Stars: David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Michaela Conlin, TJ Thyne, Tamara Taylor, John Boyd, Patricia Belcher, Laura Spencer, Brenda Strong, Nicholas Gonzalez, Ali Hillin
Writer: Emily Silver, series created by Hart Hanson, based on the life and writings of Kathy Reichs
Director: Steve Robin
Network: Fox Network, Thursdays @ 8 PM
Airdate: November 5, 2015

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in the "The Senator in the Street Sweeper" episode of BONES | © 2015 Patrick McElhenney/FOX

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in the "The Senator in the Street Sweeper" episode of BONES | © 2015 Patrick McElhenney/FOX

Some TV shows deal with politics brilliantly. Others don’t. Then there are those that don’t want to, and fair enough. BONES does episodes built around issues often enough that it need offer no apologies for not wanting to get into party politics. Its Season 11 episode “The Senator in the Street Sweeper” actually does a good job of pointing out some issues within the political process without overtly taking sides. The show also has B and C storylines that go well with the main mystery.

When a body mangled by a street sweeper turns out to be that of U.S. Senator Rick O’Malley, D.A. Caroline Julien (Patricia Belcher) wants everyone on their best behavior, as they have to deal with Majority Whip Senator Winters (Brenda Strong), who was working closely with the dead man and may have been romantically involved as well. However, when Winters, who has a medical background, specifically requests that Brennan (Emily Deschanel) be at the briefing to explain forensic details, Booth (David Boreanaz) tells his partner/wife to be her usual blunt self, as this may put their potential suspect on the defensive.

It turns out that O’Malley, whose constituents were coal miners, was prepared to go against the party and veto an environmental bill that would have cut coal emissions and jobs. Although O’Malley’s wife Lynn (Ali Hillin) was having an affair with the senator’s aide, she didn’t do it. Instead, it was the aide, Eric Morales (Nicholas Gonzalez), who clobbered the senator with a sculpture made of coal in the shape of the state of Virginia. Eric hoped that, as a widow, Lynn could take her husband’s senatorial seat and he could eventually marry her. Lynn, who was in fact going to take the open seat, declines in horror.

Meanwhile, Julien’s determination to make sure the case proceeds smoothly causes her to order FBI agent Aubrey (John Boyd) to investigate squintern Jessica Warren (Laura Spencer) to make sure her background won’t compromise the case. Jessica has a few things in her past the FBI wouldn’t like, and the whole issue is awkward, given that she and Aubrey are quietly dating. Julien, aware that Aubrey has political aspirations, wants to make sure he’s with the right woman. Angela (Michaela Conlin) gives Jessica a pep talk about going for what she wants, and in the end, Jessica and Aubrey both decide it’s worth some risks to give their relationship a chance.

The C story concerns Brennan’s reservations over letting Booth install a big-screen TV in their bedroom, which gets just enough play and banter to be diverting without derailing the episode.

Emily Silver’s script racks up quite a few points as it zips along, i.e., what seems right by general standards (cleaner air) may seem wrong to a particular community (coal miners worried about their jobs), there are other forces at play, and intense scrutiny on the victim can easily spill over onto other people (like Jessica and Aubrey) in the vicinity. It’s a pleasingly dense scenario that earns extra points for lots of shout-outs to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

 

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ArticleTV Review: BONES – Season 11 – “The Senator in the Street Sweeper”

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