Castle: Season 6, episode 16. Room 147 (2014)
Well, thanks to one of my readers, I’ve just watched my first episode of Castle: Season 6, episode 16. Room 147 (2014) — only five seasons and fifteen episodes to go and I’ll have caught up. This is not a show that’s aired on terrestrial channels in my neck of the woods, so this episode comes as a bolt from the blue. On the face of it, this is a very interesting plot idea. Because of the time constraints on “one hour” episodes, it has to compress everything into 43 minutes of screen time but, within that constraint, this manages to muddy the waters and then see through the glass clearly in regulation time. As you’ll gather from the title, there’s a murder in Room 147. A man has been shot twice in the chest. He has a bottle of water in his hand, evidently just removed from the fridge. When he fell, he seems to have pulled over a chair which is lying beside the body. So far, this is a standard murder in hotel bedroom plot. The victim’s girlfriend has no explanation as to why he was in the hotel, but one of her fellow actors remembers an incident in the street when an angry woman accosted him. The police follow this up, identify the woman and, when she walks into the police station, she immediately confesses to the murder. At this stage, there’s just one problem. She has a very credible alibi which puts her miles away at the time of death. Then a man walks into the police station and makes almost word-for-word the same confession. And then a third man appears with the same confession.
In the world of the canned mystery show, there are certain rules to follow. For example, there can’t be any supernatural explanations, there are no science fiction wrinkles with new technology able to allow people to implant memories, e.g. as in Inception (2010). There must be a reasonably credible explanation based on today’s reality. So let’s set up the problem as it first appears.
These people have the same set of memories. They admit being angry with this man and shot him.
This suggests they either had acted out the drama for some reason — the victim was an actor — or the killer wore a camera during the shooting and these three were able to watch a recording.
But even if these three viewed a recording of the event, why would they not only feel guilt, but also come forward to confess?
There’s no obvious link between them and/or the victim, so no motive for the shooting and no motive for a conspiracy to confess and thereby make a prosecution difficult. Had they not come forward, the second and third confessors would not have been identified as suspects.
So back in the real world, there must be a connection between these three and something must have interfered with their memories. I won’t spoil it for you. I’ve seen the basic idea in several other series but this is probably the most elegant version. Why? Let’s take the possibility of a hypnotist as murderer. He or she is able to implant suggestions and manipulate the suggestible individual into committing suicide or acting to his or her detriment in some specific way. If that’s what was going on here, it would mean our hypnotist recorded the shooting and then programed the three individuals to come forward and confess. That would make any subsequent investigation very difficult. In fact, the episode offers a solution that’s rather more devious and less linear. Within the time available, this is a very good example of a murder plot. It’s just unfortunate I have no idea how Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), an author, gets to spend years attached to a homicide unit and ends up sleeping with Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), a homicide detective with big hair. But I’m sure it all makes perfect sense to this who have loyally watched this from the pilot back in 2009. For those of you who missed the episode, Crown’s daughter moves back into her father’s apartment at the end so all’s well with the world again. My sincere thanks go to the reader who recommended I watch this. Castle: Room 147 was an entertaining episode even though, if this was to occur in the real world, I seriously doubt this outcome. People don’t spontaneously confess to murders.