Season 1 Episode 3

A Boy in a Tree

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Sep 27, 2005 on FOX
out of 10
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730 votes

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Episode Summary


When the decaying corpse of the Venezuelan Ambassador's son is found hanging from a tree on the campus of an exclusive private school, a simple suicide case quickly turns into a web of lies, sex and scandal involving the school's staff and students.

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  • A god episode

    In this episode of Bones, the following happens. Bones, Booth and Zach go to a prep school, when the body of a student is found hanging from a tree. Soon the head falls off of the body, which Bones manages to catch and then the rest of the body falls form the tree. We soon learn that the victim died between 10 and 14 days ago. We also learn that the victim was a Venezuelan Ambassador's son. When searching his room, they discover a hidden sex tape, of the victim and a girl. The girl is soon IDed, and is shocked to see the tape, as she had no idea about it. We soon learn that there are many more sex tapes, all with different people. Soon we learn that the girl, who made the sex tape with the victim, killed him.moreless
  • It just wasnt anything to write much about. It was OK until the weird sex rectangle thing then it quickly deteriorated.

    It just wasnt anything to write much about. It was OK until the weird sex rectangle thing then it quickly deteriorated. James Bond is the only character cool enough to use one-liners regularly, this Temperance Character just can't cut it. Boone is also struggling, there isn't any chemistry between them just physics, they are like opposite poles, they repel each other. The dude seems to be waiting for her to get drunk so that he can do his thing, maybe later on a shared mishap or near death experience may pull them together but at the moment it looks like the guy is at the same level as the supposed fans of her book, like the Charlie character from the next episode.

    All in all, it was a good attempt, hope things get bettermoreless
  • this was a really good ep i thought

    in this ep bones gets called to the case that involes a really weathly private school. with a boy that is hung up in the tree dead and the school keeps saying its a suiside but the fbi agent keeps saying he does not agree with the explanation and bones and him must figure it out which it involes a web of lies and a huge sex scandal of sex tapes and staff that were involved. this was a really good ep can they figure it out or does it fall under the word suicide. i really enjoyed this ep alotmoreless
  • A genuinely tragic case.

    A well-rounded episode. The case involves the mysterious death of a teenage boy at a super-posh prep school. The school is terrified of how the potential shame a homicide investigation would besmirch their reputation, and are keen that this boy's death is treated as suicide. A substantial part of Bones and Booth's investigation here is centred on proving, once and for all, just how the boy wound up hanging from a tree. The case for suicide is heightened by the boy's sense of isolation: Venezuelan, seemingly friendless and deaf. However, Booth is determined to prove this is murder, in large part because of his own deep-seated, working-class prejudice against privileged folks and posh schools. Once a case for murder has been established, the plot resolution comes thick and fast, and is a little disappointing - a case of high school jinks and cheap blackmail gone wrong.

    The best aspects of this episode are undoubtedly the character' interactions; sharp, witty and comic throughout. The ensemble cast come to the fore here, most particularly Zack (Eric Millegan) in his pursuit for sexual knowledge. Booth's barely repressed intolerance of Zack and Brennan's all-encompassing 'squintiness' is similarly hilarious.moreless
  • Very interesting episode.

    This episode achieved what the previous episode did not, the political stuff in the background.

    I actually feel sorry for Booth, having to simultaneously deal with both Brennan and Zack's personality quirks. Zack is such a sweetie, he's like a big puppy, I'm surprised women aren't attracted to that.

    The headmaster is too political – he seems to think if he repeats it's a suicide enough times then it makes it true. Loved Brennan: "You're basically just the principal of a high school."

    The Ambassador's video of Nestor is very touching. You can feel her desperation, she sent him to a very secure private school so he will be safe and he gets murdered. I would have done the same thing – try to prove their security is flawed.

