After six and a half seasons spent facing down some of the most gruesome deaths and creepy killers to ever grace the small screen, the dynamic duo that is Booth and Brennan are about to get up close and personal with their biggest challenge to date: Parenthood!
But just how will Booth and Brennan’s newest addition — which if all goes according to play will arrive sometime between the hours of 8 and 9PM tonight on FOX (Global in Canada) — affect both the show and its hard-working investigators? We recently took part in a conference call with executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan to find out just that, in addition to what else BONES’ legion of loyal fans can expect as the hit Fox crimedy plays out the rest of its season. See for yourself, after the jump.
How is the number of episodes for the rest of the season going to play out?
STEPHEN: You haven’t heard a definitive answer, because there isn’t one yet. All we know is that we have a season ender, and that will leave us with four extra episodes that have to be able to be slotted anywhere at any time without notice. That’s all we know.
HART: There’s been no word from Fox when they want to air it, whether they want to air them in the summer, or whether they want to save them for next season or slot them in next season.
STEPHEN: We just don’t know, so that actually made from some four kind of interesting episodes.
HART: Yes. I mean it might be that the executives at Fox just watch them at lunch just amongst themselves. We haven’t been told.
Will the FBI become an obstacle for Booth and Brennan at work, especially now that they’re going to have the baby and are they’re living together?
HART: We’re not planning a storyline in which the FBI says, “You can’t be partners.” We discussed it and then we thought, “God, if we tell that story, there isn’t a single audience member who’s going to go, ‘oh my God, I wonder if they’ll never be allowed to work together again?’” So we just decided not to do it—it may come up time to time, especially from Sweets that it’s odd to have a couple working together, but it’s not the oddest thing in the world.
STEPHEN: No, I think the most important thing for us is to keep the show on the same footing it’s been for seven years, which is this is a murder show, and Booth and Brennan are always going to be working together to solve these murders. So we don’t ever intend to take that away. That’s not to say that it won’t be incredibly difficult for them, but it won’t be because of any bureaucratic nonsense that it will make it difficult. It’ll just be them working together, the difficulties they have working together as they always have.
In the spring premier Daisy is back and then the following episode it looks like Finn Abernathy returns. When working on an episode, where in the process do you decide which intern is be used?
HART: It’s a twofold thing. One is we figure out who we haven’t seen for a while. Two, we figure out who would best fit the story, and then three, we find out if that person is available. Usually all three of those things don’t occur at the same time.
STEPHEN: Sometimes we have finished a script, are very, very excited that the intern of our choice is going to be in it, only to find out that they’re unavailable, so we have to rewrite the script. But we’ve been very fortunate, because these stories were very, very specific. We wanted Daisy, definitely wanted Daisy to be in the episode where the baby is born, and things are starting an arc in the episode following, so we were glad that worked out, too. She’s just been a phenomenal addition to the show.
With the arrival of the baby, can we still expect the same format of primarily focusing on that case of the week, or will there be more time spent on showing the new parents and what it’s like at home for them?
STEPHEN: There’s always been that balancing act in the show of their personal life and the cases, but we’re a murder show, so that will not change. But when we do go home, they have a new arrival, which changes their lives, so the baby will be a part of the show, because it’s a part of their lives. But somebody is still going to be murdered in a heinous and cruel way, and we will be revolted at the beginning of the show as we always have been and hopefully we’ll catch them.
HART: The balance won’t change, but the context will.
Can you address how the arrival of the baby is going change Brennan?
HART: We’ve always seen Brennan as a character who, because of her upbringing, was kind of afraid of life, did not want to engage with life, or had to be protected by a veneer of rationality and logic and science. The first thing to come and challenge to breech those walls was Booth who made her confront, lead a more dangerous life, at least emotionally in that her happiness is contingent upon another person’s happiness. And now she has a child, and you might be able to avoid a lover as someone whose happiness, your happiness is contingent upon, but definitely not a child. So that’s what she is contending with, she is now a big open bruise because of another human being and she will find that very disorienting.
STEPHEN: Brennan is so objective even about herself that she is caught off-guard by all these new feelings. I think that’s what’s great for us in terms of writing the show. We get to see a character who is as astonished by these new feelings and this new behavior as the audience is. We saw that in the first six episodes when the hormones were going crazy and she was crying, which she had never done before. She has different emotions that she’s unaccustomed to, so all of that will continue.
HART: There’s a story in one of our four hanging-chad stories. One of the victims is a kid, and Brennan turns to Booth and says in a very shocked way, “I find I have a great need to go see Christine,” and it makes no rational sense; and that’s sort of what Stephen is talking about is she’s just shocked that someone has gotten so deeply into her heart.
STEPHEN: We’ve done that actually in the second episode back. It’s the first time she is going back to work, and she has to deal with leaving Christine for the first time. Emily just did a wonderful job. It’s a great new area for us to explore.
