Kate and Rick: A Love Story

“What we are telling is a great love story,” Andrew Marlowe thus defines his creation Castle. And what a love story it is, with Kate and Rick, the so want-to-be lovers still growing and developing through three seasons, well into the fourth season of their narrative. In “To Live and Die in LA,” late season three, Rick, a man now deeply in love with Kate, tells her that he believed from their first meeting that “she was a mystery he was never going to solve.”

But their first encounter was a different story with Rick’s self-centered, play-boy attitude as to why he wanted to shadow Kate. Rick rather smugly replies: “I’m here for the story.” According to him there is “always a story, a chain of events that makes everything make sense.” It is amazing how one’s concept of sense and the story changes as one matures. At a later time, after a discussion with Alexis, Rick asks Kate: “How do you know when you are in love?”

Not having to think too hard about the question, Kate answers: “All the songs make sense.” Then in his latest novel Heat Rises, Rick acknowledges his indebtedness to Kate Beckett “who taught him how to make sense of the songs.” Did she read the acknowledgements and remember Rick’s question and her answer?

Towards the end of season one, Kate’s former boyfriend Will reminds Kate that it was Rick Castle’s earlier novels and his Derrick Storm hero that helped pull her through her grief after her mother’s murder; not willing to give in too much or give too much credit to this audacious author, she hides this fact from Rick, who in his cheeky way, I imagine, suspects from the first that she is a super fan who did, indeed, wait hours in line for his autograph…which she did, so drawn to this man and his stories even in the anonymous past, over ten years ago.

Now, as Rick’s character grows and becomes steadfast, he is willing to risk everything for Kate’s safety, for the story is no longer his fiction; it’s no longer about the books; the true story is his need to be near her, to love her and to protect her. Rick’s story is about Kate, commitment, sacrifice and their love.

In an early episode, Rick, the writer-dad, expounds on his pride in daughter Alexis’ first word: denouement, a writer’s term for the outcome of a complex situation or a series of events, a resolution. Now in dangerous times and happy ones, attempting to dictate the outcome of the events, Rick is always there for Kate. However, throughout their partnership, she calls to him. “Is he coming?” He undoubtedly is, as he runs to her, so unable to stop himself. Ironically, Kate desires someone to be there for her, not always seeing clearly the faithful, courageous man who always comes to her call.

Coming full circle in their narrative, in “Head Case,” 4×3, Kate and Rick muse together over the great love stories throughout history with Kate concluding: “That’s what the great love stories are about, right, (lovers) beating the odds.”

When Rick answers, “I hope they make it,” it sure sounded like Rick said, “I hope we make it.”

“Me, too,” Kate responds.

Their minds and hearts, however, didn’t always meet this completely. Revisiting the show’s first three seasons on into the fourth, provides an opportunity to trace their journey, two themes or threads, and the incredible writing and acting tour de force embodied in a rare television show. The journey to self-knowledge, trust and love propels the story, and lighting up the screen, is the dynamic between two ostensibly different, sometimes confused would be lovers, Rick and Kate, as they struggle to define themselves and each other.

They and we begin with the central, theme of their story. Who are you? With these first three words, from episode one, the hauntingly, beautiful detective seizes the Castle stage and with scorching intensity surveys their first crime scene, a Rick copy- cat scenario, and never gives in; she is “extraordinary.” We are fascinated by her integrity, her tenacity and her beauty and so, too, is Rick, play-boy, man about town. Spending their time together, the two unlikely partners seek to answer this existential question about themselves and each other. Who are you?

Often with preconceived notions, both seem to think they know the answers or can solve the riddle of their “partner.” Kate teases on one occasion, “So many layers to the Beckett onion; however will you peel them off?” The fun, frustration and passion lie in the unraveling.

Frequently Kate says, “You don’t know who I am,” words echoing throughout all of the Castle seasons. From the beginning Kate shuts Rick down when she feels that he is getting too close to the real Kate: “Don’t think you know me,” she defends in the first episode. And in one of the final scenes between them, in “Knockout,” the season three finale, Kate still rails and cries out to Rick: You think you know me, but you don’t.”

From the beginning, Rick also wants to know the story behind Kate’s career choice. He theorizes in the first episode: “Something happened. You are wounded…not that wounded…you lost someone you loved.” Then Kate’s achingly, lovely face changes from mildly amused with this playboy, to seared and stripped, exposed. Reading her face, her pain, Rick retreats, revealing one of his finest qualities: kindness.

