Castle: Law and Murder – A Review

Castle: Law And Murder

Well, another episode has come and gone. And this week Caskett (insert appropriate eye roll here) and crew spent the entire hour working a case involving a poisoned juror. Unfortunately, for those of us with investigative minds, the case and killer were pretty predictable. However, that’s sometimes how it goes in the real world. But when I’m watching TV cops, I like to see a bit more twisting and turning before I know the identity of the killer. In this episode, I had him pegged as soon as he appeared on screen.

Okay, this review won’t take long since there really wasn’t a lot to talk about as far as police procedure, but, and you’d better sit down for this one, I have to point out a few good things about Lanie.

For the first time, or so it would seem, the writers did a little forensic homework. Therefore, Lanie actually sounded as if she’d at least walked across a med school campus at some point in her life. Here’s what she had to say about the dead juror (Oh, and she waited until post autopsy to determine cause of death. Nice touch for a change).

– The guy died from cyanide poisoning, and Lanie made this determination using a color test (Cyantesmo test paper).

FYI – The strip is a preliminary test. The confirmation testing would be conducted by a toxicologist in a lab, not by the M.E. Still, it’s a one-hour show, and they needed to get to the point, so they had Lanie report the finding (Of course, she could have said toxicology ran the test and reported to her, but…). Anyway, for the writers out there, Cyantesmo test paper is normally a pale green strip that turns blue in the presence of hydrocyanic acid. The finding is then confirmed using gas chromatography.

BUT…as always, Lanie would have needed a reason to have the victim tested for cyanide poisoning since that’s not something that’s on a normal tox screen. And guess what? She did. She told Beckett that she detected the smell of bitter almonds on the victim. Also, the victim presented with “pink lividity.” Both could be indicators of cyanide poisoning.

So this was good information. But the writers couldn’t stop there. Nope. They couldn’t stand having Lanie sound as if she were a real medical examiner. They followed up with this one…

– Beckett asked Lanie how the poison was introduced and Laine responded with, “Brownish stains in his mouth indicated he recently had coffee. Maybe it was there.” WHAT? So brown stains in someone’s mouth means they’d just gulped down a cup of Starbuck’s best brew? What about tea, a cigarette, or a chocolate doughnut? What about anything that could leave a brown stain???

– Beckett, during an interview with a particularly tough-looking suspect, tells the guy, “Sit down before I make you sit down.” Well, that type of statement only works if you’ve got the a** to back it up. She’s tough, but in this case, I don’t think that would have been the case. I believe this guy would have mopped the floor with both Beckett and Castle. Still, I can see every cop in the world trying it. Part of the job is putting on the tough-guy suit and playing the game.

– Castle made the statement that most poisonings were committed by female killers. I believe that’s an accurate statement. Shootings are male crimes for the most part. But I’ve seen women who were pretty good at slicing up people with knives, so that method could go to either sex.

– The scene where Ryan and Esposito cornered a guy in a closet was pretty good until the man hit the floor. That’s when we heard the detectives’ weapons making all sorts of clicking noises, as if the officers had just racked the slides, or something. That DOES NOT happen, folks. Please don’t write it that way in your stories. Pointing a firearm at someone does not make it click, snap, crackle, or pop.

– I believe it was Ryan who told a probationer/parolee that he’d have him back in prison before roll call. FYI – Normally, that process is called “count,” not roll call. They don’t actually do a roll call. Instead, corrections officers conduct “head counts” several times each day.

– Am I alone here, or does anyone else want to see more of Ryan and Esposito? These guys should be conducting interviews, etc.

– I liked the fingerprint-on-the-seatback-button idea. That’s the stuff that breaks cases. Good thinking here.

– Oh, and the crooked DA… Who didn’t see that coming? Besides, the cops don’t work for the DA.

All in all, I’d say this episode was just okay. Sure, it was solid, but nothing more. No “WOW” factor.

So I guess it beat watching Sanford and Son reruns.

Well, I’d better leave something for my review partner to discuss. So, take it away, Melanie…

To me, this seemed like a filler episode, with the plot dwelling mostly on the case, but I enjoyed it. Plenty of twists and turns.

Nothing earth shaking happened between Kate and Rick, however, although they did manage a little theory building, a few shared smiles, and Kate chastised Rick for tracking Alexis via her phone.

