The brains behind Lost, Sex and the City, The X-Files, Empire, Pushing Daisies, and dozens of other beloved shows singled out the line, scene, twist, or episode that’s closest to their heart.
7. Chris Carter, The X-Files
The fourth season of The X-Files was maybe the most intense and difficult season of the show. There was a feature film in the works, a second TV show (Millennium), and right about Christmastime the usual desperation to go somewhere to relax. Typically that meant writing without the phones ringing, and this holiday was no different. My wife and I had gone to Hawaii, where the goal was wake early to rewrite Episode 14, plot the movie with Frank Spotnitz in the afternoon and try to enjoy ourselves otherwise. The best laid plans. My wife got sick, the weather was marginal, and the rewrite proved to be harder than anticipated — a delicate plot line involving Gillian Anderson’s character and her cancer.
Flash forward to Christmas a year later. The movie had been shot and was in post, Episode 14 was a fading memory, and the usual desperation to get to someplace warm, which was Costa Rica. We were bobbing in the pool when a teenage girl vacationing with her parents said she recognized me, which was surprising enough, and then recited Scully’s long opening monologue from Episode 14.
In the ’90s, before internet feedback was ubiquitous and instantaneous, we were lucky to read early chatroom conversations and find time to open actual mail. We watched the show in our homes like everyone else, at a curious remove from the millions of viewers we were told were watching with us. To hear these words spoken by heart was the most unexpected gift. The monologue may not be the best thing I’ve ever written, but it remains among the most salient memories over the 202 episodes.