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Marita Covarrubias

Marita_CovarrubiasLaurie Holden portrayed Covarrubias in all of the character’s appearances.

Marita Covarrubias is introduced as an informant to Mulder after the death of his former source, X. X scrawls the letters “SRSG” in his own blood as he dies, leading Mulder to the Special Representative to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. However, it is later seen that Covarrubias is working for The Smoking Man and the Syndicate. The Syndicate later discovered that Covarrubias had betrayed them and was providing information to Mulder. As a result, Syndicate scientists infected her with black oil in order to test a vaccine they had been working to create. A cured Covarrubias later makes contact with Krycek at the behest of The Smoking Man, who wishes to resume the work of the now-eradicated Syndicate. However, Covarrubias and Krycek betray The Smoking Man and leave him for dead. In the series finale “The Truth”, Skinner seeks Covarrubias as a witness in Mulder’s trial for murder. She is called upon to testify, and speaks about her involvement with the Syndicate. However, when pressed for further information about the continuation of the conspiracy she clams up, and at Mulder’s request is dismissed from the stand for fear that if she divulges certain knowledge, she would be killed.

The character of Marita Covarrubias was portrayed by Laurie Holden in all her appearances. When auditioning for the role, Holden was not allowed access to an episode script, instead simply being told that her character worked for the United Nations and had an air of “intelligent seriousness”. Writer Frank Spotnitz has described Covarrubias as “young, attractive, vital [and] dangerous” compared to the other characters working for the Syndicate. Holden has compared the character to Mata Hari, adding that “you can’t really read what she’s saying or what her intentions are”. Robert Shearman and Lars Pearson, in their book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen, felt that the character was “used so perfunctorily since her introduction” that her appearances added little to the episodes she featured in, describing her as a “bad parody” of the earlier characters Deep Throat and X.

Deep Throat


Deep Throat was portrayed by Jerry Hardin.

Deep Throat was the first of Mulder’s informants, leaking information to him to aid his investigations. As a member of the then-unseen Syndicate, he was in a position to know a great deal of information. Deep Throat felt that the truth the Syndicate kept secret from the public needed to be known, and believed Mulder to be the one person capable of exposing this knowledge. However, he believed the public was just not ready to know some truths. In the first season finale of The X-Files, “The Erlenmeyer Flask”, Mulder was taken hostage following his investigation into an alien-human hybrid program. Fearing for Mulder’s life, Deep Throat helped Scully gain access to a high containment facility, where she managed to secretly remove an alien fetus for use as collateral in saving Mulder. In the subsequent meeting between the operatives and Deep Throat, he was gunned down by an assassin. The character later appeared in dreams and visions experienced by Mulder during his recuperation on a Navajo reservation, and again years later while being experimented on by The Smoking Man.

Deep Throat was inspired by the historical Deep Throat, FBI Associate Director Mark Felt. Also cited as an influence on the fictional Deep Throat was X, the character portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the 1991 Oliver Stone film JFK. The character was intended to bridge the gap between Mulder and Scully and the shadowy conspirators who were working against them; and was conceived as someone “who works in some level of government that we have no idea exists”. Jerry Hardin was cast as Deep Throat based on his role in 1993’s The Firm. Hardin’s performance has been cited as “the spine of the series”, and his portrayal of the character has been met with positive reviews from critics.

First Elder

The First Elder is portrayed by Don S. Williams. He was a high-ranking member of the Syndicate. His exact position in the Syndicate was unclear, especially in regard to the Well Manicured Man, though at times he seemed higher-ranking than the Smoking Man. He contacted Scully in person while Mulder pursued evidence of an alien autopsy on a train. He also obtained photographs taken by X of a meeting between The Smoking Man and Teena Mulder as proof that one of the Smoking Man’s henchmen was a traitor. The First Elder set up a trap to reveal the identity of the traitor and dispatched an assassin to kill him. X fell for the trap and was executed.

After Mulder shot Department of Defense agent Scott Ostlehoff in his head to obscure his identity, Mulder and Scully used the situation to effectively fake Mulder’s death. CSM spoke with the First Elder at a horse track about Mulder’s death, which CSM saw as unfortunate and unhelpful. However, the fact that Mulder was alive soon became known to both men, upon which the First Elder ordered one of his operatives to carry out a specific task. The operative followed CSM as he tried to recruit Mulder to work with the Syndicate, watching their movements through the scope of a sniper rifle. Shortly after the discovery of Scott Blevins’ betrayal, the First Elder’s operative shot CSM, who had been holding a photograph of Mulder and his sister. He was killed along with the rest of the Syndicate by a group of Alien rebels in 1999.

Alex Krycek

Alex Krycek is portrayed by Nicholas Lea. Krycek is a Russian-American who makes his first appearance in the season two episode “Sleepless”, where Krycek, a young FBI special agent, is assigned as a temporary investigation partner to Fox Mulder. Krycek proceeds to work with Mulder and attempts to gain his trust.

