'Castle': Who Died in the Series Finale?

Castle - H publicity 2016
Courtesy of ABC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the series finale of ABC's Castle, "Crossfire."]

That's a wrap for ABC's Castle. The long-running procedural wrapped its eight-season run Monday by solving the show’s biggest mystery: revealing the identity of Loksat, while giving Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) their happily ever after.

With speculation that Castle could become the latest broadcast drama to kill off its female lead this season, sources say producers filmed two different endings — one that set up a potential ninth season should the drama be renewed and one that completely closed the door, with the latter put in play Monday following the show's cancellation.

In an effort to reduce costs, star Katic was, surprisingly, let go from the series (along with co-star Tamala Jones), while Fillion as well as Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly Quinn and Susan Sullivan all inked new deals to return for a potential ninth season. The new contracts set the stage for a likely season nine renewal. ABC, however, opted instead to cancel the veteran series in a brutal day that saw the ax also fall on Nashville, Agent Carter, Galavant, The Family and The Muppets.

"While we're still trying to process all the emotions stirred up by recent events, the feeling that stands head and shoulders above all else is gratitude," showrunners Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter said in a statement. "Eight seasons. A hundred and seventy three episodes. None of it would have been possible without you — our loyal and passionate fans. You are the reason this show survived and thrived. Without you carving out 'Castle Mondays' every week, we would never have been able to make the show we love for as long as we did. So thank you. And thanks to Andrew Marlowe for creating such a delightful world, centered around a love story for the ages. It was an honor and privilege to shepherd the story of Castle and Beckett this season. And finally, thank you to our cast and crew, who have been our family for these last eight years. Who elevated every script by investing the best of themselves into each episode. We will miss you profoundly."

As for how the on-screen story ended, promos for what wound up serving as the series finale had fans worried that Beckett would ultimately join the long list of women who have been whacked on TV this season. That didn't happen.

When "Crossfire" opens, Beckett, Vikram (Sunkrish Bala) and Castle are hot on the Loksat trail and desperately trying to catch him with the help of Caleb Brown (Kris Polaha), the public defender who once worked on Team Loksat but who has now agreed to assist in leading the team to his former colleague. Just as Castle and Beckett are hoping to intercept a drop Caleb is doing for Loksat, things go awry: The man who pulls up to the scene isn’t Caleb but a decoy. Before the team can react, shots are fired from all angles. Beckett and Castle are quickly rescued by Mason Wood (Gerald McRaney), with whom Rick had previously interacted in Los Angeles. Beckett is instantly suspicious.

As it turns out, Caleb met a fiery end in a car, but not before leaving a clue about the identity of his killer: Loksat's unknown right-hand man. Knowing this means yet another person is gunning for them, Castle and Beckett split up to protect Castle's family as well as colleague Hayley (Toks Olagundoye) and the rest of the crew. Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Ryan (Seamus Dever) quickly get suspicious, with Beckett filling them in as extra backup. And they need it, as Rick winds up captured by Loksat's right-hand man and taken to a hidden location. There, he meets Loksat’s counterpart Mr. Flynn, who wants the names of every person who knows about Loksat’s existence. Castle isn't willing to give that up without a fight, so Flynn naturally drugs him with a truth serum. Just before Rick starts to spill, Loksat reveals his true identity: Mason — or so viewers are left to believe.

Mason then threatens the lives of Rick's loved ones and tells him everything ends in tragedy — even an epic love story like Castle and Beckett's. Castle ultimately escapes Loksat's clutches in time to save Beckett from being thrown into Mason’s incinerator. As if there were any doubt about the couple's devotion, Beckett solidifies their love story by saving Castle and taking Mason out once and for all. The Loksat saga has one final twist when the couple returns home and Castle wonders why Loksat would have Caleb killed in a burning car when he had an incinerator handy. Before he finishes his thought, Caleb comes in guns blazing and is revealed to be the true Loksat. Bullets fly, and everyone is shot. Caleb is dead, ending the Loksat mystery for good. Beckett and Castle are left cuddled up next to each other clutching their wounds as the drama fades to black. (Sources tell THR this is how Castle would have ended were the series to have ultimately been renewed for season nine.)

The episode then jumps ahead seven years and reveal that both Castle and Beckett survived and had three children together. (Rewatch the final moments of the series finale, below.)

Are you happy with how the Castle story concluded? Sound off in the comments below.