When the credits roll on the final episode of Fox's Bones, ending Tuesday after 12 seasons, Dave Roberts will be able to see something for the first time: his real name on television.
The retired 6ABC weather forecaster, who appears on TV monitors in the finale as a news anchor reporting on an explosion at the show's fictional Jeffersonian Institute, is credited as "David T. Boreanaz."
Boreanaz is the name, with Italian Slovenian origins, that he shares with his son, Bones star and Malvern Prep graduate David Boreanaz, who directed the finale. (Father and son have different middle names.) It's also the name Roberts was forced to leave behind professionally when he began working in television decades ago.
"When I started in the business, I couldn’t use that name. There were certain ethnic-type names that they didn’t want used because of who-knows-what back then," Roberts said in a phone interview Monday.
David Boreanaz's sisters, Bo and Beth, both spent time working behind the scenes in TV (Beth, who was with The Rosie O'Donnell Show, now teaches at the Shipley School). Bo surprised her father years ago when she decided to have her first TV credit read simply "Boreanaz."
"That was her statement, because as kids they knew that I had to change my name a couple of times and never used my real name on the air," said Roberts, who was known as Dave Thomas when he worked in Buffalo.
“I finally made it. My three kids made it before I did,” he said, laughing.
Roberts, who has appeared uncredited in Bones before this ("I was a range officer once when they were at the firing range; I was in the FBI office once, copying something") and who did some narration for the show's 200th episode, won't be the only Philadelphian in the finale with a tie to the director. Roberts' wife, Patti, will make her first appearance, handing her son's character, FBI Agent Seeley Booth, what looks like a folder in a scene a bit more than halfway through the episode.
Patti is the real secret of their children's success, Roberts said.
"When they were all growing up, I guess I was constantly working, and my wife, I’ve got to give her all the credit in the world, she kept them in line, and they always had to work," he said. "And it’s paid off. Because when I go out there and I see David working -- overworking, we worried about him -- he was directing hundreds of people. I just couldn’t believe the command and how he handled things."
For those who've never seen the part-murder mystery, part-romantic comedy that is Bones, here's the gist:
Emily Deschanel plays Temperance "Bones" Brennan, a forensic anthropologist and novelist whose character is inspired by the life and novels of writer (and forensic anthropologist) Kathy Reichs. She solves particularly gruesome murders with the help of Booth (Boreanaz), who over 12 seasons has gone from being her often-antagonistic partner to her husband and father to their two children.
Brennan's best friend and coworker, Angela Montenegro (Allentown's Michaela Conlin), is married to another Jeffersonian employee, Jack Hodgins (TJ Thyne), and the series' March 21 episode featured the wedding of forensics chief Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor) to, yes, another, Jeffersonian lab worker, Arastoo Vaziri (Pej Vahdat).
Eugene Byrd and Michael Grant Terry, two Philadelphians who've long enjoyed recurring roles as two of the Jeffersonian workers affectionately known as "squinterns," will be together on screen in the finale, where several of the scientists Brennan has mentored will face a challenge together.
Both said the family feeling that people see on screen exists off screen, too.
"I've met two of my best friends on the show; I met my wife on the show," said Terry, a Germantown Friends graduate who has played the recurring character of Wendell Bray for 42 episodes, starting in the fourth season. The actor, who can be seen in a now-streaming Amazon pilot, The Legend of Master Legend, and in The Archer, a film that premiered this month at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, said he met his wife of two years, casting director Christine Ciraolo Terry, at one of the show's wrap parties.
Byrd (Arrow, 8 Mile), who grew up in Germantown and Mount Airy and went to Greene Street Friends and the Crefeld School, plays Dr. Clark Edison. He's appeared in 36 episodes, beginning with the third season.
"What was so sweet about this show was that every character they brought on became a part of the show," Byrd said. "We all felt like regulars."
They were written for like regulars, too, with character arcs that included Wendell's battle with Ewing's sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and Clark's transition from a buttoned-up scientist who tried to stay above the romantic fray to someone who, Byrd said, "started to enjoy his colleagues and wanted to talk to them about their lives, and actually became friends with Hodgins" and with Brennan.
"We had a young girl with Ewing’s sarcoma come visit the set afterwards who had survived that cancer, and just her talking to me about how great it was to have something like that exposed on television, and how important it was for her really made it feel so much more important for me," Terry said.
Another high point: the episode where he and Boreanaz got to play hockey.
"I got a phone call from one of the producers, and he was like, ‘Do you play hockey?’ I was like, ‘Absolutely,' " said Terry, who growing up had been on the ice at Chestnut Hill's Wissahickon Skating Club ("I used to go there and hold hands with my young dates to slow-dance songs") but who wasn't exactly Flyers material.
"It was about two weeks before the episode, and I called a friend of mine who did play hockey and trained with him like every day. ... I practiced my butt off for a couple of weeks."
Byrd, who voices one of the main characters on Disney XD's Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, said his fondest memories of Bones include the period when "Angela was hitting on" Clark (and Clark was resisting) and his scenes with Deschanel. He also appreciated a part of the finale that, without giving too much away, demonstrates the effect Brennan has had on her crew.
“You needed to see how everybody grew," he said, and it occurs in a way "I think the fans had not seen before.”