On Monday's Bones, Booth will be forced to question the honesty of a former brother in arms.
During the episode (8/7c, Fox), Booth( David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) investigate the murder of a woman that seems to indicate a believed-dead Afghani terrorist is still alive. As it turns out, the victim was actually a CIA source for Danny Beck (returning guest star Freddie Prinze Jr.), one of Booth's buddies from his Army special forces days. And although FBI-CIA communication is never particularly strong, Danny makes things worse by keeping very important information from Booth during the investigation.
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"It's a really nice character piece for Booth," executive producer Stephen Nathan tells TVGuide.com. "We wanted to explore what this friendship really was all about [since] one person is in the business of keeping secrets from another. How does that affect a friendship?"
The answer: not particularly well. "When Booth is pressured and challenged and his moral code and ethics come into question, he passes those tests," Prinze tells us. "He's not willing to make certain sacrifices; he's simply going to do the right thing. When faced with someone you care about who you suddenly realize doesn't have that same moral code, there's conflict. They do get into it, and you see their friendship make that next progression."
Especially when Booth uncovers shocking evidence that suggests Danny could be the murderer. Only at that point does Danny finally 'fess up to his mistakes and seek Booth's help in fixing his mess. "There's a part of him that does expect Booth to understand, but there's also another part of him that knows that Booth is by the book," Prinze says. "If this wasn't somebody Danny trusted and had a history with, he wouldn't put himself out there like that. Once somebody saves your a--, or once you've saved their a--... that never goes away. That is just as powerful as the moment it happened. So it's a big deal for [them]."
Although this episode will once again reinforce Booth's strong moral code, it also kicks off a final stretch of the season that will test that code in new ways. "Booth is a guy who is incredibly honest, incredibly just and uncompromising, and I don't think he'll ever change," Nathan says. "But what we're doing is putting him up against a situation which is the opposite. Everything — Booth's work, Booth's relationship [with Brennan], and the direction of Booth and Brennan's life — will be called into question at the end of this season."
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That journey, which could include a possible promotion for Booth at the FBI, ultimately becomes complicated when Booth is forced to help Brennan close the Ghost Killer case once and for all. "It's something that has overwhelmed Brennan, and Booth's commitment to Brennan makes his commitment to solving this case even more intense that it normally would be," Nathan says. "Because of that, they uncover what appears to be a conspiracy that is far, far larger than the Ghost Killer. What we wanted to do, because we have been dealing with serial killers on a relatively regular basis on the show, was take this in another direction and make this rabbit hole that they're falling down far more nefarious and conspiratorial than we have ever seen before."
But Nathan once again emphasizes that whatever struggles are ahead for Booth and Brennan, they will face them as a couple. "Booth and Brennan are solid," he says. "Whatever tension, whatever conflict, whatever danger or difficulty they go through, they're going through it together. They might have very big difficulties dealing with things and resolving issues between them... but the testament to a strong couple is getting through that. It's not the ups and downs, it's not the danger. It's the survival, it's how you grow from that. People will be changed by what has happened at the end of Season 9 and what will occur at the top of Season 10. But the show as we all know it will continue; it will just continue in a different way."
And although the show has been renewed for what many speculate could be its final season, Nathan still isn't looking toward the end. "We don't have a home-stretch mentality," He says. "We view this as a marathon. And even if the show were to end in Season 10, we have to approach this as an ongoing process. We're in the middle of [the characters'] lives, so if we're told to end it, we'll be able to end it. But ... we will be more than ready to continue to go to an 11th season or a 12th season or a 13th season. Whether that happens is up to the powers that be, but we will be ready to continue."
Bones airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.