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Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion)
Bestselling-but-bored playboy mystery writer who, after helping Kate Beckett and the NYPD find a killer basing his murders off his books, pulled strings to get himself attached to Beckett's unit, ostensibly to research a character based on her but really because he likes solving mysteries and is attracted to Beckett.
- Adult Child: Though this has been heavily played down in later seasons to the point where he's shown more as simply retaining the adventuring nature of youth rather than acting childish.
- Agent Mulder
- Amateur Sleuth
- Badass Bookworm: He is a writer after all.
- Berserk Button: You could feel the anger building once a twenty-something web tycoon told him he had mixed a 135-year-old scotch with root beer.
- Bumbling Dad: As often as this gets played straight, it gets subverted a few memorable times, most notably when Alexis is at a party with spiked punch, and her friend gets drunk, and he acts exactly as how every parent in the world would hope to.
- In short, when it matters he's the best dad in the world; when it doesn't, he's the best friend in the world. Which makes him the best dad in the world again.
- Camp Straight: Castle was called a metrosexual in "The Third Man," though he's a pretty mild example. He has a fine appreciation for good interior decorating and fashion.
- Character Development: He's a lot more mature and grown-up after working with the police than he was when the series began. This can especially be seen in "Tick, Tick, Tick...Boom", two episodes in which, like the pilot, someone was inspired by Castle's novels to commit murder. It has been explicitly stated that these episodes were meant to show the difference between Castle from Season 1 and Castle from Season 3. Unlike the premiere episode, "Flowers for Your Grave" in which Castle was quite flippant and arrogant about the entire situation, Castle is appropriately devastated at the idea that someone has once again died because of his books. In fact, Beckett has to talk him down from taking blame for the entire situation.
- Also: Castle starts off doing "volunteer homicide detective" work because he thinks it's cool and because he's got a shine on his "muse", and his flippant manner shows it. By "47 Seconds", Castle is working with the police because he honestly wants to make a difference in the lives of the victims and their families.
- The Charmer
- Chivalrous Pervert
- The Dandy
- Deadpan Snarker
- Genre Savvy: Justified. He's a writer.
- Grammar Nazi: See above.
- Green-Eyed Monster: It's clear for most of the series that he doesn't like it when other men grab Beckett's attention, and unlike her is none too subtle about it.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Played with in that quite a few of the women in Castle's lives are redheads (including his first ex-wife, his mother, and his daughter), but a succession of love interests shown since are not (Kyra Blaine, Ellie Monroe and of course Beckett are all brunettes, while his second ex-wife Gina is a blonde).
- Beckett started out very auburn. She reverted to brown once the series was established.
- Hot Dad: He isn't #9 on the New York Ledger's Most Eligible Bachelors list for nothing. (Though that is a drop from being #7 last year.)
- It's for a Book: It actually is, except when it isn't.
- I Will Wait for You: Long after their attraction to each other is clear, he's content to let her work through her issues and support her until she's ready
- Ladykiller in Love
- Man Child: Castle.
- Momma's Boy: Not a negative portrayal.
- Most Writers Are Writers
- Nice Guy
- Papa Wolf
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: A rare case of this trope being used for good.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: "Guess who has a date with a prostituuuute!" But as above, used for good.
- Supporting Protagonist: Despite being the focus of the show, Castle ticks about every other box on this list.
- UST: With Beckett.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He's wrong far more often than he's right when it comes to his wild case theories, although he's on the mark far more often than either he or Beckett would expect. Often, though, it's pretty clear he's deliberately coming up with over-the-top or out there theories either because it would make a better story for him to write, it would be really awesome if true or to needle Beckett rather than because he sincerely believes the theory.
Kate Beckett (Stana Katic)
Brilliant police detective with an interest in and knack for solving left-field cases, and a total exasperation for Castle's presence. Is a fan of Castle's novels. She does not want him to know this. He does.
- Action Girl
- Agent Scully
- Berserk Button: Harming Castle. As she says to a mercenary threatening Castle during a hostage situation in a bank in "Cops and Robbers":
Beckett: "If you pull that trigger, I will walk through those doors and personally put a bullet through your skull."
