There’s a longstanding television cliché of waving away a cast member’s sudden absence by having characters say things like, “Oh, you just missed them” or “They’re off doing [Insert Very Important Task] this week.” It’s a clunky but functional means to the end, although it’s a whole other ball game when the actor in question is going to be missing for months instead of weeks. (Even “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” struggled with this task during Anthony Stewart Head’s hiatus in season 6.) It’s why the “Bones” creatives elected against going this route when Daley had to step away for four months to go make “Vacation.”
Speaking to TV Line in the wake of his exit from the series in 2014, Daley said he would’ve “100 percent” come back to “Bones.” In his own words:
“I knew it would be tough because I was asking for four months off. And I was so happy that they were able to accommodate that. But, yeah, in a perfect world, I would’ve loved to have [completed the movie] and then segue back to the ‘Bones’ family. I had spoken to [executive producer] Stephen Nathan about it all, and he said it would be more satisfying for the fans to conclude Sweets in a dramatic way rather than for it to be up in the air and have him come back midway through the season.”
It was a tough call to make, but the right one. Daley had “always dreamed of being a director” (as he told TV Line) and it shows in the passion and flair he brings to films as unremittingly silly as “Game Night” and “Dungeons & Dragons.” By affording Sweets an emotional farewell and freeing up Daley to pursue his ambitions, the “Bones” team gave us the best of both worlds.