Who's Who in 'The X-Files' — From Mulder and Scully to the Lone Gunmen, a directory of characters from the sci-fi hit

The good news: The truth is out there. The bad news: It will probably stay there.

At least some of it, anyway. So far, in their ”mythology” episodes — those conspiracy-packed shows that form the spine of the series — the producers have created a universe so paranoid and complex it would make Oliver Stone’s head spin: alien corpses, mutant DNA, green toxic blood, devious vaccines, and, scariest of all, laser dentistry.

Just don’t hold your breath for a tidy resolution. As creator Chris Carter says, ”I would like to think that because we can never truly know all the answers in life, that the show might follow that same route.”

But who knows? Like everything else associated with The X-Files, nothing is certain. ”I liken it to Lewis and Clark,” he says. ”I know the direction I’m headed, but I don’t know quite what I’ll find on the way.”

Whatever he discovers — and whether you are an X-Files tyro or junkie — you’ll need this very basic, twist-and-turn-filled map of the mythology to date.

SAMANTHA MULDER: If Mulder is this story’s crusader, his sister Samantha is the holy grail. The G-man’s unrelenting passion for The Truth and little green men stems from one incident: the abduction of his sibling, when he was 12 and she was 8, by aliens. (At least that’s how the adult Fox remembered it during hypnotherapy.) Which brings us to …

THE ALIENS: In Carter’s universe, they come in all shapes and sizes: gender-bending sexaholics, light-warping predators, big-headed E.T. types, oily irradiating body-jumpers, and, soon, greasy parasitic worms. (Unless, of course, they aren’t aliens at all — but let’s not open that can of worms.)

The nature of their visits is unclear, but benefiting humanity probably isn’t high on their list. And in that respect, extraterrestrials aren’t all that different from X-Files humans. There are the occasional nice guys, but mostly the aliens are up to no good — as in the green-blooded shape-shifters, seemingly in cahoots with some very naughty men. Namely …

THE SYNDICATE: This bunch of old white guys (The Syndicate’s not big on affirmative action) apparently controls the world from their smoky, badly lit HQ on West 46th Street in New York City. The cast of characters includes a Marlon Brando wannabe known as the Fat Man and a dapper fellow called the Well-Manicured Man, who described his job thusly to Scully: ”We predict the future, and the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” These men have links to the government — especially the CIA and the military — as well as a web of equally nefarious cohorts around the globe. They’ve been involved in all manner of malevolence since World War II, including Nazi-like testing on human subjects.

But their grandest passion is aliens, whom they have known about — or so they say — since a UFO crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 1953. The Syndicate appears to have joined forces with the shape-shifters (indeed, they employ one as a terminator, known simply as the Bounty Hunter) and has made contact with — or, at the very least, recovered DNA from — your garden-variety bug-eyed alien. Whether The Syndicate is controlling the aliens, or vice versa, remains to be seen. (And what is the Well-Manicured Man’s interest in occasionally enlightening Mulder and Scully?) But the biggest mystery here is why these guys haven’t all died from secondhand smoke.

Episode Recaps

The X-Files
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