- Also bringing up her mother's murder. It took nearly a year for her to be able to open up about it to Castle, though it also didn't help that he first investigated the case behind her back.
- Brainy Brunette
- Broken Bird
- By-The-Book Cop
- Character Development: She's lightened up considerably over the years since Castle came along. However, thanks to her mother's case being reopened, she's also acquired new emotional scars.
- Control Freak: Beckett has been justifiably accused of being one of these.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She never had any joy in life after her mother died until Castle came along.
- Death Glare: Usually directed at Castle.
- The Determinator
- Fair Cop: Lampshaded by Castle early on, commenting that women with her looks and intelligence interested in fighting crime usually begin a career in law firms rather than policework. Which becomes a meta-Shout-Out once we learn that Beckett's mother was a lawyer interested in helping those which justice had overlooked.
- Fan Girl: Of Castle. She would sooner die (or kill him) than have him find out. Too late, though. He already knows.
- Green-Eyed Monster: For most of the series, it's subtle but clear that Beckett does not like it when other women grab Castle's attention. Then along comes "Eye of the Beholder", when the clear UST sparks between Castle and the insurance investigator attached to the case prompt Beckett to act like a seething fifteen-year-old poorly concealing her obvious jealousy for much of the episode. She also gets into a bit of a snit when she meets Sophia Turner of the CIA, and discovers that she's not the first woman Castle has been inspired by as a 'muse'.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: She remembers nothing following her shooting. Justified, because she was shot. Hard. Subverted because she's lying. She remembers everything. Including Castle's anguished confession of love.
- Ms. Fanservice: Averted, surprisingly enough, and thus the rare instances where we get to see some, it's that much more memorable. And even then, it's usually Castle fantasizing, which usually ends with Beckett snarking mercilessly at him.
- Revenge: Beckett is clearly driven by this to some degree with regards to the murder of her mother; pretty much her every single major action or life decision since (joining the police department, becoming a homicide detective, etc) has been based on tracking down the person(s) responsible for the crime and bringing them down, to the point where any hint of her mother's case cropping up in an investigation is enough to drive her to the point of reckless single-minded obsession. The end of "Always", however, sees her have an epiphany which results in her turning her back on this, instead realizing that all she really wants is a life with Castle.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: As of season four: per Word of God, she's suffering from PTSD. Explored thoroughly during a case where the team try to find a killer who is a sniper.
- Single-Issue Wonk: Most of the time, Beckett is a thoroughly rational, capable and methodical detective -- unless the case relates to her mother's murder (or, as of Season 4, her own shooting), at which point she becomes increasingly irrational and out-of-control.
- Tall, Dark and Bishoujo
- There Are No Therapists: Averted: it took a year of therapy for her in her backstory to stop obsessing over her mother's murder and to realize that she had a life of her own to live. And as of season 4, she is also seeing a therapist (played by Worf) on a regular basis to deal with the trauma of her near-fatal shooting. As well as to rant about her not-in-a-relationship problems with Castle.
- UST: With Castle. [
Martha Rogers (Susan Sullivan)
Castle's flighty, emotional mother, who lives with him. A Broadway actress with a tendency towards the over-dramatic.
- Big Ham: Justified in that she's a Broadway actress.
- Cool Old Lady
- December-December Romance: She's perfectly willing to sleep with a Silver Fox.
- Gold Digger: Martha is not one of these, despite her penchant for wealthy older men; she was, however, apparently the victim of one, necessitating her move into her son and granddaughter's apartment. She's also not exactly shy about charging vast amounts to her son's credit card, much to his exasperation, but it's made abundantly clear that she loves him for far more than his purchasing power. She also tries to turn down the money left to her by a deceased boyfriend.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have! / I Was Quite a Looker: YMMV on which. Even she seems to go back and forth on the issue. However, given a photo we get of her in her beauty pageant days, she really was a looker.
- Hypocritical Humor: Martha has a tendency to produce this kind of humour.
- Mama Bear: In "Cops and Robbers" Martha has to be held back when it looks like one of the robbers is going to shoot Castle. She also gives Castle a smackdown when she thinks he's getting too cavalier about the danger he's in, telling him quite firmly that "...you can't charm your way out of a bullet!"
