Castle: He’s Dead She’s Dead – A Review of the Police Procedure and Other Nonsense

Is it over yet? That was my reaction ten minutes into this episode. As much as I normally enjoy the show, I must say this particular episode was exactly what I needed to take the final edge off the leftover Writers’ Police Academy adrenaline high. Sure, everyone looked nice, there was a dead body, and Det. Ryan even had a couple of spotlight moments (is it just me or he is beginning to really stand out as a key player in this show?), but there simply wasn’t enough to keep me interested. I actually fell asleep a few times while attempting to watch. It was sort of like going to a rock concert where the headliner is a band from the 70’s that plays all the chords and sings all the right lyrics, but there’s no life in the performance. They’re tired. And Castle and Beckett looked tired this week.

Or was it the writer who blew this one for me? Let’s look back at another episode written by Moira Kirkland. Tick, Tick, Tick was a two-part episode and here’s my opening comment from the first week’s review:

Tonight’s episode is the first of a two-parter, and I have to admit I’m thankful the network broke this particular show into segments. Why? Because there’s no way I could stomach this all in one sitting. The writers definitely went for over the top stupid this time.

So maybe the actors had nothing to work with this week. Anyway, on with the show…

– We start with a woman who found her mother’s dead body inside a sleeper sofa with an ice pick protruding from her neck—pointed end embedded into the flesh. I’m not sure how much room was inside the sofa, but there had to have been a lot because the weapon stood straight out. Wouldn’t a normal sleeper sofa mattress be tightly compressed, which wouldn’t allow the weapon to be so perfectly placed for the viewing audience? Not a big deal…just an observation.

– When the daughter opened the sofa her mother’s body rolled out and flopped into view like a wet fish. A few minutes later Lanie Parish states the body was in full rigor, therefore, it should have been as unyielding as a fireplace poker. Or, was the queen of all psychic pathologists looking into the future. Sure, that’s it. She had a brief flash. Maybe she’d just watched Chuck and a little of his abilities cross-contaminated the two networks.

Voodoo doctor Parish also went on to say:

1. No scratches on the metal part of the ice pick. Why’d she say that? Was it important information? I guess she said it because later in the show we’d learn that the predictable, obvious killer would purchase a new ice pick. But for Lanie to say it when and how she did was an info dump. I hope you guys insert your clues a little more tactfully.

2. Time of Death was 5-7 p.m. the night before. On what did she base this? Anyone know?

3. Cause of death was blood loss and asphyxiation and that the victim was alive when she was placed inside the couch—something about some scratch marks proving the latter. How’d she know the family cat hadn’t been trapped inside the sofa (It really must be like the Grand Canyon inside that piece of furniture).

– Det. Ryan referred to the patrol officers as uniforms and uni’s. Good information!

– Officers brought a suspect in for questioning. He supposedly wasn’t under arrest (not even any real evidence against him), yet he was handcuffed and the officers were manhandling him like two linebackers roughing up a quarterback during the Superbowl. However, in real life, anytime a person no longer feels they are free to leave an area (because of police actions) then they are considered to be under arrest. And that doesn’t always have to involve handcuffs or locked doors. This guy was definitely not free to leave.

– Was it just me, or were there far too many commercials in this episode? More than usual?

– Beckett made her usual, “Don’t leave town” comment. Police officers cannot order someone to stay put without the proper paperwork from the courts. And something was different about her this week. I did notice that she wore a lot more makeup than ever before. But that wasn’t it. Anybody?

The ending was as predictable as sunrise and sunsets. The only good thing about it was that it arrived, finally.

Sorry, Guys. This time I really didn’t like the show. So go ahead, start blasting me. I can take it.

18 replies
  1. Su
    Su says:

    Lee – I noticed those things about Beckett…and something else. Her clothing style has changed from snug-fitting jeans and jackets to loose, flowing stuff (not exactly detective-like, imho, but what do I know?) They seem to be doing more head shots, or have her holding folders in front of her…I’m actually wondering if the Stana Katic is pregnant. They seem to be using all the “tricks” they usually use when an actress is preggers but the character isn’t.

    Anyone else notice this? Or am I just nuts?

  2. Vikk Simmons
    Vikk Simmons says:

    I admit I watch Castle for the entertainment and definitely not for figuring out how to do it right when nailing procedure stuff. But I have to say the whole body rolling out of the couch with the pick standing up from the chest at attention definitely made me blink a time or two. I realize it was supposed to be for a visual high drama moment but I think it may have been a wee bit over the top and probably not necessary.

    Had a great time at WPA and am now combing through your blog. Thanks for weekly Castle updates. It’s interesting to see drama through the eyes of a true veteran.

  3. Pat Brown
    Pat Brown says:

    I find I pick those things out without thinking about them much. I’m so used to them. Besides, I watch the show alone so it’s hard to complain loudly when I’m only talking to walls. LOL.

    Have you seen Blue Bloods or Detroit 187. I know the 187 code is California, not Michigan, but how else did it stand up?

  4. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:


    I wondered about no blood across the room also. I laughed at the fish flop of the body.

    As for Beckett, I think the long hair, clothing, and attitude hace made her look softer. Personally, I liked her better with the edger clothes, short hair, and fisty attitude with everyone except the victim’s family.

