Castle: Setup – A Review

Castle: Setup


This week’s episode was billed as a nail-biter. A real edge-of-the-seat-sitter. Maybe it would have been had I not been watching for the police procedure so you writers won’t make the same mistakes we saw this week. But from where I sat…well, I’m going to go last this week. I need time to calm down. Lanie…puhleeze…you’re killing me.

Melanie, what’d you think of the show? I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting this one.

Melanie Atkins

I’ve been waiting for this episode, and the next one, for weeks. Ever since I first read the hype on the fansite I frequent. Everything I read pointed toward two great episodes with great action and some intense Beckett-Castle interaction, and I was afraid I might be disappointed. Luckily, however, I was wrong. Sure, most of the delicious Beckett-Castle goodness is yet to come, as was evidenced in the previews for next week, but we got what we needed: the Setup.

I seriously can’t wait for Countdown, the second half of this two-parter, which airs next Monday. It was written by Andrew Marlowe, god of all things Castle, so I have no doubt that it will rock. Woohoo! I love this show. Okay, I got that out of my system. ; )

On with the romance recap:

• Kate is obviously unhappy early on by a series of texts and calls that culminate in a visit to the precinct by Josh, her current significant other. When he leaves, she snaps at Ryan, and Castle notices. He questions her about Josh’s visit, and she skirts the issue.

• Once Kate and Rick are stuck in quarantine with their lives on the line, however, she comes clean and tells him that Josh is leaving for Haiti on another Doctors Without Borders mission. Apparently her relationship with Dr. Motorcycle Boy, as Castle calls him, has lost its gleam. At first she liked that Josh was so busy and traveled a lot. It allowed her to “keep one foot out the door”, so to speak, and that was good. Now, though, she wants someone who can be there for her, someone who needs her, too. Someone who will dive into a relationship with her. Rick starts to speak up, to tell her that he can be that guy, when they’re rudely interrupted and let out of quarantine. Ack!

• In true Castle-Beckett fashion, after they’re are kicked off the case for investigating outside the lines during a search for the bomb and are sent home, they continue to work the case off the grid and wind up getting locked in a giant freezer together… thus the “setup” for next week…

Methinks we’re in for some intense Kate-Rick bonding in Countdown. And I also believe I smell a Josh-Beckett break up in the works. I mean, seriously… they set it up perfectly. Bye, bye, Dr. Motorcycle Boy. I, for one, will be happy to see you go.

Okay, my turn to get something out of my system.

Melanie, were we watching the same show? Castle, right? The one where mystery writer Rick Castle, a civilian, was permitted to remain on a case that involved national security—a dirty BOMB? The same show where the medical examiner looked at a hole in a victim’s forehead and immediately knew it was caused by a 9mm round? The very show where a detective (Beckett) was removed from a case but continued to work it on her own (a huge pet peeve about novels, by the way…it DOES NOT happen!).

Before I point out the many things wrong with the police procedure, I have to agree with Melanie about the scene where Castle nearly bares his soul to Beckett. That one was priceless. And it was one of those scenes where Fillian tells the story with his facial expressions. No dialog needed at all to know what was on his mind.

Anyway, back to the deed at hand…police procedure and forensics. Unfortunately, we start with Lanie. Grrr…

– Lanie marks the time of death (TOD) at precisely 11:15 because that was the time on the victim’s watch when it stopped working. She had no way of knowing the watch stopped when the guy fell and died. For all she, or anyone else knew, the watch could’ve stopped ten years ago, but the guy continued to wear it for sentimental reasons. I’ve already addressed the 9mm round to the head, so I’ll move on to her next dumb comment, where she stated that someone broke the victim’s fingers, one at a time. What, were his fingers equipped with timers and video recorders? Because there is no way she could have determined this. No way.

– Esposito commented that the cab driver, according to his GPS software, made a stop and left the motor running. I’ll turn this one over to you guys. Does GPS software have the capability to record whether or not the engine is running while a vehicle is stationary? I haven’t seen one that does.

– I now know the name of Beckett’s favorite TV show…CSI. This was quite easy to figure out, especially when she searched the storage unit by flashlight when there was a perfectly nice 4′ fluorescent light fixture hanging overhead. They seem to favor using flashlights on CSI, even in daylight. Well, TURN ON THE LIGHTS people! That’s how real cops do it.

