X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Archive for January, 1996

Starburst: The X-Men

January 1996
Starburst #209
The X-Men
Interview by Joe Nazzaro. Photo by Stephen Payne.


As the third season of The X-Files continues to unfold, the series has produced a number of intriguing supporting characters who are slowly starting to achieve cult status of their own.

That list includes FBI Assistant Director Skinner (played by Mitch Pileggi), and agent-turned-assassin Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea), both of whom take on different roles following the events of last season’s cliffhanger, Anasazi.

Nicholas Lea originally appeared in the first season of The X-Files playing one of the victims in “Genderbender,” but it was the role of Agent Krycek, a temporary partner of Mulder’s who turns out to be a plant by the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man, that earned him a permanent place in X-Files history.

The Bad Stuff

“When I went in to read for it, they didn’t really tell me anything,” remembers Lea. “I just knew this guy was living a double life, and was hedging more on the side of bad than good. That was a really fun thing to be able to do, to be this good guy on the surface, but try in small ways to let the bad stuff come out through the pores a little bit.

“The way I understand it, he’s one of those characters that people love to hate, and why that happens, I’m not really sure. He’s also a contemporary of Mulder’s, and the same age, and it’s somebody who can give him some problems other than the Cigarette Smoking Man, who just delegates power. This guy, if nothing else, is a physical threat, as you’ll be seeing in some of the shows that are coming up.”

Mitch Pileggi first appeared as Assistant Director Skinner in the first season’s “Tooms,” but returned the following year for a further nine episodes. Early episodes didn’t reveal much about the character, but Pileggi says each script continues to peel away another layer of Skinner’s life.

‘Until “One Breath,” I didn’t know that he was an ex-marine,” says Pileggi. “They may have come up with that because of the way I was playing the character, but I talked to Jim Wong, who along with Glen Morgan created the character, and he had told me that Skinner was pretty much somebody who at one time had been in the same place as Mulder is. He was a field special agent, and worked his way up through the ranks, and now he’s in the position he’s in now, which is a bureaucratic situation.

“A big aspect of the character is the atmosphere that I work in. You walk into that office and you get such a feeling of power, so as soon as I put that suit on, and my glasses, and walk into that office, it’s like the character is there. That set is so important to the development, sitting behind that desk, and what I’ve got on the desk, the pictures on the wall, the flag; that whole feeling is very important.”

A Regular Guy

Pileggi says when he first appeared as Skinner in the first season, he had no idea The X-Files would turn out to be a regular gig. “It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in this business, so I don’t think it’s very smart to try to plan or anticipate anything. You just have to go along with the flow, and that’s what I did. Fortunately, Chris [Carter] likes the character and it’s been working.”

‘I originally thought it was just going to be the three,” says Lea, of his initial outing as Krycek. ‘Originally they had written a different ending, where the three of us, Mitch, David and I have a real confrontation, and then in the final draft, which was really disappointing to me, it just kind of vaporized. You didn’t know what happened to him, and I was really let down by that, because I wanted to have some resolution; not knowing of course that they had plans to bring the character back. From what I understand, they were happy enough with him to decide to continue, and that was good to know.”

If many of the characters in The X-Files seem well-cloaked in secrecy, either with a mysterious past, or an equally enigmatic agenda, the actors say they don’t know much more than the viewers in that regard. In Lea’s case, he has no idea what the full story behind Krycek actually is. “The way I understand it, Chris has a really long overview of the show, but it’s also unfolding as they’re doing it. They’re reacting a little bit to the public, because they want to keep people happy, but at the same time, they really stick to their original vision of whatever that’s going to be for them. They don’t really say, ‘Okay, next year you’re going to be doing this or that’. It pretty much tends to happen as it goes.”

“I know nothing!” laughs Pileggi about Skinner’s long-term character arc. “They don’t sit down and tell me in each episode, ‘This is what’s going on with this guy’. I just try to figure it out, because so much of it is in the writing that it’s pretty clear to me what they want.”

Quizzed about some of the high points of working on The X-Files, Lea says there are plenty, including the opportunity to go out and meet fans of the series. “I honestly feel really grateful to be on the show. I’ve eaten a lot of macaroni and cheese in my life, and so when the time comes for you to do a job, you just hope that it’s going to be a good time, and so I really feel lucky to be on a quality show.

“It’s also done a lot for my fledgling career, because I’ll go into rooms in Los Angeles with big producers and they’ll say, ‘Hey, X-Files!’ You can’t buy that, so I’ve got to tell you, every aspect of my experience so far has been nothing but good.”

Like Lea, Pileggi says working on a high-profile series like The X-Files has definitely increased his visibility. “As far as casting directors, it’s been very good for me, because it’s a great character for them to see me playing. There are a lot of people who watch this show. David Duchovny was talking to Spielberg and he said that Spielberg certainly watches the show every week. Barry Levinson watches the show constantly. David also met Stephen King recently, and he wants to write an episode. Thexv’s a lot of people who want to get involved in it. Tarantino wants to direct an episode, which would be pretty wild. I think the audience we have for this show is extremely intelligent.”

Away from the Files

Apart from their work on The X-Files, both actors have other genre projects in the offing. Lea will be shooting at least one episode for the next season of Sliders. His character was swept along with the four travellers in last season’s cliff-hanger, but whether he’ll be joining them for further adventures remains to be seen. “I haven’t read that script, so I don’t know what they have planned. There’s definitely a response to the audience to bring me back, anyway.”

Meanwhile, Pileggi has a cameo in Eddie Murphy’s new horror/comedy, A Vampire In Brooklyn, directed by Wes Craven, with whom Pileggi worked on the 1989 film Shocker.

“Wes asked me if I would play this role, which is just one scene, but it introduces Murphy’s character into the movie, and it was a lot of fun.”

As for their respective work on future X-Files, both actors aren’t saying much just yet. “I do some crazy and fun stuff; a little espionage,” says Lea, a major understatement, considering Krycek’s involvement with a certain DAT tape in the opening episodes of season three. “In general terms, the relationship becomes a lot more personal between myself, the two main characters and Mitch, and it gets a lot more exciting for my character.”

Pileggi admits signing a contract for a certain number of episodes for the third season. “Whether I appear in all of them or not is really up to Chris. There will still be periods when Skinner isn’t around. It’s hard, because when they’re out in the field, you can’t have Skinner there. I think when he’s on the show from now on, it’s going to be a prominent role, not just a scene here and there.”

