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The Three Castle Episodes That Were Directed By Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes

Throughout its eight seasons, ABC's "Castle" managed to recruit an impressive roster of guest stars, including everyone from novelists like James Patterson to Marvel superstars like Chadwick Boseman. Interestingly, the series, which starred Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, also managed to include some notable heavy hitters behind the camera as well, namely former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" star Jonathan Frakes.

Although Frakes is undeniably best known for his role as Starfleet Commander William Thomas "Will" Riker, he's also built quite an impressive directing career since the series that originated that character ended in 1994. He's directed his fair share of feature films, including "Star Trek: Insurrection" and "Star Trek: First Contact," but he's found the most success in television, directing episodes of series like "The Orville" and "Star Trek: Picard." 

Frakes' filmography also includes three episodes of "Castle." Because of his close association with "Star Trek," Frakes may not be the first guess that comes to mind when thinking about directors behind "Castle." However, in each of his three episodes, Frakes finds some interesting ways to mix things up for the formulaic series. Here's a look at all three. 

Frakes directed Kill the Messenger

The first episode of "Castle" directed by Jonathan Frakes is Season 2, Episode 8 ("Kill the Messenger"). Frakes' work is known for having a sometimes lighter bent to it — see movies like 2002s "Clockstoppers" or 2004's "Thunderbirds" — but his first episode of "Castle" is actually a fairly dramatic one. The team investigates the death of a bike messenger, who dies making a delivery to Captain Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson). The package in question turns out to be evidence tying back to a homicide case from Montgomery's past, one where he may have arrested the wrong man. 

The case eventually leads Castle and Beckett to a wealthy family tied to the years-old dead woman whose murder Montgomery originally investigated. It's a serious storyline that gives Montgomery some strong moments, but it's also plenty of fun. In the end, it turns out that the matriarch of the family, Lenanne Wellesley (Jill Andre), ordered the killing of the young woman in order to protect her son's political ambitions. 

Frakes' influence can, perhaps, best be felt in a subplot in which Castle's mother, Martha Rodgers (Susan Sullivan), gets back into the dating game, providing plenty of comedic opportunities for Frakes and inspiring more than a few dry one-liners from Castle himself.

Frakes directed and cameoed in The Final Frontier

If you set out to design an episode of "Castle" specifically for Jonathan Frakes, you'd probably wind up with something just like Season 5, Episode 6 ("The Final Frontier"). In addition to directing this episode, Frakes also cameos in it as a Castle superfan attending a comic convention. Of course, Frakes is no stranger to the convention circuit, having been an early face at them long before they went mainstream (via FanCons.com). 

The plot of the episode revolves around the SuperNovaCon where Castle is autographing his book "Storm Season." He's living a bit in the shadow of "Nebula-9," an old sci-fi series that is offering fans a firsthand experience with the cast on a mock set. Although Castle makes it clear he's no fan of the one-season show, Beckett certainly enjoys a much greater appreciation for the series. In fact, the detective describes the series as her first real escape from the real world. She also reveals that she likes dressing up as her favorite character from the show, Lt. Chloe. 

The central murder is that of the woman who revived the "Nebula-9" series. The list of suspects is a revolving door of hilarious Hollywood and convention cliches, but the murderer turns out to be one of the stars of "Nebula-9," who was attempting to prevent the rights to the series from being sold again. It's an episode littered with "Firefly" references and perfectly-sold tongue-in-cheek moments, no doubt thanks in large part to Frakes. 

The director was obviously chosen for the episode because of his familiarity with conventions (via TVLine). In a wonderful nod to "Star Trek," the final moments of the episode also feature William Shatner's rendition of "Ideal Woman."

Frakes' final Castle episode was The Fast and the Furriest

The final episode of "Castle" directed by Jonathan Frakes is Season 5, Episode 20 ("The Fast and the Furriest"). In addition to his prominent placement in "Star Trek" lore, Frakes is also quite well known for hosting Fox's "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction," a series where myths and legends are investigated. More often than not, Frakes winds up dismissing the outlandish claims in a matter-of-fact manner. This is why when Big Foot comes up in "The Fast and the Furriest," you know you are in good hands with Frakes. 

In the opening moments of the episode, a dying woman is dumped outside of a hospital. It's later discovered that her wounds suggest an animal is behind the attack. A large footprint, the victim's work history in a primate sanctuary, and a call to a Big Foot expert create suspicions, much to Castle's seemingly infinite glee. Unfortunately, there is no Big Foot in the end, and it is discovered that the victim was actually killed by Dr. Paul Devlin (Albie Selznick), just another generic criminal.

It's another episode primed for Frakes' direction, filled with plenty of humorous moments, especially as Castle gets more excited at the prospect of discovering a Big Foot. In true Frakes fashion, the episode ends with Castle admitting he still believes Big Foot is out there, and he might see him one day.