Bones Information

Bones is an American crime comedy-drama television series that premiered on the Fox network in the United States on September 13, 2005. The show is based on forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology, with each episode focusing on an FBI case file concerning the mystery behind human remains brought by FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to the forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel). The rest of the main cast includes Michaela Conlin, T. J. Thyne, Eric Millegan, Tamara Taylor, Jonathan Adams, and John Francis Daley.

Created by Hart Hanson, the series is very loosely based on the life and writings of novelist and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, who also produces the show. Its title character, Temperance Brennan, is named after the protagonist of Reichs' crime novel series. Conversely, Dr. Brennan writes successful mystery novels based around a fictional (in the Bones universe) forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs. Bones is a joint production by Josephson Entertainment, Far Field Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.

The series is currently airing its eighth season and has been renewed for a ninth season.


Main article: List of Bones episodes
The premise of the show is based on an alliance between forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth. Brennan is the central character and team leader of the fictional Jeffersonian Institute Forensic Sciences Department. The show revolves around solving Federal legal cases by examining the human remains of possible murder victims. Dr. Brennan and her team provide scientific expertise and Special Agent Booth provides FBI criminal investigation technique. In addition to the prospective murder cases featured in each episode the series explores the backgrounds and relationships of its recurrent characters. An important ongoing dynamic between Brennan and Booth is their disagreement about science and faith. Brennan argues for science, evidence, and atheism. Booth argues for faith, God, and the unproven. The series is also known for its dark comedic undertones to, in essence, lighten the gravity of the show's intense subject matter.

Cast and characters

Main article: List of Bones characters

Main cast

  • Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan: a forensic anthropologist working at the renowned Jeffersonian Institute located in Washington, D.C. She is an empiricist and author of crime fiction based on her experiences. Her lack of social skills provides most of the show's lighthearted humor, primarily through her catchphrase, "I don't know what that means", whenever a pop culture reference is introduced into conversation. She and Booth begin a relationship near the end of season six, and in season seven, they live together with their daughter.
  • David Boreanaz as Seeley Booth: Brennan aids FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth in his investigations involving human remains that cannot be identified without Brennan's skills in forensic anthropology. Booth is often used to provide a layman's translation of the scientific jargon-filled dialog. He gives Brennan her nickname, "Bones", which she starts out hating, but comes to accept it. Despite having no training in criminology, he is known for his ability to read people's behavior and cues, a quality unknown to Brennan. He is a former U.S. Army Ranger and Special Forces sniper. He has a son, Parker, and a brother, Jared. He also has a daughter with Brennan.
  • Michaela Conlin as Angela Montenegro: a forensic artist at the Jeffersonian Institute and Dr. Brennan's best friend. Angela is Dr. Brennan's team specialist in craniofacial reconstruction"?helping to determine what their victims looked like before death to help determine their identity"?and can generate holograms using her three-dimensional graphics program (The Angelator and later The Angelatron) to simulate various virtual scenarios of a crime to help determine cause of death. She is open, friendly, and caring and constantly tries to draw Dr. Brennan out of the lab. Angela is the daughter of Billy Gibbons, guitarist of ZZ Top, starring as himself. In season five, she marries Jack Hodgins, and she gives birth to their son in season six.
  • T. J. Thyne as Dr. Jack Hodgins: an entomologist who is also an expert on spores and minerals but whose hobby is conspiracy theories. He helps teach Zack how to be socially normal. His family is extremely wealthy and are major sponsors of the Jeffersonian; Hodgins wishes for this status to remain concealed from his bosses because he does not want to be seen as a superior (it eventually came out during an investigation, although nobody has allowed it to significantly impact their relationships with him). In season five, he marries Angela Montenegro, and she gives birth to their son in season six.
  • Eric Millegan as Dr. Zack Addy (Seasons 1"3; guest star, seasons 4"5): introduced as Dr. Brennan's graduate student and assistant at the Jeffersonian Institute at the start of the series. In the second season, he receives his doctorate in Forensic Anthropology and Mechanical Engineering and becomes a professional forensic anthropologist. Although well-meaning, helpful, and friendly, when a situation calls for social interaction or intuition, he is often lost. He is also Hodgins' best friend and lives in the upper part of Hodgins' garage. Zack was removed from his position on Dr. Brennan's team in the third season finale, "The Pain in the Heart", where he was revealed to be the serial killer's apprentice, and is currently residing in an asylum. However, it has since been determined that he is not as "crazy" as was initially assumed. Zack set up his diagnosis so that he would go to the asylum, as he felt he would do poorly in prison. Zack is also known as "Zacharoni" and "Z-Man", and a recurring element in the show involved Zack and Hodgins amicably competing to be "King of the Lab". In the episode "The Pain in the Heart", Dr. Saroyan's trophy recognizing Zack as "King of the Lab" is revealed.
  • Jonathan Adams as Dr. Daniel Goodman (Season 1): a former archaeologist turned administrator, who is also the director of the Jeffersonian Institute. He is a loving husband and father to a pair of five-year-old twin girls. His way of working leads Hodgins to think of him as subjective, long winded, and lacking the qualities of a pure scientist, although the antagonism between the two develops into a friendly rivalry as the series progresses. He has not made any appearances beyond the first season. As of episode 23, "The Titan on the Tracks", he is said to be on a sabbatical.
  • Tamara Taylor as Dr. Camille Saroyan (Season 2"present): is the head of the Forensic Division at Jeffersonian Institute and a pathologist. She was born in The Bronx and was a coroner in New York City. At first, she and Dr. Brennan have an uneasy working relationship. Dr. Saroyan had a romantic relationship with Booth prior to her joining the Jeffersonian and a brief relationship during the show. Since season four, she has had a teenage adopted daughter, Michelle, because of her prior relationship with Michelle's murdered father.
  • John Francis Daley as Dr. Lance Sweets (Season 3"present): a psychologist assigned to Booth and Brennan after Booth arrests her father. He works as a psychologist for the FBI and as a psychoanalyst for the team at the Jeffersonian.

