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The Patriot in Purgatory is the sixth episode of the eighth season of Bones.


When Brennan becomes fascinated with basketball and the underlying concepts behind Phil Jackson's philosophy of "teamwork," she calls upon five of her best "squinterns" to complete the task of identifying remains that have been deemed unidentifiable. During their investigation, the squints uncover the identity of a man who died as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which propels the team to determine if he was a perpetrator or a victim.


Inspired by legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson, Bones sends five of her best "squinterns" on a "team building exercise" to see how many unidentified remains they can identify. One of the interns probes further into his bones and they deduce that the person died 10 days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, on the 21st of September. They also deduce that one of his injuries was from the 9/11 attacks. Thanks to Booth's military knowledge, they find out that the victim fought in Desert Storm.

Despite Angela's facial reconstruction, they are still unable to identify the man. Booth pulls some strings through his old contacts in the Army. He discovers that the man was homeless and had been seen at the Pentagon during 9/11. His injuries suggest he may have been "collateral damage" as a result of the plane crashing into the side of the building but the evidence still does not add up and they were still unable to identify him. Undeterred, Booth scours nearby homeless shelters with the man's photo, determined to seek justice for a fellow veteran, eventually identifying him as Tim Murphy, a veteran whose three buddies had died saving his life and who had been trying to get them Silver Stars for it.

Finally, the team discovers blood belonging to three different people on Tim's clothes: Diane Rollins, James Donzig and Warren Kirk who all survived the Pentagon attack on 9/11. Bones and Booth interview Diane who identifies Tim as the man who saved her, James and Warren's lives. With this new information, the team is finally able to understand what happened to Tim: when the plane crashed into the Pentagon, a piece of flying debris fractured his rib. While painful, this was not fatal and he rushed into the Pentagon and saved the lives of Diane, James and Warren.

In doing so, Tim lifted in excess of 400 pounds, the strain causing the other injuries that had been believed to be the result of a brutal assault. The strain also caused Tim's fractured rib to break completely and puncture his lung. The punctured lung caused Tim to bleed to death slowly over the course of ten days. Tim is not a murder victim but rather a hero who died saving three other people's lives.

Following the discovery of how Tim died, he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in a military funeral attended by the team, his family and the three people he saved. Booth eulogizes Tim and promises that he will finish Tim's work to get his three friends Silver Stars for their own heroism.

Brennan tells Booth that she was proud she didn't shed tears the day she was asked to dig up the remains of people on 9/11, and now she says that anyone of those people could have been Booth; she had no one that day, the episode ends with Brennan crying on Booth's shoulder.


Main Cast[]

Interns of the Week[]

Guest Cast[]

Featured Music[]

  • "The light from one" - Ane Brun
  • "Walking on broken glass" - Annie Lennox


  • The City Council recognizes the show in general and specifically for the episode "The Patriot in Purgatory with a proclamation ceremony at LA City Council chambers at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday, Nov. 9.
  • When addressing the interns, Bones states that she chose them as they were her five best interns, suggesting that Daisy Wick is not as 'high-ranking' as the others.
  • During the episode, all five interns reflect on their activities on 9/11; Fisher was caught breaking into his history teacher's desk to steal a test he hadn't studied for and ended up crying with the teacher when they saw the news, Clark was working at a coffee shop and still remembers the smell of burning food when the chef came out to watch with them, Finn was stabbed by his stepfather with a pair of scissors, Arastoo was at morning prayers and had trouble believing in anything, and Wendell was with his aunt while his firefighter uncle never came home.
    • Brennan later reveals to Booth that she was part of the forensic team analyzing the remains, and while she initially prided herself on her objectivity, she now feels ashamed that she didn't make more effort to emotionally connect with the victims after experiencing so much emotional development through her relationship with Booth.
  • When Dr. Clark Edison says to the interns that he should be in charge because he's the only one with his doctorate, Arastoo states that Clark is "just an intern like the rest of us". In The Future in the Past, Clark is officially hired as a full-time forensic anthropologist.
  • At the end of Season 5, Booth was recalled to Active Duty in the Army, and promoted to Sergeant Major. At the funeral, he is wearing his Army Dress Uniform which displays his rank as that of a Master Sergeant (his previous rank) but should display his current rank, Sergeant Major.
    • At the Funeral, Booth salutes the casket. When saluting, the person rendering the salute stands at the position of attention. When the camera pulls back, you can see that Booth's legs are spread about shoulder width apart as he drops his salute. As a Sergeant Major (though he's wearing Master Sergeant stripes), he would/should know how to properly render the hand salute.
  • At around 20 mins, while Booth is explaining to Brennan how he discovered the victim's identity, Brennan reaches for the photograph, revealing a wedding band, even though the characters are not married.

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