Another understatement, as the relationship between Skinner and his agents moves into a whole new level of intrigue and conspiracy in season three. “I hope they can work in more of those situations so he does get out more often,” agrees Pileggi, and then jokes, ‘but I do like that office!”

SFX Profile: THE X-FILES’ Other Agents

SFX #8
SFX Profile: THE X-FILES’ Other Agents….

As THE X-FILES ploughs through a triumphant third series, confirming its position as the world’s TV show, new stars are rapidly coming to the fore — and despite being more loosely sketched than Mulder and Scully, they’re quickly grabbing the imaginations of X-Philes worldwide. Chief among them are FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, one of the few friends the beleaguered Mulder’s got in the Bureau, and renegade agent Alex Krycek, perhaps his greatest enemy. Jim Swallow met the actors who play them, Mitch Pileggi and Nicholas Lea…

If watching THE X-FILES teaches you anything, it’s that it can be a pretty dangerous business taking things — or people — at face value. Confronting a smiling, friendly Krycek and Skinner, then, can be an unsettling experience. After all, didn’t one of these guys — Walter Skinner, played by the heartily handshaking Mitch Pileggi — shut down the X-Files? And didn’t the other — Alex Krycek, portrayed by the grinning Nicholas Lea — sell Fox Mulder down the river?

On screen these two are dark, brooding characters, with complicated motivations — you’re never quite sure if either of them are on your side, working for the enemy, or playing some private little game of their own. If they’re not the men in black exactly, they’re certainly of the darkest grey…

Of the two actors, Pileggi is probably most familiar to X-Philes across the world, first appearing in the memorable episode “Tooms,” which aired toward the end of the first season. Previously, the role of Mulder and Scully’s FBI boss had shifted between a number of different actors — Charles Cioffi played Section Chief Blevins, for instance, while Frederick Coffin provided the Mulder-hating Joseph McGrath — but eventually the producers settled on Pileggi to help them provide a more permanent figure. His character, Walter Skinner, introduced an ongoing “control” for Mulder — ranked above Jerry Hardin’s Deep Throat, who was killed off three episodes later. Pileggi is no stranger to genre fare, having recently finished work on the Eddie Murphy vehicle VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, and numbering SHOCKER, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 2 and KNIGHT RIDER 2000 in his resume.

Skinner’s role in THE X-FILES grew considerably during the show’s second season, where we saw him develop from a gruff, unsympathetic character in “Tooms” to a complicated, intriguing individual, who might just be on the side of the angels. Pileggi — who’s also appeared in BASIC INSTINCT, DALLAS and MODELS, INC. — is clearly comfortable developing such a multi-faceted role.

“Chris Carter and his staff do a wonderful job writing the show, so it’s pretty much laid out right there,” he laughs. “I just say the words, though the directors let me play Skinner pretty much how I perceive him.”

When pressed to explain how he sees the character, Mitch explains that much of Skinner stems from a source very close to home. “He’s based a lot on my father,” he smiles, “who was once in a very similar position to Skinner. I remember when I was a kid sitting in his office, and watching how he dealt with his employees. I think I did it unconsciously, but my family have certainly pointed out what they see on screen is a lot like dad.”

The back story for Skinner is loosely drawn, touching on his past as a marine in the Vietnam War — experiences developed during a conversation with Mulder in the episode “Once Breath,” where Skinner describes an out-of-body experience that occurred during his tour in Vietnam “I always figured that he came up through the ranks, starting out in the field, doing pretty much the type of work that Mulder and Scully are doing now. He can no longer get too involved with all that, but I think he’s trying to direct Mulder. He’s a bit like the stern father with the disobedient son, isn’t he?”

As the series and the role have grown still further from season two, Skinner has revealed more of his own motivations in some of the more pivotal X-FILES stories. “There’s going to be a lot more stuff like that happening with him,” Pileggi says guardedly, referring to the opening episodes of season three, “but I don’t want to spoil it; Chris Carter would shoot me!”

Part of what makes Skinner so intriguing is his unpredictability. Who would have expected him to have a punch-up with Mr. X (played by Stephen Williams) in “Colony,” for example? Or foreseen his similar confrontation with Krycek in season three?

“Chris does a lot of that with his characters,” Mitch smiles. “Suddenly, something will come out of left field, and you don’t anticipate it, so it’s like, ‘Whoa!’ That’s one of the things that’s so attractive about Skinner — one episode will hint that he’s totally behind Mulder and Scully and what they’re doing, and the next time you see him he’ll disagree with how they’re doing things, and try to stifle them.”

Of course, as THE X-FILES makes clear, Skinner is, “under pressure from above, from various black ops organisations inside the government, which the Smoking Man — played by William B. Davis — is part of. He’s in a very tough situation on both sides, and though he wants to help out, he often can’t.”

Nicholas Lea, the real life face of the turncoat FBI agent Alex Krycek, clearly relishes his borderline-baddie part in the show. “It’s fun playing villains,” he smirks. “Or, at least, not squeaky-clean good guys. It’s more interesting.”

Introduced as a replacement for Scully in season two’s “Sleepless,” Mulder’ s new partner turned out to be a sleeper agent, placed by the nameless Smoking Man. He vanished after Scully’s abduction in “Ascension,” only to reappear on a murderous mission in season two’s finale, “Anasazi.” With the events of the season three openers “The Blessing Way” and “Paper Clip” now under his belt, Krycek has clearly become a fixture of THE X-FILES’ world, and it’s highly likely he’ll be back before the year is out.

Canadian by birth, and based in Vancouver, Lea’s face has cropped up on a number of American TV shows made north of the border, including E.N.G., THE COMMISH and LONESOME DOVE, and genre shows like HIGHLANDER and SLIDERS. He’ll even sheepishly admit to a part in the dreadful ALIENS-like flick EXTRO 2 [sic]. “It’s really terrible!” he winces.

Before he found fame as Krycek, however, he appeared in a small role in THE X-FILES’ first season episode, “Genderbender.” “It wasn’t *that* big,” he laughs. “Three scenes!” Perhaps not, but obviously big enough to make an impression on director (later producer) Rob Borman [sic], who recommended Lea for the role of Krycek.

