Question: Any further word on Castle‘s Season 8 premiere? —Ben
Ausiello: I can confirm that it will be a two-parter, the first of which will be titled “XY” and penned by co-showrunners Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley.
Is it too early for Castle scoop? — Heather
A wee bit, though new co-showrunner Alexi Hawley promises we’re in for a change in the new season. “We just want to get in there and try to tell some really dynamic stories,” he says. “Going into season 8, it feels like it’s time to shake things up a little bit.”
With its future still up in the air, ABC’s Castle seems to be tying up as many loose ends as possible.
In a season that has already wrapped up the long-running 3XK serial killer mystery and finally saw Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) to tie the knot, there’s just one little plot thread dangling: What the heck happened to Castle when he went missing for two months? That question will be answered in Monday’s episode (10/9c, ABC).
“We always knew that the missing time was not going to stay a mystery for the entire season,” executive producer David Amann tells TVGuide.com. “We felt like we owed the audience more than just a tease on what happened in that missing time, and we feel like we deliver a fairly coherent and complete accounting of what happened. There are some outstanding questions that remain at the end of all this, but the primary question of where he was and what he was involved with are largely answered by the end of the episode.”
When Castle begins having strange recurring dreams, he visits Beckett’s therapist Dr. Burke (guest star Michael Dorn) to try to piece together the dreams’ meaning. But even when he begins to suspect they are connected to his “missing time,” Castle puts on the brakes. “Initially, his reaction is one of not really wanting to deal with it,” Amann says. “His life with Beckett and things in his professional life … are all going pretty smoothly, so he actually doesn’t really welcome this intrusion. But as he starts looking into it, he really feels like he has no choice but to move forward and try to find answers. … And Beckett tries to help him understand what’s going on.”
Although Amann would neither confirm nor deny if viewers would once again see Matt Letscher’s “Henry Jenkins,” the man who seemed to hold all the answers earlier this season, he did suggest that these major revelations won’t prove devastating to the Castle-Beckett relationship. “It’s very much reaffirming the strength of the relationship — his commitment to her, her commitment to him,” he says. “It confirms that the events of those two months were largely out of his control.”
Regardless of whether “Henry Jenkins” shows up Monday, the show’s season finale will perhaps address that character’s reference to Hollander’s Woods, which just so happens to be the finale’s title, and what that means to Castle. “We get some answers as to why Castle became a mystery writer,” says creator and executive producer Andrew W. Marlowe, who co-wrote the finale. “It centers on an event that happened to him when he was 11 years old. We get to go way back into Castle’s backstory in a case that has eerie similarities to something he dealt with when he was a kid. So, it opens up some old wounds and leads to a bit of an obsession as he starts exploring some of the issues surrounding the case.”
Marlowe, who this season handed over showrunning duties to Amann, admits writing this finale was extra tough because of the uncertainty surrounding the show’s future. Although Fillion has signed on for an eighth season, the show still has yet to be officially renewed, as the other actors continue to negotiate new contracts.
“Writing a season finale, not knowing if the show is coming back, is always a challenge,” Marlowe says. “[We] were looking for something where we could craft a story that if for some reason it ended up being the last Castle, we have some sense of conclusion. But the show also opens up a lot of avenues of storytelling with some of the dilemmas within the character as we head out of the season.”
One of those dilemmas will perhaps involve Beckett, who in recent episodes has been preparing to take the captain’s exam and considering her professional future, as well as the possibility of having a family with Castle. But those issues will come to a head in the finale when Beckett wrestles with “some very interesting choices as far as her career is concerned,” Marlowe says. “It’s more complicated than just issues within the NYPD.”
Although Amann and Marlowe are optimistic (“We’re very hopeful that we’ll be coming back … as the show that everybody knows and loves,” Marlowe says), both men are also pleased with how much story they’ve managed to wrap up this season. However, Marlowe remains emphatic that the Season 7 finale isn’t the end of the story as far as he’s concerned.
“We think we’ve achieved what we set out to do this season, but I think we all feel like there’s a lot of great storytelling ahead of us if the story gods allow it,” Marlowe says. “I wouldn’t call [the finale] a traditional cliff-hanger, but there are very specific unresolved issues about our characters that will allow us a fascinating springboard into a next season. We have more important stuff to get to if we’re allowed to get there. If we don’t, I think the characters have arrived at a really interesting point.”
Carly Rae Jepsen is heading back to SNL… again… sort of. The “Call Me Maybe” singer is slated to appear as herself on the Saturday Night Live-themed episode of Castle, “Dead From New York,” EW has learned exclusively.
Here’s the situation: When Sid Ross, the powerful creator of a long-running sketch comedy show, is killed, Castle and Beckett are called to investigate. But as they delve into the victim’s life and the colorful world of Saturday Night Tonight, they uncover a shocking secret that may explain Sid’s murder.
Fresh off her real-life appearance on Saturday Night Live, Jepsen will appear as a musical guest on Castle’s late-night comedy sketch show. And yes, she will be singing her new hit song “I Really Like You” in addition to having some lines.
The episode, which also features Jaleel White as the star of Saturday Night Tonight, will be the 22nd of the season. Castle returns Monday, April 20 with episode 20.
This Monday on Castle (ABC, 10/9c), Detective Kevin Ryan’s latest bid to bolster daughter Sarah Grace’s college fund with a second job takes a tragic twist, when an assassination attempt on a congressman he is guarding claims a victim.
