Castle: Home Is Where The Heart Stops

Home Is Where The Heart Stops is the title of this week’s episode of Castle. The medical examiner, Lanie Parrish played by Tamala Jones, was back this week, unfortunately. Back, and in rare form again. In the opening scene she holds up a bloody piece of gauze and says, “The blood spatter indicates GSR at close range.” Excuse me, but what does one have to do with the other. Sure you could find GSR (gunshot residue) in blood, maybe. But blood spatter doesn’t indicate its presence. What blood spatter patterns do tell you is where the killer and victim were standing when the fatal blow/shot was delivered. This character makes me want to scream at my beloved flat screen television! She’s awful, and she’s very distracting. She serves no positive purpose on this show.

Detective Kate Beckett wasted no time joining the awful information train. Her opening line was, “I can still smell the cordite.” This is also a line I read in a lot of books. NO, NO, and NO! Unless your story is set during World War I, in World War II England, or, if your killer used a tank to do his killing, you can’t use cordite in your writings. Cordite was used by the British Navy as a low explosive because of its slow burning capability. Sure, the U.S. brought some over many moons ago, but it’s no longer manufactured. Hasn’t been for decades.

Cordite production ceased in Britain at the end of the 20th century.

Okay, enough of my ramblings. Let’s list the good and bad.

– Beckett states the killer must have used a revolver because there were no spent casings on the floor. This is good information. Revolvers do not eject spent casings. If you attended the Writers Police Academy last weekend you heard this several times from the instructors.

– One of the detectives used the phrase “did a nickle” to describe a con’s time in jail. Good stuff! Doing a nickle means the guy served five years.

– I loved it when one of the detectives chastised Castle for using a writer’s favorite nickname for bad guys – Perp. I believe he asked, “Why do writers always say perp. Cops don’t.” Then he and his partner reeled off a long list of bad guy nicknames used by cops. They did miss two – Scrote and Asshole.

Beckett joined in ( if you’ve ever attended my workshops you’ve heard me say this a thousand times) and added, “We call them suspects.” YES! That’s what cops call crooks in most areas. Suspects. Remember that, please. Oh, even the lieutenant said he calls them dirtbags, not perps.

– Beckett has a pattern going when questioning suspects (notice I said suspect). They ask for attorneys, but she continues her questioning. No. Officers must stop questioning when the suspect asks for an attorney.

– Beckett said she had no legal reason to hold the initial suspect. Not true. He was a convicted felon who, when arrested, was in possession of a firearm. That’s a felony. Convicted felons may not possess a firearm of any type unless they’ve had their rights restored by the court, or received a pardon from the governor or from the president of the U.S.

– Castle and Beckett did a little practicing at the firing range. Castle fired a round at the target using the detective’s weapon, and supposedly a spent casing ejected from the pistol striking Beckett on her right cheek. Unless Beckett’s gun is a specially-made left-handed firearm, this couldn’t have happened. She stood to Castle’s left. Casings eject to the right.

– Castle took a known jewel thief to the crime scene, contaminating it. Had this guy been the actual crook he could then have easily explained why his fingerprints and DNA were present.

– Beckett made the statement, “They (writers) never get it write in books and movies.” What about TV writers!!! Guys, please let me send you a copy of my book. Then pick up a copy of Doug Lyle’s book on forensics. Shoot, just email either of us with your questions. We’ll save you!

– A suspect described the killer to Castle who in turn relayed the description to a forensic artist, who then drew a sketch based on Castle’s second-hand knowledge. Robin Burcell, what’s the possibility of this scenario having positive results?

– Castle and Beckett observe a guy at a party taking photos of women wearing expensive jewelry. They know the guy has a criminal background, so Beckett then holds up her badge and informs the guy that he’s under arrest for murder. No way. She’d need something other than snapping photos and a criminal past to make this sort of drastic move. Something like probable cause that actually linked him to the crime would have been nice.  Besides, I can’t imagine making this particular arrest without a warrant in hand, which she didn’t have.

_ In the closing scene Beckett and Castle arrive to collar the crook. Beckett is seen fumbling with her weapon (What the heck was she doing anyway?). Then we heard her pull and release the slide on the pistol. NO! Cops always, always, always keep a round in the chamber. Their weapons are ready to fire, always. Did I make that clear enough – ALWAYS! In Beckett’s case she’d have ejected a live round into the car beside Castle. That would have left her one round short, which is how I’m feeling about the writers of this show – One round short of a full magazine.

Oh, Beckett returned a piece of evidence to the crime victim. Cops aren’t allowed to do that. Once evidence has been collected and recorded it can only be released with a court order or with the permission of the prosecutor.

Still, the chemistry between Castle and Beckett is great. Believe it or not, I really do like this show.


23 replies
  1. tudza
    tudza says:

    Hey, do I get bonus points for buying the Lyle book when I bought yours? Maybe not, I paid full price for yours but bought his new but at a cut rate price.

    I don’t remember the pistol range set up. Did they have full height barriers between each shooting station? I’ve had the occasional casing bounce funny from those and sometimes you get that slide hitting the casing action, which either means I didn’t have a firm enough grip or the ammunition was not the best.

  2. jenifer
    jenifer says:

    Just finally watched the show last night after a busy week. Great show (funny!), and your analysis is the icing on the cake. This:

    One round short of a full magazine.

    May be the best summary I’ve seen of it, though. 🙂

    I thought they might have redeemed the M.E. (despite the GSW line) when she couldn’t say how many bones had been broken to stuff the woman into the safe (until she got her on the table). Then the cop sneezed and she yelled at him about contaminating her crime scene. Um, since when does the M.E. own the crime scene?

