Getting a Read On the Case

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Castle," Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC

Basic story: Sparks fly when smart-aleck novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) meets no-nonsense New York police detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). She's trying to solve copycat murders based on his books. He offers some insights that help solve the case -- and then uses his substantial connections to become her unofficial partner as he researches his next series of novels. Although he annoys her endlessly, their different perspectives make them a good team. Also part of Castle's life are his mother (Susan Sullivan), an actress with a magnified sense of her success, and his teen daughter (Molly C. Quinn), who appears to be the most mature member of the family.

What it faces: "Castle" is up against "Medium" on NBC and "CSI: Miami" on CBS. It should benefit from having ABC's hit "Dancing With the Stars" as its lead-in.

What you'll love: Fillion clearly relishes his roguish role and plays it well. Castle sees the crimes through a novelist's eye -- and can eloquently explain why a particular scenario isn't the solution to the case. Fillion and Katic are backed by a talented cast, including Ruben Santiago-Hudson as the police chief and Tamala Jones as the medical examiner.

What you won't: Viewers really interested in the nitty-gritty of crime-solving probably won't like that the cases are secondary to the characters. And if you think murder leaves no room for humor, this drama isn't for you.

Bottom line: Those sparks flying between Castle and Beckett just might ignite the show to become a midseason favorite.

-- Judith S. Gillies

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