There have been numerous outstanding fictional FBI agents in TV history, but not many left a lasting mark like Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. While other agents were busy chasing psychos and hard-headed criminals, Mulder and Scully were assigned to the less desirable X-Files Unit where they tackled cases involving paranormal activity.
The chemistry between the two drove the FOX series to cult status. Despite coming to an end several years ago, The X-Files is still a major part of pop culture. Cosplays and parodies keep popping up all the time. Most importantly, other TV shows tend to draw material from the show or reference it on a regular basis.
The first villain in the series is the killer Constance Welch, AKA the Woman In White. This is a ghost in a white dress who appears on highways as a beautiful woman and attempts to seduce men who are in relationships. If they accept to go home with her, she kills them for being unfaithful.
When she murders a teenager at a bridge, Sam and Dean make their way to the crime scene to investigate. There, they pretend to be US marshalls. Dean walks past two FBI agents that are also sweeping through the scene and cheekily greets them, saying “hello, Agent Mulder… hello, Agent Scully.”
9 American Dad
In the Season three episode “Office Spaceman,” local dailies fill their pages with stories about Roger the Alien. A worried Stan tells Roger to avoid being seen in the future, as the CIA might come for him. It turns out that Roger has been selling his own photos to the press so as to get some extra cash.
Roger is soon recruited to the CIA Task Force as an alien hunter at the CIA. He creates a fake backstory about his sister being kidnapped while he was hunting aliens. Stan is quick to point out that Roger stole his backstory from Fox Mulder on The X-Files.
8 The Simpsons
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny voice their X-Files characters Scully and Mulder in the season six episode “The Springfield Files.” In the episode, Homer drinks Red Tick beer, and a breathalyzer test concludes that he is as drunk as Boris Yeltsin.
On his way home, he spots an alien in the woods, but no one in his family—except for Bart—believes him because he is drunk. He also reports the incident to the police, but they dismiss him, too. Later, Scully and Mulder show up in Springfield to investigate the alien sighting.
7 Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan also worked on The X-Files, so this isn’t much of a surprise. A total of 12 actors who appeared in X-Files also appeared in Breaking Bad, including the star Bryan Cranston.
The fourth episode of the first season is titled “Cancer Man.” This is a reference to one of the main villains in X-Files, who was known as the Cancer Man or The Cigarette Smoking Man. In the pilot, Walt shows off Chemistry instruments that he stole from the school lab. He states that one of them is called an Erlenmeyer flask. The season one finale of X-Files is titled “The Erlenmeyer Flask.”
6 Family Guy
In Family Guy’s season two episode “Wasted Talent,” Lois looks for a talented piano player who she can enroll in a competition in order to shame her rival instructor, Alexis.
Peter drinks Pawtucket Patriot Ale, and, in a drunken stupor, he tries to prove to Lois that he is the best piano player in the world. He goes on to play the X-Files theme song, impressing Lois. However, when he finally gets to the competition, he is unable to even see the piano due to his vision being impaired.
5 Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy suspects that a wild school bully named Xander is being possessed by some sort of supernatural phenomena in the season one episode “The Pack.” Giles thinks Buffy is overanalyzing things and argues that Xander’s behavior is being influenced by teenage male testosterone.
Angry, Buffy lashes out at Giles, claiming she is trying to “Scully” her. This is a reference to Agent Scully who would at times be doubtful that something superstitious was happening. When Xander eats the school pig, which also serves as a mascot, Giles is forced to accept that something is indeed wrong.
4 The Big Bang Theory
Howard is eager to land a gig with the Department Of Defense in the Big Bang Theory season four episode “The Apology Insufficiency.” Before he is hired, the FBI needs to do a background check on him. Special Agent Page thus comes to the apartment to interview Howard’s friends and get more information about him.
Agent Page later goes to Leonard’s lab. When he sees her, he says: “so, when Howard said the FBI would be contacting me, I was expecting Mulder. Glad to see I got Scully.”
In the first season of the spin-off series Angel, Detective Kate Lockley gets called out by a colleague for only being interested in cases that involve supernatural elements.
The detective labels Kate a “Scully.” Instead of getting angry, Detective Lockley is actually happy that someone recognizes her interest in supernatural beings. She argues that she is not a Scully simply because she is a woman. She states that she is more of a “Mulder” because Scully is normally skeptical, while Mulder tends to believe.
There is a reference to the X-Files in the pilot episode of the series Bones where FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth and Dr. Temperance Brennan investigate the murder of a female tennis player. “We’re Scully and Mulder,” Booth tells Brennan. However, Brenan has no idea what Booth is talking about.
There is another reference in the season eleven episode “The Monster in the Closet.” A cassette tape labeled “Home” is found at a crime scene. This also happened in the season four episode of X-Files titled “Home.”
Castle‘s season three has a few references to X-Files. During an argument with Beckett in “He’s Dead, She’s Dead,” Castle says, “oh, so you don’t believe in fate, but your ‘gut’ has magical properties. That’s cool, Scully.”
In “Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind,” Castle tells Beckett, “I’m not asking you to dye your hair red and call me Mulder.” He whistles the theme song of X-Files, too. A security guard also uses one of Mulder’s signature flashlights in the opening scene. There is yet another reference, as Castle refers to another character as the “Cigarette Smoking Man.”
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