ABC’s long-running cop show Castle is somewhat infamous for its cliffhangers; luckily for the sake of maintaining an audience, the series does almost always payoff. The Season 7 finale saw Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) conflicted about the future of her career, considering a departure from her career in law enforcement to run for New York state senate. Season 8 will instead feature Beckett promoted to captain of the 12th precinct.

Promoting Beckett out of the bullpen where she began and into the captain’s chair is a big change and appropriate payoff to the Season 7 finale. Nevertheless, Castle had developed a sort of buddy comedy formula that worked for many seasons. Co-showrunner Terence Paul Winter is quick to assure fans that Castle will still be Castle and Beckett will still be Beckett:
She’s not an ivory-tower boss who stays in her office doing paperwork. She still gets her hands dirty.

Of course, even a Captain Beckett who ventures out into the field still means that her familiar dynamic as partner to now-husband Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is out of the question. The writer tagging along with the cop has been a stretch for several seasons now, so the switcharoo for Castle as well as Beckett should be a refreshing twist. Instead, he’ll be working with British independent investigator Hayley.

Longtime fans of Castle may be troubled by the news of a new lady in Castle’s life, but Terence Paul Winter is once again eager to discount suspicion, telling TV Insider:
The DNA of the show will always be the ongoing love story between Castle and Beckett. We still treat every episode as a romantic comedy. With murder.

Co-showrunner Alexi Hawley joins in the assurances by promising that the new character will not be used as a device to wriggle between the lovebirds. Castle has paid its dues to writing love triangles, and relative internal stability for Castle and Beckett’s marriage is good news for the series.

Although married earlier in Season 7, their relationship has never been without dramatic hoops through which the characters had to jump. The show has struggled in the past with juggling a romantic comedy television series with a will-they-won’t-they trope. The chemistry between Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion is so electric that “will-they-won’t-they?” became “why-don’t-they?” long before they finally got together.

Fortunately, the writing for Caskett since their love connection has been pretty consistent. There’s never been any doubt that the two characters love each other very much, and Castle has become yet another show to prove that allowing a power couple to come together does not mean death to the series so long as the writing and performances are there. The big change for Season 8 of Castle will undoubtedly change the fabric of the series forever, but all signs point toward plot progression rather than a backslide.

Castle will be back for Season 8 on September 21 at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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