    Very good, the writers did a much better balance here of what's interesting and what's not.moreless
David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz

Special Agent Seeley Booth

Emily Deschanel

Emily Deschanel

Dr. Temperance Brennan

Eric Millegan

Eric Millegan

Zack Addy

Michaela Conlin

Michaela Conlin

Angela Montenegro

T.J. Thyne

T.J. Thyne

Dr. Jack Hodgins

Jonathan Adams

Jonathan Adams

Dr. Daniel Goodman

Toby Hemingway

Toby Hemingway

Tucker Pattison

Guest Star

Kavita Patil

Kavita Patil

Dr. Teresa Petty

Guest Star

Tom Schmid

Tom Schmid

Mr. Pattison

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Booth gets his ID card at the very end of this episode, but in the previous episode, The Man In The SUV, he used one to enter a secure area in the Jeffersonian. This happened because The Man In The SUV was originally supposed to air after A Boy In A Tree.

    • Booth: So, uh, what part of "this is mine" did you not understand? What? Do you want me to say it in Latin?
      Brennan: Absit invidia.

      "Absit invidia" means "no ill will," which in this situation is more or less "no offense". Brennan never actually translated "this is mine" (which would roughly translate to "id meum est") which is what Booth implied he was going to say in Latin. She instead just apologized in Latin for not listening to him.

    • Goof: At the beginning of the episode, when Brennan, Booth and Zack are in the car, Zack goes from leaning forward to sitting back on his seat between shots.

    • Goof: At the very start of the episode, Booth and Bones are sitting in his SUV outside the lab. When the shot moves in the car to them there is a small tree in the background - behind Bones. Later when they get to the school, the very same tree is in the background.

    • Goof: When Booth and Brennan are talking at the Jeffersonian and their cell phones ring, Bones's hair shifts between a tight, high pony tail and a low, loose pony tail between shots.

    • Goof: While Booth and Brennan are waiting for the sheriff to deliver the sex tapes, Brennan's arm changes positions in between shots. Sometimes it is resting on the car door and at other times her arms are crossed.

    • Goof: At 24:11 the shadow of a boom-mic is visible on Bones' head.

    • Goof: Tovar Comara, the Venezuelan security agent, says to Brennan that the case "huele mala" (Spanish for "it stinks") but the pronunciation is wrong, the correct phrase is "huele mal."

    • Goof: When they ran the simulation of Nestor's hyoid breaking, Angela says it took just over eight days, but the read-out on the simulator said "Day 15" when it broke.

    • Goof: Bones watches a DVD of the victim on a big flat screen television mounted to her wall but at the end of the episode the television is gone from the wall.

  • QUOTES (32)

    • Zack: We're crime fighters.

    • (Brennan talks to the Ambassador while Booth stands further away, listening)
      Brennan: Ambassador Olivos, you told me that all a mother wants is to know that she's raised her child well. That your biggest regret is that you will never know if Nestor would have grown up to be a good man, but he was a good man. He died because he was trying to do the right thing.
      (The Ambassador looks thankful and leaves while Booth walks over to Brennan)
      Booth: Very impressive Temperance. You got that one right. (He smiles and she smiles back)

    • Booth: Thank you.
      Brennan: For what?
      Booth: For going with my instincts in there.
      Brennan: I did not back up your instincts. I bought time to find the facts I need to tell me what happened to Nester Olivos. What's with you and the private school?
      Booth: I thought we understood each other.
      Brennan: Oh, that's bad, understanding each other?
      Booth: I don't like people who think they're better than other people.
      Brennan: Some people are better than other people.
      Booth: You know, what you said right there, that is so Un-American. All men are created equal, either you believe that or you don't.
      Brennan: Some people are smarter than others, there's no use being offended by the fact. (pause) What are we going to tell Nester's parents?
      Booth: We tell them that their son was found dead. We're looking into it. Sorry for your loss. And we are.
      Brennan: What?
      Booth: Sorry for their loss. It's sad. Try to remember that.
      Brennan: Uh, I'm not a sociopath.
      Booth: You're bad with people, okay. No use being offended by the fact.