  5. Dorothy McFalls
    Dorothy McFalls says:

    Thanks for the review, Lee. I completely forgot to watch Castle this week! I’d gotten swept up by a novel I was reading instead. Imagine that. 🙂 I look forward to catching it on Hulu and trying to figure out what’s different with Beckett. Keep the reviews coming. They help me to think about things differently, know what questions to ask myself and whatnot, that I wouldn’t be doing otherwise.

  6. Marty
    Marty says:

    Thanks, I guess I should read your reviews more often. This actually was the first time.
    We will try to watch Southland also. I have heard good things about that too!

  7. Valerie Hansen
    Valerie Hansen says:

    What was different about Beckett? For one thing, her haircut. At the end of last season she’d had it cut shorter and it looked really good. Now it’s grown back and looked as if it could use a good washing. The other thing I noticed was an apparently different stylist for her clothing. There used to be an edge to her, i.e. that leather jacket with all the zippers.

    Now, as for the forensics, I too wondered about the ice pick and rigor. Since I found this blog I’ve been far more attentive to clues, although I was always aware of blatant errors. Hey, Lee, how about bringing your seminar to AR?

    Thanks for a good chuckle,

  8. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I still enjoyed the episode, even thought it definitely won’t go on my list of favorites. I think it’s the writing this time… that person irked me last year in Tick, Tick, Tick, and this one wasn’t much better. Wish they’d ditch her and find someone who has a clue. I did enjoy the scenes with Castle, Martha and Alexis. Poor Chet. We never even got to meet him.

  9. Karen Ranney
    Karen Ranney says:

    Honestly? I think Castle is going to lose me this season. There’s just something wrong about it. Maybe it’s that the characters have subtly changed. The chemistry just isn’t there. Now, I’m watching it to see all the flubs.

    But Southland? I LOVE that show. It’s just smart and brilliant at characterizations (can you tell I think a lot about characters?). Nice to know that the police procedural part of it is spot on, too.

  10. Stephen Brayton
    Stephen Brayton says:

    Lee, After attending your CS I Don’t Think So seminar at Nashville, I’m catching a lot of errors in these cop and forensic shows. Castle, as you said, isn’t accurate, but they should at least try a little.

    Dad and watched the season premiere of CSI NY. He caught the interesting irony that at the murder scene all the blood had dried, yet the tech was able to get a sample not dried from the elevator button. And I pointed out something you mentioned at KN – all the evidence went into those wonderful plastic evidence bags.

  11. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Marty – No, I don’t watch the show for that reason. And I know the show doesn’t try to portray police procedures accurately. It’s a comedy drama. We know that and have stated so many, many times. I even exchange semi-regular emails with one of the actors on the show and they know why we do the review. Followers of my blog know that I point out the things that aren’t true for the sake of the thousands of readers who visit the blog every day, many of whom are writers. Last season a group of authors asked if I’d do this for them so they wouldn’t make the same mistakes in their writing. So I did and it’s one of the most popular days on the site.

    Southland is a great show and portrays police work quite accurately. It’s on TNT and is heading into their 3rd season, their 2nd on TNT. One of the stars of that show is a friend of mine and says they work hard to “get it right.” And it shows.

  12. Jo
    Jo says:

    ok not a blogger but was at the conference and watched the show and had to see what this was all about. I had the same reaction that Lee did about how could the ice pick stand up like that in the couch knowing how tightly those couches close. I also wanted to know why there was blood on the opposite side of the room by the desk where the daughter first went but nothing from there to the couch? How did the wife get that woman stuffed into the couch all bloody with an ice pick in her neck and then go back to dinner with her daughter and friends in the same clothes and not have one drop of blood on her at all? Just saying don’t see it happening.

  13. Marty
    Marty says:

    Are these shows for entertainment or perfection and absolute truth? Most people that watch Castle “in my opinion” are watching knowing every thing is not exactly the way things are. I guess with your back ground you do! Which is cool, we need the experts too! When you compare all the shows out there we need to try to pick the most entertaining at the time. There is very few sometimes to choose from. My husband and I look forward to Castle every week. Some episodes are better than others, but we realize that they are not perfect, and some times very obviously way out there. Are there any shows that portray exactly what happens?

  14. Kyle Lawson
    Kyle Lawson says:

    You are so right about the commercials. They seemed longer than the show! A good reason to watch the episode on Hulu, where, at least, the ads are shorter

  15. Aislynn
    Aislynn says:

    As soon as Lanie started talking about full rigor and time of death I knew you were going to blast her! No possible way to know that according to what Dr. Hayes said this past weekend. Still I enjoyed the episode but mostly for the interactions between Castle and the guys and Castle and his mother. Glad you’re continuing your reviews, I look forward to them Tuesday mornings. 🙂

  16. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Michael – Actually, I used a whiteboard in my office, too. Not as large as the one used by Beckett, but the same idea.

    Walking, talking, asking questions, being nosy, and listening is how most crimes are solved. Not through DNA, fingerprints, and other evidence. Perhaps I should have pointed out that aspect of the show. Thanks for bringing to our attention, because it really is a very important part of detective work.

  17. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    I actually enjoyed this episode a lot, although as always I’m not as much as an expert on the police procedure. What I did enjoy was watching the pieces fall into place, plotwise. IMHO, at least, they found and went from suspect to suspect methodically until they finally had the pieces they needed to know who committed the murder.

    I do have a question about the timeline on the whiteboard and the photos posted underneath. Is that standard police procedure? It seemed like a good idea to me, and I thought Beckett was doing a good job of sketching out the timeline.

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