Brennan and Booth, Happily Ever After? Through a series of challenging cases involving everything from very old friends, vanishing artists, upsetting family secrets, professional athletes, and that ephemeral new-old serial killer, Brennan and Booth will also be confronted with how their perilous jobs impact their domestic life.
“We want to examine the fact that working together they’re in an extremely dangerous situation. What does that mean for Parker and Christine?” Nathan said. “How does their work affect their family life now?”
In an industry where writers, producers, and directors doggedly seek novel story lines with fantastical twists and outrageous character revamps, the Bones crew has a reputation for choosing a more down to earth approach, and that has sustained them for nearly a decade. Commenting on his reasoning, Nathan said: “These are some of the things we are going to be exploring because they’re real.”
“I want them to be happy for a while,” he continued, eschewing the clichéd yo-yo strategy of countering romantic bliss with heart-breaking tragedy. “They have enough to contend with; people shooting at them and trying to kill them, dead bodies. You want them to go home and have a good time.”
“The plan post-nuptials,” Nathan explained in a preseason interview with ScreenSpy, is to “put them in the most extreme situations we possibly could for the remainder of the year—murders we’ve never seen before—crimes, motives, clues that will test them—and see how two people in love will deal with that.”
In our Monday interview, Nathan spilled more about the direction they intend to pursue throughout the duration of the season. “Primarily they will rely on the squints and their friends even more than they have in the past.” Speaking of friends, Nathan let it drop that two of our favorites will be gracing the screen later this season.
Aldo Clemens (Mather Zickel), Booth’s very own personal Father Mulcahy; and CIA operative Danny Beck (Freddie Prinze Jr.), who first graced our screens and stole our hearts (especially Aldo) in ‘The Secrets in the Proposal’, will definitely reappear. We’re working on that episode (with Danny) now for February.” He teased further that, “the episode teams Booth and Danny in a common cause, but also causes Booth to question Danny in a way that hopefully will be very surprising.”
The Ghost Killer Strikes Again and Again
Will Pelant be reaching out from the grave? “We haven’t felt the end of Pelant,” the executive producer warned. In fact, the character who feels Pelant’s presence most profoundly is our newly-hitched anthropologist. “Brennan is the type of person who is not going to forget the words of warning that were given to her by Pelant,” further confirming executive producer Hart Hanson’s preseason interview tease to ScreenSpy that this next Big Bad, “is someone who comes to our attention because of Pelant.”
Earlier this season Pelant (Andrew Leeds) baited Brennan by stating that the new killer is female and indiscriminate in her choices of modi operandi and geographical locations. Brennan believes these to be facts, because, as she says to Cam in the same episode, “Pelant has never lied to me.”
In the January 2014 premiere episode, Nathan spilled, Hodgins will finally get his moment in the sun, or, in this case, in the field. “Pelant is reintroduced when Hodgins goes back to an old family friend,” the executive producer teased. By that time, Brennan’s obsession with Pelant’s mysterious supposition of a connection between longstanding and seemingly disparate cases, “…will surface in a way that concerns Booth and other people at the lab. They’re all going to have to contend with seeing how immersed and overwhelmed Brennan is by the idea of this new serial killer.”
So, who is this new killer and can he jump the bar raised by Pelant? “We always feel that it’s best not to try to repeat ourselves. Pelant was such a ‘huge’ presence in everybody’s life, such an enormous and ‘personal’ threat,” he emphasized, “that it’s very difficult to do that again. So, in a strange way, we’ve gone in the opposite direction.”
On the opposite end of the scale from Pelant, according to Nathan, is an antagonist as illusive as the wind. “So, it’s a very ephemeral (transitory, impermanent) presence and a sort of evil that lurks in the shadows, someone whose identity we are not even sure of.” A presence, Nathan told ScreenSpy in August, that “—will loom over our people in a way we have yet to see on Bones. It’s someone who is far more ephemeral than any of our other bad guys.” For an empiricist like Temperance Brennan, an intangible adversary would be anathema.
Nathan further shared that the newly dubbed ‘Ghost Killer’, “has existed for many, many years and [remained] anonymous.” Astonishingly, as Pelant alluded in ‘Sense in the Sacrifice’, says Nathan, “many of these murders that have gone into limbo as cold cases are linked, we then have to find out who it is.”
In the January episode introducing the Ghost Killer, we won’t learn much about her/him, teased Nathan. ‘All that’s happening is that we’re being pointed in a direction.”
Cam Faces Her Crucible And Gets Some Answers
Earlier this season Cam’s stolen identity brought her to her knees, demonstrating that she must depend on her friends to bolster her through some of life’s crises. That’s a tall order for the very self-possessed, very polished Dr. Camille Saroyan.
“For the next few episodes where we’re highlighting Cam, we’re going to be dealing with the struggle she’s having with the identity theft, which also becomes an identity crisis,” revealed Nathan. He shared that researching identity theft has been both fascinating and eye-opening. “Most of the time the police can’t do anything because they don’t have the resources! People are left to fend for themselves to dig themselves out of a real horrible place.”
“Fortunately, she has Angela,” Said Nathan, in reference to the artist whose technological wizardry has already begun to untangle this nasty web of deceit. “She also has her relationship with Arastoo, as well as other support.” Nathan assured us that this devastating turn of events will resolve this season, and the perpetrator will be revealed.
