By Mark Washburn
A mystery about witches found in a burned-down cabin – one current, one from the days of the Salem trials – will be the focus of the next “Bones” (8p.m. Thursday, Fox), an episode written by Charlotte author Kathy Reichs whose Temperance Brennan novels are the inspiration for the whodunit series.
Though the show has been on since 2005, it’s the first episode Reichs has written. It’s a much different experience, she says, than writing best-sellers. “When I write a novel, I tell my editors this is what I’m going to do and they say, ‘Oh that’s great.’ Not so with a script – you have a lot of bosses to answer to: the studio, executive producers, the network … They make all these changes to your work. I’m not used to that.”
She sent in her initial proposal for the episode, “The Witch in the Wardrobe,” in November, then spent a week with the show’s writers in Los Angeles in December and turned in the finished script in February. She went back west the first week of March when the episode was shot. “That’s fun, too, when you see what you’ve written spoken,” she says.
Reichs is a producer for “Bones” and collaborates with the show’s seven main writers on each script, especially on the science. “Every little thing – you have to be sure it’s accurate and correct,” says Reichs, a nationally known forensic anthropologist and professor of anthropology at UNC Charlotte. She had researched the Wiccan religion and witchcraft for “Devil Bones,” set in Charlotte, her 11th Brennan book (No. 13, “Spider Bones,” is due out in August). Some additional research, including learning about a 400-million-year-old insect, went into her scriptwriting.
“Bones,” which recently aired its 100th episode and is seen in about 75 countries, already has been picked up by Fox for another season. Emily Deschanel plays Brennan on the series, but is different from the character in the books. She’s younger, she lives in Washington, she’s never been married. “There’s TV Tempe and there’s Book Tempe,” says Reichs, who has no trouble keeping the characters separate. ” I think of Book Tempe as an older part of her life. TV Tempe is sort of a prequel.”