Shoring up his playboy image, however, Rick later asks Kate to join him for a “debriefing” dinner date at the end of their first case together, but Kate is sure she knows who he is, Rick’s type, or so she judges: “What, and become one of your conquests,” she responds. “Or I could become one of yours,” he replies. Forced to endure him, Kate treats him like a child, like a “nine year old on a sugar rush.” Although childish and pampered, he is generous; and honor defines him. A nurturing father, Rick is present for Alexis, for fun, in crisis and for decisions, and Kate begins to see the loving father in his soul-searching and in their discussions on raising a teenager. This is a rare man she discovers.

In their dance of discovery, Rick, like Kate reveals a compassionate and sincere nature, and this revelation disrupts Kate’s preconceptions or fears of Rick. Making witty, self-effacing remarks, charmingly side -swiping a conversation, reluctant to expose his serious side, Rick is invested in maintaining his shallow, bad boy image, but he, too, is hiding and he, too, is being exposed.

Slowly the seemingly shallow man realizes the harsh truths of Kate’s cop world. Real heart break and death are not as easy to handle as they are in his novels, and the cop’s burden is a harsh reality. What will you tell Alexis, Kate frequently challenges Rick, and his clear response is always: “the truth.” Indeed, truth is the essence of this man, this story teller.

Changing to be a better man for his daughter and for Kate, Rick does, however, still believe in magic. “I don’t want ordinary,” he confides to his mother. Kate recognizes his magical qualities, pointing out his innocence. She won’t admit it, but she enjoys his amusing stories and his witty repartee.

Rick loves life and enjoys fantasy. With a child-like joy in life, he plays laser tag and fences with his daughter, rocks out with his guitar, carves pumpkins, throws costume parties, or dons the trappings of the mad scientist. He sees the magic in life, in family, in fate, in the universe, in love, in the heart, in Santa and in hope. And he wants to share the magic, especially with Kate, for “the heart wants what the heart wants.”

Rick’s belief and their differences are never more poignant then in this exchange between them when they part company for the day.

“Until tomorrow,” Rick remarks.

“You can’t just say good night?” Kate returns.

“I am a writer; until tomorrow is more hopeful.”

“I’m a cop. Good night.”

When allowing Rick back, in seasons two and three, Kate does say to him: “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Rick kindles a sense of hope in an often despairing Kate.

Well-grounded, truly, Kate believes in real and always, and she isn’t too sure about Rick, given his two failed marriages and many empty conquests. She is a “one and done kind of girl” when dealing with marriage. But along the way, Rick learns the word “always” which becomes a code word for their unspoken love and commitment to each other, and they use “always” guardedly and tenderly.

Gradually they begin to love and to trust each other, but sometimes fate has a way of coming between two lovers, Each season separates them because of rejection, shyness and hesitation or a bullet, separations so heart-wrenching for them and us, so heart breaking that it hurts to witness their poor timing and pain. And so it goes sometimes…the star-crossed love story.

Rick and Kate’s love story begins with two existential questions which wend their way through out four Castle seasons: Who are you? Why are you here? Two of the most powerful scenes in Castle and in all of television hold the answers. After three years of struggling to find the words to complete the story, it is the symmetry of those first words, colliding with their resounding echoes and responses in the final scene of season three, words crushing and uplifting us simultaneously, gripping us with heart stopping intimacy which provide an answer.

“Who are you? Why are you here? It’s a lover’s quest. At last Rick and Kate solve the mystery, each in his own way. Kate’s answer comes with her last loving look at Rick, the man who will stand with her, before their world changes and she is shot, and her trust and recognition of him while in his arms, fallen and bleeding. For Rick, the story, and the answers to the two questions are written in his last spoken words: “I love you…Kate.”

Which scene is more powerful and with which one do I end, I can only second guess, for both scenes are so intensely enthralling. But in “Rise,” (4×01) with Rick seated close to Kate, and the echoes of “Knockout” still in mind, I think of the last time Rick tried to tell Kate to walk away, that she wasn’t fine. Now with his emotions, his hope, his love playing across his face, along with the fear that she will not listen to him, Rick must convince Kate to walk away from her mother’s murder, to “give it time,” to save herself from those who would rob her of her life.

Thus Rick’s eyes, soul revealed, search her face; his voice, hushed and sometimes breaking, tells of his passion and love, of his desperation to make her understand. The most hopeful of all heroes, Rick, radiates his love and tenderness for the fragile Kate. And then Kate says, “If I don’t do this I don’t know who I am.” But this time, understanding it is his heart speaking, Kate listens to Rick, a testament to her love and trust in this man.

With his answer, Rick gives Kate an incredibly loving gift :

“You are who you always were. You are the one who honors the victims. You’re the one who can bring Sonya’s family peace.”


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  1. says

    As an original fan of Castle from the very first episode and a true Castle/Beckett shipper, this was truly something special to read. I love love love it. Great post, Trueheart (Peggy)!

