Castle: For better or worse


Well, it finally happened. Melanie ventured over to the dark side this week, resulting in the reversal of our roles. See for yourself, if you dare. Tread lightly, though, because her claws and fangs are showing, and she’s out for blood!

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Last week, I was the good cop. I loved Veritas, while Lee hated it. That actually happens quite often, as many of you know. This week, however, I cannot be the good cop, because I despised For Better or Worse. Except for the delightful scenes at the beginning filled with wedding prep and a stumbling block that should’ve been easily removed, plus the touching scene between Martha and Kate near the end, I want to erase the entire show from my brain.

Andrew Marlowe said in a TV Guide interview I just read that they’re setting up a “new mythology” for season seven. I don’t care. I wanted the wedding they led us to believe would finally happen. We’ve struggled through six years of stumbling blocks, some of them stupid, some of them not… and now to have to endure a season finale filled with more of them — most of which seemed totally contrived — I feel cheated. I’m angry. I want to scream. The horrific way the episode ended was just the icing on my I-hate-you-Andrew-Marlowe cake. If I hadn’t been in a hotel room watching a TV I do not own, I might have thrown something through it.

Marlowe had better fix this ASAP when the new season opens, or he’s going to lose viewers. Kate and Rick might be fictional people, but Castle fans have invested a heck of a lot of time and energy in following this show, and we want a payoff, not a rip-off. That’s happened to me too many times before with other shows, thanks to bad writing and poor story-making decisions. I did not expect such a debacle from Marlowe. He says in the interview that we should trust him, that we’ll eventually get our happy ending, and yet after last night’s tragic fiasco of the wedding that never happened… I’ll believe it when I see it. We, as loyal viewers, deserve better.


Lee Lofland

Is it safe for me to come inside? Is Melanie gone? Yes?

It’s not that I don’t trust you guys, but I think I’ll draw my weapon and clear the room before I begin.

Okay, she’s definitely gone. So let’s begin my part of this, shall we say, bad cop/bad cop review.

First of all, and I know this will come as a shock, but I liked this episode. Well, I liked parts of it. Sure there were a few goofy things relating to police procedure, like Beckett driving her police car around the countryside for a couple of days while in a jurisdiction other than her own.


Not to mention the entire trip was unrelated to an NYPD case. Then she parks the car on a dirt road, in plain view, within binocular range of a mobster hideout.


And no one spots it, even though the mafia dude is supposedly smart enough to elude the local police and FBI for a very long time. Yeah, right.

Still, I thought “Kit Kat” did another nice job of acting this week. She was even convincing when she used a Slim Jim to open a locked door on her husband’s truck. If you’ll recall, Esposito also used one of these devices in an earlier episode—Under Fire.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with breaking into locked vehicles, here’s a quick lesson.

Slim Jims are most effective on older model vehicles, since most modern car doors unlock electronically. Still, a person with lots of practice and skill can use a Slim Jim to gain entry to almost any car.

Slim Jim with rubber grip

Cut-outs are used for hooking various lock parts

In the old days we all carried a Slim Jim in our patrol cars, and we unlocked several cars each week for the unfortunate folks who’d locked their keys inside. Then, when cars moved away from the manual locks to electric, the risk of damaging electrical systems caused most police agencies to abandon the service. Well, that and the number of officers who managed to get the devices firmly stuck inside car doors.

By the way, carrying a Slim Jim around in your car, along with a screwdriver or two could be considered as “possession of burglary tools.”

Got it? Good. Let’s move on to more interesting parts of the show. Like when Castle saw the “head” roll onto the barn floor? His expression? Well, that’s a face only a mother could love, bless his heart.


Then there was the cameo appearance of the folks from Duck Dynasty.


Still, as funny as some parts of the show were, it was a bit of a chore to sit through hurdle after hurdle after hurdle that prevented the happy couple from walking down the aisle. It was total BS, and a slap in the face to Castle fans who’ve waiting to see a wedding for what seems like hundred years—a hundred years of stupid excuses, subtle hints, and goofy writing.

Speaking of writing, this episode seemed like it was intended for a kid’s show, not for the gazillion Castle fans who deserve much better than what those behind the Castle keyboards offered this week.

For me, though, I enjoyed the humorous parts of the episode. However, if I learn that 3XK is behind Castle’s apparent abduction/crashed and burning car, well, I’m done. I believe I’ll have to leave the reviews to Melanie.

But, at least Beckett was held hostage again this week. We do have that bit of normalcy to help get us through the tough times.

Anyway, it was a funny episode in part, but a huge disappointment otherwise. And it was kind of cool to see the bad cop side of Melanie. What a beast!

See you next season…maybe.



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Castle: Veritas


Melanie here. Before I begin my review of this week’s Castle, I feel the need to yell “spoiler alert!” because to do my job properly, I’ll have to give away the ending, and I don’t want any of you to miss out on the total satisfaction and sense of closure I now feel. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, stop reading this recap right now, cue it up on your DVR, and dive in.

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Now, for those of you who did watch… can I get a big Woohoo? Even this morning, I’m still downright giddy. Finally, after six long years, Kate has defeated her worst nemesis. Yes… the scumbag and presidential candidate you and I have grown to despise, Senator William H. Bracken, has gone down in defeat and is now behind bars thanks to Kate’s amazing tenacity and determination. She has found closure for her mother’s murder and can now put the most painful chapter of her life to rest… meaning that after all this time, so can we. Thank goodness. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to leave this storyline behind.

When the episode first came on Monday night, I was already wound up from watching back-to-back episodes of 24, and Castle picked up right where they left off. I was on the edge of my seat from the moment the episode began, thanks to its fast paced start in medias res — in the middle of things. No build up, no cutesy dialogue, no funny comedic scene to set the tone. Nope. We were simply dropped into the back of a surveillance vehicle with Kate and her camera, where we soon learned she’d been tracking a Bracken associate for some time. Well done, writers.

I bought into all of it, from Kate being accused of Vulcan Simmons’ murder, to the revelation of Smith being alive… until Rick left Kate alone at the hotel to go after a car a mysterious friend promised to lend him. I had trouble believing he would’ve done that, after his many protests about her going out at night by herself while working the case, and that jerked me right out of the story. Why didn’t he call his friend using one of their burner phones and have him bring them the car? Duh. And as for Bracken and his minions bursting into the room as soon as Rick left… well, I found that just a little too convenient. Once Kate escaped and collapsed in the hallway, however, the pace and sense of reality increased again, and that drew me back into the story. Rick picking up Kate so tenderly really got to me. (Yes, I’m a sap.)

Hiding the cassette tape inside the elephants on Kate’s desk at the precinct was genius, IMHO. That meant the evidence to bring down Bracken had been there all along. The scene where Kate suddenly appeared at the senator’s news conference and arrested him was extremely powerful. Stana did a great job — heck, she was trembling all over — and that really got to me. For fifteen long years, Kate has been after the evil monster who ordered her mother’s murder, and now she finally had him. They were in DC, though, so how could she make the arrest? Did the DC cops allow it as a courtesy? What about that, Lee? I’m curious.

Of course, I adored Kate and Rick’s heartfelt hug at the end. Finally free of her burden, Kate let out a deep breath and sank into him as he wrapped her in his arms. Caskett perfection. Now they can get married without Bracken’s threats hanging over their heads. Yay! I’m so glad.

The promo from the finale blew me away. I won’t say anything about it, other than that. Except that… I can’t wait. Woohoo!


Lee Lofland

Well, Melanie and I are coming from two different galaxies, far, far away. We couldn’t have two more opposing views of a single hour of television viewing. She loved this episode while I thought it was darn near stomach-churning.

