Castle: Under The Influence – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: Under the Influence

Last night was all about Esposito, a detective who wore many hats during the course of a murder investigation. And I have to tip my own hat to the writers for showcasing that aspect of police work. Yes, there is far more to being a real-life cop than writing traffic tickets and solving murders. Law enforcement professionals also serve as counselors, peacemakers, role models, coaches, stand-in parents, friends, etc. And Esposito certainly did what it took to fulfill each of those roles when a kid nicknamed “Monster” needed his guidance. That, my friends, is the side of police officers the public rarely sees.

Anyway, before I pick apart the police procedure, let’s see what Melanie thought of this episode.

Melanie Atkins

This episode centered around  the murder of a popular party DJ, and Esposito took center stage. After seeing the previews and the sneak peeks online late last week, I wondered if we’d get any interesting Caskett moments in this one… and we did not, except for at the very beginning.

The show opened with Rick teasing Kate about the movie she had apparently chosen for them to watch the night before. A cute, fun moment, but certainly nothing that affected the relationship. The two of them did work the case, with Ryan and Esposito’s help, but they weren’t the main focus for a change. Enter Esposito and his attempt to help a troubled teenaged hoodlum.

I did enjoy the show, albeit not as much as when we’re treated to dozens of little Caskett gems. I thought Lanie was right on target, and that Espo did a great job with the kid. Nice.

Still, I look forward to more Kate-Rick moments next week.

Lee Lofland

As always, the episode opened with a murder. This one, the homicide of a female DJ (DJ Beat). Lanie, of course, is called to the scene, and when Beckett and Castle show up she fills them in on what she’s learned since her arrival.

Lanie – “The cause of death is most likely a GSW (gunshot wound), and near as I can tell she was shot at close range. The lack of seepage and blood spatter indicate she was killed elsewhere and dumped here.”

Lanie is still on course. She has stopped (and I’m crossing my fingers that this continues) her wacky forensic predictions about things she couldn’t possibly know until autopsy.

You know, I’m really liking the new Lanie. Sure, there are still a few things that pop up up here and there. Like when she told Beckett about her discovery of the MSG-laden peanut oil on the tarp. To say that the oil indicated the victim was killed near a Chinese restaurant was totally ridiculous.

First of all, she wouldn’t have been the person to make that discovery and analysis. Second…the analysis was completed far too quickly. Next, well, it was just plain dumb. Why couldn’t the discovery also point to the murder taking place at a peanut oil factory? Or at the private residence of a peanut oil aficionado?

But I get it. The writers needed a quick way to get that information inserted into the story. What I did like about this was that Lanie pulled it off. She’s much more believable these days. I wonder what brought on the abrupt change? Hmm…

– Beckett is questioning a juvenile (sure, officers may question juveniles if department policy permits) when he says he needs his guardian’s permission to answer questions. That situation is the same as when an adult requests an attorney. Questioning should cease at that point.

The kid was absolutely right when he said, “Maybe you’re allowed to talk to me, but I don’t have to talk to you.”

– Beckett states that many criminals use juveniles to do their dirty work. This is true, and they do so because they know juveniles receive very little time in detention, if any, for committing certain offenses.

– Someone said CSU discovered fibers at the crime scene, and they’d linked those fibers to a specific vehicle. Yes, this is possible. Although, fibers/carpet of this nature are usually found in various models within a certain auto manufacturer’s lineup of vehicles. Still, it is possible to narrow the search using carpet and rug fibers.

– Finally, Beckett and crew stopped saying “APB—all points bulletin,” and switched to BOLO (Be On The Lookout). I haven’t heard APB in many, many years. BOLO is the more common term used by today’s officers. “They issued a BOLO for a 2012 Lincoln MKZ.”

Again, I really liked the role played by Esposito this week. He was quite believable. The scene in the bar where he took out the biggest and baddest guy to get to the “boss…” well, if you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to read the brief anecdotal section called “Mountain Man” in my book on police procedure (page 107). I think you’ll understand Esposito’s mindset a little better after reading.

Esposito’s time with the kid… As they say, been there, done that. And so have most police officers at some point in their career.

Overall, this was a nice episode that showed the depth of the Castle actor/acting pool.

15 replies
  1. Elle
    Elle says:

    I quite liked the focus on Esposito this week. I do have one question: would a police officer really be allowed to take a minor to his apartment for the night, especially if the minor was a person of interest in one of his ongoing investigations?

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Ah, good point about the oil, Tom. Sketches are only as accurate as the witness’s recollection and the artist’s ability to prompt the information from them.

  3. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    Kapil, it would have benefited Regina because she was in danger of losing her record contract… if she made MORE money than Josie for the record company, they’d have to keep her.

  4. Tom
    Tom says:

    I know you won’t find MSG at a peanut oil factory. It’s not an oil additive.
    I have a question about police sketches. How often are they accurate?

  5. Kapil
    Kapil says:

    Also, personally, I wasn’t a fan of this episode simply because for the 2nd week in a row, the resolution of the case didn’t make sense from the perspective of motive. Why would the singer Regina go through so much trouble to steal her rival Josie’s song and leak it online? Leaking her rival’s song would surely have financially hit the record label but it wouldn’t have affected the song’s popularity. So don’t understand how it would benefit Regina in any way.

  6. Kapil
    Kapil says:

    Did anybody understand why Esposito just threatened the character Shane at the end as opposed to arresting him. He may not have killed the victim but he did dump her body – and they had the kid as well as possibly the murderer herself to testify his role in the whole situation. I would imagine dumping the body must lead to some serious time.

  7. Gwise
    Gwise says:

    I thought Lee was going to pick on the time of death, too…but yes, Lanie is much better nowadays… she even credits the CSU instead of just saying “I analyzed…” like she’s done in the past. Maybe the writers stumbled on to the blog?

    One question I have for Lee: How realistic is it that at the end of almost every episode, Beckett and Castle grill the murderer for a confession even before making the arrest? This week for example, they had all the evidence they needed – so why stand there and reveal their entire case to the perp? Wouldn’t the sensible thing be to just – “We have a warrant for your arrest, let’s go.” – and then move the audience’s-benefit-exposition to a later conversation between just the cops?

  8. Marni Graff
    Marni Graff says:

    Just got to see it, thanks to DVR. Thought it was a nice change to feature Esposito. Not much romance but realistic on other levels. Lee, someone must be sending the writers your reviews as they’ve really listened in several areas ,most notably our gal Lainie!

  9. t
    t says:

    I really enjoyed the episode. Esposito is a likeable character and I think Jon Huertas is underutilized on the show. And having only one cringeworthy “Caskett” moment was refreshing (the movie interchange at the beginning just didn’t work.).

    More good story, more human interest…less awkward “Caskett” please.

  10. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    Good episode, overall. I was a little sad it was SO Esposito-centric–the show is NAMED “Castle” after-all, it’s kind of like having an episode of “House” that Hugh Laurie appears in only 3 scenes. Some shows seem to be able to balance out their characters a little better, keeping the focus relatively even. Probably why “Bones” is my favorite show on TV.

    But, I digress. I do like Jon Huertas as an actor… but I do know several of my not-quite-so forensics-focused friends on Facebook (how’s that for an alliteration?) were disappointed with the episode–probably because we had that big build-up in the relationship last week and absolutely nothing this week.

  11. Pat Brown
    Pat Brown says:

    I thought you might object to Lanie telling Kate the victim died between 11 and 12 without an autopsy or even really touching the body. That’s a pretty precise conclusion.

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