The Hodgins Family Skeletons Fly Out Of The Proverbial Closet
Jack Hodgins grew up in a “very close and very, very wealthy family,” Nathan dished. In one February episode, Nathan said, Hodgins is, “going to find out some secrets about his family that are surprising to him, and it’s not going to be grand political secrets … but very, very personal.”
At long last, the bug man gets to go out in the field. “There is a murder that revolves around a family that was close to his family when he was growing up,” teased the executive producer mysteriously. “He’s going into a world of wealth that he no longer enjoys.” Nathan’s lips were sealed on the impact this might have on Hodgins’ efforts to recoup the family fortune, other than to agree that, “yes, everybody wants them to get their money back!”
He did share in his preseason interview with ScreenSpy that TJ Thyne, who portrays Bones’ eccentric entomologist, plays a character who, “has always wanted to go undercover, or get a gun, or go out with Booth. That’s that’s a lot of fun for us,” Nathan admitted, “because it’s something Booth really doesn’t want to happen.” He later added that, “when it does happen, it’s gonna be a big event. TJ has totally earned himself something like that. We owe the guy. He’s fantastic!”
All In The Family Matters
Family has been a central theme of Bones since its inception in 2005. Standing in today, after 174 episodes, “The Jeffersonian is a family that has become so tight and close. We’re going to see the ‘family’ of this show, and we get to see them them through Booth and Brennan’s eyes.”
Nathan shared his affection for the rotating squintern crew, saying, “I speak of them with great love, these interns are such a gift to us. They are all fabulous actors. We can’t get enough of them!” Nathan said, just barely tipping his hand about how they plan to “explore these characters we’ve really loved writing, all of them!”
“Clark (Eugene Byrd) is going to figure in quite heavily in the initial telling of the Ghost Killer story, and Fisher,” continued Nathan, in reference to the famously woeful squint portrayed by Joel Moore, “is going to be coming back and hooking up with someone we know.”
“We’re currently prepping for quite an emotional episode David (Boreanaz) is directing about the murder of an anonymous singer who we learn a lot more about as we uncover this case,” explained Nathan. ”It’s a take on the 2012 documentary, Searching for Sugar Man. We are going to see Wendell contend with something none of us would want to contend with. Is that vague enough?”
A directorial work having won a BAFTA and Academy Awards such as Searching for Sugar Man sounds like an intimidatingly tough act to follow, no matter who you are. “David is simply one of our favorite directors,” said Nathan. “It’s a terrific episode. He’s just gonna kill with it.”
Set to debut sometime in 2014, this will be Boreanaz’ seventh go-round in the director’s chair after having received some of the shows highest approval ratings for the previous six.
The downside of having such stellar recurring talent is that, “these fabulous actors … have other work, and they sometimes disappear,” chagrined the executive producer in reference to the squints.
“Oliver Wells (Brian Klugman), who was just starting to blossom in the past couple of episodes,” explained Nathan, “will be in the next few episodes … he’s directing a movie, and will be gone for a while. Hopefully he’ll be back.”
Brennan Juries a Murder Trial
Brennan has been an expert witness for hundreds of cases. She’s nearly been on trial herself. Having Brennan in the jury box and participating in closed-doors deliberations with regular people has been on the wish list for years, according to Nathan.
In ‘The Fury in the Jury’ Brennan, whose investigative hands are tied, goes nuts having to provide a verdict based upon the limited facts provided by counsel. You can bet she drives the rest of the jurors crazy as well. “It’s pretty funny having her on the jury because she wants to be the foreperson and she’s not,” Nathan said, laughing. “When somebody asks a question in court, she answers.”
The episode allowed the crew to “integrate two murders in one story and have Brennan involved in both,” Nathan explained, “even the one she’s not investigating because she’s on the jury. That’s really complicated sounding, and it really is complicated, but we hopefully do it in a way that won’t give anybody a headache. It will hopefully be as much of a treat for the audience as it is for us.”
The Move to Fridays
An unflappable Nathan had a lot to say on possibly the hottest topic currently surrounding the nine year veteran show. “Watching shows live – those days are fast disappearing,” explained Nathan. He went on to say that Bones “still has a tremendous audience that watches us live.” Nathan’s appreciation for fans was evident in his tone as he added, “And I say this with an unbelievable amount of appreciation and love for our audience: they are so devoted that they do follow us anywhere. They have announced us moving to Fridays for years and we never have. Now we are. This is a fact. We’re team players,” he insisted. “If they feel they need us some place, we’ll go there.”
Historically, the eight o’clock time slot on Mondays pulls about twice as many realtime viewers as Fridays do. “Thursday was great for us and great for Fox because of us,” Nathan admitted, “and so was Monday.” Conceding that a Friday time slot may not be ideal, Nathan remained optimistic. “It’s always been proven that wherever we go, the audience follows. Thankfully, this has happened at a time when the days of the week don’t mean all that much on television anymore, and I really believe that we have to view our audience in a different way. So many people time shift the shows, so many watch it later. Our DVR numbers go up 35 or 45 % sometimes in Live +3, even Live +7 day viewing.”
So there you have it, folks. A new Big Bad, an new obsession for Brennan, a struggling Cam, and a family of friends who continues to grow closer … even on Fridays.