First off, my wife and I have been huge fans of the show from its very first season. When we haven’t been able to see the show as it aired, we’ve DVR’d it or gone to HuluPlus and watched it. We’ve seen, literally, every episode.
What’s the appeal?
It is a police show.
Audiences have loved police shows forever. “Car 54, Where Are You?”, “Kojak”, “Adam 12”, “Hawaii 5-0” (both iterations), “Hill Street Blues”, “Barney Miller” and, currently, all the “CSI” and “NCIS” serae as well as other types of crimeshows: Detectives: “Mannix”, “Rockford Files”… and dramas: “AmericanCrime”… I’m rambling.
Police, detective and crime shows always draw an audience. It’s part of our nature.
It has romance.
Everyone loves a good, fresh romantic twist. This guy landed this girl who was so far above his reach it was impossible. Or, some girl managed to get under the skin of this guy who, ordinarily, would never have given her a second look.
“Castle” had both: How does a cop ever rate dating a famous writer? How does a klutz of a guy who is really good at stringing a few words together but is also amazingly proficient at shooting himself in the foot manage to land a drop-dead gorgeous, distrusting and matter-of-fact power-house of a cop?
It is friendly. It is family.
Without her two partners to shepherd her wannabe shadow, the show would not have survived. We grew to love detectives Javie Esposito and Kevin Ryan right from Day One. And, Castle’s daughter and his ever-present mom lent to the family atmosphere of the show.
We even grew to love previous 12th Precinct Captains Montgomery and Gates despite their gruff exteriors and their demanding natures. They genuinely cared for our heroes and their successes.
How can we protect those we care about from those who want to hurt us?
And, it always surprised.
Castle’s constant penchant for fantastical explanations was the carrot while Kate’s ever-grounded pavement pounding usually twirled about, spiraled around then adroitly landed exactly on an ending we didn’t see coming.
The talent on the show was exceptional.
Nathan Fillion brought legions of fans with him from his incredible one season run aboard the Firefly-class smuggling ship, Serenity, cruising the air waves on the fabulous-but-cancelled TV series, “Firefly”.
His wit and personality, his charm and his earthiness radiated into his performance.
Stana Katic’s character set the tone for the series. Her no-nonsense approach, dogged determination, dedication to the ideals of truth and justice and her sense of right and wrong gave the show the stage from which everything was presented.
Stana’s grace and elegance, her style and ethic and her ability to adapt to just about any situation while remaining true to herself was the very heart of what made the show what it was.
Now, she’s gone.
The very foundation of the show has been removed.
The basis for the writer’s association with the precinct has walked out the door.
The romantic interest of the titular character has flown the coup.
The babe all the dudes tuned in to see has strutted that “thang” right off the set.
It seems impossible that the show could go on. There is no way you could bring in a new love interest for Castle (it does help that his is the only name in the show title, though). Even with the insertion of Hayley Shipton, the very English former MI-6 and Scotland Yard operative, the depth of the love written into the show Castle had for Kate cannot be simply re-attached to someone else.
We wouldn’t buy it.
We wouldn’t tolerate it.
Castle has some ex-wives. But, there’s any number of reasons they are “ex-wives” leaving them well out of any equation where Castle’s heart could be repaired. At least one has been presented as being as shallow and as superficial as Castle himself had been prior to his exposure to Detective-cum-Captain Beckett.
Hayley does provide an excellent diversion plot point for us. She’s friendly with Castle’s daughter, Alexis. She’s already a cop, of sorts, and knows her way around chasing down leads, clues and bad people. Plus, she could give Black Widow (Marvel) or Black Canary (DC) a few lessons in hand-to-hand combat.
Well, maybe not. But, still…
She’s an excellent diversion and/or misdirect.
What will be the backlash?
Just as an aside, before getting into the future of the show, there will be a lot of “she deserves as much money” as her male co-star and “why didn’t he stand up for his co-lead?” – among other things.
Generally, I contend that equal work demands equal pay regardless of gender, race, planet of origin or any other differentiating factor.
But, Nathan has a following Stana will never achieve. Probably every third article on this site has some sort of reference to Nathan Fillion for his association with one story line or another, for his love of fantasy and science fiction or for his genuine admiration of geeky current movie releases.
In “Firefly”, he was the Captain of the ship in one of the greatest space opera productions every presented on television rivaling even Star Trek.
He brings far more people to the series than his co-star.
He was in “Guardians of the Galaxy”! We didn’t recognize him, of course, but he was there – in the prison scene. And, he will be in “GotG: Vol II” as Simon Williams – Wonder Man in the Marvel Comics Universe.
He was in “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” as the Greek god, Hermes – naturally, he ran a delivery service a la UPS or FedEx.
He was Johnny in “Monsters University”!
And, he’s guest appeared in any number of very current TV serae including the broadcast-dominating “The Big Bang Theory” – as himself! How important can he be if he can appear as himself in another major television series?
The guy generates more buzz in the entertainment industry … than … all but a very small handful of celebrities.
