Season 1

1x05 Shadows

Air date: 10-22-93
Writers: Glen Morgan and James Wong
Director: Michael Katleman
Editor: Heather MacDougall
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Poltergeist

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

At the offices of HTG Industrial Technologies in Philadelphia, PA, a woman is crying while packing up items in the office of a man named Howard Graves. Photos along the wall indicate that Mr. Graves had associations with important people. Sitting on a desk is a clear desk plaque with a quote from Ben Franklin; "One To-day is worth Two To-morrows." The woman takes down a photo with Mr. Graves and President Clinton. Another woman, Jane, enters the room and speaks to the distressed woman, whose name is Lauren. Jane asks if Lauren is alright and the subject turns to the fact that Mr. Graves killed himself. Jane hands Lauren her paycheck and suggests to go home. As Lauren is about to leave, the plaque on the desk mysteriously moves. Lauren walks over and picks up the plaque, embraces it and leaves the room.

Later that evening, Lauren is at a bank ATM and depositing her check when two men grab her. She pleads with them to let her go and not rob her, and she's dragged away, screaming.

Two hours later, two college teens are wandering in an alley and decide to climb up a fire escape 'to crash'. As the girl tries to pull down the ladder, one of the men that attacked Lauren falls onto a garbage container, dead. The other man drops from the fire escape ladder, dead with a ghastly expression. The teens run screaming.

Mulder and Scully are being escorted along by a man at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Mulder and Scully are introduced to a woman and a man. The man explains that he and his partner were assured full co-operation from Agents Mulder and Scully by section chief Blevins. Neither will reveal where they are from. A Morgue doctor asks if either of them have ever analyzed a situation as he hands them a medical chart. The bodies are uncovered and Scully takes a look. One of the bodies twitches and the doctor explains that it's abnormal postmortem muscle reflex. He goes on to explain that both bodies are still responding to high levels of electrostatic charge, though there are no signs of any external burns. When Mulder asks them about time of death, he's given no answer. The deaths occurred over six hours ago yet neither of the bodies have seen a drop in body temperature, which remain at 98.3 degrees Fahrenheit. When Mulder asks where the bodies were found, again, he's given no answer and becomes frustrated.

After a great deal of reluctance, the unknown agents answer that the bodies traveled by air. The doctor then explains that the larynx, esophagus and hyoid bone were crushed with no evidence of tissue damage; their throats were crushed from the inside. Mulder and Scully ask the unknown agents why they have been consulted. The agents ask if they have ever seen anything like this while working on the X-Files. Mulder answers no and they are allowed to be let go. While they depart, Scully confronts Mulder, that he lied to these agents; he had seen these conditions before. Mulder rationalizes that he participated in a campaign of misinformation. He doesn't believe it matters who they are. He explains he's seen this in certain cases -- residual electrostatic charge, internal mutilation, Mulder believes this involves Psychokinetic manipulation; that that these agents don't know what they are dealing with. While they enter the elevator, Scully wonders how they can further investigate the case, when Mulder reveals that he lifted two prints from the bodies onto the lenses of his glasses.

The next morning Lauren arrives at her office. She glances at a paper while Mr. Dorlund's secretary walks up to her in a condescending manner. Lauren asks to have a moment with Mr. Dorlund and the secretary isn't cooperative. Suddenly, the secretaries coffee cup tips over unexpectedly on the desk and spills, as if something intentionally tipped it. While cleaning up, Mr. Dorlund steps out and asks if everything is alright. Lauren asks to speak with him and he allows her to do so. Lauren informs him that she's giving her two-week notice. Mr. Dorlund tries to comfort her yet doesn't initially come across as very sympathetic, then softens and asks her to stay. His tone changes and he comes across as intimidating and tells her that he won't let her leave. Suddenly the bracelet on his wrist tightens. He gasps and grunts as he tears it off. Lauren gets up and says she can't stay anymore. As she exits, Mr. Dorlund informs her that she has her two weeks.

