Castle: Dial M for Mayor – A Review

Castle: Dial M for Mayor

Politics and cops simply don’t mix. Don’t believe it, then ask any police officer who’s stopped the mayor’s kid for speeding. How about the unfortunate deputy sheriff who is tasked with arresting the sheriff’s golfing buddy for DUI. The poor deputy’d be shaking so hard the stuff on his gun belt would jingle like Santa’s sleigh bells. Should it be that way? No, of course not, and most times it’s not. But, as we saw on Castle last night, the thoughts of “what if” are always on the officer’s mind.

Anyway, how did this episode fare? Let’s see. Melanie…?

Melanie Atkins

I’ve been too busy this week to pay much attention to the promos and sneak peeks for this episode, but I did watch them… and I still found Dial M for Mayor to be much more compelling than last week’s offering. The case intrigued me, thanks to its many twists and turns, and the improved writing kept the story moving. Yay for character depth and good pacing!

I’ll leave the discussion about Lanie’s voodoo ME theatrics to Lee, but I will say that her upfront statement about the victim’s time of death made me roll my eyes. I could just picture Lee wincing in pain. ‘Nuff said.

Once the victim is found, Mayor Robert Weldon, Rick’s good friend and poker buddy and the reason Rick is still at the 12th, is considered a suspect in her murder. This puts Rick and Kate on opposite sides in this case. Yikes!

Their visit to DAG — Dial a Goddess, a phone sex shop — intrigues Rick. He seems to know a lot about that type of operation, and this makes Kate roll her eyes. Too funny. Even the neon woman on the wall made me laugh.

Then Mr. Smith calls Rick and tells him he’s available whenever Rick wants to talk; that Rick will know when the time is right. Whoa! This is the man who called him after Kate’s shooting and offered to protect Kate if Rick would keep her away from her mother’s case. So why is he interested in this case concerning the mayor?

Is Mayor Weldon guilty? Certainly looks like it… and Kate has a difficult choice to make. If she tells Gates about the evidence she’s turned up — fibers from the mayor’s coat inside the victim’s mouth — the captain will insist she get a subpoena compelling Weldon to turn it over, thus ending his political career. And if the mayor is forced out of office, Rick will have to leave the precinct, because Weldon’s influence is the only reason he’s allowed to stay.

Kate, of course, is a cop compelled to do what’s right… and that’s how it should be. But oh, how it hurts her to have to go to Iron Gates. Stana Katic plays this so well. I hurt for Kate when she left Rick standing alone beside the murder board.

While Kate is trying to get the mayor to turn over the coat, Rick does some investigating of his own. Of course he does. This is Rick Castle. And the first thing he does is to call Mr. Smith and ask him for help. Through him, Rick deduces that one of the mayor’s staffers is actually the guilty party, and the mayor is cleared.

Kate is relieved. The mayor will stay in office, and Rick will remain by her side. Whew!

Rick isn’t satisfied with that outcome, however. He wants answers from the cryptic man who seems to hold all the cards, so he arranges another meeting with Mr. Smith and learns the man contacted him so he could solve the case and save Weldon’s job, thus keeping Rick at the 12th. That way, he can continue to help protect Kate and keep her from digging any further into her mother’s case. Convoluted? Yes. But this time, it works.

Next week: An Embarrassment of Bitches. Has to do with a dog show, and I believe Rick and Kate end up taking care of one of the pooches. The promo cracked me up.

Lee Lofland

Again, before I start blasting away at Lanie “Make My Head Explode “Parish, please remember that I point out this stuff merely to help writers know what’s real and what’s, well, beyond even the limits of Gene Roddenberry’s wildest dreams. But this week…sheeshhhh!!!!

First of all, the Lanie character is great for Espo, or as a “bestie” for Beckett. In fact, she’d be absolutely fantastic as anything EXCEPT a medical examiner. Her lines are a distraction and they slow down the show. I’ll explain more in a minute. For now let’s get her gobbledygook out of the way.

