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Some X-Cops Trivia

Behind the Scenes
Vince Gilligan was inspired to write the script because of his enjoyment of Cops, describing it as a "great slice of Americana." Gilligan initially pitched the idea to the X-Files' writing staff and to series creator Chris Carter during the show's fourth season. Carter was concerned with the idea because it was "goofy" and would prove difficult to authentically shoot. Fellow writer Frank Spotnitz was also uncomfortable with Gilligan's idea of using videotape instead of film in shooting the episode, feeling that the show's production crew had already discovered that film could create "effective scares." In addition, the staff worried that an episode filmed exclusively on videotape would be too challenging to properly shoot, due to the lack of cuts and edits. However, during the show's seventh season, Carter relented.

Many critics and fans believed, although erroneously, that the seventh season of The X-Files would be the show's last. Carter too believed at that point in time that the show had nearly run its course. Seeing the potential in Gilligan's idea, he decided to green-light the episode. Gilligan noted that "the longer we've been on the air, the more chances we've taken. We try to keep the show fresh […] I think [Carter] appreciates that".

Gilligan reasoned that, because Mulder and Scully would appear on a nationally syndicated television series, the episode's main monster could not be shown, only "hinted at". Gilligan and the writing staff used methods that had previously been utilized in the 1999 psychological horror film The Blair Witch Project to show as little of the monster as possible and still make the episode scary.

In an attempt at "realism", camera and sound men from Cops participated in the production: Daniel Emmet and John Michael Vaughn, two Cops crew members, were featured during the episode's climax. In addition, a Cops editor was brought in to insert the blur over the faces of bystanders.

Michael Watkins, who directed the episode, had a good rapport with the Los Angeles police department. As such, he was able to secure real Sheriff's deputies as extras. Casting director Rick Milikan was tasked with finding individuals who not only could portray cops, but portray believable police officers. Milikan later explained that the group needed "actors who could pull off the believability in just normal off-the-cuff conversation of cops on the job."

Actor Judson Mills later explained that, because of the limited amount of cameramen and the manner in which the episode was filmed, many bystanders treated him as if he was a real cop. He said, "people just behaved as if we were cops. I had other cops waving and giving their signals or heads-up the way they do amongst themselves. It was quite funny".

"X-Cops" was filmed in Venice and Long Beach, California. After members of The X-Files staff asked Cops producer John Langley about the potential of the cross-over, the cast and crew of Cops thoroughly enjoyed the idea, and offered their complete cooperation. Gilligan was even invited on a shooting of an episode.

Inspired by the actual show, Watkin's directing style was unique for the episode. Not only did he actually film some of the scenes himself—in addition to the shots caught by the show's usual camera operators—but he also brought in Bertram van Munster, a cameraman for Cops, to shoot scenes in order to give the finished product an authentic feel. Furthermore, during rehearsals, he deliberately kept the cameras away from the set. However, when it came time to film, he would bring the cameramen on, creating the "unscripted" reality feel of a documentary.

Due to the nature of the shooting schedule, the episode was relatively cheap to film and production moved at a very quick pace. Initially, the actors struggled with the new cinéma vérité style of the episode, resulting in several takes during the first few days. However, as filming continued, each day yielded fewer and fewer takes. On one night, three-and-a-half pages of the script were shot in only two hours, while the normal rate for The X-Files had been three to four pages a day.

Both Watkins and Mills likened the filming of the episode to live theater, with the former noting, "In a sense we were doing theater: we were doing an act, or half of a whole act in one take." Anderson called the performance "fun" to shoot, and highlighted "Scully getting pissed off at the camera crew" as her favorite part to play. She further noted that "it was interesting to make the adjustment to playing something more real than you might play for television."

Despite being filmed to create the illusion that the final product was in real time, the episode employed several camera tricks and effects. For the opening shot, a "surreptitious cut" helped to replace actor Judson Mills with a stunt person when the cop car is overturned by the monster.[

During post-production, a minor argument broke out between Vince Gilligan and the network. Originally, Gilligan did not want the X-Files logo to appear at any time during the episode. He stressed that he wanted "X-Cops" to be an "episode of Cops that happened to involve Mulder and Scully." The network, fearing that people would not comprehend that "X-Cops" was an X-Files episode, vetoed this idea. A compromise was reached wherein the normal X-Files credits would scroll and the commercial bumpers would feature the X-Files logo in a similar fashion to the Cops logo.

