Mar 04, 14

Castle 6×17 Reviews, Articles & Interviews

Stana Katic Previews Castle’s Darkest Hour Ever — and the Deeply Romantic Moment Within

This Monday on Castle (ABC, 10/9c), Beckett is abruptly called on to help the NYPD’s narcotics division with a seemingly simple sting, by posing as a low-level drug courier to reel in a bigger fish. But when things don’t go at all as planned, suffice it to say she won’t be home in time for dinner with Rick, as promised.

Stana Katic shared with TVLine a preview of what she calls Castle‘s darkest hour, yet one that in turn offers “really special” insight into bride-to-be Kate’s mindset. Also, the actress’ thoughts on Kate and Alexis’ recent heart-to-heart and whether we are truly heading for a wedding.

TVLINE | “In the Belly of the Beast” is quite a departure for the show. Did you get any kind of a heads up that it was coming down the pike?
There was a teeny tiny bit of a heads up, just that they were going to do something that’ll be a little bit more intense on my character, that the workload was going to get a little heavy as well.

TVLINE | And what was your reaction as you actually went through the script?
I was glad…. The show always kind of lies somewhere in between comedy and drama, and being that this is as dark as the show can go, it was extraordinary to do that dance with some of the core group, like Rob Bowman who is one of our executive producers but also a regular director and one of the main elements in the editing suite. And to work on a script by Andrew [W. Marlowe], who of course is the creator and exec producer, along with David Amann, who is one of our exec producers and a collaborator with Andrew…. It’s just really cool.

TVLINE | The end result is very atmospheric. Like, if you told me this was some piece of German cinema, I would almost believe you.
[Laughs] That’s Rob. This was a chance to play with someone who’s excited about features and loves filmmaking, and Bowman always pushes himself and the whole crew, and we love it. We’re inspired by working with him. There’s nothing better than dancing in filmmaking with someone that is willing to go all in, and he’s definitely one of those creatives.

TVLINE | To be clear, though you and I playfully talk bout “badass Beckett,” this is not about her being fierce in the way of, you know, hand-to-hand combat or pistols blazing. This is a different kind of intensity happening to her.
It is, yeah. She gets in over her head, in many ways. She starts off the episode thinking that she’s going to help another law enforcement branch out by going undercover, that it’s going to be done within a few hours and then she’ll be back home. And it gets a lot darker, very quickly. We had some really wonderful guest cast. Kenny Johnson (The Shield) is phenomenal; I had a blast working with him. He delivered something physical to me all the time…. It felt like everyone was committed in a way like, “This is a one-and-done experience, so let’s give it our all.”

TVLINE | One thing I found myself asking as I watched was: Do you think Season 1 Beckett could have pulled this off? Could she have endured this?
No way. I think that she maybe had the physical stamina to get through some of it, but — and this is a part of her evolution over the past six years — at some point she became less reactive, less emotional. Triggers aren’t the same any more. She’s more lethal because she’s able to contain those emotions and look at things a little bit more objectively. Of course, there’s a breaking point in this episode with [spoiler]. But you know what? She’s chasing death no matter what, so she’s going to fight for her last breath.

TVLINE | What I found interesting is that although Rick and Kate are physically separated for a good chunk of the hour, this episode probably has one or two of the most deeply romantic moments for them. For one, I’m thinking about the “goodbye” letter Kate writes to him…. Do you agree?
Yeah. I do. I do. I mean, nothing makes better love story stuff than facing your immortality, right? Nothing gives you better sex scenes than facing your own mortality. [Laughs]

TVLINE | The letter in particular is nice because they could have easily just skipped that beat. But the fact that they showed her sitting down to write it, and taking such care to hide it for him to maybe find later, was pretty powerful.
I think so, too, because we don’t always get a chance to have an eye on Beckett’s inner monologue. Castle has his mom, and his daughter sometimes, so there are opportunities for him to some of his inner monologue. At one time we had Beckett’s psychologist, but we don’t really have that at this point. [Kate and Rick] now kind of use each other to express their inner monologues, and we’ve done a really sweet kind of thing of using the regular relationship blocks to look at our lifetimes and our happenings in the past few episodes, but we’ve never had a moment to understand the depths of that affection — especially for Kate, who I believe is complex and is capable of extremely deep emotion. She says that in one of the earlier seasons, “No, I’m the one-and-done type,” so committing herself to someone like Rick means that she’s all in. Having a chance to express that on-screen through that inner monologue and the letter was really special.