Surprisingly, playing someone as unlikable as Krycek doesn’t bother Nicholas at all, despite the daunting Darth Vader reputation that’s quickly built up around the character, particularly on the Internet. Nicknames like “Judas,” “Ratboy,” and “The Weasel” are flung at him constantly, but, as he says, “I love it!”

“There are more levels to the character than just that though,” he grins knowingly, “which you’ll see as the newer shows start to come over. I don’t think that he’s evil — he’s just in way over his head. He’s doing his job, doing what he thinks is right. You’ll see, as the shows start to unfold, that he’s not quite as one-sided as he appears.”

Krycek’s nasty intentions were made clear to Lea from the beginning, though he contributed much to the character’s look and personal style himself. “There are things I did that weren’t in the script,” he notes, “and they were kept in. I did a lot of research on the FBI, and on double-agents, and I made a lot of personal choices about the guy’s past — where he comes from, why he does what he does, and why he tries so hard to succeed.”

Unlike his boss, the ubiquitous Smoking Man, Krycek seems in many ways to represent the “Anti-Mulder” — the darker yang to Fox’s yin. Lea concurs. “That’s why the character is good for the show, because he gives Mulder a natural enemy — here’s someone of around his own age who’s more of an obvious and direct rival than the Smoking Man.”

The natural antagonism between Mulder and Krycek hasn’t by any means run its course, fans will be pleased to hear, and we’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of it in year three.

“It gets much more exciting for my character,” says Lea — and if anything, that’s a bit of an understatement. After all, his last moments in “Paper Clip” see Krycek ducking (just barely) a car bomb, then running into the wilderness clutching a stolen data file from MJ-12 UFO research group. Lea hopes to see Krycek developed further on his return, and has been discussing a story thread with actor David Duchovny, who plans to write more episode outlines for season three.

“My character is swinging back and forth between the good guys and the bad guys, and I really like that — that’s how it would be in real life. I’d actually like to see Krycek save Mulder’s life sometime…”

Both Pileggi and Lea are dedicated X-FILES viewers — “I watch it every week now; I’m a big fan,” says Lea — and talk of their castmates as if they’re some kind of extended family. Lea, in particular, mentions how he and David Duchovny have inverted the Mulder/Krycek relationship, becoming fast friends in real life.

The meteoric rise of THE X-FILES caught many critics and viewers by surprise in the States, but Lea seems anything but surprised. “It’s because of the integrity of the show,” he says. “The guest actors are generally good, and David and Gillian do a great job. It’s quality, but a bit tongue in cheek as well. I’ve had good and bad experiences with producers, but working with Chris is excellent. His door’s always open, and he’s always there to talk, even though he’s incredibly busy. It directly translates into the quality of the series.

“Anyway,” he concludes, “I’m always very impressed, because Chris Carter could sell X-FILES underwear or whatever, and make a lot of money, but he doesn’t. He keeps a strict lid on the whole thing.”

Pileggi, on the other hand, is happy to admit that the success of the show caught him unawares. “I guess you’re always surprised,” he shrugs. “TV is such an unpredictable thing, and you don’t know what’s going to work and what won’t. But it’s great that THE X-FILES has become such a phenomenon — what Chris Carter is doing with it is just amazing. His ideas about where he wants to go are very clear, though sometimes we don’t find out what they are until we get the scripts to read through. It’s a pleasure to work with somebody who’s as dedicated and hard-working as he is. He’s involved in every facet of the show, from production to conventions to marketing to publicity. Everything goes through him — he’s got a lot on his plate, and it’s amazing he handles it as well as he does.”

So what’s the appeal of the show? For Lea it’s firmly based on, “the huge appetite people have for supernatural stories. People are fascinated by that sort of thing. And me, I was a big fan of TV shows like THE TWILIGHT ZONE when I was a kid.”

Pileggi tells me how he’s been a genre reader for some time, quoting Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Heinlein as favourite authors, while both actors agree that the current spate of X-FILES copycat shows, particularly some of the anthologies, aren’t up to much. “A lot of shows are trying to copy what THE X-FILES is doing, but I don’t think anyone else will be able to do it like Chris Carter does,” says Pileggi.

We talk about conventions too, both men having recently had their baptism in the world of fandom after stints on the US Creation Con circuit, and a trip to the UK for the Cult TV convention. “I’m amazed by the amount of information people can get their hands on,” says Lea, describing how an innovative fan saved the day when he had no photos to autograph by printing off a grabbed frame from one of his old movies, hastily rented for the occasion. “They’re very well educated about the people on the show.” We get to individual stand-out episodes too, with Mitch picking director David Nutter’s first foray, the THING-inspired “Ice.” “I liked ‘Ice’ because it was all shot on one location,” he explains, “and very claustrophobic. The performances were amazing, and the way it was shot was wonderful.”

And then, inevitably, we get to the most-asked question of all for X-FILES actors. So, the unexplained, UFOs, and the like. Do Mitch and Nicholas thinks it’s all hokum, or what?

“Specifically?” asks Lea. “Well, I believe in ghosts, though werewolves and genetic mutants might be stretching the point.”

Pileggi admits that, like Gillian Anderson, he’s had one unexplained experience. “It was pretty spooky,” he hints, “but I’ve never had any exposure to UFOs or the like. That said, I do believe there are intelligent life forms out there — I’m one of the few people on this show who does! Gillian does, but David and Chris don’t! I reckon it would be arrogant to think otherwise. In fact, maybe there’s intelligent life out there that’s more on the ball than we are…”

And maybe, as Mulder might continue, they’re already here…

At the start of our chat Pileggi had said he couldn’t tell me anything about upcoming shows in case Chris Carter killed him, but now that we’ve been talking I wonder if he’s prepared to relent at all. With a grin he drops a few hints about more recent third season stories, the most “can’t wait” moment — especially for fans who enjoy Chris Carter’s trademarked snappy dialogue — promising to be a confrontation between Skinner and the Smoking Man, where the former demands, “Pucker up and kiss my ass, you son of a bitch!”

I, for one, can’t wait…

Sydney Morning Herald: Chris Carter Interview

Sydney Morning Herald
Chris Carter Interview
John Casimir

How did the episode I visited turn out?

Revelations, it was called. It actually turned out really well. It was one of the favorite episodes this year.

You were locked up writing last week when we were supposed to talk.

I think every week it’s safe to say I’m locked up writing.

How much of the series are you doing?

I have my name on seven of the first 15 for this year. And I do a fair amount of rewriting past that. So I do, I would say, more than the lion’s share.

