The seventh season finale of “Bones” ripped apart the family that had taken FBI Special Agent Sealey Booth (David Boreanaz) and Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) so long to put together. In the last minutes of the episode, Brennan was forced to go on the lam with baby Christine when she was going to be arrested for a crime she didn’t commit.
“With the introduction of [serial killer] Christopher Palant [Andrew Leeds], who is a completely new kind of villain for us, he has torn everyone apart,” says executive producer Stephan Nathan. “Season 8 is going to see if we can bring everyone back together again.”
So here is what we know: The new season, premiering on Monday, Sept. 17, will start three months from the last episode. Brennan has been joined on the run by Max [Ryan O'Neal], and Booth is powerless to do anything about it because the FBI has him under a microscope.
What can we expect from Booth in Season 8?: “I think he’ll be interrogated by the bureau and he’ll have to answer some questions,” Boreanaz says. “They think he may know where Bones may be. So I think for him it’ll be a very emotional time and also he’ll be distraught, probably some depression, some self-examination of his character and why she would do this. I think there’s a part of him that understands and at the same time is a little upset about it. We’ll see how that unfolds. There might just come a time where he has to let the system do its thing, but he’ll also have to go out and find her himself.”
Preview the Season Premiere of “Bones”:
How long do you think it’s going to take for Booth to forgive Brennan?: “That’s a good question,” Boreanaz says. “I think time pretty much heals a lot. I think that he’ll have to re-examine the relationship, re-examine where they are — the two of them — and play it out from there and see where it takes them.”
If Max is on the run with Brennan, who is she in contact with back in D.C. to know what is going on?: “She is communicating with someone in a way we wouldn’t expect,” Nathan says. “She has to be — as Max said — off the grid. She can’t be connected technologically to anyone she is close to. It is Max’s edict to her to keep her safe. In an era when everything is done on these devices that we are so linked to and dependent upon, they have to try to put this together without those.”
How frustrating is it for Booth to not be able to protect his family; Palant has so far outwitted him?: “Maybe he has; maybe he hasn’t,” Boreanaz teases. “Never underestimate Booth’s ability to come up with a certain something, or to find something that can lead to some answers. Palant thinks he’s smart. He can have all the smarts in the world but I think Booth’s pretty street smart. It’s gotten him where he is in the force — he questions authority. So it’ll be fun to see how that game plays out. But he won’t win.”
How are Cam [Tamara Taylor] and the rest of the squints dealing with Bone’s absence? “Everyone at the Jeffersonian has been mandated by Cam to keep everything clean, clear and aboveboard so that none of their evidence can be compromised in any way. That is the only way that they are ever going to be able to clear Brennan,” Nathan says. “While everyone is extremely cooperative at the top, because no one wants to lose it, it doesn’t last for very long. The frustration has built over those three months. Booth losing his family, Angela [Michaela Conlin] losing her best friend, and everyone losing to Palant. People just start to crack, so it is how to do the wrong thing and have it turn out right so we can bring everyone back together. But it will change the dynamics of everyone — even when they come back together again.”
How long will Palant be around?: “Palant will be a force in Season 8 for the entire season,” Nathan adds. “We have been searching for a serial killer for years that we love to write. We love him, but we don’t approve of him killing all these people, although we are very happy that he does for us. He is someone we have never seen before. He is sort of the guy your mom always said, ‘Why can’t you be more like Christopher?’ And then one day you get to say, ‘Because he is a killer. I am just fine, mom.’ He is sort of like every wonderful guy that your mom wanted you to be like. He is polite, he did well in school, and he is terrific. He wants to be perceived that way, which could be his undoing. He is the first villain that we have had that is always one step ahead of our brilliant team, so they have to find a way to slow him down. Every time they think they are ahead, something gets thrown at them which they did not expect. And it is not just what a normal person would do to avoid capture. It is very unique and very specific to him.”
With Brennan on the run, will Season 8 be a different format than past seasons?: “No, it will be the murder of the week,” Nathan says. “We will get them back, and by the second episode, [Booth and Brennan] are going to have to contend with the difficulty of being separated all that time. When they do come together, we are going to try to find the most challenging murders we possibly can. It is still going to be funny. The show is still a light, romantic ‘crimedy.’ That will continue, but there will be a darker tone to the season. Relationships have been tested and that will continue.
Brennan has Max, her dad. Will we see more of Booth’s family?: “I hope so. I’ve always wanted to see Booth’s mom so, hopefully that’ll [happen]. And Parker [Booth's son] is living in Europe, so I don’t know,” Boreanaz says.
The Season 8 premiere of “Bones,” tentatively titled “The Future in the Past,” airs on Monday, September 17 at 8/7c on FOX.