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Alumni: Giving U of T more reasons to be proud

Alumni Portraits
Hart Hanson
Current Industry: Arts & Culture, Entertainment
Bachelor of Arts (BA) 1981, University College

Hart Hanson views his career to date with a sense of wonder. As he told University of Toronto Magazine in 2010, “I think I was booked to be a college English teacher. Instead I ended up writing a murder show for Fox and living in Malibu.”

Bones’ premise is simple: forensic anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan studies the remains of the murder victim and FBI agent Seeley Booth cracks the case. What sets it apart from similar shows is its “whimsical characters and sly humour.” Hanson calls the show a “crimedy.”

Hanson passed his apprenticeship as a writer at University College and is grateful for the opportunities afforded him. “I had the greatest university experience.” He was editor of UC’s student newspaper, The Gargoyle, and vice-president of the University College Literary and Athletic Society. He experienced his first creative-writing workshops at U of T and won the Norma Epstein Foundation Award for Creative Writing.

Hanson got his first break when he sold a script of an episode of The Beachcombers to CBC TV. Later, he wrote and produced episodes for other popular shows, including Street Legal, Road to Avonlea and North of 60. In 1996, he created Traders, about investment bankers on Bay Street, for Global TV. He left for Hollywood in 1998, writing for several shows before Fox invited him to develop a new crime drama. The result was Bones, now in its seventh season. He also created The Finder which ran for one season in 2011-2012.  In 2013, he is working on a series pilot called Backstorm.

"I owe so much to my time at U of T. I was going to a school where I could get an education as good as any in the world. Aside from the great education I got in classes, it was the extra-curricular activities and the community that were my education at U of T."

His advice to students today is “Just embrace it. Go into student politics, go into the [student] clubs, the athletics, just embrace that community.”

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