"X-Cops" was not Gilligan's first attempt at writing a cross-over. Almost three years before, he had been working on a script that would involve a story being presented by Robert Stack of Unsolved Mysteries, with unknown actors playing Mulder and Scully. This script was later aborted, and re-written as episode "Bad Blood".

Usually, an episode of the series required 800 to 1200 film cuts, but "X-Cops" only required 45.

During the crack house scene, real SWAT team members were hired to break down the doors.

The episode was one of two X-Files episodes to take place in real time, the other being the sixth season episode "Triangle".

The episode also features a disclaimer at the beginning informing viewers that the episode is a special installment of The X-Files in order to prevent watchers from thinking that the show "has been preempted this week by Cops".

"X-Cops" is an example of The X-Files delving into the postmodern school of thought. The episode helps to "identify the series as postmodern [due to its] cumulative summary of modern American culture", or, in this case, the show's merging with another popular television series.

The episode was watched by 16.56 million viewers, according to the Nielsen ratings system, making it the second highest rated-episode of the season, after "The Sixth Extinction".

This episode has two opening credits sequences. The first is the standard opening of the Fox reality series "Cops" (1989), with which this is a crossover (except with images of Mulder and Scully from the episode among the standard police scenes). The regular series credits appear following the teaser.

As always, Vince finds a way to get his girlfriend's name (Holly) into his episodes. In this case, the police first find Mulder and Scully on Holly Street.

Since its airing, the episode has appeared on several best-of lists. Montreal's The Gazette named the episode the eighth best X-Files episode, writing that episode "pushed the show to new post-modern heights." Rob Bricken from Topless Robot named "X-Cops" the fifth funniest X-Files episode. Starpulse named "X-Cops" as the funniest X-Files episode, writing that the series "did comedy, it was probably the funniest drama ever on television". UGO named the episode's main antagonist as one of the greatest "Top 11 X-Files Monsters," noting that the creature is a "perfect [Monster-of-the-Week] if only because the monster in question is a living, breathing metaphor, a never-seen specter that shifts to fit the fears of the person witnessing it." Narin Bahar from SFX named the episode one of the "Best Sci-Fi TV Mockumentaries" and wrote, "Whether you see this as a brilliantly post-modern merging of fact and fiction or shameless cross-promotion of two of the Fox Network's biggest TV shows, there’s lots of nods to the real Cops show in this episode". Bahar praised the scene featuring the terrified lady telling Mulder that Freddy Krueger attacker her—calling the scene the "best in-joke"—and applauded the two series' cohesion.

When Deputy Wetzel is cutting the crime seal at the crack house, the wording on the seal says Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. This is incorrect. The actual name is the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

When Mulder is trying to break up the fight between Steve and Edy, he sits down and says "Let's all relax." During this scene, David Duchovny starts to laugh but manages to regain his composure and finish the scene.

When Mulder says something like "We have to find this Chantara," you can tell he starts to mess up his line and begins to laugh.

Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Edy: "I'm ready for my close up."
This is the well quoted line from the 1950 movie Sunset Boulevard. The actual line spoken by Norma Desmond is, "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." and is the last line of the movie.

Character Names: Steve and Edy
The names of the characters Steve and Edy in this episode are a reference to Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, a husband and wife singing duo in the 60's and 70's, known popularly as just "Steve and Eydie"

Film reference: The Blair Witch Project
This episode appears to be an allusion to Blair Witch, not only for being filmed with a hand held camera, but also for the scene with the camera falling to the floor, the handprints on the wall, and also because we never do get to see the "monster".

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A composite sketch looks like Freddy Krueger.

Cops (1989) (TV Series)
Mulder and Scully are followed around by the COPS crew in a sci-fi parody of the show

The Complete X Files Behind the series, the myths and the movies
All Things: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 6

X-Cops Episode Post

I don't think it's LIVE television, Scully, she just said (bleep).


