Tonight’s episode is the first of a two-parter, and I have to admit I’m thankful the network broke this particular show into segments. Why? Because there’s no way I could stomach this all in one sitting. The writers definitely went for over the top stupid this time.
Sure, the usual humor was there, and the fire between Beckett and Castle was definitely blazing hot. And, of course, Alexis was as adorable as ever. But the police procedure and forensics were absolutely horrible. The cop-type stuff was so bad I quit taking notes after I filled the fourth page of a legal pad. Shoot, I’d filled two pages before the opening credits finished rolling.
I’m going to skip a lot of the bad procedure this week, because I’d like to get into bed before sunrise. It’s 12:22 now, so wish me luck. Here goes…
Oh, please do remember the purpose of this review. I write it to point out the good and bad police procedure used in the show, not to ding the writing, the acting, the commercials, the production, the casting, the stage lighting, etc. This review is solely to help writers get their facts straight. Castle is a work of fiction, and it’s a comedy (bordering on Leslie Nielsen Naked Gun and Police Academy silly this week). I appreciate the show for what it is. So please don’t send me nasty emails and threats because you’re in love with Nathan Fillion. I don’t know the guy, but I’m sure he’s really nice. So are the writers who ASKED me to do this review. AND, I like the show!
Warning! I’ve inserted an image of a real gun shot wound below. It may be considered graphic to some people.
– We see the first victim, a guy who’d been shot five times while inside a phone booth. My wife and I both shook our heads at this scene, and I don’t think we stopped shaking our heads in disbelief until the previews for next week’s show came on. My wife, who has a PhD in pathology and is quite familiar with death by both natural and unnatural causes, commented about the cascading rivers of blood that had poured down the victim’s chest. She referred to the numerous gun shot victims she’d seen over the years, and stated that in most cases gun shot wounds are remarkably unremarkable. As a former police detective and a former EMT, I agree. Normally, entrance wounds are small, about the size of the projectile itself, and any bleeding that occurs usually soaks into the clothing (which acts as a wick) beginning at the site of the wound and spreads outward.
This is the shirt worn by an actual shooting victim. The shot was fired at close range (notice the black powder burn). I was in the morgue when this shirt was removed from the body. The image below is of the wound received by the man wearing this shirt. The wound was approximately the size of the bullet.
– Enter Lanie Parrish, the M.E., and she was in rare form tonight. I do believe her morgue is the only one in the entire world that incorporates crystal balls and Ouija boards as part of their autopsy room tool arsenal.
How else could she possibly arrive at some of her magical medical conclusions? Lanie, bless her little heart, offered her first wacky determination of the night when she said she knew the victim had consumed a martini based on a tox report. There’s no way to arrive at that conclusion based on what’s contained in a tox report. A tox report would indicate an alcohol content. And stomach contents may have revealed pieces of an olive, maybe. Had she ordered specific tests, maybe the other ingredients would show up, too. I don’t know. But there is no “martini” test. Besides, who could possibly say with certainty that the victim didn’t consume each of the martini’s ingredients separately? Now, if Lanie had then shaken, not stirred, the dead guy vigorously to mix those ingredients…
I think something stupid fell from Lanie’s mouth each time she opened it in this episode. Awful. Awful. Awful! Oh, and she had the martini tox report in a matter of hours, not days or weeks like in real life.
– Beckett says the crime scene folks collected 200 fingerprints, over 1,000 fibers, and 60 DNA samples from the phone booth where victim #1 was murdered. So what? It’s a public phone booth. What good are all those pieces of evidence without a suspect to match them to? Sure, you could run the prints through AFIS and the DNA through CODIS, but what would that prove? That someone in the system had used a public phone booth? Well, shame on them. But again, so what? Besides, do you realize how long it would take to process 200 fingerprints and 1,000 fibers? How about the cost of running 60 DNA tests? Probably not gonna happen without a suspect.
