In an office in the secret heart of the FBI, a poster saying I want to believe hangs on the wall. The owner of the office is an agent who has chosen to challenge the impossible to make sense of the inexplicable that rules the world. His investigating partner, however, is ready to discredit him, confident that the only truth lies in science.

Meet Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the protagonists of the worldwide phenomenon The X-Files.

The right moment

Gillian Anderson in X-Files (1993)

Gillian Anderson in X-Files (1993)

It was 1993 when The X-Files made space on the television. FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) files and takes note of all the evidence related to the supernatural and the possible existence of aliens. He is a dreamer, convinced that there is something more beyond our world. He is convinced that the aliens abducted his sister when they were children, and is determined to find out what happened to her.

His archive is filled with bizarre statements, strange photographs, and inexplicable phenomena. His determination to find the impossible is great, but Mulder is kept grounded by his partner, Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

Scully is a scientist, a doctor who only trusts science-backed facts. She knows everything can be explained, and responds to natural law. Firm in these beliefs, she will accompany Mulder in his supernatural cases, which force her to surrender in the face of the inexplicable. Perhaps aliens exist, and extraterrestrial bodies travel in space determined to colonize the Earth.

As explained in the Italian manual “La storia delle serie tv da Magnum P.I. all’altro ieri“, published by Nicola Pesce Edizioni, the creator of this series, Chris Carter, had the right idea at the right time. In a time of profound change for the world, Mulder and Scully’s bizarre and supernatural investigations have sparked a new light of interest in the public.

As computers become part of everyday life and certainties collapse in every sector, Carter breaks through the collective imagination and forces viewers to doubt. What is hiding in the space around us? Are we alone on Earth? Questions that remain unanswered …

The Consortium

As the episodes unfold, Scully and Mulder have to deal with alien abductions, secret experiments, strange creatures, and deadly viruses. But their real antagonists are the members of the Consortium. It is an organization to keep alien life secret and facilitate the occupation of the Earth by the Colonists.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in X-Files (1993)

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in X-Files (1993) © IMDB

Some of the prominent members of this organization immediately show themselves to be shrewd, enigmatic, and elusive, real adversaries. Among them we find the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), known for the habit of always having a Morley cigarette and a lighter with the words Trust no one in his hands.

Cigarette Smoking Man is one of the most ambiguous characters, in contrast to another antagonist: Well-Manicured Man (John Neville). He is a member of the Consortium too, and although tasked with opposing FBI agents, he often offers Scully and Mulder clues and information.

To build this organization, the creators of The X-Files have chosen to reveal its members, but at one time surround them with a veil of mystery. They are present, they act, yet their name is not known and their intentions are often not understood. They agree in wanting to give the land to the Colonists, yet they never miss an opportunity to challenge each other or get in the way.

In this, the series has perfectly captured one of the most hidden parts of the human being. We often find a common point; after efforts and discussions, we can converge on a single goal. However, we always hide in the soul that bit of hostility that never allows us to collaborate and pushes our unconscious to sabotage others.


Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in X-Files (1993)

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in X-Files (1993)

If there is one thing in this show that fascinates but terrifies, it is Purity. Also called Black Oil and Black Cancer, it is an alien virus, part of the vital essence of the Colonists.

This virus can travel inside the victim, under the skin. It enters through the eyes or ears like a black, sticky substance. It can kill other humans by emitting radiation while protecting the infected person from harm.

Together with the colonizing aliens, the Consortium is responsible for the spread of the virus. The organization finds a way to propagate it by using bees, while also a vaccine to protect members themselves.

With this deadly virus, The X-Files makes aliens even more real, an evil that can lurk under the skin and reproduce inside the body, remotely reminiscent of the terror unleashed on audiences by the film Alien. Is the possibility of an alien disease so far removed from reality? Perhaps the next meteorite to fall to Earth will hide the deadliest virus humankind has ever known…

The continuous search for the truth

The X-Files drops the curtain in 2002, after 9 seasons, but to the delight of its fans, it returns in 2016 with the tenth season, and then it ends in 2018 with the eleventh season.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in X-Files (1993)

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in X-Files (1993)

All this time Scully and Mulder have been going through one of the most important searches for truth ever. Research that in the real world remains cloaked in mystery: do aliens exist? We have all wondered at least once in our life, observing the infinite stars of the night sky. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Mulder and Scully have had their answers, one day maybe we’ll have ours too. Until then, The X-Files remains one of the best cult on the television scene, able to cheer the curiosity of many and make us study the sky with a more open eye.

So the search for truth is over, yet it continues, which is why we welcome The X-Files in the Old But Gold column. How it is written on the poster in the office of Fox Agent Mulder, I want to believe, and what about you?