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  • Mad Artist: Scott Dunn a serial killer who writes novels based on his murders.
  • Magical Database:
    • Taken to the EXTREME in the "Tick...Tick...Tick...Boom!" two-parter, including a Viewer-Friendly Interface straight out of Minority Report. But also played with, as only the FBI gets the nice shiny toys, and they take them back after the episode is over.
    • Subverted with the missing persons' database, which is just several stacks of old files.
    • Also subverted in the pilot when Beckett says that a fingerprint takes weeks to identify. Strangely, played straight in later episodes, especially with fingerprint identification.
    • Played straight in the "Pandora"/"Linchpin" two-parter by the CIA. And in "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" by... the unnamed agency that hired Lyle Lovett.
  • Make Up or Break Up: This is the current situation with Esposito and Lanie as of 'Demons'. They broke up, except for the occasional booty call.
  • Male Gaze: Castle very unsubtlely stares at Beckett's butt in the club scene of "Lucky Stiff" and she catches him. He looked at her butt again in "Deep in Death", when she man-handles a perp to the ground wearing just a jacket over her underwear. Of course, Beckett herself stared at his earlier in the series in "Wrapped Up in Death."
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Castle's first ex-wife, Meredith. An ongoing Deconstruction and Reconstruction. Fun-loving and fun to be around, but too scatterbrained to be a good wife or mother. Castle divorced her after she slept with her producer, but always ends up sleeping with her whenever she's in town. Alexis tries to keep a wide berth, but can't help but blow off tests she's spent days cramming for when she shows up to take her shopping. Castle's verdict: Such people are Deep-fried twinkies -- things you know are bad for you but you occasionally partake of anyway just for the sheer joy of it.
    • I wouldn't say Alexis couldn't help it. Her mother was the one who pulled her out of school and she couldn't go back without saying her mother was a liar.
  • Manipulative Bastard: 3XK
  • Manly Tears: Castle finally cries in "Knockout". It is heartbreaking. Ryan cries a Single Tear after Montgomery's death.
  • May-December Romance: In "Inventing the Girl", Castle connects with Trina, an attractive young model who's clearly nursing something of a crush on him -- until he realizes that she's actually Katrina, Alexis' old babysitter (and not that much older than Alexis herself). Everyone accuses him of trying this on when he nevertheless keeps in contact with her; averted when he reveals that he's actually putting her back in contact with Alexis.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Debated endlessly in "She's Dead, He's Dead," regarding a psychic--and in particular, a letter she wrote in which she foresaw her death. Although not definitive definitive, it leans heavily towards the "Magic" side of the argument.
    • Again in the conclusion of Demons when the team investigates a supposedly haunted house. Beckett finds an important lead due to what might be a Contrived Coincidence or, as Castle suggests, aid from the victim's ghost. There is also no explanation as to why all the previous murders in the house were attributed to demons.
  • Meaningful Echo: At two points in "Knockout" a character informs another character that "you can't hide [someone] from me," with the other character replying "you got that ass-backwards; you can't hide from him / me." The first is Beckett trying to psych out Lockwood about the identity of his employer, with Lockwood turning it back on her; the second is Captain Montgomery, moments before making his Redemption Equals Death Heroic Sacrifice, turning Lockwood's assertion that he can't hide Beckett back on him.
    • The show will often do this; several episodes have subtle Call Backs to previous episodes which echo significant moments, often with roles reversed and usually to underscore how the relationships between the characters has evolved since the earlier moment.
  • Meddling Parents:
    • Castle's mother is constantly telling people things he wishes she wouldn't. Castle has his moments of overprotectiveness with Alexis, too, but after the chewing-out mentioned above, he's gotten a lot better. From "Vampire Weekend," when Alexis asks to go to a party thrown by high school seniors:

Castle: This is one of those crossroads moments, isn't it?
Martha: Oh, let her go. She's far more responsible than you ever were.