- Pretty in Mink / It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: She has a penchant for animal-print and fur-lined clothing, and once goes on a shopping spree including buying a faux fur coat. She decides to return what she bought, except for the coat.
Castle: Is it safe to say there aren't any animal prints left in the city?
Martha: Very funny. Also true.
- White Dwarf Starlet: Not completely burned out but she definitely doesn't get the roles she used to.
Alexis Castle (Molly Quinn)
Castle's teenage daughter who, against all odds, is grounded, sensible, mature, and very close to her father.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Subverted. She's one of the most likable teenage characters on television.
- The Cheerleader: Played with in one episode where she considers trying out but decides the lifestyle would cut too much into her other activities.
- Women Are Wiser: Than either her father or grandmother and a lot more than her mother.
- Daddy's Girl: Not spoiled, but loved.
- Extracurricular Enthusiast: Alexis seems to be involved in a huge number of school clubs.
- Fiery Redhead: As shown when Daddy gets a bit too protective.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Alexis has a highly developed sense of responsibility and guilt. In an episode about teenage drug abuse, Castle confronts Alexis while she wakes up, telling her that she can tell him if she ever did anything wrong. She lies and tells him she's fine, but the next day she's so bothered by the lie that she wakes him up, crying... because once, she jumped the turnstile at the subway without paying. And she went the next day and paid twice without riding and still felt guilty about it.
- She's also gone back to a store and secretly paid after some of her friends used a Five-Finger Discount, despite the fact that she hadn't actually stolen anything herself.
- The Intern: To Lainie recently
- Like Father, Like Son: Not in personality but in experience and skills. Though it's generally not shown off a lot, Castle's many interests seem to have leaked into his daughter. She's shown interest and skill in everything from magic tricks to detective work.
- Moe: She's got her fair share of charm and cuteness.
- Raised by Dudes: Pleasantly averted. There's little doubt that Alexis is a healthy, normal, intelligent, and well-rounded individual with much of the credit due to her father. Noted by Castle himself in "Lucky Stiff" that after getting over the 'just became extremely rich' phase of his career, he realized he only wanted two things in life: freedom to write and time to spend with Alexis.
- She Is All Grown Up: Sorta. At least in the recent "Nikki Heat" episode, Molly Quinn's voice has changed some what. Still Moe though.
- Since Molly Quinn turned 18 her wardrobe, while still far from what anyone would call stripperiffic, has gotten a noticeable upgrade.
- Spoiled Sweet: Despite being raised in a very wealthy home, she is very down to Earth and kindhearted. A trait likely inherited from the happy-go-lucky Rick.
- Wise Beyond Their Years
Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas)
A detective on Beckett's unit with a military background. Is greatly amused by the tension between Castle and Beckett.
- Actor Allusion: Like the actor who plays him, Esposito is a military veteran.
- Dead Partner: In "Den of Thieves," it is revealed Esposito's last partner was Ike Thornton, killed by one of Victor Racine's men. Okay, so "killed" should have been in quotes. I suppose this spoiler text is a little give-away-ish, as well.
- Friendly Sniper: During "Kill Shot".
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Ryan, of course
- Hidden Depths: At first he appears as another wisecracking cop but it is shown that he is very skilled and is very aware of Becket and Castle's feelings for each other. He also appears to have numerous interests that conflict a bit with the stereotypically macho 'alpha-male' front he presents -- he's surprisingly knowledgable on Top 40 bubblegum pop music, for example.
- In-Series Nickname: Esposito is a mouthful, so Beckett shortens his name to "Espo." He's also called "Javi" in more friendly, intimate or sensitive situations
- Spear Counterpart: Of the Esposito/Ryan relationship, he's the Beckett of the two.
- Those Two Guys: With Ryan.
- Token Minority Couple: With Lanie.
Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever)
Esposito's partner. Also takes great pleasure in winding Beckett up. In later seasons, he seems more likely to side with Castle's wacky theories then any self respecting officer of the law should.
- Adorkable: Compared to both Castle and his partner Esposito, Ryan's a bit nerdy and socially awkward.