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Some Closure Trivia

Behind the Scenes
The idea to close the story arc received mixed reactions from various production and crew members. However, many of the show's producers realized that the time had come to answer one of the show's biggest questions. Spotnitz explained that, "I think [series star, David Duchovny] grew tired of playing the man who is missing his sister. [...] I told him, 'This is going to be the last time you're going to have to play [that part].'" Paul Rabwin noted that, "It's been seven years. I don't think any of us are going to miss Samantha Mulder. That device and motivation were very strong in the early years of the show. But as the years have gone by, the speculation kind of melted away."

Carter explained that, "emotionally, it was heavy stuff for everybody, but necessarily so. These episodes involved two very personal cases, the search for a serial killer [in 'Sein und Zeit'] and the search for Mulder's sister [in 'Closure']."

The X-Files crew had built two permanent stages when shooting season seven of the show. The stages were five and six at 20th Century Fox, and they used stage eight as their "swing set". The first scene was shot in Griffith Park, above the playground. The first scene with the walk-ins rising up from their grave was "tricky," according to director Kim Manners. The children wouldn't cooperate if the crew told them to lay themselves in their "graves," so instead the crew called the holes in the ground "forts."

During filming, David Duchovny decided to act out the reunion scene contrary to what the script said. Manners later noted, "In the script, it called for his sister to run up and hug him, and Mulder was to start crying. David didn't want to cry. I said, 'David, you're finally realizing your sister is, in fact, dead. […] He said, 'Just watch what I do; trust me.' And, he held that little girl actress—there was a beatific smile on his face that was absolutely astounding." Manners was very happy with the change and included it in the final cut of the episode.

The scene at April Air Force Base was shot in San Bernardino, California at a closed airfield, the former Norton Air Force Base. On the airbase was a large abandoned house complex built and used by the United States military. Originally, the producers wanted to name the fictitious air force March Air Force Base. However, the presence of an actual air force base with the same name necessitated a change to April Air Force Base. One of the shots in the April Air Force Base was filmed at a sound stage in Los Angeles. The scene at the restaurant was shot in a location on Sepulveda Boulevard, at a hotel that had been standing there for 30 to 40 years.

"My Weakness", a song by Moby from his album Play, is used in this episode, during the first scene when the FBI discover the mass grave and near the end when Mulder encounters his sister's spirit. Carter never told the series' resident composer Mark Snow about the decision to use someone else's music, although Snow has since said that his reaction to the use of the song was more positive than negative and that the song was a "perfect" fit for the scenes in which it can be heard.

The episode's tagline was changed from the usual "The Truth is Out There" to "Believe to Understand".

This episode was included on The X-Files Mythology, Volume 3 – Colonization, a DVD collection that contains episodes involved with the alien Colonist's plans to take over the earth.

When Mulder, Scully and Harold get out of the car to visit Artubus Ray, you can distinctly hear 4 car doors close, when only 3 doors are actually closed.

When the children are discovered in the mass grave the bodies are encased in plastic. This should have preserved the biological stew that was their former bodies but all the bones are dry. It would have been more logical just to have them buried in the ground without plastic.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Planet of the Apes (1968)
Mulder watches this film on TV.

The Complete X Files Behind the series, the myths and the movies
All Things: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 6

Closure Episode Post

I want to believe so badly in a truth beyond our own.


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Some Sein Und Zeit Trivia

Behind the Scenes
Although both the season four episode "Paper Hearts" and the season five episode "Redux II" had dealt with possible explanations for Samantha Mulder's fate, the issue had yet to be resolved when the series moved into its seventh season. Realizing that the season potentially could be the last, series creator Chris Carter decided to conclude the Samantha story-arc. "The expectation was that if this were going to be the final season, that the finale would be about Mulder's sister. We wanted to deal with that sooner rather than later. We wanted to wrap up Mulder's emotion story with his sister and do it in such a way that would emphasize [David Duchovny's] dramatic abilities."