Is writing the heart of the job for you?

It is. Everything springs from that but there are numerous responsibilities that I have undertaken. I just got out of the playback room, where I reviewed the sound and music for episode 13. I did a final quality control on that.

Is writing where you get the most personal enjoyment?

I think the biggest personal satisfaction for me is in seeing the final product. Everything else is done under such strict deadlines and time pressure that a lot of the enjoyment is just in finishing it.

You’ve given yourself a job where you work 150 hours a week? Couldn’t you pull back?

I don’t think I’ve got the personality to really pull back. If I felt that the show was going to suffer in any way or was not going to be the show I thought it could be, I couldn’t pull back. And right now I feel that this isn’t just obsessing or a neurotic compulsion, it’s really about trying to make the show as good as it can be. I am really determined to never have the quality suffer. I would like to see the show keep getting better and better.

Gillian said that the third series had really found itself, that it has been through its adolescence and has now found its style.

I think she’s right. I think that this is the best year ever. The ratings reflect it. I think the quality of the shows this year has been excellent. And I think that has a lot to do with the directors that we have hired. We’ve hired a series of directors who have rotated. I think that helps a lot, takes a lot of the guesswork out. There’s a communication that is built in in that situation.

Does a TV show need to mature?

I think the first year is a really important maturing process. I think it really finds itself. You find what works, the pacing, the rhythms. But I think that all too often TV shows age rather than mature. And that is not a good thing.

How close to your original vision is what we get?

I have to say that it’s extremely close to what I imagined. Of course, when I was sitting and writing the pilot, I never imagined episode 73, which is where we’ll be this year. Anyone who creates a show, I don’t think, can look that far down the road. But I did, indeed, have an idea about how the Mulder and Scully relationship would progress. And how the stories would work. What is most surprising to me is the kind of stories we have told, the directions the show has gone in, in terms of the variety of stories we’ve told. Other than that, the show is pretty much what I originally conceived of.

So where has it taken you that you haven’t expected?

I don’t know if you guys saw the humbug episode, the freaks episode last year. That’s just an ep that I never imagined. to tell you the truth, when it came in, I thought it was a pretty big departure from what we had done before, but I thought at that time, the 45th episode, that we had earned the right to stretch a little. If I can make a baseball analogy, we had been throwing fast balls and curve balls and this was a knuckleball, something new to our repertoire. In season three, you’re going to get a few more of those kinds of episodes. They’re very comedic episodes and I hadn’t anticipated taking the show in that direction.

Are you getting away with more than expected, taking it further?

In some respects, yes. There were stories they told us we wouldn’t be able to tell, about satanic cults for example. They thought that was viewer-unfriendly, territory they thought was not for television. We’ve gone into that and further. I think we have pushed the limits of standards. But other than that, I think we’re not getting away with anything more than they would ever let us get away with in terms of detail, graphic elements. I think it’s more that subject matter which may have been verboten before is now in play.

Are the episodes gone over with a fine tooth comb?

Oh yeah. Every week there is a negotiation that is waged between the broadcast standards and practice wing, which is the censorship wing really, of the network, and me and the producers on the show, who fight for the things we think are very important to our storytelling.

You’ve talked a lot about the influence of TV shows like Night Stalker. But are you now or were you as a kid a big comic reader?

No, uh-uh, never. Never a big comic book reader. Never a science fiction fan. I just loved scary movies, good scary stories, good mysteries and thrillers. Even in my adolescence things like good political thrillers, Parallax View, All The President’s Men, Three Days Of The Condor, loved those kind of movies.

Scaring is not what it used to be in an age of gratuitous, over the top special effects. What are the rules of doing it now?

Making it seem as if it really could happen. If it could happen to you. If it’s a believable situation. We live in fear every day, we live in a lot of denial as well. If you can find the elements of everyday life that scare us and bring them into play, embellish or find new ways to look at the world, then you have naturally scary situations, which is what the best X-Files have.

The really good shows, rather than a rollercoaster scare, have a profound sense of unease.

Yes that’s what I’m always looking for.

I love that story about there being three million people in America who believe they have been abducted by aliens. Anyone else would say, well, it’s time to move country, but you thought, wow, a target audience.

Not so much a target audience. If I had to go for three million people, I’d be off the air. Three million people is not enough to carry an American TV show. I didn’t see them as the audience as much as I saw it as a quantitative analysis of a syndrome. For me it said that there is a legitimate way to present these people’s cases to a larger public. So I never saw them as my audience as much as fuel for my stories.

You’ve created a believer and a sceptic. Which are you?

I’m a skeptic by nature. I describe myself as a non-religious person looking for a religious experience. So I’m like Mulder, who has that poster “I want to believe” on the wall. I really have a desire, as I believe we all do, to find a reason to believe, to have our skepticism tested, eroded, or our beliefs affirmed.

Is it a search for meaning?

I think it is, but it is indirectly. I didn’t set out to deliver a message at all. And I still don’t want that to be the purpose of any of the shows. I really want to entertain, scare and thrill.

The motto of the show is the truth is out there. But you seem to be saying the truth isn’t, that it’s changeable, manipulable.

I’ve always thought of it as a double entendre. The truth is out there to be found, and then it’s so far out there that we’ll never find it.

How important is the sexual tension between the characters?

I never wanted them to jump in the sack together because it was uninteresting to me. To me, the most sexual relationships are often the ones that are never realized, consummated or even spoken about. So I wanted this to be two smart people who work together, who happen to get along very well. Through their shared passion in their work, there is a natural chemical sexual tension that comes out of that, that doesn’t ever have to be spoken about, but it works.

Like in the Avengers?

I loved the Avengers as a kid. That Steed/Mrs Peel thing was a sort of May/September thing. He definitely was more of a father figure to her.

I like the fact that the X-Files in a non-linear drama.

Kind of. Sometimes its very linear. Sometimes you really tell it in a very straight path.

But it’s drama which often works without resolution.

Oh yes, in that way, there is rarely any kind of perfectly satisfying resolution. You may have an understanding of a situation or something may have been solved, but ultimately we never try to explain the unexplainable.

That’s a pretty radical step for television. There is an assumption that everyone wants a neat package tied up with bows.

They only do if they think there is resolution to be had. But I think in this case people would actually call BS on us if we pretended to explain something or give them all the answers. We are dealing with subject matter beyond explanation a lot of the time. So I think it was the right choice. It’s the natural choice for this kind of storytelling.