I suppose my dislike of this particular episode stems from a distaste of the long and grueling years (yes, years) we’ve had to endure the “he killed my mommy” storyline. Yes, I understand how someone could become obsessed with finding the person who killed a loved one. But this case, with the crooked senator and his ties to a drug kingpin, and the “maybe he’s dead and maybe he’s not” Mr. Smith character are extremely tiresome, not to mention downright ridiculous. And speaking of ridiculous…

Lanie, Lanie, Lanie…

Double tap to the chest. Fatal round to the heart. Don’t you just love how she knows these things while the victim is still fully clothed? Medical science should grab this M.E. and do a study to learn how she can magically see inside a human body without the use of x-ray and/or the slicing and dicing that all other medical examiners and coroners are limited to. You know, that thing called AUTOPSY.

Based on blood patterns. Lanie, I believe you were going for bloodstain patterns. I guess someone spilled coffee on your copy of the script, blurring your lines.

Shooter was careful and picked up all of his rounds. New York City sure got a fantastic deal when they hired Lanie. Not only does she save money with her ability to “see all” at the crime scene, eliminating the need for an autopsy and laboratory testing, she also does the job of the crime scene unit, looking for spent brass and other evidence. Hey, Lanie. How’d you know the shooter didn’t use a revolver, a handgun that DOES NOT eject empty casings. Oh, that’s right, you have the uncanny ability to look at a bullet wound (without removing clothing) and determine the caliber and type of weapon used to fire the rounds.

Enough about Lanie and her nonsense. Let’s move on to Beckett, the fugitive (please know that I rolled my eyes while typing the word “fugitive”).

This episode had something for everyone, didn’t it? A little romance, action, dead men walking, dirty politicians, rogue cops, stereotypical internal affairs detectives, and (drum roll, please)…you guessed it. Beckett was kidnapped, again, for the umpteenth time. Luckily for us, the TV viewing audience, she didn’t have a pistol with her. You know, so the bad guy couldn’t take it from her. Instead…hold on to your hat…Beckett grabbed a pair of scissors to use as weapon, BUT, the bad guys made her drop them, once again disarming her.


And what’s up with that capsule they supposedly made her swallow, but she kept it inside her mouth for a long, long time. Don’t those things dissolve? Is her saliva as magical as Lanie’s voodoo science?

Of course, in the end Beckett got her man. Maybe now they’ll drop this stupid, never-ending, ridiculous, nerve-grating, eyeball-poking, bamboo under the nails, storyline, and move on.

Please, please, please let this storyline die. Kill it. Drop a boulder on it. Blow it up with a massive pile of C-4. Package it and send it to the person you hate the most. Bury it. I don’t care how you do it. Just. Get. Rid. Of. It.

And take 3XK with it.

This is unusual for me, but the only thing I liked about this episode is that it ended.

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Castle: That 70's show


This week Castle borrowed Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and used it to take us on a trip to the 1970’s, when shoes were tall and halter tops were short. The 70’s arrived on the heels of the assassinations of King and Kennedy. It was a time was of festering and changing social issues, Reddy’s song “I Am Woman,” and demonstrations protesting the war in Vietnam. Castle writers, however, chose to take us to the lighter side of the era.

Aside from the episode’s somewhat iffy murder case, the rest of the show was, well, if you were a child of the 70’s you already know that segment of history was, in some respects, almost magical. And that feeling of “goodness” was what flowed from the TV set this week. Well, that was my take. Let’s see what Melanie has to say.

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

The long spring hiatus is finally over, but I must say I was a bit disappointed in this episode. I wasn’t happy with the writing or the story line. After all the hype, I expected a better plot. I liked the show okay up until the strange turn in the case involving Harold Leone, the man who was stuck in the ’70s, and his boss—the victim—Vince Bianchi. That was one weird twist out of the blue I did not see coming. Seemed more sensational than possible. Just sayin’.

Not that any of the rest of the show was normal, except for the body-discovery scene at the beginning. Harold believing it was still 1978? Martha providing ’70s set dressing for the precinct? Everyone wearing period dress? All of it was odd, but I was able to suspend my disbelief to go along with most of it… especially the funny parts.

I thought Esposito, Ryan, and Lanie had the best outfits and all of the best lines. I didn’t even recognize Seamus Dever (Ryan) at first. He looked totally different. And Esposito sliding off the hood of the Starsky & Hutch-style car? Priceless.

Martha’s strange, gung-ho ideas about Rick and Kate’s wedding were off-the-wall as well, but believable (for her). I do hope they keep her far away from everything related to their nuptials, or I’m sure they’ll live to regret it.

I really don’t have much else to say about this episode, except that once the big twist took us down the yellow brick road, the whole thing went downhill. The final scene at the disco with Harold dancing alone and paying homage to Vince made me shake my head. Seriously?

If I recall correctly, I panned the last episode written by David Amann as well. Maybe Andrew Marlowe should rethink some of these odd stories. We only have three more episodes left to watch this season. I certainly hope Amann didn’t write any more of them.


Lee Lofland

As many of you know I’m still homeless, living in a hotel until our new house deal is all said and done. And, as a result, I’m without a DVR (the horror of it all), so please forgive the brevity of my portion of these reviews. Hopefully, I’ll see “normal” in a few weeks. Until then I’ll leave it to Melanie to do all the heavy lifting.

As for this episode—the 70’s Show thing—I thought it was fun. And, for me, it was a refreshing change from the usual routine boilerplate scripts. The scene in the precinct was “groovy and hip,” and it took me back to the “good old days” of 8-track tape players and record albums filled with the music of Led Zeppelin, The Carpenters, Carole King, James Taylor, and The Temptations. Then there was Pink Floyd’s mega hit album “Dark Side of the Moon”. It was also the time when we lost Jimi, Janis, Jim, and, of course, Elvis.

Television in the 70’s introduced us to Fred Sanford, Kid Dyn-O-Mite “JJ” Evans, Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda, and The Bionic Woman. Then the curtain went down, slowly, bringing an end, a sad end I might add, to The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and The Carol Burnette Show.

Anyway, back to Castle. The case of the week was just that…weak. But the rest of the show, well, I enjoyed the hour of memories. As an episode of Castle…not so much.

I almost forgot…Lanie and the rubber mold of the murder victim…puhleeze.

Lastly, as Carol Burnett said so many times,

New Picture (2)

“I’m so glad we had this time together

Just to have a laugh or sing a song

Seems we just get started and before you know it

Comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.'”


Castle: The greater good


Well, this is my last Castle review from Coastal Georgia. By noon tomorrow we should be deep into a new adventure. We’ll also be homeless once again.

We loaded Denene’s Lincoln Hybrid onto a car carrier earlier today. I was a little anxious about sending the car via carrier. The last time we did the truck driver fell asleep and overturned the entire load of expensive vehicles—a Mercedes, Corvette, BMW’s, etc. Every car was totaled, including ours. Fortunately, the driver was not injured.

Anyway, I should be able to post some sort of article each day. We’ll see. For now, though, it’s time to talk Castle. My part will be brief since I’m typing this while standing (no furniture). So let’s kick this off with Melanie’s take on the episode.

Melanie Atkins

This week’s episode wasn’t one of my favorites, but it did have a few wonderful Rick-Kate wedding preparation moments weaved in that made me smile. Comparing invite lists the lengths of theirs can’t be easy, and with Martha involved, I can only imagine the drama.

The show got off on the wrong foot with Lanie spouting another of her magical guesses at the victim’s cause of death, with him still fully clothed at the crime scene. Of course, she also named lividity as what helped her determine time of death. Really? Again? Why do the writers keep getting this particular fact wrong? It’s so irritating.

