Castle: Head Case – A Good-Cop-Bad-Cop Review

Castle: Head Case

Well, so far, this season has me longing to be in the position I’m in right now, looking at the business end of those three gun barrels. Yes, please shoot me now to end this pain and suffering. Another week and another disappointing episode. And I guessed the killer at the beginning of the episode. I hate that! How about you, Melanie? Are with me again this week?

I enjoyed this episode much more than the one last week, even though it was just as far-fetched. Cryogenics? Frozen Heads? Murder for love? They at least gave us some laughs, and Ryan and Esposito helped make things fun, too. I love that.

Spoiler alert! The victim’s wife—who also turned out to be the killer—summed up the theme early on when describing her husband: “One lifetime together wasn’t enough. He wanted more.” Extra years with the woman he loved. Of course, Kate and Rick glanced at each other when they heard those words. And then… nothing. They simply played off each other like always, with Kate also acting as a sounding board for Rick when Alexis didn’t get into Stanford.

Yes, folks, we’ve got slow movement in the relationship department. Turtle slow. Although the love theme did continue throughout the episode.

“Would you believe this to be a crime of passion?” Rick asked near the end.

Kate smiled. “I would consider this to be a crime of love.”

“Nice. Although that would depend on whether Cynthia Hamilton was in love, or insane.”

“Well, sometimes there’s a fine line between the two.” Kate smiled.

And so did I. (Hey, I’ll take what I can get.)

The end of the episode brought the crime full circle when the victim’s wife committed suicide because she didn’t want to live without her husband, the love of her life.

And in a touching scene — after Kate told the cryogenics guy he could have the woman’s body without an autopsy… and the chick died in police custody (I know, right? Puh-leeze!), Rick said, “Wouldn’t it be something if they reunited a hundred — even a thousand — years from now?”

“Well, anything’s possible,” Kate said with that sly smile.

“Do you really believe that?”

“It’s what the great love stories are about, right? Beating the odds?”

See? The love theme continues. Great love stories… Both Castle and Beckett said they hope the couple is reunited someday. And the look they shared… nice.

Not a great episode, but tolerable. Next week’s looks as if it will be really intense. The return of 3XK, anyone? Poor Ryan is still missing the gun the serial killer stole from him last season. Hmm…

Melanie, Melanie, Melanie. You’re such a sucker for the mushy stuff. But I really didn’t see much of that this week. I think the writers have pulled back, milking all they can get out of the weak glances and eyebrow-raising.

Hey, you know who my hero is this week? Lanie the “Voodoo M.E.” You know why? Because she was the least goofy and least offensive of all. Actually, she’s been a lot better this season.

You’re right, I’d better look up and watch out for the lightning bolt that’s about to strike me. But I’m serious. I think, in the middle of one of the dumbest opening crime scenes yet, Lanie was actually running a field test to see if the blood on the pavement was indeed human. At least that’s what it looked like, so I’m going with it.

Okay, here we go. Castle fans, you’d better tighten up your belts and hang on, because I hated this episode.

– A tire track in the blood. Okay, it’s possible to identify a tire brand using an impression. And it’s possible to know which manufacturers place those tires on their new vehicles (people often change brands when as they replace the old rubber). But the impression must be a good impression, not a squishy one like you’d find in wet blood on pavement. Still, it is possible, so we’ll let this one slide.

But a stitching pattern from a briefcase left in blood on lumpy, cracky-crevacey asphalt. No freakin’ way. And to narrow it down to a particular brand only sold in two stores in all of NYC. Well, that deserves a capital NO FREAKIN’ WAY.

– Lanie narrowed the suspect field down by determining the blood in the alley was that of a male. Yes, this is correct. And if you attended the DNA presentation Denene and I gave at the WPA, you know how she arrived at that conclusion.

– So someone stole the murder victim’s body, right? How many of you believe that the team kicking in a warehouse door where the potential killer(s) were hiding would be a team of three goofy cops (one in heels) and an unarmed writer? And what did the female detectives at the WPA say about wearing heels? That’s right…NO!

– Beckett and crew are searching a building full of human Popsicles, knowing the place is a little spooky, and she knows the place is tied to the murder she’s investigating…yet, she stops to make a phone call before clearing the rest of the building. And, whadda you know, there were workers in the back who were making even more human Popsicles. Clear the building first, guys, before ordering pizza.

