“This is getting really old, Beckett.” ~ Castle

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

I didn’t like last night’s Castle episode nearly as much as I did the one that aired Sunday night. After watching that intense show, this one came off as more like a farce than a police procedural comedy/drama. The actions of the Russian Diplomatic Security Agent/Cleaner were over the top and even downright silly at times. What men in that position act that way?

Rick slipped at the beginning of the show while talking to Martha and Alexis and pretty much let the cat out of the bag about having resumed his relationship with Kate. If they can’t figure out what’s going on now, they’re dumber than they look. How long do Rick and Kate think they can keep up this ridiculous charade without looking like total idiots? Oh, wait. Too late.

I won’t comment on the bizarre case involving the death of a Russian diplomat’s son, except to say that for once Lanie got it right when estimating time of death by saying, “according to liver temp” instead of “according to lividity.” Woohoo! I cheered.

The rest of the investigation just made my head hurt. At one point, Kate met with Rita, the intelligence agent (or former agent… who knows?) who is helping her with LokSat and is also supposedly Rick’s stepmother, in a search for info, and they ending up having a heart-to-heart of sorts about the state of Kate and Rick’s marriage. Really? I thought the woman lived in the shadows and was some sort of threat. And now she knows the truth, too?

Then the woman turns up at the precinct — in public — a little too animated and gleeful to be a covert agent, brought there by Kate under the guise of working with the State Department, and Rick meets her for the first time. Once he learns who she is and that she’s helping Kate take down LokSat, he says, “This is getting really old, Beckett.” And he’s right! I’m SO sick of this stupid storyline.

Of course, Rita and Rick had to have their own heart-to-heart, and he asks her about his dad. Rita hugs him and whispers in his ear, “He’s so very proud of you.” Nice. That’s about the only thing I’ve liked so far that Rita did. If she’s a covert agent, she’s not doing a very good job of being covert. Just sayin’.

The twist at the end didn’t shock me, because I suspected the woman in question was alive all along. Glad to know I was right. She might not have murdered her son, but his death was pretty much her fault. Too bad I didn’t care anymore.

They wound the story up by confronting the killer at the Russian Embassy, and that didn’t surprise me. Rick and Kate’s actions once the Russians left the room did, however. Once they were alone, inside the Russian Embassy, they slipped into another room to have their way with each other because they’ve already done it in six different countries and wanted to add Russia to the list. Oh, please! Who does this? If the scene was supposed to be romantic, I missed out on that vibe completely and was simply embarrassed for them. What were the writers thinking?

This was episode 11; I’ve heard they plan to keep the annoying LokSat thing going until episode 16, when they end it for good and get Kate and Rick back together. Hope I can hang on that long.

Lee Lofland

Melanie is far too kind, which is precisely why she’s the good cop. I’m the bad one so I’ll sum up this episode in three short words. I. Hated. It.

From the stupid baby gift scene at the beginning, to the totally unrealistic scene at the end where Beckett and Castle supposedly sneak off to a secluded room inside the Russian Embassy to…well, let’s just say that even whistling inside Russian homes is considered bad luck, as is shaking hands or kissing over a threshold. So what those two were about to do would probably doom this show to a huge downward slide in the ratings. Oh, wait…

Of course there were good points, such as Lanie predicting a cause of death using actual science—checking the victim’s liver temperature. But I don’t think she liked it because the look on her face when she said, “Liver temp puts the time of death between 2 and 4 am,” was of pure disgust. I read between the lines, though, and took her expression as a private jab aimed at me. It was as if she said, privately, “There, I dropped the lividity thing. Are you happy now?” I’m so proud. *Sniff, sniff*. Our little M.E. has finally grown up.

Ryan and Espo hung on again, managing to avoid the silliness associated with the Russian agent, Castle’s covert agent stepmom, and the stupidity we all know as Lokstat. By the way, speaking of Castle’s secret-agent-stepmom, when I worked undercover I tried my best to avoid hanging out at police stations. There were no huge/touchy-feely moments inside the precinct. After all, doing so sort of compromises your cover.

Besides, if Beckett is so bleepity-bleep afraid that her big-time secret mission could endanger Castle, so much so that they must pretend to be separated (why would merely being separated save him, anyway?), then why have him very publicly hanging out at the precinct while foreign and domestic spies wander in and out, take him with her to the Russian Embassy and to a swanky party there, and, well…dumb, dumb, and dumb.

This entire season makes me want to, well…






What’s worse than letting a guilty person go free? Sending an innocent one to jail ~ Castle and Beckett
New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Surprise, surprise! After a string of negative reviews, I actually liked this week’s episode of Castle. Maybe because the showrunners focused on the case and subsequent trial rather than Rick and Kate’s silly fake separation. They also brought back some of the banter and fun we’ve enjoyed in past episodes. If they’d just dump Vikram, bring Kate home for good, and lose the whole LokSat storyline altogether, I’d be even more happy. Can’t wait until that happens.

The story got off to a quick start when Rick witnessed a murder at a book signing party (sans Kate due to the aforementioned fake separation), then jumped ahead five months to the trial. Seemed a bit too quick compared to what happens in the real world, but I can live with the time span. At least they didn’t have the trial happen the next day.

This was the first time Rick’s ever been on the witness stand, and he did great until the new defense attorney shredded his testimony and got him all confused. Kudos to him on a job well done, but the prosecution suffered for it. Rick and Kate had to work together to save the day, and that seemed more like normal. No slapping, no fake squabbling, and no silliness except for Rick’s insistence on playing with his nose to tell Kate he loves her. A-

The final scene of them together in the loft made me happy, too. Champagne, firelight, and a kiss that will no doubt lead to more… perfect for Valentine’s Day. If the writers and showrunners would simply give us stories like this every week without all the stupidity, fake fights, and tired plot lines, the fans would be thrilled. Don’t you agree?

Stay tuned… another episode of Castle airs tonight on its regular night. I only hope it will be as entertaining as the one last night. Fingers crossed!

Lee Lofland

Well, I’ll say this. It wasn’t bad. Actually, it was far better than what we endured last week. Still, the boilerplate script left nothing to the imagination. No real puzzle to solve, other than leaving us constantly scratching our heads over the “separation in name only,” a stupid ruse that’s supposedly in place to protect Castle. I’m sure the super-duper larger than life villain in this never-ending dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks sub plot could not, not in a million years, figure out that Beckett and Castle are together at night, at the precinct, in the courtroom, at crime scenes…well, you get the idea. Not exactly believable make-believe.

Speaking of believable make-believe, the defense attorney’s questioning of Castle was fairly decent. On the other hand, Castle’s interruption of the court proceedings that wound up with a Perry Mason-esque “aha” moment was totally unrealistic. But it was an okay scene for an episode of Castle.

The case this week was fun, but the writers sort of let it get mired in a few goofy “don’t-fit-the-story” problem areas.

Now for the goofy things…

– Beckett and Castle are supposed to be separated, but they’re together, but they’re not. And this is to protect Castle. Yet, Castle feels the need to say “I love you” in the courtroom by playing touchy-feely with his nose? And this happens in a room with one of Lokstaxt’s players, the attorney. Dumb, childish, and it makes Castle look like a real joke. This is a problem that’s darkened the entire season—inserting bad comedy in places where it doesn’t belong. The “nose” thing is something we’d expect to see in a Three Stooges reel, not on a top-rated TV show in 2016.