– Why was Beckett wearing a radiation detector? Standard police equipment? Nope.

– The DHS guy who came in and took over the investigation, and the entire NYPD, allowed Castle to continue working on a federal case that involved a dirty bomb. No way that would happen, AND…there’s no way the captain and a handful of plainclothes detectives would respond to a truck containing a bomb. That’s the job of the bomb squad/hazardous materials unit. If they did, they certainly wouldn’t run up to the truck and fling open the back door without first checking to see if that action would detonate the explosive device.

By the way, why was there only one federal officer sent to handle something this large? Don’t they travel in herds when working high-profile cases?

– I was glad to see Castle using the department computers to trace the bad guy’s money trail. That’s about the only thing left in the entire department that he, as a civilian, hadn’t done.

– Castle made a great statement concerning hard-working writers. “Writers work so hard making the details right.”

– Beckett allows Castle to meet with the Syrian diplomat to discuss the case… Do I need to address this nonsense? I didn’t think so. Next.

– I mentioned that the DHS guy removed Beckett and Castle from the task force, yet they continued to investigate the foreign, killer terrorists who’ll stop at nothing to murder anyone and everyone. And Beckett and Castle chose to continue, alone. I have one more thing to say about this. NO!

Lastly, I have to bring up the bomb. It’s sort of a character, too. Right? Well, I found it almost comical that the terrorists were thoughtful enough to label their “blowup-the-entire-city-of-New York” bomb as radioactive. They were also kind enough to include a radioactive placard/logo on the device. I guess they didn’t want anyone to get hurt…

I wish the writers had been that thoughtful when they dropped those police procedure and forensic bombs into our living rooms.

How long, I wonder, will it be before we begin to hear of the “Castle Effect” in courtrooms across the country? Will jurors soon begin to demand to see Lanie’s Voodoo-style of forensics? I know I’m already hearing writers ask questions, or doubt an actual expert’s advice with a response that begins with…”But Rick Castle said…” Or, “That’s not how Kate Beckett did it.” And, “Beckett didn’t need a search warrant.”

It’s only a matter of time. Only a matter of time. Sigh…

14 replies
  1. Sally C.
    Sally C. says:

    Speaking of cliques, we know how part 2 will turn out–Castle & Beckett will find the bomb (maybe in Times Square like the real life bomber?) with two minutes to spare and figure out on their own how to difuse it two seconds before detonation.
    I love this series but a police show should have a certain amount of realism (which never stopped the cop shows of the 1970s). Otherwise, if the show is only about the romance, the producers could plop the characters into a sitcom or family drama or any type of genre.

  2. DBdeClerq
    DBdeClerq says:

    Yeah, I don’t think the writers are particularly concerned about getting the procedures right. It seems to me that they’re busier trying to hit every mystery story cliche’ they can find. For fun.

    We’ve had the amnesia victim, the bullet stopped by a book (both in the same episode, I believe). And now they managed the TOD determined by a broken watch. My writer friends and I love trying to spot the cliches. And the Firefly references, of course.

  3. Sally C.
    Sally C. says:

    “Setup” was a letdown—the sloppiest writing all season. The episode is a rehash of last season’s two-parter, only with a Homeland Security person instead of an FBI agent.
    Castle & Beckett are in a brightly lit corridor at the storage facility. They open the locker door and it’s pitch black inside. Oh, please. The light from the hallway would easily illuminate the room and the two wouldn’t be shining their flashlights like Indiana Jones.
    Why would the terrorists need plastic explosives if they have a nuclear bomb?
    If the bomb is in an iron box, how would the “trace amounts” of radiation leak out?
    And if the radiation could seep from the box, wouldn’t it also leak through the flimsy door of the storage locker and contaminate anyone walking through the hall?
    No terrorist would use a public storage locker unless he wants to get caught. The security cameras are blatantly obvious. Most storage facilities advertise their security procedures and have a bank of camera screens in the front office that anyone walking into the office would see.
    Why didn’t the man remove the box with the guns and explosives at the same time he took the bomb?
    Why didn’t Castle and Beckett have a medical checkup after their radiation quarantine? I wouldn’t take the advice of a guy in a hazmat suit that I was “clean.”
    First Castle and Beckett are in a tent and later they’re in a freezer. Is this turning into “how many ways can we trap Castle and Becket alone together until they get chummy?”
    In the first two seasons, the idea of a writer tagging along with the police was cute. Now he should be officially sworn in as a reserve officer or police volunteer. This season he’s done everything except actually putting the cuffs on a suspect.
    Why did the man from the Syrian embassy refuse to talk to Beckett but he opened right up to Castle?
    The “bomb” in the SUV looked more like a device to distill moonshine than a real nuclear bomb.
    How many times now has Beckett been “taken off a case” but she keeps right on going? Maybe she should resign and work as a costumed vigilante. And how was Castle able to pick right up and access the information on his laptop? Can he hack computers or did he stop to download the files on his way out the door?

