Castle: The Third Man – A Review (of the police procedure)

Once again, due to various emails and blog comments, I’m compelled to point out that my Castle reviews have been strictly about the police procedure used in the show. Nothing more, nothing less. I am not a TV or film critic.

Honestly, I’ve begun to dread Monday night/Tuesday mornings. I normally start my note-taking at the beginning of the show and finish around 11:30 or 12:00 – pausing, rewinding, etc. Then I’m up until 3 or 4 so you guys can have the post available when you sign onto your computers. I didn’t mind this…well, I didn’t in the past, but things have changed, recently.

I started these reviews at the requests of a handful of serious writers who wanted to know how much of the police procedure they see on Castle is correct. That’s right, I was asked to do this.

Well, I agreed to do the reviews, in my own goofy style, but that harmless fun seems to have offended a few people who insist upon bombarding me with negative messages. Those messages don’t concern me personally. Not at all. In fact, I find many of them to be humorous, childlike, or even idiotic. However, I simply don’t have the time, energy, or desire to field the negative emails and blog comments that arrive with each Castle blog posting. Believe me, I delete more nasty, offensive comments than you could ever imagine.

So, those of you who think the only opinion in the world should be yours, have won. This is the last season of Castle reviews on The Graveyard Shift. The season finale cannot arrive quickly enough to suit me. And yes, I mean reviews of the police procedure.

Listen…The Fat Lady is singing right now. I’m done.

Okay, on with the show…

The Third Man

The show started with the main ingredient, a dead body. This one had been killed with a massive doe of Ketamine, a sometimes popular recreational drug that causes hallucinations, seizures, and elevated blood pressure. Oh, and death. Fun stuff, huh?

The M.E., Lanie Parrish has made a complete turn around this season. I’ve gone from cringing when I see her, to anxiously awaiting her latest dead-guy joke. She’s also been pretty decent with her forensics……so far. I’m still cautiously optimistic about that. But, in this episode she did just fine. She was also funny. I love the one-liners, because that’s how it is in real life. In fact, lots of one-liners pass through the autopsy rooms. I know of one morgue that has a huge white board filled with popular quips spouted by the pathologists as they slice and dice. Those of you who attended the Writers’ Police Academy last year were privy to that very white board during our morgue tour.

One small thing about Lanie’s forensic information. She’d have had to specifically ask the tox lab to run the ketamine test. It’s not part of the normal tox screen. But, she may have done that since she did observe the needle mark. But I strongly doubt it.

Detectives were forced to start with the basics in this case – knocking on doors. They made the comment early on that there no fingerprints or other physical evidence. That’s good stuff. Most cases are solved by talking to people, not with DNA and fingerprints. So if you like writing dialog, then go for it, by all means.

Beckett did it again. She woman-handled the paper guy as he was picking up his paycheck. Actually, she was sort of close to a real cuffing technique used by officers. Not bad. I’ve seen worse by real officers – clothes-lining, tackling, hits on the head with a flashlight, tripping, choking, pepperspraying, wrestling, pulling clothing and hair, etc.

Beckett and Castle questioned a female witness at the police station. The witness spilled a tiny, personal dirty secret and immediately said, “You won’t tell my boss, will you?” This was a great detail, because people do this all the time. I can’t begin to tell you how many affairs and office thefts have surfaced during these brief interviews. And they’re all followed by, “You won’t tell my wife/boss, will you?”

When Beckett and crew entered a suspect’s apartment, her two partners went in with guns drawn to clear the place while Beckett and Castle casually began to snoop around. Nope. Everyone should have weapons out until the place is declared clear and safe.

I really, really like the transformation made by Beckett’s partners. They’ve turned into very realistic cops this season. They switch from suits to more casual wear when needed, and it doesn’t hurt to show a little bicep. Today’s cops really do work out, a lot. And they wear shirts that are two sizes too small in order to show those guns. Good stuff, Guys. Keep it up.

