Stana Katic and Jack Coleman, Castle
's Season 5 premiere, Detective Kate Beckett opted against killing the man who was responsible for her mother's murder. But if given another chance, would she make the same choice again?
First Look: Castle finds his father... but loses his daughter?
That's the question hanging over Monday's episode (10/9c, ABC), which reintroduces the shadowy Senator William Bracken (guest star Jack Coleman). When Beckett (Stana Katic)and Castle (Nathan Fillion) find evidence that links their current murder victim to Bracken, Beckett seizes the opportunity to finally bring the man behind her mother's death to justice. But as complications arise, Beckett may once again be forced to think outside the law.
"This certainly extends the conversation that we started in the first episode for Beckett," creator Andrew W. Marlowe tells TVGuide.com. "What line is she willing to cross in her search for justice? Does she do things the right way? Or does she compromise her values in order to get the result that she wants?" Adds Coleman: "She's very much on the horns of a moral dilemma. Every fiber of her being is crying out for vengeance. But [if she kills him], what does she become? What does that say about her? There are no easy answers here."
In some ways, Beckett is perhaps wrestling against becoming Bracken, who Coleman describes as a Machiavellian operator who will do whatever it takes to protect his secrets — perhaps even bump off Beckett for good. "She has this thing hanging over his head," he says. "All he really wants to do with her is neutralize her and keep her from making his life miserable. But I'm sure if he felt like there were a way to really make this problem go away, he could very well go down that path."
Castle scoop: Who's playing Rick's father?
It's that level of danger that once again raises the concerns of Castle. Although his warnings have rarely been heeded in the past, Marlowe suggests that both Castle and Beckett are in new territory this time around. "It puts Castle in a position where he's waiting and watching to see what she's going to do with deep concern," Marlowe says. "He knows how dangerous this is for her. She's going after a sitting senator, a man with great power. Is she going to strike out?
"But what we're also seeing is a much more tempered, much more mature Beckett," Marlowe continues. "She's less the person who puts the blinders on and runs out into traffic than we've seen in past episodes. She is bringing a little bit more strategy to this, a little bit more gamesmanship."
Because the outside world is mostly in the dark about Beckett and Bracken's cat-and-mouse game, the two are locked in a delicate power struggle. But Beckett perhaps has a secret weapon: She will once again seek the counsel of her psychiatrist, Dr. Burke (Michael Dorn
Winter TV: Get the scoop on your favorite returning shows
"He illuminates the struggle she's going through as she tries to come to an understanding of who she is and how far she's willing to go," Marlowe says. "But even with him, she's cautious. She can't give away the whole game. ... For Beckett, it's a much more complicated closed game. There are certain aspects of her decision-making process that she is keeping hidden, but it's not like she is going off the reservation. This is much more psychological. This is [about] taking a look at the wheels turning in her head and trying to calculate the best outcome."
As for what that outcome will ultimately be, viewers will have to stay tuned. Both Marlowe and Coleman promise that this is not the end of the dance between Beckett and Bracken. "It keeps the ground shifting underneath both the characters and the audience," Coleman says. "They're both in this toxic pas de deux. You're not sure who's leading, you're not sure who's following, you're not sure they're even dancing to the same music! But they can't seem to get away from each other."Castle
airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.