'Castle' Bosses on Season 8 Premiere: Beckett Is Haunted by Her Demons

Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley talk with THR about what to expect from the second part of the season opener and beyond.
Courtesy of Photofest

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season- eight premiere of ABC's Castle.]

Childhood demons are chasing Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). While she can certainly run, the newly appointed captain can't hide from her past in Castle's season-eight opener, "XY."

Good changes are underway at the start of Monday's hour. Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett are celebrating her big promotion and Castle is pleasantly surprised to find Alexis (Molly Quinn) has not only remodeled his P.I. office, but also successfully taken on some cases of her own. However, things quickly turn dark when Beckett goes missing.

Castle, Esposito (Jon Huertas), Ryan (Seamus Dever) and the team quickly notice Beckett's absence. Their search leads them straight to security specialist Hayley Shipman (Toks Olagundoye), who luckily turns out to be more friend than foe. Hayley's out-of-the-box way of thinking comes in handy as she joins the search for Beckett. Surprisingly, all leads point to incarcerated former Sen. William Bracken (Jack Coleman), aka the man who had Beckett's mother killed.

Castle pays Bracken a jailhouse visit, during which Bracken tells Castle regardless of where his wife is, she is never going to be happy just being Mrs. Castle. Even though Beckett seems as if she's got it all together, it would be impossible to push away her 16-year obsession with putting Bracken away for his crime.

Surveillance footage reveals Beckett and a low-level analyst for the Attorney General's office named Vikram Singh (Sunkrish Bala) stealing insulin from an ambulance. It turns out that Beckett was in on the whole shebang. Why would Beckett be keeping her friends and family in the dark? What is she hiding? As it turns out, Beckett is being chased by two teams of highly dangerous people, one of which captures and tortures Castle. Beckett makes a brief appearance, going full superwoman to save her husband, but offers no explanation as to what's happening before fleeing the scene.

At the episode's end, the remaining team at large is closing in on Beckett, leaving so many questions unanswered. What's to come in part two of the season-eight premiere and is it the season of Beckett? The Hollywood Reporter got some answers about what's in store from showrunners Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley.

Last season dealt with Castle and his demons. This season opens up with Beckett confronting hers. Is this season going to be more Beckett-centered or was that just a one-episode thing?

Hawley: Ultimately this season will be balanced. The one thing that stood out to us when we started was this idea that you have this character whose mother was murdered when she was 19 — who spent 16 years of her life hunting that killer and then ultimately put him behind bars. Can you turn that kind of obsession off? After Bracken was arrested in season six, Beckett went off to become just a happily married cop who works hard and all that kind of stuff, but we didn't really believe that that had been turned off. That door had just been forced closed and so we blow that door open in the beginning of this season. She's got to come face-to-face with the idea that this is behind her, but it's not. It's part of her personality. Castle also has to come face-to- face with who his wife is and there's a little bit of a search for identity.

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At the end of the first part of the premiere, things aren't looking good for Beckett. What can you say about how the second part is going to unfold?

Hawley: The way we broke down these two stories was dictated by Stana doing a movie and we didn't have access to her at the beginning of the first episode. We came up with this idea of a little bit of a he said/she said. The first episode sets the story in motion where Beckett is a little bit of a ghost and you don't know exactly what's going on. We keep unraveling things. There are surprises. Then the second episode will actually go back and tell you the story from her point of view.

Winter: We fill in those blanks. All those questions are still outstanding in the first one. Castle and Alexis are perplexed about what is really going on with Beckett. All those things will be answered. By the end of the second episode we will launch into where we are going for the rest of the season.

Hawley: Then starting in episode three we start telling the stand-alone stories. We start having some fun cases.

Winter: Then later in the first half of the season we touch upon those questions that were launched in the first episode. We will be going back and re-interrupting and they will help us spin out the storytelling throughout the season.

What can you say about what's going to be happening with Espo and Ryan this season?

Winter: They're going through a bit of growing pains because Capt. Gates has been promoted and now Beckett has been promoted to captain. So the question they are asking themselves when we begin the season like you saw in the first episode is: "When is it going to be our turn?" What we do for the first six or seven episodes is we go on this journey with a lot of ups and downs of them trying to figure out how do they advance in the NYPD. That raises some fun tension between them. There are some complications, but it's fun.

Hawley: Those guys are great and they are so sort of one mind. So what's a lot of fun is to throw an obstacle in their way and see what happens.

Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC. What did you think of the premiere? 

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