By virtue of likely being the only face you recognized when it started (thanks to Firefly and you being a total nerd), Castle felt like the Nathan Fillion show. But over time, Stana Katic’s presence was felt to the point that her character’s storyline — including Kate Beckett’s dogged pursuit of all those who conspired to protect the identity of her mother’s killer — seemed to take center stage, followed closely by her super-slow-burn, legally-mandated “Will they/Won’t they?” relationship with Fillion’s character.
But now that all those questions have been answered (and new, less enthralling ones have been asked — like why was Castle abducted and mind-wiped?), the show has felt a bit less exciting and unique with its tropey procedural elements becoming even more obvious than before. The solution? It doesn’t involve ABC saying goodbye to the show, which has dropped in the ratings, but which still performs at a reliable enough level to let it continue padding its syndication tally. Instead, according to Deadline, they’re cutting Katic (and fellow castmember Tamala Jones, who played Lanie, the medical examiner and Kate’s best friend) while working to keep Fillion on. Assuming that they actually bring the show back for a ninth season, which is, as of now, still up in the air with a finale that has two planned endings, including a cliffhanger.
Why cut Katic and the dynamic that has been a big part of the show’s success? Money. If Castle comes back (once again stifling Fillion’s chances of starring in every comic book movie that is scheduled to film in the next five years), it will likely do so for a shorter season and with a reduced licensing fee, which means that there will be less money to spend on each episode. Getting rid of the money that it would have taken to keep Katic helps keep the show afloat, but you’ve got to wonder what this will do to Castle‘s ability to do theme episodes where it seems like a martian killed a guy, or a ghost killed a guy, or a giant sea creature killed a guy before, you know, it turns out that it was just some random killer or a jilted lover. Basically, Castle is adult-Scooby Doo, but now Fred is losing his Daphne.