Castle: The Human Factor: A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: The human factor

Next to cameras, facial recognition, body scanners, TSA agents playing touchy-feely with Grandma, gun control, no gun control, banks too big to fail, North Korea, Iran, the Taliban, suicide bombers, assault weapons, no Miranda (the Personal Safety Exception), Martial Law, politicians, and terrorists, drones are the biggest threat to our freedom. Right? And, thanks to Castle and company we saw why they might be a problem. Of course, hacking into a drone’s controls is a pretty far-fetched idea…but didn’t Iran claim to do just that when they somehow managed to grab one of our unmanned surveillance aircraft? Hmm…

For now, though, let’s pretend what we saw last night was merely a work of fiction and that drone strikes and surveillance on U.S. soil by U.S. officials will never take place (and, in case you’re interested, I have nice bridge for sale in Death Valley).

So, before I switch over to the Brookstone website to order a remote control helicopter, let’s dive right in with our review and recap. Melanie, take it away (don’t forget to take a peek at Melanie’s latest release, Blood Bound. You can pick up a copy by clicking on the cover in the right sidebar of this page)…

Melanie Atkins

I enjoyed seeing Castle playing with his toys again in this episode that was an obvious setup for the finale. So funny. And I really loved the scene where Kate ambushed Rick with the tank and helicopter in bed. Hilarious. That just fits their relationship so well.

As for the rest of the show? I’m sure Lee has many comments about the off the wall case that delved into homeland security, but I will say that I pegged the kid as the killer early on — even though the way his dad died was pretty unorthodox. He just had that disgruntled teen thing going on, and he looked guilty. The idea that Warburg might’ve done it tripped me up for a minute, but that red herring faded fast.

Also, Castle with a gun, shooting down a drone? Seriously? Kate didn’t even seem surprised he was carrying. Heck, she probably gave him the gun. I’m sure Lee will rip that apart, because Rick is a civilian. Please.

The most important part of this episode was, of course, Stack approaching Kate with the offer of a job with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in D.C. She’s obviously intrigued, and the promo showed us just how much. Will she choose D.C., or will she choose Rick? Ack!

Andrew Marlowe says that something “out of left field” will play into her decision, however, and that the finale will have a “gentle cliffhanger”. Gentle, really? Is the something out of left field the job offer, or something else? Something personal, perhaps, or maybe even something family related. I have no idea. Speculation is rampant, and I for one can’t wait to see what happens. This is going to be one long, long week… but I have a feeling the summer hiatus just might do me in.

Lee Lofland

You know, I don’t know how I feel about this episode. I mean, everyone showed up to play their parts, and they did a good job. There were funny and cute moments. Serious and somber were also on hand. But the episode overall was just okay for me. Well, other than the Homeland Security guy showing up to threaten a detective with arrest for doing her job.

By the way, if Homeland Security, or any of the three-letter agencies (FBI, ATF, DEA, etc.) has an interest in a case, especially one that involves big explosions and/or the possibility of mass casualties, well, as we saw in the recent Boston bombings, the feds would want and need the assistance of the local authorities. And they certainly wouldn’t threaten to arrest them for trying to solve a murder that took place within their jurisdiction. This sort of goofy TV crap (believe me, “crap” wasn’t my first choice of words) is why there’s so much horrible information floating around the internet and in books.

The red herrings this week were pretty darn obvious. It would’ve saved everyone a lot of time if they’d just lined them up in a row with a flashing red sign hanging over the son’s head. Certainly everyone out there in TV land had this kid pegged from the first second he appeared on camera. After all, he did everything but confess the first time he opened his mouth to speak. For me, knowing the identity of the killer so early on in the episode takes away the fun of helping Beckett and crew solve the case.

– One scene of particular interest was when Beckett was conducting her “walk and talk” interview of Omar, with the Homeland Security guy so obviously following behind (another flashing red arrow over this guy’s head). Anyway, it was basically a good scene, showing how a cop should be aware of their surroundings at all times, and normally, they truly are in a hyper-aware state during those kinds of situations. So good job there.

– The idea of hacking into military computers and drone software doesn’t sound possible, you say. Well, I suggest you Google the group “Anonymous.” I think you’ll soon change your opinion.

– I share Castle’s sentiment of savoring the aroma that greets you the moment you set foot in a bookstore, especially one that features antique books. But any bookstore will do for me. Somehow, smelling a gently used Kindle or Nook is just not the same.

– There was no problem with Beckett and Castle passing through the gate to pay a visit to Warburg. However, I’m still wondering why they didn’t drive to the house. Doing so would have saved them a lot of grief, and costly ammunition. Not to mention Warburg’s drone would have survived.

