Castle: A Rose For Everafter – A Review

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:

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…

21 replies
  1. Mike Billhorn
    Mike Billhorn says:

    I have searched everywhere, and cannot find the name of the person, or group who sings the closing song, or it’s title, at the wdding ceromony in the episode A Rose for Everafter as the show is ending. Your help would be greatly appreciated !Thank you.

    Mike Billhorn

  2. tudza
    tudza says:

    Trying to get yourself out of being duct taped to a chair to see how it might really be done, good. Doing so with no one around in case you manage to damage yourself good a proper with no way to call for help, bad.

    That goes double for “I think I’ll try that method I thought up for faking a hanging before the misses gets home.”

    Sounded like Castle was going to copy Stephen King’s Gingerbread Girl story.

  3. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I told you Alyssa Milano is a good person. She just donated $50,000 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for the Haiti earthquake relief effort. Alyssa was already a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I doubt it, and I simply cannot imagine anyone staying in a room that allowed strangers to freely access it from another. You’re positive there were no deadbolts? I’ve never, ever seen adjoining room doors that did not feature the option of locking. That’s a major lawsuit just waiting to happen. The liability would be huge, not to mention the high body count. 🙂

  5. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Like I said, Lee, it was a surprise! (And I definitely demanded a different room at the place where the connecting room was not desired.) I wonder if it’s coastal? (The last two hotels were in Lake George, New York, and New York City.)

  6. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Kelly – Disagree at will, and I really appreciate you guys keeping me straight, but most hotel rooms, nice and not so nice, feature deadbolt locks on both sides of adjoining room doors. To be sure my memory hadn’t failed I just contacted our WPA conference hotel. I also called two other upper-end hotels in the area. In fact, one of the rooms we reserved for the academy is actually two connecting suites. I was assured that there are deadbolts in place on each side of the doors.

    AND…I used to teach self defense classes for women and for the elderly. I taught some of those classes at a local, big name hotel, and part of the lecture portion of my sessions included a reminder to lock adjoining room doors when staying in hotels. If the room is not equipped with a lock on those doors, I strongly urged the attendees to demand another room, or find another hotel.

    I once worked a case where a hotel employee used an adjoining room to video people in the next room. He also used the door to enter the opposite room to steal whatever he could find. He was able to do so because he’d installed a fake deadbolt on the side of the door accessible from the other side (the customer’s side).

  7. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I do actually have to disagree with you about the hotel room adjoining doors thing. The last two hotels I’ve stayed in – nice ones, too – have only had locks on the “parent” side of the door (so that their children couldn’t lock them out). One time this was fine, since the group I was there with had specifically asked for adjoining rooms, but the other time I was very not okay being in the ‘child’ room in that equation, and demanded that they move me to another room.

    So I have seen this – although in my experience, the locks would have been the other way around (on the side of the larger rather than smaller suite).

    That said, it’s pretty easy to fanwank this aside, since the uncle was in on it, and he could have easily unlocked the door while he was visiting his nephew.

  8. Su
    Su says:

    Loved the duct tape scene. Very realistic for an author.

    My crit partner and I were communicating through IM during the show, and she kept repeating at random, “Nathan Fillion. Duct-taped to a chair…”

    Hee hee.

  9. Su
    Su says:

    Knew you’d be all over the cause of death/lividity thing.

    When Lanie said, “I’ve sent samples to the lab,” I nearly applauded. I knew you’d approve, Lee.

    LOVED Alyssa’s parting line to Beckett. “He’s all yours.”

    Two questions:

    Does a fancy piece of very expensive jewelry (titanium ain’t cheap!) really leave traces of metal that you could find it in wounds? I had no idea.

    Second – if Sophie died in the early morning hours (assuming this scene took place in the afternoon since most weddings are in the late afternoon) she’d have been dead about what, 8-12 hours? What I read said rigor mortis sets in within a few hours of death, peaks around 24 hours, and then slowly resolves.

    So, why, 8-12 hours later, was she still so limp? Is this plausible? Did I misread something about how/when rigor mortis sets in and how long it lasts?

    Just wondered.

  10. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Terry – No, I passed on the trying the duct tape scenario. We tried the strangling set up because it just didn’t look possible, and it wasn’t.

