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Castle: Flowers For Your Grave

“I’m here for the story.”

It’s been done over and over again -- the procedural show in which two opposite personalities are paired together to solve the crime of the week. What makes this show different from the ones that have come before is that while our two protagonists are opposite, they are also a lot alike.

The opening act cuts between the two of them. On the one hand we have best-selling author Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion). We are introduced to him over the Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up” in which he seems to be on top of the world. Rich, famous, about to publish yet another bestseller that will make him even more rich and famous. Yet, all is not right in Castle’s world. He is so bored with writing that he has killed off his most famous character, Derrick Storm, in this recent book. As a result, he is suffering from severe writer’s block. He also seems to only be able to relate to women on an almost adolescent level, flirty but hardly taking them seriously.

Which is interesting, because Castle’s world is dominated by women. His publisher, Gina (Monet Mazur), is also his ex-wife who threatens him with legal action if he doesn’t start writing. His mother, Martha (Susan Sullivan), is a mad, self-involved, drunk actress who has just moved in with him and is getting herself too involved in his life. His daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn), seems to be the voice of reason and maturity in the family. “An old soul,” she studies at a party and refuses a drink when her father hands a glass of champagne to her. Later, we see them interacting in their apartment and it is obvious that they have a loving, mutually respectful relationship.

On the other hand, we have NYPD detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). She is serious, bordering on humourless, but is exceptionally good at her job. Through Beckett, we meet her colleagues. Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) assist her with the case. Although she outranks them, she obviously has a friendly, easygoing relationship with them. Her boss is Captain Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), a man she respects and admires. Rounding out this group is Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones), the medical examiner and Beckett’s friend. Through them, we learn that Beckett’s whole world is her job and that she doesn’t get out much.

These two worlds collide when a serial killer starts staging murders as written by Castle. Beckett, a fan of Castle’s books, recognizes what is going on and brings Castle in for questioning. Here we see their first interaction, and it is more insight into their personalities. Castle is glib and flirtatious, treating the encounter almost as if it is a first date. He keeps trying to charm Beckett who, one gets the feeling, is the only woman in New York immune to his “bad boy charm.” Beckett is, in fact, rather put off by him.

But, right from the beginning, we can see that they are evenly matched. The dialogue is quick, almost staccato. For every zing that Castle sends across the table, Beckett lobs it back, absolutely refusing to play his game. Even this early in the game, they are finishing each other’s sentences. The end of this encounter is more insight -- Beckett says that they’re done and means it; Castle believes that she is looking for his help. He can’t imagine anyone being immune to his charms.

Much to Beckett’s disgust, Castle turns up the next day and Montgomery basically orders her to work with him. Beckett, understandably, is skeptical about why Castle is helping with the case and wonders if it simply to annoy her (maybe not so immune after all). Castle is a man who needs to know what the story is and believes that there will always be a story. As Beckett smirks at his naiveté, Castle proceeds to tell Beckett the story of her life. He nails it. Underneath all that silly behaviour is an observant and empathetic human being. This insight is reinforced when Castle sees that Beckett, an obviously private person, is upset by his insights and he shuts up, the first time we see him behave in any kind of mature fashion.

As the case proceeds, Castle keeps pushing himself into Beckett’s world. He is convinced that the story doesn’t make sense, and in spite of herself, Beckett can’t help but agree. There is an excellent montage where both Castle and Beckett are talking through the case, but not with each other. They arrive at the same conclusion and the search for the killer is on. This montage was a great set-up for the future, as bouncing ideas and finishing each other’s sentences will quickly become a staple of the show. They come together at the end, arrest the right man and Castle gets his story.

What makes this partnership so great, even from the beginning, is that neither of them is one thing or the other. Both are very smart, each coming up with a part of the solution to the murder. Both can handle the physical parts of the job. Beckett is a badass with a gun, but Castle has no fear in chasing after the suspect armed only with his shoe – disarming him with a well-timed blow to the nose. They also have an immediate effect on each other. Castle’s writer’s block has gone and Beckett breaks out of her shell to flirt with him at the end.

The show managed a lot for a pilot. It set up the basic premise; it introduced the characters well; and, it told a good story. Not great, but good enough that I cared about these characters and came back for more.

Three out of four apples, apples, apples.


-- Beckett is not wearing gloves at the suspect’s house. Even I know that would never happen.

-- Castle obviously has an easy time with people. He and Esposito appear to bond instantly and even Lanie is impressed when she meets him.

-- Martha was in ‘Mousetrap’ for a year and still doesn’t know what it was about. She’s not the only one.

