Castle: Ghosts

Episode 8, Ghosts, begins in a seedy, pay-by-the-hour hotel where a woman is found dead in a bathtub filled with motor oil. The show this week didn’t provide much fodder for a bad review of police procedure, which was good. But the medical examiner still insists on using some odd psychic wisdom and powers to determine cause of death and other forensic findings. Let’s dive right in and get this ME stuff out of the way, because this character makes me ill.

First of all, she was right about one thing. She’d actually have to test the substance in the tub to say for sure that it was indeed motor oil. However, it looked like motor oil, felt like motor oil, and the empty motor oil containers were nearby. Well, duh. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck!

Any other time, she’d merely dream up some wacky conclusion. Why now does she decide to test something so obvious?

While the ME is busy sucking motor oil from the tub with a turkey baster, one of Beckett’s dynamic duo sidekicks steps forward to say he’s found the empty motor oil bottles in a closet.

Why do Beckett’s two sidekicks always appear together, side by side, from nowhere?

A bathtub filled with motor oil on the upper floor of a busy hotel bothers me. It’s a little wacky logistically.

A bathtub holds approximately 60 gallons of liquid which equates to 240 individual quarts of motor oil. That’s 20 cases of the syrupy liquid (450 lbs.) that the killer, a female this week, would have had to carry to the upstairs hotel room. Then she’d have to open each bottle and sit there waiting for it to drain into the tub. This is all possible, but…

Next, Beckett asks the ME for a cause of death and she replies, “Drowning.” How in the heck could she say that without first performing an autopsy? Sure, she could guess, but that’s not what she did. She also stated the victim had a contusion on the back of her head. How did she know the poor woman didn’t die from the head trauma before being placed in the oil?

The next ME words of stupidity were about the wine glass found at the scene. She informed Becket that she’d found traces of a sleeping pill on the glass.

No way she’d know this so quickly. Besides, she’d have to have a reason to suspect the drug would be found there to order that particular testing during the tox screen. Tox screens are NOT catch-all tests.

AND, it probably wouldn’t be the ME who collected the glass. That’s the job of police.

ME’s take care of the body. Detectives/officers/crime scene techs handle everything else.

There simply had to be two writers for this week’s episode, because the ME scene compared to the rest of the show was like oil and water. Pun intended. They’re wearing me down with this ME character.

The rest of the show wasn’t as bad. The police procedures fared pretty well this week. The one thing I’d point out was when Beckett and Castle entered the true crime writer’s home after finding the door ajar. At the time they entered they believed they were entering the home of a murder suspect. Once inside they observed items that could have been potential evidence in the case. Beckett probably should have backed out and gotten a search warrant at that point. However, she could always say she thought someone was in trouble or injured since the door was ajar. But I’m not sure that would fly in court. People leave their doors open all the time.

All in all, the show was just okay this week. Will I remember anything about it? No.


13 replies
  1. jenifer
    jenifer says:

    Can we have Dave write for the show? Because that ME collapse scene would be amazing!

    And not remotely police procedure related, but I loved the mano a mujer line. 🙂

  2. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:


    Again, I didn’t watch the show, but your recollections of the ME’s actions amaze me. She wants to tests before saying for certain this stuff is motor oil, but declares cause of death without an autopsy? And I think it might be tough to see a bruise in all that oil – but who am I to say.

    Queenofmean – that would sound like an odd question, but officers often ask questions with purpose to see a person’s reaction, not so much to gain information. An innocent person would say, “hell yes there’s oil, it’s a garage.” Whereas the guilty party might have a very different reaction.

    I had visions of the ME declaring that she had found sleeping pill traces on the glass and after someone asks her how she knows for certain, her eyes glaze over and she collapses to the floor.

  3. PatMarin
    PatMarin says:

    Lee, I went back to the DVR to watch Castle again. Kids were not required to have Social Security numbers in 1963, that didn’t happen until the very late 1970s. If the writers had said she stole the name and applied for a Social Security number I would have bought it, but they said, “she stole the baby’s name and Socal Security number.”

    I sure would like to see the ‘next’ poker game. Beckett just shuffled the cards, she never got out the gummy bears.

    Pat Marinelli

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Hi Judy. Good to “see” you here.

    I agree. I like the show, too. I especially like the relationship between Castle and Beckett. I like Castle’s home life as well. That can be hilarious (fencing and wearing goggles while cutting up onions) I merely point out the errors so they don’t end up in someone’s book. You know, like the CSI stuff does. Besides, it’s fun!

  5. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    The oil was used because the two women – the victim and the killer – had originally taken part in the bombing of an oil tanker. The ship’s captain was killed in the blast.

  6. Joyce Tremel
    Joyce Tremel says:

    Last night was the first time I watched the show. It wasn’t bad. I liked the chemistry between the two main characters.

    What I don’t get is why motor oil? Why not just drown the victim in water?

  7. queenofmean
    queenofmean says:

    I wondered about the amount of oil, too. And when Beckett asked the son if he they’d find oil in his garage, I thought what a dumb question. It wouldn’t prove anything if they did find some or they didn’t. Maybe she just figured he’d break down & confess.

  8. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Elena – That’s what it looked like. Although, I have seen similar large syringes lying around a morgue. Still…

    Bobby – KAPOW!

    Maybe it was me, but the show seemed very slow this week. Of course, ten minutes in I was ready to put my foot through the screen. The ME really, really takes away from the show.

  9. Elena
    Elena says:

    ROTFL – A Turkey baster???!!!!! For real??????? I may have to start watching this show as well as enjoying your comments.

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