Executive producer Frank Spotnitz noted that the episode bore stylistic similarities to "Paper Hearts". However, unlike that episode, "Sein und Zeit", and its second part "Closure", sets out to actually answer the question of Samantha's disappearance. Spotnitz later explained, "it's similar […] in the sense that what you always thought happened to Samantha may not have actually happened. 'Paper Hearts' never ultimately answers the question. We've had people come up to us and say, 'Okay, so we know she's really dead, so what happened?' So we decided in this one to answer the question."

Several incidents hindered the production of the episode. The prop department for The X-Files initially made a fake ransom note for the scene wherein Mrs. LaPierre automatically writes the kidnapper's message. A crew member for the show later took the note, along with a folder of other documents to one of the filming locations. Before arriving at the location, he stopped to make a phone call from a pay phone. A person, however, was watching him from their house and, being suspicious, called the police. Unfortunately for the crew member, he left the folder and note, which included the line "Don't do anything or we'll kill your baby" at the booth. When the individual went back to retrieve the note, he was promptly arrested. Director Kim Manners later called the situation a "mess".

The second major event that hindered production involved lack of money needed for the final scene. Near the end of the filming, producer Paul Rabwin discovered that there was no money left for a small but necessary sequence created to mimic an actual TV news anchor giving a report. Rather than request extra funds, Rabwin located an Australian TV correspondent based out of Los Angeles and asked him to "donate" the needed news report for a chance to be on The X-Files. The individual was more than happy to comply. According to Rabwin, "we went to his studio setup, inserted a visual of a busy newsroom behind the correspondent, added some pictures of the kidnapped children, and we had our scene."

The LaPierres' lawyer, Harry Bring, is named after Harry V. Bring, the X-Files unit production manager. If you watch the gag reel for Season 7, you can see him playing the character in a spoof.

Amber Lynn LaPierre is named for Amber Woodward, Chris Carter's assistant on Harsh Realm.

Tencate and LaPierre are both last names of two of Chris Carter's former girlfriends.

In the episode's teaser, Bud LaPierre is watching Harsh Realm (Chris Carter's short-lived and grossly un-promoted drama series) on television. Mr. LaPierre commented to Mulder that he didn't know what it was called (probably since it wasn't well promoted by Fox), but that it was good. On a related note, the actor playing Mr. LaPierre was in the 2nd episode of Harsh Realm as a bounty hunter.

This episode was included on The X-Files Mythology, Volume 3 – Colonization, a DVD collection that contains episodes involved with the alien Colonist's plans to take over the earth.

Founded in 1822 and reaching over one hundred acres of land, Maple Hill Cemetery is the oldest and largest cemetery in Alabama. Within the cemetery limits, tucked away in a peaceful cove surrounded by a rock cliff on three sides and picturesque paths leading through the woods, is the Dead Children’s Playground. Admittedly beautiful during the day, when dusk falls, the atmosphere changes into something quite sinister. Some say that the spirits of the dead children come to the playground to play. Another legend has it that Huntsville suffered a rash of child abductions in the 1960’s, and sadly, the bodies of the children were found in the area of the playground. Since that time, there have been reports of swings moving on their own, children calling out, giggling, and when photos are taken, orbs of light believed to be the spirits of the children are captured. Much of this phenomenon occurs between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., far too late for any live child to be out playing.

When speaking to Skinner and the task force, Mulder cites the discrepancy between the facts and what Mr. LaPierre said - that he was going to bed, but when cops got there the TV was still on. However, in the beginning of the episode we see that Mr. LaPierre does indeed turn off the TV before getting up to check on his wife and daughter.

Mulder explains to Scully that Mrs. Mulder had been using Diazepam as a sleeping aid and concludes that it must have been a suicide. This is highly unlikely however, since it's practically impossible to overdose from using only diazepam. The suicide theory is even less likely if she had been using it as a sleeping aid, thus having a tolerance to the substance, however slight - only two containers are shown emptied. It is possible her advanced age and poor health after her stroke had contributed, although she was at that point miraculously healed by an alien and showed no signs of poor health inbetween episodes. It is also possible she used large amounts of alcohol to add to the effect; but there is no such evidence on-screen. This begs the question whether it really was a suicide, an assassination or simply an oversight on part of the writers.

