- "Trying to make the system secure, we make it more complex. But the more complex we make it, the more insecure we actually are."
- ―Pelant in the FBI interrogation room in "The Crack in the Code".
Christopher Pelant is a serial killer introduced in the season seven episode The Crack in the Code.
Christopher Pelant was an American citizen who was born in the town of Pitt Meadows, Virginia. According to Sweets in The Past in the Present, his parents divorced when he was young and he was close to his father, though they rarely saw each other afterwards (also, in The Corpse on the Canopy Booth says that Pelant officially was born in 1986 in Denmark and raised in the U.S.). He later used his distinctive hacking skills to erase this identity, making it appear as though he was actually an Egyptian citizen, Bassam Alfayat, who had lived in Egypt until the age of six. He did this in order to escape arrest for a crime he committed during his teens that 'Christopher Pelant' could be undoubtably tied to. By making it appear as though he was not Pelant, however, he evaded arrest.
During high school, he had a guidance counselor by the name of Carole Morrissey. He tried to get her to write him a letter of recommendation for Stanford but she refused. He hacked into her computer, wrote the recommendation himself and then killed her with a katana he "borrowed" from his grandfather, a WWII veteran who served in the Pacific theater and taken it with him, and buried her to make sure he was never caught. He had been very obese at the time of the murder, however he later placed pictures on an online yearbook from his high school making it appear that he was slim, therefore distorting the proportions of the force of the fatal blow and the weight of the murder weapon. This distortion made it look like he was slim and using a heavier weapon, when in reality he was large and using a lighter weapon. He then began rapidly losing the large weight he had at the time to further corroborate his story.
Before he became a serial killer, he was a computer hacker who had a strong belief that the U.S. government was corrupt. He demonstrated his hacking skills twice by shutting down the Senate website in 2009 and hacking into the Pentagon security system to shut it down, endangering the lives of countless U.S. soldiers. He was eventually arrested, convicted of wire and computer fraud and sentenced to house arrest. His personal calling card both times was leaving behind a question written in blood-like letters on the websites; on the Senate website he left the question "Where's the website?" and on the Pentagon's, he left behind "What are you defending?".
His hatred was then directed towards the FBI for his arrest and conviction and resulted in him seeking revenge against them. He started by stealing the blood of five FBI agents and acquiring a boom stick (or as is suggested constructing one himself). He was then able to surreptitiously remove his ankle monitor and proceeded to kill a woman. He then placed her remains in various locations for the FBI to find, upon scanning the bones the Jeffersonian computers were infected with a virus which Pelant had intricately carved into their surface.
In his first appearance, Pelant places the skull and spine of his victim in front of a statue of Abraham Lincoln and leaves the message "Where is the Rest of Me?." He then proceeds to leave the rest of the bones in a storage area where the FBI keeps information regarding its informants. After this he reaches out to a reporter named Ezra Krane, who had previously covered his trial, and gives him all the details of his crimes and the FBI's corruption. Later Pelant gets nervous and kills Krane in order to ensure the identity of his source remains a secret. Pelant then hacks various hospitals to have Krane's body cremated before an autopsy can be made. When brought in for interrogation, Pelant doesn't deny being responsible for the murders, but also points out that his ankle monitor gives him a solid alibi.
In the season seven finale, Pelant, who is up for the possibility of parole, frames Brennan for the murder of her friend, Ethan Sawyer, a schizophrenic mathematician whom she had asked for help with the case, exploiting the fact that his delusions included a belief that Brennan's new baby, Christine, was a 'demon'. Altering video footage and using supplies stolen from the Jeffersonian, he ensures that people who love Brennan and are capable of solving his crimes are removed from investigation one by one. Caroline recognizes this and her hope for bringing justice for Brennan and his victims lays with the Jeffersonian team still being on a case, aided by the fact that Cam didn't conceal crucial evidence of samples of Sawyer's hair in Brennan's car. Eventually, Brennan's father convinces her that she shouldn't trust the system given Pelant's computer skills, thus making her go into hiding.
In the Season 8 opener, Bones is still on the run, still attempting to find a way to prove Pelant has framed her, while Pelant is currently teaching a night class in computer skills at a nearby college. She manages to uncover the bones of Pelant's former school counselor, whom he murdered in order to ensure his place at Stanford by forging her recommendation; Sweets is able to identify this as key passages of the recommendation later fit with Pelant's writing style rather than the guidance counselor's. It is revealed that Angela and Bones have also been communicating using flowers with various coded meanings. Cam tells Edison to send details of both the bones and the flowers to Booth via email, knowing it will draw Pelant out. Knowing of the flowers code Pelant waits at the next drop point for a flowered message and encounters Hodgins who he taunts into strangling him into unconsciousness. Hodgins reveals this fact to Sweets who realizes it uncovers a third aspect of Pelant's personality and gives this information to Angela, showing that it fits into Ethan's pyramid. Booth convinces Flynn (the agent who took over for Booth when Booth was taken off the case due to manipulation by Pelant) to arrest Pelant for hacking into the FBI email system just as Cam had hoped and he is detained. Meanwhile, Bones has snuck into the Jeffersonian and is using Cam and Edison's work to analyze the bones further; based on her observations of his gait, she determines that Pelant was in fact fat in high school and thus could have used a light weapon to deliver a heavy blow. The FBI discover his grandfather's Japanese sword and it matches the killing blow to his high school counsellor, he is finally arrested for at least one murder. Angela uses the explanation Sweets provided of Ethan's pyramid to find an encryption key which breaks some of Pelant's code and reveals how he superimposed Bones into security footage.
