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

All good things must come to an end, and this season of Castle is no exception to the rule. This episode, the last of the year, was written by Andrew Marlowe with Rob Bowman taking another turn at directing.

Marlowe, the same writer who put the pen to the page for the very first episode of Castle, decided to bring back mystery writers, Stephen J. Cannell, James Patterson, and Michael Connelly for the season finale. And what a great decision that was. Who better to give advice on mystery writing, muses, and the motivators for murder than three masters of the craft? And to ding Castle for writing only one book a year…that was priceless.

With Alexis and dear old Mom soon to be out of the picture for the entire summer, Castle makes plans to invite Beckett to his place in the Hamptons—the perfect place to develop a budding relationship.

But Beckett turns down Castle’s invitation citing plans with lover boy Demming. So, Castle calls it quits. Says he’s going to take the entire summer off to finish his book.

Oh, wait a minute. There was a murder to solve. I got so wrapped up in the Castle/Beckett love story that I’d put the goofy M.E. on the back burner. Back to mushy stuff in a minute.

Here goes…

– A pretend spy is shot five times in the chest. His body is discovered lying on its back in a small creek-type body of water. The queen of Voodoo Medicine, Lanie Parish, says the wounds are all through-and-through’s, meaning all the bullet holes had exit wounds. Well, how the heck could she possibly know this without rolling the guy over to examine the places where the rounds were likely to have left the body? She couldn’t have done that because the guy’s arms were stretched out straight to each side like he’d been attempting to take flight at the precise moment he was killed. Besides, the front of his clothes were dry, as were his face and hair.

– Beckett asked for time of death. I cringed because I knew what was coming—same old same old from the M.E.

Lanie said, “Based on temp and lividity, I’d say between 11pm and 1am.” I have to assume that in order to have reached that conclusion she’d have pulled down the dead guy’s pants, taken a rectal temperature, and then pulled his pants back up, fixed his belt, and tucked in his shirt tail. I say that because that’s how we saw him—completely and neatly dressed (if you overlook a few bullet holes and bright red blood). I doubt seriously that anyone in the field would go to all that trouble prior to shoving the stiff inside a body bag (a human burrito). And, lividity does not really help determine the time of death. The best that lividity would have told her was that the victim had fallen on his back and hadn’t been moved since it (lividity) had become fixed (on the back of the victim since that’s how he landed after he was shot).

– Searching for the victim’s car around the entrance of the park was good. That’s how it’s done. Grabbing and pawing the things they found inside that car—guns and the faux pen—was not so good. Whatever trace evidence that was on those items was definitely compromised.

– The actual mystery/twist this week was pretty good. The killer wasn’t predictable and James Patterson was right, the motive did involve love, money, and covering up a crime, the three reasons to kill.

But this episode wasn’t really about murder. It was about Castle and Beckett. So now we’re back to the mushy stuff, where Esposito lays it on the line to Beckett. He tells her, in a round about way, that Castle has feelings for her and she’s blowing it by hanging out with pretty boy Demming.

The exchange between Esposito and Beckett was great. Finally, one of the sidekicks was able to deliver meaningful dialog. He and Ryan are too good to lurk in the shadows. They could really add another dimension to the show without stealing any spotlight, if allowed.

Eposito – “Castle’s done enough research to write fifty books. Whatever the reason is (for Castle to hang around) I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve watching you with another guy.”

The crew throws Castle a going away party. They’re all there, including Lanie Parish, the psychic M.E.


Beckett shows up after breaking it off with Demming. She plans to spill her guts to Castle—maybe even go to the Hamptons with him— when…

Castle’s ex-wife, Gina, shows up. And much to Beckett’s dismay, Castle tells her that he and Gina will be spending the summer together at the beach house. The ex-spouses then turn and walk away.

Beckett, obviously brokenhearted and knowing that she blew it, is left waiting in the hallway until next season. In a sad little girl voice she calls out to Castle, “See you in the fall?”

Castle turns around and smiles. “See you in the fall.”

And that’s where we’ll be until the season opener, waiting in that empty hallway with Beckett.

* Due to an overwhelming amount of requests I’ll be continuing these reviews in the fall. In the meantime, let’s try to convince Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Tamala Jones, Molly Quinn, Susan Sullivan, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson to attend the Writers’ Police Academy. Somebody please have their people contact our people.

