Mandi Bierly
April 20, 2010 at 02:41 PM EDT

Image Credit: Karen Neal/ABCI’m not afraid to admit I teared up watching Castle last night. Probably not at the part you think — at the end, when Castle looked sad watching Beckett chat with robbery detective Tom Demming (Michael Trucco, who’ll recur for the rest of the season). But when Esposito, cradling his old partner, introduced him first to Ryan, then said, “And this is my other partner, Castle.” I’m a sucker for male bonding, and that was the ultimate.

It was nice to see Esposito take center stage in an episode. He ended up helping his old partner, who he thought had died at the hands of the organized crime boss they’d been investigating when Internal Affairs had accused the partner of being dirty, clear his name. Demming was brought in to work the case with Beckett after a safe deposit box at a bank was robbed and an ex-thief was murdered. The best part of the investigation had to be when Beckett kept Demming busy in the gym kicking each other’s asses Miss Congeniality-style while the boys snagged his cellphone to see if he’d placed calls to the crime boss and was therefore the dirty cop from Esposito’s old precinct trying to cover his tracks. The way Esposito, Castle, and Ryan darted into the room to run his numbers — subtle and hilarious. Love them together. (In case you missed the final moments of the episode: It was the IA guy who’d been dirty and set up Esposito’s partner by saying Esposito had asked for an investigation.)

Clearly, we’re being set up for a love triangle between Castle, Beckett, and Demming. There’s no doubt now that Castle’s feelings for Beckett are serious. After he told Demming there wasn’t a flag on the field when Demming asked if he was offsides pursuing Beckett, Castle regretted it. “Trust me, it comes in handy… except when it doesn’t,” Castle told Alexis as he taught her about the art of the poker face. How do you feel about Demming? I like that he’s a good guy. I always hate it when shows make characters fall for people beneath them — it makes you lose respect for them. Demming’s decent — he was going to say that the ex-thief who’d been helping Esposito’s partner find the crime boss’ ledger acted alone, so the case would be closed and the partner could get his life back. He coaches underprivileged youth basketball (a T-ball team would have made me swoon even more, for the record). And he’s hot. (“I knew there was something I didn’t like about him. Too pretty,” Castle said. “Bet he takes yoga classes just so he can pick up girls…. Probably subscribes to The New Yorker but doesn’t even read it…. just leaves a copy layin’ out where people can see it.”)

How much are you going to enjoy Castle competing for Beckett’s affection? Would you actually want them to get together this early in the series? Did you tear up last night? (Be honest!) What was your favorite Castle moment? Two of mine:

“Two weeks ago, I saved your life twice.” — Castle to Beckett, when she told him he could watch them work

“Wow, it’s like we’re all on the same case.” — Castle to Beckett and Demming, after they noted how funny it was that she dialed his cellphone just as he was walking through the door to see her

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