Mulder has pulled the print from the FBI database and one of the men was revealed to be Mohammed Amrahlabi, a member of a extremist group named the Isfahan. They were working out of Philadelphia; Mulder determines that is where the origin of the incident took place. Mulder and Scully are guided by a police officer in Philadelphia to the spot where the men were found. While walking Mulder discovers the ATM machine. The next day Mulder and Scully check out the ATM video surveillance record. While watching the tape, they find the image of Lauren making her deposit and being attacked by the men. Her name on record is Lauren Kyte, who lives at 858 Franklin, Bensalem. While rewinding the video, Mulder points to a brief image -- a blur towards the left of her attackers. The resolution is too poor and Mulder determines that they must speak to Lauren.

Lauren is preparing to pack when Mulder and Scully arrive to question her. Standing at her fireplace she is looking fondly at the plaque, then becomes unnerved. The doorbell rings and she answers it; Mulder and Scully enter under Lauren's reservations, and Scully shows her the police photos of the two dead terrorists. Lauren tells Scully no, but Scully presses as she shows her the surveillance photo. Then Lauren explains to them what happened: her robbery, as well as her reluctance to file a report. Mulder tells her that the men were found dead which shocks Lauren. Scully shows her the other photo of the specter image. Lauren denies it, but there is clear recognition that she tries to hide. Mulder gives her a card before they leave.

As they exit and reach the car, both Scully and Mulder doubt that a woman Lauren's size could defend herself, much less crush the necks of those men. Both observe that she knew who the person was, that she is packing and running, frightened, but neither know why. As the engine is started, the brake releases on its own, the gear shifts and the car slams into reverse from something unknown. The car crashes into another oncoming car a half a block away. Lauren witnesses it from her window and closes the blinds, frightened.

While at the body shop, Mulder is checking the side of the car with the headlights on. Scully walks up after being checked on by the paramedics. Scully assumes that the car was tampered with while Mulder informs her the mechanic told him it was in full proper working order. Mulder also informs her that the lights are not on but that they've been super-heated from massive levels of an electrostatic charge, Mulder points out that Lauren was present at both incidents. He suggests that she might have psychokinetic powers and might be unaware of it. Scully doubts it, as Mulder points out it is either that or a Poltergeist, as Scully mocks the suggestion with an impudent-sounding, 'they're here'. Scully points out that the company where Lauren works is a manufacturer of parts for the Defense Department. The mystery isn't anything other than who her accomplice is; just then the lights on the car go out, as Mulder glances at her questioningly.

Lauren goes to the HTG offices, while Mulder and Scully watch her. Scully points out Lauren is clean, no arrests - not even a traffic ticket. Lauren defensive, as a painter is about paint over the sign of Mr. Graves' with the name 'Tom Braidwood', she chases the man away. Mulder observes that she seems unusually upset over a mere parking space.

At the office, the agents check the records and find the information about Howard Graves' recent suicide, the details reveal he slit his wrists in a bathtub. Mulder and Scully follow Lauren to the grave site of Mr. Graves. As she leaves, the agents walk to the grave site and observe another grave marker for a Sarah Graves. The agents ask a grounds keeper where the main office can be found. They ask the grounds keeper if there is a connection between the two people. The grounds man explains that Sarah was Mr. Graves three-year-old daughter who drowned. Mr. Graves' wife, divorced him and died a year later. Mulder points out that Sarah would be Lauren's age if she was still alive.

Mulder develops proof sheet photos in a lab, while Scully writes her field report, pointing out that Lauren is estranged from her family. She also points out that there was a strong relationship between Lauren and Mr. Graves. She questions if her relationship with her former boss had to do with Mr. Graves' suicide, as well as the connection with the death of her two attackers. Scully is convinced the answer lies in finding Lauren's accomplice. Mulder sees a ghostly image of a man in the window of Lauren's house. With the aid of computer enhancement, it is seen to be Mr. Graves. Scully is surprised, but Mulder points out that Howard Graves is not necessarily alive.