– The cryogenics company took murder victim’s body without calling the police. Then they call dibs on it saying the police can’t have it because it’s now on private property, and Beckett caves. Okay, folks, from now on, all psychos and serial killers have a free pass. All they have to do is drag their victims onto private property, use their big toes to draw a line in the sand, and the police can’t come inside to get them or the evidence. Just think, all this time I’d been doing it wrong. See, I thought murder was a serious crime.

– If we DID believe that Beckett couldn’t regain control of the body (the guys took the body from the crime scene), remember, THEY BROKE THE LAW. Arrest them, Beckett! That’s one sure way of getting what you want. Lock up those fools and they’ll soon see it your way.

– Red herring number 2 or 3, Beau Randolph, shot a pigeon with a .45, from a NYC rooftop, and Ryan finds the bird (out of all the dead birds in the city) and retrieves the bullet from inside the fallen feathered victim. AAAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!

– Any campus police officers out there? If so, how many of you took offense to Ryan’s statement to Espo…”I know what we’ll do when we’re fried and don’t care anymore.” His comments referred to campus police officers, insinuating that they aren’t really cops. Well, let me be the first to set the Castle writers straight. Campus police officers attend the same training and certification programs as cops on the street. Their duties and powers are the same. And they face the same dangers, just in a smaller area. In fact, just this week, it was a campus police officer who single-handedly arrested Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, a member of the Vagos motorcycle gang, a rival gang of Hells Angels. Gonzales was wanted for the murder of the leader of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang in San Jose, Ca. So, please Castle writers, if you’re going to attempt to write cops, don’t belittle them.

– Beckett tells the “head” guy from the cryogenics company that the police department is dropping all charges against him. Police officers cannot drop charges. Only prosecutors can work those deals.

You know, I really liked this show the first couple of seasons, but it’s moving away from everything I enjoyed about it. In fact, I think Lanie’s words sum up my feelings best. When she saw what was going on in the Popsicle room, she said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

And those are the words my inner voice says to me each week when I switch the channel over to Castle. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Sorry Melanie, I didn’t like this one either.

*Remember, everyone, I was asked by a group of writers if we’d point out the errors in the police procedure in this show so they’d know what was realistic and wasn’t. They wanted to know so they wouldn’t make the mistake of using something that’s not quite right in their stories. This review is meant to be fun. And, yes, I know the show is fiction. Yes, I know they’re actors, not real cops. And yes, I know the show is not meant to be realistic. But please do keep those hate-mail cards and letters coming anyway!

27 replies
  1. Barbara L
    Barbara L says:

    I knew when I saw the thin letter from Stanford what it said… I went home for lunch on “Black Monday” and after I saw it, I made sure to be there when she came home from high school… She got into the other schools in California she applied to… chose UCSD over UCBerkeley. Right decision for her. She got a PhD from a top school, now is Chairman of a science department at a community college. She’s not at peak yet, and has a couple of interesting things going for her. I think someday I’ll send her resume to the admissions department at Stanford.

    By the way, if you are seriously considering Stanford, you’re better off being a jock, too.

  2. KD Easley
    KD Easley says:

    I can live with the voodoo police and forensic work cause I like the characters, but hello…snoozing here. This show is going down the toilet. Bleh.

  3. Scott
    Scott says:

    Wasn’t there a line in the episode where Lainey said someting along the lines of “What do you think I’m doing down here, making things up?”

    I thought of you Lee, when I heard that.

  4. Rebecca Butler
    Rebecca Butler says:

    About the “campus cop” crack, I just thought Ryan was being a jerk (not that the writers were personally jerks–a distinction, because I like writers) and that Ryan may have been having some sense that he wouldn’t be able to run like a deer until he’s sixty-five.

    All in all, this show leads me to think I’ll start skipping “Castle” more and more often. I do like “Prime Suspect” and Maria Bello.

  5. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    I know I’m late to the party but I was at the NJ State Police Balastics Lab yesterday. Great stuff!

    I agree with Lee about campus police. I’ve deal with them a few times. First I got a ticket for parking in teacher parking before I was hired as a writing instructor. Guilty! Paid my fine. The next times were different. I have a campus LEO stay with one of my students who had car trouble while she waited for her husband to arrive. It was late, dark, and cold. The other time I had one walk me to my car late at night after class because I was the only car left in the parking lot. Why, a reported rapist was known to be in the area. Can’t ask for more than Serve and Protect.

    MaryAnn, I agree about Montgomery. Gates is not working for me.

    Todd I caught that exchange between Lanie and Castle and laughed.

    I’ll stay with the show, but like Lee, I’m not enjoying so much these days.