I found the rest of the case to be a tad boring, although I did enjoy meeting Captain Gates’ sister. Funny how no one knew the woman existed. I was hoping for more of a cat fight between them, to be honest, but still… I was glad to see them reconcile at the end. I guess Gates is more human than I suspected. I like her more than I did when she first arrived on the show.

While Gates and her sister were squaring off, Beckett, Castle, and company meandered through the ho-hum case, knocking off red herrings left and right. I really thought Berman was the killer. I mean, usually it’s just that obvious. I did not suspect Gates’ sister’s partner. Anybody else?

I can’t help but wonder how long Rick and Kate’s guest list will be in the end. Will they invite everyone and his brother, or keep the list manageable? Will they plan a big wedding, only to have to cancel because Bracken, or 3xk, or some other vicious criminal interferes, and end up with a small, intimate affair? I really don’t know, and Andrew Marlowe isn’t saying.

I’m looking forward to more intense, heavy hitting episodes at the end of the season. Episodes that either keep me on the edge of my seat or make me laugh. The Greater Good wasn’t one of them. Not sure about the 70s-themed episode coming up on April 21 (in other words, no new show next week). I hope it’s good and somehow provides Rick and Kate with a wedding venue. They’re ready to mail save-the-date cards and are whittling down their guest list, but they don’t know where or when the ceremony will take place. Seriously?

Bring on more wedding prep. Lately, it’s been the best part of the show!

Lee Lofland

I don’t know if it’s because I’m exhausted from move preparations, or what, but the show this week was a real snooze fest. It was the same tired and old story, but with a few new characters. And to top it all off it was BORING. And then there’s Lanie, who not only provided inaccurate science, she possibly destroyed or altered evidence while curled up on the bed beside the dead guy.

Lanie, Lanie, Lanie…Lividity blah, blah, blah……..

When the heart stops beating, gravity pulls blood to the lowest point in the body. Blood pooling in those low areas stain the surrounding tissue giving the appearance of bruising. This staining of tissue is called livor mortis, or lividity. For example, a victim lying flat on his back when he dies exhibits lividity on his back, buttocks, and the back of his legs. The same is true on the front of the body, if the victim is found lying face down.

In the photo above, taken at the crime scene, it’s nearly impossible to gather any information about lividity because the dead man is still fully clothed AND, the lividity would be present where? That’s right. It’s on the back, back of legs and arms, etc.,  since those are the lowest part of the body.


Livor Mortis (lividity) The staining of tissue normally begins within the first two hours after death. The process reaches it’s full peak in eight to twelve hours.

If the victim is moved during the first six hours after death the purplish discoloration can shift, causing the new, lowest portion of the body to exhibit lividity.

After a period of six to eight hours after death, lividity becomes totally fixed. Moving the body after eight hours will not change the patterns of discoloration. Therefore, investigators know a body found lying face down with lividity on the back, has been moved.

Rookie officers have often confused lividity with bruising caused by fighting.

Remember, ambient air temperature is always a factor in determining the TOD (time of death). A hot climate can accelerate lividity, while a colder air temperature can slow it down considerably.

– Lanie found a set of numbers written on the victim’s palm. They were written in ink, and they’d started to fade. Lanie miraculously deduced that the victim had written them 3-4 day prior to his death. There is no way she be able to tell when the numbers were written, and by whom. So many factors come into play. Was the victim a palm-sweater? Did he not bathe or wash his hands since he wrote the numbers? Does he not wash his hands?

– Lanie discovered tape adhesive on the victim’s torso. She said, “Looking at the pattern on the adhesive, I’d say he was wearing a wire.” I still say Lanie needs to stop sniffing formalin before wandering outside, because she just may find herself in a “hospital.”

– Officers need search warrants to search someone’s banking record.

– If the victim had been wearing a wire, and he was, why would he wear it while giving ou incriminating evidence over the phone?



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Castle: the way of the ninja


Well, it had to happen sooner or later, considering Rick Castle’s fascination with all things strange and unusual: A ninja-centric Castle episode.

Melanie Atkins

The Way of the Ninja was a funny, fast-moving change of pace from last week’s angst filled drama, and I loved it. So many great lines and fun ninja fight scenes. Even had a little romance thrown in.

The show began with the brutal murder of a Japanese ballet dancer, then quickly refocused on Kate and Rick at the loft getting ready for the day. Kate turned down Rick’s suggestion they go to Lincoln Center that evening to hear some great jazz, because she’s supposed to have dinner with an old friend. Kate doesn’t seem too thrilled to be meeting her friend, so Rick offers to go along. “Definitely not,” Kate responds with a smirk. “You’re exactly her type, and the last thing I need is to watch someone from my past trying to seduce my fiancé while talking about the goddess that lives in her hoo-ha.” So funny! I laughed so hard, I had to run the DVR back to catch the next scene.

I was thrilled to see Perlmutter back, but less elated with his certainty the knife that killed the dancer had been hurled into her chest. He also claimed she died from having her left anterior descending artery severed before he’d done an autopsy. Heck, she was still at the crime scene with all her clothes on. Guess Perlmutter, like Lanie, has gone psychic. Didn’t like that part.

The ninja stealing the murder weapon out of Rick’s hand after they found the shrine had me rolling again. Classic Castle. Enter the woman from the Japanese consulate. I pegged her as the killer… and a ninja. Was I wrong? Yes, but only on one count.

While Kate went to have dinner with her old friend, Rick and the boys investigated the area surrounding the crime scene and found a Japanese hostess bar. More good, clean Castle fun, even with Rick being lured into a back room for some “private time” by one of the hostesses… to research a lead, of course. Ryan singing karaoke cracked me up again… especially when the guy dragged him off stage. Hilarious. Then the three of them got thrown out of the place, and the manager slapped a bill for $6K into Rick’s hand. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Kate’s evening with her friend didn’t turn out like she’d expected, either. Instead of her friend raving about her perfect life and inner goddess, she complained about her boring married life. This led Kate to question Rick about their life once they married. Would their relationship turn staid and boring, or would they keep romance alive? Rick suggested they put a promise to keep romance aflame in their marriage into their wedding vows. A noble idea followed up by a series of increasingly passionate kisses.

More twists and turns in the case as the show moved along had me picking a different person as the killer every five minutes. I must say I never zeroed in on the murdered girl’s sister as a member of law enforcement or Bedford as the killer and the “green dragon”, the man who had killed their parents back in Okinawa. When the sister unmasked Bedford after the epic final ninja fight, I was genuinely surprised. Although I’m betting Lee picked him right off.

Any way you look at it, The Way of the Ninja was a fun, entertaining episode. It held my attention and kept me laughing even after the show ended. Of course, Rick slinging the throwing star lodged in his phone into the captain’s office helped with that. How can Kate think life with Rick Castle would ever be boring?

Lee Lofland

I was happy to see Perlmutter this week. Well, I was glad until he opened his mouth to speak, spewing a ton of gobbledygookish nonsense. But then I realized what had actually  happened that turned my happy face into one gigantic frown. That wasn’t Perlmutter at all. Instead, I believe Lanie had someone in her one-stop-shop-we-do-it-all voodoo laboratory build a ventriloquist dummy that looked like Perlmutter. Because the real-life Perlmutter would never, not in a million years, say the stupid things that we heard the “dummy” say last night.

It was so bad that even the Perlmutter stand-in had a look of shame on his face when the ridiculous words fell from its wooden lips. You all know what I’m talking about, right? That nonsense about merely looking at a laceration on the victim’s chest and then magically determining that someone had “hurled” (the dummy’s word, not mine) a knife at the victim.