Recurring cast

  • Patricia Belcher as Caroline Julian (Season 1"present): Caroline is the acerbic, witty, and often meddlesome Prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney's Office. She is a friend of Booth's and is always willing, if not eager, to help him and his partner in their cases.
  • Ryan O'Neal as Matthew Brennan (Season 2"present): Max Keenan, aka Matthew Brennan, is the biological father of Russ and Temperance Brennan. A known criminal involved with gangs in the '70s, he and his wife changed identities to lead an honest life with their children. In the second season, Booth arrests Max on murder charges and he is tried in season three, where the jury finds him innocent on all counts and is released, and is finally given the opportunity to reconnect with his children.
  • Eugene Byrd as Dr. Clark Edison (Season 3"present): He is the most serious and professional of the Jeffersonian interns, and the most organized. At the beginning of season eight, Cam hires Clark as a forensic anthropologist, to focus on archaeological work.
  • Michael Grant Terry as Wendell Bray (Season 4"present): He is Dr. Brennan's top scholarship intern. He dates Angela briefly during season five.
  • Carla Gallo as Daisy Wick (Season 4"present): Daisy is upbeat and eager, often annoying the other Jeffersonian workers. She frequently has an on-again, off-again relationship with Lance Sweets.
  • Joel David Moore as Colin Fisher (Season 4"present): Colin suffers from depression and has a very dark sense of humor. He sometimes spends time at mental health facilities for treatment.
  • Pej Vahdat as Arastoo Vaziri (Season 4"present): Arastoo starts out by having a fake Jordanian accent, so he does not have to constantly explain his Islamic beliefs, but later drops the accent. In season eight, he begins dating Cam.
  • Ryan Cartwright as Vincent Nigel-Murray (Seasons 4"6): Vincent is an Englishman and a graduate of the University of Leeds, and has a habit of reciting trivia while working. In season six, he is shot in the chest by sniper Jacob Brodsky, which led directly to his death. Hodgins and Angela name their son after him.
  • Luke Kleintank as Finn Abernathy (Season 7"present): Finn is the youngest intern, and incredibly smart. He is from the South, and has a dark past, including a criminal record and he was accused of killing his step-father. His background sometimes adds tension between himself and the other characters. He is dating Cam's daughter Michelle.



