Castle TV Poster Image


Light crime procedural offers less violence than CSI.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The characters investigate plenty of heinous crimes, but the show has a lighthearted tone overall. Castle's unusual background gives him a unique perspective that often helps them figure out who did it. He's also a doting single father to a teenage girl, and he's a bit out of his comfort zone now that she's starting to date.

Positive role models

Castle is a clever outsider who uses his background as a crime novelist to help the police solve crimes, usually by coming up with the most outlandish theory possible and then showing how it’s the only possible explanation. He must be both thick-skinned and persistent to make his case when his colleagues insist his ideas border on lunacy.


Little on-screen violence, but most of the crimes on the show involve violence -- including murder -- and the crime scenes sometimes feature brief shots of corpses.


Castle is a charming rake who constantly flirts with his female partner and the women they meet during their investigations. They also sometimes speculate on the sexual habits of their victims and suspects when it's relevant to the crimes they're investigating.

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters sometimes discuss drugs and alcohol as possible factors in the crimes they're investigating. Some social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this crime drama about a novelist (who also happens to be a devoted single dad) who tags along with a detective as she investigates crimes is much less violent -- and more lighthearted -- than intense procedural series like CSI. Many of the cases do involve murder, so some crime scenes feature shots of corpses, but there's little gore. Some episodes also include discussions about the sexual habits of both victims and suspects, and there's romantic tension between the main characters. Expect some social drinking.

What's the story?

Suffering from writer's block, successful crime novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) tags along with an NYPD detective hoping for inspiration. Though his partner, Kate Becket (Stana Katic), repeatedly tells him that he's only there to observe, the irrepressible Castle can't refrain from offering his opinions. Given his lack of police training and his background as a fiction writer, his ideas tend to go against the grain -- but they still display a keen understanding of human nature. These insights often take the pair's investigations in unusual directions and sometimes lead to important breakthroughs.

Is it any good?


Fillion is the main reason to watch CASTLE. Charming and witty, his character brings some fun to what's otherwise a fairly standard cop procedural. As a fiction writer, his point of departure when examining a crime is to assume that the most unlikely, impossible-sounding explanation is what happened -- in other words, the exact opposite of his detective counterpart, who starts with the facts and moves on from there. Their interactions, as Becket dismisses Castle's outlandish suggestions and then slowly concedes he might have a point, are the best part of the show.

The weak points are the crimes themselves, which are often so formulaic that any veteran viewer of TV cop shows can immediately tell which suspects are red herrings and which minor characters will be back in the final act. Still, TV police squad rooms tend to be environments filled with stress and uncertainty, as the cops try to fit together meager clues; introducing a writer to mix up this well-known environment is a fun twist that elevates Castle from mediocrity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this kind of crime show is more appealing than one like CSI. If so, why? Do crimes like murder seem less upsetting in this context? What's the impact of seeing violence on television?

  • Do you think Castle’s crime theories are believable or crazy? Even if you don’t find his ideas plausible, does the show telegraph the fact that his wild hypotheses will likely turn out to be true?

  • Families can discuss why so many TV shows revolve around "odd couple" pairings. Is it just a way to generate conflict? Do you think odd-couple partnerships are better for drama shows or comedies? Can you think of any real-life odd couples?

TV details

Premiere date:March 9, 2009
Cast:Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Castle was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written byMiranda B. January 11, 2011

One of the best crime shows out there with it's own special flair.

Castle is a great role model for his daughter, often giving her advice. I watch it with my parents all the time and we can't stop laughing at all of Castle's antics and crazy stories. I love Beckett too, she's got that strong female independence that girls should look up to. This show is great overall. I can't miss a single episode.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written bygt4877c July 23, 2010

The commonsensemedia review is way off.

This show talks a lot more about sex than the review above says it does. We started watching it because the review said the show was clean. This show has photos of people in the act, as well as showing people having sex. I've trusted this website's reviews in the past, but this review was way off.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 9 years old July 24, 2010

Good show, might give scares to some kids

I like this show as a good family show, however there are some moments which put down a scare (not for me, but noticed between my 5 yr. old sibling), and like I said in my Monk review, I don't recommend murder plots for those under 8...however this is pretty tame.