    • (Booth, Brennan and Zack in the car on their way to the crime scene)
      Booth: We've got a dead body in a prep school out in the sticks.
      Brennan: Good morning to you, too.
      Zack: (to Booth) You're successful with women, right? I mean they like you?
      Booth: Okay, look, it's a very prestigious prep school with a lot of rich kids.
      Brennan: I thought that it was good to start with a "Good Morning."
      Zack: If a woman said to you take a hint, what would it mean?
      Booth: Could we just concentrate on the job? Thank you. Now, I know the sheriff out there. She's mostly okay but the school's got a lot of pull with the county and she's probably trying to scrape the whole case off on us. Look, what I'm trying to say is it's not just a crime scene but it's a political situation so when we get out there, you follow my lead and you pay attention.
      Zack: You call after every sexual encounter, right? Cause that's the good thing to do.
      Booth: (growing impatient) Look, this is a work mode. This is a work zone. We do not talk sex at work.
      Brennan: (frustratedly) First, you tell me I'm too task oriented. Then, when I say good morning you say that I should concentrate on the job.
      Booth: Okay look, we've got about a forty-five minute drive. What do you say we pass it in quiet meditation?!

    • Booth: The kid doesn't give a gift because, you know, he's in love. He does it cause he wants a little lovin'.
      Angela: That cynicism you affect Booth, it's your way of hiding a deeply romantic nature.

    • Brennan: You are the least objective person I have ever met.
      Booth: Thank you!
      Brennan: It's not a compliment.
      Booth: Oh, come on Bones, you know something's wrong here, right? The school, the tapes, now Sheriff Roach.
      Brennan: All this mess you're uncovering, it smells, yes, but it doesn't add up to murder, not logically.
      Booth: Maybe if you look for more than the facts you'd be able to see the big picture.
      Brennan: (interrupting him) Maybe if you opened your mind we could find out the actual truth.

    • Mr. Comara: This hanging, huele mala.
      Brennan: (thoughtful) Huh.
      Booth: Sure, you know, someone says "It smells" in a Spanish accent and all of a sudden you're like "Hm, interesting."

    • Booth: I'm just saying, it wasn't suicide.
      Angela: I'm a big believer in instinct.
      Booth: Finally! A squint with an open mind.
      Angela: You have no idea how open minded I can be.

    • Booth: (Heading for Brennan in the forensics area) What do you mean, it was not a suicide? (The alarm goes off) What the hell is that?
      Brennan: We can't have just anyone step into the forensics area and contaminate all the "boring details."
      Booth: The "boring details" was my signal for you to stop talking, okay? I want my own card.
      Brennan: Well, I want my own gun.
      Booth: Last time you had a gun you shot someone.
      Zack: He was a bad guy.

    • Angela: When you're with someone, the gymnastics aren't what matter. It's who you are. It's in your intentions and how much you care about the other person.
      Zack: If you don't want to help me, just say so.

    • Hodgins: (burps loudly). Ohhh.
      Booth: Dude. Minty burp. Still a burp.
      Hodgins: Yeah, well, who took me to Wong Salmonella's?

    • Hodgins: Hey, bugs buzz but they do not lie.

    • Booth: Well, you know, girls they organize alphabetically. Guys are more organic. Good stuff up to the left... Crap(whistles) bottom right.

    • Hodgins: There are some things you learn by doing... riding a bike, driving a car, pleasing a woman.
      Zack: I can't ride a bike or drive a car.
      Hodgins: Or apparently please a woman.

    • Booth: I'll need a complete enrollment list including teachers, staff, students.
      Sanders: That's extremely confidential information.
      Booth: Heh. You know, luckily I'm good at keeping secrets.

    • Brennan (to Zack): Video first. I don't want your flash to disturb the crows.
      Sanders: Yeah, that would be a shame. Disturb the human flesh eating birds.

    • Zack: I understand the individual words but I do not comprehend her meaning.
      Angela: Did you tell Naomi that?
      Zack: Yes. She said ask your friends if I have any.

    • Zack: She said 'take a hint,' but when I asked 'what hint?' Naomi said if she told me what hint, then it wouldn't be a hint anymore. It would be a statement.

    • Brennan: You were right about the school, serving pudding.
      Booth: Stirring the pudding...

    • Brennan: I've been thinking about your whole "something stinks" aptitude.
      Booth: Oh yeah?
      Brennan: I think you have a subconscious knack for reading body language. Stress in the voice, other subtle yet discernible indicators. It's not mysterious, but it is impressive and in the future, (deep breath) I will try to accord it an appropriate degree of objective worth.
      Booth: Thank you Temperance, I appreciate that. So, uh, what part of "this is mine" did you not understand? Have to say it in Latin?
      Brennan (gets up slowly, smiling slightly, and hands him the access pass he wanted while saying): Absit invidia.
      Booth: (Booth picks up the card and smiles surprisedly) Nice.

