Last night’s episiode of Castle, Nanny McDead, was a convoluted journey through police procedure. Was it all proper? No. Did the inaccuracy prevent the show from delivering? Again, no. It was a fun ride.
But for the sake of our mystery writing minds lets look at what they got wrong, and right.
Warning – spoiler alert!
1) The medical examiner knew the cause of death, a brain injury/bleed, before the autopsy. And, she correctly identified a spermicide found on the victim, indicating that the dead girl had sex prior to her death. How could the doctor know these things? It would take a little more examination other than eyeballing something on a slide to know a spermicide was present.
Simon says: A little too much karaoke for him. The M.E. would have to dig a little deeper (literally) to come up with the diagnosis. The M.E. is a weak link in the show. Her character thus far has been totally unbelievable. What say you Jonathan Hayes?
2) Detective Beckett told a suspect not to leave town. Now, I see this a lot of this in TV and in books. Can the police legally prevent someone from leaving town? No, not without a court order. But, Detective Beckett was bluffing, and said so. Is it okay for her to lie to a suspect? Sure. Why not? Suspects lie to police, It’s a fair trade.
Simon says: Good job. Even Castle joined in later, telling another suspect to stay where he could be found.
3) Castle asked to use a suspect’s restroom so he could have a look around while Detective Beckett was questioning the potential murderer. Does that sort of thing really happen? Sure. All the time. It’s a great way to get an idea of the lay of the land, to see if anyone else is present in the home, and to spot potential evidence. Is it legal? Hmm…It depends on what the officer does with his findings. It would probably be a toss up in court. But it’s best to be safe than sorry. Even if it means losing that part of your evidence.
Simon says: Good job, Castle.
4) The suspect’s attorney rescues him from a police interrogation. Was he right? Without probable cause to arrest his client could the police still hold him? No. This was a proper move by the attorney. Once a suspect’s attorney arrives the questioning must stop unless the attorney permits it, and they never do.
Simon says: Good job. I think he rather liked this one.
5) Detective Beckett entered into a standoff with a knife-wielding murder suspect. Was her banter with the woman realistic? It sure was. Good scene.
Simon says: Another good job. Very believable. Unlike Paula Abdul’s bizarre comments.
6) Detective Beckett kicked away a knife dropped by the suspect, leaving it within possible reach of the known killer. Was this proper procedure? Under normal circumstances, no. Officers should retain control of all weapons, if possible. In this case, I think she did what she thought was best. Perhaps she should have slid it toward Castle, but who knows what he’d have done with it. Remember, Castle is not a law enforcement officer. He’s a writer, and we all know writers can’t be trusted with weapons.
Lee Child, Jim Born, and Zoe Sharp
(Photo from the files of author and cop extrordinaire, James O. Born)