Bones is an American television show which combines comedy, drama and crime. This series was developed for Fox by Hart Hanson. The show began to air on September 13, 2005, and it reached its conclusion on March 28, 2017. Bones is the longest-running drama series with one-hour episodes which has ever been produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

Each episode of the show centers on an FBI case which FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (played by David Boreanaz) brings to Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, a forensic anthropologist (played by Emily Deschanel). Each case deals with a different mystery focusing on human remains.

The show is somewhat inspired by the novels and life of Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist who also serves as one of the show’s producers. The show’s title character, Temperance Brennan, takes her name from the protagonist of a crime novel series created by Reichs. In fact, the show’s world sees Dr. Temperance Brennan as the author of a popular series of mystery novels which feature a fictional forensic anthropologist whose name is Kathy Reichs.

Bones is produced jointly by Far Field Productions and Josephson Entertainment, along with 20th Century Fox Television.There are a whopping 246 episodes in total, and these have aired over the course of 12 seasons. Fans of forensic anthropology as well as forensic archaeology will find this show intriguing to binge watch.


FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth and forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan are the focus of this series, as their partnership is explored over the course of the twelve seasons. Brennan is the team leader and the central focal point of the Jeffersonian Institute Medico-Legal Lab, a fictional federal institution which works in collaboration with the FBI. The collaboration will remind those in the know of the historical relationship between Smithsonian Institution scientists and the FBI. 

The series, which has a backdrop of Washington DC, sees a number of federal legal cases get solved by specialists who get down to examining the human remains of potential murder victims. Dr. Brennan and the team she leads offer scientific expertise, and FBI criminal investigation technique is brought into the mix thanks to Special Agent Seeley Booth. 

There aren’t just murder cases featuring in each episode – those interested in another kind of intrigue will get an insight into the backgrounds and lives of the key characters. Conflicting viewpoints on various aspects of life are also examined. For example, Booth and Brennan regularly have disagreements regarding faith and science. Brennan supports scientific atheism and evidence, while Booth is an advocate for intuition, God and faith. 

Furthermore, this show is known for its undertones of dark comedy, which help to bring a lighter side to complement the intense subject matter and provide some relief.

Cast and characters

  • Temperance “Bones” Brennan – Emily Deschanel
  • Seeley Booth – David Boreanaz
  • Angela Montenegro – Michaela Conlin
  • Jack Hodgins – T.J. Thyne
  • Camille Saroyan – Tamara Taylor
  • Lance Sweets – John Francis Daley

Filming locations

Bones is filmed primarily in Los Angeles, California. The setting is dressed up to make it look like Washington, DC. The Wallis Annenberg Building of the University of Southern California, plus the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, provide external shots for the show’s Jeffersonian Institute. 

As for the internal shots of that institute, these come from a sound stage on the Los Angeles 20th Century Fox lot. Fans who got to season four may also notice that filming went international, taking place in Oxford and London (United Kingdom). 

Episodes and reception

Bones has aired 246 episodes over twelve seasons. 

  • Seasons 1, 5, 10, and 11 each consist of 22 episodes. 
  • Season 2 has 21 episodes. 
  • Season 3 provides viewers with 15 episodes. 
  • Season 4 is made up of 26 episodes. 
  • Season 6 gives its audience 23 episodes. 
  • Season 7 has just 13 episodes. 
  • Seasons 8 and 9 each have 24 episodes.
  • Season 12 is the smallest, with 12 episodes. 

Each episode follows a crime procedural format and involves the investigation of human remains. Ultimately, Dr. Brennan will determine whether or not the remains belong to someone who was murdered. 

Critical response

Bones has received mixed reviews, with the response to the first episode being somewhat lukewarm. However, later episodes have managed to redeem themselves with much more positive reviews.

  • The first season of Bones was subject to various opinions, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 64%. 
  • The second season received critical acclaim, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100%. 
  • The sixth season received the same treatment, with another score of 100%. 
  • The ninth season of Bones went down a little, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 83%. 
  • The eleventh season was back in the game with a rating of 100%. 
  • The twelfth season still managed to do pretty well, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93%. 

Bones has received a number of awards and nominations. The show was nominated for two Emmy awards – one for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series and another for Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role. 

Emily Deschanel received a 2006 Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama.  

Other nominations for the show include a number for the People’s Choice Awards, the Prism Awards and the Genesis Awards. 

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