The Boneless Bride in the River is the sixteenth episode of the second season of Bones.


Brennan and Booth arrive at the crime scene. They stand beside a river where police wade around a steel chest. Inside the chest is a flattened dead woman. Brennan has it wrapped up and taken back to the lab.

At the lab, Cam looks over the victim and finds that her skeleton has been removed after incisions were made down the sides of the body and after it was boiled. Cam asks Angela if she can create a skull from the skin and she isn't up to it, but she can tell that the victim is Asian. Brennan enters to say that if there's no bones that she doesn't need to be there.

Hodgins and Zack bring Cam into their lab to show how they might be able to find out what the victim looked like. They put a balloon inside the skin of the head and inflated it. Cam tells them to shut it down. It does them no good, it's just gross.

Brennan is at the docks and greets Agent Sullivan (Sully) on a boat that he's thinking about buying. He'll only buy it if she likes it.

At the lab, Cam has found the patella bone left in the body and calls Zack in to inspect it.

Back at the docks, Booth boards Sully's boat looking for Brennan to tell her about the patella and interrupts their activities down below

Back at the lab, Zack explains that they victim spend a lot of time on their knees and that she was in her early 20's at the time of death. They also notice that the bone is square and not triangular, a genetic defect that is known as Fong's Disease and is frequent in rural Asia. Booth decides to check with immigration. Angela enters with a drawing of the victim's face the she created. She runs it through the database for Booth and they come up with a missing girl named Li Ling Fan who came to America on a fiancee visa from China. Booth exits to pursue the victim's fiance.

At the house of the victim's fiance we meet the husband to be, Drew Harper. His home looks more like a dojo and he wears a karate gi. He claims that he hasn't seen Li Ling since they called off the wedding. When Booth tells Drew that he'll be looking to see if he has a criminal record, Drew takes off running and Booth is no match for Drew's skilled getaway.

Booth brings Brennan back to the lab and they talk with Professor Shi Jon Chen about items taken from Drew's apartment. Brennan suggests that maybe this is a case of Minghun, an Asian tradition where if an unmarried male dies, he is buried with the bones of a young woman. The professor doesn't think that's possible because the women aren't killed for their bones. Booth gets information about the bridal agency that set up Drew with Li Ling and he and Brennan head out.

At the FBI, Brennan and Booth sit with Jackie Burrows, owner of the Perfect Wife, bridal agency. She seems like a kind and legitimate business owner. When Booth tells her that one of her clients may have killed her bride to be, she is crushed.

Back with the professor, he tells Brennan and Booth that he has been doing undercover research on some Chinese immigrants and that a family he has been in contact with is planning a Minghun. Brennan reminds him that before the bones are buried they are spread to family members. Brennan asks him to bring her to just look at one of the bones. He says OK, but asks Brennan to pretend to be his girlfriend and Booth to act as her brother.

At the house of a relative with the dead son's bones, Brennan, Booth, and the Professor have tea with Mei Zhang. When Mei Zhang exits the room Brennan snoops around and finds the bone hidden in an urn. She swaps it with the bone of a chimpanzee.

At the lab, Brennan finds that the bone was cancerous and most likely the cause of death. Sully enters and pulls Brennan aside. He asks her to sail away with her to the Caribbean. Brennan doesn't know what to say.

At the lab, Cam confirms that none of Drew's weapons were used to kill anyone and that there were toxins found in the victim's kidneys, meaning she was poisoned. Zack enters with an ID on the cancerous bone that Brennan swapped, William Chang two years prior.

At the FBI, the Professor expresses his disappointment to Brennan in that she ruined his study. In the interrogation room, Booth questions two relatives of William Chang. Booth grills them, but they say nothing. Booth decides to exhume William's body.

At the cemetery, Brennan asks Booth if she should go with Sully and he hesitantly says yes, before they hear a clank. They walk to the grave that is being exhumed and find a coffin filled with money.

At the lab, Hodgins confirms that there was a body inside but it was removed and in its place they put fake money, which is a cultural tradition. Hodgins finds a bug that tells him that he was dug up last July or August. Also the casket was only reburied two feet below the grounds surface and the body was never embalmed. Brennan suspects the mortuary.

They bring in Joseph and Nelson Han, the owners of the mortuary, to the FBI for questioning. They deny knowing anything and are quick to leave, but then Booth corners them and they admit everything. They tell B&B that the Minghun ceremony is happening tonight.

At the ceremony, B&B cut to the chase and go straight to look at the bones. Brennan ID's them as both Li Ling's and William Chang's bones.

At the lab, with positive IDs the squints put their heads together and find that the instrument taken from the mortuary match the cut marks found on Li Ling. Now they just need to find the person that poisoned Li Ling.

B&B sit on a stake-out waiting for Drew Harper. Sully is on the street waiting for him and he arrives. When Sully gives the sign, B&B rush, but Drew is too quick and flips over a fence evading them. Booth runs around the block to head him off and Brennan and Sully continue their pursuit. Booth cuts him off, knocks him on his rear and cuffs him, so they can question him and he won't try to escape. They ask if he killed Li Ling for money from Williams Chang's family who were looking for a bride's bones and he said no. He got the refund from the Perfect Bride. It's them that are out $25,000. Booth considers this.

At the FBI, Booth questions Jackie Burrows, having found the poison in her refrigerator and with Nelson Han's confession. She admits to working with the mortuary and killing Li Ling for them to de-bone her and give her away for Minghun.

Meanwhile, Brennan tells Sully that she can't sail away with him. She loves her work too much. It hurts both of them, but for her it's the right decision. He leaves. She knows she made the right choice and watches as he sails off in his new boat which is named Temperance after her. Booth comforts her on what she did, saying that one day she will find that happiness.

Angela draws Li Ling and William together at their wedding and displays it near their bodies.


Main CastEdit

Guest CastEdit

Featured MusicEdit

  • "You" - Fisher


Anthropological/ Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • Chinese Ghost Marriage
  • Bride buying
  • Chinese Death Rituals
    • Burying the body
    • Giving Gifts to the dead person
    • Giving the Money to the deadperson for good fortune

I don't know what that meansEdit

Booth makes reference to the movie Cast Away. He says that Sully will "end up shipwrecked on an island talking to a vollyball," just like the movies main character Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks).


Temperance: "Doctor Saroyan said no bones, so know what that means? I'm back on vacation. No bones, no Bones. That... I was the second 'bones'."
Cam: "Very witty."

Brennan: What do you want?
Booth: Breakfast.
Bones: I’m not hungry.
Booth: Oh, come on, huh? What are ya gonna vomit when we come across one of those, uh, horrific cases?
Bones: I don’t vomit.
Booth: Give it time, Bones, okay? Give it time. Everything happens eventually.
Bones: Everything?
Booth: All the stuff, okay, that you think never happens – it happens. You just gotta be ready for it.

Trivia Edit

  • This is the first time that we see Bones and Booth holding a bone without gloves.

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