Castle: I, witness

“You know I don’t like to disappoint the ladies.” ~ Esposito

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

So far I’ve enjoyed the Castle-as-a-PI arc, but I didn’t like this episode nearly as well as I did the last two. The show started out with a glimpse into the future, with Rick getting knocked unconscious in the woods by an unknown assailant, and I knew right away Lee would jump on that. Then the writers took us back twelve hours, to when Rick first got the call about a new case.

Don’t get me wrong; I loved the sweet scene between Rick and Kate discussing the possibility of “napping” later, and the way Kate supports his PI venture. She’s excited for him when he gets the call, and that’s all well and good. I simply had trouble reconciling that she would help him the way she did later, digging into a case in another jurisdiction using precinct resources… but now I’m getting ahead of myself.

To backtrack, I got a big kick out of the Ryan-Esposito storyline. Seems Ryan and Jenny are a bit worried that the couples’ ski weekend they’d planned weeks ago with Espo is about to go down the tubes because Espo is no longer dating Lanie… or anyone else, for that matter. So they sign Espo up on I laughed out loud at that one.

Meanwhile, Rick dives into his new case, a supposed quest by an old school friend to learn if her husband is having an affair. Not long after getting the call, he witnesses a murder. His client’s murder. This, of course, sends him into a tailspin. He follows her alleged assailant into the woods… and ends up getting whacked on the head.

Takes him a while to wake up and walk to where he can get phone service, because her assailant moved his car, and he calls Kate to tell her what happened. She rushes to the scene.

Kate is reluctant to believe Rick about the murder at first, but he finally convinces her he’s telling the truth, or at least the truth as he believes it — and she jumps into the investigation with both feet. Not only does she build theory with him; she also uses precinct recourses, including Ryan and Esposito, to investigate the case, even though the supposed crime happened in another jurisdiction, with another detective running lead. Gates is out of town, so I guess this means that when’s the cat’s away, the mice will play. Wouldn’t you say?

Ryan has gotten a bit ensnared in his push for Espo to get a date, but he lets go of his personal mission long enough to help his partner dig into the lives of the alleged victim and her husband, a wealthy financier. From there, the plot becomes so twisty, with so many different suspects, that in the end I really didn’t care who had killed — or not killed — the alleged victim. I say that because at one point we learn the victim staged her own murder. Then she turns up dead for real… and the plot takes another weird twist. I have to admit I got a little confused by who was who by the time the real killer emerged.

I like Rick as a PI, but believe the writers got a bit carried away with this particular story. Plot twists aside, Kate’s sweet support of Rick made me smile, as did all the fun Ryan-Espo moments. Espo ended up choosing a match Ryan and Jenny had rejected, by the way, instead of the one they had picked for him. A poet/exotic dancer he invited along for their ski weekend. Too funny.

We needed that bit of lightness, because the next two episodes, a two-parter involving two of Kate and Rick’s old foes, promise to bring us plenty of angst. I hope that plot isn’t as twisty as this one, or I just might feel compelled to commit a murder myself.


Lee Lofland

I don’t have a lot to say about this episode because, well, it was a bit bland for my tastes. However, I will point out a few minor details that didn’t quite add up.

First, though, let’s get Lanie out of the way, and I can’t believe I’m saying this…she was pretty doggone good. Her comments sounded realistic and they made sense even though a couple were a bit of a stretch. Still, the idea is to come across as believable, and she was. So HOORAY!

Next, Castle is tromping through the woods, at night, searching for a killer. He’s making all sorts of noise AND, he’s waving a flashlight beam up and down and from side to side. Why not paint a bulls eye on his skull and use the light to bash himself in the head to save the killer the trouble of having to do it? Dumb.

Speaking of dumb…what about the tired cliche’ of no cell phone service at the precise moment it’s needed. Yes, they went there.

Detectives, and Castle, are supposedly using a UV light to search for blood inside a suspected killer’s kitchen when they notice a stain. One says, “That’s blood.” No way they’d know it was truly blood without some sort of testing. Those of you attending the 2015 Writers’ Police Academy will have the opportunity to see and use various types of alternate light sources to detect evidence. Registration opens February 14, 2015 at 11 a.m. EST.

The suspected killer tells the detective he needs a drink refill and they let him leave the room unsupervised. That’s an open invitation for the guy to retrieve a couple of hand grenades, a rocket launcher, fourteen knives, and seven handguns, and then set out to kill everyone there before making his escape. Always, always, always keep your murder suspect in sight.

Cliche’ #2. The old “attorney bursts into the interview” routine. Think about it. Who let her inside, and how did she know where or which room to enter?

Castle made a good point when he said Cole was too cocky and narcissistic to kill himself. That’s typically true in real life.

The last red herring/suspect seemed very awkward, like the writers merely tossed him in the script because they thought they needed to fill a void. Seemed forced and weird and really didn’t fit into the plot.

So, that’s it for me. Like Melanie, I wasn’t all that fond of this one. And the previews for next week didn’t leave me feeling too anxious about seeing that one either.

Again, I spotted the killer spot early on. How about you?

*By the way, I am a bit excited about seeing Nathan Fillion on The Big Bang Theory. That should be a hoot.

Entertainment Weekly photo

Castle: Private eye Caramba


“My new series of PI novels will be inspired by me. I’ll be my own muse.” ~ Richard Castle

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Lee went all bad cop on last week’s episode, so my guess is that he’ll probably do the same with this one. He didn’t seem to care for the Castle-as-a-PI angle. Therefore, I’m pretty sure I’m the good cop again this week, because I thoroughly enjoyed Private Eye Caramba.

