Temperance: I don't know what that means.

Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, born Joy Ruth Keenan is a forensic anthropologist and works at the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

She works with her husband Special Agent Seeley Booth to solve cases which require her expertise. He nicknames her "Bones", referring to her job as a forensic anthropologist. She hates this at first, but eventually comes to accept. In The Movie in the Making she admits she still dislikes the nickname, mainly because she believes that it would confuse other people as was revealed in The Flaw in the Saw. They seem to have a fairly comfortable working relationship, despite the polar differences in their personalities.

Temperance's character is very loosely based on author Kathy Reichs. Portrayed by Emily Deschanel, Brennan is a strong female lead. Although the character is named after the heroine in Reichs' crime novel series, her characterization was based on Reichs herself rather than the books' protagonist.[1]

Along with her work at the Jeffersonian, Brennan is a best-selling novelist . Her best friend and fellow co-worker is forensic artist Angela Montenegro. Aside from Angela, Dr. Brennan has a band of 'squints' (a term given by Agent Booth to describe what scientists do - "they squint at things"), specifically entomology expert Dr. Jack Hodgins, Dr. Camille Saroyan, a forensic pathologist who is Dr. Brennan's boss, and formerly (through Season 3) Dr. Zack Addy, a bone trauma expert who was also once Dr. Brennan's graduate student.

Brennan was inspired to be an Anthropologist by the film "The Mummy" as revealed on several episodes, notably in A Night at the Bones Museum.

Brennan graduated from Northwestern University and is a licensed hunter (she has licenses that allow her to hunt in four unspecified states). She claims that she hunts only for food,[2] though in the finale of Season 1, she declares that she has become a vegetarian after discovering how Vince McVicar murdered her mom Christine Brennan with a Spring-Loaded Captive Bolt-Stunner.


Brennan is an utmost scientist, surpassed in emotional detachment only by her assistant (in first two seasons) and later coworker forensic anthropologist Zack Addy. Most of the time she may seem cold and distant but you learn more about her as the show goes on.

Her scientific approach to life makes her look like a non-loyal and judgmental nasty mockery of religious-based people in life. But in truth, she's actually the total and absolute complete opposite of all of that.

Unlike Booth, she has little belief in religion or fate and states that everything can be explained by science, although this view gradually changes later on.

Brennan's character develops in the second season where she refers to the rest of the team as "our squints" in Judas on a Pole even though the term "squints" is predominately used by Booth when he describes the team, Brennan included.

Bones' emotional detachment results in a lack of social skills, so she either has trouble understanding jokes or comments related to male-female relationships, or she just chooses to ignore it. Her portrayer in the television series, Emily Deschanel, commented that "Bones" Brennan "is a lot younger and different" from the Brennan in Kathy Reichs' books. Deschanel remarked, "Not that there aren't certain similarities, but it's a kind of a mesh."[3] According to Deschanel, she and the show's creator Hart Hanson discussed that her character "almost has Asperger's Syndrome".[4]

Despite Bones' extensive knowledge of anthropology, she is quite unaware of pop culture, and her coworkers, particularly Booth, likes to tease her about it. A running gag on the series is someone making an obvious popular culture reference and she blankly states "I don't know what that means," and she is somewhat excited on the rare occasion that she does understand them; for example, in "The Maggots in the Meathead," Bones excitedly explained guidos, GTL (Gym Tan Laundry) and other "tribal" features of Jersey Shore denizens after mistaking the reality program for a documentary on television.

Brennan, due to her lack of social skills, insults most people she comes across without realizing it, and she constantly derides religion; she once stated that god was fictional within feet of an elderly priest.  She also insults colleagues by claiming her working environment or field of study are superior to theirs, or that study done in her area of expertise is more likely to result in a cause of death than work done in theirs.  An example of this is that in "The Salt in the Wounds", Brennan got angry at Camille because she didn't remove the flesh from a corpse so Brennan could examine the bone. The main point of tension was that Brennan honestly believed that Camille couldn't find cause of death from the corpse, whereas she could from the bones. When later proved wrong she reluctantly apologized; this is notable as she rarely apologizes.  Usually, she either believes she is right or feels that what she says is not insulting.