TVLINE | Now looking back on the season-to-date: Have you enjoyed playing the bits of wedding planning, seeing the characters’ future slowly crystallize?
I have. I enjoy it because it also showcases another element of our relationship, the sweetness. And I think it’s very relatable for a lot of people that have had to go through the wedding planning rigmarole. Also, it’s outside of the whole procedural element of our story, so it’s nice to kind of branch into a different field. Castle, of course, gets to be in storytelling mode all the time, but Beckett has to be a bit more on point when she gets to work. So this lets us see the other side of that relationship at play, at home or when they’re off campus.

TVLINE | Kate seems to have her wedding dress, she and Rick seem to have “their song” picked out, but some the fans are thinking that maybe that’s misdirection — that if and when the big day comes there might be a different dress, that it won’t necessarily be that song. Do you think Johanna maybe left a gift behind?
Wouldn’t that be beautiful? What if Jim came in with a box…. Maybe!

TVLINE | You previously told me having Kate and Alexis kind of address their relationship wasn’t necessarily mandatory. Nonetheless, were you glad to touch on it in last week’s episode?
You know, I didn’t think, “Oh, this has to be addressed.” But I can see why the writers thought it might be something that they needed to look into. And I could see why audiences probably felt like it needed to be looked into. I’ve always felt that Alexis is a grown woman and she has an amazing mom that we’ve met a number of times, so Kate’s relationship with her always has to be just very respectful and understanding, because Alexis is the No. 1 girl in Castle’s life. That’s his daughter, and that’s a special place, so it doesn’t matter what happens in life, children come first. Kate, being the kind of character that she is, has a strong respect for that kind of family dynamic and would never want to interfere. If she can be a friend, if she can offer maybe another perspective at times, just like any friend would, I think that that’s great — and that’s maybe the role she can hold if any in that relationship, to just be a sounding board, be a bud. Just like Lanie is for Kate, you know?

TVLINE | And before we go, I pretty much have to ask: What would you say the current Vegas odds are on the wedding actually happening this season? After all, they did move up their timetable to possibly as early as “spring”….
I don’t know…. But I think it’s going to happen. It’s got to!


Castle Sends Beckett Into the Belly of the Beast: “Any Misstep Could Get Her Killed”

Warning: Spoilers!!

Castle’s recent string of rosier episodes is about to take a nosedive into much darker territory.

On Monday’s episode, “In The Belly of the Beast”(10/9c, ABC), Beckett (Stana Katic) gets pulled into what is supposed to be a simple undercover operation. But naturally, things quickly get much more complicated — and dangerous.

“Beckett thinks she’s pretending to be one person, but discovers that [the criminals] think that she’s somebody else completely,” creator Andrew W. Marlowe tells “She has to navigate those waters and figure out who she’s supposed to be. And any misstep could get her killed.”

Taking a turn for the dramatic is nothing new for Castle, which for many seasons has featured a high-stakes midseason two-parter. But because Season 6 opened with a two-part episode, Marlowe decided to take a different approach. “We wanted to have a big episode really had a chance to showcase the talents of one of our actors,” he says. “This year is an opportunity for us to showcase Stana as a complete and formidable actress and to take her on a journey in 42 minutes. The colors that she plays in this are really remarkable. We wanted a big jeopardy episode that was compelling, that allowed us to look at our characters in a different way and put them into an organic predicament where the stakes just kept getting more and more heightened.”

And Katic was more than up for the challenge. “I was excited. It’s a fun story to play,” she says. “It really takes the character through the hero’s journey. This character is facing one of the greatest injustices of her life.”

And she doesn’t just mean the harrowing ordeal Beckett goes through during the botched undercover operation. The story takes several twists and turns, including the return of some faces that will be familiar to fans who have followed Beckett’s series-long investigation into her mother’s murder. Katic says this new chapter shows just how far Beckett has come throughout the series — and how much her relationship with Castle (Nathan Fillion) is responsible for her growth.