Instead of this week’s case turning into a competition between Rick and Kate, the two of them worked parallel cases that intersected in many intriguiging ways. As the show opens, Rick is having trouble getting his new venture off the ground, so Kate, being the good wife she is, tosses him a bone by recommending him as the PI who can find the victim’s co-worker’s diamond encrusted purse. I loved that he had his own case this time, even if the cases did intersect.

Only one thing got on my nerves: Rick’s asides as a noir PI, spoken in a tone similar to the one he used as the narrator in season four’s The Blue Butterfly. Everytime he did it last night, even when he and Kate enjoyed a fun bit of role play in Rick’s office, it jerked me right out of the story. Enough silliness, please. Just stick with the story and keep our dynamic duo in this century. I would enjoy that so much better.

In reference to the role playing scene I just mentioned, however, please note that Rick’s search for the purse and Kate’s quest to find the killer had led to long, frustrating work hours. They stayed in touch via phone many times, but didn’t actually spend much screen time together except when they ended up investigating someone or something at the same place at the same time… and of course when Kate visited Rick in his office, resulting in the steamy scene I just spoke of, when they were interrupted by Rick’s client. Bummer. I wanted more steam!

The twists and turns of both cases kept me intrigued thoughtout the show, even though I pegged the telenovella’s showrunner as the killer from the start. Maybe I should consider that another mark against the episode, but it didn’t bother me. I had too much fun delighting in Rick attempt to solve his first case without any help from Kate and the boys. Despite their refusal to aid him, he, of course, ended up finding his client’s purse, thus solving not only his case, but also Kate’s. Typical, but fun. Good for him!

I’m still enjoying the Castle-as-a-PI arc, even though I do look forward to the day he returns to the precinct. That apparently won’t happen when the next show airs in two weeks, but I fully expect him to return to the Twelfth during the big two-part sweeps episodes after that. I do love Castle, and can’t wait for more. What do you think? Do you like this new arc?


Lee Lofland

Actually, Melanie, I sort of enjoyed this episode and the reason why is quite simple. There were two parallel investigations, meaning Castle didn’t spend the entire hour attempting to worm his way into the PD. He worked his own case and followed his own leads (Sure they crossed with the police investigation. It happens in real life).

Last week it was like watching a Wile E. Coyote trying to get one over on the Roadrunner. That didn’t happen this time, thankfully. So the show was fun (a bit over the top in places, but fun).

Perlmutter is still experiencing a bit a Lanie-itis (the writers have practically ruined what was once a nice, believable character). But he’s still better at coming across as believable than you know who.

By now everyone knows, or should know, that it is indeed possible to retrieve fingerprints from human skin, so that was a nice touch (it didn’t look realistic, but they tried). By the way, we’re offering some pretty detailed fingerprinting workshops at the 2015 Writers’ Police Academy. The sessions are in response to questions posed by writers—lifting prints from wet surfaces, various kinds of tape (sticky side), and more. You will do the print-lifting in the forensic lab.

There were a couple of eye-rolling moments, such as another bout of Castle kidnapping. This has become downright irritating, by the way. Writers are supposed to be creative…so create something NEW!

The interview of the always-predictable killer was also an eye-roller. One question and he spilled his guts.

Finally, one of my favorite lines from the show was in response to Castle flashing his PI identification. “Oh, wow, I thought you were a writer. What happened?”

I often find myself wondering the same thing. The show started out featuring a mystery writer who tagged along with a police detective as a means of bringing realism to his stories. So yeah, what happened?

*In August, hundreds of writers will attend the Writers’ Police Academy to participate in real police training so they, too, can bring an added dimension of realism to their tales. Full details to be announced soon.

Castle: PI-A

How much trouble can he (Castle) be? ~ Esposito

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

A good many fans freaked out when the D.A. kicked Rick out of the precinct at the end of the last episode because he used his mob ties to solve the last case, but I wasn’t one of them. No, one look at the promo for Castle, P.I. told me it was going to be fun… and I was right.

The opening scene in the loft with Rick making breakfast while already dressed, an apparent surprise for the women of the household, got the show off on to a great start. I loved the camaraderie between Kate and Martha, especially their hug and the endearment. That told me that Kate is truly part of the family. I had to smile… at the family dynamic and Martha’s green outfit.

Rick’s unique surprise for Kate when he showed up at the crime scene unannounced set the tone for the show: classic Castle. Rick is now a private investigator? I laughed out loud when he said he’d taken an online course. That meant he’d probably printed the certificate or license or whatever paper he waved in Kate’s face himself. Too funny.

I enjoyed the competition between Rick and Kate and the boys as they raced to solve the case. The moment when Rick got pepper sprayed was anther laugh out loud moment  I was a bit surprised that Rick picked up on the idea about the victim’s dog possibly having a chip, and the others didn’t. Go Rick!

The back and forth banter and crazy theorizing between Kate and Rick brought us back full circle to when they first began working together. Theorizing has always been a form of foreplay for them, so I wasn’t surprised when they apparently “got busy” that night at the loft after throwing out ideas. Whew! That scene, the one the next morning with Kate wearing Rick’s shirt (how adorable was that?), plus the one in Rick’s office, were my favorites. <fans self>


I didn’t guess who the killer was because I was too caught up in the Kate-Rick dynamic to really care who’d murdered the poor woman — another reminder of shows past, when I got too wrapped up in their chemistry to focus on the case. See? They’re just as good together, just as combustible, now that they’re married than they were way back when. Maybe even more so.