It also gives credit to the audience for intelligence and imagination.

Yeah exactly.

It’s been a real zeitgeist show. Did you have any idea it would strike a chord?

You never do. You just hope you get an order for your pilot script, an order for your pilot. You hope the pilot gets picked up for a series and you hope the series gets picked up for another. Along the way, you are, I call it taking the pig to the fair. You want to make it to the final judging, which is ultimately with the viewing public. You want them just to like it. You can never anticipate the kind of response we have had with the X-Files.

Were you surprised at the level of paranoia and weirdness out there?

No, I had anticipated that. But I wasn’t prepared for the prevalence of a basic distrust of authority and the government.

Around the time of the Oklahoma bombing, did you ever think I am making a paranoid anti-government program, and feeding into this?

No, I think there’s no connection. I am not saying overthrow authority. I am saying question it. We’re not suggesting anything revolutionary. These people are obviously very militant.

People talk of the X-Files being like Star Trek, saying it will go on forever. Are you sitting on a 30 year job?

No way. This show will never go for 30 years. There may be a movie now and again. I see it going for five years and anything past that is great. But if it lasted any longer than seven, I would be completely surprised. And it wouldn’t be under my aegis.

Has it made you as rich as Croesus and does this mean you are finally going to get to make that series of docos on the life of the bollweevil or whatever your personal fantasy has been?

I think it will allow me to go surfing where I want to go surfing, when I get to go surfing again. So I’m looking forward to that. When you do this kind of show, certainly the pay cheques fatten and start coming in. Am I rich as Croesus? Hardly.

Skeptical Inquirer: Science and Reason in Film and Television

January / February 1996
Science and Reason in Film and Television
Skeptical Inquirer Volume 20.1
William Evans

[Original article here]

Recent entertainment media portrayals of science and pseudoscience imply that skepticism is no longer useful and may even be dangerous.

Who has the most dangerous job on prime-time entertainment television? The police officer? The soldier? The private investigator? The answer is “none of the above.” On prime-time entertainment television, scientists are most at risk. Ten percent of scientists featured in prime-time entertainment programming get killed, and five percent kill someone. No other occupational group is more likely to kill or be killed (Gerbner 1987).

Popular entertainment media have long portrayed scientists as mad, bad, and dangerous to know, but in the past few decades entertainment media portrayals of science have changed significantly, and these changes seem to have accelerated in recent years. Science remains dangerous, but it is also increasingly portrayed as useless in solving problems. The skepticism about paranormal claims that is a part of scientific thinking is portrayed as a handicap. And in many newer entertainment media offerings — most notably in ”The X-Files” — the paranormal is portrayed as, well, normal. “The X-Files” offers a world in which fantastic events such as alien abductions and spontaneous human combustion are everyday occurrences.

Film and television entertainment programming increasingly portrays science and reason as tools that are unsuitable for understanding our world in a new age of credulity. This article reviews entertainment media portrayals of science and pseudoscience and considers the important function of skepticism in horror films and other offerings. The evidence reported here will likely be discouraging for many skeptics, but it is evidence that skeptics must nonetheless consider if they are to effectively counter entertainment media tendencies to devalue science and reason.

Television and Public Conceptions of Science and Pseudoscience

There is a correlation between watching entertainment television and credulity. Habitual viewers of entertainment television — approximately one-third of U.S. adults watch more than four hours of television daily — are more likely than infrequent viewers to hold negative opinions about science and positive opinions about pseudoscience. Habitual viewers are more likely than infrequent viewers to believe that science is dangerous, that scientists are odd and peculiar people, and that a career in science is undesirable (Gerbner 1987; Gerbner et al. 1985). These findings persist even taking into consideration education, sex, age, and other factors that are known to influence people’s attitudes toward science. Habitual viewers are also more likely than infrequent viewers to believe that astrology is scientific. Thirty-seven percent of adults in the United States believe that astrology is scientific (National Science Foundation 1989), but among habitual viewers of television this figure is 55 percent (Gerbner et al. 1985).

While the existing evidence does not permit us to claim that viewing entertainment television creates antiscience and pro-pseudoscience attitudes, it seems certain that entertainment television provides a symbolic environment in which such attitudes are readily cultivated. Our entertainment mass media provide a steady diet of negative images of science and skepticism — images that reflect and reinforce popular misgivings and misunderstandings about science.

Mad Scientists and Clever Laypersons

Western literature and popular entertainment media have long featured scientists in the role of the troublemaker (Haynes 1994). Mad scientists are second only to psychotics as the primary source of trouble in horror films. In fact, mad scientists account for a larger percentage of horror movie antagonists than zombies, werewolves, and mummies combined (Tudor 1989).

Although scientists have been consistently portrayed as dangerous in twentieth-century popular entertainment media, there have been important changes in the portrayal of scientists’ abilities to solve problems. Tudor (1989) notes that between 1951 and 1964 scientists were often portrayed in film as being responsible for saving as well as endangering humanity. In films of that era science is dangerous, but science also provides the most appropriate means of dealing with the dangers that science unleashes. Scientists might, for example, inadvertently create mutant monsters, but scientists also most commonly figure out how to eliminate the threats they have created. In these films, science is dangerous but efficacious.

In contrast, more recent entertainment films portray scientists as being unable to solve problems or eliminate threats to humanity. Instead, laypersons most commonly save the day (Tudor 1989). Scientific expertise is devalued in these films, and may even be portrayed as a handicap of sorts. In horror films like C.H.U.D. and the 1988 remake of The Blob, laypersons rid the world of dangerous creatures, but only after the laypersons outwit scientists who either fail to understand the dangers or who have a vested interest in perpetuating the dangers. In films like E.T. and Splash, laypersons save the lives of kind and intelligent creatures by rescuing them from scientific captivity. In these and many other recent films, science no longer provides resources for solving problems, but rather, becomes an obstacle to solving problems (Goldman 1989; Tudor 1989).

