Castle: Love Me Dead – A Review

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

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22 replies
  1. Kev
    Kev says:

    I just started reading your Castle reviews. I’m not a police officer, but I am a supervisor at a police/fire dispatch center (and my father-in-law is a cop), so your critiques of the procedurals are wonderful to read!

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    MichyGeary – Thanks for stopping by. The show doesn’t frustrate me, well, with the exception of the scenes involving the medical examiners. Actually, I enjoy Castle, and it seems to get better as time passes. I’m hoping for another season.

    You mentioned the importance of pacing, yet those horrid M.E. portions of the episodes almost bring the show to a halt. Those scenes are such an unnecessary distraction and really need to be cut. This has nothing at all to do with the two actors, it’s the fact that those scenes seem forced and are just stuck there because someone feels that something CSI has to be in the show. But, no, leave that stuff for the dozens of tired, worn out CSI shows already flooding the channels. Let this show be fresh! Last week’s episode should be all the proof of that that’s needed. No M.E. and the show was absolutely the best episode to date.

    I received hundreds of emails Tuesday morning regarding the review and nearly all of them agree. The medical examiner scenes are a huge stumbling block.

    Two weeks ago, I received so much traffic(thousands of hits) on the blog that it shut down the server. Again, much of that traffic related to the M.E. characters.

    I’m a bit confused as to why such talented writers, producers, and actors can’t see what could eventually be the demise (the M.E.’s) of what is a really good show. The main cast has a rare chemistry that doesn’t occur very often, like Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, and Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce. Castle and Beckett along with Esposito and partner have that chemistry. I just hope the show makes it long enough for everyone to appreciate it. This is the first show in a long time that has the potential to join those long-running shows.

    I understand the purpose of multi-tasking to meet the show’s time constraints. I do the review, pointing out things that wouldn’t be done in real life, so writers won’t make the mistake of doing the same in their books, where pacing for TV is not as much of an issue, if at all.

    The show gets a lot of things right, a whole lot. I just wish they’d call or write before blowing a scene in front of their biggest fan base, writers who know better. There are simple ways around most of the errors they’re making – errors that keep my inbox full. I’d be glad to help out with details as I’ve done many times in the past for other networks.

    And, I’ve extended an invitation for the main cast to attend the Writers’ Police Academy. There, they’d learn how police, fire, EMS, and medical examiners really operate. It’s a hand-on event designed just for writers.

    If you have more questions please feel free to contact me at

    Again, thanks for stopping by.

  3. MichyGeary
    MichyGeary says:

    Great write up, Lee. It’s fantastic to read a review from someone who knows what he’s talking about.

    I can appreciate your frustration at the few things that are not done properly or true to life. I would like to defend the show, however, on two points. The first is the matter of questioning the inmate at their precinct. “Castle” is a very low-budget show, and they have admitted to re-writing scenes in order to accomodate their low budget (rather than question a woman in her apartment, they just did it at the door so they wouldn’t have to create a whole new set just for her apartment). No way could they afford another set to create a scene at the prison, so they used a set they already had.

    The second is the matter of Esposito briefing them on details on the way in. This is less to do with low-budget and more to do with the fact that it’s a television show, very fast-paced, and they need to get information across to the audience as quickly as possible. If they had done a separate scene of it, it would have dragged on a bit too much for the pace of the show. They once had Castle (the character) recap an entire conversation he had (over a commercial break) over a wire, and Ryan and Esposito joked about how he has no idea he’s recapping a conversation they all just heard in its entirety. But Castle wasn’t recapping for them. He was doing it for us.

    I’m glad to read what they’re getting right, though. They’ve mentioned how extensively they researched the set-up — both the writing team and the cast themselves. They try to bring as much of that to the table as they can. They sacrifice a few things for the sake of budget or needing to make the hour-mark, but it seems on the whole they do pretty well.

    Thanks again for your great insight. 🙂

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Ange – Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the baby switch show was pretty good as well. I do hope hope you’ll stop in again.

    Judy – Comments like yours make the 4am blog writing on Castle nights worthwhile. Thanks.

  5. Judy in California
    Judy in California says:

    I Tivo Castle so I don’t see it when it is on “live.” As soon as I watch the Tivoed show, I run to your review. Your information and the comments are terrific. I’m grateful for the learning experience. Thanks.

  6. Ange
    Ange says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter. 🙂

    I agree, this one was great, although my favorite will always be the baby switch eppie.

    Any House watchers here? Dr. House attended a medical convention where he stole another doctor’s badge & presented a paper on euthanasia in the medical profession. “Dr. Perlmutter? Solid alibi – in Toronto the entire weekend.”

