If you’ve never seen Castle, start with Monday’s episode:

If you have ever read my thoughts on TV (and if you have, I sincerely thank you), you know I am not a procedural fan. It’s not that I don’t think that many are well made, (and I still watch House (though rarely enjoy it much anymore) and I watched The Closer until last season. I just enjoy character driven shows far more than story driven or case-of-the week shows.

Castle is a show I enjoy a lot. On the surface it’s a cop procedural. But it’s different in many ways.  First of all, it’s much lighter that a standard procedural. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Plus there are lots of winks at the audience especially involving Nathan Fillion’s other roles on Firefly and One Life To live. Speaking of…

Nathan Fillion makes it different. In addition to being ruggedly handsome (as he acknowledges in the teaser to all episodes, until recently), he’s funny, charming, wise assy,  witty… ya know basically Nathan Fillion. Nathan has finally found his perfect role as novelist Richard Castle. Stana Katic is a perfect foil for him. She’s stunning, tough, in control and gives as good as she gets. Their chemistry is terrific. Obviously we’ve known since episode 1 that they are hot for each other. The rest of the cast is wonderful as well and you can tell everyone seems to genuinely like each other. They all seem like they are having fun and that’s fun to watch. Of special note is Castle’s daughter played by the amazing, beyond her years, Molly Quinn and the acclaimed Susan Sullivan as Castle’s mom. The scenes with the three of them are always special and also sets this show apart from standard procedural.

Kudos to creator/executive producer Andrew Marlowe and the entire crew because after 47 episodes, the Castle/Beckett relationship feels real.  It has deepened. On many shows like this, in order to keep the sexual tension between the two leads and essentially keep them apart romantically, the characters still act like they did on episode 1, which hardly feels authentic. That’s not the case here. It’s obvious they dig each other. Everyone in the precinct knows it. Castle’s Mom knows it. Even they know it. Normal circumstances have kept them apart thus far (currently Beckett has a boyfriend and Castle just broke up with his ex-wife) but even last season Becket said to him “I like you pulling my pigtails”.

The episodes usually have a light tone, but every once in a while a darker case takes over and usually results in a great episode, where the stakes are a bit higher. The Dana Delaney two parter from last season is one such occurrence. Once a season there is as close to a “mythology”episode as this show does. Beckett became a cop because her mom was killed and she is still trying to solve that case. The episodes that deal with this are usually top-notch.

Monday’s episode (“Knockdown”) is an episode that unravels more details in Beckett’s mother’s death. The hour is filled with suspense, tension and actually there’s also lots of time given to Castle and Beckett’s feelings for each other. Obviously by now, most have seen the few seconds the show has leaked of “the kiss” between them. I won’t spoil how or why it happens, but let’s just say it deepens their relationship and once again props to the producers and the episode’s writer, Will Beall for making it happen organically. (Nice direction from Tom Wright, too). Throughout the ep, Castle and Beckett clearly display their affection for each other, most of the time through unspoken words. Their “I got your back” attitude and sheer affection for each other is sexier then seeing them consummate their relationship at this point.

Everything I like about Castle is on display in Monday’s episode. Actually everything and then some. ABC has found a winner here, as it’s really an ABC show wrapped up in a weekly procedural. But at its heart, it’s a romantic drama with sexy, likeable leads who have the hots for each other, not unlike other ABC hits. It’s light and funny and you don’t have to tune in every week to know what’s going on. In fact, if you have never seen the show, Monday’s episode is a perfect time to start. You’ll be able to follow everything and you’ll get the best of what Castle does.

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