The X-Files

Unusual Suspects

Season 5, Ep 3, Aired 11/16/97
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  • Episode Description
  • Set in 1989, the story of the founding of The Lone Gunmen is finally told as we see how a straight-laced federal employee, a sex mad AV expert and a nerdy computer hacker meet Susanne Modeski, a strange woman with evidence of a government conspiracy. When their plan to expose the conspiracy fails and Susanne is captured by a group of men-in-black, led by none other than X, they soon become a paranoid group of government watchdogs.moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • David Duchovny

    Special Agent Fox Mulder

  • Gillian Anderson (I)

    Special Agent Dana Scully

  • Vince Gilligan

  • Kim Manners

  • Richard Belzer

    Detective John Munch

  • Fan Reviews (9)
  • Unusual Suspects

    By TrueTvWatcher, Aug 16, 2012

  • Where Were You In 1989?

    By Anon67683, Mar 19, 2007

  • The 100th episode of The X-Files, "Unusual Suspects" is a love letter to the very idea of paranoia, to the idea that believing the absolute worst of the institutions around you is the proper attitude to hold at all times.

    By colten97, Apr 03, 2011

  • The origin of the Lone Gunmen

    By JaCkKbAuEr2424, Feb 17, 2011

  • A nice try, but not the best attempt at focusing on the supporting cast

    By entil2001, Jun 15, 2005

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (15)

    • Detective Munch: Here's a tip: aluminium foil makes a lovely hat and blocks out the government's mind control rays. Keep you guys out of trouble.

    • Detective Munch: Do I look like Geraldo to you? Don't lie to me like Geraldo, I'm not Geraldo!

    • Frohike: There is nothing in here about him being a psycho or having a daughter.

    • Ken Hawryliw: You don't understand... All I did was play Dig Dug! I didn't hack into anybody's computer. Seriously guys, I've got like a circulatory problem... I have a tendency to fall down a lot.

    • Frohike: This dude doesn't look so tough! (Mulder looks in Frohike and Byers direction) Act casual. (Frohike is wearing a VR helmet)

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    Notes (9)

    • Richard Belzer set a TV record by becoming the first person to play the same character on three different prime time series during the same week. Detective John Munch appeared on the Law & Order/Homicide crossover "Baby It's You" on November 12 and November 14 and then this episode on the 16th.

    • This episode featured the appearance of Baltimore homicide Detective John Munch played by actor Richard Belzer, who also played the same character as a recurring character on the shows Homicide and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and as a guest star on the shows: Law and Order, Law and Order: Trial by Jury, The Beat and The Wire.

    • Due to the fact that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson would still be tied up in California shooting The X-Files movie at the end of August 1997, the producers decided to create an episode that was centered around The Lone Gunmen. This way, 1013 could complete the network episode order and have their leading stars freed up and complete principal shooting on The X-Files: Fight the Future. The scenes with David Duchovny were shot several weeks after shooting of this episode wrapped up.

    • The script of this episode never called for Mulder to wear a wedding ring. This was David Duchovny's idea who thought it would be cool to toy with the notion that Mulder could in the past have been married.

    • Eric Knight, who played Eric the Hacker Dude, is David Duchovny's personal assistant.

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    Trivia (10)

    • When Suzanne extracts her tooth, she is shown holding gauze, and later an ice pack on her lower left jaw. Yet, the tooth being examined by the Lone Gunmen is a maxillary molar as evidenced by its three roots.

    • We find out the Byers' full name is John Fitzgerald Byers and he was born November 22, 1963. This was the same day that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed. Before the assassination when his parents decided to name him after the President, his name was to be Bertram.

    • When the Lone Gunman decrypt the file, it says Susanne killed four people and then the MP that tried to detain her, but whenever anyone mentions her crimes they say she killed four people including the MP.

    • Goof: At the end of the episode when the payphone rings, the closeup of the phone shows a white van parked behind it, but when the phone is shown further away in the next shot, the van is gone.

    • Trivia: Dig Dug is the video game that Byers' booth partner is seen playing during the first half of the episode is a PC translation of Atari's 1982 arcade game Dig Dug. Versions of the game were made for several home game systems and computers from the '80s.

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    Allusions (4)

    • White Rock is the name of a small, unincorporated town in New Mexico, largely populated by employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory and their families. The name could be a thinly disguised reference to Los Alamos or a conflation of Los Alamos and White Sands, a missile and atomic testing range also in New Mexico (however, the two facilities are not very close). Much of the basic research on the first atomic bombs was conducted at Los Alamos, and the first tests were done at White Sands.

    • Munch: Don't lie to me like I'm Geraldo Rivera. I am not Geraldo Rivera. Detective Munch: Do I look like Geraldo to you? Don't lie to me like Geraldo, I'm not Geraldo! In the Homicide: Life on the Street pilot "Gone for Goode", Det. John Munch uses a nearly identical line when interrogating a suspect, except using Montel Williams' name instead of Geraldo Rivera.

    • Killlbarbie: Your kung fu is the best.
      The line "My kung fu is the best" is a reference to a prank voice mail "My kung fu is best" left to tease investigators who were attempting to apprehend famed hacker Kevin Mitnick. Originally Mitnick was thought to be the originator of the prank calls and is often mistakenly credited for making the quote, however the true identity of the prank caller has since been discovered to be phone "phreaker" (i.e.hacker) Zeke Shif who went by the handle SN.

    • Episode Title: Unusual Suspects
      A play on the phrase "The Usual Suspects", which is also the title of a movie containing unreliable narratives: 1995's The Usual Suspects. The episode referenced the movie a few times, with a questionable character making up a story from objects he/she sees around the room, jail scenes, and the hard-to-explain opening that is revisited later when it is much more easily understood.
      The title of the 1995 film is taken from the 1942 classic film Casablanca. Captain Renault's (Claude Rains') final line is "Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects". The Marx Brothers 1946 comedy A Night in Casablanca appears to start with that rounding up.

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