Dr. Brennan also displays an exceptionally strong sense of integrity. In "A Night at the Bones Museum," Booth comments to Assistant Director Andrew Hacker that one of the things that "makes her Bones" is that she does not feel pressure to do or say anything she does not want to and that no one can force her to.[5]

After a head injury temporarily impairs her ability to remember how to do her job in The End in the End, Brennan is left with an existential crisis, feeling that without her intelligence, she will lose everything that makes her who she is and uncertain of what she will be without that, but Booth reassures her that she is the woman he loves and his partner no matter what. Later, after going after Mark Kovac, Booth suffered an injury to his hand that rendered him unable to move it. Brennan was able to interpret what happened to his hand and was able to snap it back into place, restoring the mobility in Booth's hand and proving that she is getting better. Because of her, Booth is later able to kill Mark Kovac by shooting in the head with his handgun. By the following morning, Brennan reveals that her agnosia is almost completely healed, and she would be able to get back to work by the time that the Jeffersonian is restored in six weeks.


Brennan works at the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington D.C., and is paired with Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to work on cases that require both their expertise. He nicknames her "Bones," referring to her job as a forensic anthropologist. The pair are married, and live together with their daughter and son.

Though originally the pair denied a romantic relationship, she and Booth tended to spend more and more time together outside work as the series progressed. The two have "intimate" conversations about their past and present, and they often had lunch or dinner together. Also, Booth taught Brennan how to skate, and traveled with her to England and China. After several near-misses, the two finally became intimate one night after a crisis, resulting in Brennan conceiving the couple's first child, a daughter they named Christine after Brennan's deceased mother. The couple purchased a house together, and eventually married, after a long, bizarre waiting period due to Christopher Pelant threatening to kill five innocent people if Booth married Brennan or told her why they weren't getting married.

Along with her work at the Jeffersonian Institute, Brennan is a best-selling novelist and writes about a fictional anthropologist, Kathy Reichs (this is a nod to the real-life Kathy Reichs, who writes about a fictional anthropologist named Temperance Brennan). Due to her book sales, Brennan is a very wealthy woman. She was told by her publisher that she would never have to work again, but she stays at her job at the Jeffersonian out of choice and love for what she does. Brennan was part of the class of 94 in Burtonsville, Maryland. ("The Death of the Queen Bee")

In one episode, "The Man in the Morgue", it is said she is trained in three types of martial arts. In Aliens in a Spaceship, it mentions that Dr. Brennan was currently studying karate. The known list of Brennan's diverse talents is expanded in "Double Trouble in the Panhandle", as it is revealed she is a trained amateur highwire performer. Also of note are Brennan's intimate knowledge and understanding of forensic anthropology and kinesiology, often being compared to the police detective Columbo for her seemingly unintelligent appearance toward suspects, which have given her an aptitude for gaining clues from the body movements of other people ("The Woman in the Garden", "The Truth in the Lye", "The Girl with the Curl") and contribute toward her martial arts prowess, and she even advises Booth once how to win his fight against another Ultimate Fighting contestant in "The Woman in the Sand".

In "Mayhem on a Cross", a specific instance about Dr. Brennan's turbulent time in the foster care system is revealed. She was locked in a trunk for two days for breaking a dish. According to Brennan, she was warned of the consequences in advance. However, the water was simply too hot to safely use and the soap slippery and thus the dish was dropped. When Brennan reveals this information to Dr. Sweets and Booth, she becomes extremely emotional. This creates an emotional connection among the three of them by literally and metaphorically "sharing scars." Although all three continue to hide it, they become much closer. Right before this event, Sweets had even decided to try and name his book after Bones.

