Nathan Fillion on Castle, Cliffhangers and the Comedy of Crime

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Tonight brings the second season of Castle to ABC, returning Nathan Fillion to his titular role as a crime novelist who shadows NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) on the trail of killers and (hopefully) his next story. Their chemistry recalls the flirty crimesolving of Moonlighting with grisly doses of CSI gore, establishing the grounds for a dark comedy whose cult following overlaps that of Fillion's career-making work with Joss Whedon on Firefly and, later, the film Serenity.

Or at least it overlapped last week when Fillion and I chatted at SoHo's Apple Store with a few hundred of his local fans on hand (and some not-so-local; one couple said they'd driven 17 hours from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to see Fillion). An edited version of our conversation follows the jump; a full podcast will be available from Apple later this week.

So Castle blends a few different genres together here -- cop procedural, comedy, romance. What would you call it?

We're no stranger to the murder mystery-police procedurals, but we're not zooming into any wounds, going past the liver up to pancreas. If you've ever watched CSI and said, "Hey, there's a joke right there -- 'The guy really lost his head!'" On Castle, we go for it. Castle's the kind of guy who really enjoys himself. He's writing about murder all the time, and now he's living it. Every day is a field trip for Castle! He also lacks a filter that says, "Now's maybe a good time to stop."

Do you ever go too far with the character?

I pitch jokes all the time. I'm gonna say for every 20 jokes I pitch, one gets in the show.

And yet Castle and Beckett have kind of an unrecognized romance to deal with as well.

I like to think that part's very realistic. Certainly I know love at first sight exists in the world; people say, "Yeah, me and my wife, we got married 45 years ago. First, date, Vegas, that was it." They're great and happy. I'm sure that happens. For the rest of us it's a dance. You get to know someone, and then you're kind of set back, then you have to come back again. That's pretty much what we've got going on with Castle right now. Last season we coming to something, and Castle blew it. He kind of betrayed Beckett's trust. But once again, that filter... He thinks he knows best. Obviously we've got another season coming up, so something's going to have to happen where these two actually proceed along.

Well, that was quite the cliffhanger last season. Beckett didn't leave a lot of ambiguity for Castle to investigate her mother's murder. What is the next step?

I don't want to give too much away. Like I said: We have a second season. Something's going to have to happen. I found it satisfying! At the end of the day the show is about people. How do people come together after a betrayal? Tune in!

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