I’m sure that after another episode or two, Rick will find a way to return to Kate’s side at the 12th where he belongs, but for now I’m happy watching Castle, P.I. lurking in the bushes with a pair of opera glasses while he strives to solve a case before Kate, Esposito, and Ryan can do so. To me, the change has brought back the fun banter and competition from the Double Down in season two, when the four of them split up to solve a case involving a dead baseball player. The stakes aren’t the same, but the chemistry still rocks. Add that to the chemistry in the loft, Rick’s office, or basically anywhere Kate and Rick are alone together, and I can’t stop smiling.

Bring on the next episode and more Castle, P.I. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.


Lee Lofland

I was looking forward to watching this episode, especially after Melanie gave me a heads-up that it was pretty funny. After all, funny is what this show does best. However, I barely cracked a smile the entire time the tale unfolded on my TV screen. For me, it was not a great show. Cute in parts, but overall…just okay.

I was pleased to see Perlmutter on the scene, but that smile quickly disappeared when he announced that he’d used liver temp and lividity to determine the victim’s time of death, and that she’d died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Well, for starters, it’s a bit difficult to see lividity (impossible, actually) when the victim is fully clothed, including a long coat. And all that blood from a single gunshot wound? I’ve seen less blood when a victim was hacked to death with an axe.


A bullet hole is not proof that the round was actually the cause of death. She could’ve hit her head on the way to the floor…any number of things. Anyway, I’m guessing Perlmutter was suffering from a mild case of Lanie-itis, so we’ll simply move along.

Also, Perlmutter’s ID showed him as County Coroner, so I’m hoping someone from the area can clarify. Why would a county coroner be on the scene of a NYC murder? Is that reality? I believe the OCME (Office of Chief Medical Examiner) has jurisdiction of all homicides within the city. Anyone? Jonathan Hayes?

From the OCME website:

Police precincts and hospitals throughout the City telephone a Report of Death to OCME’s Communications Unit; the clerk on duty records basic information concerning the circumstances of injury or death, and of hospitalization. The clerk then notifies an OCME MedicoLegal Investigator (MLI) assigned to the borough in which the death is reported.

The MLI’s responsibility is to inquire further into the circumstances and to determine whether the death falls within OCME jurisdiction.

The Senior Medical Examiner in each of the five borough offices will, on a daily basis, review the cases referred by the MLIs for further examination and, in accordance with applicable law, determine whether an autopsy will be performed. An autopsy can take from one to several hours, depending on the nature of the case.

After completing the autopsy, the Medical Examiner issues a death certificate indicating the cause and manner of death.

*Remember writers, coroner and medical examiner are not the same.

A coroner is an elected official and may or may not be a medical doctor. (Many California sheriffs also serve as coroner).

A medical examiner is a medical doctor who has been hired/appointed by the city/county/state/federal government to conduct autopsies and investigate the cause of suspicious deaths. Elected coroners who are not doctors must hire a pathologist to conduct autopsies.

Next, the whole “I’m a PI so I can tag along with the cops during their investigation” thing is not true. Not for a minute. PI’s are not cops and their presence at a crime scene could jeopardize the court case—evidence compromised, etc. Not to say it couldn’t happen from time to time, in special circumstances, but not as we saw in this show.

The same with Castle strolling around the morgue with the victim’s autopsy report in his hand while Perlmutter chased him around the dead body as if they were two of the Three Stooges. Yuck, yuck…

Now, I’m an old school fan of the Three Stooges, but to see this sort of thing on Castle, a show that halfway attempts to depict realistic police investigations, well, I just wasn’t able to suspend reality enough to enjoy the humor. And that’s because in one moment the characters were doing everything but tossing pies and the next scene showed them knee-deep in crime scene gore.

Typically, when the writers focus on humor the show is hard to beat. But to add the two extremes within a single episode—humor and case-heavy—just didn’t work for me. I was extremely glad to hear Castle say… “Case closed.”


Castle: Bad Santa

“Solving crimes and catching killers, just like Castle’s famous thrillers.” ~ Beckett

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect after seeing promos for this episode. Bad Santa? A mob connection? Rick and Kate visiting a strip club in search of answers? Turned out I had nothing to worry about — and the strip club scene didn’t last too long. I loved the episode, even though I knew a big plot twist that would change the trajectory of the show for a while lurked at the end. The plot twist still took me by surprise.

The first scene with Kate, Martha, and Alexis at the loft made me giggle, mainly because of Kate’s incredulousness at Rick’s expectations about everybody coming up with a six-line holiday rhyme about the past year. Too funny. I especially loved Martha’s line, “Welcome to the family.” Oh, yeah. No telling what other odd Castle family traditions Kate has yet to unearth. I don’t see how life with Rick could ever be boring. Annoying at times, yes… but never boring.

The case of the man found murdered in a holiday display window moved along at a fast clip, with a lot of quirky turns that included Santa with a gun, a Romeo and Juliet-type love story, and enough lies to befuddle a saint. I wasn’t thrilled with the mob theme, but went along for the ride just for fun. Rick’s close involvement with the mob, mainly one mobster in particular, bothered me, however. Turned out it was for good reason, because once the DA got wind of Rick’s relationship with the mob boss, the world as we know it turned on its ear. Didn’t matter that he had helped to solve the case. A blood oath is a blood oath, apparently. Can’t jump in bed with mobsters and come out clean.

