'Castle' star Stana Katic on the tense 'Kill Shot' and playing a character with PTSD

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As we've already seen in previews of tonight's (Nov. 21) episode of "Castle," "Kill Shot" promises to be one of the most emotional outings yet. As a sniper terrorizes New York City, Det. Beckett not only deals with the usual stress from trying to solve the case, she also struggles to hide the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder she's experiencing after being shot by a sniper in the Season 3 finale.

Although Beckett has been in plenty of high-stress situations since she was shot, this one is different because it directly addresses the shooting, Stana Katic, who plays Beckett, tells Zap2it.

"There's a sniper in New York City and the whole gang is committed to bringing the sniper to justice. But this brings up all these dormant issues for Beckett of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," she says. "I think it's something unusual for a character like her who is so in control of every investigation, and so in control of most of her life most of the time, to find herself in a space of pure fear. That is what this experience is -- it's just pure, stymied fear."

Katic says after researching for her role, she truly feels for people experiencing PTSD themselves. "I have a tremendous amount of compassion for the people that are going through that experience," she says."I got a chance to speak with a few people who have either worked through it or are working through it. Oftentimes people in positions of authority and stoic members of a community or family have it and aren't given a space to express it -- [they] really don't know how to handle it because it's a very solitary experience."

Katic credits director David Barrett and writer Alexi Hawley for giving the episode such power, especially in the scenes where her character breaks down in her apartment. "There's some beautiful moments I think between the Esposito [ Jon Huertas] and Beckett character," Katic says, "that really guide the audience through this psychological experience that Beckett is going through. It was a sweet progression."

Since Esposito suffered from PTSD in the past, he's the one to really help Beckett conquer her fears during this case. "I think that it's unusual for [the rest of the gang] to see her off her game, and everyone wants to help but no one knows how."

Castle ( Nathan Fillion), especially, has a hard time figuring out how to deal with Beckett's PTSD. "Men want to protect the people that they love," Katic says. "They want to guard them, they want to erase any problems that especially the woman that they love is having. He finds himself unable to do that, so he has to rely on her and her strength, and he also has to rely on her dear friends."

Ultimately, the sniper incident will allow the rest of the team to see Beckett truly vulnerable for the first time. "She's the one who's not supposed to fall apart," Katic says of her character. "She's the one who's supposed to keep the ball rolling. She's the one who's supposed to have all the answers and keep everyone else motivated and on their game. This is the first time she can't. She needs help."

"Castle" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.




Photo/Video credit: ABC