I don’t think I could love this show more if it were made of chocolate with little sprinkles on top.
I watched the first episode for two reasons: the show is about a mystery writer, and he’s played by Nathan Fillion. On the surface this is made of win, but I was skeptical. When was the last time you saw a good TV show about a writer?
Quick recap, in case you haven’t heard the premise: in the first episode, Detective Beckett has two murder cases with crime scenes resembling murders in Rick Castle’s mystery novels. She calls him in as a consultant and he helps solve the case. He has just killed off his long-running series hero and is overdue on a new book. He decides to base a new character on her. He pulls some strings so he’ll be allowed to shadow her on her cases as research for this new series.
Hilarity, as they say, ensues.
For the next couple of episodes, he follows her around, charming his way into crime scenes when he’s asked to stay behind, occasionally providing helpful information but often getting in her way or just irritating her with his snark. At the end of each case, he goes home and writes about Nikki Heat, his new protagonist, amid snarky interjections from his teen daughter and his mother, a flamboyant actress who’s down on her luck and has recently moved in with them.
And then there’s last night’s episode. Castle makes himself honestly useful — when confronted with the ridiculous interstate cooperation the detectives would have to get in order to track down the server hosting a prostitute’s website, he pulls out his phone and calls the lady. (“Guess who’s got a date with a prostitute!”) And Beckett beats him at his own game, arriving at his book reading in a cocktail dress that leaves him stammering through his scene.
Beckett: ‘The wind gathered up her hair’? How does wind gather up hair? I’m just curious.
Castle: Oh, you’re telling me how to do my job?
Beckett: Irritating, isn’t it?
Beckett: What kind of name is Nikki Heat?
Castle: A cop name? I told you she was kinda slutty.
Beckett: It’s a stripper name. Change it, Castle.
Castle: Hang on. Think of the titles! Summer Heat. Heat Wave. In Heat.
Beckett: Change the name.
At first it seemed that Beckett was going to be the put-upon straight man for all Castle’s great lines, but in this last episode we get to see that she’s capable of being just as outrageous as he is — just not on the job. She has just as little patience for ‘Nikki Heat’ as the fans did, and it’s always a good thing when a show is self-aware.
The mystery plots are nothing special. Lee Lofland has been reviewing Castle for technical accuracy. His critiques are educational. Clearly the writers are having a lot more fun with the personal interactions, like Castle with his daughter:
Alexis: How come we never had a nanny?
Castle: Your mother and I decided that if anyone was going to screw you up, we wanted it to be me.
Then there are the little things, like the fact that father and daughter are wearing these completely absurd goggles to chop onions in one scene, and they’re never mentioned in the dialogue, as though they do this all the time.
Also, first episode? Brown coat.
I’m just saying.