Spoiler alert! Stop reading if you haven’t seen the episode. If you have, you know I’m referring to the DA’s knee jerk reaction to Rick’s confluence with the mob. Unfortunately for him, the mayor agrees, and Captain Gates tells Rick he can longer work with the NYPD. This means he is no longer allowed to tag along with Kate. He doesn’t quite know how to tell her, especially in light of the cute little rhyming ditty she came up with for her holiday poem, and I’m sure she’ll be devastated… at least until the new twist promised in the January promo comes about. If you hung around long enough to find out what’s going to happen next, you know what I mean.

Rick as a licensed private investigator? Tee hee! What a great idea. I laughed out loud at that one. Looks like a fun episode. Can’t wait. I have it on good authority that he will eventually be allowed to return to the Twelfth, but not right away. I love the way the writers keep moving the story forward, keeping it fresh, while respecting story continuity (for the most part) and sticking with canon. I love this show.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy the hiatus. Castle returns to ABC on Monday, January 12th at the usual place/time.


Lee Lofland

This episode left me nearly speechless, simply because there weren’t too many flaws in the procedure and other cop-type stuff.  So I had very little to do other than watch the show.

Of course, Lanie was still Lanie, but not quite as voodooish. Showing the personal side of her character this week was a nice touch, actually. The actor seems so much more open and comfortable when she’s not in her M.E. role, where she’s stiff and unnatural, much like the dead folks who hang out in her morgue.

The major faux pas this week, though, was how easily Beckett and crew located evidence at the crime scene—the bloody bracelet and a completely intact bullet embedded in concrete.

Speaking of that unspoiled round, here’s a photo I took at a firing range to show what really happens when bullets strike hard surfaces head-on.

So that’s it in a nutshell. If I had to assign a grade to this episode, well, it was just middle of the road for me…a C.

Add that to Melanie’s “A” and the show gets a B.

Castle: Last action hero

“My hero was a liar and a goat herder.” ~ Castle

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

This week the show returned to the lighter side. The case du jour centered around the death of one of Rick’s favorite action heroes from the 1980s, a washed up actor found dead in an alley. I’ll let Lee handle the case part, starting with Lanie telling Kate the victim had bruising on his torso without removing his shirt. Really? Even with this unnecessary mistake, I liked the episode. Rick’s exuberance over meeting some his other favorite heroes, made complete by Kate’s eye rolls, provided plenty of humor. We even got some smooches, telling us their marriage is going well. I adore happy Caskett and couldn’t help but smile.

Rick did irritate Kate, however, while packing up her apartment in preparation to move everything either to the loft or into storage. I’ve been wondering when or even if the powers that be would tackle the last vestige of Kate’s single life, and I’m so glad they did. Kudos to the continuity gods. Rick’s offhand comment about never having liked the place really got off with Kate, so much so that she lamented about it to Lanie during a combination girls-night-out/goodbye-to-Kate’s-apartment celebration. Kate apparently felt bad about getting irked with Rick, but Lanie was quick to point out that the reason his words bothered her was because the place was where she had rebuilt her life after her other apartment blew up in Boom. Where she solved her mom’s murder, and where she fell in love with Rick. So true. I love the place, personally, and am sad to see it go. At least it’s staying in the family, since Kate mentioned that her cousin Cynthia is moving in.

Kate’s final walk through of the place was bittersweet. So many memories, both happy and sad, and the ending of a major chapter of her life. She and Rick are now married, meaning that she no longer lives alone… and his home is her home, as well. She’s spent most of her time at the loft for the past year or so anyway, but selling the apartment made it real. I especially liked that she carved her initials on the steps. They were always my favorite part of the place.

I had to laugh when Rick teamed up with the Indestructables. Such excitement and glee. Like a little kid at Christmas, until he found out the reason for their mission. I loved the way he pointed at his wedding ring and said, “Hey, guys… my wife’s a cop…” So funny.

Such an amusing episode. I really enjoyed it, and look forward to next week’s Bad Santa. I’ve been told the end contains a “game changer” for Rick, something that will keep him out of the precinct for an episode or two in the new year (but has nothing to do with his and Kate’s relationship), and that has me on pins and needles. No idea what it might be. Can’t wait!


Lee Lofland

Actually, I thought the sparseness of Lanie’s comments was a nice touch. After all, the M.E. side of her character is easier to tolerate in small doses. Still, in the brief time she was on screen she managed to spout off that nonsense about peri-mortem (at or near the time of death) bruising on the victim’s torso. This would have been great information had the victim’s torso been exposed. No, medical examiners do not undress murder victims in the street and then re-dress them, including jackets, coats, sweaters, etc., before transporting to the morgue.

I was also a bit curious about the semi-upright positioning of the stretcher that raised the victim’s upper body. EMS crews do this when a patient is experiencing breathing difficulties. Doing so helps them breathe a bit easier, sometimes. I guess the purpose was to present TV watchers a better view of the neck wound and cheesy grayish makeup job. Two words about the makeup, though. Face Off.

I’m not going to delve too deeply into the NONSENSE on this show known as Tory. Instead, I’ll say only this. How does it feel now that you know the government has a secret database (EARIS – Ear Identification System) containing images—two per person, with the exception of Van Gogh—of all of our ears? That’s right, “they” can use those ear images to track down every single person in the country within a matter of seconds.

Thinking back, I remember how difficult it was to ink and roll a suspect’s head across those two-print earprint cards, which, by the way, are way bigger than fingerprint cards. The filing cabinets we used to store them were huge. Tory…puhleeze…

Castle and his buddy the action hero (played by Ted McGinley) entered the drug dealer’s office to steal the car/recorder.