By the way, the pistol Castle used to help Beckett take out the machine-gunning drone was Beckett’s backup weapon. Castle yanked it from Beckett’s ankle holster when the drone made its return pass. I’m guessing that Beckett recently decided to start carrying the backup gun since she loses her service weapon to bad guys so often. It will also come in handy during future kidnappings (I believe we’re about due for Beckett to be kidnapped again. Hasn’t happened in three or four weeks now).

– Back to the son, the quite obvious villain of this story. Did you notice that Beckett dove in with questions and listened to the boy’s confession without letting the kid know he had the right to remain silent? Normally, she’s spouting off Miranda the second the bullet hits the bone.

– I was pleased to see a mention of Beckett using silence during her interview with one of the red herring suspects. That was a favorite tactic of mine. Filling a room with silence can sometimes be deafening to a criminal suspect.

– Another point in this episode that caught my attention was when Homeland Security dude, Stack, was making his case that Beckett should consider joining the feds. He said he liked that she was a an asymmetrical thinker, and that, my friends, is a fantastic quality for a successful investigator to possess. Why? Because asymmetrical thinkers not only look for a bad guy’s faults, they also closely examine their strengths, which often points a detective in their direction.

Asymmetrical thinking also pertains to creative writers. After all, symmetrical thinkers have all their ducks in a row. Their thoughts are focused in one direction (symmetrical), toward one goal. They are normally the well-balanced technical/IT folks. With fiction writers, though, creativity must be allowed to flow from all directions, coming together at an end that is often not thought of until, well, the end. Most often, it is the asymmetrical thinkers, those who allow their minds to venture off the structured path—the daydreamers—who create beautiful works of fiction, spectacular pieces of artwork, and intricate, flowing melodies and verse.

Anyway, thinking “out of the box” is an important trait for police investigators. After all, many, if not most criminals, are definitely asymmetrical thinkers. They’re schemers and planners, always thinking of ways to beat the system. So cops often need to “get inside the heads” of their adversaries, and what better key to the crime-solving puzzle than to know the bad guy’s next move. There’s nothing more satisfying than to be there waiting with handcuffs in hand when the crook strikes.

Okay, so much for my ramblings. The show this week, as I said, was just okay. I, too, believe it was a set up for the season finale, which by the way, is a storyline that’s been done to death. I hope the Castle writers have found a different spin for it, but after seeing this one, with the usual boilerplate, fill-in-the-blanks script, I doubt it.

*     *     *

One more thing…is anyone watching Bates Motel? How about Grimm? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts about them.

34 replies
  1. Janet
    Janet says:

    This is to long after the discussion probably no one will notice it, but in response to Pat’s comment about Castle’s marksmanship. The response “I was aiming for his head” evidently was a Firefly reference. That said, we don’t often see Castle practicing his shooting.

  2. fielding
    fielding says:

    just started watching this show earlier this year. went online back to the beginning. really liked the first 1 1/2 years but character development seemed to dwindle. castle returned to his childhood and beckett an insecure, ballbusting liar. i use to like watching some of the old episodes but when you see where they have gone over 5 years, i don’t even want to watch past episodes. this isn’t a relationship, castle doesn’t even know her birthday. write down all the FACTS you REALLY know about these two – it isn’t much because they rarely talk. “i just want you” and “rick, i love you” “thanks for staying with me” and oh by the way, think i’ll go to DC for another job – wow. think i’ll write a new country western song. this last episode 23 was terrible: no supporting cast involvement, beckett ignored castle, they didn’t enjoy each other, and the story was too rod serling. finally, this series shows so little respect for life. saving each other lives as many times as they have, saving half of NYC, saving FBI team and rarely did i hear a thank you. they should erect a monument. no wonder she’s waffling on the relationship, she doesn’t care that he saved her life over 10 times. kill them both off and put on a western were they appreciate life as short as it is and appreciate what little they have.

  3. joy
    joy says:

    I’m pretty sure the asymmetrical thinker is Castle, not Beckett. He has helped her solve most of her cases. And if only that Stack guy knew how often Beckett lost her weapon and got herself kidnapped…tsk!

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Pat, I like Bates Motel quite a bit. Of course, I also like American Horror Story which has a similar feel. And I never miss an episode of Grimm. Still, my favorite show is The Big Bang Theory.

  5. Pat Brown
    Pat Brown says:

    I love Grimm, but have never watched the Bates show. As far as autonomous drones, an excellent techno-thriller using drones is Daniel Suarez’s Kill Decision. He’s the author of the best cyber thriller I’ve ever read, Daemon. What makes all his books scarier is he uses real technology in them.