Relationships Edit


Brennan's relationship with her family is complicated. Early in her life, she was very close with them. Her parents were bank robbers and lived as fugitives with Brennan and her brother. They fled in the night when Brennan was in her teens. However, when she was young, her parents left her and her brother, and her brother later left her as well. Brennan went into foster care until her grandfather took her in. Her mother was murdered. The lives of she and her brother were threatened by another criminal. This left Brennan resentful towards both of her parents, as well as her brother. After reuniting with her brother and father, she was hesitant to trust either of them, especially her father. Max, even after leaving his children, continued to watch over Brennan and her family because of the past threat on Brennan's life. However, eventually, they begin the process of amending their relationships.

Brennan cares deeply for her daughter Christine and son Hank, possibly because she does not want to potentially repeat the mistakes of her parents. That said, she occasionally puts pressure on Christine, though she may not always be aware of it. Similarly, she appears to care about her stepson, Parker Booth, just as much, and seems to consider him as much her children as Christine and Hank.

Romance Edit

Seeley BoothEdit

Special Agent Seeley Booth is Brennan's partner and husband. He is also the creator of the nickname "Bones" which Brennan didn't really like at first, but slowly grasps onto it as a lovable nickname from her partner.


Brennan and Booth first kiss

It is revealed in the 100th episode, "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole", that two first met on a case in 2004; 13 months prior to the 2005 pilot case of Cleo Eller. In this case they work on the case of Gemma Arrington. During this time the two had some feelings for each other, like when they both go to a bar and share a kiss. They were planning on having sex but Brennan called it off, and drove away in a taxi leaving Booth in the rain. But after the case the two develop resentment towards one another and didn't speak again until the Cleo Eller case, where they officially become partners.

In season 1, the two work on many case together and build a strong partnership and friendship together. Booth also hints that a character in Brennan's book series, special agent Andy, is based off him and his job with the FBI. In this season, Brennan trusts Booth with the file on the disappearance of her parents, while Booth trusts Brennan with a story about his past in the military, which was a dark time for him. When Brennan begins to date a man she met online, David, Booth displays some lingering jealousy and a very protective nature. Throughout season 1, the feelings the two share begins to grow. At the end of season 1, after Booth and Brennan try to solve the case about Brennan's mother's murder, Booth discovers Brennan dedicated her new book to him, after he stole a peek.

In season 2, Booth begins to date Cam while Brennan dates Sully. In both relationships jealousy is hinted with Brennan and Booth, but none the less, they still stay fantastic partners. In the episode "Aliens in a Spaceship," when Brennan and Hodgins are buried alive, Booth ran toward the area where sign of Hodgins and Brennan are, and was the first to dig her out. In this season is also the beginning of the two's undercover roles as Tony and Roxie. During this season Booth and Brennan help each other out with Brennan's father on the run and the serial killer Howard Epps. At the end of season 2, when Angela and Hodgins have their wedding, Booth is the best man while Brennan is the maid of honor. At the end Booth apologizes to Brennan about her father and they share a hug at the alter. It foreshadows a bit, when the two are looking at each other at the front of the altar, about their own wedding. Though this does cause a rift between their friendship with the whole symbolism of a man and woman at the altar.


Booth and Brennan kiss

In season 3 Booth and Brennan's care for each other grows as they search for the serial killing cannibal, Gormogon. In season 3 when Brennan's brother wants to see his sick step-daughter in the hospital, Booth let's him see her for a few minutes for Brennan. This is were Brennan gives him a kiss on the cheek. During this season is when they also share a kiss underneath the mistletoe which was a request by lawyer, Caroline Julian. At Christmas when Brennan is with her family at the prison, Booth and his son, Parker, bring a Christmas tree to them since they aren't allowed to have one. In the episode "Wanna be in the Weeds" Booth is shot at the end taking a bullet for Brennan because of his crazy stalker, Pam, who thinks that Brennan is in the way of her chance of getting to Booth. In the season 3 finale it's said Booth is dead and Brennan is shown not to be grieving as she works hard. When Angela coaxes her into going to the funeral, Brennan agrees to only find out Booth was not dead because of undercover work. She then punches him and rants how she wasn't told. At the end of this episode when Zack Addy is caught for all the crimes he committed for Gormogon, Booth comforts Brennan since she felt like she never gave Zack anything. Booth replies "I think you gave him something great, Bones." referring to the acceptance letter she sent Zack for him to become her assistant at the Jeffersonian.

