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72° Good Afternoon
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Crime writer turns detective in 'Castle'

THE SHOW "Castle"

WHEN|WHERE Premieres tonight at 10 on ABC/7

REASON TO WATCH Nathan Fillion, from " Desperate Housewives," "Firefly," " Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and - who remembers this one? - "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place." Susan Sullivan ("Dharma & Greg," "Falcon Crest") is on board as well. Also, check out cameos from James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell as Castle's card-playing buddies.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Set in a beautified Manhattan - Before the Fall - the show focuses on Rick Castle (Fillion), a bestselling pulp crime writer, who has hit a block. Then, some bodies turn up around the city, and the cops quickly determine the killer has re-created some murders from Castle's bestselling novels.

The NYPD brings him in to help the investigation, and his reluctant and, of course, beautiful partner is Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). His writer's block disappears. Lotsa fast banter and stylish direction will make some viewers dimly recall - as they are doubtlessly meant to - William Powell and Myrna Loy's late, great "Thin Man" movie series.

BOTTOM LINE Jeez, what is it with Fillion? He's a genuinely good actor possessed of that obscure object known as "charisma," yet the defining hit series remains elusive. So here's my earnest plea - please just watch this show and make the guy a big star, so we can move on to other pressing issues in TV land. Come on! You did it (finally) for " The Mentalist's" Simon Baker. Now it's Fillion's turn. Honestly, you won't be disappointed.

GRADE A

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