Spoilers.

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STUDIO: ABC Studios
MSRP: $31.99
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 1032 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
- On Set With Seamus and Jon
- On Location With Nathan
- Manhattan’s Most Unusual Murders
- Deleted scenes
- Misdemeanors: Bloopers and Outtakes
- Music videos


The Pitch

Wisecracking author shadows beautiful homicide detective on cases for book material.  Hijinks ensue.

The Humans

Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Susan Sullivan, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly C. Quinn, Tamala Jones.

The Nutshell

Richard Castle is a successful crime author who has convinced the New York Police Department to let him ride along with one of their best detectives, Kate Beckett, on her cases for research for a series of crime novels featuring a character based on Beckett.  The smarmy Castle and the serious Beckett are a perfect match and together they solve the city’s most puzzling and bizarre homicides. 

The Lowdown

I’ve reviewed a number of episodes from the first two seasons of the show (check ‘em out below). 

Season 3: “A Deadly Affair”

Season 2: “Fool Me Once”

Season 1: “hedge Fund Homeboys”
Season 1: “A Chill Goes Through Her Veins”




Unfortunately, Fillion’s homemade Tron Legacy audition tape wasn’t quite up to snuff.



Basically, I’m a fan.  Nathan Fillion has been a favorite for years and Stana Katic is a relative newcomer with whom Fillion meshes very well on the show.  Castle could have been a rehash of man / woman procedurals like Bones (which is also good) or Law & Order: SVU, but this show is of a much lighter tone and works mostly because of the easy and fun chemistry of the two leads.  Moonlighting comparisons have been mentioned by more than one reviewer (including me).  Fillion is at his (dare I say) most charming as the rambunctious Castle, and Katic more than holds her own up against him.  The show also features a steady stream of unusual cases against which the pair can match their wits.  It also has some fun supporting cast in Sullivan, Quinn, Huertas and Dever.  All together, Castle is a breezy, entertaining weekly romp into the world of cops and bad guys…and writer.






One nice thing about Castle is that, except for a very back-burner mythology on the unsolved murder of Beckett’s mother, it’s not heavily serialized.  So you can quite easily come into an episode and get the gist of the show.  From there its gravy as Fillion and Katic do their weekly banter, usually centered around his being a scamp or scalawag, and the unusual merits of the case for that week.  Castle’s background as a successful novelist, who’s seen more than his share of unusual situations, encounters and dubious research sources, as well as his vivid imagination, frequently help break a case that has the team stumped.  And when Castle is stumped in his relationship with Beckett, he usually finds the answer from talking with his teenage daughter, who in many ways is far more mature.  Every once in a blue moon, when Castle is really hung up on something, he’ll run it by his poker buddies (Stephen J. Cannell, James Patterson, Michael Connelly)



Beckett was changing clothes in public.  This is the best shot available.  I’ve already petition the producers to fire the director.



And that’s basically all the set up you need for the show.  The rest hinges on the various weird cases.  Season 2 started off with “Deep in Death”, which found Beckett pissed at Castle for looking into her mother’s murder, even though she told him she didn’t want him to.  Beckett spent several years trying to solve it with no success and spent almost as much time in therapy to get over it.  The case of the episode centers on a body that was found in a tree and then hijacked by someone on the way to the morgue.  “When the Bough Breaks” had Castle and Beckett on the case of an immigrant woman found stuffed in a manhole.  Castle’s first book featuring Nikki Heat, the character Beckett inspired, is released, and their partnership is threatened when Castle is in the running to do a new series of books based on James Bond.

“The Fifth Bullet” has the team trying to track down a possible witness to a murder where five shots were fired, but only four impact holes were found.  They get a break (or rather don’t) when the witness does indeed emerge, but with complete amnesia.  There’s a two-part story in “Tick, Tick, Tick” and “Boom”, where Beckett is stalked by a mad bomber who’s obsessed by Nikki Heat and who blows up her apartment.  Dana Delany guest stars as FBI hotshot agent, Jordan Shaw.  Late in the season, Beckett and Castle’s working relationship is upset when Beckett consults with a Robbery / Homicide detective, Demming (Michael Trucco) and then falls for him, much to Castle’s chagrin. 



This precise moment in time came to be known as the World Browncoat Semen Explosion.



The season finale, “A Deadly Game” finds Castle and Beckett working the case of a man who was killed in a spy action role playing game.  And when Beckett’s relationship with Demming seems to be getting more serious, Castle steps back on the advice of his poker buddies when they suggest that Beckett might actually be a hindrance to his novel productivity.  Meanwhile, Beckett was starting to have reciprocal feelings for Castle, but some bad timing leads to a missed opportunity as Castle leaves the city for the summer to finish his next Nikki heat novel.  Castle is a reminder that not every cop show has to be hard-nosed and gritty, and that a little fun is still appreciated by some.  Great show to get into.



“No, I was the other Private Ryan, but I should have been that one.”



The Package

The episodes are all good and sound fine.  Picture is 1.78:1 and Dolby 5.1 Surround, with English, French and Spanish subtitles.  Features are a little light, but there are three production featurettes: On Set With Seamus and Jon, On Location With Nathan and Manhattan’s Most Unsual Murders.  They average about seven minutes and feature Dever and Huertas showing the set, Fillion on location chatting up the crew and a look at the setting up of the murder victim scenes and shots.  There are three deleted scenes and a three-minute blooper reel.  Two music videos from the episode, “Famous Last Words” round out the offerings.  Packaging is the preferable plastic slim case with staggered DVD inserts.


7.9 out of 10