Episode Summary

Paired with a new partner, Agent Scully investigates a crime scene photographer whose subjects may in fact be his victims.

Episode Details


Guest Cast


[Mulder and Scully are in the bullpen with several other agents conducting background checks over the phone]

Mulder: [with his hand over the receiver] Hey, Scully, maybe if we get really lucky next time they'll let us clean toilet bowls.

Scully: You ready to quit?

Mulder: No. That would make way too many people way too happy.

Scully: [answering phone] Scully. [listening] I'm on my way. [to Mulder] I've been called into Kersh's office. [Mulder starts to get up] Just me.

Mulder: Just you? Don't forget your toilet brush. [He forgets the phone isn't covered] No. No, ma'am, not you.

Assistant Director Kersh: Show her what you have.

Agent Ritter: Uh, well, our office is currently updating its case filing system. While I was involved in this project — scanning old crime scene photographs into the computer — I came across this. [Hands Scully a photo]

Scully: Margareta Stoller, age 57, cause of death — an overdose of Nitraz...

Agent Ritter: Take a look at when they found her.

Scully: A neighbour called the police at 11:14 pm.

Agent Ritter: So what's wrong with that picture?

Scully: The clock says that it's 45 minutes earlier. Well, a clock can be wrong.

Agent Ritter: They certainly can. So, I checked the Post from the following day. These are straight from their photo files.

Scully: Hmm. Almost an hour and a half later.

Agent Ritter: Two different negatives, same photographer. The guy's name is Alfred Fellig. He's rattled around Manhattan for years. Apparently a stringer for the wire services and on-call guy for NYPD.

Scully: And you suspect this man Fellig? You think that Mrs Stoller wasn't a suicide?

Agent Ritter: This guy's into taking pictures, right? So I'm thinking, what if... what if he poisons this woman and gets his jollies by snapping a few of her dead body then winds up back in the same apartment an hour later, after Midtown North calls him over to do the job.

Scully: That's quite a theory.

Agent Ritter: Yeah. Well, the thing of it is he might have done it on more than one occasion. Now, I sifted through probably 2,000 of his police photos. Now, these three have measurable solar shadows. And since we know the location in each case...

Scully: You can tell the time of day by the shadows.

Agent Ritter: Right. And with it, these three are looking every bit as hinky.

Scully: You've got another suicide here, a heart attack and a very obvious murder for which another man was convicted. There's no consistent MO.

Agent Ritter: There's no consistent anything. I could sure use your help.

Assistant Director Kersh: I would say he has a promising career ahead of him. So did you... at one time. With your expertise in forensic pathology you would be a substantial asset to this investigation. I know it would provide more challenge to you than running background checks.

Scully: Agent Mulder and I will begin immediately.

Assistant Director Kersh: Agent Mulder's a lost cause. I'm taking the chance you're not. It's you and Ritter. Do not let me down.

Scully: Mulder...

Mulder: Hmm?

Scully: What are you doing?

Mulder: Being nosy. Eating my heart out. They're sending you on an X-File.

Scully: It's not an X-File.

Mulder: That's not what I'm reading. I'm thinking murder by telekinesis. I'm thinking maybe a shamanistic death touch. I'm thinking about the Muslim superstition that to photograph someone is to steal their soul.

Scully: Thank you. All very helpful.

Mulder: So they're splitting us up, huh?

Scully: No.

Mulder: No?

Scully: This is a one-time thing.

Mulder: Who told you that? Obviously, if you do a good job they're not going to stick you back here.

Agent Ritter: Alfred Fellig — what can you tell us about him?

Desk Sergeant: What's to tell? He's one of about 10,000 people in town who have an official license to piss people off.

Agent Ritter: What you doing?

Scully: Take a look at this. 1996... 87... 85... 73 [Alfred Fellig's picture on each of the renewal forms covering a period of thirty years show a man about 65]

Agent Ritter: The guy's a regular Dick Clark. I don't know what to tell you, Dana. Other than the fact that this guy's always been a geezer, this is looking like a dead end.

Agent Ritter: Hey, I'm confused. I thought we were trying to bust this guy not look for reasons to let him go.

Scully: I thought we were looking for the truth.

Scully: [answering mobile] Scully.

Mulder: Hi. My name is Fox Mulder. We used to sit next to each other at the FBI. How's your X-File coming?

Scully: Mulder, it's not... We haven't made much headway. We arrested Alfred Fellig and we just released him.

Mulder: You can't hold him? What about the stabbing?

Scully: How do you know about that?

Mulder: I told you I'm nosy. Why are you letting him go?

Scully: Well, we were able to pull another set of prints off of the knife. They belong to a convicted murderer by the name of Malcolm Wiggins. That and the fact that Fellig's blood was found all over the crime scene tells me that his story checks out. At least that particular story, anyway.

Mulder: But you still think Fellig's a murderer, huh?

Scully: I don't know what to think. He's, uh... unusual.

Mulder: As in he, uh, plugs up like a cork when you stab him?

Scully: Mulder, where are you getting this stuff?

Mulder: Well, young man Ritter has been sending progress reports to Kersh. My computer may have inadvertently intercepted a few of those. He's got nice things to say about you, though... mostly. Why don't you let me do a little background check on Fellig for you?

Scully: Mulder...

Mulder: Come on. It's, you know... it's what I do now. I'm getting good at it.