– Lokstat. Please make this go away. Send it to the place in TV LaLa Land where Beckett’s mother resides along with 3XK and Pi. And send Vikram with it. The whole strip club thing is a huge elephant in the room, as is the supposed danger level associated with Lokstat. No one appears, even slightly, to worry about danger, yet they mention it like they’re a bunch of scared rabbits. NOT!

– Last week Ryan and Espo were boiling mad because they thought Castle was cheating on Beckett and they were not at all happy to learn that Beckett was dating someone. Yet this week there was no mention of it and everyone was as happy as could be. Bluebirds singing, sun shining, ear to ear smiling…Happy. Of course, I was ecstatic to see that stupid scenario disappear.

– Martha making a prank phone call to a judge. Just plain dumb.

– Alexis, a grown woman with nothing better to do than wear too much makeup while hanging out at daddy’s non-productive PI business. Get. A. Real. Job.

– The killer seemed like an after thought. The character and final scene with him was extremely cheesy and unbelievable. Not even close, actually, to being believable.

Good points…

– No Hayley.

– No dumb Lanie stuff.

– The case was fun and interesting.

– Ryan and Espo doing what they do when the writers allow it.

All in all, the best episode this season, but it didn’t take much to achieve that honor.

Castle: Tone Death


“Based on lividity and body temp, blah, blah, She bled out, blah, blah, and blah…,” Voodoo Doctor/M.E. Lanie

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Many Castle fans are raving about this week’s episode, the first of 2016 after an unbelievably long winter hiatus. Mainly because Rick and Kate are back together in private. Hallelujah! Even with that lovely development, however, I’m not so enthused. Sure, I loved the tiny glimpses they gave us of them when they were alone, when they acted like the in-love couple we’ve come to know and adore. The rest of the show, however? With them fake-fighting at the precinct and pretending to date the fictional Svetlana and Dr. Livingstone? No. Just… NO.

Ryan and Esposito (who are detectives, I might add) must be complete morons to not have already caught on. I mean, please. The names Rick and Kate chose for their “new flames” should be enough to tip off the boys, but if not, the couple’s silly over-acting should give away their whole crazy scheme. The writers should be lined up and shot for continuing this charade, and I learned yesterday it will go on until episode 16. Holy moly! Even this loyal Castle fan isn’t sure she can stomach this stupidity for that long.

The case had promise and I did enjoy some of the a capella singing, but IMHO it went on much too long. This is a crime drama, not a musical. And when Espo broke into song to question one of the singers, I almost got up and left the room. Sure, Jon Huertes (Espo) sings in real life, has an album out, and has even joined with Seamus Deaver (Ryan) to form a duo, but this show is not the right venue to promote this venture.

Please, Castle writers and showrunners: Put us out of our misery and give us back the show we know and love, with Rick and Kate together solving cases without all the silly pretense and stupid, contrived storylines.

Next week, we get two episodes. One on Sunday night, and one on Monday. I’m hoping they’ll be much better than this one. I love this show and am ready for it to shine again.

Lee Lofland

I’ll begin my portion of what will be a very brief review of the police procedure, forensics, evidence, interview and interrogations, etc., by saying this episode was horrible. From beginning to end, it was rotten to its snoozefest core. The writing. The cheesy acting. And the dumb case. All horrible. I don’t understand why the powers to be let it happen to what was once a really fun show.

The actors are great. They, when allowed to, play the parts of police officers/investigators as well as any actors around (with the exception of the former cast of Southland). But, for some unholy reason—

Wait a minute! Maybe… Just maybe…  Could it be this simple? The cure? Yes, I’m convinced of it. The show needs a good, old-fashioned head-spinning, pea-soup-puking, exorcism to rid itself of the demons who’ve possessed it for so long.


An exorcism to purge itself of boilerplate scripts, goofy scenes where detectives investigating murders engage in singing battles with homicide suspects, a husband and wife cannot live as husband and wife out of fear of some sort gloom and doom death plot, yet they sleep together, work together, hang out together…everything but say, “we’re married.” Speaking of boilerplate scripts, who didn’t know the ID of killer the moment we saw him on the screen, sitting there with that flashing red neon “I’m the Killer” sign hanging above his head.

So, Castle, a non-cop, is forbidden to work cases and to be at the precinct. However, he continues to lead investigations, interrogate suspects, search property, engage with murder suspects, tromp around inside crime scenes, and, well, it’s just dumb. The original premise of this show, the reason everyone fell for it, was that Castle, a writer (remember when he was a writer?) tagged along with Beckett for fodder for his fiction. You know, much like each of you who attend the Writers’ Police Academy, which, by the way, is over the top FANTASTIC this year (Registration opens at noon EST on February 21st. Slots go extremely fast so be at your computer and ready to sign up the moment the clock strikes 12).

Sorry, I was distracted there for a moment, thinking about the absolutely thrilling Writers’ Police Academy. But back to the show…

So, Castle and Alexis head over to an abandoned mall to do a bit of super-snooping. The place is spooky and definitely empty. So empty, in fact, that even the viewers at home heard the echoes of tiny rat toenails clicking and ticking against the concrete as the hairy, flea- and plague-infested rodents scurried about the place. It was so silent and still that (here comes a blast of sarcasm, so duck) Castle and Alexis couldn’t hear a few dozen kids singing their lungs out in the next section that was mere feet away from them. A section that, by the way, was separated from them by only a thin curtain. And, apparently that magically soundproof curtain also blocked the smell and smoke that poured into the air from two very large bonfires. Yeah, DUMB.

One last point before I try to erase this particular episode from my mind. Castle, when assisting the NYPD with cases, is acting as their agent. Therefore, he cannot do things on his own, for the benefit if the police, such as search homes and businesses and hack into the internet accounts of criminal suspects. It’s illegal, and anything he discovered while doing those things would not be allowed as evidence. Fruit of a Poisonous Tree is what that’s called—evidence obtained during a violation of the 4th Amendment.

And, after watching this show, that’s exactly how I feel…violated. My trees have been poisoned.

Castle: Mr. and Mrs. Castle

“Deep down inside you like being broken.” ~ Castle
New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Last night’s episode of Castle unfolded pretty much like I expected, but it didn’t end the way I’d hoped it would. Sigh. Some folks are ecstatic the way it turned out, but me? Not so much. I did enjoy the ride for the most part, loved the bits of humor, and am happy Kate finally told Rick the truth about why she left him, but I do wish he hadn’t had to dig up evidence on his own first. She should have just been honest with him from the beginning. I also wanted an end to all the secrecy and this despicable Loksat storyline. No such luck. At least Hayley finally proved herself to be useful—even though I’m with Lee in wondering why she’s on the show at all.