In season 4 the two are seen to get closer together, even though there are some other relationships going on. During this time they go undercover as Buck and Wanda Moosejaw for the first time, also implied that they had to share a bed in the episode "Double Trouble in the Panhandle". In this season Brennan asks Booth to become her sperm donor so she could have a child of her own. Booth thinks about it for awhile, but after he decides to donate to her and go through with it. When Booth has his brain surgery because of his tumor, he tells Brennan that he wants to her to have his children if something were to happen to him. Brennan goes into the operating room with him. During this time Booth falls into a coma and dreams of an alternate reality where he's married to Brennan and they're going to have a kid together. They also own a nightclub, but when he wakes up he forgets.

In season 5 Booth's feelings for Brennan become stronger. In "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole", Booth reveals those feelings and wants to make it work with Brennan. Meanwhile Brennan doesn't want to because she doesn't think she's compatible for Booth because she isn't like him, part of her shows she thinks she isn't good for him and thinks he deserves better. Booth and Brennan "break-up" but still stay partners.


At Brenan's high school reunion Booth helps almost give her the prom she never had and they share a dance to the song Kiss from a Rose by Seal. At the end of this season Brennan is called to be the head of an anthropology exposition in Indonesia while Booth is sent overseas again, being called to serve in the military again. The two both go their separate ways and leave each other for a year.

In season 6 neither has seen the other for almost a year. They both reunite at the reflecting pools, hugging one another. Booth has moved on though and met his new girlfriend, Hannah Burley, a reporter to whom he wants to become committed. During the episode "The Doctor in the Photo" Brennan realizes she lost her chance with Booth and cries in the car with him, upset she lost her chance at happiness, having concluded over the course of the episode that she was in love with Booth. When Booth breaks up with Hannah, Brennan is there for them and in "The Blackout in the Blizzard" they both decide they want to be a couple when the time is right.


In the episode "The Hole in the Heart" when Broadsky kills Vincent Nigel-Murray, Booth comforts Brennan and it's implied that she slept with him that night. At the end of the episode Booth and Brennan are linking arms as they sing Lime in the Coconut to Murray's coffin as it's being sent back to England. In the season finale, "The Change in the Game" it isn't said, but it's slightly inferred that Booth and Brennan are a couple. They go undercover as Buck and Wanda Moosejaw and at the end of the episode Brennan confesses to Booth that she's pregnant and he responds with a wide smile. This confirms that Booth and Brennan had in fact slept together the previous episode, which resulted in the conception of a baby.


Brennan and Booth with Christine

In season 7 Booth and Brennan are a couple finally with a child on the way. In "The Prisoner in the Pipe" they have their daughter, Christine Angela Booth, who is named after her grandmother and godmother. At the end of the season Brennan has to run away with their daughter after her baptism, leaving Booth behind when Brennan is accused of murder because of Pelant, a serial killer who is terrorizing Booth and Brennan.

In season 8 Booth and Brennan are reunited and are able to be a family again. There is some trouble between the two revolving the fact Booth missed out in Christine's life for three months, and this causes a small rift but nothing that isn't fixed. In this season Brennan proposes to Booth using beef jerky, finally ready for marriage, but Booth has to stop it due to the fact Pelant threatened him, leaving the couple heartbroken.

In season 9 Brennan and Booth begin with trouble due to the fact Booth put the wedding off, upsetting Brennan because she doesn't know the truth. When they finally catch Pelant, Booth re-proposes to Brennan and the two get married in "The Woman in White".