The concept of Bones was developed during the latter part of the pitching season of 2004 when 20th Century Fox approached series creator Hart Hanson with an idea for a forensics show. Hanson was asked to meet with executive producer Barry Josephson, who had purchased the rights to produce a documentary on the forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs. Although Hanson was reluctant about being involved in making a police procedural, he signed on and wrote the pilot episode after having an intensive meeting with Josephson about the show. As the show is based on the works of Reichs, the writers constantly involve her in the process of producing the episodes' storylines. Although the show's main character is also loosely based on Reichs, producers decided to name her Temperance Brennan, after the character in Reichs' novels; Reichs has stated that she views the show as somewhat of a prequel to her novels, with the TV show's Temperance Brennan as a younger version of the novels' Temperance Brennan.

In order to make Bones a unique crime drama in the midst of the multiple procedural dramas that already populated network television like the Law & Order and CSI franchises, Hanson decided to infuse the show with as much dark humor and character development as possible. Another element conceived for the show was the "Angelator", a holographic projector that provides a way to replace the flashbacks often used by other procedural shows. In addition to their expositional purposes, the holographic images, which are created by visual effects, brought a unique visual style to the show that the producers were looking for.


David Boreanaz was the first actor to be cast in Bones. Series creator Hart Hanson described the actors who had auditioned for the role of Seeley Booth as "pretty boy waifs" and immediately responded when the head of the studio, Dana Walden, suggested Boreanaz for the role. Boreanaz was offered the role but was unenthusiastic about getting involved after a difficult meeting with executive producers Barry Josephson and Hart Hanson, even though he thought the script was well written. However, after the producers contacted him again to convince him to accept the role, Boreanaz agreed to sign on and was cast as Seeley Booth.

Emily Deschanel was cast in the role of Temperance Brennan just before production began on the Bones pilot. After Deschanel finished the film Glory Road, the film's producer Jerry Bruckheimer recommended that she audition for Bones. Deschanel impressed Hart Hanson at her audition with her assertiveness. In a tense moment in the audition scene, David Boreanaz stepped closer to Deschanel. Deschanel held her ground rather than retreating. Hanson remarked that, in such a situation, "90% of actors would take a step back". Deschanel was subsequently cast in the role.

Beginning with Season 4, Zack Addy (played by Eric Millegan) was replaced by a succession of lab assistants: Wendell Bray (Michael Grant Terry), Colin Fisher (Joel Moore), Vincent Nigel-Murray (Ryan Cartwright), Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat), Clark Edison (Eugene Byrd) and Daisy Wick (Carla Gallo). One"?Scott Starett (played by Michael Badalucco, formerly of The Practice)"?is much older than the typical grad student. Marisa Coughlan guest-starred in a few mid-season episodes as FBI agent Payton Perotta, who was brought to the Jeffersonian as a temporary substitute for Booth when he was incapacitated.


Most of Bones is filmed in Los Angeles, California, despite the fact that the show is mainly set in Washington, D.C., where the fictional Jeffersonian Institute is located. The external shots are of the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. The interiors of the Jeffersonian Institute were specially built on a large sound stage at the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City, Los Angeles, California. The two-part fourth season premiere was filmed on location in London, United Kingdom.


The soundtrack album titled Bones: Original Television Soundtrack, produced by Maria Alonte McCoy and Billy Gottlieb, was released in 2008. It contains 13 songs recorded by popular artists for the show.