The sweet scene farther along in the show when Alexis came into the precinct and she and Rick ironed things out made both me and Kate smile. She seems to like seeing Rick in “daddy” mode… the time when he’s the most genuine.

The “Forbidden Planet” framing device was a nice touch. Rick begged first Alexis and then Martha to go with him to see the movie at the beginning of the show, but they both declined. Then at the end, Beckett admitted that she’s a fan of the movie and plans to go since they’ve solved the case — sans Josh, who’s on shift — and this thrills Rick, but he doesn’t let on that he loves the movie, too. He lets her think he’s never seen it. So she insists he go along… and with a hidden grin, he agrees, even asking her to go for burgers at Remy’s afterward. Sly dog. She doesn’t agree to that right away, but who knows what might happen off camera? <smirk>

Next week’s show looks interesting… but the one I really can’t wait for comes later, during May sweeps. The big trip to L.A. for a case and a visit to the Heatwave movie set.


8 replies
  1. KalliopePL
    KalliopePL says:

    Sally: perhaps it’s a good idea to have Alexis do something really stupid in the future, this would be just perfect opportunity for a serious talk between her and Kate. I was hoping for Alexis/Kate scene in “Law and murder” episode, unfortunately it didn’t happen 🙁

  2. KalliopePL
    KalliopePL says:

    I haven’t caught it myself, need to re-watch the episode tonight, but some people at Castle boards are saying that Kate added “just kidding” after she disagreed to go to Remy’s after the movies 😉

    As for L.A. episode, Twitter and Tumblr are FULL of photos from filming this episode and also some videos as well. I almost died from laughing at one of the pics posted by @Stana_Katic on Twitter, she’s wonderfully crazy :)))
    Gonna be totally AWESOME and EPIC episode. Can’t wait! 🙂

  3. Sally C.
    Sally C. says:

    I’d like to see Esposito & Ryan do more than look up financials each week. I loved their banter in the apartment scene.
    Alexis is a smart girl, so why is she hanging out with friends who shoplift, especially since her dad is so close to the police department? Are they the popular kids at school? And is she going to keep covering up for her friends when they start smoking and drinking? I thought Alexis had more sense than that.

  4. JonathanQuist
    JonathanQuist says:

    The guy died from cyanide poisoning, and Lanie made this determination using a color test (Cyantesmo test paper).

    If I recall correctly, this is the test that was developed in the wake of the Tylenol poisonings. Chicago area law enforcement had thousands of bottles to screen for cyanide; this simple test, initially developed by a crime lab technician, made it possible to quickly eliminate samples from more time-and-labor-intensive testing. (In that case, rapid screening was needed to attempt to find a pattern to the location of poisoned capsules.)

    Beckett asked Lanie how the poison was introduced and Lanie responded with, “Brownish stains in his mouth indicated he recently had coffee. Maybe it was there.” WHAT? So brown stains in someone’s mouth means they’d just gulped down a cup of Starbuck’s best brew? What about tea, a cigarette, or a chocolate doughnut? What about anything that could leave a brown stain???

    They would have done better to note a still-wet stain on the victim’s clothing (coffee?/tea?/Diet Coke?). Or, once the initial 15-minute ingestion-to-death time frame was established, another juror or a bailiff could have remembered seeing the victim with the coffee cup. Both would require more screen time – I’m willing to be a little lenient on this point.

    Re: Ryan and Esposito – these characters are becoming hot. Castle is still the title character, but it’s much more of an ensemble show, and I for one like it. (Anyone think it’s possible to pull off an episode with Castle entirely offstage?)

    As the father of two daughters, I love the relationship, mis-steps and corrections between Castle and Alexis. Castle makes the sorts of mistakes that all fathers make, and ultimately resolves them in the manner that all fathers hope for. And Alexis saying “the names of my friends is still off the table” was priceless. It’s hard to admit that your little girl is growing up, and exhilarating when she finds the voice to remind you.

    And speaking of strong ensembles – Lee and Melanie, keep up the good work.

  5. KarenB0716
    KarenB0716 says:

    I covered the show last night for the site I write for and I wondered in my recap/review… When Juror#4 ID’d Wardell Williams after seeing him on television (while at the precinct), would that be considered a tainted ID?

    (You’ve got the procedure down, Melanie has the relationship stuff, I went through the tedious suspect list in my story! (

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