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Trust No 1

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"Trust No 1"
The X-Files episode
Episode no. Season 9
Episode 6
Directed by Tony Wharmby
Written by Chris Carter
Frank Spotnitz
Production code 9ABX08
Original air date January 6, 2002
Running time 44 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Lord of the Flies"
Next →
"John Doe"
List of The X-Files episodes

"Trust No 1" is the sixth episode of the ninth season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on January 6, 2002. The episode was written by series creator Chris Carter and executive producer Frank Spotnitz, and directed by Tony Wharmby. "Trust No 1" helps to explore the series' overarching mythology. The episode received a Nielsen household rating of 5.1 and was viewed by 8.4 million viewers; it garnered mixed to negative reviews from television critics, with many feeling that it portrayed the series' characters in a way that was unfaithful to the show's history.

The show centers on FBI special agents who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files; this season focuses on the investigations of John Doggett (Robert Patrick), Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). In this episode, Scully is hopeful about reuniting with her former partner, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) when a complete stranger offers new information about what drove him into hiding. Yet her trust in the stranger may place Mulder in even more danger, for the man turns out to be a super soldier.

"Trust No 1" features former leading star Duchovny via the use of previously filmed footage. It was written in response to fans who felt that, during season eight, Mulder's abduction was not dealt with until his miraculous return in "This is Not Happening"/"Deadalive". Actor Terry O'Quinn, who appears in this episode as the Shadow Man, had appeared as different characters in the second season episode "Aubrey" and the 1998 feature film and appeared as Peter Watts in The X-Files sister show Millennium. The tagline for the episode is "They're Watching."


Scully sees an infant's mother, Patti, arguing with her husband, who then drives off. Scully lets Patti stay with her. Meanwhile, Doggett and Reyes stake out the location where Doggett traced a tipster's call to his cell phone. They see Patti's husband walk inside the apparently abandoned building. Inside, the Shadow Man (Terry O'Quinn) monitors Scully through surveillance. The next morning, Patti turns off the baby monitor and removes William from his crib. Scully confronts Patti with her gun; Patti sets William down. Just then, Patti's husband attempts to pick Scully's lock, but is stopped by Doggett and Reyes. The husband reveals to Scully that he works for the NSA and has no name; Patti says their daughter is just like William, and they only want to keep both children safe.

Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is approached by a couple whose infant apparently shows the same strange abilities as William. The father has discovered that their infant was part of the government's “Super Soldier” project and begs her to call Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) out of hiding in order to give him this information. John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) confirm that the couple's story matches with what is known about the Super Soldiers. Initially, Doggett encourages Scully to contact Mulder. Scully, fearful for Mulder's safety, falsely claims not to know his whereabouts. All the while, she absently touches a printout of an email that Mulder sent her earlier.

The Shadow Man calls Scully and explains that he has been watching her for quite some time, and tells her that she has one day to contact Mulder or else he will disappear with a list of the Super Soldiers' identities. Scully finally gives in and contacts Mulder; she tells Doggett that they had worked out a system that, if Mulder was to return, he would be arriving by train. Reyes, Doggett, and the NSA agent cover Scully at the train station. However, as the train pulls up, the Shadow Man appears and guns down the agent before approaching Scully. Before the Shadow Man can kill her, Doggett appears and shoots him twice, sending him falling onto the train tracks where the train seemingly runs over him without stopping.

While Scully consoles Patti, Doggett reports that he cannot find the Shadow Man's body. Scully, fearful that he is a Super Soldier pursuing Mulder, chases after the train with Doggett and Reyes. They get a call saying that someone jumped off a train and into a rock quarry. Doggett and Reyes chase after someone they believe to be Mulder, while Scully goes deeper into the quarry. There, she is attacked by the Shadow Man. Suddenly, the Shadow Man is destroyed by the magnetite being mined from the quarry.[2]


Terry O'Quinn guest starred in the episode.

"Trust No 1" was written by series creator Chris Carter along with executive producer Frank Spotnitz; it was directed by Tony Wharmby.[3] The episode features former leading star David Duchovny via the use of previously shot footage. According to Matt Hurwitz and Chris Knowles in their book The Complete X-Files, the episode includes themes "about Orwellian surveillance."[4] "Trust No 1" was written in response to fans who felt that, during season eight, Mulder's abduction was not dealt with until his miraculous return in "This is Not Happening"/"DeadAlive". Despite this, series director Kim Manners was critical of this take on Mulder, noting, "The only thing I thought we didn't do right during seasons eight and nine was that a lot of the shows were about Mulder, and I thought it was a mistake to make a series about a man that wasn't standing in front of the camera."[4] The email addresses that Mulder and Scully use to communicate with each other were real addresses, created and maintained by Ten Thirteen Productions.[5] The tagline for the episode is "They're Watching", changed from the usual "The Truth is Out There".[6]