ABC photos

17 replies
  1. Joy Bagg
    Joy Bagg says:


    I add my kudos to your continued reviews of Castle. I have a medical background and previously worked for a big city PD. I watch Castle for the relationship (first viewing), then rewind the tape and watch for the (mangled) procedures (second viewing). I also write/review fan fiction and find myself bringing up points you have raised time after time (The Feds taking over cases seems to be a favorite misgiving). And, of course, I’m a fan of Perlmutter.

    It all adds up to an enjoyable diversion, and you are a big part of it. Thanks again for continuing thru Season III.

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I agree, Pat. The LEO’s have really come a long way since the show first aired. Almost seems like a real police organization. And I really like the enhanced roles of Ryan and Esposito.

  3. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Okay, Lee. I deserve a slap on the wrist. I forgot to get here on Tuesday morning to read your review.

    I am so glad you are continuing your reviews. I learn so much form them. I try to pick out the errors but admit I get lost in the Castle/Beckett relationship. I agree that its part of the entertainment of watching the show.

    I love the episodes when the writers appear. I’ve met Stephen. J. Cannell in person twice. Besides his great writing (love Scully and Alexa), the man takes my breath way, so I love seeing him on the show. And the writing jibes are great. Wasn’t happy when Ryan picked on Nicholas Sparks though.

    I’m not sure if I want Castle and Beckett together or not. One great show with a married couple was McMillian and Wife. Not sure how many seasons it ran. The McMillians made it work, maybe Beckett and Castle can also. Perhaps in season five? We can hope so.

    I also agree with you about other two detectives. I thought when they brought in Ryan’s real girlfriend (we were being to doubt she existed) their status might be changing and now that Esposito had that little talk with Beckett—who knows what will happen. This episode showed a tighter group of LEOs, that’s for sure.

  4. Clo
    Clo says:

    Great episode but the ending was tough to watch. Just a heartbreaker. I disagree that the show ends if Castle and Beckett get together. The writers and actors on this show are fantastic. (something Moonlighting lacked.) If they keep them apart too long it just gets boring. I think they can slowly make them a couple and still keep the fun banter and chemistry going.

    I’m so glad you’ll continue to review season 3! Like others have said I watch for the characters but your reviews are entertaining and I always learn something.

  5. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    It’s so cool that you’re going to continue with your procedural critiques.

    I loved the ending, and I’m a romance writer, but the sexual tension can continue and that’s the fun part for this romance writer. In the grand scheme of things, it was a tiny black moment for Kate, but Castle had his as well. Never fear, the fall will be here before we know it, and their one-step-forward, two-steps back dance can continue.

    I figured out who-done-it as soon as the victim’s affair with the other woman was revealed. But I have to say there was a certain “something” that went off when the victim’s business partner was being interviewed. He just seemed so banal. I wondered then if he was the killer.

    Loved the little writing digs between the writers over the poker game. Very nice touch all of us writers can appreciate.

  6. Carol Silvis
    Carol Silvis says:


    Thanks for the great critiques. I look forward to reading them each week. I’m not one for watching TV, but got hooked on Castle when a writer friend suggested I watch it. Your insights add to the entertainment (and reality).

  7. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:


    Allow me to join the chorus of folks who are happy to know you will continue these critiques. While I can’t bring myself to watch the show, and admire you for sitting through each painful episode :), I do enjoy the critiques.

    Better than watching the show! (Of course, so is a root canal.)

  8. Carol L. Wright
    Carol L. Wright says:

    As one who is signed up for Writers Police Academy, I second the motion to get Castle folk there. But even without them, I am looking forward to a great time.

    Thanks for your many blog entries about Castle, Lee. Many of my writer friends enjoy the show–even with the flawed police procedure. But I want to get it right in my mysteries, and your blog and your book are a big help.

  9. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I don’t believe in the Moonlighting curse. That show failed not because the two leads married on the show, but because they hated each other IRL and fought all the freaking time. A good writer can make it work because no relationship is without pitfalls. Ask any decent romance author.

    I hated the ending b/c I want Kate and Rick together, but I do understand it. Gina is a foil, a chance to Rick to not seem hurt. He still thinks Kate is dating Demming and he needed an out. I can’t wait until September 20, when season three begins. And OMG, if Lee can convince some Castle folks–even just a writer or two–to come to the WPA, I will die. Seriously. lol

    I’m so glad you’re going to continue to rate the procedure on this show, Lee. Love your take on it.