Sure, the writers made a point of having an actor say this was legal because they were citizens, not cops. However, Castle acts as an agent for the police, which means he absolutely must follow the rules/laws that apply to law enforcement, including search and seizure laws. If not, the evidence he “picks up” cannot be used in court.

Still, Fillion is at his best when he’s doing humor.


By the way, it was hard for me to not see McGinely (above left) in his former role as Jefferson D’Arcy on Married With Children. I kept expecting him to call Castle, Al. In fact, the entire scene seemed like the type of adventure Al Bundy and Jefferson would undertake to get away with visiting their beloved Jiggle Room, the “nudie bar,” without upsetting Peg and Marcy. So that was a bit of a distraction, but still fun.

Finally, for those of you who watch Castle hoping the knowledge gained by doing so will help you earn a law degree…prosecutors need more than just a single/lone person’s testimony that someone has committed a crime (the son agreed to testify against the drug dealer). Evidence must back up the statement(s). If “he-said/she-saids” were all that’s needed to send people to prison, well, there’d be no one left on the outside.


Castle: Kill Switch

“No, I didn’t lose him. I just don’t have visual contact.” ~ Esposito

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Drama and tension replaced last week’s lighthearted take on the Old West in the latest episode of Castle. Drama and tension in the form of Esposito held hostage on the subway, with Rick, Kate, and the rest of the crew racing to figure out why the man in question had snapped. Or had he? He might have planned the incident, or even something worse. Either way, he had detained one of their own at gunpoint, then revealed he wore a suicide vest held in check by only a dead man’s switch. The episode focused on the case rather than on the Rick-Kate romance/marriage, but did give us a glimpse of something building between Esposito and Lanie. Finally.

I’ll let Lee handle the bulk of the review because the episode was so case heavy, but I do want to say that the beginning of the episode brought us much of the same banter we’re used to seeing between Rick and Kate, despite their recent marriage. I guess some things never change. And apparently events of late, namely Rick’s disappearance, his and Kate’s wedding, and Esposito’s own unexpected brush with death have made Esposito rethink his fear of a deeper relationship with Lanie. I believe he’s thinking that life’s too short to waste any more time. What do you think after the way he hugged her at the end of the episode? She was worried sick about him, too. Uh huh. Something is definitely brewing there.


From what I hear, we’ll see a lot more movement on the Esposito-Lanie front in at least one more episode before the winter hiatus. I’m not surprised. Those two have always gravitated toward one another, and life events have scared them both. Guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

Looks like next week’s episode brings us back to the lighter side of Castle. Can’t wait to see what happens!

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Lee Lofland

This one was just okay for me. Of course, Lanie presented her typical “cause of death” announcement at the scene. Sure, a big, round hole in the center of the forehead is an excellent indicator that internal damage caused by whatever made the cavern did indeed cause the demise of the victim. Still, he could have been, for example, poisoned by a jealous wife who then stole her lover’s handgun to make it look as if he, not her, killed the victim. Stranger things have happened, believe me.

Then there was Beckett who picked up a scrap of material of some sort and then announced that the killer used a backpack or cloth to muffle the shot. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! What, does the NYPD not have access to laboratories and/or scientists?

*A round hole in the flesh, or anywhere else, actually, is not always caused by a bullet. Nor does a scrap of burned material always, if ever, indicate a backpack or cloth was used as a silencer on the weapon that made a round hole.

Other procedure faux pas include Esposito giving up his weapon to a bad guy (I won’t mention the fact that this was the umpteenth time one of the crew has been taken hostage). No, no, and NO!! Not now, not ever! You know they should know better after all this time, right?

New Picture (2)

The uniformed officer had her service weapon taken from her in a single, very easy tug from the bad guy.

New Picture (4)

Actually, it’s not quite that easy to pull a sidearm from a cop’s holster. Officers carry their pistols in holsters that are designed to provide a maximum level of retention/security. Therefore, it’s a bit of a chore to remove a gun from the security holsters worn by most officers. Not impossible, just not easy.

Click here to read holster specs and details.

This question is for WPA attendees who participated in Eli Jackson’s (Author’s Combat Academy) weapon disarming and retention workshop. Do you believe Esposito should have attempted to disarm the villain du jour when he grabbed Espo’s phone from his pocket?

Other notes:

1. If the virus was so deadly, then why were Beckett and Castle not wearing protective gear/clothing when they visited the infected killer’s hospital room?

2. “You gold shield guys always act like you’re better than us.” ~ Uniformed officer to Espo, referring to detectives (gold shields).

We are better than you.” ~ Esposito.

For various reasons, these feelings do exist within departments.

3. Another hostage situation…really? Grr…

4. Another bomb situation…really? Grr…

5. Tori, the IT person, is truly getting under my skin. Her instant access to everything, everywhere is absolutely annoying.

Finally, I did enjoy seeing Esposito handle the tense hostage situation. He does a great job portraying a police officer. Not quite to the levels we saw on Southland (Michael Cudlitz and crew), but still very nice. The same for Ryan, but in a way that’s complimentary to their role as partners. Another nice touch was the emotional connection between the detectives. They’re close friends, like officers in the real world, and it’s a bond that often lasts a lifetime.


Castle: Once upon a time in the west

“We approach this like writers.” ~ Castle

“So…we procrastinate and make stuff up?” ~ Beckett

“No, by doing research.” ~ Castle

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Friends angry because they weren’t invited to the wedding? Check. Ryan and Esposito were extra angry. A weird case involving a New York City woman allegedly poisoned at an Arizona dude ranch? Check. A honeymoon for Rick and Kate at this same dude ranch? Check. Although I would call it a quasi-honeymoon. Too much case and not enough honeymoon for my liking.