Lanie said, “…victim was strangled between 8 and 10 last night…bruising looks like a choke hold from behind with enough force that it crushed her hyoid bone…perp was taller and heavier than the victim…”

Hey, Charlie Brown, you heard what Lanie said. What’s your opini—

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

There’s no way Lanie could know any of what she said without first conducting an autopsy. She’d also need a bit of information that the detectives and CSI folks would uncover and provide. Besides, the mark on the victim’s neck looked more like a ligature mark than that of a choke hold. Suppose the killer was a bodybuilding little person who was into mixed martial arts? Wouldn’t have to be taller and heavier then, huh?

Again, no way to determine any of this stuff until after or during the autopsy. Besides, how could Lanie see the hyoid? X-ray specs? And, the ligature/choke mark wasn’t exactly in the right location to do that sort of damage. But anything’s possible, especially with this quack.

Enough of Lanie…yes, enough already!

Moving along…

– Is anyone else tired of hearing Beckett address Gates as “Sir?”

– Will they ever put the “Mother Beckett case” to rest? I’m so, so tired of hearing about it. And having the phantom Mr. Smith show up to explain things that the writers couldn’t figure out how to get into the story was sort of a let down for me.

– Okay, Beckett said to Castle, “Lanie found fibers in the victim’s mouth and esophagus and the lab ID’d them as light, brown cashmere.” YES! That’s how they should handle the forensics on this show. It works nicely. It fits. The dialog flows well. And it’s believable. Why? Because that’s how it’s done in real life. Not on-the-street magical peeks inside a dead body. An M.E. does her slicing and dicing and relies on her findings and those of various laboratory experts, like those who examined the fibers in this scene.

– How about that literary agent’s office? How many real-life agents work in offices like that one? All of you, I’m sure.

– Have I missed something, or was last night the first time during regular conversation that Beckett and Castle called each other Rick and Kate? First name basis now after a few years together. Yep, this relationship is moving right along…

– The attorney who burst into the interview room during an interview with a suspect. Wouldn’t happen. They don’t have free access to those areas of the PD. Someone would have called Beckett to let her know the guy’s attorney was waiting outside. Then she’d probably have rushed to complete the task at hand before allowing the lawyer access to his client. Didn’t say it was right, but it is what it is. How’s she supposed to know the attorney would tell his client to shut up (wink).

Overall, the show was better than what we’ve seen for the past couple of weeks. As usual, the actors were a lot of fun to watch. Well, with the exception of “you know who.”

Finally, the mayor delivered a very powerful message at the end of the show by saying, “A well-placed pawn is sometimes more powerful than a king.” You never know who, if anyone, in your circle of friends and co-workers is that pawn…you just never know…

Anyway, we’d love to hear your comments about last night’s episode. Was it all you dreamed of, or were there a few nightmarish moments for you too?

Oh, I almost forgot…as usual, the killer was someone the writers simply threw in our face at the end of the episode, again. But there’s a pattern. Always look for someone who has the smallest part and a slight guilty look on their face when the camera rushes by during a very brief scene. And there’s the killer. Police work made easy, Castle style.


25 replies
  1. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    Anyone check out Wikipedia for the upcoming shows?

    To date, I’ve never seen it titled so far in advance. The “Linchpin” title sounds most interesting of the three, while “Pandora” sounds like it could be the opening of a bigger issue, subplot, or storyline.

    Considering that most of the previous episodes that dealt with Beckett’s mother were all related to fighting terms: “Sucker Punch,” “Knockdown,” “Knockout,” I’m hoping for a related title to show up, so that we can start to look forward to a continuation or even the ending of this whole conspiracy arc.

    As always, keep up the great work, you two! I know tonight’s episode will probably be another cute “filler,” but I hope there won’t be too many of these, or we’ll start to see numbers slip and see the beginning of the end of this show.

    You think there will be a Season 5?