  4. bjcardone
    bjcardone says:

    My comment? Booorrring! Some suspending of disbelief is okay. An hour of it is not. A lot of this episode was just plain dumb.

  5. dn1097
    dn1097 says:

    “Esposito commented that the cab driver, according to his GPS software, made a stop and left the motor running. I’ll turn this one over to you guys. Does GPS software have the capability to record whether or not the engine is running while a vehicle is stationary? I haven’t seen one that does.”

    And to make matters worse, the taxi was a hybrid toyota prius, in which the gasoline engine does not run when it is parked/stationary… total fail.

  6. gaylecarline
    gaylecarline says:

    Although I love reading these recaps, I’ve always assumed that Castle bore only a passing resemblence to police procedurals. To me, it would seem that the CSI franchises hurt juries most of all – we’re all expecting DNA evidence, latent leaf prints of a rare south American tree, pollen from a nursery ten miles across town while the wind was blowing at 2.5 mph that day…

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I’ll get the word to my “inside” person (one of the actors) on the show. I doubt anyone will show up, though. But you never know. After all, who can resist an all expense paid trip to Mayberry country.

  8. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I do want to remind everyone that I know the show is fiction and not a guide for police and forensics experts. I merely point out these things so people, especially writers, won’t think that’s how it’s really done.

  9. steveperry
    steveperry says:

    I love watching Castle, but this show is to police procedure as Star Trek was to science, which is to say they aren’t even distant cousins.

    What makes the show work is the tension between Castle and Beckett. As soon as they take that away, jumping the shark can’t be far behind. Or, given the current two-parter, maybe nuking the fridge is a better reference …

    Do I want to see them together side-by-side in his bed? Sure. (His place, so his daughter and mother can grin like baboons at them during breakfast.)

    My hit on how best to accomplish it and keep the edge? They connect, then Beckett gets clonked on the head and can’t remember any of it. Talk about Castle twisting in the wind — he’s achieved a perfect union, best he’s ever had, her, too — but it’s taken away. I think it started down along road, so it’s an easy walk.

    Imagine the scene down the line where Beckett is talking about lost love, and how it feels, and can Rick relate?

    Oh, yes. He can …


  10. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I am in total sympathy with your exasperation, Lee. This episode’s plot had holes you could drive an armored tank through. It seemed like they were trying to get to a specific point with the relationship aspect and were unwilling to even bother with a reasonable plot and police procedures to get there. I don’t understand why.

    Obviously, to enjoy the show you have to agree to a willing suspension of disbelief as regards Rick’s participation in the NYPD cases, but in this episode they just lost it. This may be my least favorite episode of all time.

  11. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    “Why was Beckett wearing a radiation detector? Standard police equipment? Nope.”

    I was wondering about that myself. I spent a summer working at Los Alamos, and I did wear a dosimeter during that time, but I doubt that it’s standard police equipment, even in NYC, where they’ve surreptitiously set up radiation detectors in various locations to find dirty bombs.

    And if, as Beckett said, the radiation dose was “maximum,” whatever that means, I imagine she and Castle would have contracted radiation poisoning or sickness and, well, died pretty soon after.

    I also wondered why they were put in an isolation tent. Radiation is not a biological weapon; if a person is exposed to radiation, that does not make them radioactive and a danger to others.

    Finally, with the DHS guy taking over…I seem to recall reading that after 9/11, the NYPD set up their own terrorist task force. I would expect the investigation to be taken over by that group, not DHS. Or, at the very least, it would be that group in conjunction with the FBI.

    It was ridiculous that they would allow a civilian to work this case, but at least they acknowledged that when the DHS guy challenged him, and Montgomery stood up for him. You know, Lee, it occurs to me that Castle really ought to go to the Writer’s Police Academy… 🙂

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