You Will Believe

Like science, skepticism is devalued in current popular film and entertainment television. Indeed, skepticism is shown to be untenable and even irresponsible. Films about the paranormal typically feature a fictional skeptical character who doubts the reality of poltergeists, demons, and other paranormal phenomena, even though it quickly becomes apparent to everyone else — story characters and audience alike — that supernatural forces are at work. As a result of the skeptic’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of the supernatural, the film’s protagonists are endangered. These films typically include a pivotal scene in which the protagonists explicitly reject the skeptical point of view. Soon after, the skeptic is either killed, converted to credulity, or simply written out of the action. At this point in the film, the protagonists (who, again, are seldom scientists unless they have “converted” to credulity) can eliminate the paranormal threat.

A quintessential example of this narrative structure is found in the film Poltergeist III. In this fictional story, a psychologist, Dr. Seaton, steadfastly insists that young Carol Anne is not being pursued by demons, but rather, is suffering from an emotional disturbance of some sort. Dr. Seaton continues to insist that nothing supernatural is going on long after he, every other major character in the movie, and the movie audience have seen quite remarkable supernatural events. Dr. Seaton’s diagnosis is clearly wrong, but as a skeptic he is unwilling to accept the ample evidence of supernatural forces at work. As a result, Carol Anne suffers repeated and terrifying encounters with otherworldly entities. Dr. Seaton seems cruel, and his continued skepticism in the face of incontrovertible evidence seems almost pathological.

Fortunately for Carol Anne, a psychic arrives to save her. The psychic, named Tangina, becomes aware of Carol Anne’s plight via telepathy and rushes to help her, only to be rebuked and ridiculed by Dr. Seaton. As the peril to Carol Anne and others grows, and Dr. Seaton refuses to accept Tangina’s warnings about the great power of supernatural forces, Tangina demands that Carol Anne’s uncle and aunt (with whom Carol Anne is living) make a choice: They must choose between Tangina’s mysticism and Dr. Seaton’s rationalism. The uncle and aunt decide to follow Tangina’s recommendations and to reject Dr. Seaton’s counsel. When Dr. Seaton objects, the previously restrained uncle treats him harshly, calling the psychologist’s diagnoses “stupid and idiotic.” The outcome of this confrontation is meant to be pleasing to an audience that has witnessed Dr. Seaton’s increasingly strained and, finally ludicrous, attempts to find prosaic explanations for fantastic events. Shortly after this confrontation, Dr. Seaton is killed, pushed down an elevator shaft by a teenager who is possessed by evil spirits. At this point, the real work of saving Carol Anne can begin, and sure enough it is a combination of faith and benevolent psychic power that in the end save Carol Anne and her loved ones from the malevolent spirits.

While the portrayal of Dr. Seaton is perhaps unusually negative, skeptics are frequently portrayed by Hollywood as being dogmatic, misanthropic, and just plain wrong. In films such as Poltergeist III, The Entity, and even Ghostbusters (where the skeptic is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official who insists that it is the ghostbusters rather than ghosts who are responsible for an epidemic of strange phenomena and whose order to shut down the ghostbusters’ “containment system” brings predictable, dire consequences), skepticism is shown to be foolish and inefficacious, while psychics and parapsychologists step in to eliminate the paranormal threats.

Hess (1993) and Tudor (1989) identify the transition from skepticism to credulity as a major theme and distinguishing feature of recent horror and suspense movies. People who live in haunted houses (e.g., as in The Amityville Horror), or find their loved ones possessed or pursued by demons (e.g., The Exorcist, Poltergeist), or find themselves immersed in satanic conspiracies (e.g., Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen) typically are at first skeptical regarding the supernatural; but their safety and even their survival require that they acknowledge the reality of the supernatural. In these films, to deny the reality of the supernatural is to place oneself and one’s loved ones at risk. As audience members, we often find ourselves rooting for skeptical characters to forsake skepticism. Sometimes a converted skeptic must work to convert other skeptics, to make others recognize the reality and danger of the supernatural. Here again, audience members often find themselves rooting for successful evangelization, since the survival of one or more likable characters, and perhaps even the world, depends on it. The power of these narratives is such that even dedicated skeptics often find themselves cheering when a skeptical character comes to believe in the supernatural.

The Paranormal Becomes Normal

While skeptics should be distressed by films that portray the transition from skepticism to credulity as a matter of life and death, at least these films acknowledge that skepticism is an understandable first response to fantastic claims and wondrous events. In these films, the major characters typically at first consider prosaic explanations, even though they soon become convinced that supernatural forces are at work. These films reassure us that the major characters are not eager to believe in the supernatural, that they are sensible, normal people. (In fact, very few mainstream entertainment media offerings portray the victims of the supernatural as having had an interest in the supernatural before they became victims, even though in the real world a previous interest in UFOs, demons, and other paranormal phenomena is characteristic of those who claim to have encountered such phenomena.)

In contrast to entertainment media offerings in which skepticism is portrayed as a normal, if untenable, response to fantastic claims, the television series “The X-Files” presents a new and potentially pernicious portrayal of the paranormal as entirely normal. In “The X-Files,” FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigate paranormal events in the same routinized, “it’s all in a day’s work” manner in which “Dragnet’s” Sergeant Friday and Officer Gannon investigated armed robbery and petty theft. Paranormal events are mundane, “The X-Files” suggests, and even an initial but quickly abandoned skepticism is no longer warranted. Agent Mulder is always ready (and often eager) to consider the possibility that paranormal forces account for the phenomena he is investigating, and his hunches typically prove to be correct. In conversation, Mulder and other characters are fond of offering offhand and even wholly gratuitous, credulous references to a wide variety of paranormal phenomena. Emery (1995) aptly characterizes these references as “extraneous poppycock.”

Agent Scully plays “The X-Files’” token skeptic, but as Emery (1995) notes, Scully’s skepticism is often a symptom of her closed-mindedness. Like Dr. Seaton in Poltergeist III, Scully remains skeptical even after she has witnessed remarkable and unequivocally paranormal events. Her skepticism is seldom shown to be useful or warranted, and in recent episodes she seems decidedly less skeptical (a change that should perhaps be expected given the many paranormal forces and extraterrestrial beings she has encountered in the show’s first two seasons).

“The X-Files” achieves a kind of realism that sets it apart from previous television science fiction series such as “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits.” “The X-Files” adopts the quasi-documentary style of recent television police dramas, appropriates the authority and prestige of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and suggests that “The X-Files” cases are similar to real cases. “The X-Files” perhaps has more in common with shows such as “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Sightings” — shows in which allegedly real paranormal events are often reenacted — than it does with older shows such as “The Twilight Zone.” In following the discussions of “The X-Files” fans on the Internet, it becomes clear that, while most fans do not believe “The X-Files” to be a documentary (although a few fans seem to have trouble distinguishing fact from fiction), many believe that “The X-Files” cases are highly plausible and that the FBI and other government agencies are actively, if secretly, investigating similar cases.

