Will they or won't they are the first questions that come to mind when thinking about ABC's crime drama "Castle" and the potential relationship between writer Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion) and detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). But, as creator/Executive Producer Andrew W. Marlowe told our Jim Halterman last week, he's not fearful of finally taking the leap and having the characters come together. That said, since past television series like 'Moonlighting' have crashed and burned after the leads coupled, would he see that moment as a 'jumping the shark?'
Marlowe may have kept mum during out chat about when that coupling might happen but he did say the twosome may already be in a relationship of sorts. He also made sure to tease what's to come with the various supporting characters and that there will also be plenty of 'shipper' moments in tonight's "Cops & Robbers" episode for those fans who tune in just as much for the romantic banter as the twists and turns in each week's case.
Jim Halterman: You were tweeting with fans recently about 'jumping the shark' so it made me wonder if you think finally getting Castle and Beckett together would be 'jumping the shark.'
Andrew W. Marlowe: No, I don't see it that way. Part of it is me having fun with the fans and some elements and some upcoming storytelling that I'm going to be coy about because I don't want to give away. Everybody talked about jumping the shark and I got curious and went back and looked at the 'Happy Days' materials and they ran for a really long time after they jumped the shark and that was very curious to me. We all accept by our popular definition that jumping the shark means that the series is basically over and it's a downward spiral but you can't spiral downward for six or seven years and still have folks responding to you.
It was my fun way of keeping communication with the fans and what exactly I mean by what people see down the line. I wasn't speaking specifically about the Beckett/Castle relationship but I also wasn't not speaking about that because, as I have said on record a number of times before, I think that we have a lot of storytelling after they're together as a couple. I've also said to people that 'Look, I already think they're in a relationship but it's a much more complicated relationship than we're used to seeing.' It's not as simple as 'We're together now and everything's great with the world.' We all know that relationships, when you're in them, are complicated and they don't always present what they actually are.
JH: We saw Beckett in therapy recently trying to confront some of her issues. Will we see more of that in the future?
AWM: She's going to keep acknowledging those issues as we move forward. One of the things about the show is that for the most part since the beginning we've accessed all the storytelling through Castle's point of view. Beckett has been a mystery to him and he's peeled back her layers as time has gone by but I felt very strongly at the beginning of the season that it was time to start opening her up if not to Castle then a little bit to the audience. I think when she plays coy with him and she has a bit of the Mona Lisa smile or puts up her walls, there's a lot that the audience can read into it. In order to guide the audience in terms of what she's thinking about and what she's struggling with, I felt that having that access into her was going to be very important for them to understand what we were doing with the storytelling this year and why she's not fully committing to him and why she's dealing with these impediments that are getting in the way of having the relationship she wants to. We'll see that a couple more times this season. We have an episode coming up soon where there's a sniper loose in the city on a spree kill and in that she's going to have to confront some post-traumatic stress issues so we'll be using it for that as well.
JH: Kristin Lehman was so much fun on the show recently and we saw a lot of what you're talking about with Beckett's reaction at Castle's infatuation. Will we be seeing more of Lehman?
AWM: She's a great character and she's a great actor. The character she was playing was a lot of fun and I've been a fan of Kristin's for awhile and of the work she was doing on 'The Killing' but wanted to see a different color and flavor to her, which I thought we were able to bring out. As I'm sure loyal viewers know, I'm a big fan of strong, smart, opinionated, sexy women and to have Castle be with somebody... because we've had him be with women who he can kind of charm and are kinda twinkies and one of the things that attracts him to Beckett is her intelligent and strength. To be able to bring somebody in who is intelligent and strong in a different way was a lot of fun and was going to threaten Beckett in a way the other women no longer threaten her. She knows he'll be momentarily infatuated like a dog seeing a squirrel but there's no lasting value. But when you come in with someone who is smart and has an element of sophistication and can play with the boys and go toe-to-toe with Castle, that's when she starts to feel threatened. It was fun to play with her recognition of it because we've always had to play that recognition closed. You know, the look on her face, but now we can talk about it much more openly which I thought brought a real more fun element to the episode.
JH: Are we going to see more girl-talk scenes with Beckett and Lanie (Tamala Jones), especially now that Lanie is having her own relationship with Esposito (Jon Huertas)?
AWM: We're working towards that. One of the challenges that we've always found since we're not a show like 'Desperate Housewives' or 'Greys' [and] we're not built on a soap engine is that we always have to find a way to do those scenes in a way that furthers our case because we are a close-ended ticking clock to find a murderer show. So it's always been a bit of a challenge for us even when we're dealing with Castle's home life to stop our particular storytelling to have a moment of people connecting. We've always had to figure out a way to do it where it launches the case, then we go to the personal, then we come back to case. There will be some of those elements coming when we deal with what it means for Esposito and Lanie to have broken up yet have to see each other at work.