Rick and Kate worked together like old times during much of the episode. I loved it, but still had trouble getting past the lack of a kiss or anything intimate when he first wormed his way into her investigation after their sexy tryst at the end of last week’s show. I still believe Kate is acting out of character. One minute she’s pushing Rick away, and the next she’s all over him. What happened to the settled, in-love wife we saw at the end of last season? I don’t recognize Kate at all at this point. The story has gotten so convoluted, the writers don’t know which way to go. The fix? Hire some romance writers to straighten things out.

I loved the Martha moments, Kate’s talk with the three “Marthas” on board the ship, and Rick’s silly dance routine. And I’m happy Rick and Kate are back together, at least behind the scenes. Their plan to not let anyone else know they’re together again irks me and reminds me of when they first got together and wanted to hide their relationship from everyone at the precinct. How silly, unnecessary, and ridiculous is that?

I’m ready for Castle to return to its roots and become the show I’ve loved for seven years. Please, writers—give us the characters we’re used to seeing when the show returns on February 1 (not in January as I reported last week). I want true Caskett happiness and a baby, but maybe that’s just me. The showrunners have no plans for the latter at this point, from an article I read this morning, but we can hope. Think of the comedy that would ensue! Just please at least get Kate back in character and end this torturous storyline. I’m sick of it.


Lee Lofland

For me, the fact that Beckett had every reason and means to stop the passenger ship from fleeing the harbor, and didn’t, was part of the reason this episode hovered at a level barely above the “just okay” point. But we’ll come back to the escaping boat in a moment. First let’s talk about the medical examiner portion of the show when we were treated to a visit from Perlmutter. I used the term “treated” because the episodes have historically been better when he shows up. No offense, Lanie, but there’s something about Perlmutter that changes the “feel” of the show.

As usual, Perlmutter delivered believable lines even when the information was slightly off center of reality. However, in defense of Tamala Jones (Lanie), the writers seem to save all the good lines for Arye Gross and assign pure crap to Jones. Perlmutter’s scene last night was a fine example…

Perlmutter ~ “It’s a contact gunshot wound. Looks like she was killed execution style and dumped in the water. Based on blanching and bloating it looks like the body has been in the water for 10-12 hours.” During the exam Perlmutter retrieved a small bag from the victim’s throat, and then said, “I’ll put a rush on this at the lab.”

The lab reference was great. Lane would have somehow instantly known the chemical composition of the bag, it’s contents, and the air around it, along with what everyone who’d touched it had for lunch. The writers must have a some sort of grudge against Jones.

Back to Perlmutter’s dialog. Was it accurate?

First, bloating, of course, occurs during decomposition when bacteria in the gut begin to break down tissue, a process which releases gases into the intestines and abdomen. The accumulation of gases in a dead body will certainly help make it float.

Blanching is a part of livor mortis (lividity), something Castle writers absolutely cannot leave alone. Lividity, the purplish discoloration/staining of tissue as the result of pooling blood at the lowest parts of the body, begins the moment the heart stops beating. The discoloration of tissue is absent from areas where something presses against the skin—clothing, floors, furniture, jewelry, etc. This, the process of squeezing the blood from those areas during lividity, is called blanching. So, I’m not sure how much, if any, blanching would appear on a body that’s been freely floating in water. I say this because there’s no constant pressure on any area of the body, pressure that would force pooling blood away from any particular spot.

Still, Perlmutter’s lines were quite believable in spite of the slight inaccuracies. His delivery of those lines helped us believe whatever he said. So why don’t the writers do the same for Lanie? This is a better mystery than the stupid cases they concoct each and every week.

* To view photos of lividity and blanching click here. Be aware, though, that the photos are extremely graphic. Do NOT click the link if you are sensitive to images of dead bodies during various stages of decomposition. I am very serious here. These photos are graphic!

Now, back to captain of the cruise ship refusing to stop the vessel, citing that the Coast Guard was too far away to intercede. Well, for starters, Coast Guard boats constantly patrol and monitor the waters around New York City (remember terrorism?). And, the NYPD has its own fleet and officers who patrol the waters—N.Y.P.D. Harbor Patrol. Believe me, police boats would be nearby and they’d have no problem stopping a cruise ship, especially one that was a floating murder scene.


New York City Police Department harbor units patrol 146 square miles of navigable waters and 576 miles of waterfront. Their duties include, patrol and respond to incidents within the harbor, protect life and property, prevent and detect crime, arrest offenders, preserve peace and to enforce laws.

Vikram. Why does he have access to evidence from a murder scene? How and why is he allowed to take a portion of the heroin to conduct his own analysis of the drug? And who performed those tests? Was the drug weighed before the lab gave him a portion of it? After all, removing any of the package contents changes the weight of the drug which, in turn, could affect the charges against an offender. You knew drug weight makes a difference, right?

For example, 100 grams of heroin could earn a 5-year minimum sentence of 5 years in federal prison, whereas one kilo of the same drug guarantees a minimum sentence of ten years (I didn’t research these numbers, but it’s a good guesstimate for the purpose of this paragraph).

And, why is Vikram allowed free access to the NYPD? This guy is annoying. He has no real connection to either character—Beckett or Castle—, yet he’s over-the-top concerned for Castle? From the beginning, I have not liked how he’s been forced on us. The same goes for Hayley. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

The one positive aspect left going for this show are the antics of Ryan and Esposito, and we saw very little of them in this episode, and that was unfortunate. Their absence throughout left a huge hole in the overall experience.

At least Castle and Beckett made kissy-face at the end, and hopefully we’ve seen the last of Beckett’s tiresome nonsense for a while. However, I now expect there’s a lot of over the top, save the world darkness in store for us in upcoming episodes. I hope I’m wrong and the writers will somehow return to the fun side of the show. But I doubt it. They seem to be writing for themselves and not the fans. And that’s truly unfortunate. I picture them huddled around a clunky old computer in their mom’s basement, giggling and punching one another on the arm as they type out these wacky scenes.

At least Castle and Beckett are back together, for now, and that’s a start. But will it last?

Castle: The last seduction


“Kate, I have never given up hope.” ~ Castle

“Okay, I’ll see you around.” ~ Beckett 

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins
I really don’t have too much to say about last night’s episode of Castle, because I wasn’t thrilled with it despite the writers’ lame attempt at bringing back some of the delicious romance we crave. Kate is still acting out of character, and I don’t buy any part of her stupid, contrived story line. I never have, and I never will—and frankly, I’m sick of it.

In my opinion, Esposito and Ryan stole the show, and rightly so. Their almost breakup—and the humor and emotion that went along with it—fueled this episode, and should have taught Kate a thing or two. Their drama, plus Rick’s undercover meeting with a divorce attorney, should have made her kick her crazy quest to the curb in her eagerness to get back home.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Kate went home, all right. . . just not for good. I did enjoy the kisses she and Rick shared—they brought back a tiny bit of the old Castle magic—but her leaving almost immediately after they made love infuriated me. How could she do that? Her misplaced loyalty to her mission makes me cringe, and if she doesn’t go home to Rick soon and allow things to get back to normal, I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Thank goodness Ryan and Esposito made up and are friends again. They made me smile. Kudos to Espo for saving Ryan’s life. The boys rock!