Interstate 74 does not go all the way West to California; it ends at a junction with Interstate 80 in Davenport, Iowa. It also does not run North-South, as the sign indicates. It runs East-West, as all even-numbered highways do. Odd-numbered highways run North-South.

Skinner: all you've done is hand our only suspect the Twinkie Defense!
Twinkie defense is a claim by a criminal defendant that at the time of the crime he/she was of diminished mental capacity due to intake of too much sugar, as from eating "Twinkies," sugar-rich snacks. The defense was argued successfully by a defense psychiatrist in the notorious case of former San Francisco County Supervisor Dan White, who shot and killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and County Supervisor Harvey Milk, resulting in White's conviction for only manslaughter instead of murder.

At the end of the notes written by the childrens' mothers is the phrase "no one shoots at Santa Claus." This was a campaign slogan used by Al Smith in 1936 while running against Franklin Roosevelt in the democractic primary, intended as a warning to politicians about the folly of attacking government entitlement programs.

The episode's title, Sein und Zeit, is a reference to Martin Heidegger's best known work and means "Being and Time" in German.

Haredevil Hare (1948) (Short)
A Marvin the Martin doll can be seen in Amber-Lynn room.

The Twilight Zone (1959) (TV Series)
Skinner asks Mulder about "Intensify our search where? The Twilight Zone?"

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) (TV Movie)
The kids at the seedy Santa's Village attraction were singing the song.

Kero kero Keroppi (1994) (Video)
A Keroppi doll can be seen in Amber-Lynn's room.

Pochacco (1994) (Video)
A Pocchaco doll can be seen in Amber-Lynn's room.

Asobou! Hello Kitty (1994) (TV Series)
A Badtz-Maru doll can be seen in Amber-Lynn's room.

Harsh Realm (1999) (TV Series)
The TV mini series Bud LaPierre was watching.

The Complete X Files Behind the series, the myths and the movies
All Things: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 6

Sein Und Zeit Episode Post

I know, but if you don't do it, I might never know the truth.


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Some Signs and Wonders Trivia

Behind the Scenes
"Signs and Wonders" was written by The X-Files staff writer Jeffrey Bell. Bell had long desired to write a "down-and-dirty" horror story for the series. In addition, he had informally studied the practice of snake handling, concluding that "anything involving snakes would be scary and I saw the church stuff as something that would be really fascinating." However, unlike most stories featuring the radical religious, the theme of the episode was that in certain circumstances, "intolerance can be good", according to executive producer Frank Spotnitz.

Bell "wanted the snake church people to end up being the good guys." However, the trick would be to disguise the real bad guys in plain sight. According to Bell, "The way the shows usually work out, Mulder is the one to figure out who the bad guys are. So I went wen into the story meeting with the idea of having Mulder being wrong. Because Mulder believes so strong it's the other guy, it helped hid the true identity of the bad guy from the audience."

The casting for "Signs & Wonders" was "rather unorthodox". In order to prevent ophidiophobia from hitting the actors on the day of filming, live rattlesnakes were brought in during the casting sessions. Strangely enough, many of the actors were "thrilled" about holding the snakes, according to Kim Manners. He later noted that "the funny thing was that the actors couldn't wait to hold the rattlesnakes […] but we were still nervous."

A series of safety meetings were schedule in order to prevent accidents on the set. One of the items on the agenda was finding the closest hospital to the set, according to make-up effects coordinator John Vulich. Furthermore, several of the cast and crew members had a fear of snakes, including Manners, David Duchovny, and John Shiban. During one of the days that the show was being prepped, a snake wrangler brought several live rattlesnakes to the set, but one escaped. It was eventually found behind Manners' desk. In order to prevent future accidents, the mouths of the snakes were sutured shut.