  6. Diane Craver
    Diane Craver says:

    I didn’t like this episode – it was too unbelievable and poorly written. In fact, I’m probably going to stop watching CASTLE for now.

    I did like where Castle’s daughter, Alexis was rejected from Stanford and thought that was realistic. It was a surprise that she wasn’t accepted at this college.

  7. Todd Macy
    Todd Macy says:

    I can’t be the only one who thought of Lee and giggled just a bit when Castle and Lanie had this little exchange:

    Castle: Are you sure?
    Lanie: No, I just sit down here and make stuff up all day.

  8. Maryann Mercer
    Maryann Mercer says:

    I’ll put a theory out there that one of the reasons the prior seasons have been better balanced was due to the presence of Montgomery…he seemed to take Castle in stride, which actually gave Castle a ‘place’ on the team, letting the four work more as a unit. This season we get more of Castle & Beckett sans Ryan & Esposito and vice versa. Gates, whether she’s ‘just doing her job’ or not, seems to think that bulldozing her way through the squad room gets results. If this is supposed to make us see Castle & Beckett as “partners against the Big Boss”, it ain’t working. Every time she appears, it stalls the story, at least for me. Not sure replacing Montomgery with Gates accomplished anything other than setting Castle up to be dismissed as a nuisance (maybe he is, but he also thinks on his feet). As for the Castle/Beckett thing, I expected somewhat of a letdown in the storyline while Beckett mulled over Castle’s declaration(and I’d love more scenes with the shrink), so I’ll give it time. But I find myself checking Beckett’s grip and attire more than I would have thought possible thanks to the WPA. :o) Thanks for continuing the reviews, Lee and Melanie! It’s good to see everyone’s take on the show.

  9. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I laughed out loud a few tines, too, Melanie. But not for the same reasons, I’m sure. I was laughing at some of the ridiculously stupid things I saw on the show. Can’t get a murder victim’s body from a guy because he called dibs on it first…

  10. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I agree with you, Castle Fan. I enjoyed the episode and even laughed out loud a few times. It’s still my favorite show. We might be in for more angst next week, however… because 3XK does return. Yikes!

  11. Castle Fan
    Castle Fan says:

    Lee, you may be right about the humor aspect being different. I certainly would like it to be well-written, and definitely not slapstick. However, these last two episodes left me with a smile on my face at the end of it, and that’s what I remember from earlier, too. I’m not giving up on it, and as I said, I’m glad the angsty episodes seem to be done for now.

  12. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I, too, agree about Alexis. I was growing weary of her always being the “grown up” in the family who was always a winner every time. It’s nice to see her fall just a bit to show that her character is human.

  13. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Gosh, Fan. I couldn’t disagree more. To me, the show is nowhere near the the way it was in season one and two. The humor is different, and the silliness, while welcome and very well-written in the beginning, has morphed into near a slapstick style that really doesn’t seem work well with the police aspect of the show.

  14. Castle Fan
    Castle Fan says:

    And Sally — I agree with you on the Alexis storyline. I thought that was a nice place to bring her; having her deal with rejection. I’m sure it was a ploy to keep her on the show, but a believable one, and one that shows another aspect of her “perfect” life. One of the things I like best about this show is that it portrays a healthy relationship between a dad & child, and a “kid” who’s doesn’t have to fall into all the teen cliches & problems.

  15. Castle Fan
    Castle Fan says:

    I’m going to be the odd man out by saying I loved this episode! Sure, there were all kinds of goofy things, but it’s back to the light-hearted bantering and dialogue that made me fall for the show in the first place. I guess I’m in the minority saying that the angsty episodes made it feel too much like a soap opera, and now it’s back to the original feel — goofy writer follows around sexy detective, mild tension, silly cases, but fun watching!

  16. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    I agree with you 100 percent, Lee. Now that the viewers are hooked on the show, the writing’s quite sloppy, both procedural-wise and dramatic-wise. If the scripts don’t pick up soon, I might check out the other shows running in this time slot.
    I thought the “where’s the body?” tease was great. Then the story shifted into the cyrogenics/flash frozen theory which had more holes in it than the victim’s body. A body losing that much blood couldn’t be “revived” except with massive transplants. Nor can a person come back to life with a bullet in the heart. A body must be frozen before death actually occurs for any hope of reanimation and the “thawing out” process doesn’t guarantee life.
    Hate to say it, but nice to see Alexis finally hitting an obstacle she or daddy can’t overcome. She’s been too “perfect” and perky. But I fear the Stanford rejection was just a ploy to keep her on the show.
    Not true that Alexis has “always” gotten what she’s wanted. Once she tried out for a school musical and didn’t get the role (but she became stage manager which she preferred to acting).
    I want to see Martha acting in a play! Can we get that woman on stage? A backstage murder would make an awesome story!

