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Bones Star Recalls Getting Up Early To Film All Those Gruesome Crime Scenes

Angela looking surprised with a clipboard in her hands on an episode of Bones.

As network TV crime procedurals go, Bones was never the darkest or most intense. My grandmother never had to stop watching, for example, because it was affecting her sleep too much (true story, shoutout Criminal Minds), but that doesn't mean it wasn’t often very disgusting in its own way. Bones treasured its lingering camera shots on insect-infested corpses and decaying body parts. That putrescence was usually some combination of gross and funny for viewers, and it seems the cast themselves had those same emotions while they were filming.

Bones star Michaela Conlin recently chatted with The New York Post about some of her upcoming projects and during the interview, the subject of Bones came up. Conlin touched on those “fake dead rubber corpse(s)” and how ungodly early they filmed a lot of those shots. Here’s a portion of her quote...

We were [often] filming at 6 a.m. over this fake dead rubber corpse; the whole thing was steeped in this dark comedy… We laughed a lot during production of that show. It was a long time — we grew up together.

I can’t imagine how weird trying to deliver semi-serious dialogue must have been standing next to those fake bodies in some state of decomposition. I mean I get every crime procedural on TV does this to some extent, but most of the time when they find a body on Law & Order: SVU or Elementary or whatever show you want to pick, it doesn’t look like rats went to town on it. I mean look at this real screenshot from Bones and tell me it would be easy to deliver lines standing next to this mess…

A human skull inside a box that's buried in human flesh in an utterly disgusting shot on Bones.

At some point, I think these revolting corpses even became an odd selling point for the show. I’m not saying I went into each episode hoping the show would do its worst, but after awhile, there was definitely a sick appreciation for how far the show was willing to go. There are even some episode titles that hint at how gross the corpse is including “The Maggots In The Meathead” and “The Goop On The Girl.” No offense to Gwyneth Paltrow, but I don't think Goop is a word most people have positive feelings about.

Bones went off the rails a little at times with some truly outlandish serial killer plots that directly connected to main characters and also some behind the scenes issues, but for most of the show’s runtime, it delivered really enjoyable case of the week mysteries that balanced detective work and interesting scientific experiments. The cast had a great chemistry with each other, including the key side characters, and most of the time, it knew exactly what it was and delivered on that premise.

Michaela Conlin, who played Angela, can be seen next in several upcoming projects including Season 2 of Apple+’s space race show For All Mankind and the Netflix comedy Bad Trip, the latter of which co-stars Eric Andre, Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery and reportedly features a mix of scripted material and pranks.

Mack Rawden

Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.