At any one time, there were between six to fifty snakes on the set. During the scene where Mulder is attacked, fifteen live snakes were used. However, Duchovny was "not within blocks" of the shot and a stunt double was used. Several faux-body parts were used to simulate snake bites. One of the fake arms, which was used for Mulder, was recycled from the sixth season episode "Dreamland". A false stomach was created for Tracy Middendorf, who portrayed Gracie, to give the illusion that live snakes were wriggling inside of her.

At one point in the episode, Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, a famous painting by Italian Early Renaissance artist Masaccio appears in the background. Because the painting contains nudity, Fox's network executives took issue with the scene, forcing the show to edit out the genitalia on the painting. Paul Rabwin later noted that "the network executive censors didn't feel it was appropriate for us to show all the details [...] course, they could see people giving birth to hundreds of snakes, but that's OK." On the seventh season DVD special features, the painting is erroneously attributed to the famed Michelangelo.

Rather a bizarre coincidence: guest stars Randy Ogelsby, Tracey Middendorf and Beth Grant went on to play guest roles on Angel and writer Jeffrey Bell ended up joining the crew in the show's 3rd season.

A deleted scene included O'Fallon singing to his church group. It was cut due to time constraints.

Michael Childers, who portrayed Reverend O'Connor, was actually the son of a real life snake preacher. Manners later noted that "he had gone to church as a child and handled snakes."

The song being sung by the congregation, called "May Glory Protect Us" was written by executive producer Paul Rabwin, who was heavily involved in the episode's music production. Rabwin noted, "I auditioned a bunch of gospel songs [to episode director Kim Manners]. I told him I could write one that was better and he told me to go for it. And I did. […] Kim loved it. […] It was a great tribute that he was able to ask me and accept my opinion on it."

Just after Mulder says: "especially because rattlesnakes tend to hibernate in winter" - during the first scene in the office after the intro. You can hear Gillian Anderson slip into an English accent, when she says: "so you think that Mr Chirp was murdered?" And then right back into an American for her next line.

The location of the opening is Blessing, Tennessee. The location is printed on the screen, but is removed very quickly.

A boom mic operator is visible on the left hand side of the screen wearing a white t-shirt, beige shorts, and sneakers. He's carrying the boom mic and following Mulder and Scully. You can see him when Mulder and Scully arrive at the "Church of God with Signs and Wonders" for the first time...when Mulder delivers the line "That's funny, I knew a couple Catholic schoolgirls who were experts at it."

When Reverend O'Connor is reading from the Book of Revelations, his Bible is flipped open towards the front. Revelations is the last chapter in the New Testament, so his Bible should have been open towards the back.

Reverend O'Connor pronounces the name of the last book of the Bible as "Revelations." The correct name is "The Book of Revelation to John." It isn't pluralized.

When Mulder and Scully first arrive at "The Church Of God" you can briefly see a crew member to the left of the screen as the agents are walking up the stairs.

Enoch O'Connor's namesake can be found in the bible book of Genesis. An ancestor of Noah, the prophet Enoch "walked with God" and was transferred so as not to see death.

Enoch O'Connor's name is also a likely homage to Southern Gothic writer Flannery O'Connor, who constantly featured themes of religious hypocrisy and the mysteries of faith and grace. Enoch Emery is a character in her first novel, Wise Blood.

'Signs and Wonders' is a common biblical phrase used to describe the acts used to convince followers of the nature of Christ and his apostles, for example:
Second Corinthians 12:12: "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles."

The Complete X Files Behind the series, the myths and the movies
All Things: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 6

Signs and Wonders Episode Post

Snake handling... didn't learn that in Catechism class.


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We've established I'm an awful mod, but in my defence last weekend was my birthday.

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Some Amazing Maleeni Trivia

Behind the Scenes
The idea behind "The Amazing Maleeni" started with executive producer Frank Spotnitz. When pitching ideas for the seventh season episodes, Spotnitz wanted an episode to deal solely on "magic and illusion" and have nothing to do with the paranormal. Spotnitz had been petitioning the writers of The X-Files for a magic-based episode since season two, but nothing ever came to light. Eventually, during the seventh season, Vince Gilligan was assigned to write the episode, something he describes as "agony". Gilligan explained, "The episode started with Frank, because he—for several years—had wanted to write an episode about magicians. Frank was a fan of the TV show The Magician with Bill Bixby so I believe that was part of it, but Frank was interested in the idea of magic and the idea of fooling people who wished to be fooled."

