Picks and Pans Review: Castle

updated 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ABC, March 9, 10 p.m. ET |

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A sort of creakier Bones, this detective series with an undercurrent of romantic comedy stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, a best-selling writer of suspense novels. When a copycat killer begins lifting murder motifs from Castle's books, he tags along on the investigation—and gets on the nerves of Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), a beautiful but crabbily grim NYPD detective who can't stand Castle's playful nonchalance. (It doesn't help that his hunches are often correct.) Ah, but observe: Despite the frost of Beckett's exterior, some emotion in her heart has begun to make her badge glow with a pleasant heat. Fuzz is gettin' a buzz.

Fillion (Desperate Housewives) has the right sort of easy, strapping presence for this repulsion-attraction nonsense, but he and Katic don't have anything like the physical chemistry that makes Bones' David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel click as a team. Katic succeeds a bit too well at capturing Kate's fundamental drive for control. She makes Mariska Hargitay look as unbuttoned as Kathy Griffin.

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