|Main cast including Beckett and Castle (centre). Pics: Alibi|
Alibi, Wednesdays, 9pm, from 9 March
The recent vogue in UK television has been for crime series to become distressingly grim. An episode of Taggart recently featured three child murders, while the opening episode of Silent Witness included the rather gratuitous rape and murder of a child.
The US series Castle is a descendant of a more light-hearted approach to the genre made popular in classic shows such as The Rockford Files and Moonlighting. The arrival of the third series of Castle (on Alibi in the UK) is a ray of sunshine after a winter of bleak cop shows and their bogus portrayals of realism.
Castle is certainly not realistic, but it is fun. Rick Castle is a mystery novelist who, after being called in to help NYPD find a killer using one of his books for copy-cat crimes, becomes interested in developing the detective on the case, Kate Beckett, into a fictional character of his own.
'Richard Castle, you're under arrest for murder'
Pulling strings with the mayor's office, he wangles permission to keep shadowing Beckett as she works on cases.
As season three begins, Castle is nowhere to be seen. Beckett and her team are investigating the murder of a woman called Chloe. In the window of a bookshop near the crime scene is a life-size cut-out of Castle, his research with Beckett apparently having paid off with a new bestseller.
Becket, Ryan and Esposito check an address connected to Chloe. They realise there's an intruder in the apartment and draw their guns. In the bedroom, standing over another dead body is a mystery man with a gun.
It is, of course, Castle. Beckett slaps on the cuffs.