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TV Review: Castle, Season Four

After a shocking season finale, Castle returns with a bit of new life.

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The conclusion to Castle’s third season showed us a side of the drama series we’ve never seen before. While we’ve episode have occasionally spent time dealing with Detective Kate Beckett’s years-long investigation into the murder of her mother, Castle has always been very much an episodic show. The season three finale, however, was full of surprises. Not only did it go further down the rabbit hole of Beckett’s investigation than ever before, we discovered that Captain Montgomery had been involved in the cover up, just before he sacrificed himself to protect his favorite detective. It didn’t quite work out like he planned, though, as Beckett took a bullet while speaking at his memorial service.

The season four premiere picks up with the wounded Beckett being rushed to the hospital as her friends and family wait to hear news of her condition. It should come as little surprise that the show is not killing off one of its main characters, as she does come out of the incident alive, but not unaffected. When Castle comes to visit her in the hospital, she tells him that she needs some distance from him and goes on radio silence with him for the rest of the summer. While she spends those months recovering, Castle, Ryan and Esposito try to find her shooter but it turns out to be a challenge. Not only is the evidence slim, the squad’s new captain, Victoria Gates (Penny Johnson), shuts down the investigation when it appears that they have no new leads and exiles Castle from the department, to boot.

While the first hour of season four maintains the more serialized approach of the prior episode, it does lay the groundwork for returning to the show’s episodic, murder-of-the-week structure. However, the world of Castle has been permanently altered by last season’s conclusion and it’s exciting to see a show that has relied so greatly on structure shake things up a bit. Hopefully, this year we’ll see the series mix in a little bit more of the ongoing investigation into the conspiracy around Beckett’s shooting and her mother’s murder, while also solving odd murder mysteries every week.

Castle’s fourth season premiere airs Monday 9pm at NBC.

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