Writers, Psychics, Disgraced Magicians: Everyone Wants Their Own Version Of ‘Castle’ Now

03.07.18 10 Comments


The year is 2018 and Castle is the hottest show on television. This might seem odd to some of you, considering that Castle — in a very technical, specific sense — has been off the air since mid-2016, but it’s true. How else does one explain the upcoming barrage of very Castle-like shows set to premiere this month?

Heck, there are two debuting in the next two weeks, both featuring a by-the-book law enforcement figure teaming up with a decidedly non-law enforcement, decidedly non-by-the-book character to solve various murders and mysteries. ABC’s version is called Deception and features, I promise, a disgraced magician who begins working with the FBI. CBS’s version is called Instinct and features Alan Cumming as a brilliant author who agrees to work with the police to get material for a new book, which is notable because that would be exactly the plot of Castle if this character didn’t also happen to be a former secret CIA agent. Does his old CIA partner try to woo him back at one point by saying something like “because you were the best, that’s why”? I think you know he does.

(Deception earned my unconditional love months ago, the instant I read the phrase “disgraced magician.” The pilot only made me love it more, thanks to lines of dialogue like “You’re looking for a drug dealer… I’m looking for the illusionist who helped him get away.” We will be discussing Deception again after this episode airs. A lot. Possibly too much. I’m already okay with it.)

There’s actually a long history of cops and non-cops working together on television to solve crimes, with “non-cop” standing in for a bunch of other professions. There was Psych (fake psychic) and Bones (forensic anthropologist) and The Mentalist (fake psychic-type) and Rizzoli & Isles (medical examiner) and Medium (psychic who talks to ghosts) and even Murder, She Wrote (writer) if we wanna go way back. That’s not close to a comprehensive list, for the record. I’m just trying to give you a taste of the history and trends that pop up. Basically, the non-cop falls into three categories: psychic-type, science-type, and writer. That’s why I like the idea of Deception so much. More shows should feature disgraced magicians. I have always said this.

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