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Sky Magazine: X-Terminator

Sky Magazine
Thomasina Gibson

Mulder’s vanished, Scully’s pregnant, and there’s a new agent in town. So, it’s weirdness as usual in the new series of The X-Files Sky One. Thomasina Gibson investigates…

When Mark Snow’s haunting music heralds the new series of The X-Files, look between smoke and crossed torch beams for another badge alongside Agent Scully’s – that of Special Agent John Doggett, Robert Patrick, who takes the role of the man investigating Fox Mulder’s disappearance, may be best known as mercurial cyborg T-1000 in Terminator 2, but he’s had lots of practice for his new job. “I’ve played a bunch of FBI guys and police officers,” says the 42-year-old, of roles ranging from a New York police officer in Cop Land to the bad cop in Wayne’s World. “But this is the first time I’ve had a chance to play such a straight shooter to such a wide audience. I’m really excited.”

David Duchovny may have stepped down from his lead role, but creator Chris Carter’s decision to push for an eighth (and a possible ninth) season of The X-Files wasn’t, he claims, about making more money from the franchise. “Adding Doggett gave us the scope to incorporate a new dynamic into the show,” he explains. “While the myth-arc of Mulder’s disappearance and the resolution of Scully’s amazing revelation at the end of season 7 remain to the fore, every episode of this season will be different from each other, with more emphasis on the return to the horror roots of the show.”

In contrast to Mulder (the FBI’s most unwanted) John Doggett is a respected member of the bureau, and, while Scully (Gillian Anderson) has been the one with her feet on the ground for seven years, its now her turn to lead the foray into the paranormal, with Doggett as the knee-jerk sceptic.

“There is a conflict between them in the beginning,” says Patrick. “Scully doesn’t like the way Doggett introduces himself to her, because he deliberately isn’t upfront with who he is. He was willing to risk the first impression because he wanted some information about her former partner.”

Despite initial differences, a strong relationship does develop between the characters. “They have a genuine chemistry,” says Patrick. Anderson has no doubts about her characters view of the new guy, suggesting that “viewers may come to appreciate the way Doggett is protective of Scully, the way he respects her journey and is mindful of her relationship with Mulder.”

Asked if there is likely to be any romantic entanglement, Carter hints, “You’re going to find that we’re dealing with all that in a delicate and provocative way.” No change there, then.

Coming into a television phenomenon that has already countless of millions of fans worldwide, many of whom worship Mulder, could have been a trifle daunting for a lesser man, but Patrick takes it all in his stride. “Early on, I was told that people might not like Doggett or the fact that I’m in the show,” he says. “So we kind of built that into the character, and as people watch the show they’ll see a guy who doesn’t really care whether he’s liked or not. Doggett is very confident. He believes in what he’s being asked to do and he’s going to do it.”

Although comparisons are bound to be made, Patrick doesn’t see himself as a replacement for Duchovny. “I see Doggett as a brand new character, and hopefully people will enjoy him as much as they enjoy Mulder.”

Describing himself as “a film actor who didn’t know a lot about television”. Patrick admits that he “didn’t really know how big the job was. It’s slowly starting to dawn on me that this is a pretty big deal. Mostly I’m known or my role in Terminator 2. Everywhere I go it’s like – “You’re the liquid metal guy!” and I’m used to shouting “Yeah! But what’s my name? – for The X-Files newest investigator, all that is about to change.

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