Penny Johnson Jerald Departs ‘Castle’: Will Season 8 See Beckett Promoted?

Penny Johnson Jerald is out on Castle. According to Zap2It, the actress announced her exit from the ABC series on social media on Friday, and her exit is now raising a lot of questions for fans of the popular ABC series as it heads into Season 8.

For some time earlier this year, fans were worried that it was the end of Castle and Beckett on the small screen. The series was not picked up for Season 8 until May, and for a time it looked like Stana Katic would not follow Nathan Fillion’s lead and sign a new contract for the series.

However, Katic did sign a new contract, and that move solidified Castle’s future on ABC. There are big changes coming though. The series has two new showrunners taking over for Season 8. Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley took over the series earlier this month, and they have some ideas about the creative direction of the series.

Alexi Hawley spoke with TV Line about Castle Season 8 earlier this month, and fans will see a lot more of Castle and Beckett’s relationship next season.

“I’m thrilled not to have to come up with a show that doesn’t include Stana. That’s a high-wire act. There’s always a Plan B, but it would’ve been a fundamentally different show, and that would’ve been quite a mountain to climb. It’s very, very early days. At this point, we haven’t even sat down and talked about it yet. Fundamentally, Beckett and Castle’s relationship has room to have movement in it. So for me – and I can’t speak for Terence – we’re just excited to go in there and see what the future holds. ABC just really wants to tell good stories and I think there’s still a lot of great stories to be told.”

At the end of Castle Season 7, Beckett had taken her Captain’s exam, and she passed it. She was getting ready to decide her next step. Spoilers have teased that a big career change is coming for Beckett. She could either run for political office or take a promotion where she is now.

With Jerald’s exit, Captain Victoria Gates is out. This means a new captain would be needed at the 12th precinct. With Beckett passing her exam, she could easily slide into that position. With Jerald’s sudden departure, it is likely that will happen when the series returns in the fall.

Stana Katic did release her own statement after she signed her new contract earlier this month, according to KPopStarz.

“I am pleased to announce that, after talking with out new show runners, Terrence Paul and Alexi Hawley (both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on the show before), I’m excited about the future plans for Beckett and delighted for a Season 8 with Castle.”

As for Penny Johnson Jerald, she shared the news with her followers on Twitter. Jerald joined the series in 2011 as Victoria Gates, but the character never had a solid storyline of her own on Castle.

“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.”

Fans have responded to the exit of Jerald from the series on social media. People were not happy about the news.

According to CarterMatt, Castle will likely start production for Season 8 in July. However, there are reports that fans will see a shortened 13-episode season instead of a normal 22-episode season for Season 8.

Fans should not worry about the shortened episode order. Paul Lee spoke about the series recently, according to Entertainment Weekly. The ABC president would like to see Castle on the network for “many years to come.”

What do you think of Penny Johnson Jerald’s exit from Castle? Were you surprised to see the exit of Captain Victoria Gates? What do you think this means for Beckett’s future?

[Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images]