Booth has been a father before and he has a son. But he was really kind of chauvinistic in that he didn’t want them to buy a house and use Brennan’s money, so they found this house. Is the house going to be ready, and is Booth going to give at all on the issue of the fact that she makes more money, and she can do more for this child maybe financially?
STEPHEN: They’re dealing with it. It’s back and forth. It’s what happens in any couple. The need to compromise and the ability to do so are not always the same.
HART: I’m really glad you said that because a lot of feedback that we get is that Booth is perfect and Brennan isn’t, and Booth is not perfect. He’s not perfect, and he has to, in his own way, has to give up as much as she does in this new life, and that is an ongoing, what is it, field between them that they have to plow. It’s like how much is she going to pay for and how much is he going to pay for? We get a lot of comedy out of it, as well as character stuff. It’s a good, fertile field for us.
STEPHEN: But the house is not in the shape it was in the last episode.
Can you talk about the decision to reveal Brennan’s pregnancy before you kind of revealed that Booth and Brennan were lovers?
HART: Or had ever had sex, I can’t stand the word “lovers.” I can’t stand it. I think only English people can say that. We always knew that the end season six would be the reveal that Booth and Brennan had slept together. We knew that they were going to sleep together. What changed everything was when Emily confided in us that she was pregnant, and we decided to adjust the storyline for season seven accordingly. So season seven would have been the story of how Booth and Brennan come to grips with the fact that they are now intimate and sexually involved. We threw out probably a half a season there, perhaps more and inserted that they were going to have a child. So really the only thing that changed in season six was the very last scene where she turns to Booth and says, “I’m pregnant and you’re the father.” That scene, of course, would not have existed. Otherwise mostly that season would have been intact as it was. What we have to do now is show the romance in a couple that’s been together and has a child. What America is going to miss is the unfolding courtship of Booth and Brennan and we could not be happier to avoid that.
About Brennan going back to work, will there be a time-gap or will she return to work right away?
HART: It’s actually a short amount of time.
STEPHEN: It’s a short amount of time. There’s probably six weeks or so, maybe eight weeks between the time the baby arrives and she goes back to work.
HART: She gets oddly about the same amount of time as Emily had. We did not want to do a story where our main crime solver was at home for a number of episodes. That seemed to us to be a really good way to lose a ton of viewers and momentum, so it’s right back into the fray. Mind you, we do contend with, as Stephen said, we have to contend with who’s going to take care of the baby, and how is Brennan going to juggle her being a mom living with Booth, how is Booth going to juggle her and the baby and do their jobs. But they’re still doing their jobs.
STEPHEN: Yes, we didn’t want to turn the show into some sort of domestic show where the murder was a secondary aspect. The murder is still the primary focus of the show, and their domestic lives are crucial and important and what we love about the show, but people are still dead.
With the shortened season and the four episodes that have to stand alone, were there any character arcs or some more serialized storylines that you had to push off until next year?
STEPHEN: The four actual episodes will not be arc-related. They have to be able to stand on their own. So those four episodes we were able to do stories that we wouldn’t have normally done in a regular lineup.
HART: Very, very standalone and maybe even a bit odd with the gags to them, what’s the word? They have “conceits” to them.
STEPHEN: They’re more stylized than we normally would do, and we were able to try to tackle stories that we might not normally have tackled, because we don’t know how old the baby is going to be. We don’t know what’s going to happen between relationships between people, so these really were standalone.
HART: We knew what was coming when we started the season, so it’s not like we started some and then withdrew them; but we have many, many arcs and ideas, a bin-full of ideas for them that we simply didn’t pull out, because it wasn’t going to go in this year. I’m pretty sure the one that we would’ve gotten to, had we had a normal length of a year would be some more Booth family stuff. I still want to do a Hodgins family surprise. But those just went away, because of the shortened season and because we had these strong B stories, character stories connected to the baby.
STEPHEN: I enjoyed it. There are five fewer episodes, so that’s a lot of missing arcs, but they’ll be back if we’re back.
When people have babies, it usually brings in extended family. Are we going to be seeing more of that on the show?
STEPHEN: Yes, yes, we will. We’ll certainly see some of the people, we’re going to see Brennan’s dad. He’ll return. We’ve already seen Booth’s grandfather this year under sad circumstances. Certainly going into next year, we’re going to see the extended families.
What’s going on with Cam for the rest of the season?
STEPHEN: She’s been very heavily involved this season in the lab with our people kind of as the boss. She’s sort of taken that role, that role has been expanded a bit, so you’ll see that in subsequent episodes. We have a lot planned for Cam personally, but as Hart said earlier, our hands were a little bit tied this year because of the five fewer episodes, we weren’t able to give some of the other characters that we love, Hodgins and Cam, more extensive arcs. We will be doing that if we get picked up.
