Castle: Inventing The Girl – A Review

Well, another Castle episode is in the history books. This week’s show titled Inventing The Girl was written by David Grae, an accomplished TV veteran with many popular shows to his credit, like Gilmore Girls, Without a Trace, and Moose Mating. Yep, you read that right, Moose Mating.

Grae has also penned the majority of the Castle episodes, which is why I’m a bit confused this week. His writing is normally sharp, quick, and humorous, for the most part. Tonight, I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but my wife had to wake me twice during the show. I fell asleep in mid note-taking. Trying to watch this particular episode could be compared to swallowing a fist full of Ambien with a wine chaser.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m falling out of like (can’t say love because that was never there) with the series? Is it just me, or have the episodes become carbon copies of past episodes? Are they stamping out cookie-cutter scripts with new characters as killer and victim?

Anyway, I’m not here to judge the show, just the police procedure and a small portion of the forensics. This is a short one this week because there wasn’t much substance to the entire episode. So here goes…

– The body of a young fashion model was discovered among a grouping of decorative sidewalk fountains, the kind that spout streams of water and mist while various colored lights blink on and off.

Beckett instructs the team to search all garbage cans and dumpsters for the model’s missing purse. That’s a good move. Crooks often search the bag and then toss it after collecting the loot from inside.

I’m not quite sure how Beckett knew the woman had a purse, but I may have already been dozing by this time.

– Enter the medical examiner…Hoo boy, time to look for the barf bags.

– At the scene of the crime, Medical Examiner Lanie Parrish announces that the victim died of a fatal stab wound to the back. How could she know this was the cause of death before conducting an autopsy???? No way.

For all she knew the woman could have died from a peanut allergy and then fallen on a pitchfork, which was taken away by space aliens. Grrrr…….

Hey, the body is lying on a blue tarp. Where’d that come from, and what happened to evidence that might have been found beneath the body? Gone now for sure.

– Parrish then stated that a cut on the inside of the victim’s mouth indicated she’d been slapped really hard. There was no bruising on the outside of the face to corroborate that theory, so how’d she know this wound wasn’t a the result of a horrific tooth-brushing accident? I’m just saying.

– Here comes the icing on the cake that put the noose around my neck. It’s okay, that rope was consensual, because I was ready to end my suffering right about now. But the torture continued…

Parrish The Ridiculous drew a detailed mini replica of the Washington Monument. She even added tiny measurements to the scale drawing. Why, you ask, would a medical examiner do such a thing? Well, she claimed she could somehow see that Washington Monument-like shape embedded inside the victim’s body, like a YouTube video. Supposedly, the impression was left by the murder weapon. Can you hear me screaming out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was wishing someone would come along and slap my horse on the rear end so he’d run away leaving me hanging from the old willow tree, like Clint Eastwood in Hang ‘Em high. I needed relief!

– The human body is not a lump of modeling clay that would leave a perfectly impressed, true to life, scaled image of an edged or blunt weapon. Not even close. I mean this goofy woman even detailed the point of the object, stating it was one inch in length. She also stated the object was made of glass since she found traces of glass in the body. Maybe so, maybe no. Did she send the material to the lab for analysis? Nope. For all she knew, the stuff was granulated sugar.

– Parrish claimed the victim’s tox report indicated traces of a specific drug. Nope. The drug in question was not one that would show up on a standard tox screen. They’d have to test for that particular drug to find it. Besides, even if the drug did test positive as a methamphetamine, the tox screen wouldn’t be completed overnight. It usually takes weeks. Same thing for the blood alcohol content. They could test to see if alcohol was present, but wouldn’t know the BAC until the tox came back from the lab, weeks later.

I’m finished with, don’t care if I ever see her again, and done with this medical examiner character! Did I do something to you guys at ABC? If so, I apologize, but please call off the torture. Why don’t you try waterboarding the viewers next week while we watch the show. It might be less uncomfortable than having Parrish shove forensic bamboo under our nails.

Let’s move on to Beckett’s search of a murder suspect’s home.