Even the untrained eye could certainly tell this wound (below) was caused by a knife that had been thrown by the killer, right?

Then, to add icing to the cake, Perlmutter the Pretender went on to say that the knife severed the victim’s left anterior descending artery.

AND, the faux M.E. went as far as saying the wound caused by the flying dagger killed the victim instantly.

The best/worst part of all this crap was that “Perlmutter The Sequel” was able to “see” this devastating internal damage to the victim while the body lay fully-clothed in the street—pre-autopsy.

This one earns this week’s PUHLEEZE award.

Step right up, folks, and see the incredible, amazing Dr. Perlmutter, the medical examiner with the gift of x-ray vision. No autopsy needed, and no waiting!

I know better, though. Perlmutter II must’ve answered one of those ads in the back of comic books. For the low, low price of $1 anyone can see through human flesh.

Add another twenty-five cents and buyers can see a friend’s body beneath their clothes.

As far as Beckett and the police procedure go… I think I’ll let Castle sum it up.

Of course, the ninja-killer was really easy to spot this week. When we first saw him he was standing, in silhouette, in front of a window. It was a great profile shot that screamed, “I’m the killer of the week!”

Overall, the show was a lot of fun. It took us back to earlier times when Castle and “the boys” were good for several laughs during the show.

But, my writer friends, please drop the pens and step away from the police procedure and M.E. material. You do not want this in your books. Well, unless you want to rid yourself of numerous fans/readers, and a whole lot of credibility.


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Castle: In the belly of the beast


There’s no doubt in my mind that Melanie and I will have opposing opinions about this episode. So let’s dive right in. Melanie, please do step up to the podium. The microphone is on, the coffee’s hot, and your fans await.

Melanie Atkins

Loved this episode. So dark and intense. Better than last week’s show, and scary. I knew Beckett would survive, of course, but I still bought into the suspense and danger and loved the big project feel of the parts with her inside the mansion and in the woods. I thought Stana did a fabulous job. Getting her head dunked underwater couldn’t have been fun, even though it was all for show.

Nathan did a great job portraying Rick’s angst as well. He had to have been terrified, but they didn’t dwell on it. Just kept it real with his frustration at not being able to help, his palpable fear, and his lingering looks at her empty chair.

I don’t care what anybody says. Andrew Marlowe, the show’s creator and co-writer of this episode with David Amann, and Rob Bowman, the director, are one of the best teams in television today.

I was startled by the kidnapping, and then again when Lazarus—or rather, the fake Lazarus—turned out to be Vulcan Simmons, the drug lord Beckett went all badass on in Sucker Punch in season two. In that episode, she also shot Dick Coonan, the man who killed her mother at Bracken’s direction, to save Rick’s life. So Simmons and Bracken were connected. Interesting.

My favorite part of tonight’s episode happened not long before minion #1 hauled Kate off to assassinate the unsuspecting man: Her penning the goodbye letter to Rick. So sad, and yet so sweet and romantic. We never did learn if CSU found it, or if Kate told Rick she had written it. If I were her, I’d want it out of that creepy house, because those words are only meant for him.

I still haven’t figured out how the man she supposedly murdered fit into the plot, unless he had somehow wronged Bracken and the senator used Kate to even the score. Or maybe killing him really was just a hurdle thought up by minion #2 to test her loyalty. Guess we’ll never know.

I wasn’t surprised to learn Bracken fills his political coffers with drug money. Bet that happens more often than we know in real life. Bracken is evil personified, and now that he’s evened the score with Kate by having the real Elena save her life, who knows what he might try next? He’s had more than one chance to kill Kate, and I can’t understand why he doesn’t just do it. If he’d let minion #1 put a bullet in her head, no one would have a clue Simmons or Bracken were involved in the kidnapping scheme. Kate was the one who gave them the clue about the super PAC. Yes, Rick and Kate need a nemesis, but Bracken sparing Kate over and over really makes no sense, unless the senator simply enjoys toying with her. It’s possible.

I expect Bracken and/or his minions will pop up again later this season, probably just in time to ruin Rick and Kate’s wedding. I hope they can find a way to pull it off.

Love this show. Now we have to wait two weeks for the next episode. Rick making out with a geisha, then getting attacked by ninjas? Bring it on! We can use some lighthearted fun after the darkness In the Belly of the Beast.


Lee Lofland

Well, I was right. Melanie loved it and I did not. I believe my dislike for this episode began early on in anticipation of one of three scenarios.

1) 3XK was going to show up.

2) Beckett was going to tell Castle she couldn’t marry him.

3) The show would wind up being another “he killed my mama” episode.

Guess what…

As for the police procedure. Basically there was none, other than Beckett’s spur of the moment undercover assignment with basically no briefing or time to do any research into the world she was to step into. Yeah, yeah, I know, she was the only female detective who spoke Russian. However, this was a federal case and I’m darn near 150% sure the feds have scores of folks on the payroll who speak a variety of languages. They’d also know a bit more about the assignment than what Beckett learned during her 2 minute briefing session with Agent I. M. Clueless.

You know, if Lazarus’ operation was so perfect and well-run, why didn’t they know what Elena looked like? And, trusting all those money counters in the basement of the villain’s lair (Sorry, it reminded me of something you’d see in a Batman or Superman comic book, or maybe even an episode of Scooby Doo).

Of course, this was one of the “dark episodes,” so if we pull out our copy of the DARK boilerplate script we’d see that Beckett was to be kidnapped and/or lose her gun. Kidnapped was the option selected this time.

Beckett has the opportunity to come out of the situation smelling like a rose, if…she kills some guy who has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

Let’s examine that scenario. Beckett, in a matter of seconds, convinces some strange man to let her pour beet juice (who has beet juice in the house?) and ketchup all over his head and expensive carpeting. And let’s not forget that huge blob of ketchup/beet goop smeared on the wall. Then the guy positions himself on the floor, holds his breath for five minutes, and waits for the crazy lady to come back inside to show her playmate her artistic handiwork. Oh yeah, the victim/random guy also lets his brand new wacko lady-friend shoot a couple of holes through his expensive glass doors.

Nothing at all wrong with that scenario, right?

Back up a second to the blood stain pattern on the wall. Was it applied with a paint roller?

Apparently, the set designer used to work on chainsaw murder films, because that’s definitely not what you’d see in the real world. Well, unless a victim’s head was filled to the brim like a beet juice and ketchup donut, and the shooter used a bazooka or a charge of C-4 send the mixture flying toward a wall.

To even remotely come close to what we saw in this scene the victim would have to have been standing against, or very near the wall (it’s still too much).

We know, however, that he couldn’t have been standing against the wall, though, because his “dead” body was too far away from it. And I’m not so sure the victim would land in a perfectly straight prone position with his face turned to the side, as we see in the image below.

Anyway, this entire scene was totally unbelievable. Remember, the key to successful fiction is to write believable make-believe. Otherwise, the story can come across as silly. Definition of silly – see above scenario.

I think I’ll let the characters do the rest of this review. It’s pretty straightforward, so they should do well. Here goes…


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Castle: Room 147


Writing these Good Cop/Bad Cop reviews over the past few years has been quite interesting, to say the least. Melanie and I write our individual sections without reading the other’s. Then they’re pieced together and images are inserted. Sometimes our view of the episodes are sort of close while other times we couldn’t be further apart if we stood on different planets. This week, I think I’m on Saturn and she’s on Mars.

How about you? Do you stand with Melanie, or do I bring out the Soft Scrub and try to wipe away those pesky rings before you arrive?