  10. Lisa Haselton
    Lisa Haselton says:

    I’m glad you’ll continue with the reviews, too, Lee. I like to see how much I catch and how much I miss this week.

    I loved the ending, I really didn’t see it coming, and I think Beckett deserved that. She told Castle she was with tall-dark-and-smug, so Castle had no reason to keep hope alive.

    And I didn’t figure out the hubby was the bad guy until Beckett told the wife “he already knows”. Castle looked just as surprised.

    The zing about one book a year was priceless…and the comment Castle made earlier on, when he was told Patterson was running late to the poker game, “he’s probably using the time to write another book” (or something along those lines) was just as funny.

    I walked away wondering how a jealous husband was such a proficient murderer – all 5 shots to the chest, silencer, and, clearing the crime scene before he left — it seems a lot more involved than Mr. Jealous Because My Wife Is Playing Spy Games.

    But, other than that, I enjoyed the episode, minus the ME – my thought about TOD was that the water temp (albeit it, the water was just a small stream) would effect time of death by effecting the temp of the body – making it colder faster, or what have you.

    I wonder what comes first – the new season of Castle, or Writers Police Academy. 🙂 I’m looking forward to both!


  11. Jerrie Alexander
    Jerrie Alexander says:

    Me too! I’m glad you’ll be there to review each show next season. We do enjoy Castle a lot, but without your review..well it’s like eating the cake with no icing.

    Plus, I learn a little something from you along the way…thanks for that!


  12. Christina W.
    Christina W. says:

    I’m thrilled that you’ll be doing review on next season’s episodes! I though for a while there that I’d have to live without it. I was devistated at the ending (being to dramatic as I am….not); I did notice some reoccuring mistakes in this episode and was glad that you pointed them out. As always, I’ll look for the next review when the new season starts.


  13. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I, too, fear a relationship between Beckett and Castle would doom the show to Moonlighting Hell. And Terry’s right, the majority of viewers don’t care at all about the awful police and forensics information on the show. It’s all about the two main characters, and if they happen to solve a murder while making goo-goo eyes at one another, then that’s fine and dandy, too. I only point out the bad police stuff so writers have the option of knowing what’s real and what’s not. Besides, it’s fun in spite of the hate mail I receive for picking on the characters. Funny, though, I’ve never received a single complaint about my Lanie Parish comments. Not one. I do, however, receive tons of messages (and I receive a heck of a lot of email traffic about this show) agreeing with me. The general consensus is that most viewers would rather see Perlmutter as a full time character in lieu of Parish. I do think Tamala Jones has a spot in the show, just not the role she currently plays. In that one she’s just awful (the character, not the actor). Lanie would make a much better cop, I think.

  14. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    I am delighted to hear that you will continue with these reviews. I love Castle, and to be honest, I don’t mind the mistakes they make on police procedure and forensics, as that’s not why I watch this show. But I like to test my own knowledge of such things by coming up with my own checklist during the show and then seeing how I compare with your post-show analysis.

    (I still recall when we saw Beckett taste a white powder to see if it was drugs. Nomi and I turned to each other and as one said that we were sure you would mention that on the blog the next day…)

  15. Barbara Sheridan
    Barbara Sheridan says:

    I cringed when they started manhandling the “Spy toys” in the victim’s car but yeah, I was more concerned with the Beckett/Castle off duty developments ^_^

    Definitely agree with Terry on the relationship angle. The romantic in me is in that hallway crying with Beckett but the romance author in me is high-fiving the writers for stretching out the “Want it can’t have it” factor that makes for an awesome romantic story.

  16. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    If Castle & Beckett get together, it’ll be another Moonlighting and the series will probably die on that count alone. I think viewers are far more forgiving of faulty police procedure.

    Hubster cracked up at the ‘one book a year’ line, admitting I’ve educated him on the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff in the world of publishing.

  17. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    I actually stayed up late enough to watch it last night.

    I HATED the way it ended! As unromantic as I usually am, I really wanted a happily-ever-after. I don’t think it would hurt the series to get these two together. It’s aggravating that they’re dragging it on so long, and I don’t even watch the show every week.

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