– Beckett and team (By the way, the two partners are back to being joined at the hip. I guess the surgery wasn’t successful), accompanied by a key-holding building super, approached the door to the possible killer’s abode. Beckett and amigos stand to the side of the door (good for concealment and officer safety), but allow the building super to stand directly in the center of the doorway, in the line of possible gunfire, while using his passkey to open the door. They may as well have painted a bright red bull’s eye on that poor man’s chest. The officers should have used his key to open the door (did they have a search warrant?), while standing behind the door frame for cover. They should never allow a civilian to be in harm’s way. In real life, the landlord probably would have been looking for a new super. Hey, I think this one’s available.

During the entry of the suspect’s apartment Beckett has her service weapon out of the holster and was ready for whatever could have happened. So did one of her partners. This was good. However, the other sidekick immediately started nosing around the place with his weapon still nestled safely on his side. No way. He should have had his weapon out until the place had been cleared of all danger.

There were a few other minor points, like Castle searching the photographer’s house (under the bed) while Beckett spoke with the suspect. This would have been an illegal search.

And was it just me, or was it really obvious all along that the husband was the killer? Even my wife, who can’t stand the show, predicted this one while occasionally glancing up from reading a book.

I did not like this episode. It was boring, not funny, and that medical examiner has either got to go or shape up if this show is ever going to make it for me. Not that my household switching to another Monday night show would be a big deal to the network or anything, but I was once a big fan. I wonder how many others are beginning to switch channels at 10pm? The sad thing is that one character is ruining the entire show for me. I’m always dreading her next scene and nonsensical babbling.

This doctor would probably make more sense.

But, for what it’s worth, Castle and Beckett still look good!

You know, The Andy Griffith show is on TV Land at the same time. I’m so tempted…


15 replies
  1. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    You are definitely correct that the initial tox screen tests for those drugs most often abused. If any other suspected drug misuse, for instance heavy metals in a suspected poisoning–arsenic, lead–those would be ordered separately in living patients by the ER physician, patient’s attending, or a specialist.

    I enjoy this blog so much. Thanks for all your service and sharing your experience with us.

  2. Pat Brown
    Pat Brown says:

    Oh, good, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who fell asleep. I woke up from a doze during the final five minutes and had no idea who the killer was. It’s too bad about the forensic woman ruining it all. I like Castle and Beckett, but if this trend continues I won’t be able to keep my eyes open at all.

  3. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Robin, my answer to your question is a day late, but …

    There is Federal law that dictates missing person reports, especially with juveniles. I assume the technical advisor to this show is aformer LE officer and unaware of this. Or, as seems to be the case with this show, reality is sacrificed for the sake of the story.

  4. Robin Burcell
    Robin Burcell says:

    Aside from the premonition of cause of death pre-autopsy, the thing that really ticks me off is the couldn’t-make-a-missing-person-report-cause-48-hours-hasn’t-passed thing. Is New York still in the dark ages? California passed this law years ago, that if you report someone missing, no matter what the jurisdiction (even if it is out of state), a California law enforcement agency is required to take the report and enter it into the system. No more of this wait 48 hours thing (which ended up with a few dead victims, who might have survived had someone started looking for them post haste.) Does anyone know if New York still hasn’t caught up? Or is this another of those things that the public (including the writer) hasn’t caught up with? (Even my kids here in California think one must wait 48 hours.???)

  5. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    I have an idea, Lee.

    Since people seem to be getting the hang of the Castle critique, perhaps letting your readers do the critique for a couple of weeks would be fun.

  6. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Hi, Lee,

    I just occurred to me as I was reading some of the comments posted today that people are starting to look at the show with more of a critical eye toward forensics and police procedure. This is great.

    That is, after all, your objective. To let people know that Hollywood is no place to learn about police work.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Hi Nurse Ryan. Thanks so much for the words of a pro in the business. I agree, the results you mentioned could be available, especially in a hospital setting where the customers are living. However, we’re referring to victims of murder where most of the evidence (remember, it varies depending on the area) is sent to a forensic lab, not a hospital lab (my wife has managed a couple of very large hospital labs in her day) where the waiting list/backlog is long and the results aren’t matters of life or death. The case being the latter decreases the need for urgency.

