Opening the Gates: An Exclusive Interview with Penny Johnson Jerald

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She may not have made the most pleasant debut on Castle last week, in the eyes of viewers, but Captain Victoria Gates is far from an evil person.

"She wants the best at that precinct," Penny Johnson Jerald told me on the phone Friday. "Does that really include having a writer hanging around?

From an outsider's point of view, it's a perfectly reasonably question to ask.

As Captain Gates

Of course, Castle has undermined Gates and gone to the mayor. He has to be around now, an arrangement both sides will struggle to deal with.

"He'll try to show the captain that he knows his stuff. You'll see if she's impressed or not," the actress says. "I can say that we'll go through some kind of transition and hopefully find a happy medium."

To prepare for the role, Jerald did her research. She discovered that there are five female police captains in Los Angeles and she spent time with a few. What did she learn? How will she apply it to Gates?

"Those under these captains admire them, revere them, they see them as someone they don't want to disappoint."

But that doesn't mean Gates will become all warm and chummy with any of her underlings.

"You never become one of the guys, that's what I learned," she said. "You always must remain the boss."

As for Beckett, many viewers might be under the impression that she's jealous of this young detective, considering Gates pointed out on the premiere how Beckett beat her by six weeks in getting a promotion. But that's not the case, Jerald says. It all goes back to wanting what's best for the precinct.

"She can see the potential in Beckett, and Victoria knows what it takes. She's there to challenge Beckett, to say: 'You wanna be the best, I'm gonna show you how to be the best.'"

Castle airs a new episode tonight on ABC. Visit TV Fanatic soon afterward for a detailed review.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Castle Quotes

Sometimes the hardest things in life are the things most worth doing.


My hero was a liar and a goat herder.