In seasons one and two, Angela and Brennan were very close, always had heart to hearts and fans really seemed to enjoy those. Are there going to be more now that they’re both sort of in the same place in their life, new mothers in very strong relationships?
HART: Stephen, I’m looking at you with consternation in my face. There are two episodes that we’ve done in the last month that have good Angela and Brennan stuff in them. It’s not all over the baby, by the way, not all over the fact that they are moms. That’s certainly helps.
STEPHEN: But we’ve had a few, especially one where Angela and Brennan kind of leave the lab and play hooky. We do have them, and Cam is also now involved in sort of that kind of relationship. She’s become a bit closer to Angela and Brennan. But Angela and Brennan do, we do see them quite intimately in a few episodes.
HART: Angela has her own issues with how she’s changed, being a married woman with a child that we explore a little bit; and so she is better situated to understand what Brennan is going through feeling that she’s changed, although Angela is more nostalgic for who she used to be I think than Brennan is. She’s more reflective. But yes, in my mind it’s come up at least three times in the last six episodes and, in fact, at least one really strong storyline. I think in the season ender the audience will get a very good feeling for how close Angela and Brennan are. In some ways Angela knows Brennan better than Booth does in that way that another friend of the same sex can understand you more than your partner.
STEPHEN: And she knows Brennan better than Brennan does.
In the episode coming up on April 2nd, we find out that Brennan gives in to Booth and allows the baby to be baptized. Are there going to be any other concessions?
STEPHEN: The baby is not baptized in that episode.
HART: Yes, my glib response is every single episode where they have anything to do with home and kids is a constant trade-off between the two, as to what they are willing to give up for the other one for the other.
STEPHEN: We’ve seen seven years of these two people having such a different view of life and that will not change.
Hart, did the cast of BONES feel concerned that your attention would not be 100% focused on the original show, since you have THE FINDER?
HART: Yes. BONES is a pretty tight theatre company. We’re a pretty tight bunch. We’ve been together a long time, and there was concern, but it was of that nature. I don’t think they thought the show was going to fall apart. Stephen Nathan has been here since the first episode, and it’s not like if I died, the show would go on. There might be more jokes in it and more references to bagels, but otherwise, Stephen is perfectly capable. So they weren’t worried on a professional level. It’s just like what is going to happen to our plucky gang. It’s mostly a pleasure to work on BONES and we like each other, so I think it was more like as if I was moving a block away or something. But my office is in the same place. Both shows are shot on the lot. Stephen and I, we share a, what do you call this thing, Stephen, a porch? Our offices share this ugly little porch. We cannot get away from each other, and the actors are just a stage away, so they wander into my office. I think they mostly realized that since I wasn’t physically going anywhere, that they had nothing to worry about. And as I say, Stephen Nathan is a very confidence-inspiring guy. He just stepped into the gap that I left. Now THE FINDER hasn’t been shooting for how long now, Stephen, a month, maybe more. We’re enjoying working more closely again, but did that answer your question?
Why was it that only John Francis Daley and TJ Thyne guest starred on THE FINDER?
HART: We, being BONES, BONES shut down for a period of time and wasn’t shooting. It was during that time that we could use BONES actors on THE FINDER, so we figured out very quickly, John was the first one, because the story of having someone down to look at Walter’s mental competency was a good storyline for us and a really natural fit. And then the next story that suggested TJ was a conspiracy theorist story. If it had been another kind of story, then we would have brought down Cam or Angela. Of course, Emily couldn’t be in it because she was busy having a baby. David, we could have had him in an episode, but he very much wanted to direct an episode, so that’s when he directed was during that downtime. I hope, I’m knocking on wood, we have an uphill climb, but if THE FINDER comes back, then eventually everybody will be on it.
What is the story for this season’s big finale?
HART: Pellant is going to scare the crap out of people in the season finale.
STEPHEN: Yes, there will be no crap in people anymore after Pellant’s episode. He really is going to turn the series on its head for a little bit. He has much more power than any of our serial bad guys have had in the past.
Whether those extra four episodes are aired or not this season, the only thing we can count on is that amidst the baby-glow of motherhood and fatherhood for Brennan and Booth, crime stops for no one and there will still be plenty of bad guys and criminal masterminds to combat and conquer. Fortunately, our dynamic duo is up to the task – although a bit more sleep deprived. Pity the villain that tangles with them at this particularly prickly time in their lives! BONES returns will all new episodes starting Monday, April 2nd at 8PM on Fox (Global in Canada)
Photo Credit: Genevieve Collins
New episodes of BONES airs Monday at 8PM on FOX (Global TV in Canada) and stars David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, T.J. Thyne, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley. Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv