Friday, July 09, 2010

Must Watch Friday: The Big Easy and Castle

Must Watch Friday—Much More than Mysteries

Lee McKenzie investigates the appeal of two must-see mysteries: Castle and The Big Easy.

The movie The Big Easy was filmed more than 20 years ago. The television series Castle is right up to the minute. Other than being mysteries with a compelling romance, you might ask why I would link them together. What do they have in common? My answer? Both shows are based on one my all-time favorite archetype pairings—the Charmer and the Librarian.

Let’s look at detective Remy McSwain and writer Richard Castle. These two men know exactly what they want, and they use their wit and charisma to manipulate others into gladly giving it to them. Like all Charmers, they are respected and looked up to by their families, generous to a fault, and often surrounded by a cadre of admiring friends and colleagues.

Enter ADA Annie Osbourne and detective Kate Beckett—two detail-oriented women who are dedicated to their careers and as dependable as the day is long. They wouldn’t dream of using their womanly wiles to get what they want. The Librarian keeps her top button buttoned, thank you very much, and she follows her head, not her heart.

Put a Charmer and a Librarian in the same room and look out! There’s instant chemistry, but there’s also immediate conflict. It’s going to take these two a while to realize they both want the same thing, but even then their approach to getting it will be completely different. It’s when they realize that working together will help them achieve that goal that the two halves become the perfect whole.

Beckett’s common sense counters Castle’s wild speculations about whodunit, and yet they are so in sync, they frequently finish each other’s sentences.

Remy becomes one of the good guys and works with Annie to uncover the corruption in the police department.

There’s an exchange of dialogue in The Big Easy that I think perfectly sums up the Charmer/Librarian relationship.

Annie Osbourne: Never did have much luck with sex anyway.

Remy McSwain: Your luck’s about to change.

The Librarian’s icy self-consciousness is about to be melted by the Charmer’s sweet talk and smooth moves, and as Annie and Remy overcome their differences and learn to work together, luck, and life, changes for both of them in ways they never imagined. Of course, in a film, we get to that point in two hours. Castle fans are still waiting for all the delicious tension between Castle and Beckett to finally bring them together, and the wait is half the fun.

Castle and The Big Easy—two different stories, four very different characters, one perfect pairing. They’re not stereotypes, which sums up why we love stories based on these strongly crafted characters.

If you’re a writer, I highly recommend my favorite writing “how to” book, The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes  by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders.

If you haven’t seen The Big Easy, rush out and rent the DVD! If you’re a fellow Castle fan, I’m sure you’ll be watching reruns every Wednesday night this summer and counting the days till season three returns in the fall.

Lee’s next Harlequin American Romance, Firefighter Daddy, will be in stores on July 13. She has a confession to make, though. Ever since she saw the cover, she’s been secretly calling it firefighter hottie.

You can visit Lee at her website and her blog, The Writer Side of Life.


  1. Lee,
    I seriously love Remy McSwain and Castle. Great analogy--and the Archetype book is one of the best books on craft I've read.


  2. Hi, Lee. I saw the link on your blog and I have to admit, the picture from Castle send me racing over to read this blog. I adore Castle; it's one show that never fails to entertain. My heart was breaking for Kate at the end of the season finale.

    I don't think I've ever seen The Big Easy though. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I was just plotting a new book this morning and thinking that I need to go back and look at the Archetype Guide. Another great recommendation.

    My B&N is unreliable at stocking AR so I may just have to download Firefighter Daddy to my new Nook come Tuesday.

  3. Thanks, Alexis. I agree with your assessment of the archetype book. It's my go-to book for every new project.

  4. Oh MaryC, you have a Nook. I'm so envious. Got one on my wish list.

    If you love Castle, I'm sure you'll enjoy The Big Easy. Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin have great on-screen chemistry.

    Best of luck with you new project!

  5. Love your post, Lee :-). The Librarian and the Charmer pairing makes me smile, every time.

    Love your take on the title of your book, too :-). I'm sure that cover will have the books flying off the shelves and into readers' eager hands!

  6. Hey, I haven't seen The Big Easy in over ten years! I love that battle of wits conflict, too. :)

  7. Thanks, Terry! Lots to smile about with this pairing :)

  8. Gillian, I love The Big Easy. I hope I've inspired you to watch it again :)

  9. Great topic Lee!

    The Big Easy - Even the name piques my interest. I probably did see it but never checked it out from a writer’s point of view. Now Castle is another thing altogether. My fav show…and you’re right the chemistry is building. But damn – once they give in to their attraction, the series will be over. We all know after the climatic build-up, all there’s left is the rather quick ending…. or at least it’s that way in books.

  10. Wow! Super comparing the t.v. show and the movie.

    I've watched both - and I love them.

    And you're right - they do fit into the archetypes.

  11. Mimi, it's my guess that the Castle writers plan to keep us in suspense for a while.

    Do check out The Big Easy. It's a must-see!

  12. Always great to meet another fan of Castle/The Big Easy, Jodie!

  13. Brilliant assessment of both the series' and the movie's appeal, Lee. Thanks for that. You've nailed the book I'm working on right now, too!

  14. Thank you, Anne! Is it in your Sept 2011 release, The Virgin's Proposition, that you're giving us a Charmer and a Librarian? I can't wait!