JH: Ryan (Seamus Dever) is also set to get married this season. Will we see some bumps in the road on that journey?
AWM: I wouldn't say bumps in the road but anytime a man is involved in planning a wedding for a number of reasons they can be particularly challenged by it. I think we're going to go with the situation honestly. We're not going to try to mine inappropriate conflict and tension there. It's all going to be the real stuff.
JH: Penny Johnson Gerald is new to the cast and thus far we don't know too much about her but I wonder if she has a piece of the Beckett back story in the same way the dearly departed Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) had.
AWM: That's not anything that I'm willing to share right now. I think Penny has been a great addition. Right now we are playing her through the eyes of our guys but we will over the course of the season continue to open her up and I think she holds some surprises for our viewers.
JH: I feel like early in the series that's what you did with Montgomery, who we got to know over time.
AWM: We like to get to know people in a natural way. I think when a new boss comes into a new organization they're not willing to share because it threatens their authority. Since Castle and Beckett are the ones that we're going through the story with and Castle is trying to prove his worth again in the precinct, we as storytellers have chosen to take a slightly more narrow focus of that just so we can see it through the Beckett/Castle point of view. But as we go along and as we get to know each other - like in life - we will see some interesting moments come out. We're gratified that people want to know more about her but I think people want to enjoy the unfolding of the character and the character mysteries as opposed to having all the details put out there for the folks.
JH: Let's talk about Molly Quinn, who is so great on the show. I've always expected that eventually she would become a junior detective just to get her in the show more but you haven't done that.
AWM: We want to deal with the character authentically. I think there's a TV convention in terms of turning someone into a junior detective but I'd love to see Alexis have an opportunity to get more involved in some of the 'A' stories going forward but it's finding an organic way where it doesn't feel like we're being fraudulent to the storytelling and just doing it for our convenience. But as you've seen we've challenged the character a little bit this year and opening her up emotionally. She's a little bit reflective of the Castle character in that they're both, in a sense, growing up together. I think she's being challenged as well in dealing with a long-distance relationship in an honest way and dealing with a character who isn't getting the things that she necessarily wants in life and learning how to live with disappointment. One of the challenges when you have a show that has a tremendous ensemble that is led by two strong characters that are always going to be carrying the majority of the storytelling is that you don't have the time to open those people up and the challenges in a procedural you need to open them up through the main cases that you're dealing with. That's an on-going challenge for us and hopefully we've been able to tackle it well and authentically.
JH: Will we be seeing more pieces to Beckett's mother's murder? Those are always great episodes.
AWM: One of the things we've loved about the show is that we can do really serious one week and then do 'Death On A Soap Opera' the next week. That's part of the fun of the show. We will touch on it at moments this year but most likely not at the level we did last year because we have other things that we're interested in and every time we touch on it now we know it's going to resonate in the Beckett/Castle relationship because of the impediments of their relationship. We're being a little cautious of that but it will show up this season and hopefully bring unexpected surprises.
JH: Will we ever find out about Castle's father?
AWM: It's established that he doesn't know his Dad. There was an episode where Alexis was filling out a genealogy chart and asked him about it and he said he sorta doesn't want to know because right now his Dad could be anything - an astronaut or a spy or an adventurer or the inventor of chocolate. Not knowing to him has been a virtue but we may change that up this season. It feels like it's about time to open the door up to that.
JH: What can you tease about the next episode, "Cops and Robbers?"
AWM: It really is a tremendous episode. In a season that's 23 or 24 episodes long you'll always have some that are great, some that aren't as good as you want them to be and some that are just tremendous. This is a tremendous episode. Just playing the stakes of Castle and Martha (Susan Sullivan) going to a bank to get a loan for her acting company and, in the midst of it, there's a bank takeover and Castle and Martha end up being on the inside and Beckett is on the outside and ends up in a position where she has to negotiate for their safety. It's really tense, there's also a lot of fun and some great character moments and even though Castle and Beckett are separated the two of them end up working together. It's really a nice piece of storytelling because in conventional Castle fashion, it's not straight forward and there's always more to the story than we're thinking. I encourage people to tune in to watch it and they'll find some great shipper moments but there's also some really great tension, great acting on it... Dean Norris from 'Breaking Bad' plays the hostage negotiator that Beckett's dealing with and the cast does a phenomenal job.
"Castle" airs Mondays at 10:00/9:00c on ABC.