Castle: The Fifth Bullet – A Review

Notice the look of anxiety on Castle’s face? I’m sure it’s because he couldn’t wait to see the credits roll on this episode. The writer called this yawner The Fifth Bullet and about halfway through the show I was wishing for a sixth round  to fire into my TV screen. And I thought some of the past episodes were boring…

Anyway, on with the review of police procedure and forensics.

– The amount of blood spatter on the wall and ceiling forty feet, or more, from the victim was unbelievable.

Even this close-up stuff was a little over the top, but the blood drips and runs on the other side of the room, at the top of an extension ladder, was silly.

Just curious. Why is Beckett staring at the victim’s rear end? There’s no bullet wound there.

– Detectives located five casings, but only found four bullets, so immediately they began to make a big deal about not finding the “fifth round.” They even said the round had to be inside another victim. Why? That bullet could have been anywhere. A museum is a huge place. It didn’t have to be in the immediate area. That sort of tunnel vision can really lead an investigation down a long and costly wrong path.

– Fortunately, the fifth bullet was found inside a book that was in the pocket of a man who was experiencing amnesia (Something the writer really overdid. They just went on and on about this. Maybe a seventh bullet would have been in order). I guess the amnesia was supposed to be the big plot twist.

As soon as the detective looked at the bullet, he said, “9mm.” You cannot tell the caliber of a bullet that has been fired from a gun merely by looking at it, especially when over half of the round is buried in the pages of a novel.

Again, he assumed something. He said the bullet was from the museum shooting, so the amnesia guy had to have seen the shooter. There’s no way to know this. The guy could have:

a – found the book

b – stolen the book

c – been the shooter and was pretending to have amnesia

d – been a collector of books containing bullets

– Castle said, “Good thing the book wasn’t written by Nicholas Sparks.” Funny line implying that a bullet would have passed through one of Sparks’ very thin and shallow books.

– Why didn’t Beckett check the amnesia guy’s hands for gunshot residue? He could have been the killer.

– Going to the pound to check the dog tags of Amnesia Dude’s pet was a good thing. Police have used stranger methods to ID suspects, or to find clues.

– The medical examiner said, “The victim has gun residue on him.” Did that mean he had metal pistol parts (trigger, sights, barrel) all over his body? Or did she mean to say gunshot residue (burnt powder).

Oh, the medical examiner, Lanie Parrish, did a pretty good job this week. She wasn’t goofy at all. Of course, her role was almost a walk-on part, but that’s okay. It worked this week. However, even with a limited role, the writer still managed to botch one of her lines (the gun residue thing). Like they say here in the south, “Bless her heart. She tries.”

*ABC photos

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My computer has crashed and it is toast – a black screen with a nasty message at the top. So, my responses to your emails and comments here on the blog will be limited for a while. I’ll do the best I can. Right now, I’m worried about retrieving all my work (a recently completed novel that’s ready for my agent, several short stories, a couple of proposals, Writers Police Academy information, photos, tons of stuff for this blog, etc.). Of course, I now live where computers are still a relatively new invention, so finding someone to help is a difficult task to say the least.


13 replies
  1. queenofmean
    queenofmean says:

    Sorry to hear about your computer problems, Lee. I have a love/hate relationship with computers. They’re one of the few things that can make me mad enough to throw things, but…what would I do without my laptop?

  2. Su
    Su says:

    Alyssa Milano? Please, say it ain’t so. Can’t she find another Playboy to pose for or something instead?


  3. Lisa Haselton
    Lisa Haselton says:

    I was getting tired of the amnesia guy by the end, but for a while thought maybe he *was* the culprit and he was trying to pull one over on the cops by being amongst them and leading them astray if they were getting to close to the truth. But I obviously overthought all that. 🙂

    Even though the ME was a blink on the screen she said something about the victim having bruising on his forearms – yet he was wearing long sleeves and they weren’t rolled up. In fact, they look buttoned, and since he’s face down I wondered how she’d see the bruising even if his arms *were* visible.

    Is there a pocket in a man’s coat big enough to hold that novel?
    Seemed like he pulled it out from his arm pit, too, or at least chest-level, not waist. 🙂

    I laughed at the Nicholas Sparks comment, and chuckled when Castle was commenting on J’s book collection “ah, to re-read ___ for the first time.” (And, wow the collection included Castle’s books!!!)

    How about when Beckett turns around and crashes into Castle and coffee spills down her chest. No screeching or wails of pain, she just changes out of the ‘blouse’ and into a zipped up leather jacket. Not sure why she needed the severe wardrobe change or possible 2nd degree burns to change her shirt.

    The dog was adorable. All licky-like and friendly. 🙂 And even allowed in the PD.

    Castle’s mom had the dating-an-old-flame drama going on – I like how it wrapped up – she wants love, but is afraid to reach out for it. Seemed realistic.

    Alyssa Milano is coming to Castle? Ick. Even though she’s had several projects, I just can’t forget her from the sitcom she starred in with Tony Danza – Growing Pains(?)

    Glad to hear you got a lot of help with the computer, Lee. 🙂

  4. Carol Davis Luce
    Carol Davis Luce says:

    Lee, it’s times like this, when someone else’s computer crashes, that I remember to backup my stuff. ‘Copy on a stick’ — love that!

    As much as I hate to admit it, I’m losing interest in the show too. I fell asleep for ten minutes in the first half. There was little or no chemistry between Castle and Beckett this time, unless it happened while I was dozing. I did like the guy with amnesia, and the dog.

  5. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Oh, and sorry about your computer crash. Been there done that more than once and I still forget to backup half the time. I get better during NaNo and then do back to my negligence after.