- Berserk Button: Do not take Kevin Ryan's service weapon. And especially do not use said weapon to kill an innocent young woman. He will find you. And he will end you.
- Blue Eyes: Being Adorkable, the first variation fits him quite well.
- Butt Monkey: Mildly; Ryan seems to be the character who gets everything dumped on him. To his credit, he accepts it with good grace and a little snark.
- A lot more than mildly after the S4 finale; after he told Gates about the case and how Beckett and Espo were investigating behind her back, leading them to disciplinary action, he's the only one left on the force, with Espo on administrative leave and Beckett resigned...and he and Esposito are no longer on speaking terms.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Part of the reason he's a Butt Monkey.
- Ensign Newbie: Ryan has his shield and has demonstrated many times that he deserves it, but he's repeatedly the excuse for exposition, which, along with his Adorkable and Butt Monkey status implies that he's the least experienced member of the team.
- Happily Married: To Jenny, whom he began dating in season 1.
- Hero Worshipper: Ryan seems to have a bit of a hero-worship thing going on with Castle.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Esposito, natch.
- Spear Counterpart: Sorta. Of the Esposito/Ryan relationship, he's the Castle of the two.
- Those Two Guys: With Esposito.
Lanie Parrish (Tamala Jones)
The medical examiner and Beckett's best friend, who has a hinkering that there's more to Castle and Beckett's relationship than meets the eye.
- Black Best Friend
- The Cast Showoff: As of "The Blue Butterfly," she shows off her lovely singing voice.
- The Coroner
- Hospital Hottie
- Sassy Black Woman
- Token Minority Couple: With Esposito.
Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson)
The captain of the unit. Made of complete and utter awesome.
- The Atoner: He was a part of the conspiracy that led to Beckett's mother's death. He met her in the records room going over the case's evidence, and took her under his wing, guiding her to be the head detective of the 12th Precinct. He finally earns his redemption by taking out Hal Lockwood, the man who works for the man who ordered Beckett's mother's death, at the cost of his own life.
- Bald Black Leader Guy
- Benevolent Boss
- Black Guy Dies First: Well, at least in the main cast.
- Dying Moment of Awesome
- Killed Off for Real
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Heck, even in "Knockdown" after (rightfully) pulling Beckett off the case, he's willing to listen to her and is more concerned with her safety when it's apparent she's in danger and not going to quit.
- Redemption Equals Death
- Retirony: Played straight & played with - spectacularly - in a throwaway gag. The Captain promises his wife that he'll retire the following year. When Castle shows concern, Beckett explains that Montgomery retires "all the time. Just give it a week or two. He's like the Brett Favre of the NYPD. Trust me - he's not going anywhere." The next week, he dies.
Victoria "Iron" Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald)
The precinct's new captain after the death of Captain Montgomery. Unlike her predecessor, she is not happy about having Castle tag along with her cops but puts up with him due to his connections with the mayor.
- Bait and Switch Tyrant: She's no Roy Montgomery, but she seems to be softening towards Castle somewhat and is a dedicated officer who is very good at her job.
- Black Boss Lady
- By-The-Book Cop
- Da Chief At the end of the S4 finale, enraged that Beckett and Esposito went behind her back, she puts them on administrative leave, then has them turn in their badges and firearms. They do; Beckett then resigns.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Slowly. Very slowly.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Her new subordinates tend to view her as something like this, at least initially. While she's not exactly incompetent, it does appear to be slightly justified in some respects -- in particular, she tends to let her dislike of Castle distort her perception of how useful he is, and tends to dismiss his contributions simply because he's the one giving them.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She is stern, cold, but an all out competent boss who is willing to listen to Castle when his plans make sense and is someone who will not let her people slack off in the moral sector.
M.E. Sidney Perlmutter (Arye Gross)
A second coroner introduced in series two. Grumpy and snarky.
- The Other Coroner
- Deadpan Snarker: At the very least, much more than Lanie is.
- Grumpy Bear
- Sour Supporter
Family, friends, and significant others
- Meredith (Darby Stanchfield): Castle's first ex-wife and Alexis' mother. Though they love her, they find her impulsive, irresponsible personality annoying. She works as an actress and while she shares many similarities with Martha, the two of them dislike each other. Castle describes her as a "deep-fried Twinkie" because though he knows she is bad for him, he still wants to enjoy one occasionally.
