Robert Patrick & Gillian Anderson

by Jean Cummings

Who could this be with Scully? Well, it’s FBI guy John Doggett, played by movie star Robert Patrick. The more important question is does his character offer a future for everyone’s favourite show of the unexplained, or will he just be seen as a replacement for Mulder?

Excerpts from Cult Times #65

Earlier this year actor Robert Patrick received what could be called good news and bad news. The good news was that he’d been cast as John Doggett, the new FBI agent on TV hit The X-Files. The bad news? He’d been thrust into the role created to step in for the missing Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). Certainly, though it is rewarding for any actor to get a full-time television role, joining the cast of The X-Files in its eighth season comes with more than its share of issues.

In essence, Patrick faces the challenge of becoming a part of the show without the intent of making fans forget Duchovny, and yet hoping the fans accept him as Anderson’s new counterpart. Patrick, of course, is a veteran actor, having appeared in Die Hard 2: Die Harder, and even more famously as the T-1000, a shape-shifting cyborg sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Married and the father of two children, Patrick acknowledges that with a family to support, he keeps too busy most of the time to watch a lot of television. “I have watched The X-Files for the seasons prior to this,” he says when asked. “It’s been really spotty but I always enjoyed it every time I’ve watched it. I’m not a hardcore fan of anything or any genre,” he adds, “but when I saw the show I was always amazed at what I watched.

"I really enjoy the performances of David and Gillian. I think they’re marvellous, the way they handle their dialogue and their relationship. I think the situations on the show are great, and I was always intrigued by that. There are always questions I have after each episode that I’ve watched. But I was always fascinated by it. Now I just feel like I’m on this big movie that’s going to last for like nine or ten months.”

Because it was early into developing the character when we spoke, Patrick has a limited conceptual idea of John Doggett the person. “He’s really well-rounded, I think,” he says. “The thing that really appealed to me is that this guy believes in his country. I think he has a code. I think it’s well-defined for him. He’s a real hard-working guy. He’s more street smart.

“I kind of describe him a little bit more blue collarish,” he adds. “He’s known at the FBI for having a really strong work ethic and those things appeal to me. I think he’s a salt of the earth guy. He’s very confident and I think the character has a strong breastplate, if you know what I mean. I think he’s confident enough within himself that he can figure out what’s right and what’s wrong, and make a move based on that. So he’s self-assured in that way.

“I don’t know if he’s funny,” he continues. “I think he’s got a sense of humour, yeah. I think he can be a bit of a smart ass, but I think that’s just a little bit of the New York ex-cop attitude coming through...”

• This is just an excerpt. Get Cult Times #65 for the full feature, plus William B Davis on the Cigarette Smoking Man

The X-Files UK transmission: Season 7 currently BBC2, Sundays 2100
Season 8 on Sky One from Sunday 18th February, also 2100.
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Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction.