Castle: Ph. Dead – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: Ph. Dead


“Working murders is not your job, anymore.” ~ Lanie to Castle


New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Well, you can call me bad cop again this week, because I’m still not at all happy with the contrived, ill-conceived plotline the powers-that-be came up with in an effort to “shake things up” this season—when in reality it’s only served to anger loyal viewers. Sure, I’m doing my best to deal with the explosive canon twist they dumped on us last week, but the episode left a sour taste in my mouth.

Kate is still acting out of character in this one, and Rick has reduced himself to a twit as he chases after her. Granted, the episode did have its moments and I did laugh out loud a few times. All in all, however, I’m still not a happy camper. I usually want the episodes to creep by so I can savor each one, but this season I want them to hurry by so we can get to episode seven and the supposed end of Kate’s misguided quest for “justice”.

They did give us a few enjoyable Caskett moments in this one that harkened back to seasons past, but they did little to bring back the romance—something that is essential to the show, IMHO, since our dynamic duo is now husband and wife. I don’t like them being apart. It makes no sense.

The show opened with Rick waking up alone in their bed and glancing at Kate’s side with grief evident on his face. That scene alone broke my heart. I had to chuckle, however, when he turned on his new home operating system, better known as “Lucy”—a name that cracked me up because I have a calico cat named Lucy who pretty much runs my house. Lucy is a nice touch. Typical Castle.

I do like that Rick is back to solving cases now, even if he has to insinuate himself into them via his PI business, but he should be working with Kate, not against her. Her determination to keep him at arm’s length bothers me. He’s having to work too hard to get her attention, and it all falls flat to me at this point because, as I pointed out above, they’re married now, for crying out loud.

Kate kept running into Rick as the case unfolded, thanks to his conniving ways, and I did like that because it at least put them in the same room. I did not like her attitude. Too out of character.

The college prison experiment put a different twist on the case, and I loved that Rick locked himself into a cell with Kate so they could talk—and then they didn’t. Seriously? Yes, they solved the case by building theory together, something they’ve always done well, and they shared a delicious charged moment in each other’s arms – but they didn’t kiss, and I felt cheated.

Come on, writers! Are you trying to kill us? We waited years for those two to get their heads out of the sand and admit they loved each other, and now Kate’s pushing Rick away to “protect” him while she chases after some phantom nutjob we only heard about last week? Please. The whole scenario is tiresome and ludicrous.

The last scene in the show made my heart ache. Kate wants to go home, but the writers won’t let her. Rick and Kate have always been safer together than apart. Now she’s working with Vikram, a nice addition to the cast, but not the man she should have by her side while she’s fighting a phantom foe. If someone had issued a concrete threat against Rick, I could probably buy into this convoluted plotline. But all they’ve given us through three episodes is this vague threat that came out of freaking nowhere, and as hard as I try, I simply can’t suspend my disbelief long enough to buy into it.

Kate has worked too long and too hard to get where she was with Rick at the end of last season to throw it all away on another obsession. Yes, she says she still loves him, and he loves her, but that’s not enough for me. I want happiness now.

I’m going to keep a close eye on the next few episodes to see how the writers get themselves out of this mess, but we shouldn’t have to mark time like this. I want them to hurry and get us back on track. We’ll see what bones they throw us next week. I hope we get more than we did in Ph. Dead.


Lee Lofland

Okay, there’s a dead guy impaled on a large, human-leg-size tree branch—a through-and-through wound to the midsection. Lanie, the voodoo forensics queen, says someone used brute strength to push the guy onto the tree limb, causing the thick, wooden appendage to pass through flesh, bone, and clothing. I agree, the person who could do this had to be a size and strength equal to that of The Hulk. No doubt about it.

However, we later learned that a tiny young woman was the great and powerful force behind the killing. Ridiculous. Not only would someone of her size and stature not have the muscle to do such a thing, it seems as if the writers totally forgot they’d had Lanie say the thing about the killer having brute strength. I suppose this was their lame way of throwing viewers off track. If this sort of thing was written into a novel we’d call it lazy writing. The same applies here. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.

Of course, Lanie once again relied on lividity to establish a time of death (TOD). Remember, when the heart stops beating, gravity pulls blood to the lowest point(s) in the body. Blood pooling in those low areas stains the surrounding tissue which gives the appearance of purplish-blue bruising. This staining of tissue is called livor mortis, or lividity. For example, a victim lying flat on his back when he dies exhibits lividity on his back, buttocks, and the back of his legs. The same is true on the front of the body, if the victim is found lying face down.

The staining of tissue normally begins within the first two hours after death. The process reaches it’s full peak in eight to twelve hours.

If the victim is moved during the first six hours after death the purplish discoloration can shift, causing the new, lowest portion of the body to exhibit some lividity.

After a period of six to eight hours after death, lividity becomes totally fixed. Moving the body after eight hours will not change the patterns of discoloration. Therefore, investigators know a body has been moved if it’s found lying face down but lividity is present on areas of the back.

Rookie officers have sometimes confused lividity with bruising caused by fighting.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s go back to Lanie’s assessment. Again, she based the TOD on lividity. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult to reference something you can’t see. The victim was upright, meaning lividity would be present in the lower legs, lower arms and hands, and quite possibly the face since the face of this dead guy was aimed toward the ground. However, we saw the face and arms and there was no lividity present in either place. His legs were totally covered by clothing—couldn’t see any flesh below the wound. Therefore, Lanie could not base the TOD on lividity (which is really not an accurate basis for TOD anyway).

Alexis is the new impossible-to-believe character. Out of nowhere she’s suddenly a computer expert, a crackerjack investigator who knows more about police work than seasoned veterans, and she’s a master at working undercover. Her computer skills are beyond amazing, and she has access to things only accessible to law enforcement. And…she, like her dad, now tags along when Esposito and Ryan search buildings for dangerous bad guys. It was bad enough seeing Castle charge headfirst and unarmed into potential gunfire situations, but now we have the daughter doing the same. Please…

Alexis also has the job of providing information and clarifications that move the story from one point to another when the writers are too lazy and weak to build those tidbits into the tale. So now Alexis is forced to spout off lines of info dump material. For example, Castle mentioned the Stanford Prison Experiment, a real study conducted at Stanford University that was funded by the Navy. So, for the benefit of viewers who may not have heard about the experiment, Alexis recited a definition of the project. This was an awkward scene since Castle already knew about the experiment and there was no one else around to hear. Again, weak and lazy writing.

Castle arrested and cuffed a murder suspect, the college professor. Yeah, right. That would happen in real life. NOT.

Melanie has already addressed the other stupidity seen in this episode so I won’t go there. But I am curious about why Beckett feels the need to be away from Castle. Supposedly it’s to protect him, yet she was with him off and on throughout the show. Doesn’t make sense.

And please, TURN ON THE LIGHTS! Filming the show in near darkness does not increase the tension. Instead, doing so merely adds another reason to stop watching this train wreck.