart
    Bob Stewart says:

    What I’m waiting for is Castle to hire you to help him with a problem with one of his books. After all, he has James Patterson, etc. at poker games. Don’t know why he wouldn’t use a topnotch procedural expert to help him out.


  5. Dave Freas
    Dave Freas says:

    I’m glad the new season has started, glad to see Beckett and Castle interacting.
    So much of the ME’s wrong comments could be made realistic by inserting a simple word or two in her dialog. For example: when she shows Beckett the tattoos, instead of saying they were done by the same artist, she could have said something like, “They’re very similar. Could have been done by the same artist.” Ditto the writing on the victim’s body: “It’s faded. It’s probably been there a while.” And the cause of death: “Looks like multiple gunshot wounds, but I won’t know for sure until I do the autposy.”
    The same applies to Esposito’s remark about the second victim. If he’d just said it ‘looked’ like a large caliber gun.
    Pity none of the writers ever thought of such a simple solution to such an obvious problem.

  6. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I haven’t watched Castle, so can’t comment there. But I was looking forward to Rizzoli and Isles-I love Tess Gerritsen! and was profoundly disappointed. Doing an autopsy at the first-aid tent during the Boston,(excuse me) Massachusetts Marathon? Please!

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Remember, Guys, I like this show and each of the characters (with the exception of one). I’m only doing the review in this manner to point out the incorrect police procedure so people don’t wind up using it in their writings as fact. The goofy stuff they do works for the show because this isn’t a true crime production. I realize it’s a work of fiction, and it’s a comedy of sorts. Yep, you guessed it, the hate messages have already begun to roll in.

    Melanie – I still don’t think the evidence transport thing works, even though they’re friends. You just don’t carry around evidence from a murder trial like it’s the paperback book you plan to read during lunch.

    Lisa – You should see some of the silly behavior that goes on behind the scenes in a real police department.

    Carol – The entire show was pretty predictable as far as the mystery of whodunit. But the characters were fun.

    Michael – Yeah, maybe if they made Parish into fortuneteller I could stomach her character a little better. But they didn’t. She’s supposed to be a realistic medical examiner. No way.

    I have to respectfully disagree about the Castle arrest technique. I believe they did it for a strong-handed effect. Beckett has a habit of going overboard whenever she arrests a male suspect. I learned a long time ago to treat male and female criminals exactly the same during arrest. The hardest hit I ever received was delivered by a woman – right to my jaw with a fist that felt like an anvil.

    And, those type of arrests do occur, and I think the treatment of the relative/friend suspect is normally the opposite, with compassion for the family member/friend, unless cousin Billy Bob is acting up. Then it’s time for pepperspray. Besides, it makes for good conversation at the next family reunion.

    But it’s always best to let someone else arrest a friend or family member. Saves a lot of eye-rolling, doubt, and credibility.

  8. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    I’m delighted you’re reviewing the show’s police procedure again!

    Like many of us here, I do love the show, particularly for the interplay between the characters. But I don’t mind seeing you take apart what they’re getting wrong (and right) as far as procedure is concerned.

    I do sometimes feel bad for Tamala Jones. I enjoy her portrayal of ME Lanie Parish, but yeah, they do make her out to be an incredible expert on everything without giving us the justifiable background for it. If they had established from the outset that Parish was a character like Sherlock Holmes, say, then they’d be better able to justify all the things she figures out so quickly.

    As for Beckett’s arrest of Castle, I think she used his full name and stated the charge deliberately to dissociate herself from her personal feelings. I obviously don’t have this experience myself, but I imagine that if a police officer suddenly has to arrest a friend (or potential love interest) for murder, he or she will want to do whatever possible to create a clinical, detached mindset.

    I do agree that there’s no way Castle should have been given a gun.

  9. Carol Davis Luce
    Carol Davis Luce says:

    Good job, Lee. I thought the show was fun and snappy. The chemistry between Castle and Beckett was not only still there, but they gave it a shot in the arm in this season opener. Who didn’t know Beckett was going to let Castle win the bet? I chuckled when Castle put on the gloves at the crime scene, but before he put the second glove on, he looked like he wanted to touch that blood spot with his bare finger. 🙂

  10. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:

    Lee, I think for a guy who apparently saw this one time through, you picked up a lot of “bad stuff.” Then again, it is so full of poor procedure it shouldn’t be too hard.

    True, much is done for expedience of the show, but as you’ve pointed out so often, writers need to know the difference.

    Did anyone else catch anything that Lee may not have mentioned?

  11. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    I watched Hawaii Five-O, which was full of the awesomeness of Alex O’Loughlin. Sorry, but he beats what’s-his-name any day.

  12. Lisa Haselton
    Lisa Haselton says:

    Great stuff, Lee.

    I still want to know why Castle didn’t contact anyone at the precinct when he got back to town. The “I was waiting for you to call” that he said to Beckett just doesn’t fly. He never apologized to the guys, and those 2 held a grudge most of the show!

    And at the end when it seemed implied that Beckett realized it was counterfeiting but let Castle ‘win’ the bet anyway…I don’t know. Why does she want the heartache with him around while he’s back with his ex and he’s obviously clueless about her feelings? And to pardon him for going through a crime scene by himself? (I thought it was funny that he pointed out a blood spot to the crew “I think you missed a spot”). Just too much.

    Lanie is a real turnoff for me. Like you said, knowing the 1st victim was killed by the shots, made me roll my eyes. The ‘similar’ tattoos, knowing the ink only seen with the special light was ‘at least a week old’…among other things she said.

    Having the parallel story line with Castle/Beckett and Castle’s daughter/boyfriend where both guys come back to town and don’t call the women like they said they would…at first I thought it would work to give Castle a clue, but it didn’t.

    I like the 2 guys. But what was with one of them rolling off in his office chair like a 4th grader? Even his partner’s (sorry, I can’t remember the character names) expression was “What are you doing?” 🙂

    Thanks for still doing this Lee – I hope the season shapes up!


  13. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I loved it, of course. My name is Melanie, and I’m a Castle addict. lol I did notice the things you caught about Lanie, especially the chemicals and the tattoos. And yes, I rolled my eyes. As for her bringing the info to Beckett, I think it works for this show because they’re BFFs. Perlmutter would have picked up the phone.

    Giving the gun to Castle and him shooting someone was over the top, but it worked for the show. Nathan Fillion can get away with most anything. And… I’ve heard that in a future episode they make Castle go through some police training — maybe because of this shooting. That’s not etched in stone, but I did hear it.

    Glad you’re still reviewing this show, Lee. I love this. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than Rizzoli and Isles that I didn’t even shudder.

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