Emo­tions torn as Bones wraps up

Stars David Bore­anaz and Emily Deschanel dis­cuss Bones’ fi­nal sea­son – and the se­ries’ his­tory – with

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Not many net­work TV se­ries go for 12 seasons; cer­tainly few that flirted with can­cel­la­tion for half of their runs. But some­how, Bones has pulled it off, and now the show has earned the right to go out on its own terms.

The se­ries opener The Hope in the Hor­ror, which screens for the first time in New Zealand on July 7, also marks the first di­rec­to­rial ef­fort by co-star Emily Deschanel, who plays foren­sic an­thro­pol­o­gist Dr Tem­per­ance ‘‘Bones’’


Luck­ily, she could draw on the ex­pe­ri­ence of her on­screen part­ner, David Bore­anaz, who has helmed nearly a dozen episodes of the se­ries. He also di­rected the se­ries fi­nale, and worked out the sched­ule so that Deschanel could wrap about a day ear­lier than she an­tic­i­pated.

‘‘I was very emo­tional, and I didn’t know that would be it,’’ she re­calls now.

‘‘I thought I would be work­ing the next day. That was a bit of a shock, hon­estly, and I fell into a pud­dle of tears.’’

Deschanel’s di­rec­to­rial de­but didn’t make her quite as weepy, but there was still plenty of emo­tion in­volved since her episode fea­tured the re­turn of orig­i­nal cast mem­ber Eric Mil­le­gan, who plays bril­liantin­tern-turned-se­rial-killer’sap­pren­tice-turned-psy­chi­atric pa­tient Zack Addy.

At the end of last sea­son, ‘‘Bren­nan’s been kid­napped’’ by Addy, she says, though the rea­son why ‘‘may not be that sin­is­ter’’.

Mil­le­gan re­calls read­ing the script for the Sea­son 11 fi­nale, in which view­ers find out that Zack has kid­napped Bren­nan and is hold­ing her hostage.

‘‘I’m the cliffhanger,’’ Mil­le­gan says. ‘‘I’m Luke Sky­walker at the end of The Force Awak­ens.‘‘

‘‘You’re go­ing to learn ev­ery­thing,’’ he adds. ‘‘What Zack has been up to all this time, why he kid­napped Dr Bren­nan, and you’re not go­ing to be dis­ap­pointed with the an­swers.’’

Mil­le­gan, 42, says he couldn’t be more ex­cited to be back in ac­tion on Bones, even though he won’t give away any se­crets about whether Zack is evil or just mis­un­der­stood. He says it’s been fun go­ing on Zack’s bizarre jour­ney, from as­sis­tant to foren­sic an­thro­pol­o­gist to kid­nap­ping Bren­nan.

‘‘Near the end of the third sea­son, they called and said, ‘We need to talk to you.’’’ Mil­le­gan re­calls of how Zack’s first dra­matic shift in char­ac­ter. They told him: ‘‘You’re Gor­mogon’s ap­pren­tice.’’ He says: ‘‘I was like, ‘What? Have I been eat­ing peo­ple?’ and they said no.’’

Even though find­ing out Zack was work­ing for a can­ni­bal­is­tic se­rial killer was a bit of a shock, Mil­le­gan re­calls: ’’I had good ma­te­rial as an ac­tor.’’

His de­par­ture in the third sea­son also prompted one of the show’s long­est-run­ning jokes: the ‘‘squin­terns’’.

‘‘When Eric left the show, we de­cided to try dif­fer­ent in­terns to see if we could find one we liked,’’ ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Stephen Nathan re­calls, ‘‘but af­ter a very short time, we re­alised, this ro­tat­ing in­tern thing is great!’’

For a show about death, Bones killed off re­mark­ably few reg­u­lar char­ac­ters, among them Zack’s suc­ces­sor, Vin­cent Nigel-Mur­ray (Ryan Cartwright) and FBI psy­chol­o­gist Dr Lance Sweets (John Fran­cis Da­ley), whose fi­nal episode Nathan de­scribes as ‘‘bru­tal’’.

Through­out its lengthy run and many time slots, the one con­stant has been the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Bren­nan and Bore­anaz’s FBI agent, See­ley Booth, who evolved from re­luc­tant co-work­ers to spouses with two kids.

‘‘The arc of Booth and Bren­nan was re­ally the most grat­i­fy­ing,’’ Nathan says. ‘‘There was some­thing so slow and hon­est about their evo­lu­tion as in­di­vid­u­als and as a cou­ple. You didn’t have to force it or rush it. While there was al­ways this Moon­light­ing curse hang­ing over our heads,’’ he says, re­fer­ring to the Bruce Willis-Cy­bill Shep­herd se­ries that flamed out once the cou­ple be­came a ro­man­tic cou­ple, but adds: ‘‘At a cer­tain point, the ten­sion was dis­hon­est. They needed to be to­gether.’’

Bore­anaz and Deschanel agree, expanding on Nathan’s point.

‘‘Booth taught her com­pas­sion and love for oth­ers, that you have to take your time and not blurt things out,’’ Bore­anaz ex­plains.

‘‘He taught her how to see peo­ple for who they are, not what they are. She was al­ways very clin­i­cal, so he opened up her life force. For Booth, it was be­ing able to recog­nise the clin­i­cal as­pects of the job that he was do­ing. Booth fell not only for her, but her de­ter­mi­na­tion and pas­sion for find­ing the killer or get­ting the job done.’’

Adds Deschanel: ‘‘When peo­ple love each other, they change each other for the bet­ter, and I think that’s cer­tainly the case with Booth and Bren­nan.’’ – TNS

Bones 8.30pm, Fri­days, Prime.

Emily Deschanel and David Bore­anaz have spent 12 seasons work­ing to­gether on Bones.

David Bore­anaz di­rected nearly a dozen episodes of the se­ries, in­clud­ing the sea­son fi­nale.

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