In Bones Season 8, Episode 6, “The Patriot in the Purgatory,” Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) — and the entire cast of characters — are pushed to step outside of their everyday bantering to evaluate the lingering effects of the tragedy of 9/11. On Sunday, November 11, 2012, the entire Bones cast and production team was honored by the Los Angeles City Council for drawing awareness to the veterans’ daily struggle. Speaking with the media at the event, Bones stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel reveal what this emotionally-charged episode taught them about their own characters.
It’s a very big episode for you guys, did you learn a little bit about your characters’ pasts?
David: With each Bones episode I think we have an understanding of how the two characters work together and how it grows their relationship or may pull it apart, and this time, in particular, I think for Booth, it’s allowed him to see her in a different light. How she put her team together and got them ready to figure out who this man was, what happened to him? And as the episode progresses, I find out he’s a vet. What we want to learn from it is an understanding of how the two characters work together, how they learn from each other, and how it brings them closer together.
Emily: We open up emotionally to each other, too. It hits Booth so much. To honor this veteran is a really an important issue for Booth. This is a man who kind of got forgotten. He served our country and then he’s here and he’s forgotten. And I think it’s important for both of us to put his story back together and give him a proper burial. But also, Brennan opens up to Booth about her experience on 9/11 — because this episode addresses 9/11 as well as veterans. And I think that brings the characters together even more than ever before.
There are some really poignant moments about remember 9/11 in the episode. Did it affect the cast?
Emily: I was affected just reading the episode, it’s an emotional episode, and pretty much every character has a story about how it affected them, just like every American has somehow been affected by that day. It was emotional just reading it. We didn’t have any group cries on set, but I might have shed a tear reading it.
David: The remembrance of that day, and how it affects you, I know reading it for me was a bit daunting and heavy. And saying to myself, is this the right time to do something like this? What do you do? How do you handle these subject matters? There’s a fine line and I think the writers did a great job. It just was great how it all came together. It felt like the right time to do it, and it fit, and for me personally – I think for everyone – you remember something of that day.
As actors did you approach it differently, because it is so realistic?
David: For me it’s always about the relationship between my character and [Brennan] so it’s always going to that first and how they would deal with it, and maintaining that sense of what they would do with it, so the approach was from a relationship aspect, how she would handle it, how I would be there for her. How I would be there to catch her from my character’s point of view, which brings up so many different emotions.
Emily: It is a more serious episode for us, but we have kind of vary in terms of tone. Every episode is different. There is some humor in the episode, but it is a very grounded, very emotional, very serious episode. It’s nice to do that.
What does it mean to be honored?
David: We shoot the show here [at City Hall]. We’re fortunate to be a production that shoots in LA.
Emily: And we shoot in this building. From the pilot we have [shot here.]
David: It was great, I really enjoyed being in the hall and meeting the president speaker and being part of that energy and environment. It’s something else. I kind of felt like I was on CNN.
Emily: Did you feel like you were in trouble?
Emily: Like, “Uh oh, better behave myself.” Are we going to uncover any of your unpaid parking tickets.
David: I should have settled the tickets while I was there. Why didn’t I?
Lastly, you guys have a ballroom dance episode coming up. Who’s the better dancer?
David: I should dance in the shower.
Emily: Neither one of us is very good, let’s just say that. [Laughs]