Broadcast and release


A consistent naming of the episodes occurs. Almost every episode title alliteratively alludes to how the victim is discovered in said episode, like "The Critic in the Cabernet" and "The Dwarf in the Dirt", or to the main plot device of the episode, like "The Hero in the Hold" and "The Change in the Game".

American ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Bones.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
Season Episodes Timeslot (ET) Original airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Season premiere Season finale TV season
1 22 Tuesday 8:00 pm (2005)
Wednesday 8:00 pm (2006)
September 13, 2005 May 17, 2006 2005"06 #60 8.90
2 21 Wednesday 8:00 pm August 30, 2006 May 16, 2007 2006"07 #50 9.40
3 15 Tuesday 8:00 pm (2007)
Monday 8:00 pm (2008)
September 25, 2007 May 19, 2008 2007"08 #51 8.90
4 26 Wednesday 8:00 pm (2008)
Thursday 8:00 pm (2009)
September 3, 2008 May 14, 2009 2008"09 #32 10.81
5 22 Thursday 8:00 pm September 17, 2009 May 20, 2010 2009"10 #32 10.02
6 23 Thursday 8:00 pm (2010)
Thursday 9:00 pm (2011)
September 23, 2010 May 19, 2011 2010"11 #29 11.57
7 13 Thursday 9:00 pm (2011)
Thursday 8:00 pm (2012)
Monday 8:00 pm (2012)
November 3, 2011 May 14, 2012 2011"12 #48 9.26
8 24 Monday 8:00 pm September 17, 2012 April 29, 2013 2012"13 TBA TBA
The series premiere of Bones attracted an average of 10.8 million viewers with 6.7% household share and 11% household rating. Bones finished first among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic and in total viewers in its Tuesday 8:00 pm ET timeslot. New York described the show as "the best drama of the new network season" and a "sexed-up variation of all the CSIs". Regarding the show's procedural structure, Entertainment Weekly notes that Bones has a "pretty standard Crossing Jordan/CSI-style framework" but holds up because of the chemistry between the two lead characters; "that old Sam-and-Diane, Maddie-and-David, Mulder-and-Scully opposites-attract stuff never feels standard when it's done right."

Following the broadcast of the series' third episode, Fox ordered a full season of Bones. It was renewed for a second season after its strong performance in ratings in the timeslot following American Idol and on its own without the American Idol's lead-in audience. Overall, the first season of Bones ranked 60th in viewership among prime-time shows and 53rd among the 18 to 49 year old demographic, with a seasonal average of 8.9 million viewers.

The second season premiere attracted 8.61 million viewers in its Wednesday 8:00 pm timeslot, finishing second among the 18 to 49 years old demographic and first in total viewership with 6.7% household rating and 11% household share. As a lead-in for American Idol, the second season finale of Bones obtained 10.88 million viewers with 3.5% household rating and 11% household share. It tied first in viewership among the 18 to 49 years old demographic with The Price Is Right Million Dollar Spectacular on CBS. In the 2006-07 television season, Bones improved its ranking to 50th place in viewership among prime-time shows with 9.4 million viewers and was ranked 51st among the 18 to 49 year old demographic. The show improved its ranking during its third season, placing 51st overall. However, its overall viewership was down from the previous season, averaging 8.9 million, the same as in the first season. Viewership began to steadily increase with its fourth season.

Broadcast history

Bones premiered on September 13, 2005 on the Fox network and was broadcast weekly in the Tuesday 8:00 pm ET timeslot before it was moved to the Wednesday 8:00 pm ET timeslot in 2006. The first season finished on May 17, 2006 with a total of 22 episodes.

