BONES 7. 12 The Suit on the Set
Booth and Brennan travel to LA to visit the set where they are filming the movie adaption of Bones’ latest book. Turns out that Hollywood has taken some liberties with the screenplay including adding lots of action sequences for the characters playing Booth (Blaine Conway as Special Agent Andy Lister) and Brennan (Cherie Redfern as Kathy Reichs, who is of course the author of the books that BONES is based on).
Brennan and Booth sit down to watch the filming and it soon becomes clear that the action sequences aren’t the only thing that has been changed. The dialogue between the characters, especially the Brennan-esque one is all wrong and scientifically inaccurate, which drives Brennan (and me!) positively nuts. She interrupts the take and asks about the film’s technical director, who turns out to be Doug Filmore, the podiatrist that they’ve crossed paths with in previous episodes. He said that he tried to keep it accurate, but finally gave up.
Back in Washington, the Jeffersonian crew watches a promo for the movie and they are pretty excited, although Hodgins is disappointed that the actors playing them don’t have more action scenes.
The actors go for a second take with a new cadaver prop, but there’s a problem. This one is a little too realistic – complete with a characteristic smell. Brennan and Booth try to stop filming again but get into a battle of wills with the director, Jacco Kent. Booth finally plays the FBI card and filming stops as the body starts to fall apart. Brennan announces that the body is real, and the actors and crew all start vomit/pass out, etc.
Brennan takes pictures of the body and sends it back to the Jeffersonian for Angela to try a facial reconstruction. They can’t see the actual body, though, because they don’t have jurisdiction. The movie crew has called the LAPD, but Brennan wants first crack at the body (and to be involved with the movie) and begs Booth to claim jurisdiction for the FBI. Just like that, the “real” Reichs and Lister are on the case.
Brennan determines that the victim died due to a severed aorta which lead to massive hemorrhage. There are broken ribs and other bony injuries including the frontal bone. While they are examining the body (on the lab set, which is conveniently decked out with real equipment), the actor who plays a Hodgins-like character comes on set, purportedly to retrieve some things he had left behind earlier. He’s very curious about the body, though, and watches from a distance. Filmore notices that there is plant material on the victim’s shoes and the Hodgins-actor, Barry, identifies the type of plant from a distance. Turns out he has a PhD in botany and microbiology, and ” dabbled” in entomology. He studied at UC Berkeley with an acquaintance of Brennan’s. Once she finds out that he can run a mass spectrometer, she has her LA “Hodgins”.
Booth goes for walk around the lot with Mike, the head of security. He relates that many of the cast and crew have criminal records. He also shares with Booth that he’s an ex-FBI special agent who moved to Hollywood once he had kids. He makes twice as much money, it’s much safer, and there just so happens to be an opening, if Booth is interested.
Back at the Jeffersonian, Hodgins (of course) is rather jealous of Barry, and is eager to prove him wrong. It only rankles Hodgins further when Barry suggests that he thinks he knew Cam from when they both lived in NYC a while back. Angela succeeds in using facial reconstruction to get a picture of the victim. Barry immediately identifies the victim as Hanson Stevens, the studio head.
Booth and Brennan walk around the lot and Booth suggests that it might be nice to move to LA. Brennan’s too busy working on the case, though. She asks Valerie Rogers, the head groundskeeper, about the plant species on the lot and Rogers gives them a card and tells them that she has a plant map in her office if they want to see it later.
Bones and Brennan arrive at the office of Hansen Stevens. His assistant Nick tells them that he’s not taking visitors, but Booth barges into his office – empty. There’s no evidence of blood or a struggle, but they do find a cell phone. Booth interrogates the assistant. Apparently the assistant used to work for the movie director, Jacco, but got fired for assaulting him and trashing his office. He denies killing Steven. Just then, Mandy Oh, one of the producers arrives at the office and tells them Stevens routinely would disappear for a few days at a time and she and Nick would cover for him.
Hodgins condescendingly talks the enthusiastic Barry through the process of swabbing a wound on the skull for particulates from a weapon and running it through the mass spec. Barry flatters him by telling him that he is playing a genius in the movie, with which Hodgins can’t disagree. Just then, Barry realizes why Cam seems familiar – he was in a horrible B movie called Invasion of the Mother Suckers and there was a girl that looked just like her. While he finishes this thought, the machine finishes its run. The weapon material comes back as brass.
Filmore and Brennan determine that the victim hit his forehead on something brass before falling hard and fracturing his patellas. The bones were fractured by a force from behind.
Booth is discussing the case with Sweets via a video conference. Sweets isn’t surprised that so many of them have criminal records as Hollywood often rewards that type of behavior (hehe). He suggests questioning all the actors – they might be so into their characters that they lose track of reality. Booth Changes the subject and asks him if he thinks Bones might be willing to live on the west coast. Before Sweets can really answer, the actor playing the Lister (Booth) character, Blaine, come running into the room carrying a gun. Booth immediately intercepts him and pin him to the ground. He’s very impressed with Booth’s prowess – he was trying to impress Booth. Booth takes the opportunity to question him. He doesn’t deny his criminal record, but does deny killing Stevens. He tells Booth and Sweets that everyone hated Stevens and then races off, gun in hand. Booth notices that his belt buckle says “Cooky” rather than “Cocky”.
Angela analyzes the victim’s cell phone backup files and finds a call from the day that he died. The caller was Liam Toynen, one of the screenwriters on the movie. Toynen got flagged by the studio IT for searching questionable websites (e.g. “The Perfect Murder”). Booth and Brennan visit his bungalow and find blood on a brass sprinkler head outside the building.
Bones and Brennan interview Toynen. He tells them that he told Stevens to come to the bungalow – they had a disagreement because Stevens wanted him to work for free. Stevens never showed up that night, though. Much to Booth and Bones dismay, he tells them that the only reason that Stevens greenlit Brennan’s movie in the first place was to seduce the actress playing Reichs.
Back in Washington, Hodgins is determined to get a copy of Invasions of the Mother Suckers after he finds a screenshot online that bears more than a passing resemblance to Cam. He puts Angela on the job of finding a copy and she tracks down the director, who is now a high school teacher in Pittsburgh and happens to have a copy in his garage.
Booth goes to interview Redfern and she doesn’t deny the affair with Hanson. While Booth is in her trailer, another lover arrives – one of the gardeners. He’s not happy to hear that his girlfriend also slept with Hanson. They both claim to have alibis for the time of Hanson’s death, which check out okay.
Filmore finds glass shards in the hand bones and tells Bones that he thinks he can reconstruct the crime scene from the impressions in the ground near the murder weapon. Bones tells him that they aren’t competing to solve the case, but he disagrees. With help from Angela, he uses his new toy (essentially a pair of robotic legs that strap onto his own) to mimic the height, weight and bone structure of the victim. After a bunch of complicated analysis, they subtract out the impressions from the victim and other passersby and determine that the victim was struck from behind and run over by a small car, causing him to fall on the sprinkler head.
Bones and Booth look at the cars in the lot and find a car with a tire width and bumper height that fits the injuries to the victim. Not only that, but there is some vegetation caught on the bumper. The car belongs to Mandy Oh, the head producer. She blames Fernando, the gardener. Booth and Brennan ask her about the foliage on the bumper, and she tells them that she hit the leg of a topiary giraffe the previous week while driving and texting and Valerie, the head groundskeeper told her off for hurting the bush. The leaves don’t match the leaves from the victim, though.
Barry analyzes the “glass” from the victim’s hand and apparently it is actually the kind of material used for cell phone screens. They look to see if the victim had another cell phone and find a copy of the back-up for the phone online in the same account as his business phone. There are some texts with Cherie Redfern and some video of her making out with Kent, the director. Booth confronts him but gets nothing but attitude. Kent throws an empty water bottle at Booth while he looks on rather dumbfounded. A body suddenly comes flying through the air and tackles Kent – it’s Booth’s alter ego, Blaine. Booth and Brennan show Kent the video from Stevens’ phone. Kent acts dismayed to find out that Redfern was sleeping with numerous people on the lot.
Kent’s car doesn’t fit the impressions in the ground by the murder site, either, so Booth and Brennan are forced to look elsewhere. With Barry’s help, they investigate Redfern’s trailer and find that the elephant topiary behind the trailer has a broken trunk that has been grafted. The trunk was apparently broken to allow for a clear view into the window of her trailer. The foilage matches that found on the victim’s shoes. As they examine the elephant, Rogers, the head groundskeeper drives over in a golf cart and tells them to stop touching the elephant. It was 7 years of work and it was recently repaired. Brennan identifies the cart as the murder weapon. Apparently she came upon Stevens after he broke the trunk and instead of apologizing, he threatened to fire her, so she ran him over with the cart. Booth cuffs her.
Brennan finally agrees that living in LA might be nice, but Booth tells her that he turned down the job because he wants to stay in DC with her.
Hodgins gets the copy of Invasion of the Mother Suckers and Cam admits that she was in it. She did it for money before med school and has been trying to forget it ever since. She had hoped that Barry would keep quiet about it, but no such luck. The whole team sits down to watch the movie together. Turns out that Cam played a mother sucker (i.e. vampire) and dies a grizzly death at the hand of Barry’s character.
I really enjoyed this episode! They did a great job poking fun at Hollywood and the entertaining cast of characters that fill it. The whole episode was filled with nudge-nudge-wink-wink inside jokes, from the name of the victim (a clear allusion to Hart Hanson, the creator) and movie character (Kathy Reichs) to Sweets’ comments about actors losing touch with reality. I can really relate to Brennan’s frustration at the rewrites of her story as inaccurate science and medical details in shows always drives me nuts (including frequently on BONES!).
Please, please, I’ve been dreaming of making a movie my whole life! Are you going to let one little decomposing corpse get in the way of that? – Brennan
I don’t understand. If you have a useful talent, then why are you an actor? - Brennan
Acting has always been my first love and love always wins out in the end…like a methacillin resistant staph infection - Hodgins-like character
Preeminent scientist, best selling author, and now devoted author. I’m beginning to think that you appear in my life for the sole purpose of making me fell inadequate. - Philmore
You give me far too much credit. You are perfectly capable of recognizing your own inadequacies – Brennan
I’m gloating, I apologize. Canadians shouldn’t gloat – Philmore
A circuitous, but creative motive for murder. I could use it in my next book. – Brennan
I’m not used to real things – Kent
What did you think of the episode? Tell me in the comments!