First aired:13th September 2005
Emily Deschanel – Dr. Temperance Brennan
David Boreanaz – Special Agent Seeley Booth
Michaela Conlin – Angela Montenegro
Eric Milegan – Zack Addy
T J Thyne – Dr. Jack Hodgins
Johnathan Adams – Dr. Daniel Goodman
Synopsis: A Plane lands in Washington DC, Angela Montenegro looks for the arrivals and is getting nowhere, until she flashes one of the staff, only to find the person she was looking for, her friend and boss Temperance Brennan has already got off the plane and is behind her. They are immediately accosted by a Homeland Security agent, who doesn’t identify himself, leading Brennan to take the man to the floor, before being arrested. Then the FBI show up in the form of Seeley Booth. Booth wants Brennan’s help, but after their last encounter, Brennan wants no part of that and tells him again, to stop calling her bones. Booth points out that they have a body and they need her help.
A body has been found in Arlington Cemetery, it was found during a routine landscaping (which is at no time explained in any way, given that the body is under the water in a pond) and the Medico-Legal team has arrived to assist Brennan, mostly in the form of her assistant Zack Addy. The body is brought to the surface and then sent to their lab to gain what evidence they can. As this is being done, Brennan complains about being loaned out to the FBI to her boss Dr Goodman, who is smart enough to know not to debate this with her and simply tells her to get on with the job.
The team (now including bug and slime guy Jack Hodgins) go over the phyiscal evidence, while Brennan looks at the bones, including reconstructing the skull to allow Angela to reconstruct the face which is quickly identified as Cleo Eller, reopening an old case of Booth’s.
It’s a contentious case, connected to a senator his assistant and a supposed stalker, causing Booth to tread carefully. Meanwhile Brennan heads home for a sleep and her ex-boyfriend breaks in to her flat to retrieve their TV. Later she admits to Angela that she has trouble connecting to people and is a lot more comfortable with the hard science of her bones. Angela suggests she lets people in more.
Evidence points towards the senator, when Booth acts on it, he’s kicked off the case, but Brennan works out that some of the evidence comes from the topical fish tank of Cleo’s boyfriend, the senator’s aide and goes to confront him, he is about to burn all the relevant evidence and Brennan has to shoot him in the leg. He’s soon arrested and the grieving family are able to find closure as their bury their daughter.
At the funeral for Cleo, Brennan opens up to Booth about the disappearance of her family when she was 15 and he tells her of the guilt he feels over his time as a sniper in the Army Rangers. He wants to make up for the harm he has done, Brennan offers to help.
Notes: Like most I was aware of David Boreanaz from his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I covered here recently) and it’s spin-off Angel (also covered here recently) and was kind of curious how he would be on another female led show, in another genre. The answer? Quite well. Mostly cast in Angel for his looks and charisma, it’s in this show that his full range comes into play. Seely Booth is funny, haunted and focused on his job and all of those are on show here. He has the bearing of a cop, with a soldier’s composure and acts as a great partner to the show’s actual lead Emily Deschanel as Dr Temperance “Don’t call me Bones” Brennan. Their chemistry is fun and easy, giving the whole thing a light hearted feel that belies the character of Brennan. She herself as a character is devoid of tact, nuance or anything like personal skills. She’s abrasive, kind of condescending and more than a little stand-offish from everyone in her life. What Deschanel does and does well is make her somewhat with it. From her reaction to anything like pop culture being “I don’t know what that means” to her compassion towards the victims of violence that she deals with as a forensic anthropologist, she goes from being the cold and aloof scientist to being the beating heart of the show. Were it just this pairing, the show would work just as well, but we also get the boy-genius Zack as well as artistic free-spirit Angela who seems to be only on the team because of her friendship with Bones and rounding the team off is Jack Hodgins. Hodgins is something of a find, intelligent and highly paranoid, he is the conspiracy theorist and voice of discordance at every point. It creates an ensemble of scientists, cops and artist that marks this show as very much it’s own thing.
It’s a solid procedural that mixes science and a bit of humour to give us something a little different and I found myself drawn in to a show that has from the start a lot of potential.
Does it work? Yes, a case of the week procedural with a forensics bent that avoids the overly glossy feel of a CSI show.
Does much need fixing? Not really, we have a genre, a format and a cast within 20 minutes.
Does it stand up? Have watched the show several times and never felt less than entertained.
Do I want to watch the next one? Yes, I was about to, but decided to pick another show to avoid diving into the 12 season run.
Did I enjoy it? Very much so.
Overall: 5 out of 5. A perennial favourite and a joy to watch.