Romance between two lead characters does not have to be a television show's kiss of death, says Castle star Stana Katic.
In fact, purposefully keeping them apart can do more damage.
"I've always been of the opinion that these two characters belong together," Katic says of her on-screen alter ego, no-nonsense New York police detective Kate Beckett, and playboy mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), who have teased fans with their will they, won't they dynamic for almost four seasons.
They've locked lips (but only as a decoy on the job) and Castle even confessed he loved her in season three's dramatic finale, but Beckett who, admittedly, was bleeding to death from a gunshot wound at the time pretended she didn't remember.
It's a charade that Katic says can only stretch so far.
"You have to be honest about a story and it comes to a point where if you've played the chemistry long enough, if they don't get together, you are just manipulating the audience, and I don't like that.
"I know [show creator Andrew Marlowe] is worried that when a couple comes together, at least in storytelling, that there is no draw for the audience."
However, she says one of the influences for Castle came from 1934 detective novel The Thin Man, which featured married couple Nick and Nora Charles who solved murder-mysteries.
The characters, who shared an electric and witty rapport, inspired several stage and screen adaptations (including an upcoming film remake starring Johnny Depp).
"It was brilliant to watch," Katic says of Nick and Nora. "These two people are still opposite enough where they'll have a strong opinion, and there will be a difference of opinion, and it's charming. It's engaging. I love watching cute couples together and I love watching the challenge of them working it out."
While Beckett's love life might still be a work in progress, Katic says her character will grow in other ways this season, particularly in the aftermath of the failed attempt on her life. "You'll see that she's going to seek out some help. That's huge for a person who is in charge and at the helm of everything.
"Later on in the series, she realises that all of this thing that she's fighting for, this justice for her mother's murder, might actually be leading her into a grave, and is it worth it? Because everything she wanted is standing right in front of her, encapsulated in Castle.
"She's risking it all for this sense of justice. She's defined herself entirely by this experience. And I wonder if that definition is going to hold as much weight as it might have done the first year."
The tiny, but vivacious Canadian actress, who has Serbian and Croatian parentage, says Beckett will also be challenged by new boss Captain Victoria "Iron" Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald).
"Beckett was very loyal to the old captain, Captain Montgomery [Ruben Santiago-Hudson] ... who, in many ways, became a father figure for her. She was the A student. She got away with a lot. Iron Gates is not going to let her get away with all of that."
Katic herself isn't afraid to challenge her superiors when it comes to Beckett, saying she is very protective of the popular detective. "There's dialogue back and forth," with the writers over the character, she says. "And part of the reason she's opened up over the years is because I said, 'You guys, it's not believable that a woman in a position of power is so ... you know, she's not a robot'.
"Any woman that's in any kind of success is so many different colours, so many different elements. And if you want to create a real woman that people really fall in love with, that your leading man really would want to be engaged with and is his muse, then let's paint all of her, you know."
And, for the most part, Katic believes they're succeeding.
"I really admire her because she is a woman in a position of authority. She's imperfect, and in spite of her flaws, she tries to do her best, and she works with intelligence and heart. I love it when I see young women who want to dress up like Kate or want to have certain lifestyle qualities like her or maybe even want to go into law enforcement or law in general."
- Castle, Wednesday, 9.30pm, TV One
- The Dominion Post
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