Reason-minded Dr. Temperance Brennan and the resurrected Ichabod Crane are debating love in the Jeffersonian lab.
It’s a mid-September day, and the production team behind the Atlanta-shot Sleepy Hollow has taken over Bones‘ Los Angeles set, decked out with Halloween flourishes, to film a scene for the Fox dramas’ upcoming crossover event.
“Faith results from our fear of death, art from our ability to discern an attractive mate and love from our need to procreate,” Emily Deschanel’s Brennan explains.
“Dr. Brennan, the way you look at Agent Booth is far more than just procreation,” Tom Mison’s Ichabod counters.
“Actually, procreation plays a significant part in our relationship,” Brennan replies with a smile.
That unusual exchange comes courtesy of a seemingly outrageous idea from Fox, a melding of universes which kicks off on Thursday night at 8/7c when Ichabod and fellow Witness Abbie Mills travel to Washington, D.C., to claim a headless body under investigation by Brennan and her team.
Although that concept may sound crazy, “It was one that we just jumped at immediately,” Bones co-showrunner Michael Peterson says. “We love the challenge of an unorthodox idea… There were definitely obstacles, but I think the end results are fantastic. We had a ton of fun.”
His stars, however, were a tad skeptical at first.
“My first reaction [was], ‘We don’t really fit in their world, and I don’t really quite understand,'” David Boreanaz recalls during a break from shooting the special two-hour installment. “‘They have more of an occult experience going on with more of a supernatural feel to it. We’re just a little bit more realistic in our environment.'”
Emily Deschanel was similarly perplexed. “I thought they were crazy,” she says with a laugh. “I understand doing a crossover, but that particular show seemed, to me, like an odd choice at first… But then when I thought about it, I thought it could be an interesting challenge. Why do the obvious when you can do something off kilter like this?”
Sleepy‘s leading man Mison says his fears were allayed when he read the scripts. “It fits together really nicely, a lot better than I expected, actually,” he says. “Hats off to both sets of writers, who’ve been flinging scripts back and forth to each other. It feels pretty seamless.”
In the end, the duos find they have more in common than initially thought. But some tricky maneuvering was still required to keep Brennan’s logical brain from exploding. For instance, Deschanel says, it had to work out that those in the Bones universe — like the Sleepy Hollow one — had no inkling of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and its protagonist, Ichabod Crane.
Meanwhile, Crane isn’t forthcoming about his past or the fact that he’s hundreds of years old. “He still needs to keep certain things secret,” Mison explains. “[There’s] an opportunity for him to be found out slightly in the crossover, which he manages to avoid quite deftly.”
Abbie is also “a little reticent to be extremely open because she doesn’t want Booth to find out that there’s more going on,” Sleepy star Nicole Beharie adds.
Speaking of the newly minted FBI agent, Abbie and Booth find out that they have a shared friend: Sleepy‘s late Sheriff August Corbin, who mentored Abbie and even spoke of her to Booth. That leads the veteran G-man to think that “maybe he can be somewhat of a role model for her in the FBI,” Boreanaz previews.
As for Brennan and Crane, they’re not all that different, despite one of them being a woman of science and the other being a time-transplanted Revolutionary War soldier.
“Crane is this guy who’s out of time and out of touch. And in a weird way, Brennan is the exact same way,” Peterson points out. “So it’s not actually that odd for her [when she meets him]. This is a woman who doesn’t get any pop culture references, and neither does he. They’re really well-suited for each other.”
The dynamic between Crane and Booth, however, takes on a different flavor. While shooting a scene featuring the foursome, Boreanaz ends each take with a different, improved zing about Ichabod. The G-man “sees a guy dressed in this peculiar manner and acting in this peculiar manner, and he’s ripe for the picking,” Mison later says, adding that his character views Booth as “an oaf.”
So maybe there isn’t a lot of love between the two men, but could seeing the happy partnership, professionally and personally, between Bones‘ central couple make Ichabod and Abbie reconsider their own relationship status?
“Off-camera, David Boreanaz kept saying, ‘Hey, are you guys going to get together on the show?'” Deschanel says with a laugh. “Nicole was like, ‘No. We have other love interests,’ and we’re like, ‘You guys should get together on the show.’ We’re trying to play matchmakers off-camera for on-camera characters.”
As for what the future holds for Bones, Peterson is already cooking up a fantasy scenario for the show’s next big special event. “We can find Bunkie’s body and crossover with Empire!” the EP suggests. “I think Booth and Brennan have got some pipes on them. They’ll sing a couple tunes.”