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Castle’s Canadian Connection

PENNY JOHNSON JERALD, SEAMUS DEVER, TAMALA JONES, JON HUERTAS, STANA KATIC, NATHAN FILLION, MOLLY QUINN, SUSAN SULLIVAN

The cast of ABC’s CASTLE: PENNY JOHNSON JERALD, SEAMUS DEVER, TAMALA JONES, JON HUERTAS, STANA KATIC, NATHAN FILLION, MOLLY QUINN, SUSAN SULLIVAN. Photo courtesy of ABC.

When viewers first met Richard Castle, the famous mystery novelist on ABC’s Castle, he was creatively blocked. Then, in an interesting twist that prevents the show from becoming another “tortured writer” tale, it was revealed that a series of murders had been taking place in New York city staged to imitate the crime scenes from his books. In a life-is-stranger than fiction moment, Castle began to find inspiration for new work in NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, a bright and aggressive homicide detective. They continued to investigate strange homicides in New York — combining Castle’s writer intuition and Beckett’s  detective work — and, despite tumultuous separate personal lives, a palpable romantic tension grew between the pair. Last season, Castle and Beckett finally gave into their feelings towards each other, culminating with a yet-unanswered proposal from Castle in the Season 5 finale.

Castle is arguably one of the most clever and compelling shows on television. About to begin its sixth season, the writer-and-detective pairing that anchors this show is one that continues to allow for unique story lines and interesting situations as the show engages the psychology and creativity of a crime writer and the savvy and insight of a detective. The “meta” constructs of the show — the books Castle writes on the show are real books available to purchase and read — effectively engage the popular trend of collaborative, cross-media narratives. Likewise, actor Nathan Fillion, who portrays the character of Richard Castle, poses as Castle in instances where fiction transcends reality and “Castle” appears at book signings or launches. It’s a clever concept and, having anchored an impressive six seasons, it is proving to be a winning formula. On top of that, Castle is a genre-defying show: part drama, part comedy, part crime drama, part romance, Castle has a good balance of episodic action and continuing, engaging story lines that prevent the show from become repetitive — to some degree, it’s reminiscent of the suspense-action-comedy-romance formula of Desperate Housewives, in which Nathan Fillion also appeared for half a season.

It’s exciting to note that Castle’s lead stars, Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle and Stana Katic as NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, are both Canadian.

Fillion calls Edmonton, AB his home town, where he lived and studied at the University of Alberta (and, much like his Monster’s University character, belonged to a fraternity — though colleagues attest he was likely to be entertaining rather than scaring) before pursuing acting in New York and Los Angeles. Acting was, evidently, always very much a part of Nathan’s life as he routinely performed at the popular annual Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival and performed with local improv comedy troupe Rapid Fire Theatre. Rapid Fire Theatre still performs in Edmonton (without Fillion, though he’s been known to make an appearance) with regular shows on Friday and Saturday nights at the Citadel Theatre.

Stana Katic hails from Hamilton, ON and studied at the University of Toronto; though she currently resides in Los Angeles, she maintains dual Canadian-American citizenship. (Her hometown, coincidentally, is one of WHERE’s top picks for spots to see the “Best Fall Colours” near Toronto, ON).

Fans of the show are likely most eagerly anticipating Beckett’s answer — and the subsequent progression of their relationship — to the proposal when season six begins on September 22. New viewers don’t need prior knowledge of the show to enjoy it; the compelling, episodic plots will pull you in and Fillion and Katic are convincing and captivating in their roles. While new fall shows are trying out “what works,” Castle‘s already strikes a good balance between presenting fresh storylines and finding ways to incorporate familiar but compelling themes (human psychology, work-versus-loves, death). “What makes a good TV show?” is one mystery that Castle doesn’t need to solve.

The new season of CASTLE premieres in Canada on Sunday, September 22 at 7 pm ET/PT on CTV, before moving to its regular Sunday 9 pm ET/PT time slot, beginning September 29 on CTV.

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