Richard Castle is a world-renowned mystery author. His Derrick Storm series has made him an international sensation. The problem is Castle’s just written the final book in the series and he finished the book by killing off his cash cow crime fighter. Castle, in his arrogance, believes he can just write up a new hero and stay on top of his game. The problem is he’s hit the wall and he’s too proud to admit that writer’s block has him beat.
Castle (Nathan Fillion (Slither, Desperate Housewives) is brought in as a consultant when the police discover a killer recreating murder scenes from his books, with real victims. Castle meets Detective Kate Beckett (Quantum of Solace’s Stana Katic.) Beckett is a straight shooter, keeping her eyes on the details of the case and infuriated that Castle can’t focus on anything other than himself. As Castle charms everyone else in the precinct with his antics, Beckett puts up defenses, intent on getting Castle out of her personal and professional life as soon as possible.
Once Castle helps Beckett find the copycat killer, she feels relief, but he feels something else…inspiration. Beckett becomes the model for Castle’s new mystery series; a character named Nikki Heat. As he says, “it’s a cop name.” Beckett’s retort; “it’s a stripper name!” Castle uses his influence with the mayor to sign on as a consultant and to follow Beckett. And thus, a series is born.
Just like other popular police shows, each episode of Castle is an individual investigation. The introductory sequences reveal different victims with a musical tie-in. From there, the police find the body and Castle joins to add his own speculation and “expertise.”
The series’ strength is its ensemble cast. Castle lives with his mother, Martha (Falcon Crest’s Susan Sullivan); an ex-Broadway star who boasts the experience of a lifetime in the industry. His daughter, Alexis (Quinn), is smart, honest and a great counterpoint to his flamboyant nature. Just as Castle is surrounded by women, Beckett is surrounded by her police family of men. Her two underlings are Ryan (General Hospital’s Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas).
The first season introduces each character and carefully unveils specifics in layers, like onions. Viewers are granted a deep dive into Castle, understanding a lot about the author, but still given enough room to learn the many hidden years and adventures of his back story. Beckett’s deep ties to her job are revealed mid-season, and viewers will warm to her as they learn why she does what she does. Sullivan and Quinn are constants, which are absolutely necessary as viewers see more of Castle’s antics. By the end of Season One, fans will have fallen for the chemistry between Castle and Beckett, and will be chomping at the bit to learn more about the two, and how they grow together.
Castle mixes all the normal guy crime fighter aspects of the Rockford Files with the underlying sexual tension of Moonlighting. The series can only go as far as the tension lasts. Castle is well-composed in all aspects; lighting, post-production, casting, and writing. The episodes in Series One constantly improved; a tribute to the writers’ ability to work the “slow reveal” style. If the momentum continues, Series Two should be even better.
The DVD features a number of bonus features. Misdemeanors: Bloopers and Outtakes speaks for itself. Whodunit introduces the cast and how Castle came from other character-rich shows. Castle’s Godfather is a sit-down with legendary mystery writer Stephen J. Cannell, series creators Andrew Marlowe and Rob Bowman.