Katherine Houghton Beckett was born to Jim and Johanna Beckett on November 17, 1979.
She was raised in Manhattan and hints to Castle many times about having a wild past. Kate spent the summer she was seventeen modeling, as opposed to waitressing, eventually earning enough money to buy a 1994 Harley Softail Motorcycle. Her parents disapproved and her father once even threatened to send her to a nunnery.
On January 9, 1999, when she was 19, Kate’s mother Johanna was stabbed to death while on her way to meet with Jim and Kate for dinner. Her death was attributed to random gang violence, and the lead detective wrote the case off as unsolved. Kate, though, always believed that there was more to her mother’s murder than a random killing, thinking that the investigating detectives ignored all other evidence that could lead them to her mother’s murderer.
Her father took Johanna’s death hard and became an alcoholic, though Kate was eventually able to help him through it. She wears her mother’s wedding ring as a necklace for “the life she lost” and her father’s watch for “the life she saved”.
Her mother’s death inspired Beckett to become a cop, to be a detective that looks for justice and brings closure to the victim’s families, like she was never able to get for herself. She used her first three years on the force to investigate her mother’s death further, until she went into therapy and realized she needed to let it go.
Beckett became one of the youngest women to ever make homicide detective for the New York Police Department. She works for the Twelfth Precinct Homicide Squad, with fellow detectives Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan, and medical examiner Lanie Parish, under Captain Victoria Gates.
According to the late Captain Roy Montgomery, her main strength as a detective lies in her ability to empathise with the relatives of violent crimes, which she does better than anyone he knows. She is a tough, smart, first-class investigator known for being a closer. She’s also gained a reputation as a detective who’s intrigued by the sort of cases that don’t fit neatly into a box. It’s a reflection of her ongoing quest for justice.
Initially forced to work with Castle, she chaffed against his less than serious approach to their partnership, but over time she has come to appreciate his storyteller’s mind. Solving case after case by combining his unique approach with her no-nonsense cop skills, Beckett and Castle have become unlikely partners with a very successful track record. The romantic tension of their early days has now evolved into a burgeoning relationship.
In 2013, Beckett was headhunted by Jerry Stack, a special investigator for the Office of the United States Attorney General, who offers her a job in Washington, D.C. Beckett accepts the job, but despite making a positive impression on her colleagues for her investigative skills, she soon found herself unable to make the necessary moral compromises for her new role. She jeopardized a plan to infiltrate a major crime syndicate to protect a young woman who would have been forced to act as the mole. As a result, Beckett was fired, leaving her briefly unemployed due to station budget cuts preventing Gates from simply re-hiring her. Despite this, Castle was able to get her job back after he helped to reunite a prominent politician with his long-lost daughter.
Beckett took the Captain’s exam in 2015,which she passed with flying colors.