Spotnitz's favorite magician was Ricky Jay, and so, for the episode, Jay was brought in to play the part of The Amazing Maleeni. Initially, however, the episode hit a snag. The production crew discovered that Jay's production agency had not been informed and that he would be unable to guest star in the episode. The staff's back-up magician, David Blaine, was unavailable for shooting as well. Series creator Chris Carter, however, later stated that the show would not take no for an answer: "We got on the phone with him. He agreed to come to our offices to talk about the script and ended up doing some card tricks for us that reduced Frank and I to being six-year-olds again." Jay eventually agreed to do the part, but requested that he only do the tricks he was accustomed to doing. Thus, many of Jay's trademark tricks were included in the episode's script. Gilligan, in retrospect, later noted, "There was no choice other than Ricky Jay as far as we were concerned. He was not looking forward to the idea of playing a magician because I think he felt that magicians were never portrayed very realistically in movies or television shows."

The cast and crew of the episode enjoyed the "amusement park" feel of the story. Gillian Anderson later noted, "Because of all the magic, I was constantly being entertained. The difficulty with something like this is you have tendency to forget that people are still having bad things happen to them." Anderson later stated that, because many of the lines were written in a tongue-in-cheek style, she and David Duchovny said them in a humorous style; the two had to keep reminding themselves that the story revolved around a murder.

The episode used several special effects. However, in order to ensure that the episode felt "camera-real" to preserve the theme of magic and illusions, many of the more intense effects were replaced with more conventional effects. For instance, the scene wherein Bill LaBonge's hand erupted into flames was created through the use of stunt man, rather than through expensive and, ultimately, "less convincing" CGI effects. The scene featuring The Amazing Maleeni turning his head 360 degrees was created using a prosthetic head, courtesy of John Vulich's Optic Nerve Studios.

Billy LaBonge is named for the Second Unit Director of Photography, Bob LaBonge.

The Amazing Maleeni was named for real-life magician Max Malini (1875 - 1942). Famous for relying on his own skill rather than props, Malini performed for Kings, Queens, and Millionaires.

When Mulder and Scully investigate the young magician, Billy LaBonge, he magically shows a big coin. You see it lying on the table, next shot is from a different angle, and the coin is gone. Next shot it's there again. Magic?

Also, in that same scene with Mulder and Scully investigating LaBonge, towards the end of his demonstration (11:35-11:45) you can see his left sleeve go from pulled down to up and then back down.

Mulder calls the dust in Maleeni's van "lycopodium powder" that the Los Angeles Police Department used to collect fingerprints, but the real LAPD uses latent print powder not lycopodium.

Scully: Why are you talking like Tony Randall?
Actually, Mulder was talking like Felix Unger, the fussy neat freak played by Tony Randall in the 1970-75 comedy series Odd Couple, opposite slovenly Oscar Madison, played by Jack Klugman. The comedy series, based on the play and movie by Neil Simon, derived most of its humor from the contrast between fussy Felix and Oscar the slouch, two divorced men sharing an apartment. Felix had a very affected and pedantic of speaking.

It was revived for a single, less successful season as The New Odd Couple with Ron Glass as Felix and Demond Wilson as Oscar.

Malini taking a magician's name and then spelling it different is a reference to Houdini. He got his name from the French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin whom he later discredited.

The Complete X Files Behind the series, the myths and the movies
All Things: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 6

Some Orison Trivia

Behind the Scenes
"Orison" was written by Chip Johannessen, who had formerly been an executive producer on the Chris Carter-created television series Millennium. In Johannessen's first draft, the episode's main antagonist was a prisoner with the ability to stop time. Executive producers Carter, Frank Spotnitz, and John Shiban found the episode's premise promising. However, Carter enjoyed the story because it bore stylistic similarities to the first season episode "Beyond the Sea".