The second season premiered on the Fox network on August 30, 2006 and retained its Wednesday 8:00 pm ET timeslot. The second season finale was aired on May 16, 2007, ending its second season with 21 episodes. One episode, "Player Under Pressure", was left unaired, which was originally scheduled to be broadcast as the second season's 19th episode but was pulled by the Fox network in the United States after the Virginia Tech massacre. The plot involved the discovery of the human remains of a college athlete, and eventually aired on April 21, 2008 as a part of the third season.

The third season premiered on September 25, 2007 in its original premiere timeslot, Tuesday 8:00 pm ET. The show went on hiatus on November 27, 2007 because of the 2007"2008 Writers Guild of America strike and returned on April 14, 2008 in the Monday 8:00 pm ET timeslot. The shortened third season finished on May 19, 2008 with a total of 15 episodes.

The fourth season premiered September 3, 2008 on the Fox network in the Wednesday 8:00 pm ET timeslot with a two-hour episode that was filmed on location in London. Originally scheduled to return from hiatus on January 15, 2009, Bones instead resumed one week later because of preemption by President Bush's farewell address. As a result, two new episodes, "Double Trouble in the Panhandle" and "Fire in the Ice", were aired back-to-back on January 22, 2009, airing in a new timeslot, Thursday 8:00 pm ET. The fourth season finale aired May 14, 2009 with a total of 26 episodes.

The fifth season premiered September 17, 2009 on the Fox network and retained its Thursday 8:00 pm ET timeslot. It consisted of 22 episodes and ended on May 20, 2010.

Off-network syndication of Bones began the week of January 28, 2008, on TNT.

On March 29, 2012, announcing the renewal for an eighth season, Kevin Reilly, Fox's Chairman of Entertainment, said, "Over the past seven seasons, Hart Hanson, Stephen Nathan and the incredible Bones cast and crew have redefined the traditional crime procedural with an irreverent and adventurous sensibility, and I'm really happy to have this distinctive fan-favorite on our schedule for another season."

Online distribution

Fox has released free episodes of Bones and several other primetime series online for viewing on Netflix, Hulu, and its MySpace website, which is owned by the same parent company, News Corporation, that owns Fox. This began on October 3, 2006 but access is restricted to residents from the United States only. Bones is also available on their official website via Fox On Demand. In Canada, recent episodes are available on the Global TV website, and seasons 1 to 7 are on Netflix.

Spin-off series

In October 2010, it was revealed that Fox was developing a potential spin-off series that would be built around a new recurring character that would be introduced in the sixth season. The potential spin-off series would also be created by Bones creator/executive producer Hart Hanson, and be based on The Locator series of two books written by Richard Greener. The character of Walter is described as an eccentric but amusing recluse in high demand for his ability to find anything. He is skeptical of everything"?he suffered brain damage while overseas, which explains his constant paranoia and his being notorious for asking offensive, seemingly irrelevant questions to get to the truth. Production on the episode was scheduled to begin in December 2010, but was delayed to early 2011 due to creative differences.

Creator Hart Hanson posted on Twitter (in a humorous manner) regarding the notes he got from the network, "I received studio notes on the Bones spin-off idea. They want it to be better. Unreasonable taskmasters. Impossible dreamers. Neo-platonists." During Fox's TCA press tour, executive producer Stephen Nathan revealed production on the episode featuring The Finder began in February 2011, with the episode airing in April.

In the episode, Booth and Brennan travel to Key West, Florida, where the spin-off is said to take place. Nathan went on to say regarding the casting of character, "You want to find people you want to see every single week do one unique character. That's why when you have Hugh Laurie, who is essentially playing a very unlikable character, you love to see him. And that is a rare, rare quality to find. And the finder won't be an unlikable character, but because it is a unique character, it's difficult to find just the right person." Geoff Stults was cast as the lead character with Michael Clarke Duncan and Saffron Burrows cast as the other two lead characters. The three characters were introduced in episode 19 of the sixth season.

The Finder was picked up for the 2011"2012 season on May 10, 2011 with an order of 13 episodes.

The Finder was canceled on May 9, 2012 and aired its final episode on May 11, 2012.


