I have watched a lot of different crime TV series so far, but so far I have seen only 2 series that use crime writers as main characters.
The first one, which I’ve been watching for few seasons already, is Castle. Its ongoing TV series about Rick Castle, bestseller crime stories author cooperating daily with New York detective Kate Beckett.
The second one, which I started watching this month, is Murder, She Wrote. Its main hero is Jessica Fletcher, a nice old-lady often somehow related to victim or suspect killer. I’m currently watching the episodes from 1987.
Main heroes are not only the one or even most important differences in these two TV series. Continue reading to learn more about the Castle and Murder, She Wrote.
Below you’ll see a more detailed information about the Castle and Murder, She Wrote series. If you’d like to see a summary of similarities and differences between these TV series proceed to the Conclusions part.
Castle is an USA film aired from 2009 with 6th season starting next month. Title hero – Richard “Rick” Castle except being a millionaire crime series writer is a twice-divorced single father of a teenage girl, living with his theatre-actress mother in one house. He is a playboy, always flirting with ladies, but in fact developing a strong feeling for his partner, Kate Beckett.
Even if the title suggest one-man show, it’s not true. In (almost?) every episode there is a couple of regular characters: Castle, Beckett, Ryan and Esposito – the four is working on cases in the field, cooperating with Dr. Parish, medical examiner, all under the supervision of the Captain. Apart from that Castle’s family (his mother and daughter) is always showed.
Alex, Castle’s daughter, even if she’s just a teenager is often more serious and responsible than her father. Castle on the other side is often more adult from his mother, Martha. Castle’s family gives a more relaxed and often funny side to the series.
Crime scene, solving crimes and plots
The place of crime is always (?) in New York. Usually Castle shows in the crime scene because Beckett called him after the police got information about the dead body. More often than not the victims are strangers to the detectives and writer.
Solving crimes involves crime scene search, interrogation at the police station (often by Beckett and Castle), medical examination (by Dr. Parish or Dr. Perlmutter) etc. Of course they’re using computers, internet and modern technology to solve crimes.
There are one-stand episodes (with a plot solved in 1 episode) and there is a major plot through the seasons related to the mysterious death of Beckett’s mother. There is extra plot too – a road to love between Castle and Beckett.
Most of the book writing is done in the background. In the 1st episode of 1st season Richard Castle is already a bestselling author. He wrote many books, for example a series about Derrick Storm, but killed him in last book because he lost interest in this character. After that he had writer’s block.
He helped the police (Beckett) in 1st episode where a killer copied crimes from his books. After working with Beckett (and being impressed by her) he asked a favour from mayor. To get an inspiration for next book he was partnered with Beckett. The cooperation eventually resulted in a new series, main character being Nikki Heat which didn’t make Kate Beckett happy.
Nikki Heat series was also published in real life by Richard Castle’s ghost writer.
Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote is a classical USA crime series aired originally from 1984 to 1996 having 264 episodes in 12 seasons. Main heroine Jessica Fletcher is an old nice lady, widow without children on her own, with lots of friends and family members (related to her or her deceased husband) in trouble.
Her friends include people of various standing – from millionaires to unlucky homeless.
She’s living in a small fictional fishing village called Cabbot Cove, in Maine in northeastern USA. It was a home for over 3,5 thousand of people and many murders.
Murder, She Wrote is a one-man series. Jessica Fletcher is the only person that shows in every episode. But I saw also an episode with Jessica Fletcher’s minor role. She was just introducing the case her friend solved, which she read in a letter and which viewers saw being solved in the episode.
Some of the recurring characters are from Cabot Cove (sheriffs, doctor) or family characters like Grady Fletcher, her unlucky nephew.
Crime scene, solving crimes and plots
Some of the crimes take place in Cabot Cove. Some. Jessica Fletcher is often travelling, to other USA towns or abroad, France including.
Some of the police detectives are unhappy in the beginning, some other are happy from the beginning to work with her because they’re her fans.
Police work is in the background, usually referred to Jessica Fletcher by a police officer. Her work is (from what I saw) usually a deductive one, a room-like, with a lots of talking. No shooting, no chase after suspect. It’s usually a very calm and slow-paced investigation.
Not always Jessica Fletcher is working on case with police officers. One example is an episode of her friend solving the case, next is her being a jury in the court and the other one is Jessica Fletcher being a witness in the court.
So far I have not seen a major plot.
Jessica Fletcher is a famous writer, known internationally. She’s usually writing in the background, from what I see. At first she writes on a typewriter (as seen also in the opening), later on a computer.
During the series over there are over 40 books mentioned written by Jessica Fletcher.
- Both Castle and Murder, She Wrote are crime series about famous crime stories writers helping the police with solving the murder cases.
- The writing is done in the background, but both of them wrote tens of books.
- The writers ideas are often overlooked by the police. But that’s the only common traits I found in both TV series.
- The TV series are 30 years apart: 1984-1996 for Murder, She Wrote (with 12 seasons) and 2009 and still ongoing (soon 6 seasons) which means the technology used during the show is very different.
- The main heroes of the shows are very different: a single father and divorcee having a rich romantic life (Richard Castle) and a widow lady with no children and no romantic life but with a big family on both sides (Jessica Fletcher).
- Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote is often connected somehow to the victims or suspects. Usually she’s around the crime scene before the murder happens. Rick Castle usually arrives on the crime scene after somebody discovered a body and called the police. Then his police partner (Kate Beckett) calls him to the scene.
- The action in Castle is faster and darker. Shooting, car chases and big ambushes aren’t uncommon to Castle, but hard to find in Murder, She Wrote. Old lady solving crimes requires slow-paced investigation and more focus on intelligence and deduction.
- All the action in Castle takes place in New York. Murder, She Wrote takes place in fictional village Cabot Cove, or in other towns in USA or abroad.
- The police work in Castle is of course always visible. Unlike like in Murder, She Wrote, which is usually just given out to the main heroine by a police detective.
- There is no major plot in Murder, She Wrote (afaik) and 1 or 2 episodes solves the case. In Castle there is a plot of long-time unsolved case of murdering Beckett’s mother and also a plot of developing love interest between Castle and Beckett.
These are the most important differences between these 2 series. There could be more, but it’s better to see it just watching the series.
Castle and Murder, She Wrote are the only 2 series I know about the crime writers helping the police to solve the murder cases. Both are for different type of viewers, but I think both are fun to watch.
Have you seen Castle or Murder, She Wrote? What do you think about these series? Write your opinion in the comments, so we could talk about that.
Have you seen other series (not only from USA) which use the same idea of crime writers cooperating with police to solve murder cases? If yes, please write the title and some basic info about the show, so I could watch it.
Have fun watching.