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The Real Reason They Killed Off Vincent Nigel-Murray On Bones

Ahem, "did you know" that almost a full decade has passed since everybody's favorite factoid quoting "squint" Vincent Nigel-Murray met his tragic end on Fox's long-running procedural dramedy Bones? Yeah, we were a bit surprised, too. Truth be told, it seems like only yesterday we were watching the beloved supporting character bleed out on the floor of the Jeffersonian lab while begging of the cosmos, "Please don't make me leave. I love it here." For many fans of Bones, the death of Vincent Nigel-Murray was as traumatic an experience as finding out that kind-hearted Zack (Eric Millegan) had been helping the nefarious Gormogon killer.

Of course, if you're among the Bones fans who've been with the series from the early days, you likely recall that Zack's heartbreaking turn to the dark side was the twist that led the series to the revolving door of so-called "squinterns" tasked with helping Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) solve their seemingly boundless well of gore-tastic murder mysteries. While that revolving door approach spawned some of Bones' more memorable cast members (see Joel David Moore's macabre virtuoso Colin Fisher and Carla Gallo's bubbly genius Daisy Wick), few were as instantly and universally adored as Ryan Cartwright's very British Vincent Nigel-Murray — so much so that it was a legitimate shock to the system when the character was killed off. 

It was also one of Bones' more ingenious narrative twists, though, as it brought to a head several of the show's more pressing plot lines. In a candid interview with TV LineBones creator Hart Hanson now freely admits that the character's "fan favorite" status was a key reason Vincent Nigel-Murray was marked for death on the series. "He's a well-beloved character... probably the favorite squint of the audience, so we decided to kill him for the heartbreak." Cold, man.

Ryan Cartwright's Alphas gig played a big part in Vincent Nigel-Murray's Bones departure

Heart-breaking is, indeed, the only way to categorize Vincent Nigel-Murray's death on Bones. But before you go off in a rage at Hanson's blunt assessment of arguably one of the series' most brutal plot twists, you should know that hammering a nail through the heart of fans was not the only factor behind the decision. In fact, the burgeoning career of star Ryan Cartwright played an equal role in the choice to kill the character. 

Hanson offered thoughts on Cartwright's professional predicament in that same TV Line interview. "The truth is he got a job. We knew [his exit] would happen before the end of this season, so the story [had] been in the works for a while. We knew that one of our squints, who are [played by] very, very talented actors, would get a job."

Bones star Emily Deschanel offered TV Line a similarly praise-worthy view on Cartwright's talent and devastating series exit. "Vincent is such a sweet character. Just so heartbreaking. You love the character. You love the actor. I think he's so talented."

Fans of the series will hardly argue Cartwright's talents, or his unique ability to make Vincent Nigel-Murray feel so authentic. But if you're wondering what sort of gig Cartwright booked to take him permanently away from his Jeffersonian family, he landed a series co-lead in Syfy's tragically short-lived, X-Men styled sci-fi saga Alphas. Alphas lasted just two seasons, but it still gave Cartwright a chance to hone his craft opposite an impressive cast which included David Strathairn, Malik Yoba, Sean Astin, Summer Glau, Brent Spiner, and two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali.

Even though Vincent Nigel-Murray never got to make a return to Bones, fans should still be happy to know that Ryan Cartwright has carved out an impressive career for himself since leaving the show.