-- The inscription in the book that Castle gives Beckett: ‘Kate. I cannot think of a better partner or woman. Richard Castle’.


Lanie: “Who says romance is dead?”
Beckett: “I do. Every Saturday night.”
Lanie: “A little lipstick wouldn’t hurt. I’m just sayin’.”

Castle: “Just once, I’d like someone to come up to me and say something new.”
Beckett: “Mr. Castle?”
Castle, turning around pen in hand: “Where would you like it?”
Beckett: “Detective Kate Beckett, NYPD. We need to ask you a few questions about a murder that took place earlier tonight.”
Alexis: “That’s new!”

Esposito: “A control freak like you with something you can’t control? No, no. That’s gonna be more fun than Shark Week.”

Beckett: “This isn’t one of your books, Castle. Out here, we find a guy standing over a body with a gun, he’s usually the guy who did it.” [See Billie’s Rule Number 2]

Alexis: “If I have to keep bailing you out, you’re gonna need to raise my allowance.”
Martha: “Mine, too.”

Castle: “Tell me you saw that! You’re going to put that in your report, right?”

Beckett: “What the hell were you thinking? You could have gotten yourself killed!”
Castle: “Well, the safety was on the whole time.”
Beckett: “You know, you could have told me.”
Castle: “Where’s the fun in that?”

Castle: “It would have been great.”
Beckett: “You have no idea.”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


  1. lol! I didn't recognise the title and I was like "new episode?!?!?! HUH???"

    Great review! It's fun to re-live the pilot! I was sold on this show from episode 1, and am still head over heels with it! :o)

  2. This is a terrific review, ChrisB. You brought back the entire episode for me while I was reading it. What a great start to Castle retro reviews.

  3. Great review of a terrific pilot. At the time I assumed the show wouldn't last long..So glad I was wrong.

  4. About Beckett being (somewhat) immune to Castle's charm... I got the impression that she had a crush on this good-looking celebrity, to the point where she signed up to be part of his internet fan club. She probably built up this image of him in her mind, so she would be angry/disappointed she does finally meet him, and he starts behaving that way. And that once she gets over her idealized version of the writer Castle, she discovers the positive qualities of the flawed real person.

  5. Mark,
    I think Beckett's being reactionary with Castle -- it's one thing to have a private crush-from-afar on a celebrity, but quite another thing for them to show up at your work (that you take very seriously) and start acting like you're supposed to have a crush on them. She doesn't like being manipulated, and she becomes more charmed when he's being real rather than being deliberately charming.

  6. Great review.

    Liked finding out what Castle wrote as an inscription on the book he gave Beckett as I really didn't pay attention to what was written anytime I watch the episode. :)

    One of my favorite parts of this episode is when Castle explains to Beckett that Jonathan Tisdale is dying and then suddenly breaks off when he sees the hot dogs and she literally tweaks his nose to get him to answer her question.

    As we know, as the series progresses she will continue to tweak Castle's nose figuratively as much as Castle tries to annoy her. :)

  7. Chris, meant to ask you, how did you catch the inscription on the copy of Storm Fall that Castle gives to Beckett? I set my DVD on pause and went really slowly and I still couldn't read all of it. :D
    Nice catch in any case.

  8. Matthew -- I just paused the tape and read it. Agree that it's not the clearest in the world.

    By the way, I've been meaning to tell you how much I liked your nose tweak metaphor. Wish I'd thought of it! :-)

  9. Thanks Chris. It is an appropriate metaphor for their relationship, he annoys her, she tweaks his nose in response. :)

    The only part I could make out was Richard Castle as the signature, Kate at the beginning, and the word woman, maybe some individual letters. :D

  10. It looks like about of the third of this episode was re-shot, probably after ABC green lit the series. The precinct looks different in some scenes, in particular when Ryan is missing and another different gentleman seems to be partnered with Esposito. Is there a story behind Dever being cast after the pilot/before the series?

  11. Mark -- good catch! Your comment rang a bell, so I re-watched the commentary for episode one this morning. The show was originally shot in New York, but it was shot as a presentation so it was short. When it got picked up for series, the producers had to fill it out in LA. As a result, some of the rooms are different and (I loved this!), they had to use three separate women to play the part of the victim.

    They also mention in the commentary that Dever was not brought in until they went to series, but no reasons are given as to why.

    As many times as I have watched this pilot, it wasn't until today that I realised that Castle is wearing a brown coat during a lot of it. Should we count this as our first Firefly reference? :-)


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