  6. Gary Anderson
    Gary Anderson says:

    In Minnesota, a minor must have a legal guardian or parent present during questioning. The police can ask all they want, but without parent or legal guardian present, all information is excluded from evidence. Been that way for a while.

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Pat, the issues with the evidence, the feds, and CSU’s was due to large holes in the story. I guess those pieces of evidence were too close to the writer-induced sinkholes and they simply fell in.

  8. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Melanie, Melanie, Melanie, Castle took Beckett’s back-up piece from her ankle holster. I back the show up to look. LOL And Castle can shoot really well, as he showed Kate when he wanted something from her on the pistol range. Remember, “we could just cuddle.”

    Janet, I agree with you on Castle’s shooting ability but when he shot the gun from the serial killers hand, he said he was aiming for the guy’s head.

    Lee, I had an issue with how Beckett’s CSU got the evidence if the Feds took over. The Feds took the car, how come they didn’t get the apartment evidence?

    Kathy, good catch on Beckett questioning the kid. I forgot how old he was, but I will check on the next viewing. Gotta watch the bed scene again. LOL

  9. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Kathy – There’s no blanket set-in-stone law that requires a parent or guardian be present when questioning a juvenile. However, some individual areas or departments may require it as part of their policy. Some areas require police officers to make a good faith effort to contact parents before questioning.

    Still, it’s a tricky and slippery slope that will be hammered on in court by defense attorneys, therefore investigators should be extra careful to be sure juveniles understand their rights. I’ve questioned numerous juveniles without a parent in the room and never had a single statement tossed out by a judge.

  10. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    Lee – a technical question for you – wouldn’t Beckett also be in hot water because she questioned the son (a minor, I believe) without the parent or guardian present? Or is that fable made up for TV writers?

    Love your reviews – I can excuse a lot in the name of fiction, but I always enjoy you bringing us all down to earth!

  11. Ashley McConnell
    Ashley McConnell says:

    I wish that the progression Marburg talked about, from using drones for traffic surveillance to targeting people, was as unlikely as we’d like to think, but this is one subject on which I’m afraid paranoia (and a rudimentary grasp of European history) makes a lot of sense.

    On the other hand, Castle is now answering the phone while Beckett drives. This is progress.

  12. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:


    How cool that you used to guide tours on the Paramount lot. I knew Raleigh Studios was at least close to Paramount, because I’ve read where they’ve shot there in the past.

    They shot the pilot for Castle in NYC, but once ABC picked up the show they switched to LA. Probably cheaper to shoot there.

  13. mars
    mars says:

    I’m not buying Beckett getting another job offer in D.C. She loses her gun constantly, she wrecks her police cars, Castle solves just about all of her cases for her and yet the A.G.’s office just has to have her. It would be more realistic if they offered the job to Castle.

  14. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    Melaine: Raleigh Studios is a separate entity from Paramount, but it’s right across the street (south side of Melrose Avenue) so it’s easy for the cast and crew to hop over to the Paramount backlot, which is huge, multi-street complex (I used to give tours on the Parmount lot). Backlots have a certain “look” to them that I usually recognize.
    For a long time I assumed the show was shot in NYC, but now I see how they get away with shooting in LA. The exterior shots are usually very tight so the audience only sees a tiny section of the block. The camera’s close on the actors so we only see a small part of the background.
    Was the car blowing up for real or a CGI effect?
    BTW, I loved the humor in the episode and I did catch the North By Northwest reference.
    The feds took all the evidence, phone records, sealed the apartment but Beckett et al still solved the case first!

  15. Janet
    Janet says:

    I was baffled last night when Kate made a snide comment about Castle’s marksmanship. Several times in earlier seasons it came out that he’s an excellent marksman — first in the “We could just cuddle” scene at the shooting range, then when he shot a gun from a serial killer’s hand. Again, it makes me wonder if this year’s writers have seen or remembered the earlier seasons. The longer the show runs, the more the continuity issues are likely to crop up, I suppose.

  16. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I liked the episode okay, but it certainly wasn’t one of my favorites. And I totally missed that the weapon Rick pulled was Kate’s, Lee. I’ll have to go back and watch that part again.

    Sally, you’re probably right about that street being on Paramount’s back lot. They shoot at Raleigh Studios, and I think that’s part of Paramount. They’ve shot other scenes there in the past.

    As for the finale, the storyline has been done before, but often the promos are deceiving. I’m waiting to see what Marlowe has in store for us. He has promised he won’t break them up.