Melanie Atkins

Another good episode this week. Not great, but pretty darned good. A weird case, trouble in Alexis-land, and a wonderful moment between Alexis and Kate. Throw in Castle over the moon about the odd turns in the “story” that was their case, and I had to smile. Never mind the cringe-worthy statements from Lanie at the crime scene. I’d like to know how in the world she checked the victim’s liver temp when his shirt was still tucked in, but I digress.

As you know, I’m along on this ride to dissect the relationship part of the show. This episode did not disappoint. After we got a brief view of our victim at the Best Traveler’s hotel, Kate and Rick wake up to the smell of coffee and go investigate. They obviously believe they’re alone in the loft. Don’t know where Martha is, but I’m assuming she was out. Not only do they find a steaming cup of java on the counter, but Alexis pops up and scares them both to death. Turns out she spent the night because her tutoring job went late and she couldn’t get a train. Rick urges her to move back in since she and Pi the fruitarian broke up and she’s living alone now, but she resists, claiming she has to fulfill her lease.

Alexis’ decision bothers Rick, and he tells Kate he doesn’t understand why the girl won’t come home. Sure, Alexis said she wants to fulfill her lease, but he believes something else is going on. He’s also worried she’s burning the candle at both ends. Between school, her work-study program, and tutoring for extra money, she’s exhausted. Rick’s a good dad, so naturally he is concerned. Kate’s stark reaction to his insistence that something other than the lease is keeping Alexis from coming home told me Kate believes she may be the reason. That Alexis doesn’t want to interfere in Kate’s relationship with Rick, or that maybe the girl no longer believes the loft is her home.

As one, then two, and finally three seemingly ordinary people confess to the crime, Kate continues to ponder the situation with Alexis. We get a quick glimpse of a one-sided phone conversation with an anonymous person, and at first I assumed the call had to do with the case. Turns out, however, that Kate had taken the bull by the horns and called Alexis to set up a meeting at a coffee shop.

I’ve wanted to see Kate and Alexis bond for a long time now, but Alexis dove into her relationship with Pi around the time Kate and Rick got engaged and pretty much ignored Kate. Maybe she had trouble accepting the fact that her dad was in a real relationship, or maybe she was truly angry he had asked Kate to marry him without telling Alexis first. Who knows? Whatever happened, Alexis has finally morphed from a spoiled brat into a driven young woman, and I couldn’t be happier. I was also thrilled by her reaction to Kate’s concern that she was the reason Alexis didn’t want to come home. Kate also gave Alexis some great advice: “What you’re actually doing is punishing yourself,” Kate said. “This isn’t necessary. Your dad loves you. Your penance is paid.” She urged Alexis to at least think about it, and then she went back to work on one of the twistiest cases I’ve seen yet.

I did not guess the killer this week. Did any of you? Lee? I really thought the creepy doctor had something to do with it. He made the hairs stand up on my arms. Yet lo and behold… well, if you watched the show, you know the culprit. Not the best story ending, but then again the writers only have forty minutes to solve the case. Someone had to have killed that poor guy.

My favorite part of the show, other than Kate’s heart-to-heart with Alexis, was the last scene… when Alexis knocked on the door and asked her dad if she could move back home.

Rick’s joy at the prodigal’s return made me all gooey inside. Such a fabulous ending. I’m glad Alexis finally came to her senses and rejoined their happy family. Love. It!

Lee Lofland

Before we dive into the show, how many of you instantly thought of Led Zeppelin when you saw the EHI company logo?

Ah, so you’re not a Zep fan. Well, a very similar symbol appeared on the band’s untitled fourth album, known as Led Zeppelin IV. Singer Robert Plant said that in lieu of a title each of the band members decided to choose a symbol that best represented them. The logo we saw on the show last night was pretty darn close to the image selected by Zep bassist John Paul Jones. The symbol is believed to stand for someone who is confident and competent. Jones’s symbol has been seen on the cover of a book about the Rosicrucians, a religious cult in the middle ages. Perhaps Castle writers selected their image because of the cult-like workings of EHI. Maybe so.

The four symbols selected by the four band members of Led Zeppelin. Left to right – Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, and Robert Plant.

Okay, on to the case. One word. Pitiful. More words—one of the worst cases we’ve seen on the show…ever. I’m sure the ghost of Agatha Christie is on her way to the set of Castle to haunt the snot out of that place. Personally, I hope the NYPD is also on the way, but to arrest everyone connected with this episode, because we were robbed of a decent ending!

Marlowe and company told a quirky story that was sort of fun, but then dished out a killer without the first sign or clue that she could’ve/would’ve been the villain of the episode. Thankfully, they didn’t stray from the boilerplate script because Denene and I both decided the actor-woman was the murderer when she first appeared on screen. I think Marlowe has each killer attend a “guilty look” school before filming the episode. This character definitely gave us “the eye” when she appeared in the early scene at the theater. I think even she was amazed that Beckett and Castle discovered her identity because there wasn’t a single tidbit of evidence pointing in her direction.

Of course, the school of red herrings were there to throw us off track, and they were a fun part of the show.

But, Lanie… I think she’s been sniffing far too much formalin, and it’s beginning to pickle the part of her brain in charge of common sense. For example…

How could she possibly guess the size of the round that killed the victim of the week, when all she had to go on was a red spot on the dead guy’s shirt?

She said to Beckett, “Judging by the size of the entry wound I’d say it was a small caliber handgun.”

Well, not only can her Ouija Board tell her the size of the round, it now predicts the type of weapon used. Why not a .22 rifle? Why not a big and heavy .357 with a ten-inch barrel, but loaded with .38 rounds? It’s possible.

You cannot tell anything by looking at a red spot on a shirt other than it’s wet and has a hole in it. That’s it. Besides, without removing the shirt and/or conducting an examination, you couldn’t even be absolutely sure there was a wound beneath the red spot.

I finally figured out why we never see Lanie from the rear. I’m fairly certain there’s one of those pull rings back there that we used see on talking dolls. Marlowe pulls Lanie’s string and she says…

Okay, let’s put this lividity thing to rest once and for all. Lanie, Marlowe, and the rest of you out there in CastleLand, please read this section if don’t read anything else (I know a few of you read this blog, so there’s no excuse for these errors).

Even Castle knows better.

Lividity (sigh) is the pooling of blood at the lowest areas of the body. The process starts as soon as the heart stops beating. Picture yourself holding a garden hose, aiming a stream of water at your prize-winning onions. Suddenly, the water stops flowing (you forgot to pay your water bill). What happens to the water in the hose? It no longer has the pressure to send it to your garden (like a heart pumping blood throughout the body), so gravity takes over and pulls it to the lowest section of the hose.

Likewise, when the heart stops beating, blood is pulled (by gravity) to the lower areas of the body, where it begins to leak into and stain the tissue there. That stained tissue takes on a purplish color. If the victim is found lying face up, the back, and the back of the extremities will present the purple coloring. If the victim is lying face down, the chest, stomach, etc. will exhibit the purple tint.

So how do investigators and medical examiners know if lividity is present? THEY LOOK AT IT. THEY INSPECT THE BODY.

And, to inspect those areas what needs to happen? THE CLOTHING MUST BE REMOVED.

There is absolutely no way Lanie could offer any kind of information about the presence of lividity on this week’s dead guy. No way. Unless, of course, she’s wearing her x-ray specs.

Same thing for the liver temperature. Can’t check it without at least, as Melanie pointed out, pulling the shirttail from the pants.

So, my writer friends, are we good on lividity?

I thought so.

Oh, Beckett, it’s BOLO (Be On The Lookout), not APB. You had it right for so long, but have somehow slipped back into your old and evil ways.

I guess the relationship aspect was okay this week, but the case? Not so much.