    • Inverted in "Food to Die For", when Alexis is hoping her dad will intervene on her decision of whether or not to go camping with her friends when she should probably spend the weekend studying. He finally does at the very end. And only because she has to tell him to do so, so that she can tell her friends she really wants to go with them but her father won't let her.
  • Mexican Standoff: near the end of "Under the Gun", Beckett, Ryan, and Esposito get into one with three separate people all after the same treasure.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: "Kill the Messenger", "Murder Most Fowl", "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind", "Set Up"/"Countdown", "Pandora"/"Linchpin".
  • Minored in Asskicking: Castle, being a civilian, usually leaves the dirty work to his detective friends. But we are occasionally reminded that he is, in fact, a better shot than Beckett.
  • Miranda Rights: Invoked in an example of Lying to the Perp in "Sucker Punch". Castle and Beckett play on the pervasive Hollywood myth that reading the Miranda rights is somehow required for an arrest to be legal, when in fact it only affects the admissibility of a suspect's statements in court.
  • Missing Mom: Only in this case, as much as they care about her Castle and Alexis are kind of glad that Meredith isn't permanently around.
  • The Missus and the Ex: "Pandora" and "Linchpin" introduce Sophia, a member of the CIA, and Castle's previous "muse". Oddly, Castle doesn't seem too bothered about it all. Beckett, however, is, and their conversation is filled with unintentional double entendres about his relationship with Sophia until he flat out asks Beckett if she's jealous they had a relationship.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: The victim in "Suicide Squeeze". His wife eventually learns it's not a girlfriend in Cuba he got killed's his daughter. It's also established that the victim's wife was at one point Mistaken for Cheating by the victim, when in fact she was upset over his 'cheating'.
  • Moment Killer:
    • Gina (Castle's ex-wife) in the second season finale. So, so much. Beckett is just about to tell Castle she loves him when Gina shows up and reveals that they "talked on the phone for hours.... just like old times" the night before. At which point Stana Katic breaks every viewer's heart with her expression.
    • Ryan and Esposito in "Vampire Weekend", with hilarious consequences:

Ryan: Are we...interrupting?
Beckett / Castle: *at the same time* No. / Yes.

    • In 'Set Up', Castle and Beckett are isolated due to radiation exposure, unsure whether they're sick or not. To change the subject, Beckett about her problems with her boyfriend. In describing what she wants out of a relationship, she pretty much describes her relationship with Castle. As Castle opens his mouth to respond to this, the isolation tent is unzipped and they're told they're fine. Castle clearly reacts with a 'just a minute' hand gesture that he wanted more time.
    • In the latter half of season three especially, several warm-and-fuzzy moments between Castle and Beckett have been interrupted in some way or another (in person in "Countdown", by telephone in "One Life To Lose") by Beckett's boyfriend Josh, resulting in an awkward conclusion to the moment.
    • "Cops and Robbers": "He's not the only one here, you know." Damnit, Martha!
    • "47 Seconds": Esposito tells Castle and Beckett that Gates has called for them all, just before Castle is about to tell Beckett about his feelings. Damnit, Espo!
  • Mood Dissonance :
    • Castle and Beckett seem to be having a warm fuzzy moment at his book launch during "When The Bough Breaks..." when Castle suddenly brings up a thought he had about the current murder they're working on.
    • And at the end of "Always Buy Retail"

Castle: I saved your life; that means you have to do what I want. And you know what I want. Never. Call me. Kitten.

  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In "Sucker Punch", Castle does this to try to cheer Beckett up, who's understandably a bit grim as she's close to finding the man who murdered her mother.

Beckett: What if I let her down?
Castle: [pauses] Do you know why I chose you as my inspiration as Nikki Heat?
Beckett: No. Why?
Castle: 'Cause you're tall. [Beckett breaks into a small grin] Now go in there and do your job.

(Beckett squares her shoulders and walks into the interrogation room)

    • In "He's Dead, She's Dead", the plot seems to be Lighter and Softer than normal as Castle tries to convince Beckett that the murdered woman was indeed a psychic. All seems to be going fine until halfway through the episode, Chet dies.
    • At the end of "Always", Beckett and Castle are finally together. And then the guy that shot Beckett finds the man who had all the information about the conspiracy and says that, now that he has found him, he will kill Kate.
  • Motive Rant: Played with in "Hedgefund Homeboys", where Castle was able to read the suspect's motives so well that he did the rant for the perp -- thus getting a confession from him, when the suspect gets caught up enough to confirm the rant with "exactly".
  • Mr. Exposition: Subverted in "Food to Die For." Castle tries to talk about topics that happen to get brought up... only to sputter out when he realizes that his audience doesn't care.
  • The Muse: Beckett, to Castle.
  • Muse Abuse: Played with; Beckett is not entirely happy at being the inspiration for Nikki Heat, suggests that she has faced a lot of grief because of it and is definitely less-than-impressed at how Heat is "kinda slutty", but seems to accept it over time, and on the whole no one appears to have had any reason to complain about how Castle has depicted the characters based on them in his books so far.
  • Mystery Writer Detective: Castle
  • Myth Arc: The murder of Beckett's mother seems to be developing into one.
  • Naked in Mink: Occurs offscreen in "One Life to Lose" when Peter is describing Mandy's method of "persuasion."

