ABC's Castle remains a fairly popular network TV series that relies upon the (still popular as ever) traditional crime procedural format. The show has now gone on for seven seasons, following NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and best-selling mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), as they solve various unusual crimes in New York City.
Castle has always been a bit of a quirky procedural, but in a way that individualizes it among the crowded genre. Its average of 10 million viewers an episode (plus news of a spin-off series currently in-development) suggests that Castle won't be going anywhere anytime soon, either. However, not everyone from the show's cast will return to continue that success for Season 8.
A spokesperson from ABC recently confirmed that Penny Johnson Jerald (who joined the series in Season 4, will not be returning as the strict, by-the-books Captain Victoria 'Iron' Gates - marking the second captain on the procedural who has only lasted a few seasons. Captain Gates was still alive at the close of season seven,so there's no telling how or why she will ultimately leave the NYPD's 12th Precinct.
The announcement of her departure came as much of a surprise to Jerald, herself, as it did to viewers. Taking to Twitter, the actress posted the following message, "To my Castle fans around the world, as of late yesterday I am surprised and saddened to learn that I will no longer be a part of the Castle family. Thank you all for your support and love. Hugs from PJJ."
According to TVLine, Jerald’s sudden and unexpected exit is only one of several creative tweaks that Castle plans to make for its eighth go-round, under new co-showrunners Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley (filling the shoes of David Amman).
Fans of the show will recall that Castle Season 7 ended with detective Kate Beckett being offered the chance to run for state Senate, as well as the chance to become captain of her own precinct. Perhaps, in Jerald's absence, Beckett will take over the 12th Precinct. The change easily falls under one of the other 'creative tweaks' promised by the new show runners. Such a change, if implemented, would certainly change the 'office' dynamic between Beckett and Castle (who's now her husband).
Castle season 8 will premiere sometime this fall.