Why Bones' Showrunners Cast David Boreanaz Without Even Meeting Him

Most actors would love to have a career like David Boreanaz's. The man wooed Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as her brooding, completely age-inappropriate vampiric boyfriend Angel on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," took his fight against the forces of evil to Los Angeles in the "Buffy" spinoff "Angel," and solved murders while falling for stiff forensic anthropologist Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) in "Bones." He's since led the military drama series "SEAL Team," which will wrap up after seven seasons (a miraculously long run in the brutal current TV landscape).

That's not to suggest his closet is devoid of skeletons. The actor was sued for allegedly sexually harassing a "Bones" extra in 2010; the lawsuit was dismissed after being resolved out of court in 2011. That same year, Boreanaz also publicly admitted to cheating on his wife Jaime Bergman. As of 2024, however, they are still married, with Bergman having since become one of the many members of the "Bones" cast's families who appeared on the show.

So far as his professional endeavors are concerned, Boreanaz's achievements can perhaps be attributed to a combination of his good looks, natural screen charisma, and no muss, no fuss approach to his job. He and Deschanel also went the extra mile to assure that "Bones" was more than just an "X-Files" ripoff and featured characters that viewers would actually care about when they weren't up to their necks in viscera, which is further testament to his work ethic. 

As for his hiring? Well, "Bones" creator Hart Hanson has acknowledged that it was mainly his demeanor (translation: that undefinable "it" factor) that led to Boreanaz coming aboard without so much as a meeting first.

Boreanaz was 'that guy' the Bones team was looking for

Spike (James Marsters) was the "pretty boy" vampire on "Buffy" and "Angel." He donned lots of black leather, recited poetry when the mood struck, and dyed his hair what was considered an, ahem, hip fashion for the time (although the fact that others referred to him "Captain Peroxide" probably should've been his first clue that this look wouldn't age well). Angel, on the other hand, was pretty, but in more of a rugged-guy-willing-to-share-his-feelings sort of way. He also wore his share of leather because, hey, if you've got it, you might as well use it.

Speaking of "it," that was exactly the nebulous "I know it when I see it" quality that Boreanaz had which Hanson was looking for. As the showrunner told TV Insider shortly before "Bones" aired its series finale in 2017:

"We cast David first. I didn't even need a meeting when [then-chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group] Dana Walden said, 'Would you consider David Boreanaz?' I was going, 'Yes, I'll take him.' We had been looking for our leading man for a couple of months, and I didn't want a pretty boy. The idea was to have this incredibly strong female lead, I wanted a guy, so we had lots of sparks. We'd seen some very good man-boys. [Laughs.] And David is incredibly that guy; he's an American male. He has a retro feeling to him."

Boreanaz does indeed possess a "retro feeling" — one that allows him to play his "Bones" character, the sensitive Seeley Booth, just as convincingly as an upstanding FBI agent as a Cary Grant antihero type in the show's Alfred Hitchcock homage episode, "The 200th in the 10th." 

Just don't ask him to do an Irish accent. "Buffy" fans know what I'm talking about.