Beckett and Castle, during a phone conversation from the restaurant with her partners, were finishing each other’s sentences. Again, good stuff all the way around. Cops who work together for long periods of time are able to do this. Then again, so are romantically involved couples. They’re getting too close to this. I fear the end is near if they do…

When Beckett and entourage entered the pet store and the owner came out with his gun drawn, we heard lots of yelling and screaming from the officers. That scene was pretty darn realistic. That’s sort of what it sounds like when real cops are faced with a “man with a gun” situation. The adrenaline is already high when the entry is made, and it kicks into high gear when we see that weapon. Fantastic scene.

The brother-in-law/husband/killer was pretty typical. First the denial, then the look down, followed by the look of shame, and then the gut spilling. And I really liked it when Esposito pulled out the cuffs and said, “On your feet.” The expression on his face was great. He’s turned into one fine cop.

At the end, Beckett went to bat with the DA for the informant. I liked this. I did it quite often if the information provided was good enough.

Well, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this show was really good. The police procedure aspect of it, that is. Remember, that’s all I’m reviewing. Even though, I thought the interaction between Beckett and Castle was priceless this week. Oh, and for the first time, I didn’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning to do this. And, I’ve added (review of the police procedure) in the title for the lone confused reader.

ABC photos

31 replies
  1. ella
    ella says:

    “You won’t tell my boss, will you?” This was a great detail, because people do this all the time. I can’t begin to tell you how many affairs and office thefts have surfaced during these brief interviews. And they’re all followed by, “You won’t tell my wife/boss, will you?”

    I’m just reading all the reviews now (very interesting, thank you!) and was wondering about your above comment. What is the responsibility of the detective to report such matters, and to whom do they report them? Where does one draw the line?

    (also, I’m Canadian and we have a different law set, but I’m curious in this situation.)

    Thank you.

  2. K'ukMo
    K'ukMo says:

    Speaking on behalf of whiny, problematic readers everywhere, it would be a real shame for you to quit. “”illegitimi non carborundum,” my friend.

    If you could be prevailed upon to reconsider, perhaps just leave “review” out of the title/key words? I’d imagine most of the cranky comments must come from readers who are googling an episode title, plus “review.” Your blog is one of the first listed for that search, and such readers are certainly not looking for notes on correct police procedure. Hence, confused whining. For those who are here for the insider’s technical take, an end to your play-by-plays would be a real loss.

  3. Jena
    Jena says:

    I usually don’t comment, but always enjoy your reviews. I’m sorry to hear this is your last season. People who feel the need to complain about reviews suck.

  4. fialka62
    fialka62 says:

    I’ve registered just to say this: I’ve been reading your blog for the last year or so, and have thoroughly enjoyed your reviews. We who love detail were lucky to have the opportunity to hear an experienced opinion (even if I was sometimes ouching for the writer of the ep 🙂 I am so sorry you’ve been driven to distraction by a bunch of noodleheads (to keep it clean), and will really miss checking in here on Tuesdays. On the other hand, I find all the other stuff fascinating as well, so I’ll certainly be sticking around.

    Be well. Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

  5. mabfan
    mabfan says:

    Lee, my wife and I hope you’ll reconsider doing these reviews of the police procedures. We enjoy them quite a lot. (Although from a close read of this post, it sounds as if you do plan to write them until the end of this season, at least….)

  6. queenofmean
    queenofmean says:

    Lee – so sorry to hear that you’ll be stopping the reviews, but I do understand. Some people just can’t help being idiots. I’ve learned more than a few things – & had some good laughs in the process. Thanks.

  7. Rocza
    Rocza says:

    Well, hopefully requiring registration will staunch the trolls, Lee (even if I didn’t get my name!). (That and making it clear from the title that you’re doing a review of the police procedure). I know I always rush here after watching Castle to see what you say. (That said, I also understand. I used to review medical procedure, and specifically the medical ethics, for Grey’s Anatomy, during it’s first and second season. You wanna talk about pissed off fans…)

    That said, I do have to disagree that the end is near if/when Castle and Beckett get together, only because I think they’re pretty clearly trying to evoke The Thin Man. And I love The Thin Man. 😉

    Karen – I asked a pathologist friend what she thought (why Lanie automagically assumed there’d been an injection that stopped the heart), and she said it was a decent educated guess, based on what they knew from the scene (that he didn’t belong there) and the way the body was found, combined with the needle mark in a place that didn’t scream drug use. Whether or not she’s stretching things to fanwank a show she likes or not is up to you to decide. 😉

  8. tudza
    tudza says:

    So the bank robber wasn’t on anything and took that much damage before going down? Save us from drugged out ones then.