  7. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Love, love this blog. And, Lee, you’re so great at the cop stuff but you need to work on your romance. Guy in bar pops Castle in the face and Beckett reacts quickly and decisively…why? Deep down she really has a thing for Castle which gives her an adrenaline rush. Oh yes, the network will play this out, you just wait and see as the seasons go foreword.

  8. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Marie – The twists this week were interesting. Still, I basically called this one early on. But it’s a little easier to do when you pause the show every few seconds to make notes. It gives you time to figure things out, which, by the way, is how I solved a lot of crimes – look at the case first as a whole, and then examine it in very, very small bites. By doing this you look at things in an entirely different light. Like pausing Castle with a goofy look on his face.

  9. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Lisa – You brought up another point that I had in my notes. Actually, it was my first entry of three pages. The police, captain included, had already learned far too much information in a matter of minutes. I mean the dead guy was still on the hood of the car and they’d already spoken to his ex-wife who’d told them that he didn’t drive, opting for public transportation instead.

    Also, there’s far too many references in this show to the mayor getting involved in police investigations. That’s not the norm. Sure, they get involved with budgets and personnel issues, but not usually to the point of telling a captain to close a case. A mayor’s dialog would probably be with the chief, anyway.

    I don’t think Beckett had the intention of arresting the guy in the back seat, so he was actually just a regular guy in the car, sort of. And, I doubt she’d have expected his ability to remove the cuffs. However…I once arrested a guy, handcuffed him after a lengthy and exhausting struggle, and then transported him to the jail. When I opened the rear door of the car he politely handed me my handcuffs.

    In my haste to get the guy inside the safety of the cage I’d forgotten to double-lock the cuffs. The thug took advantage of my error and used a paperclip to pop the ratchet lock on each cuff. That was a mistake I never made again. I also conducted more thorough searches, looking for paperclips.

  10. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    I missed one of the twists (the DA being Danton), but I was immediately suspicious of the hooker when she showed up at Castle’s apartment. Something just felt hinky about that.

    Loved the father/daughter interraction and the writer/mother scenes and really loved Castle and Becket. That’s why I keep watching. I’m just a sucker for their chemistry.

  11. Lisa Haselton
    Lisa Haselton says:

    I think this was the best episode so far. I kept waiting for an ME to appear and was glad that none did.

    I enjoyed Castle’s insecurity with his daughter keeping a secret – and thought it was great when he asked the 2 guy detectives what type of secret she could keep and they mentioned teen pregnancy, drugs, and one or two other things, just to toy with him. His reaction was priceless – seemed genuine.

    Two things jumped out at me in this episode – the opening scene – the captain and the 2 detectives were on scene before Beckett, and Castle seemed to get there before her too (if only by mere seconds). The captain knew who the dead guy was, and had already been given orders to close the case quickly, and the detectives had already been to the roof and found out a lot of details.

    I get that Beckett may live far away from some scenes, but that just seemed like a lot happening before she arrived.

    The other thing was the handcuffed guy in the backseat. I get that it’s something that’s done, but when he reached into the front seat, I was a bit startled, and even more surprised when it was okay with Beckett that he take off the handcuffs. He seemed more a civiliar ride-along than someone under arrest.

    Castle trying to learn the handcuff trick was funny. I really thought he was going to ask the guy if he had any input into teen girls keeping secrets from their dads. 🙂


  12. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Jordan – I had the alibi thing in my notes, but skipped over it (that’s fancy talk for “I forgot”). I’ll use being tired as my excuse. I do this blog immediately after the show and it takes a two or three hours to put it all together.

    I’ve offered a time frame to suspects before, but never the real time. That sometimes tricks the dummies into covering for the fake time, but not the actual time.

    A civilian would never be allowed to participate in the questioning, but Castle does it in each episode so I don’t mention any more.

    Hey, aren’t everyone’s kids as perfect as Castle’s daughter?

    Margaret – No, civilians would never be allowed to participate in police work as actively as Castle does in this series. One huge reason would be liability. Can you imagine the danger and repercussions involved with a civilian, an unarmed one at that, tagging along during the execution of a high risk search warrant entry?

  13. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    You’re right, Dave. No way I’d have ever discussed any case details in front of a civilian, especially one who’s possible suspect. Unless I was trying to trick the guy with some fabricated BS.

    Melanie – Good point. It would have been great if they’d shown Alexis and Beckett together. Yep, the APB thing grates on my nerves a bit as well.

    Michael – For once I was serious. Cops do drag criminals to various locations for a variety of reasons – ID other crooks, ID the exact scene of a crime, etc. For this very purpose, I had the rear windows of my unmarked car tinted almost black so no one could see who was sitting in the backseat. I did a lot of narcotics work so I often had informants riding along for one reason or another, such as taking them to a drop off point so they could purchase drugs from a dealer (a controlled buy to establish probable cause in order to obtain a search warrant).