That evening, there's a disturbance in at Lauren's house while she sleeps. She's awakened to sounds. She takes a baseball bat, enters the bathroom, hearing voices and finds the floor flooded it filled with water. There's a pleading voice as Lauren turns on the light, opens the curtain, the tub fills with blood as Lauren realizes that Howard was murdered.

At the National Bureau of Medical Examiners, Scully speculates that Mr. Graves staged his own death, that Mr. Graves and Lauren are involved with some illegal deal at his company. Mulder doubts her suspicions, but he agrees that the C.I.A. might have been interested in something. They speak to Ellen Bledsoe, M.E. who assures them that Howard Graves was very much dead. Scully observes that there is some blood work missing from the examination, to which Mrs. Bledsoe explains it's only done if there's suspicion of homicide. Scully observes that Lauren Kite made the identification of the body, which adds to her suspicions. Mulder points out that because Graves had been cremated, there's no way to I.D. the body through a DNA sample. Scully points out his organs were donated.

The agents make their way to the University Of Pennsylvania Hospital Tissue Bank. His tissues were donated to five people and a doctor explains that they have a DNA sample from the hospital records. In a few hours the doctor can confirm the identity of the donor.

At a farewell office party, Lauren takes her box of supplies and walks into Mr. Graves' former office where Mr. Dorlund confronts her. He tells her that he knows that Howard told her something she should not have known. He warns that if it ever gets out, he'll go straight to her. She stands up to him and tells him she knows that Dorlund had Graves killed. He denies it and then tries to grab at her as she leaves the office. She gets to a phone in the main office area where she calls Agent Mulder. She asks him to come to her house as soon as possible. Dorlund watches her as she leaves. Scully reveals that the tests confirm that Mr. Graves is very much dead.

As Lauren is packing at her home, a car with two people drive up--a woman and a man. They exit the car and head to Lauren's door. They knock and Lauren answers, thinking it's the agents. The deadbolt locks again before she can open the door and she can't budge it. Just then, a chair flies across the room. She runs out of the way in time as the chair is jammed up against the door to block it. The door is busted open by the two intruders and they attack her. The man orders the woman to 'run the bath' as he pulls out a switchblade. Suddenly all of the house lights burst as the house goes dark. The man lunges at Lauren as a table flies across the room and pins the man legs against a wall. Lauren screams as a shapeless form lunges at the woman. The woman is slammed against the door and she is strangled, her throat crushed. The man breaks free and makes a run for it into another room. Something not seen slams the man to the floor. The man stands up and he is punched in the jaw until he bleeds.

Outside at the curb, Mulder and Scully arrive at Lauren's house. Screaming is heard from inside, Mulder runs into the house, finds the dead woman at the door and sees the man floating, gasping as his throat is crushed, Mulder looks dumbfounded as the man is released, just as Scully arrives into the room. Lauren is crying in a corner. Mulder looks at her with disbelief.

They question her at the police station, trying to persuade her to talk. Mulder shows her the photo of Howard Graves at the window of her home. She's clearly frightened, and won't speak. Just then, the government agents who had approached Mulder and Scully at the morgue, barge in and request to speak with them in private. Mulder and Scully are informed that they are impeding an investigation. At first these government agents won't reveal anything. Then as Mulder and Scully are about to leave, equally reticent, the agents explain that HTG Industrial Technologies sold restricted parts to the terrorism group, the Isfahan. Serial numbers were recovered from the wreckage of a bombing of a navy transport van. The agents don't know if Lauren has any connection to the matter and she will have to be released, if she tells them nothing. The black male agent warns that he 'could make her talk', and Mulder warns him to not get rough with her.

Hours later, the government agents have had no luck extracting any information from her and Mulder and Scully enter. Lauren won't talk to them either and Mulder offers to release her. Despondent, Lauren reveals she can't go back to the house and Mulder knows the reason: Howard Graves is watching over her. She suddenly trusts him then, realizing he has far more insight about the situation then she thought and then answers questions, while on tape.

