Stephen Nathan on Bones’ Emotional 9/11 Episode, Learning “Not to Forget” Our Nations Heroes — Exclusive
Tonight on Bones Season 8, Episode 6: “The Patriot in Purgatory,” the Jeffersonian team will come face-to-face with the unidentified remains of a 9/11 solder, and all the emotions of that fateful day will come rushing back. On November 11, 2012, the cast and crew of Bones were honored by the by the Los Angeles City Council for their work with this powerful episode.
Wetpaint Entertainment spoke exclusively with Executive Producer Stephen Nathan about what motivated the show to create this episode, and how Bones chose to examine the event in a way that really hasn’t been seen before.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Such a good episode. What kind of responsibility is there in telling a 9/11 story? Stephen Nathan: Well, we always wanted to tell the 9/11 story, it was one that was very important to us because there were forensic anthropologists on the scene after 9/11, there were city coroners, like Cam’s character, on the scene, and it seemed a very organic way for us to examine that time.
Now, it took us many years to get there because we didn’t want to exploit the event. We wanted to have it reveal something new for us, and when we found a way to get into it by examining a set of anonymous remains it just seemed the perfect way to look at it anew, and also have characters who were very young at that time. And that’s something that I haven’t seen before, where you have people that are young at the time, telling you their experience of that day.
I haven’t seen that. But other shows have also started to tell stories about 9/11, a decade after the event. Does that allow for more perspective? I think it did allow us to have more perspective because it is so fresh, and now that the wars are winding down…There was so much horror that happened, not just on that day but for the past 10 years. These wars have been horrible, with a terrible cost to the country and all the men and women who fought. And those citizens need to be recognized and honored. I guess our victim in the show is representative of all those people whose names we don’t know, and how important it is not to forget them.
On a lighter note, you put the Squints together and they are amazing! They were great. It was so much fun to do and they loved it. First of all, they’re brilliant actors, but being together they felt like they’d been together forever. When we saw them on screen, right away it was like, “How many times have we done this before?” And they we realized — never!