By the way, what happened to the intelligent Castle, the guy who thought like Holmes and Poirot, and was able to solve these odd cases? Instead of the old Castle, we now have a fourth Stooge—Moe, Larry, Curly, and Castle. At least he did come up with the refrigerator door/water bottle thing. Still, the slapstick, dumb guy routine is wearing a bit thin.

However, Pi is gone and that’s a good thing. A really good thing.

So we’re done with this episode, and we hope to see you here again next week. Until then, here’s a song from the Led Zeppelin IV album. Any idea what its (the song) connection is to me?

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Castle: smells like teen spirit


Telekinesis was the theme, and there was more to this episode than a semi-drunk amateur magician bending a couple of spoons at Grandma Gertie’s 95th birthday party. In fact, this show was filled to the brim with snazzy parlor tricks. So, without further ado, let’s drop in on Melanie to see what she pulls out of her hat.

Melanie Atkins

A real life Carrie at one of Rick’s old high schools? Mean girls versus the outcasts? Yes, the scenario has been done to death in just about every procedural that’s ever aired, but this one came with a twist. I’m not sure if Rick, Kate, and crew ever decided if any of the telekinetic acts the outcast kids performed were real, but the strange occurrences added to the storyline… as did some real life accuracy. Lanie actually used the term “liver temp” when referring to estimating time of death at scene of Madison’s murder. Not sure if it was a first, but I was thrilled the writers did their homework for a change. Kudos to Dara and Chad Creasey, who are new to the show this season.

After the lead in with the requisite dead body, the scene changed to Kate and Rick at the loft sparring over whether to go with a live band or a DJ for their wedding reception while they got ready for bed. Rick figured they’d go with a band, while Kate opted for canned music. Their animated discussion soon led to the realization that they don’t have a “song” like most couples. So what will the band or DJ play for their first dance? Ack!

Kate and Rick soon got busy working the case, leaving us to fret over their wedding music, and wound up at Rick’s old high school. His trip down memory lane led to them sharing stories from that time in their lives, and we learned both of them missed their senior proms. Rick got himself expelled the week before the dance for putting a cow on top of the administration building, and Kate opted to attend a poetry slam instead as an act of defiance. Always the rebel. Knowing the pair as I do, neither scenario surprised me.

The case took several wrong turns before they finally figured out who murdered Madison, but once they did our dynamic duo returned to the school during the Starry Night dance to arrest the culprits. A nice touch. Once Kate sent the kids off to the precinct with a couple of uniformed officers, Rick asked Kate to dance. So sweet and romantic.

While they were dancing, Rick uttered one of the best lines from the series so far, IMHO. “Everything I’ve ever done, every choice I’ve ever made, every terrible and wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me… has led me right here, to this moment with you.” Cheesy, certainly… but the line is so Castle, and so perfect for them. I loved it.

Loved the song, too. Did you recognize it? It was In My Veins by Andrew Belle, the song playing at the end of Always, the season four finale, when Kate showed up dripping wet at Rick’s door and said, “I just want you.” Can’t think of a better song for them to dance to at their wedding.

I enjoyed this episode. It wasn’t the best, but it held my attention, made me laugh, and cranked up the romance. Classic Castle. Just what I needed after a week of watching skiing, curling, and bobsledding. The Olympics are nice, but I’ve missed my regular shows.

Lee Lofland

I agree with Melanie. It’s sometime difficult to force myself to switch channels while this year’s exciting Olympic games air opposite my favorite shows. Actually, we record everything these days and watch, commercial-free, at our convenience. However, we’ve also found ourselves fast-forwarding through much of the games.

Is it just me, or have you also noticed more falls, trips, stumbles, and spills than in year’s past? Sure, it’s sort of fun, in a train-wreck-watching kind of way, to see a skater slide face-first into a wall, as long as they’re not injured. But aren’t these people supposed to be the best in the world at what they do? Aren’t these the folks who bested every single skier, skater, and snowboarder in every single competition?

Speaking of snowboarders… Have you seen the guy who wears clothing that’s at least four times the size he should be wearing? His freakin’ pants are so big the waistband hovers around his knees, and to keep them from falling to his ankles he installed some sort of strap with one end that’s attached to the pants and the other to an out of sight location somewhere on his body.

Is there no dress code for THE games? Can’t this guy stop pretending to be a gansta’ for a couple of hours so he doesn’t have to constantly tug on his pants to prevent them from becoming tangled around his feet and skateboard sans wheels?

Anyway, enough of that rant. Let’s move on to…Lanie (groan).

Like Melanie, I was about to do a few happy cartwheels when Lanie said she used the liver temperature to estimate the victim’s time of death (TOD). How difficult was that to do, Castle writers? Change a couple of words and suddenly your character is believable. Fantast— Wait a second. I almost forgot. Lanie told Beckett that the blood on the ceiling belonged to the victim. Well, that’s a hunk of Voodooery and crystal-ballish forensics. She’d need the folks in the lab to compare the blood on ceiling to that of the murder victim, and that can’t be done at the crime scene. For starters, she can’t even be certain the stuff on the ceiling is truly blood until it’s tested.

The murder case was a bit wacky, with a couple of unrealistic loose ends left to flap in the breeze. But it was a fun case, and to make it more enjoyable was the reference and resemblance to Stephen King’s Carrie. It was also a nice touch to have Castle do a bit of name dropping (King) and mentioning that he himself is still a writer.

Actually, Castle probably plucked a few raw writer nerves when he said that young people no longer read paper books, opting instead for e-readers. But, it is what it is. I prefer paper books. I also enjoy using my Kindle. But a Kindle simply does not, and will never, smell like a book. Nor will it ever have the feel of an honest to goodness book. I think someone needs to invent a line of fragrances, such as “Old Book” and “New Book.” Then, when we need to reminisce about the days we spent in libraries and brick and mortar bookstores, we can give ourselves a pick-me-up by spritzing our e-readers a quick dose of “Old Book”.

Show of hands. How many people actually thought Lucas (the blue hands guy) was the killer? No? Well, me either. The writers and director sure tried to make us believe he was, though. In fact, they did everything in their power to throw us off track (I picked the blonde girl almost immediately).

Seriously, how blatantly obvious were the phoney clues—blue paint, and the “he’s guilty” look from the young lady in the background.

Please, writers, we know the boilerplate script forward and backward, up and down. Shake it up a bit. We like surprises. Really, we do. Even this show (below) tries to add a bit of surprise once in a while.

With the end of the show rapidly approaching, the writers made one last push to throw us off track.

But I was on to them and stuck to my guns. I was convinced that the blonde girl was the killer (she was so not a factor in the show that I couldn’t remember her name). However, I glanced down to write something, and when I looked up I thought the Castle officials had finally stumped me. I just knew they’d revealed the murderer and that I’d been wrong all along. But, it wasn’t to be.

It was only the well-armed Musinex guy.

Anyway, the case was eventually wrapped up and the blonde girl and her BFF were led away in handcuffs. And, of course, everyone went to the prom, including…

By the way, you knew early in the show they’d end up at the prom, right?

Finally, what about the doctor? Was it ever explained how he managed to float/levitate?

Oh, the storyline about telekinesis used by an angry young woman, well, I wonder where they got the idea? Yes, I wonder…

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Castle: dressed to kill


Well, this episode of Castle was much better than the last one. I enjoyed the case more (I’ll let Lee handle that critique) and was enthralled by all of the delicious Rick-Kate moments… even the touch of angst brought on by the wedding dress the fashion barracuda had Kate model.

Melanie Atkins

The first scene with Martha tickled my funny bone. Susan Sullivan is priceless in that role. Nobody else could play Rick’s mom with such theatrical flair. So smart and funny… and Rick and Kate agreed to try to book the Cordova House as a wedding venue. A beautiful place, truly… but it isn’t exactly what I have in mind for them.

