Confession: I am a total wimp when it comes to on-screen violence. I often shut my eyes during bloody battle scenes; I can’t watch slasher or horror movies because of the gore (whereas my husband loftily refuses to watch them “because they’re lame”). I get easily creeped out by crime shows (I can’t watch CSI or even The Mentalist). For some reason, I can read about violence with relatively little trouble (though I’d rather not – and when Bethany and I had to read Blindness in college, well, we didn’t want to turn off the lights afterward).
Anyway, since watching violence on screen is not my thing, I wasn’t at all sure I could handle Castle. However, after having watched most of the first (brief) season: I love it.
I love it mostly because of the banter between Detective Kate Beckett (no-nonsense, sharp and yet disarmingly pretty), and writer Rick Castle (a cocky playboy who’s just vulnerable enough to be endearing). Of course, they spend a lot of time solving homicides, dealing with unsavory characters and trying not to get shot, but instead of being a crime show with a side of witty banter, this show is witty banter with a side of crime. The crimes provide the setting and much of the action, but the show is really about relationships – both the one between Castle and Beckett, and their relationships with the supporting cast (packed with more wonderful characters).
Because the show isn’t just about crime, there’s a lot going on outside the crime scenes – from Castle’s deep love for his daughter (and the antics of his hilarious diva mother) to Beckett’s long-buried grief over her mother’s death. The ensemble cast really makes the show tick (I love Beckett’s fellow detectives Ryan and Esposito, and medical examiner Lanie). I often prefer a strong protagonist in the books I read, but in my favorite TV shows (Friends, Gilmore Girls, Mary Tyler Moore) I enjoy a solid ensemble cast.
Finally, of course, I love that Castle’s a writer. Every episode contains a line or two about constructing a plot, about making a story believable, about throwing in a twist. There’s a lot of “if I were writing this…” and quite a few instances of truth being stranger than (or just as complicated as) fiction. While I don’t write crime fiction (or read much of it, except Agatha Christie), I appreciate the nods to Castle’s chosen profession, which is also mine.
Are you a fan of Castle (or other crime shows)?