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John Francis Daley enters the world of drag queens on 'Bones'

Emily Deschanel as Brennan and John Francis Daley as Sweets on "Bones."
Emily Deschanel as Brennan and John Francis Daley as Sweets on "Bones."
FOX/Patrick McElhenney, with permission

When the Jeffersonian team investigates the death of a man leading a double life on tonight's episode of "Bones," Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) takes the lead because Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) is preparing to testify before Congress.

The case is that of Brian Thomas, the head swim coach at a community college, whose body is discovered at the bottom of a well. Initially, suspects tell Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Sweets that they believe the coach was having an affair, but his secret turns out to be something completely unexpected. Thomas was a drag queen.

"When I first read the script and I saw that it was Sweets-heavy, I was certain that Sweets was going to be in drag, undercover, trying to solve the murder as he was in the death metal episode ["Mayhem on a Cross"] where he Gothed out, but I was not," Daley tells in a one-on-one interview.

Truth be told, Daley was relieved that he never had the chance to channel his feminine side, saying, "…my lips are kind of girly, so it would be a weird thing. You know how when CGI characters get too close to looking like real humans, they look weird? There's something off and unsettling about them. I think it would be the same thing with me dressed as a woman."

But Sweets is doing more than standing in for Booth in this episode. It looks as if his broken heart may finally have someone to mend it when a new female intern (Laura Spencer as Jessica Watten) begins working at the Jeffersonian.

"Sweets is dictating what everyone needs to do, but is undermined by the new squintern, who questions Sweets' authority," Daley says. "She proves herself to be a very capable worker. They start out being at each other's throats and shift into chemistry, and a bit of a love interest for Sweets. You will remember that Booth and Brennan were at odds for a good half of the duration of the show. It gives us some fun chemistry between the characters."

In this interview for "Bones," Daley also talks about Sweets' increased role on cases, the long-term effects of Pelant, his real-life writing career, "Freaks and Geeks," and more.

It feels to me as if Sweets has played a bigger role in solving cases this season. He spends more time with Booth, who seems to take his advice more. Can you talk about his transition?

I think it feels as a natural next step between the two characters. We have had so many episodes where Sweets is basically the underdog and is not really taken seriously by either Booth or Brennan, so it is nice to see that he has done enough for the team to be taken somewhat seriously. I say somewhat because there will always be that little brother chemistry between the two characters. At least now, he has proven himself to a certain extent.

After Sweets discovered that Pelant got his hands on the document he wrote, he went on a downward spiral. Will he always be affected by that?

I do think so. Absolutely. One of the cool things about this show is there are always these lingering feelings that each character has based on experiences from prior episodes that can come out when we least expect. So, I think, we will see the regret that Sweets feels come to life during the end of this season and next season. Then again, everyone does something that ends up biting them in the ass, so it's not that he is the only one that ever messed things up.

Do you have a favorite Sweets moment?

Actually, the death metal episode was a lot of fun. It was great because I got to work with Stephen Fry and he is excellent. It was fun playing this other character, albeit, Sweets in disguise. It was a neat episode for me. It had comedic elements as well as some heartfelt ones.

Has any of Sweets' psychology tendencies rubbed off on you?

No more than I already did, I think. I tend to be psychological in my dealings with everyone I know and probably over analyze them to a certain extent. Now, I have a little bit of validity to my arguments. I can say I play a doctor on TV.

As a writer, you have "Horrible Bosses 2" and possibly the "$40,000 Man" coming up?

The "$40,000 Man" is one of the many movies we have sold that is in development hell. You don't ever really know if it is going to see the light of day, but it was the one movie that opened the door for us in feature writing. But, yes, "Horrible Bosses 2" is coming out at Thanksgiving and we have a couple of other projects that are being looked at. One is at Sony Animation, one at New Line, and a TV project are in the works, so I will be busy this summer. I won't be taking much of a break.

Which is priority with you -- acting or writing?

It is 50/50, I would say. I enjoy both. There is a certain amount of freedom I find in acting that isn't in writing, and vice versa. It is cool to be able to create characters and worlds when you write, but at the same time, it is freeing to not do that as an actor and take what is given to you and make it your own. Just the fact that since neither feel like a real job is what I am going for.

Are you afraid that "Freaks and Geeks" will follow you always or that is a good thing?

If "Freaks and Geeks" was a crap show, I would be afraid of it. Fortunately, it is something that I am still extremely proud of, and the fact that it has touched generations after mine, is exciting. I love the fact that they are airing it now on FXX, and the fact that a whole new generation of kids have seen it on Netflix. I think it is an important show. I think there is media that can positively affect people beyond entertainment. I think it lets people know that the pain and the turmoil of high school years is universal, and it gives kids a certain amount of hope. I am making this very heavy, but I do believe that there aren't a lot of shows that portray teen years as something other than wish fulfillment and beautiful people having beautiful person problems. It is nice to show that that's not the case in the real world. Obviously, having worked with Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, incredibly talented people, is a blessing. It opened the door, for me, in my career to everything I am doing now.

"Bones" airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

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