As many of you know, I enjoy those unexpected moments in TV shows and movies when a glimpse of Christian worldview, or something that looks very much like it, peeks through. I think I saw such a theme last night on ABC's Castle.
(Major spoilers ahead)
As usual for this detective show, there was a police case to be solved, and there was also a subplot involving writer/detective Rick Castle's family. At work, Castle and his partner were interviewing people about a drug-related murder; at home, Castle's teenage daughter Alexis was upset over being bullied by a former friend. And one phrase kept being repeated: "This isn't me."
A pizzeria owner said, "This isn't me," after confessing to doing favors for the mob in exchange for having his rival's restaurant destroyed. A real estate agent said, "This isn't me," after owning up to her own involvement with the mob. And Alexis said, "This isn't me," after her father found out she'd gotten into a fistfight at school with her ex-friend. There were varying degrees of guilt here; Alexis seemed genuinely remorseful and took steps to resolve the conflict, whereas the real estate agent turned out to be the criminal mastermind behind the murder-of-the-week, along with many other murders.
Yet everyone from the sweet high school girl to the empress of crime showed the same remarkable ability to compartmentalize his or her actions.
This pattern was all the more intriguing because Castle, who was present for all of these moments, never commented on it or even seemed to notice it. I thought he might, but he didn't -- possibly because any loving father would naturally revolt against drawing a parallel between his child and a coldblooded killer. Nonetheless, the connection was there, and it was fascinating. I hope that at least a few of us viewers came away with the sobering reflection that, as much as we want to judge ourselves only by our well-behaved moments, in the end there's no one to blame for our sins but "me."