In spite of all of the unnecessary angst I mentioned above, I’m still looking forward to next week’s episode, titled Mr. & Mrs. Castle, that is supposed to add yet another twist to Rick and Kate’s relationship and bring them back together. I’m leery, yet hopeful that the powers-that-be have finally seen the handwriting on the wall thanks to the shows dropping ratings and have realized their big mistake in tearing apart our dynamic duo. I want some Caskett happiness!

Please note: Next week’s episode will the last one until Monday, January 4.


Lee Lofland

Before I begin my part of the review I’d like to remind everyone of the original purpose of these recaps. During the first season, eight years ago, a group of writers asked me to please start watching and reviewing the police procedures. Their reason was simple. They wanted to know if what they were seeing on the show was what would happen in the real world, because they did not want to use the material in their books if it was wrong. So here we are, eight years later and the information is still basically incorrect. So off we go…

My first comment has nothing to do with police procedure or forensics. Instead, it’s about the lighting in the opening scene. We can clearly see that all fixtures are switched on and their bulbs are burning brightly. However, we, the viewers, can barely see what’s going on because it’s too freakin’ dark! When did Castle become CSI, another show that was filmed in near darkness. The darkness is irritating, directors. For the sake of old and tired eyes, please STOP.

“Nine separate entry wounds. Lividity puts the stabbing between midnight and 2 am,” said Lanie the Amazing/Psychic Wonder.

Do I really need to say it? Well, for those of you who don’t know, Lanie couldn’t use lividity as an indicator of time of death (TOD) because it’s impossible to see lividity on a victim who’s fully-clothed and lying on their back. Likewise, she couldn’t see the stab wounds, nor could she say without a doubt that either or all of them were the actual cause of death. Why not? Because layers of clothing covered the body and wounds. Bloody holes in sweaters do not automatically equal a cause of death. Sure, they’re excellent clues, but not 100% proof.

For an actual photo showing lividity go here. Warning, some images there were taken during an actual autopsy. Should you decide to have a look you’ll see for yourself why Lanie could not see lividity on this week’s victim du jour.

“The weapon was wiped clean,” said the marvelous medical examiner named Lanie. Obviously she’d taken a quick glimpse into her crystal ball before uttering this gem of knowledge, because we all know there’s no way to tell the knife had “wiped” clean merely by glancing at it at the crime scene. AND, someone placed the bloody knife into a plastic bag. Let’s see a show of hands. Why should bloody knives (evidence of a murder) NOT be packaged in plastic bags? Correct, bloody objects are always packaged in paper containers to prevent degradation of DNA, etc.

Blood should also be allowed to air dry. Plastic bags act as mini incubators that encourage the growth of bacteria, and bacteria can degrade or destroy DNA. For more details on “paper or plastic” evidence packaging, go here. By the way, sharp objects should never be packaged in plastic bags and the reason why is obvious. If you do not know this reason then you are most likely an adult who wears an eye patch yet still runs with scissors.

Lanie, while standing at the crime scene with CSU techs scurrying about while collecting and processing evidence and photographing the body, etc., said, “I just got a hit on those prints” (from the knife block). Well…who ran the prints and how and when did they receive the knife block or the pre-lifted prints? Did a CSU tech leave the scene to hand-deliver the block or lifted-printed to the lab so someone could run it through the system? If so, why did they take that one piece of evidence? Why not the knife? Why not anything else? WHY? WHY? WHY? And why would they call the medical examiner with this news and not the investigators who are actually working the case?

Here are a few more “why’s.”

Why is Hayley in this show? What is her purpose? Why would Beckett ask her, a private citizen to tag along to the spa? Why not ask one of the many ACTUAL female cops who work for the NYPD?

Why is Vikram working and wandering around the precinct? That place has a revolving door that allows random non-cops to walk in and out whenever they please. It’s silly, yet they all seem to have access to case files and notes. Are there not any NYPD detectives who’re capable of solving crimes?

At least the writers explained to the viewers that it is illegal to obtain evidence without going through the proper channels—search warrant, etc. Castle was acting as an agent of the NYPD when he entered the lawyer/killer’s office to steal the information from the client log. Same thing for Alexis. It was an illegal search and the fruits of it could not be used as evidence. But they explained this, so bravo for them.

Ryan and Espo are arguing like two little kids and that’s reason enough for a raincheck on the most important dinner of their (Castle and Beckett) lives? Dumb. Dumber. And Dumber.

So Espo stands there chatting away with a lawyer, a murder suspect who brutally stabbed a guy to death, instead of immediately cuffing her? And why was his partner not there during the arrest? Sure she shot them. Hell, I wanted to shoot them for being so stupid.

There was not a lot about this episode that I liked, but I was glad to see Ryan and Esposito save their marriage friendship. That scene was far more romantic than the show-ender with Castle and his wife acquaintance.

Castle: Cool Boys


“We’re all killers, Castle, when push comes to shove.” ~ Detective Slaughter
New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

This week’s episode cracked me up. Classic Castle, even with Kate Beckett out of town at a conference—which, of course, I’m sure Lee loved. I laughed aloud too many times to count, beginning when Martha cornered Rick at his PI office to give him advice. What a hoot! And the book she plans to write called Unsolicited Advice? Priceless, because Susan Sullivan, who plays Martha, actually tweets out unsolicited advice on Twitter. On the show, Martha imparts a little sage guidance to help him get “Katherine” back. Loved it.

Enter Ethan Slaughter, the risk-taking rogue cop Adam Baldwyn played so well in Headhunters (episode 4×21). He doesn’t disappoint this time either. He and Nathan were on Firefly together back in the day, and the two of them banter like pros. Kudos to the writers for the continuity between the two episodes and the clever lines they gave both actors. They kept me in stitches with their odd twists, like Slaughter having majored in musical theater. So funny.

I can’t really comment on the case, except to say that Rick stealing Ryan and Esposito’s car with Slaughter handcuffed in the back—and the two cops just letting them go without putting out a BOLO—was absolutely ridiculous. It worked for the storyline, however, even if that would never happen in the real world, and provided us with a lot more laughs.

I loved this episode, including the advice Slaughter gave Rick about going after Kate during Rick’s pensive moment at the end while peering into his wife’s empty office. He’s right. Rick needs to go after her and demand she come home. Thank goodness we’re at the point where that just might happen. Bring on the next two episodes! I can’t wait.

P.S. Don’t let the manipulated promo for next week’s show that ABC aired after this episode fool you. Rick and Kate are NOT getting a divorce (even though Lee wants Kate to go away). I wish the powers-that-be wouldn’t take scenes out of context and switch things around just to mess with our heads. We’ve endured enough angst, thank you very much. Sigh.


Lee Lofland

I agree with Melanie. This episode was a bit more like the Castle of days gone by—sprinkled with just the right amount of humor without letting the case get in the way. Although, the case itself was a bit far-fetched, it was handled in such a way that it sort of let us suspend reality for a few minutes. However, seeing Castle practically cowering and hiding behind mommy’s skirts and the legs of his daughter when Slaughter entered the scene was foolish. Someone really does need to decide whether or not Castle is a brave man or a total chicken. Having him switch back and forth between the two is irritating.  And, I’m really not liking the path Castle has decided to travel—from lying to Ryan and Esposito to working alongside Hayley, a character who serves no purpose and is only a notch or two above the usefulness of Pi (remember him?).

