A commenter named Sherizzy is a staunch supporter of Chris Ambrose. Ambrose is well known to readers of FR for his divorce and custody case in CT Family Court. Sherizzy wrote, “Chris Ambrose’s cease and desist letter is based on facts with citations to court decisions. This is why Frank still has not published it on his blog. It destroys his narrative.”
Sherizzy, I am glad you brought up Ambrose and his Cease and Desist letter. It is worthy of analysis.
I addressed some of it earlier. Ct Family Court Darling, Chris Ambrose Threatens to Sue, Have Me Arrested, and Commit Suicide.
Though he said I might drive him to suicide, Ambrose did not commit suicide. And while he would have been happy to have me arrested, the laws he cited aren’t applicable.
It is not a criminal offense to call a man a thief, a scoundrel, a liar, and a coward.
The last time he spoke of suicide.
Now we will address one of the “ruthless lies” I allegedly wrote about him — plagiarism.
Ambrose writes, “You… claim I admitted I stole intellectual property and was fired for being a plagiarist. None of this is true, which is why there was never legal action and contrary to your claims, my agents didn’t drop me. There were, however, a few erroneous reports in the press, and since you have told so many other, wholly unsupported lies, disputing this falsehood is not necessary here.”
Why not dispute? It is an enormous lie to call a professional writer a plagiarist if he is not.Ambrose’s cease and desist letter continued, “Your extreme libel has deprived me of business opportunities, about which prospective employers, agents, and executive recruiters are prepared to testify. They will confirm that every employer checks a job candidate’s Internet profile, what you have widely published has rendered me unemployable. You have done catastrophic emotional and financial damage to my life.” That is odd. I thought Ambrose could not get work as a TV writer because he is a plagiarist.
And I recall that Ambrose did admit he “stole intellectual property.”Dr. Jessica Biren- Caverly wrote a custody evaluation report for Ambrose.
He used it to deprive his children of their mother. Dr. Caverly wrote, “Mr. Ambrose… explained that he had written some episodes of Bones that were ‘shelved,’ and he believed they were never used. Mr. Ambrose stated that he combined two episodes for Instinct using the Bones scripts as a template for the new episode of Instinct, stating ‘I didn’t think anything of it.’
“After the show aired, fans noticed the similarity with episodes of Bones. He explained that it was ‘shameful’ and ‘hugely embarrassing.’ “Mr. Ambrose stated that there were articles written about him plagiarizing, but there was ‘no blowback.'”
For clarification, Bones was a Fox TV show. It was an American crime procedural comedy-drama. Created by Hart Hanson, it premiered on September 13, 2005. It concluded on March 28, 2017, airing for 246 episodes. Though Bones was on the air for 12 seasons, Ambrose was with the show for two years, 2006-2008. He wrote four episodes and served as producer or co-producer for 39 episodes. Ambrose then went on to work on Law and Order and Harry’s Law.
Then he hit a dry spell. He got a job on NCIS New Orleans for a year. Then he hit another dry spell. It was so bad he had to work as a commercial real estate salesman in New York City.
Micheal Rauch was show running a new American police procedural, Instinct, for CBS. He gave Ambrose a shot at a comeback. Ambrose had been out of work for three years.
And 10 years after he left Bones, Ambrose went to work for Instinct, another police procedural. It premiered on March 18, 2018. Ambrose was a consulting producer and wrote one episode, the third episode in the series.
The episode was “Secrets and Lies.” It aired on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. An estimated 6.6 million people viewed it. “Secrets and Lies” was about an Amish teen who ran away to a nearby city. He wanted to pursue his forbidden passion for playing piano. Someone murdered him while he was staying there.
It took Bones’ fans less than an hour to take to social media and reveal Ambrose’s secret. Secrets and Lies stole the plot from an October 2009, episode of Fox TV’s Bones, “The Plain in the Prodigy” (Season 5, Episode 3). Plain in the Prodigy was about an Amish teen who ran away to a nearby city. He wanted to pursue his forbidden passion for playing piano. Someone murdered him while he was staying there.
Despite what he told the custody evaluator, Ambrose did not write The Plain in the Prodigy for Bones. He did not combine two episodes he wrote of Bones into one for Instinct.
