“Castle” will lose one cast member when the show returns for Season 8 in the fall. Penny Johnson Jerald, who plays Captain Victoria Gates, announced on social media that she will no longer be on the ABC detective show.

Jerald, 54, revealed the news to fans on Twitter via TwitLonger in order to post a longer message. “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,” Jerald wrote. “Thank you all for your support and love. Hugs from PJJ.”

The actress had been with the show since Season 4. She started on “Castle” in 2011 and appeared in over 60 episodes. Her surprised reaction makes it seem as if she didn’t ask to leave the drama. The writers appear to have made the decision for creative reasons -- so why did they get rid of Kate Beckett’s (Stana Katic) boss?

Fans will remember that Beckett passed her captain’s exam in the “Castle” Season 7 finale. It’s possible that Beckett will be taking over the 12th Precinct when the show returns, but she was also considering running for New York State Senate at the time. Kate might want to stick to law enforcement rather than law making.

There is, however, a chance that Beckett will remain in her current position. For the first three seasons, she answered to Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), but he died in the Season 3 finale. Captain Gates’ exit might not be quite as final, but she could easily be replaced by someone who is not Beckett.

This might not be the only major departure in Season 8. TV Line reports that the new showrunners for “Castle,” Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley, are planning several “creative tweaks” for next year.

Fans will have to get used to changes on the show. If ABC has their way, the drama will be on for several more years. “No, [it's] absolutely not the final seasons of either [show],” ABC President Paul Lee told Zap2It in May, referring to both “Castle” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” “I would like to see them run for many, many years to come. They're both powerful, vibrant brands. They have incredibly passionate audiences.”

“Castle” will return to ABC for Season 8 in the fall, but an exact premiere date has not yet been announced. Are you upset that Gates is leaving or is she a character you can easily live without? Sound off in the comments section below!