Of course Lanie was Lanie. For the life of me I do not understand why the writers refuse to let this talented actor say something that makes sense. For example, the murder weapon that was so deeply embedded in the dead guy’s neck. “Looks like it was wiped clean,” Lanie said when asked about the possibility of finding fingerprints on it. How on earth would she know at a glance that someone had wiped away fingerprints? And, why would a police detective ask a medical examiner if prints were on the weapon? That’s a job for the crime scene investigators/techs/lab experts, or the detective himself. At least she didn’t give one of her dumb or dumber explanations as to how she arrived at the “between 10 and 2” time of death.

Melanie was also correct when she mentioned Castle stealing Espo’s police car. In real life they’d probably report it and send out an ATL (Attempt To Locate) or BOLO (Be On The Lookout), whichever the department uses in those situations.

The stolen police car thing also brings up another point. Why, if Esposito and Ryan truly wanted to speak with Slaughter, didn’t they have his supervisor simply call him in to the precinct? I know if I wanted to speak to one of our detectives I merely picked up the radio or cell phone and said something like, “Meet me at the PD in ten minutes.” Then, if Slaughter didn’t show after the call they could issue whatever paperwork was appropriate and have him located and picked up through a proper means, including issuing a BOLO. The same goes for Castle. Stealing a police vehicle with a murder suspect inside is a fairly serious offense. But this is TV and it worked for the show, so…

As usual, the murderer was easy to spot early on, so no surprise there. Neither were the scenes featuring Castle moping and all junior-high-boy-puppy-dog-eyed over Beckett. This stuff was old weeks ago. I say get over her and move on. Or, have Hayley face the camera to squirt some sort of deadly gas into our living rooms so we can all be put out of the misery inflicted upon us by this extremely stupid part of the story. The latter would serve two purposes. One, it would end the “Beckett left me” nonsense. Two, it would offer some explanation as to why Hayley is still involved in the show. W.H.Y. is she there? Can anyone explain this person’s role? Is it possible she’s there as an introduction to a character who’ll serve as Castle’s sidekick in a new show after this one totally fizzles out in a few weeks? We’ll see.

Oh, and someone please turn on the lights in future episodes. We can’t see what’s going on. But, maybe that’s a good thing. Perhaps we should also hit the mute button.


Castle: The Nose


“You’re easier to be around when I can’t smell you.” ~ Mia, “The Nose,” to Castle 

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

This week’s Castle episode, The Nose, brought back more of the humor we love, and yet it had an incredibly sad undercurrent, thanks to Kate still keeping her distance from Rick. I laughed out loud many times while watching this one, but at the end I wanted to cry.

Most of the show revolved around the sense of smell—surprising, since the case of the week involved a murder over a stolen painting. Turns out a strange woman with an acute sense of smell witnesses the murder and eventually gives Kate and Rick a clue that helps them find the real killer. Yes, they built theory together, proving they’re still in sync. I really won’t get into the case itself, but will leave that dissection to Lee.

I will, however, comment on something that really bothered me. Esposito and Ryan went into a building after a suspect, split up, and Ryan ended up shooting Espo in the butt. I know things like this can happen when partners don’t follow protocol when clearing a room (I learned that at the WPA!)… but I also feel sure that Ryan should not have been able to go right back to work after the incident. Nobody took his gun, nobody questioned either of them, and nobody, not even Captain Beckett, said a word about it. Really? Wow. I know the show must take place in only 40 minutes or so, but one sentence could have added a little realism to this scenario. Right, Lee?

Kate is still down the rabbit hole, living only God knows where, and apparently she’s running out of clothes. We learn this when Rick shows up expectantly at the precinct, and she tells him she needs to stop by the loft to “pick up the rest of her stuff”. I was surprised he didn’t argue with her, but finally decided he probably feared that his doing so might only push her further away. So heartbreaking.

The woman with the keen sense of smell, better known as The Nose, was hilarious. She tested perfume for several companies, and that made a lot of sense considering how much bad smells bothered her. Her scenes with Castle really cracked me up—especially the decontamination scene and the one in which he needed to convince her to go back to the precinct with him. I also loved the “smell” lineup. Hahaha!

The Nose also served another purpose: Through her, we learned that Kate really does still love Rick, thanks to the strong pheromones she gives off whenever he enters the room. That fact alone seemed to give him new hope, especially after Kate told him she needed to pickup the rest of her things from the loft.

She couldn’t possibly have gotten “the rest of her stuff”, however, because when she arrived at loft after solving the case—with him not yet home—she only brought the same small bag she’d taken when she first left. She shoved an armful of clothes into it, then turned and spotted his shirt on the couch in his office. With tears in her eyes, she picked it up and pressed it to her nose, drawing in his scent and reveling in it. She does still love him. I don’t understand why she won’t come home. It’s so ridiculous. She did leave Rick one of her NYPD T-shirts, though, and in the last scene, he comes into the loft looking for her, spies the shirt, and lifts it to his nose to draw in her scent. Yes, he still loves her, too. I can’t wait for the day when the powers-that-be finally bring them back together. Can’t happen soon enough for me.

Please note:  We will get no new episodes of Castle until November 9th, when Cool Boys airs. That one will be “Beckett-lite” (which should please Lee to no end), because Stana apparently had a provision in her contract to allow her to attend Fashion Week in Milan the week they filmed it. They do, however, bring back Detective Ethan Slaughter, played by Adam Baldwyn, from season four, so that should be fun. Then only two more episodes to go until episode eight, when the dynamics of Kate and Rick’s relationship will apparently shift again. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that I crave more Caskett happiness. Enough of this contrived angst!

Lee Lofland

Lanie deserves the accuracy award this week. I know…but she really does. However, that’s not saying much. Two GSW’s (gunshot wounds) at close range was the cause of death (COD) she offered as explanation as to how the victim died. Although she couldn’t positively say this was the official COD until autopsy, it was a reasonable conclusion at the time. She even said she based the time of death (TOD) on the 911 call from a witness. This was a refreshing move since she typically pulls the TOD from…well, I’ll be polite and simply say, she grabs the TOD from thin air (not the actual place I was thinking of).

When examining the armored car, Espo (or Ryan) mentioned the vehicle having run-flat tires installed, in addition to Kevlar panels in the doors. It was Beckett who noticed the windows were all bulletproof/resistant. Run-flat tires are basically typical tires with the addition of a couple of modifications. Some run-flats are available for everyday passenger cars. These tires feature reinforced sidewalls that allow the driver to continue on for 50 miles or so, traveling on the beefy sidewalls even after a tire has deflated.

However, run-flats on armored vehicles usually feature a much sturdier solution—internal rollers. Such as…

Now for silly and unrealistic—Ryan shooting Esposito in that place where the sun doesn’t shine. Sure, accidents do, unfortunately, happen. But shooting someone’s sillouette as he passes by behind a backlit tarp is, well, totally unrealistic. And, speaking of unrealistic… No internal affairs investigation into the shooting? No suspension for discharging a weapon at a target Ryan could not see? No nothing for doing something so dumb?