“The transition for the character over the six seasons is that she moved out of being an individual who reacts from emotion,” Katic says. “She’s become more lethal [because] she’s capable of accessing a situation, maintaining her cool … and finding justice within the confines of the law. Part of the reason that she’s willing to do that is because she’s falling in love and she has something to live for. She has someone to try to build a future with.”

But why then would Beckett risk that future by taking on this undercover operation? After all, as seen in the clip below, Captain Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) gives Beckett the option of bowing out.

“No matter what, she’s always going to fight for the greater good and for the victims,” Katic says of Beckett’s choice to trudge on. “I think in that case, it seemed like it was going to be an easy fix. She felt like she would be home for dinner, as she says over and over again. And it turns into something a lot darker, without her even being able to foresee it. You can’t change your driving force. If she did something different, then she wouldn’t be the Beckett that Castle fell in love with, and she wouldn’t be the Beckett that the audience fell in love with. She’d be someone else.”
But after the events of the episode, Beckett could indeed be a changed person. For Marlowe’s part, he says he will always enjoy dipping back into the well of Beckett’s past in order to carve a new path for the future.

“Beckett was always initially the character with the secrets and the character with the backstory,” he says. “It was the thing that defined the character in the beginning  — the reason why this character became a cop, the reason why this character does what she does. I’ve always had the sense that we had some really great mythology to play with. It’s been a really great journey for us, and it’s really fulfilling to continue to explore that.”

Castle airs Monday at 10/9c on ABC.


Castle Post Mortem: In the Wake of Kate’s Huge Discovery, ‘The Stakes Are Higher Than Ever’

This week on ABC’s Castle, an undercover assignment gone sideways first brings Beckett face-to-face with a familiar foe — and then gobsmacks her with a shocking discovery.

As the hour opens, Rick and Kate are fixing to spend the latter’s day off by engaging in, well, the sorts of things couples do. (Apparently they both need a good font.) That plan however is derailed by a call from Gates, asking Kate to get to the 12th, pronto — and alone.

At the precinct, Captain Fowler from narcotics explains how they caught Elena Markov, a low-level courier for a rising drug lord known as Lazarus, whom they have yet to get eyes on. Alas, Elena is now hospitalized after a suicide attempt, but the NYPD wants to keep her next meet — with Beckett assuming her identity. Kate agrees, thinking it’s a simple couple-of-hours gig, yet once on en route to the meet, she is abducted, thrown into a van and driven to a remote location.

Kate’s abductor, Harden, says that Lazarus is interested in giving Elena a permanent position in the organization. Kate accepts, with the stipulation that she gets a face-to-face with her employer. When Harden and his superior, Jones, step outside to mull it over — rather than ask Elena to wait in the guarded hallway, thus conveniently leaving Beckett unattended near a phone — Kate quickly rings the 12th, but her call cannot be traced.

In the meantime, Beckett finds a block of time to write an “In case we don’t see each other again…” letter to Rick, professing that their relationship is the greatest thing that has ever happened to her and that he is an “amazing man,” signing the note, “Always” — and then hides it, to hopefully never be found.

Kate is told that Lazarus has accepted her terms, if she agrees to an assignment: Whacking some attorney in the ‘burbs. Realizing that Elena was in fact an assassin, Kate carries out the kill, thanks to some quick thinking/staging of a murder scene with her target’s help. (Good thing Frank Ryan had beet juice handy!) Meanwhile at the 12th, Rick frets about Kate’s fate, now that they know she’s trying to pass herself off as a contract killer. Javi, though, reassures that Beckett’s a “damn good cop, so don’t sell her short.”

When Kate gets her meeting with Lazarus, she is promptly made — because the man across the table is Vulcan Simmons, the Washington Heights drug lord she suspected in her mother’s murder back in Season 3. When Kate, despite some torture tactics, refuses to disclose what they want to know, Vulcan tasks Harden with killing her out in the woods — except Elena shows up in the nick of time to slay Harden and save Beckett’s life. (“He sent me because he owed you. He wanted you to live.”) But who is “he”? “Lazarus.”