On April 3, two days after Secrets and Lies aired, Plagiarism Today (PT) reported Did Instinct Plagiarize Bones?
According to multiple tweets, the show, entitled Secrets and Lies… shared several similarities with an October 2009 episode of the show Bones entitled The Plain in the Prodigy (Season 5, Episode 3)…. Just how similar are the two episodes? And could there be another explanation?….
In both cases, the victim was an Amish … teenager who traveled to a nearby city to pursue his forbidden passion for playing piano only to be murdered while staying there…
Consider the following (incomplete) list of details the two episodes have in common:
- When the victims are discovered, detectives notice the hand-sewn clothes and quip that it was likely made by their mother and that makes it “sadder somehow” (similar phrasing in both episodes)
- Both episodes make a quip about how some religions reject satan. In Instinct the line is “Some religions reject satan; they reject high school.” In Bones, it was “We reject satan and they reject buttons.”
- When the detectives visit the victim’s family, they learn that he had left for the city with another member of the church
- The detectives ask to search his room and note the lack of posters or personal effects but compliment the quilt.
- When searching the room, they find a small box adorned with blue songbird feathers that contains a practice keyboard (the keyboard is made with stones in Bones and popsicle sticks in Instinct.)
- Both mothers ask the detectives for a copy of their son’s photograph, even though photos are against their faith.
- The keyboard leads them to a piano teacher “because every small town there’s at least one piano teacher” (similar phrasing in both).
- In both episodes the piano teacher shows them a video of the victim where they’ve learned to play a difficult piece of music by ear after just three lessons.
- We learn that the victim received the lessons for free and that he worked for the teacher’s husband for his construction firm.
- Piano teacher reveals that the victim discovered his talent after being fascinated watching another of her students and, after the student left, the teacher suggested he “touch a few keys” (similar phrasing in both).
- The detectives meet the other member he had left with, but learn that the victim had moved out some time ago. Friend also alludes that it was the victim who kept secrets and often lied about being at work.
- It’s discovered that the victim, due to his mistrust of banks, hid a large amount of cash in his room that is now missing.
- We learn that the victim was trying out for a musical school and had left his friend to focus on his art.
- Both episodes end with the detectives showing the victim’s parents a video saying that “God will understand” the decision to use the forbidden technology.
…This level of detail and similarity goes well beyond coincidence… The author of the episode of Instinct, Christopher Ambrose, has a 17-year history of writing and producing crime procedurals for television. Among his credits is producing or co-producing some 36 episodes of Bones, four of which he also wrote.
Ambrose didn’t work on The Pain in the Prodigy … nor did he work on any that season of Bones….
Other publications reported it:
CinemaBlend wrote a story entitled CBS’ Instinct Accused Of Ripping Off Plotline From Fox’s Bones
“The similarities had some fans online calling Instinct out for plagiarism, which is not something that Hollywood takes lightly.”
The Wrap wrote a story entitled, CBS crime drama has been accused of ripping off long-running Fox procedural
Sunday’s “Instinct” episode, titled “Secrets and Lies,” about the murder of an Amish teenager who moved to New York City, echoed a 2009 “Bones” episode dubbed “The Plain in the Prodigy”… The coincidence did not go unnoticed by eagle-eyed “Bones” fans.
“The assailant: this week’s episode of the CBS police procedural, Instinct. The victim: a 2009 episode of the Fox police procedural series, Bones. The crime: plagiarism…
Some fans of the Fox show Bones noticed that the Instinct episode was oddly, and indisputably, similar to an episode of their beloved crime show that aired almost 10 years ago, called “The Plain in the Prodigy.”…
Both episodes feature almost identical stories. In Bones, the investigators look into the murder of an Amish teenager after moving to New York. At his childhood home, they find a box of rocks under his bed that look like piano keys and deduce that the teen was a genius piano player, which leads them to his piano teacher. The same exact thing happens in Instinct, except they find popsicle sticks, not rocks.
It’s not just the plots that are similar. There are several lines in the Instinct episode that are word-for-word identical to those in Bones, including even throwaway jokes and lines. (“Nice quilt though, huh?”) A Bones fan put together a video on her Tumblr page detailing all of the similarities, which, for now, is available here.
