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ObrazekNovelist Reichs bares her 'Bones' for television

By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY  26 July 2006

Pozn.: Tento text je vypůjčen z originálu na webu www.tv.com


New on TV this fall is Bones, a Fox series about forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan who, in her spare time, writes novels about a forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs.

In real life, it is forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs who writes the best sellers starring Temperance Brennan.

The real Reichs, who works for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of North Carolina and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec, says the idea for the series is "brilliant."

"We hope my readers will get a kick out of that and realize that it's another manifestation of Tempe, and they are in on this inside joke," says Reichs, also a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Bones, Reichs makes clear, is not based on any of her novels. But like their plots, the story lines for Bones are grounded in her expertise in a field that specializes in identifying remains so badly decomposed, burned or destroyed that standard identification methods are useless.

"Each of those stories will be original," says Reichs, who is working with the show's writers. "It's a good outlet for ideas I don't use in the books."

Reichs' on-the-job experience should prove an inexhaustible resource for story ideas for both Bones and future novels. In addition to her work in North Carolina and Quebec, she has taught body-recovery workshops at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va., testified at the United Nations' tribunal on genocide after the Rwandan atrocities of the mid-1990s, identified victims in mass graves in Guatemala and helped at Ground Zero in New York after the 9/11 attacks.

The Tempe in Reichs' novels works mostly in Quebec and North Carolina. TV's Tempe is based in Washington, D.C., at a scientific institute called the Jeffersonian, which Reichs describes as "the equivalent of the Smithsonian." Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz star.

Reichs' first novel, Déjà Dead, published in 1997, was an instant hit. Her eighth Tempe novel, Cross Bones (Scribner, $25.95), is a best seller now.

Intensive research for Cross Bones took Reichs to Israel, and the same kind of meticulous work is going into the creation of Bones. Reichs recently spent time with the series' writers "working on plotlines, trying to put the science into them and keeping the science honest." (Related excerpt: Read a preview of Cross Bones)

The show's characters will use cutting-edge technology, she says, but it's not pushed beyond "what realistically does exist and could be done."

How will the authenticity stack up to TV series such as CSI that also deploy forensic experts who boast gadgetry?

The TV show will be realistic, Reichs says. "You can't get DNA results in 53 minutes."