Stana Katic/ABC
Sandra Gonzalez
May 18, 2011 AT 06:50 PM EDT

While Castle fans were weeping over Monday night’s season finale (Beckett! Nooooo!), creator Andrew Marlowe was in Hawaii, oblivious to the emotional turmoil he’d just inflicted upon us. To get back at him (kidding!), EW interrupted the executive producer’s much-deserved vacation (not kidding…) to ask some of our — and your — burning questions.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know you’re sitting sea side right now, but have you seen any of the Internet reaction to the finale?

ANDREW MARLOWE: Yeah, I was on Twitter and a lot of the fans were nice enough to leave their thoughts with me on Twitter, so that was very exciting.

I’m not getting the sense that they’re as angry as you thought they might be.

[Laughs] Well, I didn’t know. I knew that I was going to give them something emotionally satisfying, but I also wanted them to be prepared going in that it was going to end on a cliffhanger. But I think that for the ‘shippers, there was some sense of relief that Castle got to say what he wanted to say and that in the argument they were able to put their cards on the table. Then when we get to the final scene, he’s able to admit his feelings for her. So I think there was some really good resolution in that while we had all the other stuff. I think if we didn’t have that resolution, people would have felt a little unsatisfied.

Speaking of that last scene where he says the big ‘I love you,’ Kate’s alive… right?

I think people have to tune in this fall to see.

Well, I’m at least assuming she was wearing a vest …

You don’t expect to get shot at a funeral. I’ll tell you that she was not wearing a vest. I can tell you that, yeah.

So are we going to see Beckett recovery time next season or will we have a time jump when she’s back in action?

I have not fully finished constructing the season premiere episode for [season] 4. There are a lot of moving parts that I’m going to have to deal with. There may be a time cut, but we’ll probably most likely be picking up right after the events of the shooting and dealing with the aftermath. And then a time jump somewhere in the episode.

So, why did you decided to shoot Beckett?

Well, it felt like a natural extension of the storytelling that we’re doing, and this case is the case where Beckett is most vulnerable, and Castle is at his most mature. But it also comes with a complication, and the complication is this: It’s that if Castle hadn’t urged Beckett to look into her mother’s case in episode 10’s first season, none of this would have happened. You know, Montgomery wouldn’t be dead, secrets would still be buried, Beckett’s life wouldn’t be hanging in the balance. So you know, there’s certainly going to be some guilt he’s gotta work through, and with Beckett knowing what’s at stake, this is one case where rationality flies out the window, where she basically goes and runs out into traffic. She can’t help herself. So how that’s all going to resolve next season, we have a really good and interesting angle on it. That’s something that I think fans will be really interested in when they tune in to see how we’re going to conduct things next year.

Is part of that angle dealing with the man who shot Beckett? 

Yeah. In a way. But it has much more to do with the Beckett-Castle relationship.

So you said Castle is going to deal with guilt. Will part of that also come from him not being able to save her as he did in the midseason finale?

Mmhmm. Yeah, I think it’s only natural that anybody in that situation, if they aren’t able to do that, would feel that way. Absolutely.

Will this become a more personal fight for Castle now that Beckett was injured?

Well, what I’ll say about that — because I’m trying to keep some things a surprise for early next season — is that those questions are going to figure prominently in how we’re coming back and how we’re defining the next stage of their relationship.

Speaking of important stages: The “I Love you.” Is that going to be ignored next season?

No, it’s not going to be ignored. It’s going to be confronted, but it’s going to be confronted in a very Castle-ish kind of way. The show has a tendency, when it confronts things, not to go head-to-head with something. So we are going to deal with that in storytelling in a way that is really organic to this relationship and to their growth.

You really took on so many issues in this episode — which one of these steps did you consider the biggest?

For me, there were two big ones. The fight in her apartment — but the reason why that was so effective, to me, is that it’s been coming for basically two-and-a-half seasons. [They’ve had] to get to the point where they were both so emotionally raw that Castle could say, “I don’t know what the hell we are.” We’re doing this dance, and I think it’s really refreshing to have them acknowledge the dance and have the two of them interact with each other. And also him getting to the point where he didn’t want to wait ’til it was too late to say what was on his mind. [Even though] he may have been too late.

I was in love with the airport scene. How much was improv and how much of that was in the script? From him holding her against the car, to him mouthing “I’m sorry”…

I have to say that that is one of the great culminations of Will Beall’s great writing and Rob Bowman’s great directing, and two actors who are in excellent from. That was really a culmination of three tremendous elements, and everybody really had a hand in really crafting that moment.The attitude, the point of view, was all written down. The amount of emotion that Stana [Katic] poured into it and Nathan [Fillion]’s reaction to it… a lot of that happened on the day, and it was beautifully shot by the team.

I usually have some sense of composure, but I was, honestly, such a mess! It was shameful.

Good, we did our job. [Laughs]

Do you get emotional reading any of this?

My relationship to it is much different because, you know, I’m there helping to craft those moments, so I knew that we’re hitting the chord. I had that feeling. But my point of view was more how can we elicit the emotion from the scene, how can we really honor people. It was hard to be around for me emotionally when Montgomery’s character got shot. [He was] the first of the character that I created during the pilot who died. So it really did feel like to all of us that there was a significant death in the family, so we really mourned his loss. But the emotions of these moments that you guys are going through are mitigated by the fact that I know what the outcomes are. [Laughs]

Speaking of Montgomery — how long was this in the plan?

We knew for sure in January. We had been toying with the storyline. Will Beall came in with a really great angle on these mythology stories, and we all worked with him to craft this. It was coming at a point where I felt like some of the relationships needed to evolve, and we needed to challenge some of our core family. This was a really interesting way to do that, to help our relationships get to the next level. So it was a confluence of events where it just seemed to make absolute creative sense for the show. And it’s always really difficult because Ruben [Santiago-Hudson]’s been just a tremendous asset, and nothing but an enormous professional for us.

He did an outstanding job on his last scene.

He’s never been better. He is a tremendously talented actor, and he’s also a very gifted emotional actor. I think sometimes, you know, when he’s a guy who people download information into or he’s just giving the facts, it’s really not taking advantage of his enormous strengths as an emotional actor, and this was really an opportunity to have him shine, and boy, did he do a great job.

Next step would be a new boss. What kind of person are you looking for?

Well, that’s something I’m not going to think about until the end of the week. I’m going to relax for a couple of days. We are looking at bringing somebody in who’s going to present a little bit more of a challenge to our characters in the precinct. So we’re looking forward to having somebody show up who helps our characters grow and opens them up in new ways while continuing to make sure that the experience of the show, the Castle experience, remains the same for the fans.

Some readers suggested bringing on a female boss.

Yeah, I certainly would consider that. It actually would be very interesting. Not to get ahead of myself, but it’s something that has been considered, but I haven’t formally landed on anything yet. There are a lot of riches to that, but there are also some surprises in store for the fans.

(Stephan Lee contributed to this report)

Follow Sandra on Twitter @EWSandraG

Read more:

‘Castle’: Most devastating season finale ever?

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