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‘Castle’s characters strong

February 27, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA, For The Leader-Herald

Herman got me interested in a show called "Castle" that airs at 10 p.m Mondays on ABC.

The story goes a little like this. Rick Castle, played by Nathan Fillion, is a successful mystery writer who helps New York City homicide detectives with their cases under the guise of research for his writing. He is paired up with Detective Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic, and their relationship forms the ongoing sub-plot with romantic overtones, which is something I talked to you guys about last week with lawyer-based TV shows and their romantic sub-plots.

Adding to the complications is the fact that Beckett winds up forming the source of the character, Nikki Heat, which Castle supposedly is writing with great success as kind of a play within a play.

Herman tells me he has actually read two Nikki Heat murder mysteries (which I don't care for, by the way) which is a further convoluted spin-off, because the actual author of the published Nikki Heat mysteries titled "Heat Wave" and "Naked Heat" is never revealed and the books are published as if an actual Rick Castle wrote them.

Confused yet?

But back to the TV show. I have to say my interest in the show isn't in the action, mystery aspect of it at all, but rather what I like are Castle's relationships with Beckett, his mother and his daughter. The relationships all reveal a full, three-dimensional character, not just a cardboard writer/cop.

Castle's TV mother, Susan Sullivan, has been a successful soap opera and sit-com star in the past. Herman and I remember her for her role on Dharma and Greg from a few years back. Castle's daughter and mother are actually two of the show's most interesting characters and often figure prominently in the sub-plots.

According to Wikipedia:

"Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, Castle's teenage daughter, is often portrayed as sassy, and more mature and responsible than her father. She is very bright and enjoys school. Her social and interpersonal issues often parallel some aspect of the case Castle and Beckett are investigating, and Castle sometimes asks her opinion on a killer's motivation.

"Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers is an actress on and off Broadway, and lives with him and Alexis. She helps her son through the difficulties of raising a teenage girl (even one as mature as Alexis) but also has an active social life of her own.

"She lives with Castle partly because a previous husband absconded with all her savings."

The point of the show that I like is the characters are fully realized and not just cardboard cutouts for the action and mystery. I would not watch a show that was mainly about action and mystery.

Herman tells me Fillion starred in a science-fiction series called "Firefly" that he thought was great, although science-fiction is another genre I can do without.

I just happened to catch Fillion on the "Late Show with David Letterman" where he said it was actually his third time on the show, to Letterman's amazement. That's because the first two times, Fillion stated, he had been in the audience as a fan of the show. Fillion certainly doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, even though he is very successful with show. But that's a great attitude to have in the entertainment business because, as they say, you're only as good as your last job.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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