Potential death blow dealt to ABC’s “Castle”

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CASTLE - "In the Belly of the Beast" - Beckett is recruited to assist on a Narcotics investigation, but a routine mission turns deadly when an undercover operation goes array. To survive, Beckett must engage in a battle of wits against some of the most dangerous men in the New York underworld - including a powerful enemy from her past, on "Castle," MONDAY, MARCH 3 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Nicole Wilder) PENNY JOHNSON JERALD (BACKGROUND), STANA KATIC

This week has been rough for Castle fans. The news of Stana Katic’s (Kate Beckett) departure from the show sent the fandom into tailspin. Her co-star Tamala Jones (Dr. Lanie Parrish) was also unceremoniously dumped from the veteran ABC crime drama. The network’s reason: budgetary.  Money needed to be trimmed ahead of a potential (and likely) season nine, so they became victims of studio and network politics. It is a sad but tragic reality of the business.

While cost-reductions are common as a series ages, cuts to a show’s core cast rarely happen, especially with leads. That’s what makes this story so unique in that regard. There are many ways to cut costs on a show, from sets, wardrobe and props to reducing location shoots and limiting your guest casts, a show can cut the fat fairly easily without it being detrimental to the show.

Two originals, one of which was a central character, tossed out for cost-saving measures, it’s the sort of thing that makes you scratch your chin and wonder.

I can understand voiding Jones’ contract, she was never central to the show. She’s a beloved character and will be missed but her not being around wouldn’t break the show, not in the way Katic’s departure would.

And that is what stings the hardest in all this: the show’s formula was crafted around a writer and his muse. Without it, it’s like Watson walking around with Watson. Watson needs his Holmes in order to be successful. So Castle without Beckett is not Castle at all. Before anyone judges, Castle without Beckett is not Castle at all, either. Both characters are and will be central to the show.

Before I get into the nuts-and-bolts, I want to make something abundantly clear: This article will not throw anyone under the bus but it hurls some unpleasantness. The reality of this whole situation is that there’s a lot of moving parts which came out really fast and everyone pretty much on the same page. There’s a lot we don’t know but we can make educated guesses.

My gut tells me another shoe will drop around the time the season finale airs. We haven’t seen the end of this story and it will leave the fandom talking for some time.

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