In the ABC drama series CASTLE, Seamus Dever portrays Detective Kevin Ryan, a role which has become more complex as the show explores the inner psyche of who Detective Ryan is beneath his loveable, funny-guy exterior. CASTLE is a cop show that embraces comedy and levity in the most absurd investigations, but which will also delve into the darker side of murder, cop killers, and sociopaths. Sliding seemingly effortless between the agile comedy and finely-tuned drama, Seamus is a chameleon on screen. In an exclusive interview, Seamus shared what drives Ryan and the relationships he prizes above everything else.
In your mind, who is Detective Kevin Ryan and what do you think epitomizes who he is in his soul?
SEAMUS: Whoa, deep. Wow. I think Kevin Ryan is a nice guy who is always under-estimated about what he really knows. I think he is quiet and I think he is a smart-ass. He grew up with two older sisters, so there’s always been an interesting relationship with older siblings that he has. I think what epitomizes who he is, is his loyalty to his partners and his loved ones around him and how he would protect them regardless of the cost. I think that’s my answer. [Laughter]
Over the past two seasons particularly, we have seen Det. Ryan take increasing risks and make harder decisions when his fellow officers’ lives are on the line. What lengths do you think he’ll go to, to protect those he cares about?
SEAMUS: Well, it’s been one of those things — we had an episode last season where Ryan and Esposito are being tortured to find out some information that would compromise and harm Beckett and Castle — Beckett in particular — and it was one of those things that we were willing to bite the bullet and be tortured and take all this punishment rather than tell them what they wanted to hear. So I think it gets to the point where you get to the point — and Ryan comes from the neighborhood still — where you don’t squeal on the people you’re protecting. He’s not a rat. He’s going to protect the people around him. We saw that in his response to torture. But on the other side, it’s one of those things where he has an idealistic sense of what the job is — because there was the whole predicament last year that we were playing with Captain Montgomery and it was like, “Do we tell anyone about this? Or do we sort of do the right thing and let him die in peace and not reveal that he was a dirty cop?” And it was always one of those things that Ryan was in favor of letting everyone know and Esposito was in favor of letting him die in peace. So it was one of those things that we sort of carved out how everybody feels about those particular moral situations.
With those kind of moral issues and ethical issues facing them on a regular basis now, do you see it causing ripple-effects in Ryan’s relationships with his co-workers or will those always be steadfast for him?
SEAMUS: Well, it is interesting. The nature of drama is conflict, so there is no way there will not be conflict. Here and there, there have been arguments that he has with his partner, Esposito, who feels differently about things than Ryan, like Castle. But with Beckett, he seems to see eye-to-eye with her on a lot of things. It is one of those things that we sort of like to play with once in awhile: “What if they were having an argument? What if they were disagreeing? What if they were mad at each other about something, with him and his partner?” I don’t know. It’s sort of one of those things I love to play with. The nature of our show is that everything has to reflect the mystery that we’re trying to solve. So a lot of times we can’t delve into those real psychological aspects without getting back to the case in the very next scene. So a lot of that stuff has to sort of counterpoint what’s going on. So we don’t ever really get to get that deep into that aspect, but it would be nice someday to have some episodes where we do that.
This is kind of a deeper question, but of all the people Ryan works with, who is the one who sort of mirrors who Ryan is in their work situation? It is not always their partner, it could be somebody else at their office.
SEAMUS: I actually think it’s Beckett. I think Ryan’s always wanted to be a better cop and he’s always looked towards her leadership and the way she is and the way she thinks and the way she is creative about problem solving. We had an episode earlier this year, “Kick the Ballistics” where we got to partner Ryan and Beckett together and it was neat because I think we got to see a little bit how they are similar — how they are driven when they want to be. So I think he is closest to Beckett and I think he looks up to her in the way she sees things. I also think he looks at Castle in a different way too because we get to see the side of him that’s curious about things and Castle is so different than anyone that Ryan has ever known, that he looks to him for different things too. But I think he wants to be most like Beckett.
How do you think Ryan sees Castle and how he is always involved in the precinct and all their cases, particularly over such a long time span now?
SEAMUS: One thing we are sort of playing with are these “Castle Jr.” scenes. We all talked with the writers this year. Jon and I went and talked with the writers as a group and talked about ideas about where it is headed this season. And one of the things that was fun that we sort of discovered that Ryan — at the very beginning he decided to embrace Castle’s viewpoint on things, particularly as it can be beneficial in being more creative in thinking as a detective — and so he sort of welcomed Castle and was happy that he was around, and also becoming a fan of his books. So something we are always playing with is he looks up to Castle as sort of this very creative person that people respect and wants to be like that too. And we had some scenes last season where he’s all of a sudden quoting Shakespeare in the middle of looking for a perp and Esposito tries to take him down a notch by calling him “Castle Jr.” I think that’s something that happened once again this year. It’s something fun that they are playing with the dynamic. There was a scene I shot with Nathan yesterday where we’re reading the journal of a private detective and it sort of comes to an end and we’re both compelled by “what happens next?” and he doesn’t know and it’s exciting. So Ryan and Castle get to sort of geek out over this mystery. It’s fun. So he’s similar to him in that respect.
Finally, what can you share about Ryan and Jenny and their relationship which is going to be explored in this next upcoming episode?
SEAMUS: Ryan is getting married and it’s heading down the aisle, if you will. So this episode that is coming up is dealing with the preparation for the wedding and where it is going to go. Ryan is on a cleanse with Jenny and their cleansing themselves presumably to make themselves pure before their big day and look their best, and so everyone gets to taunt Ryan about the fact that he is excited to go on this voluntary cleanse. But I’m drinking this nasty green liquid the entire time which is actually filled with some lime juice and cayanne pepper, in real life and I drank a lot of it. So everyone gets to throw stones at Ryan that he is doing this and Esposito is also eating a lot of donuts around Ryan, who is not eating at all. He’s just drinking this liquid. So, at a certain point, there is information that turns up that Jenny is involved in the case, that they discover, and Castle and Beckett hold this information back from Ryan in fear that it is going to affect his decision about going through with the wedding. So there is some drama there that happens, as well, which gets resolved at a certain point. But you’ll have to tune in and find out!
And on that last teasing note, to find out whether wedding bells are still in Ryan and Jenny’s future, be sure to tune in for an all new, fun-filled episode of CASTLE on Monday, January 9th at 10PM on ABC (CTV in Canada)
Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to TheTVaddict.com. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).