There is nothing an American audience loves more than watching a gang of socially awkward geniuses solve a horrific murder, so it seems almost inevitable that some of our many, many beloved crime dramas would accidentally step in each other’s blood-soaked footprints. According to some fans, however, a recent episode of CBS’s Alan Cumming vehicle Instinct got way too close to a Bones episode from 2009. According to Entertainment Weekly, the Instinct episode that aired last night — called “Secrets and Lies” — had a number of details in common with the Bones episode “The Plain in the Prodigy,” which aired during the Fox show’s fifth season. Specifically, both plots involved an Amish murder victim whose secret piano-playing skill is discovered only after an object in their childhood bedroom tips investigators off about their musical talent and, in doing so, inspires them to interview the victim’s piano teacher.
“Very distressing and 100% unintentional,” Instinct creator Michael Rauch tweeted Monday night at a fan who flagged the similarities. “Looking into it and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” If we really want to avoid overlap, somebody is going to need to design a cross-referenced fictional-murder database. (Law & Order: SVU alone must have 60 percent of all crime scenarios referenced at least once.) Until then, we’ll have to use nature’s murder database: all you wonderful viewers at home.