– The killer calls Beckett and tells her she can find this victim’s body on a carousel. Beckett and entourage approach the scene driving on an asphalt path. Well, when they arrive at the carousel they each drive off the pavement and park in the grass. Why? They could have destroyed tire tracks, footprints, and other evidence. Dumb move.
– The M.E. consults her tea leaves and says there’s a contusion on the victim’s side that’s consistent with the muzzle of a .45 caliber.
Was it this muzzle?
Or this one?
Or maybe she meant this muzzle…
It doesn’t matter because there’s no way the bruise on the victim’s side could have proven anything without an object to match it to, an object that was not available. It didn’t even look like the end of a gun barrel to me.
– Parrish says the killer was left-handed because the muzzle bruise was on the victim’s left side. WHAT?? Sure, that might be true if the killer was standing behind the victim and used his left hand to jam the barrel into the victim’s left side, but not if he was standing in front of her. Then the bruise would have appeared on her right side. AND, the killer could be like me. I’m left-handed, but I shoot with my right hand. Many left-handed people use both hands, each for different tasks. I can even write forward and backward at the same time—forward with my right and backward with my left. Yes, I could actually write this blog forward and backward, at the same time. The bruise thing proves absolutely nothing.
– Okay, time for the FBI–the Fart, Barf, and Itchers (a line from a James Lee Burke novel) to enter the scene. Their mission? Take over the case.
Special Agent Whatshername ducks under the crime scene tape barking out orders like she’s Queen of Murder Solving. Nope. No way. No how. Not in a million years would this happen. For starters, the FBI doesn’t normally work murder cases. That’s not what they do. They’re mostly concerned with things like counterterrorism and organized crime. In fact, here’s a list of crimes they do investigate. I copied the list from their website, so there’d be no mistaking what you see.
• International Terrorism
• Domestic Terrorism
• Weapons of Mass Destruction
• Economic Espionage
3. Cyber Crime
• Computer Intrusions
• Online Predators
• Piracy/Intellectual Property Theft
• Internet Fraud
4. Public Corruption
• Government Fraud
• Election Fraud
• Foreign Corrupt Practices
5. Civil Rights
• Hate Crime
• Human Trafficking
• Color of Law
• Freedom of Access to Clinics
6. Organized Crime
• Italian Mafia/LCN
• Middle Eastern
• Sports Bribery
7. White-Collar Crime
• Bankruptcy Fraud
• Corporate/Securities Fraud
• Health Care Fraud
• Identity Theft
• Insurance Fraud
• Money Laundering
• Mortgage Fraud
• Telemarketing Fraud
• More White-Collar Frauds
8. Major Thefts/Violent Crime
• Art Theft
• Bank Robbery
• Cargo Theft
• Crimes Against Children
• Cruise Ship Crime
• Indian Country Crime
• Jewelry and Gems Theft
• Retail Theft
• Vehicle Theft
• Violent Gangs
– The FBI will gladly assist local police departments, and many investigators welcome their knowledge and resources. But FBI special agents, no matter how special they may think they are, do not ride into town and take cases away from local law enforcement. It’s not their job to do so, and they don’t. Not ever. Murders and all other local cases are always investigated by the local police. If they need help they normally call another local agency, such as the sheriff’s office or state police. Besides, how did the FBI learn about the murder? Who called them?
This scene was especially ridiculous. But believe me, it got worse. In fact, these guys are much more believable.
Well, the next thing SA Jordan Somethingorother does is take over the entire police department. What, the FBI doesn’t have an office in NYC? Give me a break. Sure, I’ve had the pleasure of working with several agents from various three letter federal agencies. You know what they used for an office while they were in our neck of the woods? Their vehicles. They also acted like decent human beings, unlike the agent in this show. They even knocked on the door to my office when they needed to see me. Oh, and they had to check in at the front desk just like I had to do when I went to their offices.
