Several years ago, in the late 90’s, Alyssa Milano and I exchanged emails for a while – nearly every evening, actually. I really don’t remember how we first connected, and I seriously doubt she even remembers the discussions, but I certainly enjoyed the bits and pieces of insider scoops about what was then a fairly new hit show called Charmed. Since my wife was a fan of the series, Alyssa even sent us a couple of autographed photos to add to my collection.
At the time, I had run across a calendar that featured unauthorized images of Ms. Milano (once a cop always a cop, I guess), and I thought she should know about it. Anyway, I provided the Charmed One with the information I’d discovered, and to the best of my knowledge she was able to put a stop to the sale of the calendar. This was also the time Ms. Milano was preparing for a role in a movie called Buying The Cow. Her stories about the film and other projects were quite interesting to say the least.
We’ve not been in touch since those days, but I’ve sort of followed her career, including her singing, which, by the way, made her a huge star in Japan. I’ve halfway kept up with her over the years, but not because of her talent or stunning good looks. I did so because she took the time out of her busy day to chat and to encourage me to explore my own talents and dreams. I took my very first writing class from my friend, Becky Levine, not long after.
Needless to say, I was intrigued when I heard the news that Alyssa would be guest-starring in an episode of Castle. I also wondered how well she’d pull off playing second fiddle to Beckett. Here’s how it went:
* This was a repeat episode. There seem to be more reruns than new episodes this season, which is something that really makes me lose interest in a show. I know living in the past isn’t a good thing, but whatever happened to running an entire season of shows and then taking a break during the summer? The break was okay, because we got to watch the summer stand-ins, which were sometimes fun, too. Then, around the time school started again so did the season of our favorite shows. There were no reruns mixed in the new season of shows.
Ah, the good old days when TV was fun, and dependable.
A Rose For Everafter
Before I dive into today’s blog I’d like to remind everyone that I do not review this show as one would typically review a TV show or film. I’m not doing this to point out good or bad plots, acting skills, set designs, scripts, etc. The sole purpose of my Castle reviews are to call attention to the errors in police procedure and forensics used on the show. Yes, I do realize this is a work of fiction, and yes, I do realize this is an hour-long show and the writers have attempted to cram in as much detail and action as they can to make the show entertaining for us. Again, I’m merely pointing out the wrongs so writers won’t use them in their books, thinking they’ve found a fantastic police research site. The show is very entertaining. I like it, and I like the characters and the actors who play them.
Okay…off we go.
– Castle begins the show by conducting a bit of hands-on research, learning what it’s like to be held hostage while duct-taped to a chair. Hands-on research is the only way to go! That’s why we’re hosting the Writers’ Police Academy is September. I do hope you’ll take advantage of this one of a kind event.
– Medical Examiner Lanie Parrish was back this week. I sort of cringed when I saw her, but you know what…she was pretty good this week. There were even times when I found her character believable. BUT…she told detectives the victim had a crushed windpipe. She wouldn’t have been able to tell that at the scene based on what was visible. And, most M.E.’s would have probably used the term “trachea,” not windpipe. Not a big deal, though. Not at all. Besides, she may have been “dumbing down” the medical terminology for the benefit of the police officers on the scene. Remember, they’re the folks who think a perpetrator is a device used to make coffee (I’m kidding).
– Beckett’s two sidekicks say they’ve searched the entire room for the dead woman’s earring, but it’s definitely not there. Why go to all that trouble at that point when there are dozens of witnesses and possible murder suspects walking around. Couldn’t one of them have picked it up? Besides, what was the importance of the earring at that point?
– The M.E. says the time of death (TOD) was between 3am and 5am based on temperature and lividity. Well, the body was fully clothed and at this point she hadn’t rolled it over, so there was no way she could have checked the lividity. And she didn’t say temperature of what – the body, the room, of Castle after he saw his old flame…
– Detectives and patrol officers had assembled all witnesses and suspects in one large room and were questioning them all at the same time. Not a good idea, because comments and statements could be heard by everyone and anyone. That sort of situation allows people to get their stories together, build better lies, and set up their defenses. Witnesses should be questioned separately.
– When the M.E. finally rolled the body over to examine the back, there was no sign of lividity there or on the front. And what she called abrasions certainly looked like lacerations. She said the abrasions/lacerations were oddly shaped. I was waiting for her to say that she’d be able to match that shape to a weapon, but she didn’t. She alluded to it, but spared us.
– Beckett retrieved the dead woman’s cellphone records/printouts much too quickly. She had them in-hand before she left the murder scene. Besides, where’d she get them?
– I was quite fascinated to hear the in-custody drug dealer detailing his illegal activities to police detectives. No way, no way, no way, would a drug dealer ever spill his guts like that.
– Becket, while at the murder scene, punches a button on her phone and says, “I need a warrant for the financials for Sophie…” To whom was she talking? She must really have great connections in really high places, because that’s NOT how police officers get warrants. There’s a little matter of establishing probable cause, followed by paperwork, judges or magistrates approving that paperwork, traveling to get the warrant…well, you get the idea. You just can’t have your people call my people…
– M.E. Parrish says, “I found traces of metal in the wounds. If you find the weapon we can match it.” Well, darn if she didn’t get this one right. Normally, she magically discovers some unknown substance on the dead body, and THEN tells Beckett the name, description, and manufacturer of the weapon used to make the wound. What she said this time is actually possible. Good job.
– The entire adjoining hotel room thing bugged me. This is where the show/evidence really began to fall apart for me. Those doors are each locked from the inside. There’s no way the murder victim could have slipped into the groom’s room without him knowing. He’d have had to let her in.
– Things continued to go downhill. There’s no way Castle should have been allowed to participate in any part of this investigation, aside from the fact that he’s not a police officer. He was far too close to the players, especially Allyssa Milano’s character, Kyra.
Even a real-life cop would have to be removed from a case if this was going on.
Hey, was it just me, or did you guys think the justice of the peace looked a bit like Karl Rove?
(Sorry, Mr. Mulligan)
Well, there you have it. The police procedure and forensics weren’t too bad, and I was pleasantly surprised by the M.E. this week. The scene in the morgue where she was talking to the corpse was pretty funny, and believable. I’ve actually seen that happen in real life.
The supporting cast members played their parts quite well. I’ve enjoyed watching the progress made by Beckett’s partners. It’s been like watching real police detectives make their way through their rookie periods. These guys are beyond that stage now, and in the real world they’d each finally be assigned cases of their own.
All in all, this was a decent episode. Alexis is still a good, sweet, and cute kid. And, as always, Castle and Beckett were great. However, I fear that if they do actually “get together,” the end of a good thing will soon be upon us. Think Moonlighting.
Alyssa Milano didn’t have much of a part, but she did what she came there to do. She lit a fire under Beckett’s butt. The little green monster wasn’t listed in the credits, but it sure made an appearance.
I can’t imagine why…