  2. Danielle Monroy
    Danielle Monroy says:

    WAY too many people have commented on the killer being the guy from Bones. Did you just stop watching at the end? Because they never caught the killer. Probably a guy hired by someone related to the campaign for governor, maybe even someone related to Beckett’s mom’s plot. But any of that is conjecture. It was one of those great storylines where nothing is absolutely known, except that for the most part Beckett and Castle did everything right. And yes, Lee, Lanie is irritating. I even liked Madison her friend from the restaurant better than Lanie. The only thing Lanie seems good for is the glares and eye rolls she gives Castle in the morgue. My dislike of her started when she told Castle to keep his eyes off her “girls”… so listen, if that’s not what you want, then why do you dress that way for that job? Thank God they dress Beckett appropriately and not like that ridiculous CSI Miami show. I wondered about the rape comment as well… I mean, maybe she had shined a black light up her skirt or something, but really?

  3. U
    U says:

    IIRC they were calling each other by first name in the first episode of this season. But then after Beckett said she doesn’t remember anything after the shooting, she went back from Rick to Castle. He still did call her Kate, but in episode 2 he’s back to Beckett too. I was hoping they’d explain it, but it seems it was just a meaningless detail.

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I guess no one has picked up on the fact that Melanie and I have been good-copping/bad copping you guys. See how good we are! Shoot, if you’re not careful we’ll have you confessing to Hoffa’s disappearance.

  5. MigalouchUD
    MigalouchUD says:

    Pointing out the absuridity of the facts and enjoying the show are two complete different thing. I enjoyed this Monday’s episode, but regardless of that enjoyment I still laughed at how unbelievable realistic it was.

  6. K. Victoria Chase
    K. Victoria Chase says:

    HAHA, I love this show! And I’ve seen that pattern too, that the killer is usually one of the first people Castle and Beckett meet, either doing an interview or canvassing.

    I’ve found that most people don’t know the nitty gritty details of investigations and forensics so the bit about Lanie probably won’t be picked up my the average viewer (or reader). As long as it is slightly (ok, maybe more than slightly) plausible, then it can suspend most imaginations. But good catch on the sexual assault…it would have been awkward enough for her to do a cursory exam (before the plucking…) right there, lol.

  7. Janet Brigham
    Janet Brigham says:

    You’re right, the junior deputy guy did the setup, not the murder. That’s how convoluted the plot was — what I remembered (away from my computer and my DVR today) was that the junior guy was heavily involved, but I remembered his deer-in-the-headlights daze, not that the conspirators used him to draw out the victim. In any case, he’s toast (milquetoast).

    As for thinking positively — across the show’s seasons, I’ve enjoyed watching Castle the character develop. I enjoy watching Nathan Fillion play him. I enjoy even the goofball plots, and the voodoo medicine that makes Lee’s head explode. I enjoy the punny episode titles. I enjoy the interactions and repartee. I enjoy Martha’s wardrobe. When the writers play loose with techniques and facts, the message I take away is that those things aren’t their focus.

    Sometimes I wonder if the writers throw in the weird stuff just to see Lee’s head explode. I’m sure they keep the relationship going so that they can keep reading Melanie’s accounts week to week. Hey, I would!

    This blog is a fun forum for learning to be observant and think critically, and for seeing how small incorrect things detract from the great things. (Like, couldn’t someone have cleaned up Beckett’s mascara flake in Monday’s episode? It made my eyes itch.)

  8. Peacenotwarplease
    Peacenotwarplease says:

    Ok Lee – I see what you are saying, and thanks for the welcome. Of course I read all your paragraphs and all other folks comments before I wrote my comment. No I didn’t realise that this website was dealing with forensics etc for would be writers Lee. Anyway, I do enjoy the more upbeat style of writers like Melanie, I do admit, but I will drop by to read more of your stuff so that I get a clearer take of your writing. Thank you for responding – much appreciated.

  9. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Peacenotwarplease – First of all thanks for stopping by. We certainly like to hear all opinions about each of our topics. I have to ask, though, if this is your first visit here. Surely it must be, because had you visited before you’d know that I’ve been a fan of the show since day one. And, had you visited in the past, or for that matter, had you read my first paragraph today, you’d know the sole purpose of pointing out the incorrect police procedure and forensics. We do this at the request of numerous authors who want to be sure what they’re writing is factual, not based on what fictional TV characters say and do each week.

