Castle: Love Me Dead – A Review (of the police procedure)

I’m popping open a bottle of champagne after watching this episode. I honestly think it was their best effort to date. I’m actually kind of shocked that I can’t say enough about the wonderful combination of wit, snappy dialog, emotions, and really nice father/daughter interaction.

Oh, and the police procedure was pretty darn good as well. There were a few sticky points, but we’ll get to those in a second.

First, this show, Love Me Dead, was written by Alexi Hawley. You may remember that name from an earlier episode called Fool Me Once, also a decent, well-written show that actually made me want to watch instead of pausing every few seconds to scribble a note or two about some idiotic comment made by that poor excuse for a medical examiner, Lanie Parrish. You know, I really feel sorry for the actor who plays that character. She’s much better than the part she has to play.

Luckily for us, Lanie Parrish wasn’t in this episode. I almost felt as if I’d been given a second chance at life when I finally saw the credits begin to roll, knowing I wouldn’t hear her stupid, stupid SciFi forensics babbling. I have to admit that I watched the show last night in fear, worrying that she’d suddenly pop on screen.

Now, after having seen the entire episode I finally realized what’s not working for Castle (the show). There’s been a very real stumbling block that a good editor would cut from a novel, and it’s not just the Lanie Parrish character. It’s the medical examiner thing as a whole. In the past the writers have been alternating medical examiners, Lanie for a week or two and then Dr. Perlmutter shows up for a while. Perlmutter is definitely the better character, but neither of the two seem to fit with the rest of the Castle family. Their appearances are forced and out of sync, and they slow the pace of the show.

The absence of both M.E.’s last night was a real breath of fresh air and the show reflected it. It was fast-paced, clean, and fun. I still say a good technical adviser would make all the difference in the world. Maybe they have one, I don’t know. But if they do they need to start listening to what their expert is telling them. Of course, they’d learn all this if they’d just sign up for the Writers’ Police Academy.

Anyway, ABC really needs to keep this team in place, with Hawley at the keyboard, leaving the directing and producing to the folks who handled that sort of thing last night. Although I’m sure Alexi Hawley is an excellent producer, his writing chops are what’s keeping this series afloat.

Okay, enough about that. Let’s move on to what we’re here for, the police procedure and other law enforcement goodies.

– The dead guy was the D.A. so someone called the captain to the scene. That’s what would probably happen in the real world. The higher the status of the deceased, the higher the rank that’s called out.

– Det. Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) is seen wearing a golf/polo-type shirt. That was nice to see for a change. Detectives don’t always show up for work dressed like GQ models. They wear clothing like the outfit Dever wore in this week’s show. It’s practical, especially when you’re hitting the streets digging for evidence.

– I had a difficult time figuring out how Beckett managed to slam a big burly guy into a bar. She didn’t use any sort of cop-type take-down maneuver at all.  She must have eaten a double dose of Wheaties before she came to work, because she manhandled that guy like a mixed martial artist. Who knows, maybe she’s an energy drink junkie.

– Beckett and Castle took a handcuffed murder suspect on a ride to help locate a building that may have been a clue in the case. Yes, this is done all the time.

– Castle sitting in the backseat playing Houdini with the suspect and a pair of cuffs was hilarious.

– Beckett told the hooker that she was going to arrest her if she didn’t answer Beckett’s questions. That’s not exactly ethical. Officers can’t threaten or coerce suspects into making statements or confessions.

– Detectives Ryan and Esposito were pretty good in this episode. In fact, their banter with the vice cop was realistic. These two should get the award for most improved actors, because they’re becoming better cops with each show. And I’m so happy that they’ve almost stopped doing the conjoined twin thing, where they enter rooms together, looking like they’re connected at the hip.

– Beckett told one of her partners to call the prison and have them bring an inmate to the police station so she could question him. No way. Cops go to the prisons if they want to question a prisoner. The risk for escape and injury goes through the roof whenever an inmate is taken outside the confines of the prison. There are secure interview rooms available inside all prisons.

– The call girl gets caught in a lie and Beckett says she’ll charge her with obstruction of justice if she doesn’t tell the truth.

That was a good call, one that’s a real favorite among the Feds. They love to tack on that obstruction of justice charge. It’s a great tool, because the charge carries an automatic ten years in the federal penitentiary, if convicted. Suspects quickly start talking when they’re faced with serving the extra time.