Finally, the show ended with Beckett and Castle each having a good whiff of the other’s clothing. Fortunately, I suppose, they didn’t smell like Ryan and Esposito—like soiled baby diapers and satan’s butt sweat.

Castle: Ph. Dead


“Working murders is not your job, anymore.” ~ Lanie to Castle


New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Well, you can call me bad cop again this week, because I’m still not at all happy with the contrived, ill-conceived plotline the powers-that-be came up with in an effort to “shake things up” this season—when in reality it’s only served to anger loyal viewers. Sure, I’m doing my best to deal with the explosive canon twist they dumped on us last week, but the episode left a sour taste in my mouth.

Kate is still acting out of character in this one, and Rick has reduced himself to a twit as he chases after her. Granted, the episode did have its moments and I did laugh out loud a few times. All in all, however, I’m still not a happy camper. I usually want the episodes to creep by so I can savor each one, but this season I want them to hurry by so we can get to episode seven and the supposed end of Kate’s misguided quest for “justice”.

They did give us a few enjoyable Caskett moments in this one that harkened back to seasons past, but they did little to bring back the romance—something that is essential to the show, IMHO, since our dynamic duo is now husband and wife. I don’t like them being apart. It makes no sense.

The show opened with Rick waking up alone in their bed and glancing at Kate’s side with grief evident on his face. That scene alone broke my heart. I had to chuckle, however, when he turned on his new home operating system, better known as “Lucy”—a name that cracked me up because I have a calico cat named Lucy who pretty much runs my house. Lucy is a nice touch. Typical Castle.

I do like that Rick is back to solving cases now, even if he has to insinuate himself into them via his PI business, but he should be working with Kate, not against her. Her determination to keep him at arm’s length bothers me. He’s having to work too hard to get her attention, and it all falls flat to me at this point because, as I pointed out above, they’re married now, for crying out loud.

Kate kept running into Rick as the case unfolded, thanks to his conniving ways, and I did like that because it at least put them in the same room. I did not like her attitude. Too out of character.

The college prison experiment put a different twist on the case, and I loved that Rick locked himself into a cell with Kate so they could talk—and then they didn’t. Seriously? Yes, they solved the case by building theory together, something they’ve always done well, and they shared a delicious charged moment in each other’s arms – but they didn’t kiss, and I felt cheated.

Come on, writers! Are you trying to kill us? We waited years for those two to get their heads out of the sand and admit they loved each other, and now Kate’s pushing Rick away to “protect” him while she chases after some phantom nutjob we only heard about last week? Please. The whole scenario is tiresome and ludicrous.

The last scene in the show made my heart ache. Kate wants to go home, but the writers won’t let her. Rick and Kate have always been safer together than apart. Now she’s working with Vikram, a nice addition to the cast, but not the man she should have by her side while she’s fighting a phantom foe. If someone had issued a concrete threat against Rick, I could probably buy into this convoluted plotline. But all they’ve given us through three episodes is this vague threat that came out of freaking nowhere, and as hard as I try, I simply can’t suspend my disbelief long enough to buy into it.

Kate has worked too long and too hard to get where she was with Rick at the end of last season to throw it all away on another obsession. Yes, she says she still loves him, and he loves her, but that’s not enough for me. I want happiness now.

I’m going to keep a close eye on the next few episodes to see how the writers get themselves out of this mess, but we shouldn’t have to mark time like this. I want them to hurry and get us back on track. We’ll see what bones they throw us next week. I hope we get more than we did in Ph. Dead.


Lee Lofland

Okay, there’s a dead guy impaled on a large, human-leg-size tree branch—a through-and-through wound to the midsection. Lanie, the voodoo forensics queen, says someone used brute strength to push the guy onto the tree limb, causing the thick, wooden appendage to pass through flesh, bone, and clothing. I agree, the person who could do this had to be a size and strength equal to that of The Hulk. No doubt about it.

However, we later learned that a tiny young woman was the great and powerful force behind the killing. Ridiculous. Not only would someone of her size and stature not have the muscle to do such a thing, it seems as if the writers totally forgot they’d had Lanie say the thing about the killer having brute strength. I suppose this was their lame way of throwing viewers off track. If this sort of thing was written into a novel we’d call it lazy writing. The same applies here. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.

Of course, Lanie once again relied on lividity to establish a time of death (TOD). Remember, when the heart stops beating, gravity pulls blood to the lowest point(s) in the body. Blood pooling in those low areas stains the surrounding tissue which gives the appearance of purplish-blue 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.

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 some 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 has been moved if it’s found lying face down but lividity is present on areas of the back.

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

Now, with that out of the way, let’s go back to Lanie’s assessment. Again, she based the TOD on lividity. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult to reference something you can’t see. The victim was upright, meaning lividity would be present in the lower legs, lower arms and hands, and quite possibly the face since the face of this dead guy was aimed toward the ground. However, we saw the face and arms and there was no lividity present in either place. His legs were totally covered by clothing—couldn’t see any flesh below the wound. Therefore, Lanie could not base the TOD on lividity (which is really not an accurate basis for TOD anyway).

Alexis is the new impossible-to-believe character. Out of nowhere she’s suddenly a computer expert, a crackerjack investigator who knows more about police work than seasoned veterans, and she’s a master at working undercover. Her computer skills are beyond amazing, and she has access to things only accessible to law enforcement. And…she, like her dad, now tags along when Esposito and Ryan search buildings for dangerous bad guys. It was bad enough seeing Castle charge headfirst and unarmed into potential gunfire situations, but now we have the daughter doing the same. Please…

Alexis also has the job of providing information and clarifications that move the story from one point to another when the writers are too lazy and weak to build those tidbits into the tale. So now Alexis is forced to spout off lines of info dump material. For example, Castle mentioned the Stanford Prison Experiment, a real study conducted at Stanford University that was funded by the Navy. So, for the benefit of viewers who may not have heard about the experiment, Alexis recited a definition of the project. This was an awkward scene since Castle already knew about the experiment and there was no one else around to hear. Again, weak and lazy writing.

Castle arrested and cuffed a murder suspect, the college professor. Yeah, right. That would happen in real life. NOT.

Melanie has already addressed the other stupidity seen in this episode so I won’t go there. But I am curious about why Beckett feels the need to be away from Castle. Supposedly it’s to protect him, yet she was with him off and on throughout the show. Doesn’t make sense.

And please, TURN ON THE LIGHTS! Filming the show in near darkness does not increase the tension. Instead, doing so merely adds another reason to stop watching this train wreck.




“Just shut up and kiss me.” ~ Beckett

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

I don’t really know how to start today’s blog, because I’m still reeling from last night’s episode. I couldn’t go to sleep after screaming so hard at the TV. My first thought was WTF? Followed closely by the idea that the writers have lost their minds. Completely. Lost. Their. Minds.

The entire plot seemed so contrived, so ill-conceived, that I just lay in bed in shock. Then this morning I read an article that partially restored my faith. Partially, I say, because I’m still not happy with the route they’ve taken with the characters I love so much.