- Gina Cowell (Monet Mazur): Castle's second ex-wife and publisher. They are generally on good terms so long as they don't try to restart their relationship. Gina resented Castle for trying to keep her from being a true mother to Alexis.
- Kyra Blaine (Alyssa Milano): One of Castle's ex-girlfriends (and his first love, to boot) who is reunited with him when a guest at her wedding is murdered. Believes, like so many others, that Beckett and Castle are a couple, is a total Shipper on Deck and out-loud gives Beckett her blessing.
- Johanna Beckett: Kate Beckett's mother and a case of Death By Origin Story. She was murdered and her killer was never found due to incompetent police work (which turned out to be not so much incompetent as downright dirty). Kate wears her mother's wedding ring on a necklace.
- Jim Beckett (Scott Paulin): Kate Beckett's father. Fell into alcoholism after the death of his wife but recovered thanks to the help of his daughter. Kate now wears his watch to remember the life she saved. The watch is damaged when Beckett's apartment is blown up but Castle has it repaired for her as a surprise. When Beckett begins investigating her mother's death again, he tries to get her to stop and enlists Castle's help.
- Josh Davidson (Victor Webster): Beckett's boyfriend, first introduced at the end of "Punked." They break up after Beckett is shot.
- Jenny O'Malley (Juliana Dever): Detective Ryan's Love Interest. Frequently mentioned but appears onscreen only rarely, played by Seamus Dever's real-life wife Juliana. Becomes his fiancee in the episode "Nikki Heat" and marries him immediately after "Till Death Do Us Part."
- Madison Queller (Julia Gonzalo): An old friend of Beckett who briefly dates Castle, stirring some jealousy in Beckett. She is the owner of a restaurant where a chef is murdered.
- Natalie Rhodes (Laura Prepon): The actress who is cast to play Nikki Heat in the upcoming Heat Wave movie. Castle initially has doubts about her due to her resume of low-brow action and horror movies but soon warms up to her. A method actress, she shadows Beckett and imitates her mannerisms and appearance, which she is unnervingly good at. As character research, she insists on doing everything that Nikki does. Everything.
- Damian Westlake (Jason Wiles): An old friend of Castle's from boarding school. He was the editor of the literary magazine, where he became Castle's first mentor. He was accused of his father's murder but the evidence was inconclusive and he inherited his father's wealth. Damian's father was murdered by one of Damian's classmates but, in a last-minute twist, it's revealed that Damian hired the classmate to kill him.
- Alex Conrad (Brendan Hines): A young mystery writer who just published his first novel with help from Castle. He begins shadowing Beckett, which makes Castle jealous. Castle invites Conrad to one of his poker games, where his fellow writers engage in some "friendly hazing." Afterwards, Conrad begins hanging out with Ryan and Esposito. It is implied they become his new "muses."
- Evelyn Montgomery (Judith Scott): Roy Montgomery's wife. They have two daughters named Mary (LaNiesha Irvin) and Rebecca (Daniele Watts).
- Ashley (Ken Baumann): Alexis' boyfriend. She makes use of his Gender Blender Name to trick her father into letting him come over, which led to a rather...awkward first meeting between father and suitor. After he graduates at the end of Season 3, he goes to Stanford, and while Alexis wants to maintain a long-distance relationship until she can graduate early and move out with him, there seem to be a few... snags... in Season 4, until ultimately the stresses of a long-distance relationship proved too much and Alexis broke up with him.
- Det. Tom Demming (Michael Trucco): An NYPD robbery detective and Beckett's boyfriend until their breakup at the end of the second season.
- Agent Will Sorenson (Bailey Chase): An FBI agent specializing in missing children and Beckett's ex-boyfriend.
- Agent Jordan Shaw (Dana Delaney): An FBI profiler who helps capture a crazed killer targeting "Nikki Heat." Her skills and fancy equipment impress Castle, stirring feelings of jealousy in Beckett. However, she too comes to respect Agent Shaw.
