Penny Johnson Jerald Exits ‘Castle’ In “Surprise” Development

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Penny Johnson Jerald - Castle S6In a surprising development, 24 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine alum Penny Johnson Jerald is exiting ABC’s hit procedural Castle ahead of its eighth season. She has been with the show since 2011, playing Detective Beckett’s (Stana Katic) commanding officer Captain Victoria Gates.

It was Penny Johnson Jerald herself who first revealed the news on Twitter, saying:  “To my Castle fans around the world, as of late yesterday I am surprised and saddened to learn that I will no longer be a part of the Castle family. Thank you all for your support and love. Hugs from PJJ.”

ABC has had a tough time with Castle in the past few weeks. With most of the cast’s contracts up and David Amann stepping down as showrunner,, ABC Studios had a difficult task on their hands. Things progressed after Nathan Fillion inked a new deal, with ABC subsequently pulling the trigger on an eighth season order and Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley soon being named new showrunners. Then, after Stana Katic spoke with Winter and Hawley, discussing potential storylines for Beckett, she agreed to return and signed a one-year deal.

As Katic’s decision came at the eleventh hour, a number of new deals with supporting cast members still needed to be resolved – with Jon Huertas, for example, signing on soon after the renewal was announced earlier this month. At the time sources suggested that Jerald would indeed be back and as such this latest development has taken everyone – including Penny Johnson Jerald and her reps – by surprise.

It is understood that the decision not to pick up Penny Johnson Jerald’s option for season eight is the result of creative changes being implemented at the top by new showrunners Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter, following their discussion with Stana Katic. While it is not immediately clear who will replace Jerald’s character as CO on Castle, there is a suggestion that a promotion is firmly on the cards for Detective Beckett.