    It looks like the Sig Sauer P228 has a mechanical safety? Not all pistols have a special lever just for that anymore if that’s what the lever above the trigger really is. What’s the policy on having the safety on or off when carrying on duty?

  9. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    I’m very sorry that you’re getting so much negativity for the blogs. It’s become a Tuesday morning ritual with me to check your blog for the comments, and then talk about them with the hubby when we watch Castle Tuesday evening.

    Thank you for what you’ve done with Castle — and, not incidentally, for your book, which I bought and found massively helpful in writing parts of my thriller-in-progress.

  10. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Melanie – Maybe Castle is a regular and has a running tab?

    Rhonda – The pace of doing the blog is no problem. However, keeping up with all the negative emails and wacky comments to the blog is. I have to monitor the comments because we have so many school children who use our information for their class projects. Believe me, many are not suitable for young eyes. I’m receiving plenty today, cheering because I’m stopping the blog.

    Terry – You can always email your questions, you know.

  11. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    Lee: Add me to the list (which is undoubtedly much longer than those who took the time to comment) of those thanking you for your efforts. I’ll miss them. I record the show and then watch it with my laptop open to your blog and follow along to see if I’ve got the right ‘feel’ for the procedure. Castle or not, The Graveyard Shift has served my writing well.

  12. RhondaL
    RhondaL says:

    I’d wondered how long you’d want to keep up the pace of posting these reviews the morning after the show.

    IMO, that’s a punishing schedule to add to a daily blog.

    I wish you hadn’t been plagued by the Attack of the Trolls. What they say says more about them than it does about you.

    Of course, the time may come when you’ll have to remind me of that. 🙂

  13. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    One thing I noticed that has nothing to do with procedure: When Castle and Beckett leave their dates at the restaurant, they leave the fireman with both checks…unless Castle takes care of his on the way out. lol Poor guy!

  14. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Jim – Thanks for the kind words. Actually, I visited your blog a few days and saw the referral. Thanks for that, too.

    Lisa – I’ve been called in from dinner parties, Christmas parties, ball games, yard work, etc., and on most of those occasions I’ve reported as-is. However, I did take the time to “suit up” if we were doing a building entry. But, I’ve also gone in without a vest. I’ve never worn a dress, so I can’t answer for the female cops out there, but I suppose it’s possible (them going while wearing a dress, not me wearing one).

    Karen – I caught that and made note of it, but I figured I’d let her slide for once. But you’re right, it was a little presumptuous, but still a guess that might have been said aloud by a real M.E. But just a guess, which would, however, lead to the order of testing for ketamine in the tox screen.

    Everyone else – Thanks for the comments and well-wishes. Dave made a suggestion earlier in the day about future reviews. We may take him up on it, if he wants to participate… 🙂

  15. Jody
    Jody says:

    Lee, I too will miss the reviews. They are what got me back to watching Castle! as least sometimes.
    It was always interesting to read your dissection of the way it was true to life & how it good also be so wrong.

  16. Karen B
    Karen B says:

    Ironically, as a non-procedural reviewer for an entertainment website, I found this to be a weak episode! I do hope you reconsider for next year, as I find myself watching very closely to details because of you…

    My question… Why did the medical examiner automatically assume the injection was “of a drug that stopped his heart” while they were still at the crime scene. A little presumptuous? He could’ve had a heart attack or stroke or anything, right?

  17. Jessica Bacon
    Jessica Bacon says:

    Lee, I never read these on Tuesdays, (I DVR everything), just happened to be testing a hyperlink today.

    Thanks for doing this for as long as you have. I tend to learn by example, and the mistakes you’ve pointed out on Castle are more likely to stick in my forgetful writer’s mind, than if I just read it. Of course, that’s why your book is always close. 🙂

    I haven’t read the other comments (avoiding spoilers), but I’m sure there are a lot of people who will miss Castle Tuesdays.

