A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER Stana Katic

THE SHOW | Castle

THE EPISODE | “In the Belly of the Beast”

THE AIRDATE | March 3, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | It was an unusual yet seemingly manageable assignment for NYPD Detective Kate Beckett — to do the narcotics division a solid by posing as low-level drug dealer Elena Markov and thus hopefully get eyes on a big fish dubbed “Lazarus.” But no sooner did the undercover op get underway, it went horribly awry.

As Beckett was abducted and lobbed into the back of a van, Katic at first showed us a cop who kept relatively cool and collected, hoping that her oral narrative about where and how far she was being taken was being picked up by her wire. (No such luck.) When Beckett learned that “Elena” was not at all a courier but a stone-cold assassin, she improvised to alter the identity she had only recently assumed, and Katic met her alter ego every step of the way.

But once the jig was up — Lazurus’ go-between, Vulcan Simmons, recognized his onetime tormentor right away — Katic’s arduous on-screen journey truly began. Vulcan sought to wrest intel from Beckett, subjecting her to water torture her in a dark, dank anteroom. Yet Beckett somehow held her cards close to the vest, sometimes all but hissing with defiance at her adversary.

Katic also brought emotion to vastly different moments, first as Kate penned a “goodbye” letter to Rick (wearing her heart on her pen and paper like we’ve never observed before), and then after the lovers had reunited, expressing to her fiance how he, in spirit, was with her every step of the way, reinforcing her resolve to endure the nightmare.

Lastly, in a killer coda, Katic registered Kate’s disgust to learn who Lazarus really was, and to what despicable end — a reveal that reignited her zeal to one day take best her “Moby Dick,” the slippery, sinister Senator Bracken.

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