Last week, Castle fans watched their world fall apart when Beckett broke up with Castle in order to keep him safe. Of course, Castle doesn’t know Beckett’s reasoning, which only makes the breakup that more upsetting.
Before things go any further, we talked with showrunners Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley to find out what the breakup will mean for the show, and what else they can tell us about the rest of the season.
Additionally, check out an exclusive sneak peek at Monday’s episode above.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was breaking them up a last resort? I’m assuming you all pondered other options.
TERENCE PAUL WINTER: Oh yeah we pondered several different options of what we could do this year and we kept coming back to this one because it created the most opportunity for interesting new storytelling.
ALEXI HAWLEY: We really wanted to focus on shaking things up and trying to give some new energy this year and also to their relationship. For us, their love affair is the heart of the show and relationships have issues, so we didn’t want to do a one-dimensional, everybody’s-happy-all-the-time kind of thing. But on a bigger front, it just felt like there were some unresolved psychological issues, Beckett more so possibly than Castle, as the fallout of being obsessed with her mother’s murder for 16 years. How do you just turn that off? So that just felt like really interesting character stuff for us that could then give us opportunities on a storytelling front.
How will the precinct feel about the split?
WINTER: Figuratively, mommy and daddy are fighting, and it has a toll on Esposito, on Ryan, on Lanie and also on Alexis and Martha. They’re not trying to take sides, but they’re deeply affected. What’s exciting about what we’re going to be doing — and you’ll see that in episode 3 — is that we kind of have this return to the fun even though Castle and Beckett are in this new paradigm of their relationship.
How will this affect the DNA of the show? Will Castle and Beckett have separate storylines?
HAWLEY: It’s not so much giving them separate storylines, although Beckett is obviously going on a secret mission of sorts. It does give them some separate issues that they’re dealing with but at the same time, it’s still ultimately about their relationship and it’s still them figuring out how this new paradigm works between the two of them where Beckett is trying to keep him at a distance to keep him safe and not let him get on to what she’s doing and he’s of course intent on winning her back. In terms of the dynamic at the precinct, nobody really understands why this is happening, and Castle doesn’t even really understand why. Beckett just basically asked him to trust her that she has something to work out, so there’s definitely some unsureness going on but Castle is determined and therefore we have a lot of fun with that and you know, Beckett is in love with him so that doesn’t go away even though she’s got this thing going on.
WINTER: And this is going to sound cheesy and I apologize in advance: The thing about it is that Beckett is “breaking up” with Castle out of love. It’s not because “I can’t stand to be around you” or “I don’t think this is working out” or “I want to see other people” — that’s not what it’s about. It’s out of love. “I want to keep this man safe and the only way to do it is to put distance between us.” That’s the struggle that we’re playing around with, especially in the first third of the season.
Will we get to see more of Castle’s stepmom?
HAWLEY: We will definitely get to her but spoiler alert: we’re not going to get to her in the near future.
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What is Hayley’s role moving forward?
HAWLEY: Hayley ends up being a great new character for us who’s got a whole fresh dynamic, who’s there to bounce off our characters in an interesting way. I know there was early speculation about her being a Beckett surrogate, which is in no way shape or form what she is. For us, Hayley goes away for the next couple of episodes and then comes back in episode 5 in a way that actually ends up pairing her with Beckett rather than Castle. At the end of the day, we’re still Castle. we’re still investigating murders and it’s still fun and Beckett and Castle are still solving murders together. There’s just an undercurrent now of something in the middle of that so it makes every scene really interesting, dramatically for the actors and hopefully for the audience.
Are there any other guest stars you can tease?
HAWLEY: Stephnie Weir is a big guest star in episode 5. She plays a character who’s a professional nose. They’re people with acute senses of smell, a lot of them work for perfume companies and stuff like that. They work on defining smells in the same way that there are chemists who literally create taste. She’s a witness to a murder and we have a really fun way into that story.
Will there be another two-parter this season?
WINTER: We haven’t discussed. There’s always a possibility that as we get near the end of the season, there might be a story that can only be told over two episodes, but there’s no plans as of right now. But there’s definitely some storytelling that we’re going to be telling throughout the season that is going to arc through, so that’s something that we’re very excited about versus doing another two-parter this year.
Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.