TVLine invited Seamus Dever to preview Ryan’s predicament as well as an upcoming episode that will (finally!) revisit Rick’s vanishing. Plus: How is that Season 8 renewal looking?
TVLINE | It sounds like things go pretty sideways with Ryan’s latest moonlighting gig.
Yeah, things go a bit pear-shaped. [Laughs] Shots ring out, and Ryan is left to piece together what really happened and who is behind it, who is the false culprit and who is the real culprit. As you know on Castle, we go through three or four different possibilities.
TVLINE | When you say that Ryan has to piece it together, do you mean almost in real-time, there on the scene?
Sorta, yeah. We did this crazy thing that we almost never do on Castle — it seems simple, but flashbacks. I think we’ve only done one episode that deals with flashbacks — “47 Seconds,” in Season 4? Regardless, it’s been a while, so it was a bit of a departure for us. People might be wondering what the hell show they’re watching. But hopefully they go, “Oh yeah, I kinda like this Kevin Ryan.” Bill Roe, who’s now our longtime director but was our original director of photography, shot a really cool episode. The flashbacks are handled in way that has some nice style to it.
TVLINE | Why on earth, as seen in promos, are cops pointing their guns at poor Kevin?
[Sigh] Because we like to mislead the audience into thinking that Ryan is going to be arrested. [Laughs] He is not a person of interest, he is merely caught in a circumstance where he is waving a gun around a crowded ballroom — which maybe he shouldn’t have done! So, yeah. It’s simply a case of mistaken identity. But hopefully it gets people to tune in, to find out, “What’s wrong with Kevin Ryan?!”
TVLINE | We’re meeting one of Ryan’s sisters, Gwen (played by Awkward‘s Heather Mazur), and her husband Frank (Ghost Whisperer‘s David Conrad) in this episode. How would you describe his relationship with each of them?
It’s his older sister, so that certainly spoke to me, having an older sister in my life. There’s a love there, but there’s a lot of arguing that has to happen to get to that love — and that certainly was the case for Ryan and his sister, when things start to point towards his family. It becomes one of those things where loyalties are questioned. Heather Mazur is a wonderful actress SEAMUS DEVER, DAVID CONRAD who I met at Carnegie Melon, so I’ve known her for, I dunno, 18 years now? And David Conrad I’ve known for eight years now, because I guested on Ghost Whisperer. I’ve always looked up to David as an actor, so it all just fit like a glove — he was in town for pilot season, he was available, and he’s someone that my character is supposed to look up to as well. We got to take a lot of the acting out of it, which was very cool.
TVLINE | So Kevin and Frank get on OK? There’s a bit of a bromance there?
Perhaps a little bit, yeah. The way we played it was Frank was a former cop and he shows Kevin that [private security] is a way out of having your wife nervous about your safety on a daily basis, yet still getting to use the skills you have — and probably for more money. So yeah, he looks up to Frank like, “This could be my future.” Frank even offers him a job, so Ryan’s left to decide, “Am I going to be a cop the rest of my life or not?”
TVLINE | Do we learn anything new about Kevin this episode?
We’re going to learn something about his personality, certainly in the relationship with the brother-in-law and what it’s like when Ryan feels betrayed. There’s certainly that element, and we’ve never had that with Ryan. And we’re going to learn about his family a bit. He’s talked about having two sisters for years — I think we mentioned it in the Season 2 Alyssa Milano episode? — and yet we’ve never met them, not even at his wedding!
TVLINE | We’re heading into the home stretch of Season 7. Any other upcoming episodes to tease?
There is, of course, the one that everyone has been hanging on, waiting for, since the beginning of this season — “What happened to Castle? Where did he go for those three months?” That’s going to be exciting to get back into [in Episode 20], because what’s cool about that is Espo has always been in the camp of “I don’t believe his story,” while Ryan always been [more open-minded]. It’s fun to play that balance of, “Oh my God, is he lying? Is it the truth? How could he do this to us?” Or believing him.
TVLINE | Does that episode revisit the mystery significantly, or merely brush up against it in the course of something else?
Oh no, it gets into it significantly. And as all Castle episodes do, it offers a little bit of finality and then leaves the door open for what’s next. We were just doing [DVD] commentary for Episode 1, and David [Amann] was in the middle of writing 20, so it was hilarious because we were talking about where the mythology was going, knowing that the audience won’t hear this commentary until September. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Lastly, what’s the confidence level over there as far as Season 8?
Well, you know, our numbers are strong, though we’ve always had the older demo. We’ve never had the sexy 18-34 demo. I look at shows like Empire and I’m like, “Oh my God, is that even possible nowadays?!” It’s just amazing. So I’m very happy for all my friends that work over there, but we’ve never had that crazy, sexy demo. I think we’re hovering at like a 1.6, 1.7 [in the 18-49 demo]… 1.5 the other day… but we’ve always had strong overall numbers. So as far I’ve heard, there’s no indication that we’re going to go anywhere; it’s just a matter of getting everybody at the table and finding out. [Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, as well as other original cast members, have yet to sign new contracts.] Nobody’s talked to me about [re-signing for] Season 8, so that’s where I’m standing. And I’d like some answers, because my mother-in-law is very concerned that I’m going to have to get a teaching job. [Laughs] It’d be nice to get some answers soon.