She reveals the company was in trouble: government defense contracts were being canceled when Dorlund came to Howard with the group, the Isfahan. The terrorist group secretly paid outrageous prices for parts and then one day, Howard found out the Isfahan claimed responsibility for killing soldiers in Florida. She believed that was why Mr. Graves killed himself, until she found out otherwise. Howard was about to put a stop to the deal with the Isfahan. She believes if she leaves, her former boss can move on, Scully persuades her that she must assist them and that Mr. Graves will never be able to rest until unfinished business is taken care of. Lauren agrees as she is let go.

Mulder is amazed by Scully's behavior, knowing that she doesn't believe in ghosts or psycho kinesis: Scully points out that she believes Lauren believes and that the priority is to stop Dorlund. Mulder is disgusted, but Scully also points out they have an opportunity to solve a case that's tangible instead of chasing after shadows. FBI agents are brought in for a sting operation that Scully helps lead: they have a warrant looking for and evidence and records of restricted parts illegally being sold. If they are unable to find any connection of the company to the Isfahan, Dorlund could go free. Lauren has to assist in guiding them to where the evidence might be hidden.

The FBI team enters the HTG offices and start their search, Mr. Dorlund walks out from his office, dazed as Mulder, Scully and Lauren enter it. Hours later, they have found nothing and Mulder observes that Dorlund hasn't even broken a sweat. Lauren is still searching in Dorlund's office as Mulder, consoling, tells her it's over and they have to go. She refuses to accept that and she keeps searching. Dorlund enters, closes the door, and confronts her as she is breaking items while searching. Dorlund curses at her and he lunges towards her with a sharp letter opener. Suddenly he starts to be strangled and the lights in the office explode. Lauren screams to Howard's spirit that Dorlund is needed alive. Scully, believing it to be gunshots, runs towards the office. Desk drawers open and papers fly out in a whirlwind; the letter opener levitates and points to Dorlund, threatening to impale him before changing direction. It flies into fabric wall paper that has been recently placed and rips it open. The whirlwind disappears just as Scully enters to room, and in shock, the room has been uprooted. Mulder walks to the wall; imbedded in the wall is a blue floppy diskette.

One evening, while Lauren is loading a moving truck, Scully and Mulder inform her that the D.A. is going after Dorlund with everything they have, including Howard Graves' murder. Lauren reveals she'll be back to testify in the trial. Mulder asks her where she is going and she replies 'away from here' as she thanks them before driving off. Mulder wryly comments that she's in a rush to leave. Mulder then asks if Scully believes in a afterlife, Scully seems too concerned with living to worry about it. As they drive off, Mulder asks if she's ever seen the Liberty Bell and comments that for the hundred times he's been in Philadelphia, he's never seen it. Reflective, he suggests they go.

Meanwhile, Lauren has set up a new job at the Monroe Mutual Insurance Co. in Omaha, Nebraska. She is scolded for presenting a report twenty-five minutes late. Suddenly, an earthquake seems to transpire. Her supervisor complains that they must find a new building, tired of the fact that every time truck passes by, the foundation shakes. Lauren is relived as she walks to her desk and reads the plaque; "One to-day is worth two to-morrows".

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

  • There seems to be little rhyme or reason as to why the unidentified CIA agents would bring in Mulder and Scully, only to be so uncooperative as to jeopardize an operatation that has been in the works for over a year. It seems to be an example of the level of bureaucracy that mires agencies from working together.
  • It's a little unclear when Mulder and Scully talk with the doctor at the University of Philadelphia Tissue Bank, why the process to identify Mr. Graves' DNA sample seems so involved. Wouldn't DNA data be provided from hospital records that would confirm Mr. Graves bonafides before his cremation? More to the point, wouldn't the police's assumption that it was a suicide, considering the kind of sensitive work that Mr. Graves was involved with, be seen as an example of sloppy police work?
  • Tom Braidwood, who would be soon known to the world as Frohike, made his first appearance as an actor on The X-Files, as the parking attendant who was to paint over the parking sign of 'Howard Graves' with his very own name!
  • The headstone of Howard Graves gives his middle name as Patrick, whereas the newspaper report claims it is Thomas. His headstone also claims that he died on 5 October, although Lauren Kyte was mugged at the ATM on 22 September. Another script continuity error. Robin England / Matt Allair
  • Above the report on Graves's suicide in the paper is a story about a killer who extracts his victims' livers, a reference to Eugene Victor Tooms. Robin England