Good thing, because Kate’s panicked hesitation during Rick’s phone call — while wearing the gorgeous, yet unusual wedding dress — caused them to miss out on booking the Cordova House for a spring ceremony. She looked beautiful in the dress. Beautiful, reverential, and overcome with emotion. Had the dress made everything all too real? Was she getting cold feet?

Of course not. She’s marrying Rick, right? She loves him… always. We learned later, after the two of them finally got to talk about her hesitation, that her balking about moving up the date came because she missed her mother. What little girl doesn’t dream of shopping for a wedding gown with her mom? Picking out flowers, planning the reception, digging through magazines for ideas. Maybe not everyone longs to do that, but Kate obviously does. She expected to see her mom standing behind her, looking at her in that dress, and all she saw in the mirror was empty space. Had to have been a punch to the gut. No wonder she freaked.

I loved how understanding Rick was after her declaration. She’s a lucky woman to have found such a kind, loving man. Kate was right saying her mom would’ve adored him… that goes without saying. He was Johanna’s favorite author, after all.

I was so happy when Kate told Rick she wanted to get married in the spring after all. Aha! Andrew Marlowe had hinted September wasn’t set in stone, and I’m so glad. Bet we’ll get a wedding finale in May. What do you think?

Loved this episode. It had the best beginning and ending scenes of the season, in my opinion. We got kisses. More than one!

Bring on the next new episode — in two weeks because of the Winter Olympics. Can’t wait.

Lee Lofland

You know, sometimes it’s difficult for me to write these “bad cop” reviews. Not because there’s nothing incorrect as far as the police procedure and forensics in this show. Goodness knows, there’s always a barrel full of goofy stuff in nearly every episode.

It’s just that I sort of dislike having to constantly ding poor Tamala “Lanie” Jones. Of course, having acted in blockbuster hits such as My Name Is Earl and Booty Call, well, I’m sure she’s used to hearing tongue-in-cheek comments about her characters.

But this is Castle, and Jones’ character is a medical examiner whose main purpose is to “info dump” clues so the killer can be located and arrested within the time allotted for the show. So, the information she provides could and should be, at the very least, somewhat accurate. If her character was spouting off nonsensical information on My Name Is Earl we wouldn’t give a flying flip.

However, Lanie is portraying an expert who should be providing reasonably accurate information to her TV detective friends. At the very least, she shouldn’t screw up things that totally defy common sense. For example, always saying that “based on lividity the time of death is…”

*Remember, my dissection of the police procedure and forensics is for the benefit of writers who do not want to make the same silly mistakes in the current works-in-progress.

Let’s all say this loudly enough so the Castle writers can hear us. “IF LANIE BASES ANYTHING AT ALL ON LIVIDITY, SHE MUST BE ABLE TO SEE THE EFFECTS OF LIVIDITY!”

You cannot see the purplish stained tissue/flesh caused by livor mortis (lividity) when the victim is fully clothed and lying face down with her long blonde hair covering the face. Lividity presents on the LOWEST points of the body; therefore, an examination of the body must be conducted to determine the stage of livor mortis (fixed or not). Even then, lividity is not the most accurate means of determining TOD (time of death), if at all.

Okay, enough of that tired and old rant. Let’s move along to this particular episode. Could it be that even Lanie is growing a bit tired of saying the same things over and over again, especially when the lines are as wrong/silly/dumb/incorrect/ridiculous as can be? Do I detect a silent apology and maybe a slight eye-roll as she once again mentions lividity?

Anyway, the victim of the week was strangled, and Lanie said the killer used “a scarf, a sash, or something.” That really narrows it down, huh? However, I have to question how anyone could make that determination in the field, BEFORE conducting an in-depth exam, especially when the ligature mark is extremely narrow and bears no resemblance to a scarf or a sash.

The mark, however, does have the appearance of “or something.” So I guess she called this one right (picture me doing an “eye-roll” here).

Next, Lanie told Beckett she’d found animal hair (dyed blue) on the victim’s neck. She even went a step further to say they’d been left there by the killer. I ask you this…HOW COULD SHE HAVE POSSIBLY KNOWN THE HAIRS WERE LEFT BY THE KILLER?

Sorry…but this show makes me lose my patience, and I tend to shout when the writers force poor Ms. Jones to say stupid things. I’ll try to control myself for the rest of this review.

Okay, the body was found in a dumpster with tons of fabric and other items discarded from various clothing designers. Wouldn’t it be a safe bet to at least consider that someone who works in the high-fashion world just might be exposed to a garment made of blue animal hairs? Or, is it a new thing for all killers to stock and carry blue animal hairs to deposit at the scenes of their crimes. Did the Murderer’s Local 666 union negotiate a new contract that includes leaving blue animal hair at all crime scenes?

Let’s not forget Lanie finding black coral on the victim’s shoe (yes, I’m sitting here shaking my head from side to side). How in the &^*% would she know the stuff was black coral? Is there nothing her Ouija board doesn’t have in its database?

How many of you noticed that Ryan was silently announcing a big clue when he tried to make a call using the landline in the dead woman’s apartment? Ryan picked up the receiver and instantly heard a lot of static on the phone (we heard it too). He frowned so hard his eyebrows almost came together as one. Then he glanced around his immediate area. Obviously, we were supposed to notice (and I did, and I knew exactly why he did it). The static was caused by a “bug” planted in a nearby lamp.

So, we’re to believe that the two women who lived in the apartment never bothered to have the phone company send someone over to repair the faulty line? Wouldn’t you want that problem fixed? And, were we supposed to believe that in New York City, in an upper floor apartment with plenty of windows, there would be absolutely no cell phone service?

By the way, I’ve used a handheld police scanner to check for transmitters. It worked quite nicely. The scanning function locked on a transmitter’s frequency when the scanner was close to the bug. Move away and the scanner began searching for a signal again.

Of course, back in those days some scanners also locked in on cordless and wireless phones. It was not uncommon to drive through a neighborhood and hear everything from people exchanging recipes to someone saying, “Hey, a cop car is driving by. Hide the dope.” Nowadays, that shouldn’t occur since phones have built-in protections. And, it’s not legal to possess a scanner that intercepts phone conversations. Actually, it was illegal to listen in back in the early days, too. But it happened automatically with certain scanners.

Ryan told the dead woman’s roommate that he’d have someone come by later to take her statement. Gotta call BS on that one. That’s his job and he should’ve taken the statement while he was there. That’s part of “clue-gathering.” But, how else would the writers have introduced the phone static that led to the bug in the lamp? This was lazy writing.

Hey, what happened to Beckett’s scar from the rifle bullet that hit her chest many seasons ago? It wasn’t there last night.

Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you knew right away which character was the killer?

Could he have been more obvious?

Beckett, though, had to learn the hard way that Julian was the murderer. She had to wait for DNA test results to come back (I guess she’d misplaced her copy of the boilerplate script).

She announced to the killer, and to the TV viewing audience, that the DNA of two people were discovered on a hairy, blue scarf found in a dumpster outside of his apartment. Well, that was great information, but to what did the lab compare the DNA in order to reach their conclusions? They had the dead body for comparison to one sample, but what about Julian’s DNA? Where/how did they obtain it? Perhaps the second DNA sample found on the scarf came equipped with a tiny ID bracelet on which was a message that read, “If found please return to Julian. I’m his DNA.”

Well, that brings us to the end of the goofy police stuff (as much as I cared to mention, that is). So let’s end this week’s review with something for you diehard fans of the mushy stuff…

 *By the way, I never edit my posts (there’s not enough time in the day), so please excuse the errors.

