Why Bones Really Killed Off Sweets In Season 10

Summary

  • John Francis Daley left Bones to pursue directing opportunities.
  • Sweets’ death in Bones was a tragic and unexpected murder.
  • Sweets’ legacy and impact continued to be felt throughout the show, even after his departure.


Why did John Francis Daley leave Bones in the Season 10 premiere, and what led to Sweets’ death in Bones? This happened when someone beat long-standing team member Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) to death in a parking garage — a twist that changed the entire show. However, there was a real-life reason behind Daley’s abrupt departure from the show. Introduced early in season 3, Sweets was an FBI psychologist assigned to monitor Booth and Bones. Sweets’ clumsy attempts to understand their dynamic provided comic levity to the show, endearing him to legions of fans.

Over the ensuing seven seasons, Sweets helped Booth and Bones solve countless cases. Sweets’ initial role as comic relief and audience surrogate made his sudden murder shockingly unexpected. In reality, the reason that Sweets’ Bones role came to a sudden end is less salacious. John Francis Daley received other opportunities behind the camera, specifically with the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise. He ultimately chose a directing job instead of continuing his work in front of the camera. That led to the show finding a shocking way to write Sweets out of the series.

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How Sweets Dies In Bones

It’s A Tragic Death

Bones and Booth with a dying Sweets.

When understanding why Sweets left Bones, it is a good idea to look at how he departed the show onscreen. The story must show this in a way that satisfies fans. In the season 10 premiere, “The Conspiracy in the Corpse,” Sweets promises to watch out for Booth after she gets out of prison. He then ends up with some crucial evidence for a case Booth and Bones are working on — one that puts a Shadow Government target on his head.

While fans might not have been happy with his passing, it ended up as one of the most tragic deaths in TV history. A Navy SEAL named Kenneth Emory beat Sweets to death in a parking garage. It all tied into a case with the President of the Shadow Government, Glen Durant. What made his season 10 death even more tragic was that Sweets and Daisy were expecting their first child together. John Francis Daley sells the moment with his performance too, especially as he tells Booth and Bones that the world is better than they think it is, even as he is dying.

Why John Francis Daley Left Bones

The Actor Wanted To Broaden His Career

Sweets died because John Francis Daley left Bones to pursue other opportunities. Despite Daley’s decision to leave the character, the hit series, and all his castmates (including former Angel star David Boreanaz) behind, there don’t appear to be any hard feelings from the cast or crew. In an interview (via TVLine), Bones executive producer Stephen Nathan shed some light on the situation soon after the season 10 premiere:

“It was a complicated and very difficult decision for us…. There were a lot of tears shed on the set. We adore John. He’s an important and valued member of the family. It was really painful to lose him. Hopefully, that pain will translate into something good for the show moving forward.”

Away from Bones, actor-turned-director John Francis Daley contributed to the world of writing and directing for the big screen in a way that also bore fruit. Since leaving Bones, Daley has received writing credits on Spider-Man: Homecoming and Game Night. In 2023, he continued his success with the action fantasy movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. In this case, despite the abrupt departure, both Bones and John Francis Daley’s careers seem to have a happy ending.

How Sweets’ Writing Cemented His Legacy Of Kindness After His Death

His Death Helped The Development Of Other Characters

Bones - Season 10 Cast Photo.

While Daley’s absence undeniably left a hole in the show, junior FBI Agent James Aubrey (John Boyd) soon stepped in to fill Sweets’ shoes for seasons 10, 11, and 12. Gone, but not forgotten, in the Bones series finale, Brennan and Booth take a moment to reflect on Sweets’ memory and acknowledge his contributions to the team. Booth and Brennan were able to uncover the book he wrote about them after his passing, and Zack Addy’s story continued to be shaped by Sweets’ kindness towards him.

Although Sweets left Bones suddenly, his impact continued to be felt throughout the rest of the show. If there is a Bones revival, expect his memories to still run strong with the characters. Ultimately, then, Bones killing off Sweets in season 10 had some story value despite being tragic. Despite its sudden nature and the reason why Sweets died in Bones, the twist still shaped the development of many other characters on the show, and the closure of the finished book of Booth and Brennan’s love story was a final act of kindness that genuinely resonated.

How Swets Actor John Francis Daley Felt About Leaving Bones

It Was A Bittersweet Departure

Lance Sweets and Daisy Wick in Bones

After Sweets’ death, Bones moved on without him for the rest of its run. However, the show kept his memory alive, as the other characters never really got over his tragic demise. While John Francis Daley wanted to leave the show to pursue his other opportunities, that didn’t mean it wasn’t bittersweet for him. According to Daley, he had a strong bond with the character and felt like “I was losing a part of me” (via TV Line). While Daley was excited about starting the next stage in his life, seeing his character’s fate shook him up. The reason why Bones killed off Sweets was to give his character an emotional goodbye.

“I had so much compassion for him. He was such a good person… He had gone through so much, and to see him die in such a grim way was shocking.”

In a surprising statement, Daley said he would have been more than happy to jump back in and play Sweets on Bones again after he finished directing National Lampoon’s Vacation. That could never happen after his brutal murder, a scene that shook up his on-screen friends, and one that had a strong effect on Daley personally. I walked out of a nearly empty stage and couldn’t say a proper goodbye to people. And as I was walking to my trailer I sort of realized, “Oh, s–t, this is weird.” And then the tears started coming. It was very cathartic.”

  • Bones

    Release Date:
    2005-09-13

    Cast:
    Emily Deschanel, T.J. Thyne, Michaela Conlin, John Francis Daley, David Boreanaz, Tamara Taylor

    Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Crime

    Seasons:
    12

    Season List:
    Bones – Season 1, Bones – Season 2, Bones – Season 3, Bones – Season 4, Bones – Season 5, Bones – Season 6, Bones – Season 7, Bones – Season 8, Bones – Season 9, Bones – Season 10, Bones – Season 11, Bones – Season 12

    Summary:
    Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Deschanel) teams up with FBI agent Steeley Booth (Boreanaz) to investigate death causes, with little more than rotten flesh and bones left to examine.

    Story By:
    Hart Hanson

    Writers:
    Hart Hanson

    Network:
    FOX

    Streaming Service(s):
    Hulu, Disney+

    Directors:
    David Boreanaz

    Showrunner:
    Hart Hanson

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