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Castle: The Complete Second Season (DVD Review)

10 Sep, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 9/21/10
Mystery Drama
$45.99 five-DVD set
Not rated.
Stars Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tamala Jones, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly Quinn, Susan Sullivan.

Meet Rick Castle, bestselling novelist and young-at-heart playboy who has a story to fit every scenario. Meet Kate Beckett, a hard-nosed lady cop and the inspiration for Castle’s latest book. Put them together and you get an immensely watchable detective series in which stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic bristle with a romantic chemistry that echoes “Moonlighting.”

“Castle” doesn’t take itself as seriously as other procedurals, such as “Bones” (which also pairs a novelist with an investigator), but it doesn’t have to.

Sure, there’s always just enough evidence to lead from point A to B to C. The writers of the show are well versed in the handbook of the police procedural. When it looks like there aren’t any clues left, leave it to the forensics team to find traces of some strange chemical on the body that could only have come from one place. Need to create a little more intrigue to pad out a 42-minute running time? There’s always the lying witness.

It’s like how on “Knight Rider” KITT would always find evidence of an oil leak when they needed to follow the bad guys.

Everything wraps up nice and tidy, even on the rare occasion the resolution requires a cheesy plot development or two.

None of this should disqualify “Castle” as a quality show. Far from it. In a way it’s a nice homage to the noirish gumshoe mysteries of the 1940s and ’50s. This isn’t a show about the case of the week, it’s about the characters and how they maneuver around the evidence and each other.

The joy of an episode such as “The Double Down,” for example, is not in the investigation of a double murder along the lines of Strangers on a Train (which the show overtly references), but in the perverse pleasure of watching the characters bet on who can solve their case first, an anomaly caused solely by the coercive influence of an outsider such as Castle.

Whenever Fillion is on screen, the show is gold. The part of Castle was tailor-made for him.

The second-season DVD offers a few deleted scenes, bloopers and a number of fun featurettes that tour the sets, take viewers behind-the-scenes of a location shoot, and explore what it takes to create the unusual murder scenarios depicted on the show.   

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