Over the years, Central Casting has evolved beyond the name of a California company that supplies studios with background actors into a term describing characters that are too many stereotypes removed from reality, which fits Castle's players to a T.

Over the years, Central Casting has evolved beyond the name of a California company that supplies studios with background actors into a term describing characters that are too many stereotypes removed from reality, which fits Castle's players to a T.

Surrounding Nathan Fillion's Rick Castle, a bored, bestselling crime novelist who starts consulting with police when a killer adopts his fictional MOs, is Stana Katic as Kate Beckett, a tough detective who's outwardly annoyed by Castle but a big fan underneath; Susan Sullivan as his live-in mother, whose drinking and one-night stands provide comedy relief; and Molly Quinn as his precocious teenage daughter, who's really the adult in the relationship.

As for the main character, his lovable, crime-solving rogue persona has been done nearly as often as the smart-talking teen. If only Castle or Fillion were roguishly lovable enough to make us forget.

Basically, you've seen virtually all of this done before, with more wit and less pandering (a revelation in the series-opening whodunit is actually explained twice in succession). But there's one thing that makes it all seem fresh by comparison: the forced sexual tension between bad-boy author and good-girl cop.