I would not have written it this way. Aarrggh!

The entire episode was a thrill ride, with so many ups and downs and twists and turns, I couldn’t keep up. I won’t go through the particulars about the “case” here, about Loksat and what it might mean, but I do know that I simply didn’t buy the manufactured danger. Bracken is dead, but now someone even bigger and badder that that slimeball hunting Kate? Ho-hum. Here we go again.

Then Rick’s stepmother pops up — his freaking stepmother, Rita, who has apparently been married to Jackson Hunt for ten years, a woman we knew nothing about, who just conjures herself up out of thin air even after Hunt lectured Rick about having no attachments. WTF? I thought he was a solitary soul, a ghost who never put down roots, but he got married? Unh-uh. Doesn’t fit. Then Rita has the gall to give Kate advice. Advice she stupidly takes. I’m sorry. I still believe Rick will be a heck of a lot safer with her than without her.

At this point in the show, my head was spinning. And unfortunately, that was just the beginning of the surprises the powers-that-be had in store for us. I’m keeping my part of the blog short today because all I want to do is rant about Kate leaving Rick. The article I read gave me hope that all will be well in the end, but I’m still angry at the path — or should I say the separate paths? Grr! — that they’ve sent Kate and Rick down.

This is supposedly a 6-7 episode arc, so it will last for a while. Lovely. The showrunners have promised, however, that they are committed to the Caskett relationship — i.e. Caskett happiness — and that at the end of the arc, their relationship will again evolve. That’s the word they used: evolve. Sigh. Maybe it’s the romance writer in me, but I want Caskett love.

Lee Lofland

This is one time when Good Cop and Bad Cop agree… WTF! I mean, what were and are the writers thinking? Do they have absolutely no imagination or a single new idea between them? Actually, this one was so bad that I’d prefer an entire show featuring a drunk, batsnot-crazy Lanie over the garbage I saw this week.

In addition to psycho Beckett leaving Castle to go off and singlehandedly save the world, we were introduced to Super Rita, Castle’s stepmom. Rita is, of course, the baddest and most secretest agent on the planet, and she has the uncanny ability to show up at just the right moment to save the day, no matter when or where that may be. Yeah, right. I guess the magic runs in the family because Castle has become the only human in the world who can solve a crime. Even the feds have to call on him to solve their cases. Soon, writers, you’ll not need to worry over new character development because everyone will be forced to use the same hero, the one and only Richard Castle. So long Jack Reacher and Kinsey Millhone.

Beckett showed us a new skill last night…cowboy surgery. Yep, they went there and I’m still shaking my head over it. Beckett took a big swig of straight vodka, right out of the bottle (winos everyone now have a new hero), and then used a needle and thread to sew up a huge, gaping gunshot wound on her side/abdomen (apparently the bullet grazed her flesh, carving a path as it went) Then she bravely forged on to do more stupid stuff.

Speaking of stupid stuff.

– Remember the bad guys who were shooting at Beckett as she ran away down a narrow hallway?  They all missed her. For goodness sake, she was running in a straight line through a narrow space. A blind wildebeest with a slingshot could’ve done better. Yet, a gaggle of professional hitmen couldn’t get the job done?

– Why in the world would hotel security permit Alexis and Hayley to watch security cam footage?

– Alexis is now the show’s new computer genius. Don’t you just love her magic software? I heard, and this is between you and me, she buys it at the same shop that sells Lanie all her voodoo forensics supplies.

– The assassin at the airport. After he was shot and killed, Hayley pointed to a weapon on the floor. She said, “This guy had his gun cocked and ready to fire.”


The gun (pictured above) was a revolver. Revolvers do not need cocking to be ready to fire. And, since revolvers do not have safeties, all a shooter has to do is pull the trigger and…BOOM!

– Beckett lost her gun again. Actually, she lost it twice in this one episode. The first time occurred when she left it on the bathroom sink, knowing people who wanted to kill her were looking for her. The second time was when a bad guy got “the drop” on her. He told Beckett to drop her gun and she complied by slowly placing it on the floor beside her.

– Ryan and Esposito also “dropped” their guns when ordered to do so.

Let me say this…Cops do not, not ever, give up their weapons. Doing so greatly decreases the odds of survival.

– The AG shot herself in the head. So what’s the first thing Esposito does when he sees the body? He removed the gun from her hand and examined it visually, right? Had this been a real crime scene their first step, before removing the weapon from the hand of the deceased, would probably be to call in the crime scene unit to take photos, use a 3D scanner to record the scene, etc. Then they’d remove the weapon from the hand. Besides, when cops handle weapons they always make them safe by emptying the chamber and removing the magazine, if so equipped. Then they begin their examination or processing.

* I goofed. Esposito grabbed the victim’s cellphone, not the weapon. Still, the above information is worth remembering, writers.

– Castle killed another guy last night. Had to. All the cops had surrendered their weapons to the bad guys. How many has he, a civilian writer, taken out so far? Anyone running a tally?


– If the goal of the bad guys was to kill Beckett and the guy hanging out with her, then why, why, why did they not immediately pull the trigger when they had her standing before them? She was unarmed because she’d already handed over her gun. So why not shoot? Please, if this situation comes up again, just shoot her and put this tired and crappy “he killed my mama” theme out of our misery.

– Bracken was murdered. HOORAY!!! Unfortunately, we now know there is an even bigger villain who’s job it will be to further push viewers and fans away. That’s who this storyline is murdering…US! The folks who used to enjoy this show.

Beckett is leaving Castle so she can ride off into the sunset to wipe out the new super-duper villain. Well, it’s clear now as to where the trouble lies with this show. It’s not the writers. Nope, it’s Beckett. Get rid of her and all the nonsense will disappear. So please, do us all a favor and have Bracken’s boss kill Beckett (calm down, she’s just a fictional TV character). Without her around Castle can go back to being the fun and funny character he once was. Kate Beckett, my friends, is nothing but trouble.

There, I said it and I’m not taking it back.


Castle: XY


“Yeah, well, this sort of thing happens to me a lot.” ~ Richard Castle.

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the first episode of the new season, stop reading now. Okay, that said… wow! I didn’t know what to expect from season eight after learning that the show’s creators, Andrew Marlowe and his wife, Terri Edda Miller, had decided to leave after seven seasons, even after ABC renewed Castle. At first we didn’t know if Nathan and Stana, who portray Rick and Kate, would return, and then Nathan signed. Stana didn’t agree to come back until she met with the new showrunners, former Castle writers Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley (who also worked as co-showrunner for The Following), and they assured her of the show’s continued character growth and cohesiveness. I’m so glad they both agreed to stay, and boy, was I thrilled with episode one of season eight.

All of the changes hinted at over the summer had me a bit worried before the show aired. Pretty early on during the hiatus, we learned that Gates had moved on to 1PP, leaving her position open at the 12th… and that Kate would take that job rather than running for the state senate. I’m so glad the writers went in that direction. One crisis averted. Of course, with Gates out, that meant Penny Johnson Jerald no longer would be part of the show (even though the door is open for her to return at some point should the story call for it). Enter two new characters, one of whom we met in episode one: Toks Olagundoye portrays Hayley Shipton, a stealth security specialist with a shady past who will reappear quite frequently. The other is Sunkrish Bala, a new tech expert who will also pop in from time to time. We’ll have to see what they add to the show.

