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September 20, 2011 at 06:00 AM EDT

WARNING: Do NOT read if you have not watched the season premiere of Castle. Enter at your own risk.]

Castle opened its fourth season last night with a highly emotional hour that found Beckett (Stana Katic) shot, nearly dead, miraculously saved, bed-ridden, healed, boyfriend-less, and then stricken with PTSD all within an hour. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? And we haven’t even gotten to Castle…

At some point between “nearly dead” and “miraculously saved,” Beckett told Castle (Nathan Fillion) that she didn’t remember anything about the shooting. That means she didn’t even recall his “I love you” at the end of last season. Wah-wah. (Oh, and she was totally lying.)

So, by the end of the premiere, here’s what we knew: Castle loves her, Beckett loves him, and they can’t do anything about it because she’s not ready and he knows she won’t be ready until she does more digging into the ultra-dangerous case of her mother’s murder. And where does that leave our favorite couple — and the viewers? EW rang up executive producer Andrew Marlowe a few days ago to chat about the premiere and find out what’s to come for this conflicted couple.

In sum? This is only the beginning…

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, let’s start off with the obvious question: Did you conclude tonight’s episode off where you did to personally torture me?

ANDREW MARLOWE: Yes. You were on my mind when I wrote that.

Okay. In all seriousness, why wait to address what she heard Castle say? Why not tackle it in the season premiere?

To me, what I’m trying to do is set up something that is going to bring an interesting and complicated level to the Beckett/Castle relationship for, the very least, the first part of the season. Both of these characters are very complicated characters. It’s very clear, given what Beckett has gone through, that she wants to have this relationship with Castle, but she’s worried she might blow it. She’s worried about sacrificing the friendship, and she’s haunted by this ghost of her mother’s murder. She’s come to the realization that she’s had these walls up inside, and that’s why none of her relationships have really worked. That’s why she hasn’t really focused on them. She needs to have those walls come down. But if she acknowledged that she had heard Castle, then that’s just going to be the elephant in the room. Then she’s either going to have to act on it, or it’s going to destroy the relationship. So it’s easier for her to act as though she didn’t hear it, but it certainly changes her perception of him now that she knows.

I feel like Stana Katic communicated that very well throughout the episode.

There was that great scene on the swing set where she says, “I’m not going to be able to have the relationship I want…” and she looks over at him. If you’re a fan of the show, you know she’s looking at him for a reason. But we wanted to make it more complicated for them. In order for them to have a relationship, as far as the Beckett character is concerned, she needs to put aside some of this emotional baggage that she has and resolve it. Castle is completely on board for that. He’s like, “You’ve just given me hope.” Then he gets this phone call. Now the thing he wants most — which is to resolve this [for Beckett] — the cost might be losing her completely. So it puts our characters and our audience in a complicated situation. And it puts our guys in an interesting situation for the season because they both have these huge secrets from each other. Castle has had this conversation with this mystery man, who assures him that if Beckett investigates and if Castle let’s her run out into traffic again, it’s not going to end well. And this goes against what he wants. And Beckett has this monster secret from Castle in that she heard everything, but she can’t do anything about it.

How much is Beckett’s mental health going to be addressed this season?

Some of the PTSD and some of the emotional scars are going to pop up a couple of times through the season. IT’s not something we’re going to hang on every episode. There were a lot of pieces for us to pick up from the season finale and in writing the season premiere. We tried to deal with them all honestly and authentically. We didn’t want to sweep anything under the rug. So the season premiere was really about getting us to a place where people could get back to the things they love about Castle and Beckett — the ability of these two people to have banter and get on each other’s nerves in the right way and in a fun way. And it was about continuing to deepen a relationship they both want, but life has become complex for them. So it’s not going to happen in this instant. And to all those ‘shippers who are frustrated that they’re not in a relationship now, I’d say they are in a relationship. It’s just a complicated relationship and they have a lot of untangling to do before they can get to the purest form of a relationship.

Well, at the end of last season, you said it would all come together. You were true to your word, I’ll give you that.

Well, I was lying. I didn’t know what I was doing. [Laughs] But we were trying to do it in a fresh way, but also in an authentic to our character.

NEXT: ‘Deep down, he knows…he’s met this person who he can spend the rest of his life with.’

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