Castle: Fool Me Once – A Review

I almost want to jump up and turn cartwheels (in spite of the ruptured disc in my back). This week’s show was definitely a cut above what we’ve had to endure so far this season. In fact, it was so much better I didn’t even yell and scream at the medical examiner. Okay, I did cringe a couple of times at her goofy comments, and I only threw the remote at the TV once while she was on screen, but at least her fantasy forensics were held to a minimum in this episode.

Fool Me Once – the fourth episode of season two – was written by Alexi Hawley (Hawley also cranked out several episodes of the Unusuals). You also may have seen a little screenplay of his called The Exorcist: The Beginning.

Hawley may have saved the show from making a final swirl at the bottom of the toilet bowl. He managed to bring back the snappy dialog between the regulars, and he lit a fire under the smokin’ hot chemistry between Castle and Beckett – chemistry that was slowly fading into the sunset. And Beckett’s bathtub scene certainly did nothing to hurt the ratings.

I believe Alexi Hawley has written one other episode for this season. I hope we see more.

There were many other positive aspects about this week’s show, but we’re here for the police procedure and forensics, so off we go.

The murder victim is shot in the face at close range while sitting inside a tent, inside an apartment. Needless to say, there was a generous amount of blood spatter on the tent walls and surrounding area. This is crucial evidence. So where does our genius medical examiner plant her rear end to take notes? I couldn’t believe it when the camera showed her sitting inside the tent, on the floor, surrounded by blood and brain matter!

Next, the endless babbling brook of stupid information (the M.E.) points to a hole in the tent and tells Beckett that the height of the hole indicates the shooter was between 5’3″ and 6’0″ tall. There is absolutely no freakin’ way she could know that by looking at the tear in the tent fabric. A trained CS technician would have to check the trajectory of the round to determine the angle that the bullet entered the tent, and even that wouldn’t give you the height of the shooter. The killer could have held the gun over his head, between his legs, behind his back, been standing on a ladder…well, you get the picture.

M.E. Lainie Parrish describes something (who knows what) to Castle and Beckett)

Geez, Louise, don’t these people ever watch Forensic Files, or The First 48? I know they haven’t read my book, Police Procedure and Investigation. Please, please, please Mr. Hawley, please contact me so I can send you a copy. I’ll donate it to the show! That would be a small price to pay to stop the pain inflicted each week by the the M.E. It’s like I invite the M.E. character into my home so she can jam an ice pick into my ear. Her words sometimes hurt that much!

– Beckett smells a weapon owned by a possible murder suspect. She did so to see if it had been fired recently. That was okay, but she probably destroyed any possible fingerprints when she handled the weapon.

– Beckett said to put out an APB (All Points Bulletin) for a suspect. I don’t know of any agency still using that terminology. It’s possible, but departments these days use BOLO (Be On The Lookout). We’d have to check with the NYPD to see if they still use APB.

– The victim’s girlfriend goes into a bank to withdraw a million dollars in cash. She comes out of the bank a couple of minutes later with a silver briefcase supposedly filled with the loot. Can someone actually withdraw that much case in that short amount of time? And, where’d she get the briefcase? She didn’t have it when she entered the bank. Maybe the establishment gives a free briefcase to every customer who withdraws a million dollars.

– Finally, when Beckett and Castle corner the killer she’s sitting inside her car. They calmly talk to her with the car door open. Becket doesn’t have a gun in her hand, and neither does the killer. But when Beckett’s sidekicks roll up (they’re still joined at the hip, entering rooms side by side, matching step for step) they jump out of their unmarked cars with weapons drawn, ordering the woman to show her hands. This is something Beckett should have done when she first approached the killer, not talk to her as if they were about to exchange pecan pie recipes.