Back at the 12th, as Gates and Fowler report that there’s no evidence to back up charges against Vulcan, Kate expresses to a helpless-feeling Rick, “Babe, I wasnt alone… The only thing that kept me going was thing about you… You were with me the whole time.”

But who was having all these tens of millions funneled into some secret super PAC fund? Turns out, Senator Bracken aka the real “Lazarus” is atop this drug chain, and has been using the ill-gotten gains to fill his war chest — with an eye on the White House. (Meaning Sally Langston’s dead husband will run against her and Fitz? What?) But since Kate once saved the life of her mother’s killer, he returned the favor — thus cleaning the slate between them. “So,” Kate notes with a hint of dread, “the next time we see each other….”

Though Stana Katic, when I spoke to her last week, did not know when this Bracken thread would next be picked up — “I’ve been digging on my own with the producers to find out where they’re going,” she shared — one thing is certain: “They’ve upped the ante,” she attested. “We built up the Bracken character, talking about him as a sleeping dragon that was awoken, and this story re-mythologizes him.” As an aspiring POTUS, “His status now is at another level, which means that the stakes are higher than ever. And so keeping Beckett at bay is more important than ever,” Katic observed. “She’s a bigger threat than she’s been in the past.”


Castle Boss: “The Gloves Are Off” Between Beckett and Bracken

[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Monday’s episode of ABC’s Castle. Read at your own risk.]

On Castle, some of the ghosts from Detective Kate Beckett’s past just won’t stay buried.

Beckett (Stana Katic) was reminded of that in a big way on Monday’s episode, when she was asked to go on a simple undercover operation to bust a drug ring. There was just one problem: Although Beckett was told she was posing as a drug courier named Elena, she soon learned that the person she was impersonating was actually an assassin! Although Beckett managed to maintain her cover long enough to carry out a “hit” (who knew items in your pantry could make fake blood so quickly!) the jig was up when Beckett came face-to-face with drug lord Lazarus — who just so happened to be Vulcan Simmons, a one-time suspect in Beckett’s mother’s murder.

Once Beckett was identified, she was taken out to be executed. However, just before Simmons’ henchman could kill Beckett, the real Elena came to her rescue, sparing Beckett’s life at the behest of “Lazarus.” But during a post-operation debriefing, Beckett learns that the drug money is being laundered to fund a heavyweight politician. Although the money is untraceable, Beckett knows who the real Lazarus is: Senator William Bracken (Jack Coleman), the man responsible for Beckett’s mother’s murder.

“[The episode] gave us a chance to re-mythologize Bracken,” Katic tells “We wanted to reintroduce him to the audience in a way that would kind of validate the threat that we had set up for so many seasons.”

Indeed, now that Bracken has saved Beckett’s life — evening the score from when Beckett thwarted an assassination attempt against the senator last season — creator Andrew W. Marlowe says Beckett must think differently about how to proceed with Bracken. “They’ve had this détente because, to the best of Bracken’s knowledge, Beckett has information that will sink him,” Marlowe says. “But this means if something else happens in the future, if these two come into contact, the gloves are off. That Sword of Damocles hanging over her head has to give her a sense of unease.”

And while staying off Bracken’s radar isn’t impossible, Beckett’s history doesn’t suggest she will be able to bite her tongue forever. “”This guy, who is a form of evil in the world, is out there and may achieve the highest office in the land. That, in Beckett’s mind, is morally repugnant,” Marlowe says. “How does she handle that? In the back of her mind, there is a little bit of crisis. Those are things that she wrestles with as we sow the seeds for further storytelling.”

However, Marlowe notes that Beckett is less likely to throw herself into the fire with Bracken thanks to her relationship with Castle (Nathan Fillion). “Does she go down the rabbit hole like she has the last four and a half seasons?” Marlowe asks, referencing the episode’s final shot. “No, she takes Castle’s hand and chooses to be with him instead of choosing to do something crazy. It shows some growth and maturity of the character.”

