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Why Fans Are Confused About The FBI In Bones

Bones, along with other shows such as C.S.I., has really brought a fascination with forensic anthropology to the forefront of mainstream culture. Dr. Temperance Brennan (otherwise known as "Bones"), played by Emily Deschanel, makes the field of study seem interesting and way more exciting than real-world forensic anthropology tends to be. Her relationship with FBI agent Seeley Booth, played by David Boreanaz, fills in the drama gaps while Booth on his own tends to fill in the action.

The pair, both employed by the FBI in Washington D.C., work on new cases every episode, all of whihct typically involve the discovery of human remains — Dr. Brennan's "bread and butter" –  and that's a lot of cases when you realize the show ran for 12 seasons. The number of murder victims has given the couple a pretty ridiculous workload, and it's exactly that workload that has sparked confusion in fans about how the Bones universe FBI goes about their business. More specifically, they're wondering where the local PD is while the FBI is left responsible for handling all of these cases.

The authorities overstep their bounds

The Bones sub-Reddit is filled with fans who doubt the accuracy of the show's FBI jurisdiction, such as in the thread, "Are all the cases really worthy to involve the FBI?" in which Reddit user u/L0st-137 asks, "How come all of these cases rise to the Federal level?"

"Typically local LEO [law enforcement officers] don't want 'The Feds' interference," they continue. "I understand a few when a senator is involved or body is found on Federal property but not every case."

/U/dancingroo points out that the FBI sometimes "steps in" when a case crosses state lines, or if they're asked for help by the local authorities. "It's usually in the case of serial killers," /u/dancingroo comments. "So yeah, most of Bones episodes would not realistically be handled by a federal agent, nor would it require the kind of involvement from a forensic anthropologist that Brennan has in the show."

Other users in the thread point out that Bones mentions the FBI has jurisdiction over all of Washington D.C., out of which Bones and Booth operate, which could explain why they end up with so many cases. "So Booth can pretty much just take over any investigation he's interested in," says /u/lxacke.

According to The US Department of Justice, the FBI has the broadest jurisdiction of any law enforcement agency and often works with local law enforcement. So, where the multitude of cases may be a bit blown out of proportion, the way the fictional Bureau goes about its business could be entirely possible. As /u/davect01 says, however, "Of course it is exaggerated. Would be a boring show otherwise."