Castle: Under The Gun – A Review Of The Police Procedure And Other Nonsense

Castle: Under The Gun


Beckett had her hands full this week, as do most detectives when solving crimes involving repeat offenders. Those are the cases when investigators must really dig deep into their  crime-solving toolboxes. And, those are the times when a detective’s acting/lying skills are truly put to the test. To get to the truth when dealing with experienced bad guys ya’ gotta’ walk the walk and talk the talk. It’s a game that must be played, and it must be played well.

This episode, Under The Gun, was written by Alexi Hawley, who has written some of the better episoides of Castle. Hawley, thankfully, came along this week and returned the show to its roots. There was ton’s of chemistry between Castle and Beckett, Esposito and Ryan were sharp, and Lanie’s role was minimal. So good job, Mr. Hawley!

Alexi Hawley

Now, on with the show….

Beckett and crew are called to the scene of a murder in the office of a bail bondsman. The victim was found lying in enough syrupy-red blood to float a battleship. He’d been bludgeoned to death with a trophy, and judging from the amount of blood I’d have guessed the weapon was a rocket propelled grenade instead of a plastic and marble statue.

Enter Lanie Parish and her nonsense – Lanie states a footprint found in the blood was made by the killer and he’d stepped in the blood while wiping prints off the trophy. I’m sorry, but I never learned that secret in all my years as an investigator. Hmm…a footprint in blood means someone was wiping fingerprints off the murder weapon. Hear that Mr. Holmes? You’ll have to remember that one. She also stated that the footwear impression could be matched to a precise shoe. Now that is possible, and yes there is a data base of shoe soles. So chalk one up for the queen of fantasy forensics.

Bad guy number one is nabbed while exiting a building the hard way, out of a window. Good take down and good exchange of dialog. I’ve seen crooks making jokes as they lay on the ground in handcuffs. It’s their way of dealing with the situation

– Beckett’s handheld radio goes haywire while she’s inside the dead guy’s office. As a result, she finds a bug inside the telephone. Good stuff. I’ve used a handheld police scanner in the same manner. Set the device on scan (an old Bearcat scanner, Pro-54, I believe was the model) and begin the search. When it locks on a frequency in the range of most listening devices you know the room is bugged. I’ve also seen bad guys use the same trick to see if someone is “wired.”

– Ryan has begun using the term “uniforms” when speaking of patrol officers. Good, because that’s a common term.

– Beckett tells Castle he can’t rely on his “Spidey senses” to solve a case. I have to disagree. Most detectives know and rely on their “gut feelings” to lead them in the right direction.

Me on the job in the early 90’s

– Becket is seen wearing some pretty tall heels. I’ve never encountered an officer, male or female, who didn’t dress appropriately for duty. And that meant heels weren’t the shoes of choice for work in the field.

– The first suspect was a recidivist. He’d been to jail many times and he was a career B&E guy, meaning he actually performs manual labor while committing his crimes. He’d also been in jail numerous times. There’s no way anyone who lives that kind of life would have nicely trimmed nails, perfect and brilliant white teeth, and really soft-looking hands.

– Beckett released her prisoner to a bounty hunter so he could claim his money. No way would that would happen. Cops transport prisoners to lock up. He’s their responsibility from the moment they lay their hands on him.

– Esposito and Castle are seen discussing details of the case. This was good for a change. ALL detectives working a case actually participate in the investigation. They’re not just go-fers for the investigator in charge. Well, sometimes they are sent on errands, but they still work the case.

– One of the suspects, the guy who pretended to be handicapped, said he planned to drop the charges against a suspect. Citizens can’t “drop” charges. That’s something only a prosecutor can do. A witness can refuse to testify, but that could result in criminal charges against them.

– Lanie consults her crystal ball and says the substance on the victim’s forehead is holy oil. She claims she ran a test on it. What, is her morgue equipped to run every test known to mankind? A M.E.’s job is to determine cause of death. They do not perform sorcery in the mop closet.

I liked all the twists and turns involving the suspects and their connections in prison and jail. Bad guys often meet in jail and remain friends on the outside.

Now, unrelated to the police procedure…Does anyone think Castle’s jealousy over Beckett and ANY guy is getting old?

Does anyone else think Lanie Parish is too wimpy for her job as M.E.?

And for those of you who participated in the FATS and VirTra training at the Writers’ Police Academy…

Did the officers handle this (above) scenario properly? If not, what should have happened?

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Writers’ Police Academy photo of the day

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12 replies
  1. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    We didn’t get the episode in our market until early Wednesday morning, so I held off reading your post until then.

    One thing I thought you would mention is how ridiculous it is for Castle to be allowed to take the “treasure map” home with him so he and Alexis could discover its secret. Even if Beckett dismissed the paper as not important, as far as I know it should still be treated as possible evidence, meaning it doesn’t leave the department’s offices. I suppose they could have provided Castle with a photocopy, but then he wouldn’t have been able to play with the folds…

  2. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    The shoes drive me crazy…more so when someone mentions it.

    I agree, Lee, about Castle’s jealousy. It is so over done now that the sexual tension is out the window.