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

Apparently Morgan and Wong had a fondness for ghost stories and the Fox executives had been pressing for more episodes where Mulder and Scully investigate the Paranormal and help people. While Shadows isn't one of the best Morgan / Wong scripts, it is neither the worst. It suffers from feeling somewhat general in a few areas, yet the asset of Shadows is that it manages to tackle the subject in a plausible manner, while avoiding the spectacle of the Spielberg / Tobe Hopper 1982 Horror hit Poltergeist. Another point is that some fans have had trouble feeling any emotional investment in Lauren Kyte's plight.

In the original script, Mulder reveals to Scully what he would like written on his tombstone; "No regrets." Some of the visual effects that were used, for the invisible spirit of Mr. Graves during the intruders attack, were probably the same effects used during post for Fallen Angel. For the episode's dramatic conclusion, a pneumatic desk was created that moved as though it was being rocked by a poltergeist. And four high-powered industrial Ritter fans were used, each of which produced winds in excess of 100mph, creating a storm of paper. Matt Allair / Robin England

As recounted by producer J.P Finn and location manager Todd Pittson, there was a colorful incident that occurred while filming in a house in East Vancouver that was being used for Lauren's house. Usually when a production shoots on location, there are agreed-upon limits and deadlines when a production must stop shooting for a day. There was a heated debate between Pittson and Finn around 10:30 as the 11 P.M. curfew was drawing near. Due to the fact that there was no second unit during the show's infancy, and that everything had to be shot as per schedule, Finn vetoed Pittson's objections. At about 11:50, the blocking and lighting were finished, for the scene where the Graves poltergeist attacks the intruders. The lighting and Ritter wind machine were turned on. After a first take, they were interrupted when a man appeared on his porch, screaming obscenities at the crew, stark naked. The crew continued and finished at about 12:30. The following morning a letter of apology was hand-delivered to each resident on the block, with a notification that The X-Files was donating $500 dollars to their neighborhood block watch program.

Actor Barry Primus, who plays Robert Dorlund, has not only had a varied career as an actor, but he's additionally been a writer, director, producer and casting director. He's especially known for playing Sharon Gless's police boyfriend who develops a drug problem, Sgt. Dory McKennas on Cagney & Lacey. Mr. Primus has taught acting and directing classes at the American Film Institute, The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, the UCLA campus and at the Workshop in Maine. As of April 2005, for a number of years he has taught acting classes at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His recent feature work includes the recently completed Mustang Sally (2006), as well as Life As A House, and the television movie James Dean. Past feature work includes Night and the City, Guilty By Suspicion, Down and Out In Beverly Hills, Absence Of Malice, The Rose, and Scorsese's New York, New York. His directing work includes television episodes of V.I.P. and in addition Mr. Primus was a casting director for 1981's On Golden Pond. His other television appearances include Arli$$, Providence, The Practice, LA Law, Miami Vice, T.J. Hooker, Lou Grant as well as The Streets Of San Francisco and Medical Center in the seventies.

Actor Lisa Waltz, who plays Lauren Kyte, originally hails from Limerick, Pennsylvania. Her feature work includes Starry Night, The Odd Couple II, Love Can Build A Bridge, a television biography on Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Pet Cemetary II and Brighton Beach Memoirs. Her television work has been extensive and includes CSI, Nip/Tuck, Everwood, Boomtown, Oliver Beene, The Agency, Frasier, Any Day Now, Providence, the 90's Fantasy Island, Touched By An Angel, Mad About You, ER, a regular reoccurring role on My So-Called Life, Matlock, Northern Exposure, Wiseguy and Night Court.

Episode synopsis and notes: Matt Allair
Additional production notes: Robin J. England
Page Editor: XScribe

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