  17. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    You know, I was a police officer for a long, long time and have never heard one police officer call another officer a wannabe (a wannabe detective, maybe). A sworn, certified police officer, wherever they work, are not wannabe’s because they’re already badge-wearing, gun-totin’, bad-guy-arrestin’ cops.

    Sure, I’ve heard them say it about security guards and corrections officers, but never another officer. I wonder, Sarah, how your “real” cops would have felt if they’d needed to count on the University PD for backup, and that does happen, all the time.

  18. Sarah Glenn
    Sarah Glenn says:

    When I worked for the city, the “real” cops I worked with said that the local university PD was filled with wannabes that couldn’t make the big-time.

    Of course, the university police WERE real cops who could arrest you, impound your vehicle, enter you into NCIC, etc. That doesn’t mean that the dissing didn’t happen, and that the campus police didn’t get offended.

  19. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Stress – The same thing can, and does, happen in city and county departments all across the country. A campus department is no different. Actually the same type of thing happens in nearly all occupations.

    Sorry, but I’m going to have to stand by my opinion. Campus police officers are just as professional as any other officer out there.

  20. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I noticed a lot of the procedural glitches, Lee, but not all of them… and I howled when I read your review. Too funny. I’m amazed by the “new” Lanie, too… at least she’s not spouting so much mumbo jumbo.

  21. Stressfactor
    Stressfactor says:

    Campus cops may be certified *now* but I do have a story from a friend of mine where a college he attended over 20 years ago had a murder. A campus cop broke up with his girlfriend — who was a co-ed at the college — grabbed her, took her out into a field, emptied his service automatic into her, ejected the clip, put in a fresh clip and proceded to empty or nearly empty that into her body as well.

    When the homicide detectives did some digging into his past they found out he had applied to a number of different police departments but had failed the psych evaluation at each and every one of them…. but he still got hired on as a campus cop and was allowed to carry a gun.

    I would hope that sort of thing would not be allowed to happen today.

    And I know a guy who just retired from being a campus cop after several decades and he did NOT have complimentary things to say about the professionalism of his fellow officers.

    I’m willing to give Ryan a bit of a pass because there are bound to be a few bad apples in every barrel and he may have met with one of them — guys burned out on dealing with drunken, foolish college students most of the time.

    I work on a college campus and I read the police blotter in the campus newspaper every week. Believe me, the weirdness and foolishness is something to behold. Unless there was a misprint, last week a DOOR got stolen from a dorm room. A door.

  22. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Sure, colleges also have campus security, who do not have arrest powers. But…if he/she wears a gun and badge and their patches have the word POLICE on them, they’re for real. And they’re every bit as well-trained and certified as any cop anywhere.

    Dori – The cookie-cutter, boilerplate scripts are killing me! It’s the same thing every single week. And it’s getting old, fast. They’ve been relying on things past to keep them moving forward, but that’ll soon come to an end if they don’t do something different at some point.

  23. Dori Cocuz
    Dori Cocuz says:

    The thing that bothers me the most, week after week after week, is the killer is ALWAYS the first person they interview at the police station. Please, find a new pattern to use!

  24. Jordan
    Jordan says:

    I’ve never watched the show, but reading your thoughts, Lee, were really pretty funny. One thing though about campus police, whether or not they were real cops actually became an issue when I was in college. Most of the student body (and who knows who all else in our small town) didn’t think they were. Didn’t think they could carry a gun and hand cuffs and do what real cops do. Turns out they were real, and they had to publicly announce it. So wondering if they are real is a real thing that people do wonder. Kinda sad though, really when you think about it. Looking back, they had all the right gear, the cars with the flashing lights “police” clearly written on the sides. They were cops, no doubt about it.

    However, I did work at another college for awhile and the guys they had were simply part of a security agency. I don’t know what they did when real trouble came about as I wasn’t there long. And of all the college campuses I’ve spent time on, that was the one that really needed the cops to be there too. Expensive place to go, but a dangerous one to live on in the middle of nowhere.

    I guess thems the facts of campus life. It varies by college.

  25. Lynn LaFleur
    Lynn LaFleur says:

    No hate mail from me, Lee. I appreciate all you do. This episode didn’t turn me on either, except for the end that Melanie mentioned, where Beckett and Castle were smiling at each other. That was sweet.

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