In popular entertainment prior to “The X-Files,” skepticism was necessary, if only to provide an obstacle for the protagonists to overcome. In “The X-Files,” skepticism is almost wholly unnecessary. Although it remains to be seen if future entertainment media offerings will follow the lead of “The X-Files,” the total immersion of “The X-Files” in the paranormal is worrisome. It suggests that paranormal events are common and that even likable, educated, and attractive people like agents Mulder and Scully can embrace the supernatural.

Skepticism and Hollywood

Skeptics have had some success in persuading journalists to include a skeptical point of view in news stories about the paranormal, although, clearly, more needs to be done in this regard. Unfortunately, Hollywood accords skeptics no standing to address the portrayal (or the absence) of skepticism in film and television. Many film and television producers would no doubt claim that because their products are merely entertainment, neither viewers nor researchers should take “The X-Files” and similar offerings seriously. But this excuse is increasingly disingenuous as the evidence mounts that viewers’ conceptions of reality are influenced by media entertainment programming (Gerbner et al. 1994). These same producers increasingly turn to docudramas, “reality-based” shows, tabloid journalism, and other program formats that owe their success in part to the strategic blurring of fact and fiction.

Hollywood television producers have agreed in recent years to work with experts to design portrayals that inform viewers about various health and environmental issues. Perhaps entertainment television and film producers can be recruited by scientists and skeptics to help ensure that critical thinking does not disappear from our entertainment media environment. Of course, it is perhaps easier to remind viewers that unprotected sex is dangerous or that aluminum cans can be recycled than it is to invite viewers to develop critical thinking habits, an invitation that would require producers to abandon their reliance on skepticism as a source of error and danger.

Carl Sagan (1995) implores television producers to work with scientists and skeptics to develop a nonfiction series that details how fantastic claims can be investigated scientifically — a kind of “Solved Mysteries.” Such a series, Sagan suggests, could make for entertaining televison that would also encourage viewers to appreciate and cultivate the power of rational thought and rigorous investigation. Unfortunately, although many viewers would find such a series worthwhile, it may never reach an audience watching tabloid television. As a culture, we have long preferred that our tales of the supernatural be credulous rather than skeptical. Still, the breathless celebration of the paranormal in current films and television programs must be addressed. Understanding the need for media portrayals of skepticism is a necessary first step toward change. Skeptics would do well to identify or invent commercially viable alternatives, and entertainment media producers would do well to more often and more explicity acknowledge in their programming the important roles of science and reason in maintaining our civilization.


  • Emery, C. Eugene, Jr. 1995. Paranormal and paranoia intermingle on Fox TV’s “X-Files.” SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, 19 (March/April): 18-19.
  • Gerbner, George. 1987. Science on television: How it affects public conceptions. Issues in Science and Technology 3(Spring): 109-115.
  • Gerbner, George; Larry Gross; Michael Morgan; and Nancy Signorielli. 1985. “Television Entertainment and Viewers’ Conceptions of Science.” Unpublished manuscript.
  • —. 1994. Growing up with television: The cultivation perspective. In Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research, ed. by Jennings Bryant and Dolf Zillman, pp. 17-41. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Goldman, Steven L. 1989. Images of technology in popular films: Discussion and filmography. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 14: 275-301.
  • Haynes, Roslyn D. 1994. From Faust to Strangelove: Representations of the Scientist in Western Literature. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Hess, David J. 1993. Science in the New Age: The Paranormal, its Defenders and Debunkers, and American Culture. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • National Science Foundation. 1989. Science and Engineering Indicators-1989. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Sagan, Carl. 1995. What TV could do for America. Parade, June 4, pp. 12-14.
  • Tudor, Andrew. 1989. Monsters and Mad Scientists: A Cultural History of the Horror Movie. Cambridge, Mass.: Basil Blackwell.

William Evans

William Evans is assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303.

TV Zone: Nicholas Lea, Double Agent

January 1996
TV Zone #74
Nicholas Lea, Double Agent
by Jane Killick

Nicholas Lea describes Alex Krycek as a young man in over his head. He joined THE X-FILES at the beginning of the second season when Gillian Anderson took a couple of weeks off to have her baby, and her character Scully was abducted by aliens. He was the young FBI agent assigned to work with Mulder. At first he seemed eager to please and eager to believe, but then the true nature of Krycek’s assignment began to manifest itself.

“He’s a little morally misguided, but he’s doing what he thinks is right, even though it might not be,” says Nicholas Lea in defense of his character. “Initially the duplicity of the character was exciting and I liked the chance to do two different things and now it’s just fun because it’s the character people love to hate.”


Nic’s appearance in the second season wasn’t his first foray into THE X-FILES. His introduction to the show actually happened in the first season when he appeared in the episode “Genderbender” playing Michel, a character lured by a sex killer in a nightclub. “I had a guest star role in there with about three scenes,” he says. “They really liked what I’d done, or so they told me, which was nice. And when the time came to cast the [of Krycek], they read about 30 actors in LA and I as about the only one they read in Vancouver and I got the part that afternoon.”

When asked why he thinks the producers chose him over the thirty others they saw, he takes a moment to think before replying: “I would say it’s got something to do with there’s a little bit of darkness to the way I look. That’s what they were looking for, somebody who could look like an inexperienced FBI agent, fresh out of the academy and somebody who could add a bit of a darkness to the look of the character.”

Krycek’s darkness only steadily becomes apparent. At first he fools the audience, as he begins to fool Mulder, that he is on his side. In one early scene he tells Mulder that he always stood up for him at the academy when the others would scorn his work on the X-Files. But in a later episode he is seen reporting back to the Cigarette Smoking Man, effectively double-crossing his partner. It was one of the master strokes that gave the show’s second season an edge. “It makes you want to watch it more,” agrees Nic. “I think that’s really smart because that’s the way people are in life. Nobody is really purely good or purely evil, everybody’s got a bit of all in them.”