    M-N Ryan – I’m glad you brought up the topic of police officers going off on their own to work a case after they’ve been told not to do so. You probably shouldn’t write that into your stories because it doesn’t happen in the real world. If it did, the officer would soon be joining a force called unemployment. And, yes, it was nice to see poor Tamala Jones finally getting some believable lines. A little more work on portraying a real M.E. and she’ll blend in nicely with the other characters on the show, instead of sticking out like a poorly written sore thumb. She was pretty good this week.

    Melanie – You’d like Castle no matter what happened!

  11. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    So, Lee, did you try out the duct tape thing too? Or just the strangling?

    We tape Castle. Hubby reads your reviews before he watches. I wait until after to see how I did. Glad the wounds were brought up, because I had trouble visualizing how that would have happened.

  12. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I meant to address the wounds on the victim’s back, but forgot (I finished writing this at 4am). You’re absolutely correct, Lisa. My wife and I replayed and stopped the scene over and over again where the uncle and Sophie were together in the store.

    Based on their height differences and the size of his belly, I don’t believe it would have been possible for the uncle to have strangled the woman from behind, leaving those marks. First of all, to do so, he’d have had his fingers around her neck (remember, she would have been tightly against him to produce the wounds), which would have forced his elbows upward. This would have decreased the amount of pressure he could apply to her neck. And, the tie pin would not have made marks in the places shown on her back. They were much too high, and they were probably not angled in a manner that would have been consistent with the struggle that supposedly took place.

    Yep, we tried this last night and it would not work. No way.

  13. Lisa Haselton
    Lisa Haselton says:

    I cringed when I first saw the ME make an appearance, but agree she was decent this time around. 🙂 Lee, you pointed out a lot of things that didn’t even register with me in regard to procedure – eye opening, thank you!

    The one thing bugging me is the injuries on the bridesmaid’s back – they were made from a certain piece of jewelry, and it turned out to be a tie clip, right? Something maybe 3″ long and 1/4″ wide or something? Made out of platinum, anyway. I get how it can be matched to the bruises, but she had 3 or four of these marks imbedded in her back. If Uncle whatshisname strangled her from behind, I’m lost as to how he pressed into her so firmly and in so many different connotations to leave all those bruises on her.

    If he gave her a bear hug from behind, the jewelry would press into one part of her lower back, but all of these impressions were in her upper back. And a bear hug wouldn’t be conducive to strangling. So I don’t get how that was the one thing that made him the culprit.

    Have to say I was disappointed in Castle making out with Kyra. Sure I knew he wanted to, but he also knew her fiance was a good guy. Surprised me that he crossed that line. The scene right after with Beckett’s chair being too high off the ground made me laugh – he thinks she’s talking about him and Kyra, she’s actually talking about the chair, and then just as he’s relaxing with his secret… SURPRISE – Beckett DID know he was with Kyra last night after all. Priceless. 🙂

    I agree that next week’s episode looks good. 🙂

  14. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    Well, you know I loved this one. Seeing the little green-eyed monster made me very happy. lol And yes, I caught the APB thing and the lividity (or rather, the lack of it), and I wondered about the significance of the earring. I thought Lanie was funny in this one, and I loved her calling Beckett on her jealousy. The previews for next week look great. Can’t wait for that one. ; )

  15. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    First of all, I was so glad it wasn’t another re-run, although I watch them too. I had the same impression about the ME and was kind of glad she wasn’t totally doing her Carmack act.

    APB reared its ugly head again. I guess writing to the writers about BOLO is a waste of time. I wondered about the adjoining door deal. When I stay in a room that has one, you’d better believe I check to make sure it’s locked from my side!

    Shame on Castle for getting involved (again) with the Kyra, but you just knew he was going to.

    How do you remove someone from a case who won’t listen? If he were a cop and going off on his own, that’s one thing. But Castle is a civilian, even with the mayor’s dispensaton. His going off profile was very in character for him, and it provided some entertainment.

    I’m glad next week’s show is going back to Beckett’s mother’s murder. Looks like Stana Katic will have some scenery to chew.

  16. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    I liked it.

    As soon as the ME mentioned the TOD and lividity, though, I knew right away what you’d say. And I laughed when Beckett got the cell phone records so quickly. She wouldn’t even be able to get the subpoena to send for them that fast!

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