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What Emily Deschanel Would Have Changed About Bones' Dr. Brennan

Among a host of other procedural crime dramas, Bones stands out with its emphasis on dissecting forensic evidence and its science-minded, unusually blunt protagonist, Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel). While Deschanel never thought the show would last so long, after 12 seasons Brennan came to mean a lot to her, in no small part because of how the character inspired fans and represented them. But, she told Entertainment Weekly, if the show had been on cable, Brennan would have been a little different.

Bones centers on the crime solving duo of forensic anthropologist Brennan and FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), who are often at odds with each other over their differing personalities. He is known for his religious beliefs, emotional viewpoint, and people skills. Meanwhile, she is known for her high intelligence, logical thinking, issues with empathy, and social awkwardness. As it happens, most of these qualities are reminiscent of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which Deschanel said the character would have had if the show hadn't been on a network.

Brennan would have been on the autism spectrum if the show was on cable

While the cast of Bones has since moved on to other things, Deschanel loved playing a woman in science who was "not shy about telling people about her brilliance," she told EW. Her favorite thing is hearing about how Bones inspired teenage girls to pursue science. But she added that on top of being independent, free-thinking, powerful, and successful, Brennan was also not so great at social interactions.

"If it was a cable show, she would have had Asperger's," Deschanel said. "I've heard from younger people who are on the spectrum or have Asperger's themselves that they loved seeing a character who was not dissimilar from them portrayed on television, so that makes me happy to represent that. I know we weren't truly representing someone with Asperger's exactly, but there are qualities that Brennan has." Keep in mind that Asperger's is actually no longer a separate diagnosis, but is included in the ASD spectrum.

As a genius who represents some ASD symptoms but doesn't ever have an actual diagnosis, Temperance Brennan has good company with the likes of The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper and Criminal Minds' Spencer Reid. Deschanel told EW she discussed it with Bones series creator Hart Hanson. However, according to the newspaper The Star-Ledger, while Hanson based Brennan off of his friend with ASD, they did not diagnose her onscreen in order to appeal to a broader network audience.

Certain fans were undoubtedly going to be upset with either decision, and Bones debuted at a time when such a portrayal would have been both groundbreaking and a huge risk. Even years after the series wrapped, there are stillĀ several things fans wish the show had done differently. On this particular item, Emily Deschanel agrees.