    For once, Beckett’s high heels made sense when they were at the charity event – she could hardly wear that dress and sneakers – but since she shouldn’t have been arresting him at the time, there’s still an issue there.

    I did love Castle’s hustle at the shooting range despite the weird ejected casing trajectory. Hey, maybe it just bounced really, really strangely off the lane divider.

  3. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Hi Pat. Please do point out things I’ve missed. I don’t want bad information to go unnoticed. Jonathan Quist made a great point (above).

    The fashion/advice scene made me like the ME even less. 🙂

  4. PatMarin
    PatMarin says:


    Now you have me watching Castle twice before I show up here. The perfectionist in me is trying beat you in finding the mistakes. Like that’s going to happen, right? Love the show and love your reveiw even more.

    Anyway, I finially realize why they need the ME in this show. Beckett needs a woman to she can talk to when she needs clothing and love-life advice.

    Pat Marinelli

  5. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Jonathan – You are absolutely correct. But I think the show still considered it an active scene since it was still barricaded. Beckett even stormed in with gun in hand. Not proper procedure, but what else was? Anyway, good detective work. That one slipped by me.

  6. JonathanQuist
    JonathanQuist says:

    Regarding contaminating the crime scene…

    I thought I heard (from a Chicago cop) that if the crime scene is still (forgive me, “active”? “hot”?) then a police presence would be maintained to preserve the integrity of the scene, and that left unattended, the chain of custody for any additional evidence could be called into question.

    Again, assuming I remember correctly, I thought that once the scene is no longer monitored/guarded, the yellow tape loses any authority.

    If that is true, then in this case, I’d expect the janitorial A-Team to already be at work, because there were no police on-site when Castle and the jewel thief arrived.

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    No, wearing heels when you could possibly end up in a scuffle with a suspect isn’t very smart. But she does it every week.

    I wondered about the badge, too. Castle mentioned it as well. Her reply was, “Don’t ask.”

  8. CaseyDaniels
    CaseyDaniels says:

    Really enjoyed your workshops at the Police Academy this weekend, Lee. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. As far as Castle, I never watched it until last night. The two things I noticed: The high heels Becket wore when she went to arrest the suspect. Doesn’t seem very smart.

    And when she pulled out her badge at the fundraiser . . . well, in that slinky, strapless dress, just where did she have that badge???

  9. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    You’re right, Lee. I skimmed the first paragraph and jumped into what I “ass/u/me-ed” was the meat of the story. My bad.

    Say, Lee, I could see you as a TV ME. Send in an audition tape, see what happens.

  10. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Linda – We do have a connection to the show. I’ll keep everyone posted if anything develops.

    By the way, we’ll be joining Linda again next weekend for another cool journey to Paris.

  11. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Dave – You must have missed the first paragraph above and jumped right to the heart of things. Unfortunately, yes, the M.E. was back and spouting goofy forensics information as usual.

  12. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:


    When I statrted reading your analysis and got to the “perp” word, I thought perhaps the writers are reading the Graveyard Shift. Then, as I went on, I thought, no, they can’t be.

    Looks they made even more mistakes this week. And I assume there was no ME in the show?

    By the way, I did watch about 10 mins of it.

  13. l.c.mccabe
    l.c.mccabe says:


    Have you ever tried writing to that show? Maybe putting a comment on their website? Assuming that there is a website for the show since it is almost compulsory these days.

    I’ve never watched it, but I’m surprised you can given the number of D’oh! moments you’ve chronicled.

    I don’t think I would have the stamina if I watched a show getting laboratory medicine wrong repeatedly.


  14. R. McMahan
    R. McMahan says:

    I like the show, and I chuckle at Lee’s comments about the show (and even his shameless self pomotion for his book).

    Still I like the show far more than some of the other shows. I, for one, dislike the CSI ones mainly because of all of the ‘fakeness’ of it has bled over into real life in the court systems (every juror thinks you have to have DNA or fingerprints to solve a crime). But if you’ve read Lee’s book, then you already know this. If you’ve not read his book, go buy it and read it. Right now.

    Hey, Lee, how’s that? Did I do well? I’ll take payment in alcohol at the next conference?

    Seriously, his book is good. Really good, all kidding aside (but I’m not kidding about that alcohol).

  15. Sarah Grimm
    Sarah Grimm says:

    I still haven’t caught the show, but your analysis is something I never miss. Usually I wind up laughing out loud, then having to read parts of it to my husband.

  16. queenofmean
    queenofmean says:

    Oh, darn. I forgot to watch last night. But I was writing, so I guess that’s not a total loss.
    I did enjoy your analysis anyway, Lee.

  17. Sheila Connolly
    Sheila Connolly says:

    Now you’ve got us all watching for the mistakes–well, not too hard.

    But when was the last time you saw someone use windshield wipers as a weapon? That one had me laughing out loud.

  18. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    See, if you’d gone to the Writers Police Academy you’d have learned all this cool stuff! 🙂

    We are hoping to host another academy next year. We’ll keep you posted as details develop.

  19. melanie atkins
    melanie atkins says:

    Ha ha! I love this show, although it is annoying at times with all the misinformation flying around. I love your Tuesday morning analysis. It’s very helpful, and I love seeing if I caught all the errors. I did last week, but wasn’t so lucky this time. I didn’t know all the info about the ejected casings. Good to know!

    I wish I could’ve made the Writers’ Police Academy last weekend. Will there be another one at some point?

Comments are closed.