    And, correct me if I’m wrong (but I know I’m not 🙂 a standard tox screen is only specific to certain drugs. For example, marijuana, amphetamines, alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates. An ME or coroner would have to specifically request a test for a drug or other poison that’s not included in the standard screen.

  8. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    Your insightful comments have me scrutinizing the ME’s comments on every show now. I shook my head at the drawing the ME made at the scene. LOL!

    However, speaking as a nurse case manager who worked from Monday through Friday, Tox screen reports were almost always available on Monday morning for any patient who had one run and was admitted over the weekend. Basically they were either positive or negative for the various drugs, but there was a numeric blood alcohol level listed, not just a positive or negative value. I’ve been retired for the last three years and the blood alcohol content may indeed be a different and/or more complicated test than the one run with the screen.

    Don’t give up on the show because I love watching Nathan Fillion and Stana Kattic’s chemistry.

  9. Peg H
    Peg H says:

    I too groaned when the ME made her assessment of the body and made her announcement as to the murder weapon. Funny how I turned to DH and said, “Lee’s gonna have a field day with that.”

    It seems that I’ve begun to watch the show with an eye to what comments you’ll be making about it now…. 🙂

  10. Su
    Su says:

    In agreement on this episode. Very disappointing. Had it figured out almost from the beginning. (I’m sorry, but I hope my husband would be a LITTLE more upset if I were murdered…)

    The dialogue, particularly between Beckett and Castle, is one of the best things about the show. This episode really missed the mark.

    Holding out a little hope for next week…

  11. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    It sounds like I did the right thing by turning off the TV at 10:15 and going to bed!

    Lee, you really need to write the producers and offer to be a consultant. For a large fee, of course.

  12. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Rhonda – I understand how and why the TV killer thing works like it does, but this shows has begun making the effort to toss two red herrings into the script each week. Then, out of the blue Beckett says, “It couldn’t be him.” That’s getting old, fast.

    You’re right about the dialog. It was very weak and sloppy and that’s a shame because the actors are certainly capable of much more than was written for them.

    I’ll say it again, I still like the chemistry between Beckett and Castle. But even that was dim last night.

  13. RhondaL
    RhondaL says:

    I realize this isn’t police procedure, but a *man* on the cover of Cosmo?? Not their format. Ah, if only an author’s photo could run on the cover of a women’s mass market glossy magazine. Alas, we can dream.

    If for no other reason that a TV show’s budget determines cast size, the killer is usually easy to figure out via process of elimination. Usually, it’s someone we see briefly at the beginning of the investigation. A “gatekeeper,” perhaps. As in real life, a victim’s husband is a prime suspect.

    And something else that may have lulled you to sleep, Lee, is that the dialogue in this ep didn’t have that snap-crackle-pop quality. It was clever, more so than what passes for sparkling dialogue on the rest of cop TV, but it didn’t have the usual spark this time.

  14. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    No, she saw the perfect impression of the object during autopsy. Remember, this was a wound to the back caused by something shaped like the WM. There’s nothing in the human back for the object to leave an impression in (well, the front either for that matter). Unless….wait a minute. Maybe the victim was made of Silly Putty, or Play-Doh.

    I believe the tarp came later, during the ME’s investigation. The way this show goes, who knows. I was probably asleep when they slid the thing under the body.

  15. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    The ME saw WHAT? Do you mean she saw this internal weapon impression at the scene of the crime? Before an autopsy?

    Say it ain’t so, Joe.

    And did the killer leave the girl laid out on the tarp? Like a ritual thing or something?

    Maybe your doctor could prescribe some Monday night painkillers.

    By the way, Andy Griffith was one of the newer ones, sans Fife. I didn’t watch the whole thing. So, you didn’t miss much.

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