TV Guide

By Anna David

Any time an iconic TV star attempts to step into a new role, it’s a gamble. And in David Boreanaz’s case, that’s especially true.

It turns out gambling is the worst vice of FBI agent Seeley Booth, Boreanaz’s macho-man-with-a-heart character on Fox’s new hit crime drama Bones. “Gambling is pretty rude,” Boreanaz says. “Even the Mafia looks at it as bad.” But so far, Booth’s dice problem hasn’t figured prominently in the show, which returns this week after a baseball-imposed hiatus throughout the month of October.

In other words, Booth doesn’t have much of a dark side compared to the brooding bloodsucker Boreanaz played on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. “He fights differently [than Angel], he moves differently, he acts differently,” Boreanaz says. “He’s a risk-taker but he’s also very patient. Like he’s waiting for the right card.”

Bones executive producer Barry Josephson says he hit the jackpot when he landed Boreanaz for the actor’s first TV show since Angel ended last year. “You know how people transition from boy to young man to man?” Josephson asks. “He had transitioned into a man and when he came to meet with us, I was like, ‘Woah, is that the guy from Buffy?’ He felt like a leading-man-motion-picture actor.”

Josephson isn’t the only one taken aback by the post-Angel Boreanaz. “I was surprised by David’s sense of humor,” says Emily Deschanel, who plays Booth’s sometime partner, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan. “He was kind of intimidating in Buffy andAngel — sort of strong and brooding.”

Deschanel’s character is far from intimidated by Boreanaz’s lighthearted Booth, In each episode, their differing personalities – Booth trusts his gut instincts, while Brennan is all facts and objectivity – play off one another as they use their disparate skills to solve murders. This week, Booth and Brennan travel to Washington State to investigate human remains found inside a bear, which may be evidence in a murder. While there, Brennan makes another discovery – the Northwest is full of eligible bachelors. Witty repartee ensues.

In this oftentimes tempestuous environment, opposites definitely attract. Even at Deschanel’s audition for the role, Boreanaz felt the chemistry. “I remember her challenging the scene and making me stand up,” he says. “I like that – a woman who comes in and gets under my skin and challenges me. She wants to play ball.” But don’t hold your breath waiting for the two of them to jump each other’s bones. Boreanaz thinks the sparks between the two characters harkens back to another crime-busting couple who allowed their flirtation to flicker for years.

“On Moonlighting, you really didn’t know what case they were working on, but you were rooting for them to get into bed, and that’s what I want with this show,” Boreanaz says. “Still, it’s not going to be a lengthy buildup toward that. They each have separate lives, and he has an eye. He’s a normal alpha male.”

To get into Booth’s retro-cool mind-set, Boreanaz turned to Steve McQueen movies. “If you see McQueen in Tom Horn, he’s a very strong cowboy who’s comfortable in his own skin. And Booth is like that – he’s confident and old-fashioned. He’s into Mad magazine, pinups, Coca-Cola in the bottle, cheeseburgers, and the piece of apple pie with ice cream on top.”