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Emily Deschanel is back on television in a role quite different from her Bones’ character: forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Earlier this year, it was announced that Deschanel would be joining the cast of TNT’s Animal Kingdom. Bones ended in 2017. After two years, what made Deschanel decide to take on her next big role? Deschanel explained, saying:
I needed time to decompress after doing Bones and to have an exorcism [to] get the character, Brennan, out of my system, having played that character for so long. I took a full two years off and as I was starting to think of working again and thinking about what I wanted to do, the main thing [was] I wanted to do something different -- a different tone and a different character. I didn't want to just jump in. The last thing I wanted to do at this moment is to jump in and be the lead of a network show because I've done that and I know how demanding that is. I wanted to have time with my kids. I didn't want it to take too much time away from them. So this came about, and it checked all the boxes that were my concerns.
After 12 seasons on Bones, it makes sense that Emily Deschanel told ET that she needed a chance to decompress. She spent over a decade playing the lead in the Fox procedural. Following that, a long-term commitment to another show was not in the cards.
As she revealed, she was not interested in returning as the lead of another network show. Hence, the appeal of her Animal Kingdom arc. It is not going to be as intense as the commitment of a series lead. Were two years enough to decompress from twelve years of playing Dr. Temperance Brennan? Apparently so, because Emily Deschanel is back on television and in a significant way.
Instead of going in headfirst, the Bones star opted for something with a lower episode count. Emily Deschanel shared that she was initially looking for something a little more limited than her Animal Kingdom engagement turned out to be. She explained why she still decided to forge ahead. Deschanel said:
I wanted to dip my toe back into things. I said to my representation, ‘Can they give me a three-episode arc on a show?’ The only thing different about this is that it's a 12-episode arc, so a little longer than I was intending at first. But the character was so different and interesting and the show had a totally different tone. And it had Ellen Barkin in it, who I've always loved as an actress. These were all really exciting to me and I really wanted to explore that space.
Emily Deschanel’s mission to get Brennan out of her system has clearly worked. She is back! I have to imagine that playing a character for over 240 episodes has to take its toll. It is a lot to say goodbye to as well. Back when the show ended, Deschanel revealed the most emotional scene from the finale.
Thanks to some distance, Emily Deschanel has chosen to dive back in with a character that has no similarities to Temperance “Bones” Brennan. It is a bold and understandable choice.
Another part of the allure of Animal Kingdom was not just the chance to change things up character-wise. In her interview, Emily Deschanel said that the drama had a different tone. Bones and Animal Kingdom share crime as a similarity. Their approach to it is incredibly varied. One is a gritty drama, and the other was a dramedy-style procedural.
Emily Deschanel stars as Angela in Animal Kingdom’s fourth season. Recently released from prison, Angela has deep ties to the Cody family thanks to her friendship with J’s late mom and Pope’s twin sister, Julia. She wants to get in tight with the family. Viewers will have to tune in and see if she succeeds.
You can catch Emily Deschanel in her new role on Animal Kingdom this summer. New episodes of the thriller air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.