After reading the first draft, Spotnitz and Carter decided to reintroduce Donnie Pfaster, a character from the second season episode "Irresistible". Carter noted that, "we had talked about possibly revisiting some old monster this season, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity." The writers and producers decided to take "Orison" in a "substantial new direction". Although Donnie Pfaster was originally portrayed as a "death fetishist", his nature was non-supernatural. In "Orison", however, it was decided to make Pfaster into a true demon. Shiban explained "we decided late in the process to turn him into this totally demonic character, essentially evil as an entity." Spotnitz was very excited about bringing closure to the Pfaster-Scully story. He explained, "For me, what really justified bringing Donnie back was the final act of the script when Donnie comes for Scully and she ends up shooting him full of holes."

The final scene, however, proved difficult to script. Director Rob Bowman noted, that the act "was a tough scene. Frank and I had spoken on the phone about the dialogue in the wrap-up scene with Mulder and Scully. Even though she shot him in the heightened state, you couldn't deny the fact that she killed Donnie Pfaster in cold blood. How do we deal with that?"

The episode featured several complex scenes, most notably the shot at the beginning, where time slows to a stop. Bowman used several different takes, all filmed at different film speeds in order to achieve the right effect.

The final fight scene between Scully and Pfaster took a day and a half to film. Make-up for the episode was done by John Vulich, who sought to "pay homage" to the make-up in the original episode. In order to do this, Vulich perused several fan sites and downloaded photos that he used as models.

The song that Scully keeps hearing the episode is "Don't Look Any Further", originally by former Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards. The production staff went through several cover versions in order to find the right one for the episode. Unfortunately, according to Paul Rabwin, none of the songs "really worked." Originally, Rabwin wanted Lyle Lovett to record a cover for the episode, but he was unavailable, so the staff as singer-songwriter John Hiatt. Rabwin later called Hiatt's version "chilling, eerie, and soulful". Mark Snow, the show's composer, used various musical effects for emphasis. He explained, "There's a slo-mo scene where Mulder comes in the room with Scully and guns are drawn. They're looking around, and I do these big boom single hits with a lot of reverb. There's nothing else but that. Sometimes, that is really effective."

This episode's title is a literary word for a prayer.

This episode of The X-Files is the third of three in which a person can be seen walking towards camera before the screen cuts to black, as happens at the end of this episode's teaser section. The earlier two examples of this occur, firstly, at the end of the teaser section of the Season 2 episode "Irresistible" and again in the cliffhanger conclusion of the Season 3 episode "Piper Maru". "Irresistible" features Donald Pfaster approaching the camera, similar to this episode, and "Piper Maru" features Alex Krycek doing so.

When the priest was digging Pfaster's grave, asking him to repent, Pfaster says he can't be killed because he is the Devil (in turn killing the priest without a gun and hands tied), but later on Scully's bullets seem to work perfectly well on him.

How does Mulder know that Donnie Pfaster escaped at exactly 6:06AM when no-one can remember him walking out of the prison?

As Scully puts on her pajamas, daylight streams in from the window. After the fight, the scene switches to Mulder, who holds up a clock that reads 10:00. Switch back to Scully's apartment, and Pfaster is preparing the bath and daylight is once again streaming in through the window.

Mulder is alluding to William Blake's work when he speaks about the "Doors of Perception" in relation to the gates of Hell. Blake says in his "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" that "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite."

Musical Reference: "Sheep go to Heaven, Goats go to Hell"
This phrase is amongst the words scrawled on the prison chapel's walls. This is the chorus line of the song "Sheep go to Heaven" by the band Cake - one of Gillian Anderson's favorite bands.

Biblical Reference 666
Scully's clock malfunctions, showing the time as 6.66. Of course 666, as most people who've seen The Omen will know, is generally taken to be the number of the Beast, i.e. the Devil. Interestingly, in 2005, technological advances allowed scholars to read illegible portions of the earliest known record of The Book of Revelations and found the Number of the Beast stated there to be 616 rather than 666.

The Complete X Files Behind the series, the myths and the movies
All Things: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 6


Into The Woods Tonight - X-Files Rewatch

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