  17. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I hated, hated, HATED this episode! I’ve been periodically watching old episodes–the ones where Castle and Beckett are ‘destined.’ Castle was ‘ruggedly handsome’, sophisticated, intelligent, witty, warm, with a streak of major whimsy. This season, to me, is bent on turning this WONDERFUL character into a buffoon. If I were Kate, I would be embarrassed by him. The clips for next week seemed to point to him being a further twit. They’ve turned him into some unholy love-child born of Bud Abbott and Ralph Cramden. This is their plan to keep them together? Kate is the adult? Yuck!I’m so disappointed.

  18. PolyWogg
    PolyWogg says:

    Well, *I* noticed that you corrected the mis-info of the first part re: where he got the gun, although in Mel’s defence, they did zoom in to show him taking it from the leg, not 100% clear it was from HER leg at the time if you weren’t watching closely.

    For me, I am both thrilled with the avoidance of the Moonlighting curse (I was really fearful of the ‘shippers getting their wish) and disappointed with the quality of the writing this year. The only EPs I really enjoyed were meeting Rick’s father (although I only liked his part) and when she had to protect the Senator behind her mother’s death. It’s the only time things “crackled”. Although Rear Window wasn’t bad.

    For the other shows, I do watch Grimm and I really have enjoyed it. I feel like they leave some stuff out from EP to EP, like earlier this season Juliet met with the Spanish seer who was going to “reveal” all to her, and then only told her a little bit. She still doesn’t know Nick is a Grimm. I’m assuming that’ll be the cliffhanger for the second season in a row, and it really bites as a repeated premise. Either tell her or not, but her being on the cusp is too irritating. And she’s having ongoing side-effect probs but the Captain isn’t? What’s up with that? I like that Hank is involved now, and the Scooby Gang are all almost running together as a team, but something should divide them again soon. The only really cool parts this year though have been the pregnancy plotline and the “To be continued” message before Xmas where the writers put on the screen a “sorry” message for the TBC part 🙂 Now if someone can come up with the explanation of why the networks yanks one of their few bonafide hits for three months of hiatus, we’ll all be good.


  19. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Well, I see just how important my portion of the review is to you guys. I explained the gun thing in detail… 🙂

    From my part of the blog…

    By the way, the pistol Castle used to help Beckett take out the machine-gunning drone was Beckett’s backup weapon. Castle yanked it from Beckett’s ankle holster when the drone made its return pass. I’m guessing that Beckett recently decided to start carrying the backup gun since she loses her service weapon to bad guys so often. It will also come in handy during future kidnappings (I believe we’re about due for Beckett to be kidnapped again. Hasn’t happened in three or four weeks now).

  20. Corrina
    Corrina says:

    I amused myself by counting the pop culture references in the episode. North by Northwest, Terminator, 1984, War Games…I lost count after a while.

    Also, the pacing was faster than usual and the dialogue was at a faster pace too and I enjoyed that a great deal. Did someone new write the script?

  21. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    The street where the car blew up looked like a studio backlot to me, possibly Paramount. Am I right?
    In the previews Rick said if Kate takes the DC job, their relationship is over. Really? Why can’t he move to DC with her? As a writer he can work anyway. His daughter is in college and can take a train to DC to see him. Rick could sell his loft and buy a small apartment for Martha, or she could come to DC with him and work at the Kennedy Center.
    IMHO, moving the heroes to DC will give the show some fresh storylines. Sure, we’d lose Esposito and Ryan, but I’m sure the AG’s office would have some equally cool supporting cast.
    If Kate worked for the AG office though, Castle probably wouldn’t be allowed to tag along with her. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want her to take the job.

  22. thumper
    thumper says:

    i wasn’t paying enough attention… i thought castle had reached down to beckett’s ankle and pulled out her backup? argh 10pm on the west coast is too much for someone who has to go to work at 5am >_<

  23. William Simon
    William Simon says:

    After 12 years in computer forensics and security, I can promise you this: ANY system can be hacked. ANY. It hinges on a lot of factors (how badly do the hackers want in, how much time will they spend on it, etc.) but believe me, there is no such thing as an impregnable computer system. The best we can do is make it as difficult as possible but – as Lee mentions – a quick look at “Anonymous” will lead you to the temptation of turning your computer off and digging out the old typewriter.

    I tried BATES, didn’t work for me. For me, GRIMM ranks with CASTLE… it’s just fun, I won’t miss it, so sit back and enjoy and don’t apply too much logic…:)

  24. Deborah Gordon
    Deborah Gordon says:

    @Melanie – Castle didn’t have the gun – you must have blinked, however he pulled it from Beckett’s ankle.

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