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Bones S01E08 “The Girl in the Fridge”, aired November 29, 2005 IMDB

Bones is another forensic investigation procedural TV series. 

The case begins with the discovery of a decayed skeleton in an abandoned refrigerator. The forensic anthropologists determine that the deceased is a missing young woman, Maggie Schilling, who was held for ransom, but then the kidnappers broke off communication. She also had a condition that made her bones brittle, particularly stress fractures in her wrists.

The series’ protagonist, Dr. Temperance Brennan, says:

“She did fight, Michael. They kept her tied up like an animal. But she fought. That’s how she got those stress fractures, because she was bound and struggling.”

Tracing the drugs that killed her leads to a married couple, Mary and Scott Costello, who lived with Maggie. When the FBI, led by FBI agent Booth, searches their home, they find that the Costellos are sadomasochists, though we don’t actually see this, just a cardboard box full of toys.

Brennan: “They’re sadomasochistic fetishists.”

Booth: “Yeah, They turned the basement into a fun room.”

Temperance: “Seeking sexual gratification through the manipulation of power.” She lifts up a studded leather collar with an O-ring, with a disgusted grimace. “Probably the oldest of fetishes. Master-slave. It’s all about dominance.”

Booth: “This sort of thing comes up with the bloom goes off the rose, if you know what I mean?”

Temperance: “I don’t know what you mean.”

Booth: “You know, the regular stuff. When it gets old, you have to spice it up. It’s over. When the sex is good, you don’t need any help.”

Temperance: “That’s for sure.” [smiles]

Booth: “I’m sorry?”

Temperance: “I was agreeing.”

Booth: “Yeah, well, don’t. It kind of freaks me out.” 

Temperance: “I was just saying that I myself feel no inclination to either pain or dominance when it comes to sex.”

Booth: “Are you sure?”

Temperance: “Yeah, I’m sure.”

Booth: “Because you can be very bossy.”

Temperance whacks him lightly on the arm with a riding crop from a box of toys. Booth doesn’t react.

This is the opportunity for flirtatious banter between Brennan and Booth. Even Brennan non-consensually hitting Booth with the crop is seen as in jest. 

Booth, however, spouts off a lot of ideas about BDSM and its inferiority to vanilla sex, that seem to be based purely on his own opinions. Brennan, usually objective and non-judgemental, agrees.

As the Costellos are led out of their house in handcuffs, Booth verbally harasses them. 

Booth: “Look at him, huh? Ooh, look at him. All smiley. I bet he just loves these things.”

In interrogation, Mary creates doubt. 

Mary: “Maybe she wanted to be cuffed. Did you ever think of that?”

Booth: “Here’s what I was thinking. Female, dominant, strapped for cash, meets wealthy teenager on the outs with her parents, convinces her submissive husband to hold her for ransom.”

The Costellos’ lawyer says the bondage was consensual.

Mary’s Lawyer: “Maggie Schilling was legally an adult. We don’t deny she was in the house, even cuffed. We don’t deny there was a perfectly legal sexual relationship which by its nature got rough. But Maggie was a willing participant.”

Mary: “And enthusiastic.”


Booth to Mary: “It’s weird for you, huh? Being the one that’s all locked up.”

Mary: “The way you come at me, are you threatened or do I turn you on?”

In the forensic anthropology lab, Brennan argues with her mentor/lover, Michael Stires, and says she can prove Maggie Schilling was bound non-consensually.

She says the wear on the bones show that Maggie was tied with her legs together. 

Booth: “If this were the result of sex games, then the legs, they wouldn’t be bound together. Come on, looking for a little nookie, last thing you tie together are the legs.”

Another out-of-his-ass opinion from Booth.

In the second half of the episode, the focus shifts to the conflict between Brennan and her lover/mentor, who is an expert witness for the defense. The prosecution says that Maggie was lured into the Costellos’ home with the promise of drugs and held prisoner. The defense says that Maggie orchestrated the ransom scheme to extort money from her parents, and her death was a self-administered overdose. 

BDSM becomes only a background element, used to explain the victim’s injuries. The jury expert calls the defendants “S and M perverts”, but thankfully neither the prosecution nor the defense brings that up in court. 

This suggests that BDSM was added to the story solely for the confusion about the victim’s bone breaks.

  2 Responses to “Bones S01E08: The Celluloid Dungeon”

  1. […] in the previous Bones episode, “The Girl in the Fridge”, BDSM is closely integrated into both the mystery and Booth’s character arc in “The Purging of […]

  2. This tv show was kinkier than I thought

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