  2. says

    Excellent writing skills and insight! I was captured by every word. If you haven’t published a book, you need to! Your narrative was comparable to “Rick Castle” best sellers.

  3. says

    This is a lovely article, as it captures the essence of Castle. We have come to know these characters, and care about their relationship and how the journey of getting to know one another is how they have fallen in love.

    Thank you for stating it so eloquently.

  4. dirkstd says

    Trueheart, this was a wonderful read. This is the difference between watching and understanding this show. I too have watched this show since day one and I’m invested in these two. A fan said on this website that they thought these two should not have sex. It will ruin the show. I agree they should not have sex. The should make love. As you so eloquently pointed out, they have been making love for almost four years now. Sex would cheapen what they have. The only form of love making they have not done is physical. It should be passionate, emotional and as intensely devoted as they are to each other. I hope Andrew writes that kind of scene for them. Also, no silly awkwardness afterwards. They are old enough and mature enough to be above that typical “TV crap” we see on every show. Make this different. As Andrew says, there is so much more to tell. I hope ABC gets off it’s fanny and renews this show. Hopefully DWTS will bring back some wayward viewers and coupled with what promises to be a great ending to the season, cement this show as a keeper.

  5. Shae says

    This was the most incredible Castle piece I’ve ever read. It truly resonated with me. Loved it.

  6. harshad says

    sir after reading this article ,I have become ur new fan .the way u emulates ur emotions through writing is incredible. Being the immensely dedicated follower of the show i share the same feeling as you ,BUT lack the beautiful gift of writing & understanding which u have. I don’t know BUT i m kind of feeling very emotional after reading this beautiful piece. BY far u r the biggest CASKETT shipper i ever came across . Everyone says they r biggest fan of the show ,BUT understanding the show & what each dialogue stands for take a different level of involvement .
    Being a true castle fan it will b our pleasure if u continue writing such beautiful article .FEELS BEING BLESSED.

  7. Rachel Yasui says

    Wow, excellent article! Trueheart , Thank You! You have captured what Castle is about, a beautiful love story with raw emotions, humor, and drama. I do admit I can get frustrated with Kate and Rick not seeing it, they love each other yet the brilliance of Andrew and the rest of the writing team to paint a beautiful love story. Again, excellent article!

  8. Anita says

    I wish I cold be as eloquent as “Trueheart.” I can only say that this is a beautifully written article. I, too, have watched (and rewatched, and rewatched…) Castle from the beginning. I have tried to describe to non-shippers some of these same scenes, but have not been able to capture the Castle magic as Trueheart has. I always tell people that I’m “not a tv person, but this show has everything. It’s the best show ever!” Of course, they look at me like I’m crazy. Maybe I’ll just have them read Trueheart’s article. Then they’ll understand. Just loved the article. It made me fall in love with these two all over again. Thank you Trueheart. And thanks to dirkstd, too. I’m hoping for the same kind of “love” scene as you. Their first time together should be an expression of the love they’ve been fostering. Sex can come later. I cannot wait to see how beautifully AWM , TEM, et al write that scene. I look forward to many more seasons of Castle to prove that it’s not just the sexual tension that has had us all watching this marvelous show. It’s the writing, the acting, the chemistry, the story – it is truly the best show ever!!!!

  9. Marissa says

    I have seen every single episode of Castle and I absolutely love it.
    You have these two people, who have no associoation with each other but somehow cross paths.
    Kate and Rick are two complete opposites. They shouldn’t work together but they do like two perfect puzzle pieces. Somehow they are each other’s other half and this intrigues me greatly.
    The love story of a cop and a writer, it very new, strange, yet exciting territory.
    More than anything I love the Kate Beckett character, and I must add that the character would be nothing if it she wasn’t portrayed by the lovely Stana Katic.
    I love everything about Kate Beckett, she’s incredibly strong, confident, intelligent, beautiful, sexy, and just all around “extraordinary” as Castle would put it. I also love how she is also shown in more vulnerable state as well, having to deal with the ongoing emotions of her mothers murder and her pervious shooting. It shows that Detective Kate Beckett isn’t just a tough-as-nails cop she’s a person too, like the rest of us. She’s has emotions, she’s cries and she loses control sometimes.

    The love story has been one of my favourite parts of Castle. Just to see how far they have progressed together and separately has astonished me. Watching the first episode, seeing Castle as a self-centered playboy and Kate as a hard ass, no-time-for-fun homicide detective. They have helped each other progress. Kate has helped Castle to become more serious and responsible. Castle has helped Kate make more time for fun in her life and learn that its okay to let loose sometimes. From the beginning both Castle and Beckett were intrigued with each other, and as the first progressed they both began to fall for each other without letting the other on about the their feelings.