    Rhonda – Just like my agent says – cut what you don’t need. (Right, Joyce?) And this show definitely doesn’t need the phony morgue scenes. ABC should boot the M.E.’s as fast as Kelsey Grammar’s new series, Hank, got the can. Speaking of that show, Kelsey Grammar hasn’t been able to make a go of it since Frasier. I’m a huge KG fan, but he should surely take notice of the chemistry between the actors in Castle. That’s what he’s been missing since Frasier.

    Joyce – You might see something very similar to that vest at the Writers’ Police Academy. I’m just saying…

  14. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    I missed the beginning of Castle . . . again (getting the kiddo into bed, yanno).

    I enjoyed this story and the twisty-twist in the end. I knew the call girl did it when she shot Knox, but before that–no clue.

    I’m with Melanie–I would have liked to eavesdrop on the conversation with Beckett and Alexis.

    The only problem I’m having with this show–and it could be I missed something in one of the episodes–is WHY Castle is allowed to play such an active part in a police investigation. Yeah, yeah, I know the mayor is pushing his weight behind this, but would a police department really go this far to allow a ‘Castle’ to participate??

    I really appreciate this blog, Lee! And as much as I would love to attend your academy, it just isn’t in the cards!

  15. Jordan Dane
    Jordan Dane says:

    Lee–I was waiting for you to mention that in the interrogation, the Knox suspect asked Beckett what time the murder happened so he could contrive an alibi and she told him 9:30. That’s a no no. She should have just asked him his whereabouts and not given him information to keep him guessing. That made me cringe.

    And I still don’t know why Castle is not in an observation room, but participating in the interrogation part. He could still observe the process from another room, but he gets involved in the questioning too.

    In this episode, I figured out who did it in the first few minutes. It’s a game my husband and I play since I’m a writer, but I found this show predictable, even down to the twist of the DA being Danton. It still was a good episode.

    In general though, I really love the show for entertainment purposes. Nathan Fillion is perfectly cast. And Castle’s family is soooo good, the mother especially. Daughter is a little too perfect, but the mom is a hoot.

    Thanks for the write up, Lee.

  16. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    I didn’t get to watch it–again. We were watching WWII in HD on the History Channel.

    I really want a bullet proof vest with WRITER on the front like Castle is wearing in the photo above. I should add it to my Christmas list.

  17. RhondaL
    RhondaL says:

    I guess it’s assumed that the cops picked up the call girl’s computer when they arrested her? Rod and I expected them to secure the thing.

    I also liked that they didn’t do the “town crier” thing upon cuffing: “Ima Sexy Escort! You’re under arrest for … .”

    I agree about the exclusion of the MEs. We really don’t need them. (Sorry, Lanie. Ah, Arye – VERY sorry.) The morgue scenes kind of don’t fit the tone of this show anyway. Too gritty. This show is all about the snappy dialogue and chemistry between the recurring characters.

    What I especially liked is that they managed to fake us out well, even with a limited cast. Usually, process of elimination helps a viewer ferret out the murderer. But the writers managed some great sleight-of-hand.

  18. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    I’m trying to figure out if you’re deadpan serious here or being sarcastic:

    “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.”

    If this is done all the time, could you elaborate?

  19. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I loved it. My only complaint is that we didn’t get to see the talk between Alexis and Beckett. I like the idea of them talking and bonding. Just because I think it’ll help move the Castle-Beckett dynamic forward a notch. Just sayin’. Castle has to like that Alexis trusts Beckett.

    I noticed they used the acronym APB again. It gets on my nerves. They need to read this blog. lol I did NOT like Michaela McManus when she was on SVU (she was stiff and wooden, and did not play an ADA well), but she made a very convincing call girl.

    All in all, I liked this episode. Very well done.

  20. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Good morning, Lee.

    Well, last night was the first time I watched an entire episode of Castle, sort of.

    I did notice the lack of an ME. That made it more palatable. Perhaps the writers have wised up and will stop trying to be a CSI clone and focus more on the characters. I’m sure you would agree that that would make it a better show.

    The one thing I did notice that wouldn’t happen was Castle and Becket’s brainstorming sessions. They would be talking to a potential suspect, who would give them new information, and then they would turn to each other and start discussing who may have killed the victim, right in front of this suspect.

    I know they probably do this for expedience, to keep the show moving, but in reality, it shouldn’t happen.

    Police officers don’t brainstorm in front of civilians, particularly suspected ones.

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