Peter: She showed up at my apartment last night. She was wearing a fur coat.
Beckett: So?
Peter: Just a fur coat.


Castle: Ooh! Good bad-guy name! Snaky 'Z.' Hard 'K.' Even has 'Rob' in it.

    • Subverted, however; while he's a bit of a creep, he turns out to have had nothing to do with the murder.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Beckett never hesitates to call Castle out when he gets too irreverent. See also Treachery Cover-Up.
  • Never Suicide: In "Hedge Fund Homeboys", the teen who committed suicide was really murdered by another teen, a Dexter wannabe who also planned another friend's murder.
  • New Old Flame:
    • Kyra is this for Castle in "A Rose For Everafter".
    • Chet is this for Martha throughout the second season to the point where she moves in with him. As of "He's Dead, She's Dead," he is now dead.
    • Castle's second wife returns to close the second season, and they pick back up where they left off.
    • Beckett has a few too- FBI Agent Sorenson in the first season, ex-cop Royce in the third.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Castle and Beckett in "Setup" when searching for a dirty bomb in van. They found a van in a location they knew the suspected terrorists visited... and go in alone, instead of getting the hell out and calling the bomb squad and are now locked in a freezing container with the bomb gone.
  • Noble Shoplifter: Alexis is so noble that she pays when her friends shoplift.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "Pretty Dead", Michael McKean plays Victor Baron, a thinly veiled Donald Trump clone, complete with comb-over.
    • "An Embarrassment of Bitches" features a very famous woman with "no discernable talent", that carries a dog with her wherever she goes. Kay Cappuccio an obvious "Homage" to Kim Kardashian. (And to a degree superficially Paris Hilton)
  • Noir Episode: "The Blue Butterfly", at least in the flashbacks.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Castle has a tendency to start launching into anecdotes about something that once happened to him ("There was this one time...") only to quickly wrap things up when Beckett glares at him to shut up ("... Story for another time."), usually because they're at the crime scene or in an interrogation and Castle's anecdote is tangential at best.
    • Beckett gets one in "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" when she refers to the time when she was six and got a Lego stuck up her nose. All Castle can do is look very incredulous and let out a Flat What.
    • From the pilot episode, when Castle finds Alexis doing homework at a book premier party, he starts recounting a "When I was your age" story, only to conclude with "I can't even tell that story because it's wildly inappropriate."
  • The Not-Secret:
    • In "Poof, You're Dead", it turns out that everyone already knows about the big secret -- that Esposito and Lanie are in a relationship -- but have just decided to play along to give the secret holders some privacy (and no doubt enjoy watching them squirm whenever it's brought up).
    • In "'Til Death Do Us Part", when Castle, Beckett and Esposito are trying to tell Ryan that Jenny had slept with a pick-up artist a month after they started dating, he nonchalantly reveals that he knew all along and wasn't bothered because they hadn't been exclusive at the time.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In The Limey, the title character spends some time talking about how amazingly English he is, raised in the East End of London and educated at Eton -- unfortunately he does so in the broadest Australian accent this side of Neighbours.
  • Not So Different:
    • "There are two kinds of folk who sit around and think of ways to kill people -- psychopaths and mystery writers..." In "Boom!" it's explicitly noted that both Castle and the killer 'kill people for a living' and share certain similarities -- except Castle only does it in his books. Then it's revealed that the killer is an amateur writer who distances himself from his crimes by writing them up as fictionalized manuscripts.
    • Castle gets another one in "3XK" when he has an Awesome By Analysis-off with a serial killer.
    • A slightly more friendly one happens in "Heroes & Villains": one of the suspects is a woman officer called Hastings who joined the police force after her father was killed in his shop by a junkie, and later became a vigilante called Lone Vengeance. Beckett interrogates her, and Hastings states she holds Beckett as a role model and professes that Beckett is not so different when compared with her, because both of them joined the academy in order to solve a parent's assassination. Beckett tells her to stop letting the past define her. Fandom hopes she will listen to her own advice.
    • Another example in "Kill Shot" takes place between Beckett and the sniper

Beckett: If you're gonna shoot me, you look at me in the eyes. Okay? And you look hard. Because I am not your enemy, I can't be. You and I have too much in common.


