I have long been a fan of mysteries, although I tend to avoid the big franchise mystery shows. Instead, I’ve gotten hooked on Castle, the quirkly little show that is part procedural and part comedy. Yes, that’s right, a comedy mystery.
If you aren’t familiar with the premise, Richard Castle, as played by Nathan Fillion, is a best selling mystery author. He has teamed up with NYPD homicide inspector Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) to solve crimes. Officially, he’s there because he is basing his new series of novels on Beckett. Unofficially, there is unresolved sexual tension, and they are coming closer to admitting that, at least to themselves. Hey, it’s season four after all.
Castle and Beckett have fun trading barbs and banter as they solve the case, and the cases are often outlandish, making this sometimes more funny than mystery. Other weeks get very serious, especially if we are dealing with the still unsolved murder of Beckett’s mom.
If you aren’t familiar with the show, I highly recommend you head back and catch up starting with season one. It’s a hoot, and you’ll love it.
This week was certainly on the lighter side as we deal with the murder of a dog show judge who was strangled with a leash after a competition. And the prime suspect appears to be Kay Cappuccio, a reality show star who is famous because she is famous.
Warning, I do spoil the ending after the jump.
We are hardly into the episode before the rumors are flying that the victim was into fixing the dog shows or in debt to the mob. But then we learn that Kay was in his dressing room during the time of murder window. And the victim was concerned about a bug in his apartment, a bug that is on Kay’s dog’s collar.
That bug leads back to a paparazzi photographer who swears he just found the stream and took advantage of that to sell some photos, but he doesn’t know how it got there.
Eventually, we learn that our victim was helping train drug sniffing dogs for the government, and he had come to the attention of drug runners in South America – drug runners with connections to Kay.
Now the one thing I will fault this show on is the killer. Every week, it’s someone we’ve seen maybe once or twice, but not someone we’ve actually interrogated at some point. They are so focused on having a twist that they’ve become formulaic. Not formulaic enough that I can guess which of the characters with hardly any screen time are the killer, but enough that we can pretty much dismiss anyone we’ve seen them focus on right away. I wish they’d mix things up some just to keep us guessing.
For example, this week the killer turned out to be Kay’s boyfriend/manager. Yes, there are logical reasons for him to be the killer (the real connection to the drug runners, for starters). All the pieces fit. And he’d been there for several scenes this time instead of just one or two. But we’d never looked at him as a suspect until the end.
Looking for the humor in all this? It comes from the victim’s dog. Early in the episode, we get Star Trek: Deep Space 9’s Nana Visitor as a dog psychiatrist who tries to get some clues from him. That alone is a riot. Then Castle and Beckett argue over who should watch him over night. They decide to share the dog, leading to a playful fight that makes them sound like a divorced couple fighting over the kids and then a hand holding scene where the sparks fly. In the end, the dog goes to live with Kay, but it’s a fun diversion.
In addition to Nana Visitor, there were another couple guest stars I recognized last night. Justin Hartley, Green Arrow on Smallville, played the killer. But the biggest surprise to me was Hilarie Burton as Kay Cappuccio. I’m very familiar with her work on White Collar this season, but if I hadn’t known it was her, I never would have guessed. Her look was different enough, and her mannerisms were quite different. I was very impressed.
In the end, I wouldn’t call this the best episode of the season, but it was fun, and that’s mainly what I look for from this show.
Next week is a rerun of the sixth episode of the season, “Demons.” It involves a ghost hunter killed in a haunted house. Castle immediately thinks it is a ghost, but Beckett is sticking with a human killer. Who’s right? If you’ve missed it, you’ll definitely want to tune in to find out because it’s a fun one.