Stana Katic does not get the same attention. She doesn’t create any must see fan sites. She doesn’t generate a buzz that could even begin to compare with Nathan. She doesn’t draw people to the show the way her co-star does.
She hasn’t earned his salary.
And, now the show will go on to prove that.
Take her likely desire to be paid on the same level as a current legend and couple that with all of the rumors Nathan and Stana can’t stand each other off-camera and you eventually arrive at one of only two possible conclusions: Cancel the show; or fire one of the characters.
And, you don’t fire the character for whom the show is named.
You just… don’t.
Where does the show go from here?
First off, Captain Beckett will, almost certainly… die. That scenario was set up in the second season of the series when she found evidence that pointed to powerful U.S. Senator, William Bracken, as being part of a ring that was responsible for killing her mother.
It was buttressed in the current season as Kate and a mysterious CIA partner are tracking down the ring (“LokSat”) that killed her mother and, more recently, Senator Bracken. Kate has been walking on dangerous ground for a while, now.
And, Kate’s attempted separation from Castle and his family to “protect them” (contrived from the get-go, but still…) gave the writers the opportunity to build a community of relationships that didn’t include the intrepid Capitan. During this period, Alexis and Hayley were effectively written into the continuation of the series.
But I, personally, don’t think the inclusion of Ryan and Esposito worked so well without Beckett there to bridge Castle into precinct life.
So, they may be left behind. Or, maybe not…
There are two directions the show could go – if it is to continue:
On with the NYPD!
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The show could continue revolving around the NYPD’s 12th Precinct. Castle will continue to work with Ryan and Esposito as the trio feverishly tries to track down the killer(s) of their beloved Captain. Some new characters (including a new captain) will, ultimately, be introduced that will either gain traction and remain or will simply pass through and off into oblivion.
This would severely limit the scope of the show. But, to do otherwise, would completely change the character (and scope) of the series. I don’t recall any show where doing so has been successful.
I don’t recall any show where such a massive overhaul has even been attempted!
Yeah… I could see it.
A James Bond-esque thrill-ride from the Far East to Europe chasing down the leads Kate and CIA analyst, Vikram Singh, have developed. Right now, all they have is a yet unexplained “LokSat”.
Season One P.K. (post Kate) begins in the 12th Precinct. NYPD is scrambling trying to run down leads on Beckett’s murder.
Then, it goes broader – much broader.
Vikram is tracked down by Castle who finally convinces the former CIA man he, and his team, will protect him and the knowledge he and Becket had gained.
Hayley should be the one who actually finds him.
Alexis works out of Castle’s P.I. office running down what leads she can. Molly C. Quinn has proven quite capable of holding her own in the midst of some really strong performers and the legions of Castle fans are smitten by his auburn-haired daughter.
These four (Castle, Alexis, Hayley and Vikram) would form the core of Castle’s team.
There would be the inevitable “contacts” in the Attorney General’s Office (where Kate had worked previously in the show) and, possibly, with the FBI, CIA and NSA as well. And, don’t forget the pencil-pusher from MI-6 who guested in Season Eight’s “Backstabber” Episode. Agent Steven Mallory would be an excellent reason for the show to move to London for a while.
Add in a couple of Scotland Yard’s finest assigned to assist CastleCo and Esposito and Ryan’s shoes are effectively filled.
It becomes a father-daughter spy adventure rather than a NYC procedural.
I think I like that.
And, it would still have most of the elements we love. At least, it would still have Nathan Fillion!
Castle’s dad, Jackson Hunt (portrayed by James Brolin), reprising his role as a super-spy hiding from every governmental agency on the planet should be available to coach his struggling son. His spy-wife, Rita could also drop in occasionally to help her wonder-step-son.
Summer Glau’s Kendall Frost could be re-introduced later and provide some interesting interactions between a couple of “Firefly” alums.
Another “Firefly” alum, Adam Baldwin, could show up out of the blue with information from time-to-time… He would be an awesome addition to the show. It might be difficult to “globalize” former NYPD detective Ethan Slaughter, though, so more than an episode or two might stretch things a bit.
Alan Tudyk, another “Firefly” alum would also be a great addition to the show – possibly as a CIA operative tasked with tracking down “defector” Vikram Singh before coming over to Castle’s side (and, team). If you can’t bring back “Firefly”, doggone-it, bring back all the actors and sick ‘em on a different story line!
Still, Tudyk was awesome as Englishman, Wat, in “A Knight’s Tale” – maybe he could be a local London flat-foot who provides CastleCo with occasional glimpses of intelligence.
I’d cast Ron Glass in just about anything. But, he would be awesome as top agent of the FBI or CIA who clandestinely meets with Castle, et al, and gives them input they could use to build their case.
There doesn’t have to be a “great love interest” for Castle, anymore… he had that – and lost her.
This could free the show up to become something even greater than it already is!
What do you think? Is Castle doomed? Can it be saved?
This post was originally published as "Stana Katic Leaves Castle. How Will Nathan Fillion Proceed?" by .