- Ike Thorton (Aaron Spears): Esposito's old partner, who turned to a life of crime and left his family behind. It turns out that Thorton was infiltrating a crime ring and helping bring down a powerful mob boss.
- Clark Murray (Robert Picardo): Known to Castle as "Dr. Death", he aids Castle by showing him the physics of dead bodies so he can get them right in his novels. Castle asks him to look into Beckett's mother's murder behind her back; he ties the dead body in "Sucker Punch" to her mother's killer, Dick Coonan.
- Mike Royce (Jason Beghe): A cop turned bounty hunter and Beckett's old mentor. He then betrays his old ideals and tries to steal a hidden hoard of jewels, resulting in a Broken Pedestal. He comes Back for the Dead in "To Love and Die in L.A.", prompting Beckett to chase his killer to Hollywood.
- Mark Fallon (Adrian Pasdar): A Homeland Security agent who has been compared to Jack Bauer. His harsh interrogation methods and use of racial profiling put him at odds with the main characters. He first appears in "Setup."
- He's a bit of a Jerkass Woobie when you find out his backstory. His wife died at 9/11. To make it worse, they were on the phone when the towers collapsed.
- Sophia Turner (Jennifer Beals): A CIA agent who appears in "Pandora"/"Linchpin". She inspired the character of 'Clara Strike' in Richard Castle's 'Derrick Storm' series of novels, and they also shared more than a bit of romantic chemistry, much to Beckett's annoyance. She turns out to be The Mole, however. She also hints that she knew Castle's father but she is killed before she can say more.
- Detective Slaughter (Adam Baldwin): A Cowboy Cop that Castle works with when he is falling out of touch with Beckett. Surprisingly they avoid any Firefly references (well, maybe the brown jacket).
- Dick Coonan (Jay Ferguson): A corrupt, drug-trafficking philanthropist who appears in "Sucker Punch." He is the man who was hired to kill Beckett's mother. He is killed by Beckett while taking Castle hostage, the identity of his employer apparently dying with him.
- Scott Dunn (Dameon Clarke): A serial killer who appears in "Tick Tick Tick..." and "Boom!" He commits several murders in New York "dedicated" to Kate Beckett, who he thinks of as Nikki Heat, and tries to frame a man named Ben Conrad. He commemorates his murders by writing novels based on them, including his Nikki Heat Fanfic "Dead Heat." It is implied he committed another series of murders against prostitutes in Seattle.
- Triple Killer/3XK: A serial killer who targets women, killing three within the same week. The name has a double meaning as there are, in fact, three people involved in the killings. The original killer, Jerry Tyson, pays two friends to help him. Because one of the two friends needs an operation, they agree. The only killer in the series so far who escapes.
- Hal Lockwood (Max Martini): The alias used by the hit man who shot Detective Raglan, who led the investigation of Johanna Beckett's murder. He was imprisoned but refused to give any information on his employer. Beckett vowed to visit him every week until he decided to tell her what she wants to know. Used dirty cop connections to get himself into General Population, where he killed the other detective who was on that case, leading to an arraignment where his associates busted him free. This led to a series of events that ended with him being killed by Captain Montgomery in his final act.
Real life mystery novelists at Castle's poker games
- Stephen J. Cannell: Wrote the Shane Scully series. Passed away on Sept. 30, 2010 and was given an In Memoriam at the end of "Punked." His license plate also appears. His poker buddies still leave a seat out for him at their games in his honor.
- James Patterson: Famous for the Alex Cross series, which is mentioned in the show.
- Michael Connelly: Most famous for the Harry Bosch series, which is mentioned in the show.
- Dennis Lehane: Wrote the Kenzie-Gennaro series.
- Mr. Smith (Geoff Pierson): The recipient of Montgomery's letter designed to stop the attacks on Beckett. In "Rise", he contacts Castle and advises him to get Beckett to back off her investigation into her mother's murder, as they will try to kill her again if she presses. In "Dial M for Mayor", he is assumed to have resolved the case in such a way that the Mayor's involvement is kept secret, because they need the Mayor in place to keep Gates from removing Castle from the 12th precinct...a move that would have disastrous consequences for Beckett.