However, it later becomes evident that Krycek is actually an undercover agent working for the Cigarette Smoking Man. Krycek plays an important part in several events that are harmful to Mulder and Dana Scully: he assists in Scully’s abduction, and murders Mulder’s father, Bill Mulder. Krycek also assaults Assistant Director Walter Skinner and acquires a secret tape from him which reveals a US government coverup regarding alien visits to Earth. After a botched murder attempt on Scully results in the death of her sister, the Cigarette Smoking Man attempts to kill Krycek with a car bomb, but Krycek escapes. He lies low in Hong Kong for a short period, selling secrets acquired from the tape until he is found, beaten and apprehended by Mulder who takes him back to the US. Unbeknown to him, Krycek is under the control of an alien organism and he escapes Mulder before he is taken to a missile silo in North Dakota by the Cigarette Smoking Man. Having ejected the alien influence into an alien craft, he is left locked in a missile bay, screaming and banging on the door.

When escaping a gulag in Russia, where Krycek pursues a mysterious rock, his left arm is amputated to prevent some experiments on him. Later in the series, Krycek can be seen switching sides as it suits him, occasionally helping Mulder, Cigarette Smoking Man and other people. He attempted to blackmail Skinner by infecting him with lethal nanotechnology, but ended up being thrown into a Tunisian prison when the Cigarette Smoking Man discovered that Krycek had stolen an alien artifact from him. In the last season 7 episode, “Requiem”, Krycek tries and fails to kill the wheelchair-bound Cigarette Smoking Man by throwing him down a flight of stairs. Later, when Mulder was abducted by aliens and returned in a deathlike state, Krycek attempts to again blackmail Skinner, with the means to save Mulder’s life. Skinner refuses, and Krycek has a violent confrontation with John Doggett before escaping. In the last season 8 episode, “Existence”, Krycek is shot between the eyes and killed by Skinner during an unsuccessful attempt to kill Mulder. Krycek’s ghost briefly showed up to help Mulder escape a military base in the series finale.

Knowle Rohrer

Knowle Rohrer is portrayed by Adam Baldwin. He served alongside Sergeant John Doggett in the U.S. Marine Corps with the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit in Beirut, Lebanon. Doggett and Rohrer were friends, but lost touch when Rohrer and Shannon McMahon were taken out of their company to be the first people transformed into Super Soldiers, a new type of alien-human hybrid intended by the alien Colonists as replacements for normal humans.

Knowle reached the rank of Master Sergeant and continued on with his military career by joining the Department of Defense. The work he did there is unknown, but it is safe to assume that he was involved in classified operations. When Doggett became assigned to the X-Files, he re-established contact with Rohrer. Doggett became suspicious of Rohrer when information was given to him from Rohrer that got a man killed, but it was not until Doggett saw Rohrer meet with Alex Krycek that he realized Rohrer was a member of the conspiracy.

In “Nothing Important Happened Today II”, he is decapitated by fellow Super Soldier, Shannon McMahon, but owing to his hybrid abilities, manages to then impale her with his arm, and they both fall into a water reservoir, presumably both now dead.

However in the series finale, “The Truth”, it is revealed that he survived, when Mulder breaks into Mount Weather. Rohrer chases down Mulder, and in the ensuing scuffle, Rohrer plummets onto some power lines. Mulder is then taken into military custody and put on trial for Rohrer’s supposed death. Eventually, Mulder breaks out with the help of Alvin Kersh, and with Dana Scully, headed to New Mexico for a final confrontation with the Cigarette Smoking Man, whom he discovered was still alive. Doggett and Monica Reyes went after Mulder and Scully to warn them that the conspirators knew where they were. Rohrer, alive and well, followed, intending to kill them all (including the Cigarette Smoking Man, who had long since outlived his usefulness to the conspiracy). However, as he approached Doggett and Reyes in the New Mexican desert, Rohrer died from exposure to magnetite. It turned out that the Cigarette Smoking Man figured out that magnetite killed the Super Soldiers, and consequently chose to hide in a pueblo saturated with it.

The Smoking Man

C.G.B. Spender, best known as the Cigarette Smoking Man and Cancer Man, is portrayed by William B. Davis, and serves as the main antagonist of the series. In Spender’s first appearance, he oversaw Dana Scully’s debriefing and disposed of her evidence in the show’s pilot episode, and eventually developed into the series’ primary antagonist. The character is known initially only by this nickname because he is almost always seen chain-smoking Morley Cigarettes, and is usually surrounded by clouds of smoke. In the first seasons of the show, he was usually present in Walter Skinner’s office, which was often a sign to discredit Fox Mulder’s work on the X-Files.