    Anyway, I do hope you’ll stop by again. Positive comments about the show are welcome too.

  10. Peacenotwarplease
    Peacenotwarplease says:

    Could I ask please if this is a website for people who just love to always think in the negative? Perusing through the comments it makes me think so. Apart from Melanie’s comments of course which were good humour compared with the rest. What I am amazed at is why you watch the show at all – I mean seriously? I loved the episode, but then I am not looking every week to NIT PICK through every little piece of it to see how to find stuff to tear the show to shreds. Jeez it is just a bit of light relief at the end of a long working day for most Castle viewers and very good light relief too. If you want the serious DEEP thinking shows there are plenty other series for you to watch. Anyway, Thank you Melanie for your genial thoughts and LIGHT HEARTED quips. I don’t watch Castle for the deepness of it all, it isn’t that kind of a show. I thought this episode was great end of!

  11. Janis Patterson
    Janis Patterson says:

    First of all, I am so sick of shows with continuing ‘conspiracy’ storylines. Mother Beckett is one. Red John on the Mentalist is another, and even worse. There are others, all appearing in an ever-proliferating cascade, darn it. The show ends in murky confusion with some mysterious character (or incident) indicating both portentiously and pretentiously that ‘there are things you are not to know yet…’ Talk about sloppy plotting! Not only sloppy, but annoying. A cheap out.

    As for Martha’s smoke machine gig – how many people have a smoke machine lying around? And if so, how many people would actually use it in their homes? They stink, and create an unbelievable amount of humidity. At least, the ones I’ve been around have. Compared to that little scene, even Lainie’s voodoo pronouncements seem almost sane.

    As for Lainie, I have a deep and abiding pity for that poor actress. Imagine having to make sense out of such nonsensical lines! And knowing how her part will be shredded by those who know anything at all about forensics. I can only hope she gets career-hazard pay.

  12. David Fuchs
    David Fuchs says:

    Your parthian shot at the end of the article had me laughing when I thought about it in real life.

    “Stop that cameraman! I need to see his footage so I can see who had a slightly guilty expression as the camera panned!”

  13. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I agree, MigalouchUD. That lawyer looked awfully suspicious.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my review that has nothing to do with the case is that the scene with Alexis at the beginning of the episode when Martha was doing her weird King Lear thing complete with a smoke machine didn’t seem to have anything to do with the rest of the show. It was just so freaking random. I hope it was for a reason, maybe something that will come up later (her possibly doing an internship) and not just an aberration. It really seemed out of sync. Anybody else feel this way?

  14. MigalouchUD
    MigalouchUD says:

    @Janet Brigham

    The junior staffer was not the one who committed the murder. He called the people who wanted him to extort the company and setup the mayor and they sent someone in to do the killing. If I had to guess it was possibly the lawyer (six feet with dark hair) at the end that was the guy they sent, or it was someone we haven’t seen yet.

  15. Janet Brigham
    Janet Brigham says:

    Thanks again (and again) to Lee and Melanie for the clever and thoughtful reviews. This episode was indeed an improvement, although the cramped timeframe of solving the murder reminded me of someone hand-writing a sign and running out of room (like “Healin” on a handmade sign for massage therapy I saw the other day). This recent pattern of shallow murderers makes me miss earlier seasons.

    And why would shadowy, evil big-wigs coerce an inexperienced junior staffer to commit a murder, rather than simply hiring a hit person who would keep his or her mouth shut? How did he get the mayor’s coat and put it back, and how did this newbie hit-dude know that the coat fibers would be noticeable enough to lead back to the mayor? If he choked her from behind, did he first cram some cashmere fibers into her mouth and make her inhale or swallow them?

    Perhaps the reason this well funded series continue to practice voodoo murder is because the real plot is the development and growth of Castle’s character. And the real plot is his growing up (even more than the love angle), so that the weekly murder plots are merely the waves that the boat skims.