The person credited in the entertainment database IMDb with writing the Instinct episode is Christopher Ambrose, who was a writer and producer on Bones from 2006 to 2008. The Bones episode that Instinct clearly lifts from, however, is credited to Bones producer Karine Rosenthal and didn’t air until October 2009—over a year after Ambrose’s last Bones credit.
Michael Rauch, the showrunner of Instinct who has never worked on Bones, apologized for the incident on Twitter, saying the parallels between the episodes were “100% unintentional” and that he was looking into it to make sure it didn’t happen again. A CBS representative did not respond to Quartz’s inquiry…
Procedurals are typically on air for a few years at least before they totally run out of ideas. (Bones, for instance, aired for 12 seasons.) Instinct was only on its third-ever episode.
End of Quartz Except
And it is an unspeakable crime in Hollywood Even TV Guide had to report it. This shows how seriously the industry takes plagiarism. CBS owns TV Guide, and Instinct was a CBS show.
For the record, Instinct showrunner Michael Rauch went on Twitter to apologize for similarities, saying it was unintentional and that he’s looking into it. The writer of the Instinct episode, Christopher Ambrose, was also a writer and producer on Bones.
Rauch has also reached out to Bones creator Hart Hanson, and Hanson seems to be taking things in stride and is supporting Rauch.
The plagiarism embarrassed everyone and cast a pall on the show. But CBS renewed it for a second season, but Ambrose was fired. But that’s not how Ambrose tells it.
Listen to Ambrose’s Voice — Denying Everything
Ambrose said, “I didn’t get fired. The show got pulled. And the guy who was the running it was – he, they got rid of him because he kept going over budget. And I was too high up in the writing order to, I was associated with him. So the new head guy that they brought in, had his own writers that he wanted to pull along. So he brought those people in. And that’s why I didn’t go back. But I didn’t get fired because I did anything wrong.”
No, the show was not pulled. Rauch weathered the storm. Ambrose broke one of the cardinal rules of TV writing – don’t plagiarize. Rousch was back for season two. Ambrose wasn’t. Ambrose explained another time in more detail how he did not get fired for plagiarism. This time he threw Rauch under the bus.
Ambrose said, “One of the biggest ones is the guy that I was working for, he kept going over budget. They’d give him $2 million every week to make the show. And he kept spending two and a half million dollars. And CBS, the network, said to him, ‘We’re not doing this anymore, Michael [Rauch.] You have two more weeks to get this right. If you come in over budget, we’re going to get a new showrunner.'”And he [Rauch] was like, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. They’re not giving me enough money. I’m going to show them. The show is doing well enough that they’re not gonna want to get rid of me.’ And they did. They [CBS] said, ‘You know what, Michael? We’re not spending this kind of money. And they got rid of him. “And then they got a new showrunner in. And I was too senior. I was associated with Michael. He’s the one who hired me. So the new guy was like, ‘I need some new people in here. I want people that I’ve worked with before.’ So he hired new writers and then I didn’t have a job, but it wasn’t because I did anything wrong. It was because Michael had gone over budget.”
None of this is true. Michael Rauch, the showrunner, gave Ambrose a chance to revive his sagging career. In return, Ambrose blamed his theft of intellectual property and plagiarism on Rauch. It is a perfect name for Ambrose’s downfall — Secrets and Lies, and it aired on April Fools Day. Unemployable, Ambrose’s agents let him go in July 2018. Ambrose has not worked in TV or movies since. His last credit on IMDb was Secrets and Lies.
After he lost his career, he went home to Connecticut and stole his wife’s inheritance and converted their marital assets into his name alone.
He then filed for divorce. He hired the insiders in CT Family Court and they maneuvered the case before corrupt Judge Gerard Adleman.
He helped Ambrose complete the theft of the money and mother out of the lives of their children.
Of course, you have to understand this is not a story that will make headline news. There was no lawsuit.
Hart Hanson was gracious to Mike Rauch and he did not make a big deal of it. But everyone on Instinct was embarrassed. The producers, the network execs, the actors, writers, everyone.
Plagiarism on a show, no matter who the scoundrel is, is hard to live down. Ambrose disgraced everyone. Sherizzy, my boy, you back a real winner.
And, by the way, if you want some visual evidence of how badly Ambrose plagiarized – check out this video of the scene by scene theft Ambrose made of a show he did not work on – no not for one minute.