Castle: Wow! Shot too soon.
Beckett: Ah well. You know we could always just cuddle, Castle.

  • Oscar Bait: Alluded to in "One Life To Lose"; one of the soap actors has been cast in a Coen Brothers movie "as Matt Damon's half-wit Dad; role of a lifetime, has nominations written all over it."
  • Odd Couple:
    • Castle and Beckett, of course.
    • Esposito and Ryan also have a bit of an 'Odd Couple' vibe going on as well; Esposito appears to be more fastidious, athletic and suave, whereas Ryan seems ever-so-slightly slovenly, dorky and clumsy, Esposito's a bit of a lady's man where Ryan is in a relationship and is 'whipped', etc.
  • Official Couple: Castle and Beckett. We're still waiting, but it's only a matter of time. To the extent that in interviews, the actors have pretty much admitted that yeah, they'll get together eventually -- the fun part is in watching how.
    • They finally get together in "Always".
  • Old Shame: In the pilot, one of the first things that clues Castle into the fact that things aren't what they seem with the copycat killings and gets him interested in solving the mystery is that the killer is staging them based off his self-described 'lesser works'. In a later episode, it comes out that Beckett was a teen model. She is not happy to see a picture of her from then floating around the precinct.
  • Omniglot: When the cast was running after a couple of suspects in Chinatown, Castle revealed that he could speak Chinese, apparently fluidly, as he talks to a pair of terrified bystanders. When asked, he claims to have learned it from a TV show. Most examples of the trope know more than one other language, but under the circumstances...
  • Once More, with Clarity:
    • Done in the season three premiere.
    • Also in "Setup"
  • One of Us: There is only one person who wants Castle and Beckett to get together more than the fans. That person is Stana Katic. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. 'Nuff said.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Several witnesses, suspects, and other minor characters have their moments.
  • Only Sane Woman: Between Castle, Esposito and Ryan, Beckett looks like the most serious person on the series. Alternatively, Alexis Castle. Despite being around 15 at the start of the series.
  • Ontological Mystery / You Wake Up in a Room: In "Cuffed", Beckett and Castle wake up together in a bed handcuffed to each other with no idea how they got there.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Both lead actors have occasional moments of Canadianness
    • Johnny Vong from "Sucker Punch" is an In-Universe example, upon hearing that Jack Coonan was killed.
    • Hans von Manschaft, a stripper,in "Almost Famous". He immediately drops the accent when he hears his rival has been murdered
  • Open-Minded Parent: Of the three generations in the Castle household, the fifteen-year old Alexis is far and away the most responsible. (In fairness, Castle is a responsible parent; it's just that he's completely irresponsible about everything else.) And in "Home is Where the Heart Stops," Castle explains that his ex, Alexis's mother, is even worse.

Castle: "Sad, isn't it?"

  • Opening Narration:
    • "There are two kinds of folk who sit around and think about how to kill people -- psychopaths and mystery writers. I'm the kind that pays better."
    • As of early Season 3, the narration is MIA, as is the opening theme song (the opening credits are simply overlaid onto the scenes immediately after the first commercial break.)
  • Or So I Heard:
    • In "Inventing the Girl:"

Beckett: "Nobody got murdered in Showgirls. [A Beat] I hear."

    • In "Nikki Heat," Alexis repeatedly discusses certain qualities of schlock horror movies, and after Castle eyes her, follows up each statement with, "...if I'd seen it, which I haven't."
    • Appears again in "One Life To Lose," where Beckett denies being a faithful watcher of Temptation Lane, the soap where the murder of the week happened. Also played with since Castle shows an equal knowledge (if not fandom) of soap operas and yet there are no jokes about a guy liking or watching soap operas.
    • "Dial M For Mayor", when a sex-line call girl explains to them that it's not just about sex, Castle immedciately says "It's therapy"...then quickly adds " I've...been told."
  • Overprotective Dad: Castle, though Alexis usually shuts him down before it goes too far.
  • Pair the Spares:
    • In "Poof! You're Dead" we are given Lanie/Esposito pretty much out of left field. Unless you had read Naked Heat beforehand, in which Nikki observes Lauren and Ochoa getting into a cab together.
    • Also happens to Castle and Beckett's dates at a restaurant when the two get too wrapped up in solving a murder in "The Third Man".
  • Parental Substitute: Castle asks Beckett to be this to Alexis, if anything should ever happen to him (he got paranoid about being under a Mayan curse).
  • Pass the Popcorn:
    • "Double Down" starts with Castle eating popcorn and watching people around the precinct.
    • Castle likes this trope: from "One Man's Treasure":

