For the briefest of moments, fans of Castle were worried that the series might not make it to Season 8, or that Stana Katic might not be a part of it, but the show indeed got renewed with Katic intact. However, it looks like the long-running detective series will definitely be missing another major player when it returns this fall, as actress Penny Johnson Jerald will no longer be around the office as Captain Victoria “Iron” Gates.

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If you’re surprised by this casting shake-up, you’re definitely not alone. Jerald herself was apparently caught off-guard by the news, and here’s how she put it in her announcement on Twitter, which was later confirmed by ABC.
To my Castle fans around the world, as of late yesterday I am surprised and saddened to learn that I will no longer be a part of the Castle family. Thank you all for your support and love. Hugs from PJJ

Penny Johnson Jerald joined the Castle cast back in Season 4, as Victoria Gates took over for Captain Montgomery, who was killed in the line of duty in the episode “Lockout.” Gates made a name for herself by looking at situations almost completely from a professional angle, putting the NYPD above all, which made for a void of niceties around the station. Strange how the show’s producers seemed to have used that same lack of personal tact in getting her off of the show.

While we’re definitely sad to see Jerald (and Gates) go (as someone always needs to be there to give Rick Castle some gruff) this change could make for an interesting Season 8. In the Season 7 finale, it was revealed that Kate nailed her Captain’s exam, so we might see her aiming to take over the precinct herself after whatever explanation for Gates’ absence has been given. Of course, Beckett could also be headed to the New York State Senate, but that doesn’t seem as likely now that there’s an opening for Captain.

For those keeping score, Jerald isn’t the only Castle alum that won’t be around for Season 8. Former showrunner David Amann left the show earlier this month, and he was replaced by Castle writer/producers Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley.

We’re not sure where we’ll see the former Sherry Palmer end up next, but we hope Jerald lands somewhere soon. In the meantime, you can find Castle back on ABC for Season 8 on Mondays this fall.

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