CBS Producer Apologizes After Drama Accused of Plagiarizing Fox Show

Alan Cumming and Bojana Novakovic in Instinct (CBS, 2018)

The showrunner of the new CBS crime drama, Instinct, has apologized over claims that a recent episode heavily lifted plot points and content from the former Fox crime series Bones.

The accusations center around a plotline in the CBS drama’s third episode that aired on Sunday night, Secrets and Lies, in which an Amish boy is murdered after moving to New York.

As part of the investigation, detectives visit his childhood bedroom and find popsicle sticks that remind them of piano keys, leading them to visit his childhood piano teacher for more clues.

Yet in an episode of Bones, released in 2009, The Plain in the Prodigy, the storyline also follows the murder of young Amish man who moves to the big city.

Investigators consequently visit his childhood bedroom to find a rock collection that later reminds them of piano keys, and they decide to track down the boy’s former piano teacher.

Some fans expressed their suspicions over the similar plots online:

In a tweet on Monday, producer and Instinct creator Michael Rauch called the suggestions of plagiarism “distressing” and the episode’s parallels to the defunct Fox show “unintentional.”

“Yeah, heard about this,” Rauch wrote. “Very distressing and 100% unintentional. Looking into it and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And of course apologies to Bones (and their fans).”

Instinct, which stars Alan Cumming, Whoopi Goldberg, and John Mainieri, follows the efforts of a former CIA operative and a psychopathy professor assisting the NYPD’s pursuit of a serial killer. The crime drama is loosely based on James Patterson’s book Murder Games.

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