Castle returned this fall with a truly stellar sixth season, continuing to improve each episode with no sign of slowing down. The hit series creator and executive producer Andrew Marlowe took some time out of his hectic schedule to chat with us here at TV Guide Canada about the show’s success.
In speaking with the creative genius, his knowledge and wisdom as a seasoned professional were striking, as was his continued excitement and passion for the show. His belief in this story and these characters is highlighted by his dedication to giving the audience something it can invest and believe in just as strongly, so it’s no wonder he has achieved exactly that.
Marlowe has found great success with Castle, but did this master of foreshadowing have any idea that the show would become a hit series? “You imagine it but it’s always a fantasy because the odds are never in your favour,” he says. While Castle certainly beat the odds, its creator remains humbled by it. “We’re grateful that we did and we’re really grateful that we found an audience.”
When asked about the key to the success, Marlowe is quick to credit his talented, Canadian leads. “I think a lot of it starts with Nathan (Fillion) and Stana (Katic). We got really lucky that we cast these two and that they have that on-screen chemistry people could invest in.” He also applauds the work of the entire Castle team, adding “I think what we’ve managed to do is present characters that people can invest in and I think we’ve been very lucky to find whatever that formula is for the magic that has allowed the audience to show up for us.”
Castle has cemented its place in the television landscape as having one of the most epic love stories in recent history. It broke the mold of “will they/won’t they” storytelling by proving that a show could sway one way without losing any of its magic. “For us, it was honouring the reality of the relationship and we felt like we couldn’t keep them apart any longer and still be honest. So for us, the greater risk would have been not getting them together.” He added, “I’m a firm believer that life can be just as interesting on the other side of committing to a relationship and that challenges, problems, fun, sparkle, none of that goes away if you’re dealing with the right people. And we felt like we were.”
Challenging the characters and progressing the story through overcoming those obstacles is something the Castle team has always been stellar at, and the opening story arc to the current season was no exception. “It presented us with an interesting and a very real dilemma, where [Beckett] had Castle’s proposal on the table and the job offer on the table. In our modern times people are trying to figure out how to negotiate having it all, how to negotiate their relationships while having careers and the stress and strains that puts on them. We felt like that was interesting territory.” He added that there was never an intention to take the show away from New York for too long. “What we wanted to do was spend some time [in D.C.] and spend some time there in a way that still felt like a Castle episode. We love our series regulars, we love what we do week to week, so we were looking for the opportunity to challenge the characters with it instead of changing the DNA of the show.”
While that opening story arc has wrapped, the ripple effect from it is far from over, especially in terms of how Alexis has responded to it. “It’s no accident that as Castle gets engaged that Alexis shows up from Costa Rica with a boy in tow. She’s looking at where her dad is in the universe and she’s making decisions. I think that she’ll come to recognize some of those decisions are in reaction of what she’s doing and trying to define her place in the universe.”
Speaking of the supporting characters, Marlowe revealed that a number of them would find themselves in the spotlight this season. “We know our bread and butter is the Castle/Beckett relationship and we always want to present some aspect of that, but we do have some episodes coming up that focus on our supporting cast that gives them opportunities to shine.” He added. “There’s some stuff that we’re doing with the Lanie character coming up this fall and some stuff between Lanie and Esposito, and then Ryan and Jenny exploring his impending fatherhood and how does that affect him, especially in the job that he does where’s he’s out there on the front lines every day.”
With this sixth season already shaping up to be the most captivating one yet, we asked the man at the helm what fans could expect before the Christmas hiatus. Marlowe revealed the inside scoop, beginning with Sunday’s upcoming instalment. “It’s an episode that’s inspired by or a nod to movies like The DaVinci Code and National Treasure where we discover that there may be a conspiracy involving hidden symbols around New York City.”
He painted a stunning picture of what fans could expect from the following episode as well: “Alexis has been involved on an innocence project type case, a death row case. Things have not gone well and it’s the 11th hour and she asks her dad to come in and help her with this at a point where their relationship is a little bit strained. It gives them the opportunity to get together and it really gives Molly Quinn an opportunity to shine in the episode. It’s an episode that really centers on her character and her relationship with Castle, and it raises some questions for Beckett in terms of how she fits into this family that’s she about to become a part of.”
Marlowe stayed mum about the season’s eighth episode, laughing as he was unable to tease it without revealing too much. “Let the audience be surprised by that one.” He did, however, reveal the scoop on the final two episodes before the Christmas hiatus. “Episode 9 is a bit of a darker case where we have the specter of a serial killer hanging over the episode. That one especially touches the Lanie and Esposito characters.” And what of the highly anticipated midseason finale written by Andrew’s uber-talented wife, Terri Miller? “It’s an interesting, fun episode in that we find a victim at the crime scene and when he was killed he had a baby with him and we’re trying to figure out whose baby it is.” He added. “There’s some fun to be had in the episode because it’s Castle and Beckett looking after the baby so it’s Castle and Beckett playing house. We get to see each of their different points of view on what parenthood would mean to them.”
As for the ongoing storyline revolving around Beckett’s mother’s murder and Senator Bracken, Marlowe revealed that they were working on revisiting that story again this season. “My intent is to get another interesting bite at that this season and we are working on an angle that I’m excited about but I usually hate to commit to things in interviews until I know that they’re ready to go.” And what of Castle’s father? “I would love to see him make a return sometime this year so that’s something that we’re actively working towards.” But bringing back Bracken and Hunt would depend on a couple of vital factors. “A lot of it depends on us having the right story and those really great actors being available at the time that they need them.”
Speaking of returning characters, I asked the Castle creator if fans could expect Jerry Tyson, also known as 3XK, to make a comeback this season too. “We shall see. I think that there will be a time during the season that we’ll certainly feel his hands in things if we don’t necessarily see him.” With that, Marlowe laughed and added, “Look, Castle shot the guy. He’s dead, right?”
After five full seasons of epic storytelling, what is the one thing that the Castle creator is most proud of? “Let me say that one of the things that I am most proud of with this show is our ability to do a wide variety of storytelling, that we can do something that’s really suspenseful or we can do something that’s really thrilling or we can do something that’s really funny, and I think that what I’m most proud of is us having that tonal range.” He also assured me that there was still a great deal of this story left to be told. “I always felt that the characters would tell me when it was time for the show to end and, thankfully, I don’t think that we’re at that point right now.”
As the interview came to a close, Marlowe shared a gracious sentiment, showing his and his Castle team’s appreciation for TV Guide Canada, the Canadian Castle audience, and all of our loyal readers from around the world. “You guys have been so great to us over the years. We really, really appreciate it. We love you guys up there and are particularly pleased with the passion that your fans have with the show.”
With a stellar cast and crew, incredible storytelling, and a leader like this at the helm of it all, is it any wonder why the Castle fans have so much passion for the show?
Castle airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV and Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
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