In light of today’s news about the show, my usual review didn’t seem appropriate. Instead, as our time with her draws to a close, I want to take a moment to celebrate the amazing Kate Beckett.
I’m going to avoid talking about the politics of the decision, because in the crazy world of Hollywood there’s really no way to know for sure how it happened, who was involved, and what their reasoning was, but I will say that if Stana Katic truly didn’t have a choice in the matter, then it’s a real bummer that an actress who clearly took her job and her character very seriously wasn’t given the chance to say goodbye to that character on her own terms. Katic took the words on the page to new heights with her fearless, badass, and, at times, heartbreaking performance. She made Beckett who she was, and I can’t imagine anyone else doing justice to such a wonderful character. She sold every one of Kate’s emotions without it ever feeling jarring, creating a nuanced character who was flawed and believable and achingly human. So, in addition to thanking Kate, I want to thank Katic for her hard work and unflagging commitment to the role.
That nuance that Katic, as well as the writers, brought to Kate Beckett is one of my very favorite things about her. Kate is strong. She’s vulnerable. She’s tenacious. She’s brave. She’s kind. Sometimes she’s all of those things in a single moment. She’ll take a murderer down without batting an eye, then laugh at her husband’s cheesiest joke. She worked tirelessly for years to get justice for her mother, despite the personal cost. She’s an excellent captain, mixing compassion and authority effortlessly. She survived countless near-death experiences because of her nerve and intelligence and brave reliance on friends and family. She let herself fall in love and choose happiness, even when her past screamed at her to never get close to anyone ever again. She proved to herself and to viewers that love isn’t a weakness or a weapon; it’s the purest strength imaginable. Broadly, she proved that women are multi-faceted, complex individuals, making her an excellent role model, especially for young women.
I know she’s been one for me. I binge-watched the first three seasons of Castle when I was in the middle of college, trying to figure out the whole adulthood thing (I’m still figuring it out, to be honest) and feeling more than a little self-conscious about doing so. But I swear, the minute I saw that fierce, leather-jacket-wearing detective with the wicked smile, fantastic at her job and oozing confidence, I somehow felt a little more confident myself. If this woman with an impossible past and a dangerous job still managed to be so self-assured, then why couldn’t I? Shortly after, I bought my first leather jacket and a pair of high heel boots, putting a little bit of Kate’s fire in my own life at a time when I really needed it.
Now, I’ve happily gotten to a point where I don’t need the jacket or the boots to feel confident; it’s just something I am now. However, I’ve grown rather attached to them, partly because they remind me of what Kate Beckett taught me about finding your best self and remaining steadfast in who that person is. So thank you, Kate. Thank you for being a role model and a positive influence, for being unapologetically imperfect, for kicking ass and letting yourself have fun along the way. No matter how you leave the show, I, and every Castle fan out there, have that to hang onto, “always.”