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Castle: Limelight


Do you have regrets about a decision you made in the past? If you had the opportunity for a “do-over,” would you change the path you traveled as a result of your bad decision? Well, that was the theme of this week’s episode of Castle—fixing bad choices.

While it was an interesting concept, the show was not exactly a smash hit. Of course, it followed a couple of really strong episodes, therefore, the bar was set pretty high. Unfortunately, this one never reached the level of those preceding it. Remember, though, my eyes are focused on the investigation of the criminal case and how Beckett and crew tackle it.

So let’s see if I’m totally barking up the wrong tree. Melanie usually sets me straight when it comes to the “other” aspects of the show—the romance and all things “mushy.”


Melanie Atkins

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this episode of Castle as much as I did the last two. The show was case heavy, with a Miley Cyrus vs. the paparazzi-like plotline, and I found it to be dull and not “Becket-flavored” enough to hold my interest. Two personal plot points woven in did grab my attention, however. I only wish the show had focused more on them than on the lame case.

Point number one:  Kate put her and Rick’s engagement announcement in the paper after stories on page six suggested he was getting back together with Gina, ex-wife number two. This surprised me. Kate is a very private person, and she’s resisted stepping into the limelight ever since Rick first set foot in the precinct. Yay for her! This cements her commitment to their marriage, proving to Rick once and for all that she’s ready. His publicity person probably wasn’t too thrilled, but who cares? Their engagement is up front on page six.

Point number two: Alexis kicked Pi to the curb. At least, we were led to believe that was the case. We didn’t get to see it on screen, and that irked me. Why the writer and director chose to focus on the case is beyond me. I would much rather have watched Alexis telling Pi to take a hike than to have listened to that quasi-celebrity whine about her screwed up life.

What about you? Did you like this episode? All of them can’t be stellar, of course, but hopefully they’ll give us more classic Castle during February sweeps. I haven’t heard much about any of the upcoming shows. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Lee Lofland

I’ll begin by saying this was one of the goofiest cases ever. It made no sense whatsoever. Of course, I was onto the killer (Mommy Dearest) the moment she appeared on screen. Actually, my wife and I gave each other “the look” the moment we saw her.

And, as if learning the ID of the killer so early in the show wasn’t bad enough (you know what’s coming), Lanie apparently took a ride in a time machine, regressing back to her Ouija Board/crystal ball/root doctor/Magic 8 Ball days.

Her most glaring faux pas was estimating the victim’s time of death based on lividity. Obviously, Lanie didn’t read last week’s review because I went into pretty vivid detail about lividity (livor mortis). All she had to do was read a couple of paragraphs and she could’ve delivered something that made some sort of sense. However, she and the writers whipped out the old fortune-telling board and its magical pointer, combined with a quick shake of the old 8 Ball.

I’m sure the meeting went something like this…

“Okay, fellow writers, do we go for realism this week? Or should we make our medical examiner character appear as dumb as we possibly can? Hey, I know, let’s give the old 8-ball a go at it”

The head writer gives the ball a good shaking and then says, “Oh, Magic 8 ball, should we continue on the path of realism that was so refreshing and added a nice, new dimension to the show? Or, should we go for Three-Stooges-silly?”

I think we know which triangle appeared in the black ball’s magic window—Yes, definitely go for stupid.

Okay, here’s the thing. If you read last week’s review you may remember the discussion about lividity, and what it is and what makes it happen. Here’s a replay.

When the heart stops beating, gravity pulls blood to the lowest point in the body. Blood pooling in those low areas stains the surrounding tissue, giving an appearance that looks somewhat like bruising. This purplish staining of tissue is called livor mortis, or lividity. For example, a victim lying flat on his back at the time of death exhibits lividity on his back, buttocks, and the back of his legs. The same is true on the front of the body, if the victim is found lying face down.

Are you with me so far? Lividity is the purplish staining of tissue caused by gravity drawing blood to the lowest points of the body.

The murder victim this week was found in an alley, lying face down in a pool of blood. She’d been killed by a blow to the head, which, by the way, was inflicted by Mommy Dearest (more on this in a minute).

Remember, lividity can be seen on the flesh at the lowest points of the body.

Here’s a picture of the victim as she was when Lanie made her voodoo prediction. Now, pretend you’re a detective for a moment, and then tell us in the comments section below why Lanie could not have used lividty to determine a time of death.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Moving on.

The blow to the head that killed the victim was delivered by Miley Cyrus’s Mandy Sutton’s mom. I know most of you are writers who do your homework/research when it comes to murder, so I ask you this… How often (in real life) do women kill using some sort of blunt object? Now, let’s ask the cops a similar question. How many cases have you worked where a woman killed someone by hitting them in the head?

You know, I’ve been in a couple of life or death situations where I finally had to resort to giving my attacker(s) an aluminum shampoo (a hit to the head with my heavy, metal flashlight—the one that holds four D-cell batteries).

I’m not talking about a gentle “love tap.” In one particular instance I was fighting for survival, so I’m talking a blow hard enough to send a baseball over the Green Monster at Fenway Park. The kind of hit that starts a geyser of blood. At that point it was either him, or me. I chose ME. And you know what happened? It made the guy really mad and then he started hitting and choking and biting me harder than before.

Then there was the time when a suspect hit me in the head with a 2×4 to prevent me from arresting and handcuffing his buddy. The blow was so hard I actually saw the “white light and stars” you hear people speaking of. Did it kill me? Obviously not.

Anyway, the point of that little tale is to let you know that blows to the head normally do not kill someone. In fact, they rarely cause unconsciousness. Of course, both have occurred, so it’s not impossible, just not probable.

Back to Mommy Dearest, Ms. Lohan, I mean Sutton. Bashing someone’s brains out is an unusual crime for a woman to commit. Normally, women prefer to keep their distance when taking a life—poisoning, murder for hire, and even shooting.

To do the damage we saw to Brittany Spea Mandy Sutton’s double, Ms. Hilton Ms. Sutton would have needed to really jackhammer the young woman’s noggin. Otherwise, the victim would have suffered a nasty headache, but surviving to sue the pants off her attacker. And that’s after turning around and beating the woman six times west of Sunday for hitting her.

So please do use good judgement when writing those “blow-to-the-head-with-a-book murder mysteries.

Okay, that’s enough for this week. Sure, there were other things that deserved a mention—good and bad—but I’ve rambled far too long already, so we’ll see you again next we— Wait! I almost forgot to mention Pi and the possibility of him getting the boot from the show. I almost did a happy dance around my living room last night when it appeared that Alexis is considering kicking the aggravating guy to the curb. The show will definitely be better without him.

Okay, we’ll see you next week.

*     *     *


Those of you planning to attend the 2014 Writers’ Police Academy should watch carefully for an announcement regarding registration. There are only a few days left in January and registration IS opening this month. If you haven’t already done so, please visit the WPA website to sign up to receive updates and news. The link is at the bottom right of the main page.

I’ll also post the announcement here and on my Facebook page.

Also, the 2014 WPA schedule of events will most likely be posted later today or in the morning.

Updates to the website are underway, complete with sponsor listings and more.

The WPA is in dire need of sponsors. This year is the most expensive ever. Believe me, every little bit helps! So please do consider joining your fellow writers as a 2014 WPA sponsor. You can contact me for details, or you can click the Become A Sponsor link at the top of the WPA website home page.

Also, we are currently seeking items for the annual silent auction and raffle. If you’d like to send something please contact me at

As always, I thank you for supporting the WPA and all of our dedicated instructors.

*Profits benefit the criminal justice foundation at our host police academy/college.

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