The episode was funny, however. Funny and outlandish, with some silly parts thrown in that made me roll my eyes. They used every western cliché known to man, and that only added to the zaniness. Nathan is great at comedy, and his body language and natural delivery made even the silly parts work.

Let me just say I adore married Caskett. They’re touchy-feely, free with goofy nicknames, and so in love they make my teeth hurt. The sweet, sexy campfire scene really had me going until the snake appeared (they have a habit of messing everything up, don’t they?). And of course Kate the city girl shot at the snake, and the horses — nicknamed Espo and Ryan by Rick — ran off into the night, stranding him and Kate in the middle of nowhere. Cliché, but hilarious.

I liked the way the writers kept the real Ryan and Esposito, and even Gates, in the mix via phone calls about the case. This gave the show balance and helped to tone down the silliness. Everything came together once Rick and Kate found the gold. Wait… no, not gold. A skeleton where the gold should have been. Rick’s showdown in the saloon was just the icing on the cake. Funny lines, more classic clichés, and the murderer in handcuffs.


Ryan and Esposito’s gift to Kate and Rick — giving some of their vacation days to Kate so they could have a proper honeymoon, really made me smile. As did her lassoing Rick (in that plaid shirt) while wearing the sexy white dress (petticoat?) Bring on the real honeymoon. Too bad we won’t get to see it.

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Lee Lofland

What a fun episode. After all, who doesn’t like horses, desert scenery, and Castle exposing every ounce of his goofiness.

Of course, we all know that tox reports wouldn’t come back as quickly as they did in this show, nor would the tests detect foxglove without a specific reason and request to look for it—there are no all-encompassing tests. Additionally, simply because a poison is found in a victim’s bloodstream doesn’t mean they were murdered. And, in the real world detectives do indeed travel to other locations/jurisdictions/states/counties, cities, etc. to investigate their cases. Still, case aside, the script led to several giggles and chuckles, as well as some clever one-liners.

1. “Replica?” ~ Castle, on the gun carried by bad guy/killer du jour.

“Son, this is Arizona. It’s open carry.” ~ James Grady, bad guy/killer du jour.

2. “You go first. Check for snakes.” ~ Castle to Beckett before entering abandoned gold mine.


3. “You got a hankering for a residence in the bone orchard?” ~ Bad Guy/killer du jour to Castle prior to saloon shootout.

4. “Once again, not invited.” ~ Ryan, expressing his disappointment over missing the wedding.

Of course, #3 ended with Beckett saving Castle by shooting the gun from the hand of the bad guy. You do know that sort of thing only happens on TV, right? If not, writers, I suggest you follow Castle’s instruction and conduct a bit of much needed research. You know, like attending the 2015 Writers’ Police Academy, which, by the way, is going to be absolutely FABULOUS! I’m just saying…

By the way…

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Castle: The time of our lives

This week it was all about the relationship—the show Melanie has been clamoring to see. Therefore, in honor of her pitter-pattering, lovestruck heart, I’m switching hats…from bad cop to bad wedding photographer. This one’s all you, Melanie.

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Melanie Atkins

Finally. After years of will they, won’t they, and even should they, plus all kinds of other wild speculation, Kate and Rick… Castle and Beckett… finally tied the knot! I laughed, I cried, and I couldn’t stop smiling. When they said their vows, you could probably hear me squealing way out in California, Lee. They wowed me.

I adored the episode, even the alternate universe (AU) parts, even though I had prepared myself to despise all of it until the happy couple said I do. Normally, I don’t like dream episodes. Another Castle fan I texted with during the show didn’t buy the concept at all. She thought the dream idea was lazy writing. I usually feel that way, but this time I bought it, hook, line, and sinker. Partly because I just wanted to, and because I’d read enough spoilers to give me the basic plotline, but mainly because Nathan Fillion did such a fabulous job of selling Rick’s love for Kate, no matter what world he was in.

I simply found Rick’s fight to get back to Kate — his Kate — too endearing. Never mind the craziness that was Rick sniffing the corpse at the beginning of the show and recognizing the scent of coal, which of course took them to the coal plant. Not believable at all, but I chose to suspend my disbelief and buy into the whole story.

I’m so glad I did, because the AU part made the wedding even more special. Such a beautiful setting, and the vows… wow. Loved them even more when I learned Terri Edda Miller, Andrew Marlowe’s wife, who penned the episode, used “the time of their lives” from their own vows. Amazing. I had tears in my eyes. I’m so glad Kate’s dad was there, and that the writers included Rick and Kate’s song. Thanks so much for the continuity!


One thing that did bother me, however, was the toast while Rick and Kate were dancing. Did Jim drink champagne?


He’s an alcoholic, a point that’s been driven home over the entire course of the show, so if he did, that was a major goof. Anybody else catch that? Oops!


Even still, all in all, I loved the Caskett wedding. Finally, Rick and Kate are together… for always. I can’t wait until next week’s show, the quasi-honeymoon at the dude ranch. I have a feeling it’s going to be hilarious.


Lee Lofland

Before we close, I do want to mention some of my favorite lines from the episode.

1. “Why do you always have to touch everything?” ~ Beckett to Castle when he set off the big chain reaction by touching the artifact.

2. “I thought you liked that about me.” ~ Castle’s response to Becketts question (above).

3. “Stay in the car, or I shoot you.” ~ Esposito to Castle.