And despite the danger Beckett found herself in during the undercover operation, the episode also reaffirmed the strength of the Castle-Beckett relationship. When Beckett realized she might not make it out alive, she wrote him a letter to make her feelings plain. “If something happens, if I don’t make it, I need you to know that our partnership, our relationship is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me,” she wrote. “You’re an amazing man, and I love you with all of my heart. Always.” Katic says she believes Beckett has always felt that way, but it was nice to finally voice it in an episode, both in the letter and again in person when they were reunited.

“I think everyone faced with their own mortality speaks their final truth, and her final truth is that she’s completely committed and absolutely in love with him,” Katic says. “We said it a long time ago that Beckett  [is] a one-and-done type. So, I think her committing to marrying him already speaks volumes to some deep rivers that are in that character. … But this is when it’s really important because if it’s all over, he has to know that he was the love of her life.”

While the couple’s feelings for each other aren’t in doubt, the renewed threat of Bracken certainly poses  questions about Castle and Beckett’s possible “spring” wedding. “These two characters are really committed to each other; this episode shows Beckett’s level of commitment to Castle,” Marlowe says. “These are two characters that want to be together. But can stuff happen? Sure. Weddings can either go off without a hitch or they can be disastrous. We do plan to have one more significant bite at this Beckett’s mother’s mythology stuff before the end of this season. All sorts of things can happen. We still have a few tricks up our sleeve.”


‘Castle’ Post-Mortem: Stana Katic on the Reappearance of [spoiler]!

The presence of Castle‘s resident bad guy Sen. Bracken (Jack Coleman) was felt throughout Monday night’s episode, but the politician wasn’t exactly seen.

You see, after Beckett (Stana Katic) went undercover to infiltrate a very powerful (and apparently high-paying) drug cartel, she found herself in the perfect position to go after the organizations big boss, Lazarus. After setting up a meeting with him — and proving herself in order to be deemed worthy of the meeting — she found herself face-to-face with Vulcan Simmons (Keith David), the man once accused of murdering her mother. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a happy reunion.

A brief (and terrifying) session of water torture later, she was out in the woods with one of Simmons’ hired assassins about to be killed. Then, a surprise: the assassin spared her life. Why? Because Lazarus — the real one — ordered it.

So who was the real Lazarus? There was no evidence that would hold up in court, but Beckett had loose connections that proved it was Sen. Bracken, who, as you’ll recall, owed her a favor for saving his life. With their score now even, in normal circumstances, Beckett would be in big danger — but there’s a new factor also in play. Beckett pieced together (again, in a way that would not hold up on court) that Bracken had been laundering money into an organization to fund his run for the presidency. Yes, Bracken is running for president. And. This. Changes. Everything.

“All that means is that Beckett as a threat to him is bigger than before, and he’s going to try to take care of it,” says Katic, who says she was happy to see the Sen. Bracken storyline revisited. “I think that the stakes are much larger for the Bracken character, which makes him a greater threat. It’s a different game at this point. ”

Following the reveal, however, fans shouldn’t expect to see Beckett go off the deep end in search of bringing down Bracken. While that may have been her reaction at one time, Katic says Beckett has “evolved.” “She was initially reactive. It was an emotional trigger for her to [revisit] that part of her history. And at this point, she’s evolved into a more lethal weapon. She is a character who is able to receive the information and assess in a less emotional, more responsive way and in a more Zen-like manner, which makes her a viper, I think,” she says. “The triggers aren’t there anymore. She can assess the situation. She can keep herself protected and get the bad guy. And I think that that’s a really interesting character evolution.”

Also notable in the nail-biting episode was the scene in which Beckett wrote a heartfelt letter to Castle, and hid it for him to find in case she didn’t make it out of the dangerous mission alive. “What’s nice about that scene and the love story in this episode is that we get an insight into the inner monologue that goes on inside Beckett,” says Katic. “We don’t often get to have those private conversations with Beckett…and in this episode, we get a chance to see how deep that love is for him.” Katic saw the scene as a nice callback to the character’s infamous “one and done” line from earlier in the series. “You know, this is it for her. She’s found the love of her life and when a character faces their own mortality, they want to make sure that everything is taken care of and the people they love the most know it,” says Katic. “You see that in that scene. It’s nice the way they laid that out.”