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On Dec. 9, Bones shot its last scenes because it had come to the end of its record-setting run. (It’s the longest-running scripted hour in Fox history!)
For 12 seasons, Stage 6 on the Fox lot was home to the Jeffersonian Institute Forensics Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and series-finale director David Boreanaz was tasked with filming the last sequence involving the main characters who had inhabited that fictional but oh-so-real setting for more than a decade. Mostly around an area on the set we call “the platform.”
The characters whom FBI agent Seeley Booth dubbed “Squints” in the pilot (because they are scientists who look at things and “squint”) were there: pathologist Camille Saroyan, bug and slime expert Jack Hodgins, forensic artist Angela Montenegro and the intellectual-center-around-whom-they-all-revolved, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan.
Without spoiling the series finale, let’s say there was a certain elegiac quality to it.
As there was with the director and cast — Boreanaz, Tamara Taylor, T.J. Thyne, Michaela Conlin and Emily Deschanel — because everybody knew it was the last time this core cast would work together.
Not bad for a little comedic procedural that mostly flew beneath the radar. Never a critical darling, never a smash success, never beloved by the Fox network, Bones was the Little Engine That Could. Moved around the schedule like a sacrificial pawn, Bones nevertheless survived longer than anyone could have imagined.
Director Boreanaz called “cut” a little early so that cast and crew could gather for a photo on the platform. Which is when the most wonderful thing happened: spontaneous speeches! It was surprisingly emotional. I enjoyed standing with the cast and crew on the platform watching speeches from cast and crew unfold because I started this carnival/parade/movable feast by writing the Bones pilot in my backyard shed in 2004.
Of course, 20th Century Fox Television could lay claim to starting the Bones ball rolling because they hired me to write. So might producer Barry Josephson, who had first seen potential in the life and times of real-life forensic anthropologist and novelist Kathy Reichs who, come to think of it, was there before any of us. On the other hand, it was director Greg Yaitanes who first saw how to take typing-on-a-paper and turn it into a living TV series. Of course it’s the cast who turned concepts into believable characters. Not to mention a network who bought the series.
So, all in all, pretty silly for me to claim credit for starting Bones.
These were the thoughts going through my head as cast and crew spoke on that last day, after that last amazing group photograph was captured.
What the hell could I say, facing those people?
Not much, it turns out, because suddenly looking at cast and crew smiling down at me from the platform, I saw faces of people who had given blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul to Bones for season after season. For years! I saw the children who were born. Couples who married. All the shadows of cast and crew past. Not to mention the ghosts of a few of our own who had died while Bones was in production.
It’s a miracle that forensic platform didn’t collapse under the weight of that whole damned village! But, of course, it didn’t collapse. Like everything else attached to Bones, that platform (essentially our main stage, the center of the series) was constructed by professionals who took pride in their jobs.
Thanks, everyone. Thank you so much.
You did a wonderful job.
We’re all going to miss us all.
The final season of Bones airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
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