Actor Terry O'Quinn, who appears in this episode as the Shadow Man, had appeared as different characters in the second season episode "Aubrey" and the 1998 feature film.[7][8] He had also played a recurring role as Peter Watts on Millennium, the sister series to The X-Files, and appeared in the short-lived series Harsh Realm.[9][10] O'Quinn later earned the nickname "Mr. Ten Thirteen", due to his appearance in multiple shows and movies affiliated with Ten Thirteen Productions, the company that produced The X-Files.[10] His name is spelled Terrance Quinn in the opening credits.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

"Trust No 1" first premiered on the Fox network in the United States on January 6, 2002.[3] The episode earned a Nielsen household rating of 5.1, meaning that it was seen by 5.1% of the nation's estimated households and was viewed by 5.4 million households,[11][nb 1] and 8.4 million viewers.[12] It was the 55th most watched episode of television that aired during the week ending March 3.[11] The episode eventually aired in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on December 8, 2002.[3] The episode was later included on The X-Files Mythology, Volume 4 – Super Soldiers, a DVD collection that contains episodes involved with the alien super soldiers arc.[13]

The episode received mixed to negative reviews from television critics. Jessica Morgan from Television Without Pity gave the episode a B– grade.[14] John Keegan from Critical Myth gave the episode a mixed review and awarded it a 6 out of 10. He wrote, "Overall, this is not nearly as bad an episode as many people are making it out to be, but it’s not exactly a sterling piece of work, either. It feels like they were shooting for a 'Momento Mori' [sic], and wound up with a 'Zero Sum'. This episode is interesting in the information it provides, and not much else. But in my opinion, it’s better than 'Lord of the Flies'."[15]

Robert Shearman and Lars Pearson, in their book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen, rated the episode one star out of five. The two called the entry "an exercise in futility […] at best" and argued that, because Duchovny had left the series, the sense of excitement that he might have made an appearance in the episode was completely gone. Furthermore, Shearman and Pearson heavily criticized Mulder and Scully's characterization, calling Mulder a character the audience "can't recognize any more" and Scully a "gullible patsy".[16] Tom Kessenich, in his book Examinations, wrote a largely negative review of the episode. He derided the series for making it appear that Mulder abandoned the woman he loved and his own child. He noted, "Just because it walks, talks, and sometimes acts like The X-Files, doesn't make it The X-Files."[17]


  1. ^ At the time of airing, the estimated number of households was 105.5 million.[11] Thus, 5.1 percent of 105.5 million is 5.4 million households.


  1. ^ "Trust No 1". Fox Broadcasting Company. 6 January 2002. Archived from the original on 1 April 2002. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Trust No 1". BBC Cult. BBC. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c The X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season (booklet). Kim Manners, et al. Fox. 
  4. ^ a b Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 201
  5. ^ "Trust No 1 - Research Information". Fox Broadcasting Company. 6 January 2002. Archived from the original on 13 August 2002. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Tony Wharmby (Director); Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz (Writers) (6 January 2002). "Trust No 1". The X-Files. Season 9. Episode 6. Fox. 
  7. ^ Brew, Simon (17 July 2008). "Lost's John Locke in The X-Files". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Rob Bowman (Director); Sara B. Charno (Writer) (6 January 1995). "Aubrey". The X-Files. Season 2. Episode 12. Fox. 
  9. ^ Gibron, Bill (20 July 2004). "Millennium: Season 1: DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 60
  11. ^ a b c The Associated Press (8 January 2002). "Prime-Time Nielsen Ratings". Associated Press Archives. Retrieved 27 June 2012.  (subscription required)
  12. ^ Canton, Maj. "The X-Files – Series – Episode List – Season 9". TV Tango. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ Kim Manners et al. The X-Files Mythology, Volume 4 – Super Soldiers (DVD). Fox. 
  14. ^ Morgan, Jessica. "TrustNo1". Television Without Pity. NBC Universal. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Keegan, John. "Trustno1". Critical Myth. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Shearman and Pearson, pp. 264–265
  17. ^ Kessenich, pp. 195–200
  • Hurwitz, Matt; Knowles, Chris (2008). The Complete X-Files. Insight Editions. ISBN 1933784806. 
  • Kessenich, Tom (2002). Examination: An Unauthorized Look at Seasons 6–9 of the X-Files. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1553698126. 
  • Shearman, Robert; Pearson, Lars (2009). Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen. Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 097594469X. 

External links[edit]