  16. halaci
    halaci says:

    One thing what disturbed me greatly and I would like to know whether I’m too sensitive or it is simply careless writing. It happened twice in this episode (any many times before) that Castle and Beckett are discussing important information, accusing somebody with murder while other people around them to hear it. They told that the Mayor must be the killer at the TV studio over the shoulder the tech guy and then discussed quite loudly his reasons of not cooperating on the staircase of the City Hall, people (potential colleagues of the Mayor) wlaking around. Is it normal in police work? What if the tech guy calls a tabloid that “Hey, the cops has just gone and know what? They are accusing the Mayor with murder because they found traces of his coat! How much this news worth to you?”

  17. Jena
    Jena says:

    I’m with @Liberty Speigel — when I see a familiar face (or sometimes just a familiar name in the credits) I assume that’s the killer. Another giveaway for me is when a seemingly-nobody character has a speaking role.

  18. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Oh, Lee, I was laughing at Lanie’s shopping list of info but when she mentioned the ‘no sexual assault’ I really lost it. Duh, where and how did she discover this? And the body already being in a body bag? She did all this before the detectives arrived on scene. I think not. And, yes, I agree about the ligature marks. Looked to me it like she was stangled with a rope. But, hey, I’m just a lowly writer, but a telepathic ME. LOL

    I have to watch this episode again. I lost track of how the killer had the Mayor’s coat with him in the car when he killed the girl.

  19. Leslie Budewitz
    Leslie Budewitz says:

    We’re told in the wrap-up that the young fellow from the mayor’s office pled guilty and got, hmmm was it 20 years? Don’t ya think in that process his lawyer might have advised him to give up the name in exchange for a shorter sentence? No, because the lawyer was hired by someone else to represent him and is violating all codes of ethics by putting the someone else’s interests first. I suspect the writers are setting up another set of complications to be revealed later. I hope so, anyway!

  20. MigalouchUD
    MigalouchUD says:

    Ya have to agree with thumper when Lanie was talking about no signs of sexual assualt I was thinking, “umm don’t they need to do a vaginal exam for that?”

    Castle writers seriously suck hard at the details.

  21. thumper
    thumper says:

    you need to consult for the show. i used to be so ignorant about all of this before i was made aware of your reviews… now every time i watch i end up like charlie brown too lol.

  22. MigalouchUD
    MigalouchUD says:

    Hey Lee great review and I seriously look forward to you putting it out there every Tuesday because they are so informative and I am a big stickler for details. As Castle said, then promptly the writers continue to forget, last season during the two parter, “The key to any good story is authenticity. It’s making it feel real for the reader.”

    Two things I thought were a bit odd one story related and other fact related that I wanted to check in with you.

    First fact related, when Beckett and Castle arrived on the scene the body was already in a body bag on a stretcher out of the car. Isn’t this a big no no since it is important not to move the body until the lead detective arrives on the scene unless unreasonable circumstances (like a guy dies on the beach and the tide is coming in) require it to be moved? Or is it the body moves when the ME is done seeing it and the detectives can just go off pictures?

    Second, and this is story related, did you pick up on a bit of hypocrisy in the episode being all about doing the right thing and finding the truth regardless of personal feeling, when in the past *cough* Montgomery *cough* they did the exact opposite?

    Love the reviews becaues they are awesome and, like you, I love the devin in the details and I learn a ton by reading your blog in regards to Castle!

  23. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    I had noticed the actor who played the bad guy early on because he plays one of the squinterns on “Bones”. But, I really thought the killer was going to be his boss. And, still, I wouldn’t be surprised if when they finally decide to wrap this drawn-out story up about Beckett’s mother, that the mayor’s guy is involved. He had motive and access in this particular story, and seemed like the type which would go to great lengths to keep things in line.

    Did not notice the first name thing… I haven’t been watching for the whole series (came in last season) but I’m pretty sure there’ve been other times (maybe not entire episodes) where they refer to each other by first name.

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