    I think Kate really realized she was in love with Castle was during the season 1st season and then she was finally going to gather up the courage to tell him how she felt in the season 2 finale. They would profess their love and head off for a romantic summer in the Hamptons, but for some reason I’m glad they didn’t make that leap then and there. I don’t think they were quite ready for each other. But I know Castle will completely beat himself up, when it comes up after they have gotten together.

    Castle just grad her, make out with her, and make babies
    and yes I just quoted Stana. I love you, Stana. Beckett would suck if you weren’t portraying her.

  10. connieluvscastle says

    I am a true fan of Castle. Just went to Paleyfest to see Castle. Had a great time. Was so excited to get to see the cast of Castle live,even Andrew Marlowe. But if Castle and Beckekett get together will it ruin their friendship if it doesn’t work? Would love to see them together. Also espisito and Lanie together. Hopw they get picked up for Season 5 would be great. Also love Susan Sullivan as Castles mother. Been a fan of hers for a long time. Nathatns since OLTL. Love Beckett and Castlle to have a good romantic evening. He needs to ask her out!!!

  11. atikna says

    Hi Peggy ,
    this is indeed a breadth of fresh air, because this is a testament of love, and a man named Richard Castle, how often in the progression of this series we have forgotten the real story which plays out in front of our eyes . the enduring love of Castle towards Kate and more often than not we forget the many layers of castle the man that he is.
    i think this is the best way to describe this series

    thanks a lot for this

  12. SafeWordApples says

    Simply stunning. I must say you are one of the finest writers I have ever met. I read every single thing you wrote on the website, and each and every one of them was beautiful.

  13. J J Murray says

    Thank you, Trueheart. Well done.
    Castle is the most cleverly written show and Stana Katic may be the most talented actress on TV today. It all began though, with the structure and focus developed by the show creators. Trueheart has elegantly and correctly stated that this show was structured as a love story from the outset.

    That love story structure makes it unique among the mystery, procedural, action shows. Virtually every other TV drama begins with the mystery/action/crime as the centerpiece of the show. Establishing the characters and their personal lives comes later. Eventually they run out of good mystery, etc., ideas and the show becomes a soap opera about the lives of the characters. That begins the death spiral as the audience that originally tuned in for the clever mystery stories, goes eslewhere.

    The very first Castle delivered well developed characters – another nod to the creators’ craft – and the entire cast looked and had a feel of naturalness. The dance between Castle and Beckett began then in a way that you could believe. Each episide since then has brought growth to every character and deepened the relationships.
    As Trueheart stated so well, the relationships are the heart and soul of the show. The character development was excellent from the beginning and the growth of each character over the seasons has been outstanding. The crimes and solving them, while often interesting and clever, are secondary.
    I know a couple of professional writers who are addicted to this show. They agree that it is simply the best written show now on TV. Let it be so for years to come!

  14. Rose says

    Okay_ I have had it! Enough is Enough! Wouldn’t it have been more manly for Rick to confront Kate about what he heard her say, during the suspect scene with the possible bomber. Instead we get a grown man running home to mommy! Who wrote this script? A real man would sit the person down and talk, not act like a hurt teenager! Considering how much Castle loves Kate, this would be an honest move. Please, move Castle out of the sandbox – I feel insulted that the writers, wrote this episode – so low, that even my love for the series cannot redeem this episode!

  15. Tleilaxu GGhola says

    @Rose – I have to agreee completely. I have just watched the entire series from episode 1 season 1 back to back , commercial free and no weekly delay. (nearly 4 seasons in 2 weeks) This most recent episode (s04e19) left me feeling like I was watching a contrived plot device designed to stretch the love story into another season ending cliffhanger. The writers are going to have to understand that, after 4 seasons, people are going to begin feeling strung along and strung out. I cannot imagine what it must be like for longtime fans of the show, who have watched for a period of years. I went from really rooting for them to finally get together, to feeling manipilated by the writers in 1 episode. There is a fine line I belive between building the story and stringing along the fans. I feel I have a unique perspective from a continuity standpoint as I enjoyed the show enough to download the entire series and watch it back to back. Season 4 Episode 19, the latest episode, is the first episode where I felt like I was being manipulated and set up by the writers in a bad way. I hope I am wrong about this, but with only 3 or 4 episodes left in season 4 the cliffhanger is looking too telegraphed and contrived for me. Rick needs to man up already, and the writers need to stop overusing the inconvenient and poor timing as a device to string people along.

    just sayin’

  16. rpouncey says

    After Monday nights show, If things don’t change fast, I am starting to have doubts why this show has been extended another year. It is getting old fast. I have been a big fan from the start. I just hate to see where this show is going.

    Too bad