Just when things start to seem settled, Caroline reveals that the man they know as Pelant is in fact, according to DNA, finger prints, and background records, Bassam Alfayat, an Egyptian diplomat who is being taken back to Egypt by their government, begging the question of which identity was real. As a final act, Pelant/Alfayat gives Bones a Marigold symbolizing pain and grief, and in return, Bones slaps him across the face. When Bones tells Booth what the flower means, Booth throws it into a nearby wastebasket and they both leave, only to have the camera zero in on the flower in the wastebasket, which is then retrieved by Agent Flynn.
Angela and Hodgins wake up with a skinned body above them. They figure out that it was Pelant who placed it there. They identify the victim as a private military contractor and track Pelant to his place of work. Pelant hacks into a security firm's firewalls and takes control of a drone and targets a school full of children in Afghanistan. At the same time he hacks into Hodgins' bank accounts and starts draining all his money. He forces the team to make a choice between the school and the money and Hodgins' chooses the children while Booth and Flynn pursue Pelant. In pursuit of Pelant, Flynn is shot and injured by robotic machine guns while Booth opens fire on Pelant, grazing his face from behind, and causing severe damage to his right side. He drains all the money from Hodgins' account so now Hodgins is broke. He is last seen stitching up his face with supplies he took from a dead veterinarian.
In the season 8 finale, Pelant, now bearing heavy scarring to the right side of his face after being wounded by Booth, manipulates a woman named Anna Samuels into killing FBI agents who were involved in a raid on a separatist religious cult that went wrong. He has been stalking Booth and Brennan since their last encounter. In the end of the episode, during which they had decided to get married, Pelant calls Booth and tells him that he changed the rules when he shot him. He also forces Booth to turn down Brennan's proposal, threatening to kill more innocent people if he doesn't or even if he tells her why he does it. Unwilling to let that happen, Booth tells Brennan that the relationship they have is enough. She accepts this, but is left heartbroken, although Booth still vows to kill Pelant one day.
Though not featured in this episode, after three months of trying to find him, Booth doesn't have any sort of leads on Pelant. Booth and Brennan are conflicted, because if Booth accepted Brennan's proposal then Pelant would kill five random people, and Brennan can't know it. The two become distant, but Brennan talks with an old friend of Booth and decides to have faith in Booth that he wouldn't have declined her proposal without a good reason. At the end of the episode, after the couple made up, the kitchen clock starts blinking the wrong time before going back to the right one, proving or at least implying that Pelant is spying on them.
- "You and I are destined to die together"
- ―Pelant to Brennan
As Angela installs more anti-hacking firewalls in the Jeffersonian computers, the Jeffersonian staff, Booth and Flynn use a donated body to stage a Pelant-style crime scene to try to flush Pelant out. They send Flynn to pose the skinned body as Prometheus in a painting. Although the plan does work, Pelant, who has bugged Flynn's car, catches onto them, kills Flynn and uses his body for the crime scene instead. Pelant tries to woo doctor Brennan, thinking that he is enough like Booth. In the end, however, Brennan refuses Pelant, who thought that Brennan would pick him instead. Though he has the intelligence, Brennan still wants him dead, even if it means her death. Booth calls Pelant's bluff, shooting and killing him, and then proposes to Brennan, telling her the truth behind his refusal.
In this episode, Pelant reveals to Brennan that there is another serial killer still at large. Pelant may or may not know them personally, but he has "a reason to believe it's a woman."
Brennan has nightmares about Pelant and his possible companion The Ghost Killer, becoming rather obsessed with this new killer.
In the alternate reality, Pelant makes a brief cameo as a waiter to tell Brennan she has a phone call.
Pelant had no consistent method in his crimes, though his murders were usually very complex and involved severely mutilating the victims, sometimes in order to implant messages into their remains. When he manipulated Anna Samuels into killing, her victims would be shot to death with a 9mm pistol, first once in the neck to kill them and then ten more times in the body. He also based some details of Samuels' crimes on research papers written by Sweets.
- June 2003: Carole Morrissey (snared, hung upside down and slashed to death and gutted with a katana)
- Inger Johannsen (killed with a bang stick, dismembered and her spine and skull removed)
- Ezra Krane (killed with a bang stick and hung from a flagpost)
- Ethan Sawyer (drugged him with tubocurarine, cut his arteries and left him to be eaten by wolves; framed Brennan for the murder)
- Xavier Freeman (tortured to the point of cardiac arrest with repeated needle punctures to the spine, then flayed and mutilated)
- Special Agent Hayes Flynn (shot with security gatling guns; survived, was later killed and posed like Prometheus and his liver was removed while he was still alive)
- The students of a girls' school in Afghanistan (threatened to kill with a drone strike; averted)
- An unnamed veterinarian (apparently stabbed; killed for access to his office and supplies)
Victims by ProxyEdit
- Alan Friedlander (shot once in the neck and shot ten more times post-mortem by Anna Samuels)
- Jeff Stone (shot once in the neck and shot ten more times post-mortem by Anna Samuels)
- Lance Sweets (attempted shooting by Anna Samuels)