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New York Times: The voice of X-perience: Robert Patrick on 'The X-Files'

New York Times
The voice of X-perience: Robert Patrick on ‘The X-Files’
Ian Spelling

John Doggett sees dead people.

“Doggett is starting to be honest with himself, and in ‘Empedocles’ the audience saw why he chose not to believe all the crazy stuff that he had seen,” says Robert Patrick, who plays FBI Special Agent Doggett on “The X-Files.” “It was for very personal reasons. “He doesn’t want to believe what Reyes and Mulder and Scully say,” the actor adds, “because if he believes it’s all real, if he believes the visions he experienced were real, then it’s something else he could have done to save Luke, to save his son. It’s like he tells Reyes: If he doesn’t believe it, then maybe he did everything he possibly could have done. “‘Empedocles’ was a huge turning point for this guy.”

As huge a turning point as that episode was, it pales in comparison to what series creator Chris Carter has in store for the tumultuous two-part “X-Files” season finale. The first part, titled “Essence,” will air on May 13, while the concluding “Existence” will run on May 20. “Adam Baldwin is back as my informant, Agent Crane (Kirk B.R. Woller) is back, Duffy Haskell (Jay Acovone) and Krycek (Nick Lea) are back, Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) and Reyes (Annabeth Gish) are around,” Patrick says by telephone from his Los Angeles home, “and a new character played by Frances Fisher is in, but I can’t tell you what she plays or what the character does. “Really, the last two episodes are all about Scully having her baby,” he adds. “It’s all of us, more or less, dealing with what’s going on with that.

“What else can I tell you?” he says with a laugh. “Billy Miles (Zachary Ansley) is back. He was in the first friggin’ episode of ‘The X-Files’ eight years ago, and was in last season’s finale. So all of these people are back, and it’s a mythology-conspiracy two-parter with everything based around Scully’s pregnancy.

“You’ll get a big scene as Scully has her baby,” Patrick promises. “Everybody’s kind of wondering whether the baby is an alien or a human at this point, aren’t they? Well, the characters are, too. So you’ll get that scene with the characters waiting and wondering, but I can’t tell you who’s there when the baby is actually born. But it’s not who you think it’s going to be.” Patrick laughs.

“I have to shut up now,” he says. “I’m afraid to say anything, man. Chris Carter will kick my a– if I give away too much.”

Patrick arrived on the “X-Files” scene in the eighth season’s first episode, “Within,” and made his mark against otherworldly odds. Doggett gradually earned the trust of Scully (Gillian Anderson), who missed Mulder (David Duchovny), and Patrick won over the show’s fans, even those who pined for Duchovny and bemoaned the star’s part-time status.

At press time, all indications suggest that “The X-Files” will return for a ninth season, though no official announcement has yet been made. Anderson, Patrick and Pileggi are all contractually obligated to return, leaving only Duchovny unaccounted for. The buzz is that, if Duchovny stays involved at all, he’ll make only a handful of appearances next season. “The honest-to-God truth is,” Patrick says, “with the two-part finale, I feel like we’ve shot an episode that brings a sense of almost-closure, and yet there’s more to be told.”

Patrick plans to spend his hiatus – and any additional down time imposed by the looming writers’ and actors’ strikes – relaxing with his wife, Barbara, and their two young children. Still, he makes no bones about his desire to return to “The X-Files,” however traditional it may be for the show’s stars to waffle and procrastinate on such issues. “Do I want to come back for a ninth season?” he says. “Absolutely. I’ve got a multiyear contract with these guys. I love this gig. I hope I get to do more with David – I thought we had really good chemistry in the oil-rig episode. “Look,” Patrick says with a laugh, “I am really spoiled by playing Doggett. I love the character. For a guy like me it’s fun – it’s a leading-man role, and the only chance I get to be the leading man in the movies is when I do really low-budget films. “I’m just having the time of my life playing Doggett,” he says. “I’m used to being a villain or a supporting character in my bigger projects, so ‘The X-Files’ has been great.” (Ian Spelling is a New York-based free-lance writer.)

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