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Why the Female Leads on ABC’s ‘Castle’ are Women to Look Up to

ABC’s Castle is definitely one of the most underrated shows on television. It has been running for six years and just entered its eighth season, yet has never received a single Emmy nomination for anything other than music, hair and makeup. This makes sense, seeing as most viewers were Nathan Fillion fans who followed him from Firefly. Castle definitely has a cult following. And while those who don’t watch the show are missing out on something great, what makes it even more unfair is that they’re missing out on some of the greatest and most underrated female characters on TV right now.

Let’s start with the main character, Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic (who is a superhero herself, but that’s another article). Kate is one of the youngest women to ever become a detective for the NYPD. She’s beautiful, smart and good at what she does. The best part about her, however, is not her accomplishments, but how human she is. Kate isn’t a character that will make women viewers feel inferior because they’re not as good as she is. Just because she seems perfect doesn’t mean she is. Kate has taken a bullet to the chest and stayed alive yet suffered from PTSD for months afterwards. Kate has literally sewn herself together after being shot yet reacted like a coward to the events following it. She is a person with strengths and flaws and that’s what makes her such a good role model.

My favorite part about Kate has to do with something brought up many times throughout the series: her high heels. Kate has chased down criminals in six inch heels and never stumbled. This is so important because there’s a stereotype that says that a woman cannot be sexy and smart. Masculine characteristics are favored over feminine ones, whether portrayed by a woman or a man. Kate wearing heels steps on (pun intended) the idea that if a female shows femininity in any way, she is inferior and weak. Kate’s heels are a part of what makes her strong, they don’t take away from it.

Lanie, Kate’s co-worker, is a different kind of admirable. I would say that her strongest feature is how emotionally mature she is. Throughout the series, she has an on-again, off-again relationship with Javier Esposito, a detective at the precinct. She never lets the downs in her relationship affect the ups of her career.

Alexis and Martha, Rick’s daughter and mother respectively, add both to the family dynamic of the show and destroy stereotypes themselves. Alexis is one of the few teenage girls on TV who is equally interested in boys and schoolwork. She loves her family and herself and wants to create a life for herself on her own that she can be proud of. Martha doesn’t follow the superwoman single mother stereotype. She raised Rick in her own conventional way and still drives him insane sometimes, but there is so much love in her heart. Let’s not forget to mention that she started her own acting school and always has confidence in herself.

The best part about the women in Castle is that they all love and support each other. The show takes every trope that pits women against women, and crushes them. Women in the workplace hate their female coworkers? Show me Kate and Lanie going to each other whenever they need support or want to have fun. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law hate each other? Show me Martha going to the 12th precinct to give Kate a hug when that was the one thing she needed the most.  Daughters hating their stepmothers? Show me Alexis forming a friendship with Kate instead of just accepting her as the woman who married her father.

The depth and ability to relate to each of these women is what keeps viewers coming back to the show. We can all see a little bit of ourselves in them and since they are such strong, well-rounded women, we feel empowered by them as well.

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