Recently, I have been watching Castle re-runs, which I discovered run back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday nights on the Lifetime channel. Ordinarily, I don’t binge-watch shows, but sometimes when I come home from work, it’s all I can do to shuffle to the couch and hang out there until bedtime. More often than not, I fall asleep sometime between eight-thirty and nine-thirty, missing at least part of an episode. I just count that as a plus because I can watch it again when it comes back around and it will still be new for me.
Each episode usually wraps up with everyone back snug and safe in their homes despite the life-and-death situations the characters encounter every day in just another day at work. I’m not just talking about the grisly murders that are the central theme of each episode, although just encountering one of those macabre murdered corpses would be enough to plague me with nightmares for the rest of my life and make me hesitant to ever leave my house. No, I’m talking about the situations that the detectives (and Castle) find themselves in in trying to solve the murders and bring the bad guys to justice. There’s not a single day goes by in which the good guys don’t get shot at. But that’s just the mundane part of the job.
I really haven’t kept careful track, but just off the top of my head I can recall Kate Beckett, the lead detective got thrown off a roof, where she dangled by her fingertips, got locked in a freezer, where she barely survived freezing to death, got blasted by toxic gas, exposed to a deadly virus, had only minutes to locate and defuse a bomb, and was drugged and kidnapped numerous times. She also walked into a trap where if she moved an inch, a bomb would explode. Once, while kidnapped, she was subjected to being tied down and nearly carved up by a lunatic surgeon, and I forgot to mention the time she and Castle were kidnapped and in trying to escape, they tunneled through to the next room that contained a man-eating tiger. She even had a bomb explode inside her apartment. Fortunately, although everything was demolished, Castle warned her just in the nick of time, and she took shelter in her bathtub. She still showed up for work the next day, believe it or not. (I don’t know where she got her clothes, as she had been naked in the bathtub when the bomb exploded.) And, of course, the biggie, where she got shot in the heart at the funeral of another police officer. Miraculously, she even survived that attempt to dispatch her to the big precinct in the sky. And she came through that ordeal, whereby the ER doctor had to crack her chest to get to her heart, without any disfiguring scars. Then there was the time Castle disappeared right before their wedding, and showed back up two months later with amnesia. And it’s not just Kate who faces death every day. There is an episode where Castle and his mother were taken hostage during a bank robbery, and one where even Castle’s daughter was kidnapped.
I have some tough days at work, but nothing compared to what these characters go through. It seems to me that if I had just one day like they do, I would call it quits in a heartbeat. Ain’t no amount of money or job satisfaction is worth being drugged and kidnapped on a regular basis. Just one experience like that would probably push me into psychiatric treatment for life; yet they wrap everything up and head home for some family bonding time or a relaxing night out. How do they manage to leave work at the office? Why are they not all emotional and mental loony-tunes? Not to mention the physical toll on their bodies of having to break down doors, apprehend resistant criminals, and chase bad guys through the streets (Kate in high-heeled boots, no less), across roof tops, up and down stairs, as well as being regularly punched, tackled, and knocked flat on their backs.
Yes, I know these shows are purely fiction and all the action, however implausible in real life, is necessary to maintain audience interest. But the biggest disconnect between this show and real life is this—when does Castle ever have time to write all his best-selling novels? Let alone market them. Just sayin.’