I’m skipping a lot of stuff here, because there’s not enough space on the internet to write all the FBI nonsense in this episode. But feel free to chime in with the stuff that made you roll your eyes.
– A fingerprint search was conducted, through AFIS I suppose, and a match (a hit) showed up on the computer. It even gave the suspect’s name, address, phone number, blood type, shoe size, and favorite sports team. No, no, and no! This is not the way it’s done. The system selects several possible matches, which must be compared to the lifted print by a certified fingerprint examiner.
– Beckett and FBI SA Notrealistic question the guy who sold his little finger to the murderer. They treated the guy like a poor, poor, pitiful witness when actually he’s an accessory to murder. The killer told him what he was going to do with the finger. He knew his prints were going to be used in a murder. He knew the police would be coming for him. And he knew he was a decoy. That makes him a criminal! I also question how effective the severed finger would be in leaving prints in various locations. Once the digit was severed I believe it would stop producing the oily secretions that creates latent prints. I’m not sure how long that would work, but I thought I’d toss that out there as food for thought.
– Agent Getsonmynerves told Beckett to go home and get some rest.
Beckett says no, but the agent responded with, “Don’t argue with me, you’re no good to me if you’re burned out.” Beckett’s next words should have been, “You’re not the boss of me,” because she’s not. The FBI has no authority over local law enforcement. None whatsoever.
– Castle spends the night at Beckett’s house (they’re getting awfully close to turning this into old Moonlighting episodes). When Castle opens the door to get the morning paper a body falls inside the apartment. Well, this has nothing to do with police procedure, but did you guys notice that when he opened the door he forgot to undo the security chain? Didn’t matter because it just fell off. I guess that was a prop error they didn’t catch during edits.
– Lanie, Lanie, Lanie… She’s just had to come back for one more gaze into her forensics crystal ball. She says she found formaldehyde under the victim’s fingernails and in her hair. How? Why would she be testing for this stuff? Besides, the M.E. would not be doing this testing. She’d send samples to the lab where scientists would do that sort of examination. Then she says she also discovered clay, polyurethane and animal blood, and to Lanie that could mean only one thing…the victim was a taxidermist. Well, it could also mean she worked in a North Carolina textile mill where the local soil is mostly red clay. Perhaps she worked in a furniture store where an exterminator had killed a rat, or a paint factory, or any number of other things? Besides, how many people in this world are familiar with the components of a taxidermy shop?
– SA Jordan Notsosmart leads a pitiful entry team into a search of a possible killer’s home. There were a few things totally wrong with this scene (other than the agent attempting to run in heels), such as Beckett talking to the guy on the phone and not warning the entry team that he’s inside and has a gun. Hello, Det. Beckett. People could get killed here. Of course, she may have realized that one shot could finally silence the annoying female agent. Anyway, the guy shoots himself before they get inside. Tension is gone now, which is a great indicator that this guy wasn’t the killer. Anybody else catch this? I mean this is a two part show, right? Okay, the cops are poking around and the agent sees a bunch of bomb-making equipment, including devices used as detonators, LIKE THE CELL PHONE she picks up. And what does she do, this highly trained agent? She starts punching buttons on the phone! By the way, that’s what makes bombs go boom.
Okay, we’ve made a full circle now, because Castle figured out that the guy who shot himself used his right hand to pull the trigger, and mystical, magical Lanie Parrish said the killer was left-handed (remember the stupid muzzle-bruise theory?). Again, this was so, so obvious. The director did everything short of using a flashing red arrow to point at the suicide guy’s right hand.
Well, the show finally ended and it did so with a bang. Yep, Beckett’s apartment blew up. But was she in it, or was she staying somewhere else? After all, she was peeking out of the shower like she didn’t have a clue where things were located.
There’s only one thing about this episode that’s worse than Lanie’s horrible scenes, and that’s the fact that part two of this nonsense is on the way and there’s nothing I can do to stop it…
TV Overmind photos
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