Critical response

Reviews for the pilot episode were mixed, and holds a Metacritic score of 55 out of 100, based on 29 critical reviews. Subsequent seasons have received generally favorable reviews.

USA Today comments that compared to other crime shows, the show "is built on a more traditional and solid foundation: the strength of its characters" and "what sets Tuesday's Bones premiere apart from the procedural pack are stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, as the season's most appealing new crime fighters." On the other hand, Media Life Magazine says that while Bones has "an amazingly clever notion, brilliant even", its "execution doesn't match the conception" and based on its first episode, the show "fails to evolve into a gripping series. In fact, it quickly becomes so derivative of so much else on television"?especially, strangely, X-Files"?that one might even call it bone-headed."


Bones has received two Emmy nominations, for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series for "The Hero in the Hold" at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards and for Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role for "The Twist in the Twister" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Emily Deschanel was nominated for a 2006 Satellite Award for Best Actress " Television Series Drama.

The series has also won two Genesis Awards for the episodes "The Woman in Limbo" and "The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken" for raising awareness on the issues of pig slaughtering and industrial chicken farms, while the episode "The Finger in the Nest" received a nomination.

Bones was nominated for two awards at the 37th People's Choice Awards, for Favorite TV Crime Drama and Emily Deschanel for Favorite TV Crime Fighter. The series received three nominations at the 38th People's Choice Awards, for Favorite TV Crime Drama, David Boreanaz for Favorite TV Drama Actor and Emily Deschanel for Favorite TV Drama Actress.

Other media

Aside from the television broadcast of Bones, its characters and concepts have also been produced in print, on the internet and in short videos for mobile phones.

Currently, there are two print books related to the series, one a novel and the other an official guide. Buried Deep (ISBN 978-1-4165-2461-8), written by Max Allan Collins, was published by Pocket Star on February 28, 2006. The book is based on the characters in the television series rather than the characters created by Kathy Reichs, who had inspired the concept of Bones. Its plot focuses on Dr. Temperance Brennan and Special Agent Seeley Booth's investigation into the skeletal remains left on the steps of a federal building and its connection with a Chicago mob family. Bones: The Official Companion (ISBN 978-1-84576-539-2) is written by Paul Ruditis and published by Titan Books, released on October 16, 2007. The book includes cast and crew interviews, episode guides and a background detail on real-life forensics.

Fox has made extensive use of the internet to promote Bones. Prior to the broadcast of the second season episode "The Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House", profiles of the characters involved in the episode were put up on their own MySpace web page. The blog entries of the characters were created to give insight into the potential suspects to be featured in the episode. In the episode, Brennan and her team uses clues from these web pages, which the viewers can also access.

A spin-off series consisting of 26 two-minute episodes, called Bones: Skeleton Crew, was produced by Fox and launched through a partnership with Sprint Nextel in conjunction with MasterCard's sponsorship. It was released to Sprint TV subscribers in November 2006 and released on the official website of Bones on December 4, 2006. The episodes do not feature the show's main cast; its plot revolves around three Jeffersonian Institute lab technicians who use their skills to solve a mystery.

Bonus content was posted by Fox on Bones' official site during the third season, which include short videos featuring Booth and Brennan waiting to see Dr. Sweets.

Home video releases

Season Episodes Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 22 22 22 November 28, 2006 October 30, 2006 January 11, 2007
Season 2 21 21 21 September 11, 2007 October 15, 2007 December 3, 2008
Season 3 15+4 15+4 15 November 18, 2008 November 17, 2008 March 4, 2009
Season 4 22 26 26 October 6, 2009 October 26, 2009 October 27, 2009
Season 5 22 22 22 October 5, 2010 October 18, 2010 October 27, 2010
Season 6 23 23 23 October 11, 2011 October 17, 2011 November 9, 2011
Season 7 13 13 13 October 9, 2012 October 1, 2012 November 7, 2012

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