4. “That kind of IS my best behavior.” ~ Castle to Beckett following her remark about his persistent bad behavior while in the parallel world.

*     *     *

To those who served, and to those who still serve, we are forever grateful for the sacrifices you and your families have endured for us.

Thank you.

Human sausages in November…I’m not getting anywhere. ~ Richard Castle.

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Melanie Atkins

This week’s case-focused episode of Castle surprised me. It wasn’t a total yawner, and I actually cared about what happened to the two kidnapped techno-millionaires at the end. Well, not so much about what happened to them, but more about whether or not Kate, Rick, and crew would get to them in time to save their lives. Which, of course, they did.

The first scene in the bookstore between Martha and Rick was a total gem. I love Martha, and glimpsing her in her realm as an acting coach, even for a few short moments, made me smile. So funny, and so Martha. The last ninety minutes with Kate, Martha, Alexis, and Rick gawking at Rick’s completely cringe-worthy web-mercial was even better. Holy cow. I laughed out loud so many times!


Kate and Rick worked as a team on the case, of course, with Rick putting the clues together as they went along. Ryan and Esposito added plenty of flare. I was also pleasantly surprised by Lanie’s assessment of the body at the beginning at the show. No wild imaginative leaps, no crazy suppositions before doing the autopsy, except knowing which arteries had been severed without even taking off the victim’s clothing. Seemed like logical guesses to me for someone with a good knowledge of anatomy.

Tory the tech got on my nerves, as she usually does, and some of the things she did seemed a bit far-fetched, but not so much that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.

What the show didn’t give us was any real intimate interaction between Kate and Rick. Too bad. I did love, however, that when Gates sent Kate home for the night mid-show, she and Rick went to the loft. A usual occurrence these days and totally understandable, since they’re about to tie the knot, but I do love that his home is hers now, too.

Can’t wait for the next episode in two weeks. The wedding episode I’ve been dying for after years of waiting. Yay! Then the honeymoon episode after that. Never expected them to go to a dude ranch, or wherever they are out west, but I can live with it. They’re finally getting married!


Lee Lofland

I’m taking a different approach to my portion of this review, and it’s because I’ve grown extremely weary of Lanie-bashing. So I won’t mention how really cool it must be to possess the ability to see inside a human body, without the benefit of autopsy or x-ray equipment. You know, like seeing punctures to major blood vessels and being able to definitively state those were the cause(s) of death, and all while still at the crime scene with a fully-clothed victim. From the look on the actor’s face at the time she delivered those lines, well, I don’t think even she believed what she was telling us. Here, see for yourself. I managed to catch her saying this off-camera.

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Overall, though, the investigation was fairly good. Beckett and crew systematically tackled the steps needed to bring the case to a successful conclusion. Sure, a few things were over the top, but it’s a fictional television show and that sort of thing is needed to keep our eyes and brains glued to the screen (gee, brains and eyeballs glued to a TV screen sounds a bit Halloweenish, huh?).

Of course, the guys were on the money with their photo geo-tagging information. Please take a moment to click over and read what nationally renowned cyber-crimes expert Josh Moulin has to say about the topic .

Josh Moulin

Josh Moulin: What Information Is In Your Digital Images?


Beckett’s interview with the killer was a condensed version of what you might hear in a real police interview. She said exactly what she needed to say to get the cyber-crook to confess.

After all, there were lives on the line and time was short. A good detective absolutely must be able to adapt to whatever and whomever is before her. If the suspect is a huge fan of earthworm racing, well, a savvy investigator will suddenly become the next big fan of red wigglers.

Fact of the day – Did you know the Asian jumping earthworm (Amynthas spp.) is an invasive species that, when exposed to light contracts into a tight “S” shape, and can and often leaps several inches into the air?

Finally, I want to mention the ex-detective, Bill Garrett, who helped Beckett solve the case. He’d retired after a bitter end to a long career as a police officer. Many civilians don’t understand exactly how working as a police officer can encompass your entire life. Officers are never really off-duty. They’re always on alert for whatever could and does happen. The job is almost always on their minds. It’s a job that cannot be left at the office.

Unsolved and particularly troublesome cases weigh heavy on an officer’s emotions. It’s a tough and dangerous job, and it takes a special person to succeed at it.

And, when it’s all over and retirement rolls around…well, it’s tough to let it go. In fact, part of the job is always there, lingering. Former cops are still on high alert and many of them miss the job each and every single day. Therefore, to have the opportunity to participate in anything related to police work is indeed a wonderful feeling. For example…

Earlier this year we were passing through a shopping center when I saw two officers in the process of attempting to arrest two extremely combative and violent suspects. The crooks took the officers to the ground and were really giving them a good going-over. The bad guys were definitely winning the battle while a crowd of spectators stood by watching, with many cheering for the thugs.

Denene was driving and I asked her to stop so I could help out. She reluctantly pulled over to let me out. I approached and announced to the struggling officers that I’m a former police detective and I was there to assist, if they so desired. However, the situation was extremely dire so I didn’t wait for a response and went right to work.

Sure, I’m older and slower than I used to be, but after many years of teaching defensive tactics and officer survival, practicing what I’d preached for so long came back naturally.

Thankfully, I was able to initiate a bit of “pain compliance,” grab a pair of cuffs from the case attached to the rear of an officer’s duty belt (he was not in a position to reach it), and then terminate the suspect’s aggressive actions. Fortunately, backup had arrived and had taken control of the second suspect.

When all was said and done and the bad guys were secure I walked back to our car and we drove away. It was all over in a couple of minutes, but the excitement of it all stayed with me for hours. Helping the officers stirred up a lifetime of emotions and memories.