    And yes, I think romance writers are the most help people around.

  6. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Lee, I agree the amnesia thing was over done. I kept waiting to find out the guy was a fake. Ditto on the blood spatter.

    Beckett was looking at the supposed wound that we found out later was in his back. However, I didn’t see it on the show (we have a pretty big screen) and I sure don’t see it on the picture posted here. Oops. Someone in props forgot.

    I agree the show was a little slow but since I like the actor who played the amnesiac so I stayed with it. Didn’t need the sixth or seventh bullet.

    Wasn’t happy with the Nicholas Sparks remark as I like his books, but it was funny.

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Thanks for the well-wishes regarding my computer woes. I do have a really nice external hard drive, and its sleek black design looks really nice sitting on my desk. I just wish I’d used it since September when I last backed up my entire C drive.

    Melanie – I think you’ve developed a severe case of Beckett/Castle tunnel vision. This episode was really the worst yet. I hate to say that because I started out as a huge fan of the show. Unfortunately, I’m losing interest. I am, however, looking forward to Alyssa Milano’s appearance. I think the sparks may really begin to fly when the “Charmed One” shows up.

    John – The amnesia/painting angle was interesting, but it didn’t quite hold water with me. Supposedly, Amnesia Dude and his bride bought the painting immediately after sticking his thumb in the wet paint.. If that was true, how would someone create a copy of the art work without having seen it. There wouldn’t have been any photos of it, right?

    Dave – I remember your last computer fiasco and the trouble it caused you. The last time this happened to me I was in St. Louis to give a presentation on homicide investigation.

    I plugged my computer to the projector and it immediately crashed, leaving me staring at a room full of romance writers who didn’t look particularly romantic at the time. My entire presentation was on Powerpoint. Fortunately, I had a copy on a stick and someone kindly loaned me a computer and the show went on.

    In the meantime, Eileen Dreyer (If you’ve never read any of Eileen’s books, do yourself a favor and pick up one soon) grabbed my sick computer and headed out the door. She managed to find a computer store that was open with a tech who pushed everything aside to work on my device. He was able to bring up my desktop and save everything to a hard drive (the one that’s now sitting on my desk collecting dust). I should have learned a lesson that day, but…

    Since the computer guy only managed to save my information but not actually fix the trouble, I was still stuck with a broken computer. So, another one of the RWA members (Wendy Drew) offered the services of her husband-to-be/computer expert. She took my computer home where he worked on it until the wee hours of the morning (I had to catch an early flight home the next day). The called me throughout the repair process to keep me informed of the updates. After it was fixed, the two of them delivered the computer to my hotel. The cost for all that work was the price of the hard drive. No one else charged a dime for their services. Writers are the best people in the world. Oh, I think the computer guy at the store was too intimidated by Eileen to charge anything. 🙂

  8. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    My condolences, Lee. I’ve suffered that black screen phenom twice. I hope you can recover everything you need.

    Speaking of blood spatter, I can remember a case once where the new coroner, a physician, answered a DOA call, rather than one of his competent assistants, and (at the scene) pronounced that the man died from natural causes, and all the blood spatter everywhere was from interal hemorraging as the man thrashed around the room in a panic.

    Fortunately, they still posted the victim and found the five stab wounds in the back. Whoops!

  9. John McFetridge
    John McFetridge says:

    Lee, I really enjoy reading this blog, thanks for doing it. This is my first comment.

    “I guess the amnesia was supposed to be the big plot twist.”

    Yes, it was also an important part of the theme of the show: what’s real and what’s fake?

    The art gallery sold fake paintings to people who didn’t care they were fake, the guy with amnesia won’t know if any of his memories are real or fake (that’s why the first woman came in claiming to be hs wife) and in the end they seemed to be saying it may not matter as the couple will try to start over with a fresh canvas (ooh, that was bad, sorry ;).

  10. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    Ack! re: the computer problems, Lee. I have two external hard drives, back up on an 8G flash drive, and also email my work to myself. Yes, I’m paranoid. lol

    I personally liked the episode. Not the case, but the B/C interaction. I admit it. I’m obsesses with this show. The next two episodes, in January, are supposed to be awesome relationship-wise (not all good, but with plenty of angst.) That makes for good entertainment, IMHO. Check it out at

    I also follow the actors and one of the writers on Twitter and get a lot of interesting tidbits that way. Love. It.

  11. sz
    sz says:

    Sorry to hear about your computer. Definitely worth a trip to the big town.

    Personally, I have a dummy e mail address that no one knows and all my stuff is copy pasted there so it is in outer space and accessible from any computer. You can make as many as you want and split things up as well. Hope it works out Lee !

  12. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    Don’t you back up your work daily? External hard drives are made for this as is a web site called Carbonite which updates all by itself when your computer isn’t active. Or just e-mail your work to yourself as an attachment and the end of your writing day/night. At least when your computer is repaired, you can retrieve it from your e-mail.

    Not enough chemistry last night although I liked the open resolution of the amnesia victim and his ex-wife. BTW, years ago, my younger brother disappeared from Kentucky and showed up in Chicago a Chicago E.D. with amnesia. I never believed him though since it was typical of his behavior at the time. Actually he convinced the shrinks he truly had amnesia, but he was able to remember he might have a sister in the area and, when released from the hospital, was able to locate his car when the Chicago police couldn’t. Conveniently he could “forget” all the crap he’d pulled over the years. Unfortunatly the rest of the family didn’t have amnesia. TMI, but I found the episode interesting only because of the amnesia aspect.

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