After almost three seasons on the comedy-drama TV series “Castle,” actor Jon Huertas says he’s glad the show as been able to “raise the stakes” this year.
“I feel very satisfied,” Huertas told me during an interview the week before the Season 3 finale. “I think this season is a season where our show really came into its own. It was a culmination of two years of working out all the kinks.”
Since 2009, Huertas has played Detective Javier Esposito, a member of an NYPD homicide team investigating a series of unusual murders with the help of mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion).
During our interview, Huertas, who is part Puerto Rican, talked about how a show like “Castle” has found success when other crime procedurals have not and how he learned the show was being renewed for a fourth season.
The Season 3 finale of “Castle” airs May 16 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
Are you surprised the show has done as well as it has over the last three seasons especially since many of these type of crime shows come and go all the time?
It’s somewhat of a surprise, but the first time I read the script it was obvious that it was a different type of crime procedural. I could almost tell at that point that it was going to be something a little different. I think people were ready for this sort of mystery. The audience is what keeps us going. They are very loyal to the show.
Is there still room for more of these crime shows or has it become a little diluted over the years? Can you tell when a new show is going to work or not?
When a new show comes out I can never tell if it’s going to work. Sequel shows are always a big question to me. I think there will always be new crime procedurals. Audiences want to invest in storytelling. Shows like this allow the audience to participate in guessing who did it. It’s a natural curiosity that people have. They want to try to solve the murder before the end of the show.
You received the news earlier this year that “Castle” would be coming back for a fourth season. As an actor, what’s going on in your mind when you find out ABC is bringing you back?
It was a “wow” moment. [Fellow “Castle” actors] Semus Dever, Nathan Fillion, and I found out via Twitter. It was the first time I ever found out something like that through Twitter or any other social media outlet. Usually it’s our producers who would like to tell us the good news, but news travels so fast now.
Is it just as satisfying hearing it through Twitter compared to a producer or your manager telling you?
I think it’s better getting it from the horse’s mouth, but you can’t control things like that. It still felt really good. I think it’s nice to share that emotional aspect with someone. When you find out on Twitter it’s like, “Oh, that’s it?”
How much of a voice do you have when it comes to the show’s script? Do you ever worry writers will write your character into a storyline you don’t like?
I think that fear is always kind of there for any actor on the show. Our writers are pretty open with us. They ask us what we’d like to do and what we’d like to see. Once the script comes out, they allow us to be collaborative with them, which is kind of rare in TV. It’s really refreshing to work with these writers.
What do you do during your time off from the show?
I try to keep myself busy creatively or I would go crazy. There are a lot of things in life that I would like to try. I only have a certain amount of time on this planet, so I want to try to accomplish as much as I can. I’m always trying something new. I’m actually just leaving a dressage lesson (a specialized type of equestrian riding). I’ve been riding Western for many years and have ridden some English, so this is something different for me. I also have an album coming out in a couple of months and a single in a couple of weeks.
I didn’t realize you were a musician, too. What kind of music are we talking about?
I would call it “urban pop.” I’m definitely influenced by R&B hip hop and pop music. I’ve been into pop music since I was a little kid, so I think a mix of the two really works well.
Do you connect culturally to any of your Puerto Rican heritage?
I love to hear congas and bongos in my music sometimes. I doesn’t always fit, but we try. I did incorporate a little salsa into something recently. As far as food, there’s not much in L.A. that I’ve found, so I have to go investigate a little more.
You were a special ops solider in the Air Force for quite some time, so I was wondering what you’re thoughts were on the successful mission that just happened in Pakistan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
I think it’s been a long time coming. I’m glad they were able to find him. The fact that he was killed is a great thing in the overall spectrum, but I think I’m happier they were able to retrieve so much intelligence from computers and hard drives so we can see the communication he’s been having with other al-Qaeda cells around the world. Part of me wishes I would have been there.
Where do you stand on the release of photos that show bin Laden’s death?
I think I tend to agree with Barak Obama and his advisors. If it was an American soldier or high ranking American general who was killed by the Tailban and they released a photo to the entire country of Afghanistan I know how angry and pissed off most Americans would be about that. I think releasing a photo of bin Laden might insight more people who might be on the fence about America to sway the wrong way. I don’t think we should show the picture.