Bones s9ep6

After that they honeymoon in Argentina and everything's normal until government conspiracies with the ghost killer arise. In the episode "The Recluse in the Recliner" Booth is being targeted, which ends up with assassins coming to their home and almost killing Booth. He almost died but Brennan saved him. At the end of the episode Booth is seen in the hospital but the FBI won't let Brennan see him because they put Booth under arrest. Booth is then thrown into jail and Brennan is left alone with Christine. Despite such issues as Booth being framed and sent to prison as the team uncovered a complex blackmail scheme, the only serious flaw in their relationship was when Booth suffered a temporary relapse to his old gambling addiction, which he overcame after the two temporarily retired from their jobs before the birth of their second child. Their infant son Hank Jr. (named after Booth's grandfather) was born off-screen sometime after season 10 and before the beginning of season 11. However, Brennan and Booth return to the FBI and Jeffersonian institute full-time after Booth brother's death.

Tim Sullivan Edit

Brennan and "Sully" had a short but semi-serious relationship in season 2. They met on bad terms in "The Girl In The Gator", but later started their relationship. The relationship ended when Sully left to Caribbean after Brennan declined his invitation to sail with him for a year. He later returned in the season 12 episode, "The Grief and the Girl", to comfort Brennan after the recent death of her father, Max Keenan.

Peter St. James Edit

Pete is Brennan's ex-boyfriend, he is reason for Brennan's trip to Guatemala. He later appears in her house reclaiming his TV. She attacks him, fearing an intruder in her apartment. This character may be a reference to the book incarnation of Temperance Brennan's ex-husband. He only appeared in Pilot.

Michael Stires Edit

Michael was Brennan's former professor from her university. They had an affair back when he was her teacher, and slept together in "The Girl In The Fridge", before Brennan stopped their relationship.

David Simmons Edit

David met Brennan on an online dating website. He only appeared for two or three episodes and it is later acknowledge she dumped him after finding out he was a recruiter for a cult.

Will Hastings Edit

Will Hastings had his first and final appearance in "The Headless Witch In The Woods". He and Brennan went on 2 dates and shared a kiss before he was arrested.

Ian Wexler Edit

He was a doctor working at Oxford university in Yanks in the U.K. He and Brennan flirted, but his attempts to sleep with her failed because of her desire to not upset agent Booth.

Mark Gaffney and Jason DeFry Edit

Mark and Jason were only seen in the episode "The Man in the Outhouse". Brennan slept with Mark because he had excellent sexual skill but did not date him because she did not find him satisfying knowledgeably. The opposite goes for Jason, who Brennan went on dates with but did not sleep with. Both relationships ended by the end of the episode when they found out she was dating/being intimate with both of them.

Jared Booth Edit

Jared took Brennan on a date and they share a kiss. Despite misconceptions from her coworkers (namely Angela, Cam, and Booth), Brennan did not sleep with Jared that night, but simply stayed up late at the party. Angela and Cam tell her it would have been weird to sleep with him. It is implied she went on the date with him because Jared reminded her of Booth. Later, Cam and Sweets notify Brennan that Jared is not at all what he appears to be, explaining his history of frequently getting into some kind of trouble and Booth taking the blame for it. At first, Brennan doesn't believe this and asks Jared out to ask him about why and how all of the credit somehow went to the state police because of him. When Jared states that he wants it to stay just between them, Brennan gets mad at him and yells at Jared for taking advantage of Seeley and pushes him over and leaves.

Andrew Hacker Edit

Brennan showed interest in him in the beginning of "A Night at the Bones Museum", and they went on a date later in the episode. He also appears in "The Proof in the Pudding" and "The Predator in the Pool" as a continued romantic interest. He is briefly mentioned in The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle. He does not appear again and it is assumed Brennan broke up with him sometime between the end of season 5 and the beginning of season 6.

