Week 24 – Crime is Not Funny, Except When It Is

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REPUBLIC OF DOYLE

Season 4, Episode 9 (Retribution)

Last week, the episode felt gimmicky in that it departed from the standard crime procedural format to basically explore a day-in-the-life of Jake Doyle and company.  However, the same gimmick was cleverly used to set up multiple plot points for the end of the season.  The reporter used her story as a smear campaign.  Jake and Leslie are heading toward a change in the status quo of their relationship.  Someone is trying to take down Jake Doyle.  Malachy and Rose are going to try to take down said someone without letting to Jake about it.  Tinny is now a cop, albeit the lowest on the totem pole, and that leaves Des alone at home or the office all day – refreshingly, Des seems to be recovering more from his being shot and is regaining his mental faculties.  (Perhaps his dosage of pain medication has been reduced.)  This week, Rose got smacked in the head instead of Des, even with the latter standing right next to her – which was hilarious and a relief, since dopey-Des was becoming overdone.

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There are four episodes left of the season, so there is still a lot of storytelling to go, but clearly the writers have set up a multi-episode arc heading into the finale.  The episode is standalone enough to be entertaining, but might be difficult to follow out of context.  Still, there were many good laughs and it was nice to have a lot of family moments for the characters.  The characters are more realistic and believable than merely running around solving crimes and spouting one-liners.  They have also done so with less than half as many episodes as…

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CASTLE

Season 5, Episode 19 (The Lives of Others)

Happy 100th Episode, indeed!

How time flies!  It definitely does not seem like that long ago that I discovered this show when I was feeling too lazy to change the channel after The Big Bang Theory.  It was funny, quirky, and a crime drama.  The characters were intriguing (and oozing with sexual tension).  The main character was a writer who poked fun at stereotypes.  After being bored with forensic crime dramas that have been dominating the networks, I was hooked on Castle.   Although I don’t quite glean for spoilers about it anymore, I still look forward to new episodes.

The creators of the show said that they didn’t want the 100th episode to be too much of a blockbuster, but rather, they wanted it to feel like a regular and timeless episode – a “classic,” if you will.  The Lives of Others certainly fulfilled those desires.  There was plenty of fun, flirty banter between Castle and Beckett, although it is clear that they are in a relationship and that they aren’t nearly as antagonistic as they were in the past.  Ryan and Esposito had time to goof off.  Castle and Alexis had plenty of father-daughter bonding time.  Martha and Castle had their requisite mother-son moments.  The cases were interesting.  I was clearly intrigued by the mystery that Castle discovered, while the case that Beckett was working on also seemed appealing.  I spent forty-five minutes wondering if they cases were connected at all, as they often are in crime dramas.  Yet, this being Castle, they were connected in a way that was not usual for the genre at all.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in comedy-dramas involving crime is that they appear to make light of tragedy.  Homicide is particularly not funny, despite gallows humour being extremely prevalent since ancient times.  It might seem callous and detached to come up with a witty (or lame) pun to describe a dead body in a mixing vat or a storm drain.  But seriously, if I end up in such a place, I would rather have someone make a joke over my corpse than vomit over it.  If a lame pun is necessary for someone to cope with finding me in a storm drain, so be it.  I certainly would not find that disrespectful.  Disrespectful would be leaving me to rot in the drain and not caring to solve the crime.  That is certainly not what television dramas do, and certainly not what Castle does.  Despite all of the character development and sexual tension, we are always made to care about the victims and solve the crime.  When that happens, it has been a good week.

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