The same is true about the Writers’ Police Academy. It’s my link to a world I once thought was lost and gone forever. Fortunately, after I left the job I was able to immerse myself into writing and to make a zillion friends who are also writers, readers, etc. Many other officers, though, don’t have those opportunities, which often leaves them feeling alone, useless, and depressed.

Anyway, yes, the scenario with the retired investigator helping solve the case was a really nice touch. And what made this small portion of the show so wonderful was the actor. He was truly believable.

At the end, his expression told a story very similar to my own. Police work was his life and it felt great to once again do what he loves. This was a great aside to the main story, so kudos to the writers and to the actor.


Okay, I guess I didn’t stray from my normal review format after all.

It was Lanie. She made me do it…


Castle: Child's play

I wish I could say that Castle’s play-date costume was atypical of police work, but it’s not. Good detectives absolutely must know how to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk,” in whatever situation they encounter. They must be good great actors, complete with a wardrobe that’s appropriate for the mission, and Castle really hit the nail on the head this week when he “suited up” and dove head first into a pit of untamed kid-monsters. Good timing, too, considering the horror stories in the news this week about kids attacking their teachers. How, though, did the rest of the show measure up? Was it as good as Castle’s classroom/fairy princess scene?

Let’s see what Melanie has to say about it. Melanie, the stage is all yours…

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Melanie Atkins

Another classic Castle episode. Yay! I loved it and believe it was the best of the season so far, although I would’ve enjoyed a little more PDA between Kate and Rick. The stellar writing kept my attention for the entire hour. Kate, of course, lost her gun twice in one fight, but even Lanie stayed on track with her lines. I can’t wait to find out what Lee thought about what she had to say.

I loved the family scene at the beginning. Gave us great insight into the dynamic in the Castle household these days and let us know Alexis was having a problem dealing with her dad’s disappearance. Her hovering kind of irked me, but I understood it.


Unlike last week, the case grabbed me from the beginning… thanks to great writing and attention to detail. The blood spatter on the cabinet and the smear on the inside of the cabinet door were nice touches that made the story seem real. I love it when writers “get it right”. Kudos to Robert Hanning for doing his research.

Loved the parts involving the class of second graders, too. Rick was a natural with them once the teacher got a handle on the chaos. Crawling in the grass, playing army, and having a tea party like he probably used to do with Alexis. The child who played Emily, his tea party partner in the classroom, was an excellent little actress, as were the other kids with speaking parts. Great job! Rick totally rocked the fairy wings and tiara. And the marbles… ouch! Too funny.

One of my favorite parts was when Emily introduced herself to Kate, and Kate said she was Castle’s “friend.” Then Emily asked Kate if she liked to play “princess” with Rick. So funny and awkward. I laughed out loud.

Leave it to Rick to get kicked out of the school. The seamless writing made it seem so natural, I forgot all about the search for the key witness until he pulled the picture of the ice cream truck out of his pocket. Were you surprised to learn the victim’s boss was Jason’s sister… and that she was the witness they’d been searching for all along? I was, only because I’d forgotten about her. The rest of the show was just that good. I did, however, peg the kid with the camera as having an important role. Not only was he front and center in the classroom, but who carries a Polaroid camera around these days? Talk about a blatant clue.


Still, all in all, I believe this episode was season seven’s best yet. Great little family moments, lots of humor, and a gripping case. Can’t wait for next week’s show!


Lee Lofland

There’s really not a lot of police fact/fiction to pick apart this week. Overall, the show was pretty darn good. In fact, even Lanie’s lines were good, and they were fairly accurate. Her comment about the gunshot residue/stippling on the victim’s shirt was believable, in spite of the makeup overkill.


The same overkill with makeup showed up inside the ice cream truck. This time in the form of blood stain patterns and spatter. The amount of spatter inside the truck was a bit much and the pattern was far too broad considering the small amount space between the victim, shooter, and the cabinet doors where the spatter landed.


The spatter pattern on the cabinet doors was also slightly wrong for the angle of impact, unless the victim was seated or kneeling on the floor when he was shot. Blood droplets would present as elongated if they’d struck the cabinet at an angle, as if from a height greater than the cabinet—the victim’s chest/back. These, however, appeared to have struck the doors almost head on.

In other words, low cabinet height + head-on spatter = victim seated or kneeling. Of course, we must also consider how the shooter was positioned—standing or kneeling/seated.

Had the victim been standing the spatter would have landed higher up on the wall. UNLESS, the shooter was standing on a ladder. Of course, the angle of the droplets is all wrong for that particular scenario.


However, the droplet sizes were fairly accurate for those caused by high velocity impacts such as gunshots and explosions. High velocity droplets often range from small to a fine mist.

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Still, this scene was far better than some from previous episodes where it looked like someone used a paint roller to apply “blood” to various surfaces.

Another nice touch was the evidence bag that had been sealed with evidence tape. I, like every other detective out there, have used miles of the stuff.


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I enjoyed this episode. There was a nice balance between “the case” and the loving couple. It was fun, funny, and a great mix of fiction and realism all at once.

The icing on the cake was that it looks as if they’re finally on the right track as far as the police stuff goes. They still have a ways to go, though, like having Beckett stick with using the term BOLO (Be On The Lookout) as opposed to dropping the outdated APB (All Points Bulletin) bomb every now and again. She’s constantly back and forth between the two.

And, of course, the shoes…

Warning – Image is NSFPW (not suitable for police work)