  18. Kathleen Ernst
    Kathleen Ernst says:

    I’m sorry that some idiots have been so rude. I always appreciate the analysis–when else do writers get to hear a cop’s perspective on something they’ve actually seen? Thanks for all you share.

  19. Maryann Mercer
    Maryann Mercer says:

    Sorry these are going to end, Lee. This blog was the best morning after critique and taught me a few things as well :o) Having heard you speak on procedures and technique I respect your take on what the TV cops should and shouldn’t do…as well as on our intrepid M.E., who does seem to have gotten more comfy with her role. I’d be willing to bet some of the Castle writers have been listening as well. :o) Thanks for the good work…won’t you reconsider?

  20. Lisa Haselton
    Lisa Haselton says:

    Like others, I’ve been enjoying these reviews too. I make sure to watch the show and make notes before reading your review. I like to see what I can catch. 🙂

    When the crew raided the pet shop near the end, and Beckett and Castle arrived straight from the restaurant – is that something that would really happen? She in fancy off-the-shoulder dress and high heels racing into a building with gun drawn and no protective vest?

  21. Barbra Annino
    Barbra Annino says:

    Lee, this sucks! Soooo sorry you were getting flack from idiots. I really enjoyed these reviews and one particular episode pointed out a flaw in my own work. Ah well, thanks for the memories….

    Barbra Annio

  22. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:

    Lee, I would hate to see you give up these reviews entirely, though I certainly don’t blame you. I guess the critics just don’t get what you’re trying to do (and doing, for those who wish to see it for what it is.)

    And as a retired officer with 30 years on the job, let me say that your reviews have been “dead on” (pun intended.) They emphasize the reason I gave up watching detective shows years ago.

  23. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    Bummer about your stopping the police procedure reviews. They’re something I look forward to each Tuesday morning.

    I enjoyed last night’s show too and couldn’t help but wonder what I was missing.

    Loved, loved, loved Castle and Becket’s interactions. I hope #3 and the fireman had a successful hookup, because the writing was on the wall. Sarah Brown the actress who played #3 Bachelorette is a fabulous Daytime Emmy award winning actress, seen most recently on General Hospital, and I was disappointed she didn’t have more to do. Of course with Castle and Becket, no one else has a chance. FWIW, Nathan Filion has a daytime soap in his resume as well.

  24. Jim C. Hines
    Jim C. Hines says:

    As both a writer and a fan of the show, I’ve enjoyed and appreciated the reviews. I actually recommended your blog to my readers just a week or so back.

    Your commentary has been both informative and fun to read. Thank you! I’ll be sad to see the reviews go, but I can certainly understand and respect your decision.


  25. Lynn LaFleur
    Lynn LaFleur says:

    Lee, thank you so much for doing these reviews of Castle. I’ve enjoyed reading your take on the shows as a professional who’s been there. I’m sorry there are some readers out there who don’t appreciate the time you put into these reviews. They’ve made me look at the show to see if I can catch anything done wrong. 🙂

  26. John
    John says:

    It’s a shame that you’re going to stop these reviews. A real, real shame. I’ve really enjoyed them and learned quite a lot from them. Thanks for all of your hard work.

  27. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    No, I didn’t know know that about Jon Huertas. Thanks, Melanie.

    Joyce – I don’t know. I think the photo of him in the house with the dead guy, along with the other evidence found, just might have been enough PC for a warrant. Now, whether or not it would stick in court, who knows. But PC, probably.

  28. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    It’s a shame a bunch of idiots have to spoil it for the rest of us. But isn’t that always the case? Some people complain just for the sake of complaining.

    I thought the show was good this week, too. One issue I had was when Beckett arrested the guy (who turned out be an informant) for murder. Obviously they needed to question the guy, but was there enough evidence at that point to arrest him for murder? Or should the arrest have been for something else, like burglary or criminal trespass?

  29. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I loved this episode. Best. Ever! You mentioned Esposito’s words and actions when cuffing the guy…do you know that he (Jon Huertas, the actor) has military experience? He’s been to Iraq, or maybe Afghanistan. That’s why they always let him carry the big guns when they do a raid scene.

    Just FYI, I twittered a link to your blog to some of the Castle folks last week. Maybe their procedure will continue to improve. lol

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