Winter and Hawley claim Castle will be “less of a procedural and more character-driven” this year. They intend to focus on deepening Rick and Kate’s relationship, the true heart of the show, rather than on weird cases—as evidenced by Rick’s intense response to Hayley Shipton’s statement about his love for Kate. “You must really love her,” she says, and he comes back with, “Like a house on fire.” Oh, yeah. I adore this new approach and trust the powers-that-be to bring us back to that at the end of this adventure-packed, two-part introduction to season eight.

The season gets off to a heart-warming start in episode one with a delicious little scene between Rick and Kate at the loft on Kate’s first morning as captain. After that, we learn where Gates has gone, that Ryan and Jenny are expecting their second child, and that Rick has revamped his PI office and plans to revive his practice. With Kate taking over for Gates, he won’t be able to follow her around like he has in the past, although he will still accompany Ryan and Esposito to crime scenes from time to time. Alexis is now Rick’s partner in his PI business, even though he doesn’t know it at first, and quickly proves she can handle the job. I like this new development.

The beautiful bracelet Rick gives Kate as the show opens, with their word Always inscribed inside, comes back to haunt him when he finds it in a pool of her blood after she mysteriously disappears on her way to a meeting at 1PP. Then he learns that she did not, in fact, have a meeting, and that she lied about where she was going and with whom she spoke on the phone during a strange call she received during their little celebration.

After that, the chase was on. I was on the edge of my seat as Rick, Alexis, and the boys searched for Kate and found kickass Hayley Shipton instead. The woman quite effectively took down Rick, but then proved to be an asset with information to share. Turns out that William Bracken, the U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Kate put away in season six for murdering her mother and many others, is behind her disappearance. Rick’s impromptu visit with the man at the prison seemed unlikely and far-fetched, but I bought it because the story moved so fast.

The boys, Rick, and Alexis keep moving, following clues, until Rick disappears as well. His captors want to know where Kate is, and he can’t help them because he has no idea. They torture him by putting huge black spiders on his face, then tying an entire plastic bag filled with the horrid creatures over his head… and I had to look away. Ewwww! I despise spiders, especially big ones, and that really grossed me out. From what I read, Nathan got the director to put them on his face first, so he’d know for sure they wouldn’t hurt him, and then did the scenes without flinching. I don’t know whether to be impressed or appalled by that little nugget of information. Just recalling how creepy the spiders looked inside the bag makes me shiver.

Rick managed to escape before his captors could kill him, only to be cornered again, then rescued by Kate, who shoots his attackers. He questions her, but she only begs him to trust her, tells him she loves him, kisses him, and then vanishes before help arrives. Ack! What the heck is going on? I have a theory after reading a couple of spoilers for next week, but I hesitate to post it because I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s viewing pleasure. One thing I will share is that while XY was told from Rick’s point of view, XX, next week’s episode, will be told from Kate’s vantage point. The writers did this not only for story purposes, but also for logistical reasons. (Stana was still shooting a movie overseas during the first week of Castle filming in July, so the powers-that-be had to work around her absence. This is how they chose to handle it.)

The fast-moving, heart-pounding storyline in these two episodes must have been driven partly by Hawley’s experience on The Following, because the edge-of-your-seat suspense, the tight editing, and even the driving score beneath the action kept me enthralled even though the show now has a different twist. The episode left us hanging, because this is only part one of this two-parter. Kate is still out there somewhere, chasing answers in an apparent effort to keep Rick safe. I can’t wait to find out why she’s put her new job on hold to do this. No, it’s not logical at all, and I can already hear Lee criticizing the new direction the show has taken, but IMHO, it makes for good TV… and I can’t wait for episode two!

What did you think about episode one of season eight? 


Lee Lofland

What did I think of the season opener? Well, you know I’m not a fan of the never-ending saga of “Who Killed Beckett’s Mom.” I’d truly hoped the beating of dead horses might be a thing of the past, but noooooo.

At least we know Beckett’s kidnapping was only a pretend abduction. And Castle, bless his twisted little writer’s heart, is still the only human connected to the NYPD—the entire department—who can solve a case. I know when I was still working homicides the first thing I did before examining evidence was to ring up Lee Child or Lisa Gardner. After all, as mystery/thriller writers they’d know more about real-life investigations than a trained and experienced police detective, right?

Okay, I guess the secret is finally out, and I’m glad it is. We detectives have been holding this to ourselves for far too long. It’s time that you, the public, hear it from us. We never work a criminal case without first consulting a mystery writer. That’s right, each police investigator maintains a long speed dial list containing the names and numbers of numerous bestselling authors. So forget what you thought you knew about CSI, because the actual checklist for crime scene investigations goes something like this.

1. Call comes in. A murder.

2. Dispatch assigns call to Officer J. Smith.

3. Officer Smith calls Michael Connelly to ask what he should do next.

Yeah, right…

Of course, Lanie didn’t disappoint me. Her opening comments at the crime scene were, as always, dumb. And, the things she said—wounds were from a downward angle, maybe 45 degrees, which means they all were probably shot from up there (she pointed toward a balcony when she said, “up there”)—did nothing to help the story. Not to mention that she couldn’t know any of those details merely by looking at a fully-clothed dead body. Those are findings that would come only at autopsy. It was almost as if the actor’s contract included a clause mandating an appearance in the episode, so writers penned something really quick to give her moment of screen time. Didn’t matter that Lanie’s lines were basically unbelievable.


Esposito is our hero ’cause he’s so big and strong. So strong, in fact, that when he put his shoulder against a door the entire thing fell off its hinges. Dumb, dumb, and dumber. Try that in real life and he’d most likely find himself nursing a bruised shoulder while looking at a door that didn’t budge.

While Castle’s visit to the prison may have looked cool it couldn’t happen at an actual prison. Inmates must submit the names of people who might someday show up to visit. The list is typically a pre-determined number of ten people, or so. Prison officials then approve or deny the people on the list, a process that, of course, takes several days. Therefore, only the people named on the inmates approved visiting list would be allowed inside the prison to visit. Remember, there are scheduled days and times for inmate visits. Private citizens, including mystery writers, may not show up at will for an impromptu visit with a prisoner.

Anyway, the episode was just okay for me. I’ve not yet formed an opinion about the new character and how she’ll fit into the story. I am, however, thinking the PI thing might be the best route to take at this point. I can see that scenario as a brand new show that could work out nicely. In fact, that portion of last night’s episode was more like the Castle we used to know and appreciate. Although, that, I believe, is what felt odd to me—the attempt to blend Silly Castle with Dark Castle. I also found myself enjoying the parts of the show without…and I almost hate to say this, but will…without Beckett, the precinct, and, well, sans the whole NYPD.

You know, PI Castle with all his goofy toys and antics could also breathe some life into what’s become a weekly rehashing of same-old-same-old.

What about you? Was this a good start to season eight, or just more of the same old thing? Do you agree with Good Cop Melanie, or do you side with me?