Friendship Edit

Angela Montenegro Edit


  • There is a continuity error in Brennan's family history that reveals her parents' disappearance to have been an undeveloped concept at the time it was introduced. In the season 1 episode, A Boy In a Bush, Brennan reveals to Booth that she was in the foster system until her grandfather found and removed her. However, later, in the season 2 episode Stargazer in a Puddle, she is shocked and offended when Max gives her a ring he tells her was an heirloom of her maternal grandmother's because this is the first time in her life she'd ever heard of her grandparents. Her exact wording was "I have grandparents?!" 
  • Again in the season 1 episode A Boy in a Bush while Brennan is appealing to the foster boy by implying her own experience in the system she mentions "They take you away from your brother" which is the comment that stands out to Booth as personal. This implies that Russ was in the system with her but in The Woman in Limbo Brennan and Russ's revealed ages contradict this. Russ was 19 when their parents disappeared and it's illustrated that he was NOT denied custody in a legal court. At one point, Brennan flashes back to him walking out to his car in what was the last moment she'd ever seen him until that point and she clearly faults him for abandoning her as their parents had. 
  •  Even after it's revealed that Brennan was 15 when she fell into the foster system, there are quite a few vague references implying that she was there for much longer than 3 years. Ex. In the season 4 episode Mayhem on a Cross when Brennan mistakes advice from Dr. Wyatt as needing to "compare scars" with Sweets she abruptly tells him a story about being thrown into the trunk of her foster parents' car for two days for breaking a dish. She refers to herself as "a clumsy child".
  • Brennan has stated that she went to 12 schools before attending university, something she hated since she never felt stable. If she was 15 when she entered foster care, then that means she moved schools at least every other month; while possible, this implies that her time in foster care was longer than she admits.
  • Both of Brennan's pregnancies were written in because Emily Deschanel had actually gotten pregnant hence the 5-month leap taken in the season 7 opener, The Memories in the Shallow Grave while Angela's pregnancy was shown in a full timeline. In The Prisoner in the Pipe while Booth is handing newborn Christine to Brennan there is a glimpse of Brennan's stomach still full with the real pregnancy (which was actually a boy, Deschanel has two sons, Henry and Calvin and ironically NO daughters). 
  • Throughout the series, Brennan is vaguely shown gradually transitioning into a vegetarian (a decision she made when she discovered that her mother was murdered using a cruel pig slaughtering tool). In real life, Emily Deschanel is a vegan. 
  • Brennan keeps an iguana in her office, which can be seen living in a glass case opposite from one of her couches. In the season six episode The Truth in the Myth, Vincent Nigel-Murray apologizes for using her iguana as a hat. She took his admission in stride and was even impressed that he was able to keep her pet in place atop his head.
  • In the episode The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle, she picks up a guitar and begins to play "Hot Blooded," explaining that her ability to play guitar comes from her knowledge of the akontig, the folk lute of the Jola tribe.
  • In The Source in the Sludge, she revealed that she too failed her oral exams for her doctorate.
  • Brennan has been a card-carrying member of the feminist group Women for Change since she was in college, having recieved their monthly newsletter for 20 years.
  • In The Movie in the Making, Brennan tells the film crew that she has three doctorates and speaks eight languages, two of which "you've probably never heard of." At least one of the languages she speaks is Farsi, as she wanted to fly to Iran to help Arastoo in The Murder in the Middle East as she wouldn't need a translator, but was not allowed to as she was heavily pregnant at the time. Another is presumably Krio as she was able to speak to refugees from Sierra Lione in that language in The Survivor in the Soap.
  • Prior to moving in with Seeley Booth, Brennan's address is 415 Elmsworth NW Washington, D.C. 20003, her door is marked 22 indicating a unit number. Even the bill that is visible below the package has the same address, again omitting the unit number which should be included when addressing mail in The Knight on the Grid.
  • Booth and Brennan’s first home address is 1297 Janus Street Washington DC, 20002.This is seen in Brennan's check, she received from her publicist in The Heiress in the Hill.

References Edit

  1. Goldman, Eric, "Digging Up Secrets With the Cast of Bones", IGN, May 31, 2007. Retrieved on June 4, 2007.
  2. "You hunt? Only for food.", The Man in the Morgue, Bones Season 1 Episode 19.
  3. Bridget Byrne, "What's on tonight: Wednesday", The Albuquerque Tribune. March 28, 2007. Retrieved on April 7, 2007.
  4. Gray, Ellen, "Boreanaz says 'Bones' is not procedural", Philadelphia Daily News, January 31, 2007.
  5. , " [1]", Wikipedia, May 13, 2013.
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