    The cemetary scene. I just laughed at the whole thing becasue I knew you’d bring it up. There were so may problems with it: the guns, the civilian, no time for a warrant, but hey at least the cops had vests. Or did I just imagine that?

    Hey, Lee, can someone who didn’t go to the Writer’s Police Academy buy a shirt?

  3. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    You guys are really paying attention, and man do I miss my DVR!

    Holy oil…I guess Lanie’s Magical Mystery Forensic Analyzer 7000 detected the blessing on the oil. Wonder if it has a prayer peeking feature as well?

    Digging in the cemetery would be a definite NO. And why at night?

  4. Lisa Jackson (aka Lisa Haselton)
    Lisa Jackson (aka Lisa Haselton) says:

    Definitely a better episode than last week. 🙂

    “no hassle tassles” – they seem like flat-soled shoes, not ones that would leave a nice tread impression, but that aside, nice catch by Castle to notice when the priest first went to the station.

    Stuckey – we first meet him and he says he flushed his hearing aid so can’t hear anything, yet at the station, Beckett and Castle are practically whispering and he can hear fine. Totally hilarious when he runs away from his walker. 🙂

    “Under the gun” – with an active investigation, could Castle and his daughter touch that piece of paper without worry? It’s probably so old and has been touched by so many people already, but it just seemed inappropriate to pull it out of its sleeve like that.

    This is the first episode when I knew the bad guy right off – disappointed that I was right, too.

    I found it interesting that Beckett brought up her mom’s killer – wondering if that story line is going to come back, if somehow she gets a lead on who paid the killer to murder her mom.

    I didn’t think you could get an address on a cell phone trace – you can get a tower location and narrow it down to a radius, but an actual address? Really? Is the technology that good now?

    I liked the idea of digging up the real grave, but, um, I don’t think Beckett and Castle would be doing the digging. I’m thinking a court order to dig might be required…

    I didn’t have any issues with Castle’s pouty faces, but am wondering why his girlfriend/ex-wife hasn’t been mentioned or shown up to go to lunch or something.


  5. KD Easley
    KD Easley says:

    The holy oil clue cracked me up. I remember how disappointed I was when I found out holy water wasn’t something special, just water that had been blessed by a priest. Maybe Lanie never found that out.

    I found it difficult to believe that the oil wouldn’t have been noticed sooner, and harder to believe the priest wouldn’t have stuck around after the 911 call. That just didn’t play for me.

    Loved the cemetery scene even though it was improbable. Scenes where everyone has a gun pointed at everyone else always tickle me.

  6. Carol Davis Luce
    Carol Davis Luce says:

    I got sucked in by a red herring, or maybe I was just too eager to solve the “under the gun” puzzle. In the opening crime scene the camera pans to a revolver on the floor next to the victim’s excessively bloody head and seems to focus on it. The gun was on top of something (I think). I was sure that the clue was under that particular gun, but it was never brought up again. What I thought was a ‘plant’ turned out to be nothing. I enjoyed last night’s episode. I love puzzle solving, although obviously I’m not very good at it.
    Good job, Lee.

  7. Mary Quinlisk
    Mary Quinlisk says:

    Lee, I agree that the whole jealousy thing has lived past its prime. I’m guessing that they’re holding off having anything go on between Beckett & Castle to keep up the ‘sexual tension’, but I think they’ve missed the boat.
    I thought that about her shoes, too. It is annoying the way a lot of these shows portray women anyway. If it’s not high-heels, it’s low-cut shirts or tight clothing. I’m sure she’d get a few comments (most probably made behind her back), but would she get respect from the other officers?

  8. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    lol Dave is right. “Holy oil” is simply oil that has been blessed. One of my friends, a teacher, had some olive oil blessed by a priest before school one year, and she anointed all the desks before school began. She swears to this day it was the most peaceful year she’d ever had.

    But I digress… on to Castle. Your comments about Lanie cracked me up, Lee. I can tell now anytime she’s on screen that you’re going to drag her through the mud yet again, because she continually spouts nonsense. Even I, as a mere writer, can tell that.

    As for the graveyard scene, I believe Ryan and Esposito would have circled around behind the crooks before making themselves known and ordering them to put down their guns. Just sayin’.

  9. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:

    The ME ran a test on holy oil? Holy cow!

    I have a friend who is a minister and uses holy oil. He prefers Wesson oil, although he has been known to opt for Crisco oil in a pinch.

    Seriously, I believe holy oil is just oil that has been blessed, not specially made oil. But perhaps I’m wrong.

    Then again, with some of the other “mystical” analyses the ME comes up with, who knows? 🙂

  10. Elizabeth Bryant
    Elizabeth Bryant says:

    Was anyone else bugged that the bail bondsman never dealt in cash? NO WAY. I knew you were going to flip over that “holy oil test” Lee!Do you think it tests the oil for holiness?

    At the Writer’s Police Academy I think the cops would have told us the graveyard scene was a good way to get everyone killed–and what a great idea to rely on the civilian to create a distraction.

  11. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Yes, the chemistry was back, but Castle’s jealousy over every mention of every guy is getting a little old. He needs to act on it or let it go. Just do something.

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