By the way, this (above) is a horrible, unsafe handcuffing technique. We’ll be teaching the proper methods at the Writers Police Academy next September. Remember Castle cops, you’re all invited. Tamala Jones, too. We even have a NYC medical examiner on hand just for you. Seriously, folks, Jonathan Hayes, NYC M.E./author is one of the workshop instructors for the Writers Police Academy. He’s fantastic. Details and registration soon.

That’s it for this week. All in all, the show was pretty darn good. The father/daughter scenes were good. The humor was back. The dialog was crisp. Oh, did I mention Beckett’s bathtub scene…


11 replies
  1. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Good catch Su. I was so busy laughing at the ME sitting in the tent and the height thing, I didn’t even realize the shooter didn’t need to shoot thru the tent and I watch the episode twice.

    I love the show and I am so glad you do this Lee becasue I want to get keep my writing right. Talk about an awkward sentence. Shut up editor. Anyway, I try to chaulk the idiotic ME comment up to getting the facts across needed for the story in less than 60 minutes. But…my ME does a much better job in my story.

    Feel better, Lee. I’m looking so farward to next weeks Castle review.

    Oh and have you looked at the book Heat Wave by Richard Castle online? CBS could use a good editor also.

  2. Su
    Su says:

    Agreed – much better this week. However…

    If you were going to shoot someone in a tent, and the tent was OPEN (which it would have to be if he saw who was shooting at him) then why would you shoot THROUGH the tent instead of simply through the opening?

    Just curious.

  3. Peg H
    Peg H says:

    As I watched the show, I knew your review would be better. However, as soon as the MS appeared I almost died laughing knowing exactly what you would say about her sitting in the tent and the whole “the killer was between 5’3″ and 6″ tall” bit. I squealed to DH, “Oh, Lee’s gonna rip that!”

    Wish I could attend the Writer’s Police Academy but it’s not in the cards. 🙁

  4. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    Hi, Lee. Hahaha! I love your assessment of the ME. And I was just as delighted as you were that she had very little screen time this episode. I like her as Beckett’s friend/sounding board (especially when she’s bugging Beckett about Castle) but not as a forensic specialist. Please. Even I know her info is way off base.

    I can’t wait for the Writer’s Police Academy. I’m ready to sign up! Right now I’m going through my local SO’s CPA, and it’s fun…but not nearly as in depth as your event will be.

    I’m jazzed about the Castle previews for next week. Looks like more sparks are flying between Castle and Beckett!! Squee!

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

    Reading your blog every Tuesday morning tickles my funny bone. And yes! The Castle and Beckett chemistry was back. Beckett is such a fangirl and sooooo busted. I love the father-daughter-eccentric mom relationship, too.

  6. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    From my Facebook page – Shelley Giusti wrote: “Im confused, If you don’t like the show, then why do you watch it?”

    My response: I do like the show and I’m a fan of Castle and Beckett.

    I think the chemistry between those two is great. And it’s nice to see a female cop on TV who’s not a wimp and actually has the air of a real cop. She reminds me of a detective I know.

    I like the story ideas, and I like the characters. They become more realistic with each episode, with the exception of the M.E.

    I watch the show and review the police procedure and forensics so writers don’t use the bad information (not all of it is bad) in their books.

  7. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Hi Lee,

    I don’t know. Estimating the killer’s height to be 5-3 to 6 ft. seems like it would be pretty accurate, since it takes in about 70 percent of the human race. She could just have easily said, “Your killer was probably right handed.” Yeah.

    But I do agree the idea of getting that from a hole in the tent is ridiculous.

    By the way, We were watching an episode of “Flash Forward” when two FBI agents pulled their guns and racked the slide to load a round.

    I guess bad procedure is contagious.

  8. Bob Stewart
    Bob Stewart says:

    Glad you’re feeling well enough to write after your back procedure. As an ol’ television critic I get a kick out of your comments.

    Swift healing and full sails.

  9. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    I loved the show this week. But–they really should ditch that M.E. I couldn’t believe that she was actually sitting in that tent.

    I’m going to start saving my pennies for the Writers Police Academy.

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