Castle: A wife-and-fiancee catfight? Please tell me we can stop for popcorn on the way!

    • Also from "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice", referring to a suspect:

Castle: " a box...with a fox? We're so gonna need some popcorn."

  • Phantom Thief: Falco, the art thief. Also Serena used to be one.
    • Powell, a retired jewel thief that Castle consulted for a novel.
  • Platonic Prostitution: In "Hell Hath No Fury", Castle hires a High-Class Call Girl the victim consorted with solely because it's an easier way of finding her than the police department's time consuming method of tracking her via her offshore based website.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Captain Gates is shaping up to be a mild one of these; she does seem to be okay at her job, but her relationships with the main characters are not exactly cordial, and she tends to dismiss Castle's contributions -- however valid -- out of hand simply because he's the one giving them. More recently, she's begun to take Castle's contributions more seriously as long as he's not being wacky about it. But conversely, she's also been pushing for Beckett to try to grow beyond relying on Castle.
  • Pool Scene: In "To Love And Die in L.A.", including Beckett in a clingy swimsuit getting out of a pool in slow motion. Justified in that she's trying to catch the eye of a suspect.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Played with in "Nikki Heat" when Natalie Rhodes implies that for Castle, writing about Nikki Heat is the poor man's substitute of being in a relationship with Beckett. She even goes so far as to call his writing "verbal masturbation."
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • "Esplanie" for Esposito and Lanie, mentioned on-screen in "One Life To Lose."
    • "Caskett" for Castle and Beckett
  • The Power of Acting:
    • Natalie Rhodes.
    • Also used in "Poof! You're Dead" though with stage magic rather than acting.
    • Used again in "One Life To Lose."
  • The Power of Legacy: Beckett decides to do this for Captain Montgomery, and the rest of the cast agrees.
  • Precision B Strike: First Alexis, then Castle, call one of Alexis's friends a "Bitch" when she reveals her Alpha Bitch credentials.
  • Pregnant Hostage: Played with. In a bank robbery, there is a pregnant hostage, but she doesn't go into labor or have health problems. She is, however, the one of the first people the police bargain to get out, and Castle uses her as an excuse to fetch a pillow located near a window, where he can signal Beckett.)
  • "Previously On...":
    • After the Opening Narration was killed close to the beginning of Season 3, one of these was used in "Knockdown", with clips from "A Death in the Family" and "Sucker Punch"...the other two Castle eps which dwell heavily on Beckett's mother's murder.
    • Similarly, "To Love and Die in L.A." features one which is exclusively clips from "Under the Gun", the episode with Beckett's old partner Mike Royce. He's dead within a minute of the montage.
    • The Season Four premier episode had one, surprisingly, and did a recap of the season three finale to lead as an opener for why Beckett is being gurneyed down a hospital wing.
    • The Season 4 finale has another one.
  • Product Placement: Microsoft products are featured prominently in "Kill Shot." Hulu even had a video dedicated entirely to the product placement.
  • Protectorate: Castle is sometimes a Heroic Neutral, but can be talked into helping by the words "what if it was Alexis in {that situation}?"
    • During a nuclear threat, he tries to gets her and his mother to go away from town.
    • This tendency actually provokes him into freeing a tiger from the other side of a wall mistakenly thinking that the criminals are slave trading.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away:
    • Subverted in the pilot: Castle's the hostage, but he's able to break free, and get the perp's gun. "Tell me you saw that!" Also, see above.
    • In season two Castle gets stuck in the same position and decides to headbutt the hostage taker instead, who is then shot by Beckett.
    • It actually works for once in "Linchpin", when a suspected CIA mole takes a hostage and backs into an elevator. Turns out he's not the mole.

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