He is involved in the Syndicate, a shadow organization within the United States government that exists to hide the fact that aliens are visiting Earth from the public. Spender is the leader of the Men in Black (MIB) in the series. In the season 6 two-part episodes “Two Fathers” and “One Son” it is learned that his birthname or alias is C.G.B. Spender and was formerly married to Cassandra Spender, with whom he had a son, Jeffrey Frank Spender. Diana Fowley is revealed to be a subordinate of his; together, they escape the annihilation of the Syndicate. His confidence in Jeffrey falters after a failed assassination attempt and later on Jeffrey’s betrayal, he confronts his son and apparently kills him. The episodes also presented further evidence suggesting that he is Mulder’s father. Eventually, Fowley also splits from him, which leads to her death. After the fall of the Syndicate, Smoking Man has no more fellow conspirators who can match his power, so he begins to operate as he wishes. However, his cancer resurfaces and he requires the use of a wheelchair. At the end of the 7th season, Alex Krycek and Marita Covarrubias betray him and throw him down a flight of stairs, where they presumed him dead.

Through the 9th season, he was presumed dead until Jeffrey Spender appeared in “William”. It is learned that his attempted murder on his son failed which led him to subject his son to terrible experiments. In this very same episode it is revealed that he is Mulder’s biological father. In the series finale, Mulder and Scully travel through remote New Mexico, and reach a pueblo where a “wise man” reputedly lives. It is in fact the Smoking Man. He is shown to be in the same condition as when he disappeared, but has degenerated further and is now quite unkempt. He has a shock of long white hair, and living a primitive life in hiding from the New Syndicate. He reveals to Mulder and Scully all he has left to tell, including the fact that the aliens are scheduled to invade in 2012. Shortly after he is killed by a missile shot from a helicopter ordered by Knowle Rohrer.

Well-Manicured Man

The Well-Manicured Man is a British member of the Syndicate. An Englishman, he is an important member, along with The Smoking Man and The Elder, and was a friend of Bill Mulder earlier in his life.The Well-Manicured Man is instrumental in the Syndicate’s secondary agenda, to develop a vaccination against the black oil used by the aliens as a means of mind control. To this end, he works with Alex Krycek to develop a vaccine, eventually testing it—successfully—on Marita Covarrubias.

In the 1998 feature film The X-Files, when Scully is infected with the black oil and taken to Antarctica, it is the Well-Manicured Man who, having grown disillusioned with the Syndicate, gives Mulder the coordinates needed to find her and a sample of the vaccine needed to cure Scully. The colonists had kept secret a secondary characteristic of the black oil—that those infected with it for prolonged periods would gestate a new colonist lifeform, killing the host. Upon discovering this, the Syndicate vowed to work more closely with the colonists in the hope of being spared this fate, while only the Well-Manicured Man wished to continue working on a vaccination for resistance. This rejection led to his betrayal of the Syndicate, and to him committing suicide by car bomb before his duplicity was discovered.

The Well-Manicured Man was portrayed by John Neville in all his appearances. Conceived as the “voice of reason” within the Syndicate, the character has been seen as representing an opposing viewpoint to that of The Smoking Man. The character has been positively received by critics. MTV’s Tami Katzoff has called him a “legendary TV character”, noting his “moral ambivalence about the work of his shadow organization” and his ability to show “empathy for Mulder and Scully”.[70] The San Francisco Chronicle ’​s Bob Graham has praised Neville’s portrayal of the character in the feature film, calling his expository monologue “a Wagnerian demonstration of the art of declamation”.


X, sometimes referred to as Mr. X, serves as an informant to Mulder, replacing Deep Throat in this capacity. While X’s loyalties and his own agenda were often unclear, he has more than once proven that he at least does not want Mulder dead. In the episode “End Game”, he is approached by Scully, who pleads that she needs to know where Mulder is, believing his life to be in danger. X reluctantly gives her the information after a fight with Skinner. In “731”, X’s loyalty to Mulder is further confirmed. Trapped on a train car equipped with a time bomb, Mulder is attacked by an assassin. X fatally shoots the assassin as he is about to step off the car, and boards with only enough time left to save either Mulder or the alien-human hybrid the car was transporting, opting to save Mulder.In the season 4 opener “Herrenvolk”, X’s position as an informant is discovered by the Syndicate, and he is assassinated, but not before leading Mulder to his successor, Marita Covarrubias. After his death, X appears two more times—in The Lone Gunmen origin story “Unusual Suspects,” set before his death, and as a ghost in the series finale, “The Truth”.

X is portrayed in the series by Steven Williams, and made his début in the second season episode “The Host”, although the character would not appear on-screen until “Sleepless”, two episodes later. The role had originally been conceived as a female, with Natalija Nogulich cast in the role, however her initial scenes were deemed unsatisfactory by the producers, leading to her replacement. Williams’ portrayal of X was intended to introduce a personality completely different from the character’s predecessor, Deep Throat, and has been positively received by critics and fans.