    • Headmaster: Given your hostility, it's time we bring in a lawyer to advise us.
      Booth: Or you take my advice. If you don't answer my questions, I'll take you down to FBI headquarters in handcuffs.
      Brennan: He'll do it. He doesn't like you.

    • Booth: (flashes his badge) FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth and a forensic anthropologist.
      Brennan: (leans forward) Dr. Temperance Brennan from the Jeffersonian institute.
      Zack: (leans forward between the seats) Plus one crack assistant.

    • Santana: In order for an investigation to occur, you, Dr. Brennan have to declare it a murder.
      Goodman: Without an investigation, we can't find out if it's a murder, but there'll be no investigation unless Dr. Brennan declares it to be a murder. (To Brennan) Shall I send for a philosopher?

    • Santana: Look, you're very experienced within your field on bones and such, right? Doesn't your gut say "suicide"?
      Brennan: I don't actually use my gut for that, sir.
      Booth: She really, really doesn't.
      Goodman: Like all of us at the Jeffersonian, Dr. Brennan prefers science to the digestive tract.

    • Goodman: The evidence is ambiguous at best.
      Santana: Well, unambiguize it, please, Dr. Goodman.

    • Brennan: The sign says Wong Fu's.
      Shapiro: Family name change at Ellis Island.

    • (after catching the head that fell from the tree)
      Brennan: I am going to need an evidence bag.
      Booth: Heads up!
      (The body falls from the tree.)
      Brennan: I am going to need a bigger bag.

    • Sheriff Roach: Agent Booth, if you decide this is a suicide, it becomes my problem, correct?
      Brennan: Actually, the person who decides if this was a suicide is me.
      Sheriff Roach: Let's give the bone lady some room.

    • Zack: I didn't talk to anybody in high school. I didn't kill myself.
      Hodgins: That wasn't high school. It was an experimental eugenics program.

    • Santana: (to Booth) What about your gut?
      Booth: My gut says it stinks.
      Goodman: (to Brennan) If he smells with his gut, what does he use his nose for?

    • Booth: (reading the school sign aloud) Omnia Mea Mecum Porto. What does that mean? Regular people stay out?
      Brennan and Zack: (in unison) I carry with me all my things.

    • Zack: Sometime when you're not busy, I wonder if I could ask you a few questions about sexual positions.
      Booth: If you even try, I will take out my gun and shoot you between the eyes.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Featured Music:
      "Miles From Monterey (Bernie Remix)" by West Indian Girl (while Booth and Brennan drive to Nestor's parents' house)
      "The City Streets" off the Can You Feel It album by Positive Flow featuring Donna Gardier (at Wong Foo's)
      "Sunshine Everywhere" off the Digital Poetry album by Deep Audio
      "Cold Hands (Warm Heart)" off the Alternative to Love album by Brendan Benson (at the end at Wong Foo's)

    • Soon after this episode aired, Fox ordered a full season of Bones due to the fact that the first three episodes of the show consistently ranked #1 among key demographics in the Tuesday 8:00 p.m. timeslot.

    • David Boreanaz's Angel to Bones connection: actress Kavita Patil went from a nurse on the Angel episode "Dead End" to a doctor on this episode of Bones.

    • International Air Dates:
      Denmark: February 21st, 2006 on TV3
      Norway: Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 on TV3
      Germany: Friday, October 20th, 2006 on RTL


    • In the movie "Excalibur" (1981), late in the film, the knight Percival (Played by Paul Geoffrey) is searching for his fellow knights and comes across a tree where several men are hanging dead. In that scene a crow is seen pecking at one of the dead knights in a similar manner to the the crow that pecked at Nestor Olivos' body while it was hanging from a tree.

    • "Tucker was all 'Stacy's Mom' about it."

      "Stacy's Mom" is a reference to a Fountains of Wayne song, which is about a boy who is attracted to his friend's mom.