With the introduction of Krycek, it allowed the show to take its theme of government corruption one step further by bringing it into direct confrontation with Mulder. “He’s a contemporary nemesis of Mulder’s,” Nic acknowledges. “They’re generally the same age, and so he’s somebody who could give him some trouble physically, whereas the Cigarette Smoking Man is kind of an older guy who just wealds his power. Krycek is actually a physical threat. And it adds a bit because we’ve got this – as you’ll see later on – a circle of older gentlemen who seem to run everything, the bad guys. He’s a bit of a pawn as well.”


It’s a marked contrast to the relationship between actors Nicholas Lea and David Duchovny in real life. “Personally working with him is a gas because we’re friends and we have a good time together, we share the same sense of humour and it’s a real treat. Working with him professionally is wonderful because I tend to get excitable as an actor and David is very good at being there and being grounded and it’s nice to work with him because it brings me down to ground level a little bit.”

Unusually the actors also get a chance to work closely with the producers of the show because many of them direct the episodes as well. It is an idea that originally came from X-FILES creator Chris Carter who wants to make sure the people at the top are kept in touch with the grass roots of the production. “It only helps,” says Nic. “Not only are they wonderful people to work with, but they also share that same vision and understanding as Chris and they’re all fun. All those guys are fun and so it’s nice to have a director on that’s having fun and not serious and uptight.”

That very same bunch of fun and creative people are, it turns out, happy to allow actors to have some input. David Duchovny is well known to have contributed storylines, while Nic has chipped in a few ideas of his own. “In the way that they dress me in the beginning, a lot of that was my idea,” he say. “Grey suit, bad tie, dorky haircut.”

“There’s a scene in one of the episodes, ‘Ascension,'” he continues, “where I clock a guy over the head with my gun and the idea was that it was going to cut from there to the tram moving going across the camera. My hadn was going to go down and it was going to cut to the tram going the other way. And I just added a little thing where I fixed my hair after him and it wasn’t meant to got that way, but they liked it and decided to keep it. So you can throw little things in and they let you work that way.”

Nic clearly made his mark, because Krycek didn’t disappear with the return of Scully. He comes back in the second season cliff-hanger “Anasazi,” an episode memorable for the brutal fight where Krycek slugs it out with Mulder. “The stunt man wasn’t available so we took a couple of hours and designed it, figures out how we were going to do it and what would be best,” says Nic. “We didn’t want it to be a nice little tv fight, we wanted it to be gritty and tough and realistic and I hope we got that. He threw me up against that wall many times and against the car just as many times. By the end I was definitely feeling it, it was hard – because it hurt! – but it was a lot of fun. I love to do physical things on film, it’s fun to get to do fight scenes and jumping and running out of explosions and all that sort of business. Doing the fight was really great, and they sent a massage therapist over to my house afterwards which was a good indication of how cool these people are.”

The Canadian actor has not only been brought to a wider audience by appearing in one of America’s biggest tv shows, but his association with THE X-FILES has also given him the chance to travel, making personal appearances on behalf of the programme. So can he explain why it has become so popular all over the world? “There’s a mass of appetite for this sort of material,” he says, “UFO sightings and a belief in spirits. A lot of people do believe and are fascinated by it. People have been fascinated by it for years. This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.

“I think trust in government has been declining for years now and I think that’s happened in England as well as America,” he adds, “I think that people are obviously concerned that it’s happening in their own government, as far as cover-ups go, with the Roswell Incident and things like that. I don’t know to what extent there’s a real trust in the government. People, although they vote for them, don’t seem to trust them once they do.”


Nic has had other brushes with the telefantasy genre, first of all in HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES, another show filmed in his native Canada. “It was an interesting thing for me because I got to play a bit of a loser, he was an alcoholic who has no money and drinks all his money away. I don’t usually get to do those type of roles. It was exciting to be able to do that.”

He’s also guested on SLIDERS, the US show about travelling to parallel worlds. “The character I play in their eighth episode, which is their cliff-hanger, is a real hero, a world traveller and a bit of a charmer. That was also nice to play, to go to the other end of the spectrum. But wonderful people, a fairly clever show, it’s cute and fun.” SLIDERS was cancelled after one series, but is now being brought back as a mid-season replacement with Nic’s character due to make a return visit.

Nicholas Lea comes across as a lively and approachable man who talks enthusiastically about his work. He seems very different to Krycek. “Let’s hope so,” he says with a smile. “That’s one of the great things about being an actor, you get to experience something through somebody else’s eyes a little bit and it’s fun to play bad guys, it really is. It’s fun to be evil and then nobody gets hurt really. Obviously if it goes on out in the world it’s scary, to be able to do it for fun and responsibly, it’s a treat. I’m just lucky I’m part of it.”


He’s currently being kept busy with the return of Krycek in the third season of THE X-FILES, still being filmed in Nic’s home town of Vancouver. This time, however, Krycek has lost his ‘dorky’ haircut and his ‘bad tie.’ Instead, he’s grown his hair and bought himself a leather jacket. “It’s more comfortable than the suit, that’s for sure!” says Nic. “The leather jacket’s great. And I asked for that, boots and jeans and stuff.”

So, aside from Krycek’s wardrobe, what else can he reveal about Season Three? “You’ll see as things progress that Krycek’s forced out onto his own,” says Nic. “So now he’s a bit of a free agent and it’s going to be real interesting to see in which direction they do take him because I’m not sure.

“I think there’s a danger on some television shows when they gain a certain popularity they tend to sit back a little bit and let the show ride itself. But the people involved with this show are really starting to catch their stride and they’re really starting to pull out some really exciting stuff and stuff that you don’t get to see on other shows.”

Considering Krycek was only originally supposed to be in three episodes, Nic’s character has shown amazing endurance and fascinating development as the world of THE X-FILES continues to unravel. “I didn’t know it would be coming back as much as it has,” Nic reveals. “They originally said three episodes, which made me go over-the-moon. So when it started to be more it couldn’t have been happier. I’ve really been very fortunate.”

“I think they’re doing a wonderful job,” he continues, “but I think I’d like to see a bit more of the human side of the fella come out, not just this cold-blooded killer, but why he does what he does… And obviously the relationship [with Mulder] is getting much more personal and it’s really going to be interesting to see how that plays itself out. I would like to see Krycek save Mulder’s life so it becomes even more confusing.”

As for how long Krycek will continue to be a part of THE X-FILES, not even the actor who plays him can really say. “I’m going back to do one [episode] in December or January,” he says. “Then it all really depends on the Gods.”