– Beckett tells Castle that a suspect doesn’t have to talk to police if he’s not under arrest. She’s right. The only information people are legally required to provide are things like name, address, and date of birth – the basics.

– The police procedure was pretty good until the action scene where they’re all suited up, getting ready to kick in the suspect’s door.

The group, all wearing bulletproof vests, are walking through an alley while Esposito is briefing them about how and why’s of what they’re about to do. Three steps from the door you’re about to kick in is not the time to go over those important details. In real life they’d have gone over every minute item before they approached the residence.

– The arrest of the female murder suspect was good. The detective said, “Stand please,” and then he applied the handcuffs. There was no use of force, and no “slapping on the cuffs.” It wasn’t necessary and that’s how it’s done in real life, if possible. However, the second the detective starting walking the suspect away he began spouting off the Miranda warnings – You have the right to… No, Miranda is only required prior to questioning, not the second you apply handcuffs to someone’s wrists. This was wrong.

Still, Castle and Beckett are perfect for their roles. And, as usual, they looked marvelous. Just like real actors playing cops, only prettier – both of them.

What do you guys think? Was this the best episode yet?

ABC photos

*This was a repeat review of the Love Me Dead episode.

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Writers Police Academy

The Don Knotts Silver Bullet Novel Writing Contest is now open!

The Don Knotts Silver Bullet Contest Award winner will receive The Silver Bullet Award, free Writers’ Police Academy registration ($235 value), and have the opportunity to submit their entire manuscript to one of the judges (to be determined later based upon the genre and work itself). Additional prizes forthcoming. Here’s your chance to get your work in front of top agents and publishers! The contest is open to the general public, not just academy registrants!

Please visit the Writers’ Police Academy website for details.

Contest judges are:

Annette Rogers, Acquisitions Editor of the Poisoned Pen Press, searches for new, unpublished mystery writers. Recent successes include Carolyn Wall SWEEPING UP GLASS, Jeffrey Siger MURDER ON MYKONOS, and Edward Ifkovic LONE STAR. In addition she evaluates and edits manuscripts, corresponds with writers and agents, and fends off Facebook friend requests. Rogers published a bestselling travel book on EGYPT-translated into six languages, wrote for O, The Oprah Magazine, and covered court hearings on the Mormon Bomber case for Time/Life. She has a Masters Degree in History and English.

Benjamin LeRoy is a founder of Tyrus Books-a publisher specializing in crime and dark literary fiction. Before starting Tyrus in July of 2009, he founded and ran Bleak House Books. He lives in Madison, WI where he works on his own writing and is endlessly fascinated with the history of baseball.

Elizabeth Pomada worked at David McKay, Holt Rinehart & Winston, and the Dial Press in New York City before moving to San Francisco in 1970 with her partner and husband, Michael Larsen. Together, they started Michael Larsen – Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents in 1972. Since then, they have sold books from hundreds of authors to more than 100 publishers. Elizabeth is a member of the Association of Author’s Representatives, The Author’s Guild, ASJA, WNBA and co-founder with Michael of the San Francisco Writers Conference and the Writing for Change conference.

Kimberley Cameron began her literary career as an agent trainee at the Marjel de Lauer Agency in association with Jay Garon in New York. She worked for several years at MGM developing books for motion pictures. She was the co-founder of Knightsbridge Publishing Company with offices in New York and Los Angeles. In 1993 she became partners with Dorris Halsey of The Reece Halsey Agency, founded in 1957. Among its clients have been Aldous Huxley, William Faulkner, Upton Sinclair, and Henry Miller. She opened Reece Halsey North in 1995 and Reece Halsey Paris in 2006. Her associate Elizabeth Evans opened Reece Halsey New York in 2008, and in 2009 the agency became Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

1 reply
  1. tudza
    tudza says:

    Your notion about leaving out the ME sounds like it has merit, especially backed by your complaint that they give out information too soon to be realistic, like at the crime scene. There is this British show called Midsomer Murders where they do some truly horrible things ( worst, actually driving a car very likely used in a hit and run murder ), but I liked when the inspector said “What can you tell me?” and the examiner said, “Read my report, it will be ready in a day or two.”

    How often would police detectives actually go to the morgue and look at the dead body in real life?

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