Scully: Explain this.

Alfred Fellig: What?

Scully: You took that photo an hour before police arrived. You then purposely covered up that fact by photographing the scene again.

Alfred Fellig: I don't think I remember that one.

Scully: You have, Mr Fellig, a long and uncanny history of being the first person at the scene of a death. You also have a history of covering up that fact. Why?

Alfred Fellig: Am I under arrest again?

Scully: Are you a murderer? [Alfred Fellig shakes his head] Well, then explain yourself, sir. Because, I promise you until you do, you will not get a moment's peace.

Alfred Fellig: You want to take a ride with me? You come with me. I'll show you.

Scully: It's been an hour. Are we going to drive around all night?

Alfred Fellig: Yeah. This is it. This is what I do. Looking for the shot.

Scully: What shot?

Alfred Fellig: The shot. [He stops the car near a prostitute] Her. She's about to die.

Scully: What... what are you talking about?

Alfred Fellig: It could happen in the next minute, in the next hour but it'll happen. It's as plain as day.

Scully: Look, Mr... Fellig, I don't know what you're planning but nobody here is going to die.

Alfred Fellig: I'm not planning anything. I'm just here to tell you what's going to happen.

Scully: That... that woman right there is going to be murdered?

Alfred Fellig: I didn't say murdered. She's a smoker. She might die of lung cancer. The how is always a surprise. I... I just always know when.

Scully: You want me to believe that?

Scully: I confronted Fellig. I questioned him further about his involvement in the deaths that he photographed. Is that okay with you?

Agent Ritter: What did he say?

Scully: He said that he can tell when people are about to die. Look, if New York passes a Good Samaritan law we might be able to nail him on that but other than that, I doubt we're going to get him for murder.

Agent Ritter: Wrong. Let me show you something. [Agent Peyton Ritter leads Scully to an observation room where the murder suspect, Malcolm Wiggins, is being held] They picked up Mr Wiggins last night. Now, he says that it was Fellig who killed that kid in the alley, not him. He said he just happened along and he had to fight for his life.

Scully: A convicted murderer half Fellig's age.

Agent Ritter: He said he would have come in on his own but he said he was afraid we wouldn't have believed him.

Scully: He's right. Tell me, Ritter, did he have any help concocting that story?

Agent Ritter: Look, Fellig is a murderer. Whether or not he did this specific one, I don't care — not if it buys me a few days in the box with him.

Scully: No judge is going to issue a warrant based on this.

Agent Ritter: No, no, no. I know the judge. We'll have it by noon. [Scully turns away] You know, Kersh warned me about you.

Scully: Uh, he did?

Agent Ritter: Yeah — you and your partner. God knows his reputation precedes him so I guess I should have seen this coming. You muck up my case, and Kersh'll hear about it. Are we clear, Dana?

Scully: [coldly] Scully. [Mobile rings] And we're done with this conversation. [Answering mobile as Agent Peyton Ritter leaves] Yeah?

Mulder: Hey, Scully, uh, how's that X-File coming? And before you tell me that it's not an X-File...

Scully: It is.

Mulder: What happened?

Scully: Alfred Fellig seems to know an awful lot about death.

Mulder: Oh, yeah? Well, that's not surprising, given that he's reached the ripe old age of 149.

Scully: Excuse me?

Mulder: I did a little low-tech background check on him. This stuff is so old that they don't even keep it on record on the computer but Alfred Fellig doesn't exist before 1964 but one Henry Strand does. He applied for a press pass from the Jersey City police in 1939 at the age of 53. His prints match Fellig's.

Scully: But Mulder, that must be some kind of a mistake.

Mulder: You think? Because this Henry Strand does not exist before 1939. However, one LH Rice is on record as having sat for the New York State civil service exam. Now, the records don't show whether he passed or not, but his thumbprint? Fellig's. Want to know what LH Rice's birthday is? April 4, 1849. I'm not good at math, but I'm figuring that's a whole lot of candles on the cake.

Scully: I have spent time with this man and he can't be more than 65 years old.

Mulder: I think that's what he wants you to think. Now we're talking about a guy for whom the phrase life in prison carries some seriously weighty connotations. I think you should get to him before he vanishes and becomes someone else.

Scully: You are going to be arrested, Mr Fellig, in two hours, charged with murder, and this time you won't be able to just change your name.

Alfred Fellig: I showed you what I do last night. I just take the pictures.

Scully: What you showed me was a contemptible lack of compassion for another human being. You showed me that you profit off of people's deaths. Now, why shouldn't you go to prison?

Alfred Fellig: What, do you want me to cry for them? You want me to make like I feel sorry for them? I don't. Lucky bastards. Every one of them.

Scully: Lucky?

Alfred Fellig: I'm just there to get the shot. I don't take those people. He does.

Scully: Who's he? [Alfred Fellig shows Scully a picture of a dead girl with a blurred image above her]

Alfred Fellig: That's him. He's the one who takes them.

Scully: You're saying that this is a photograph of Death itself?

Scully: You know I don't believe you.

Alfred Fellig: Yes, you do. That's why you're here.

Mulder: Coroner's report came back on Fellig. Says he died of a single gunshot wound. That's all it said. Well, I, uh... talked to your doctor and... he says you're doing great. You're making the fastest recovery he's ever seen.

Scully: Yeah, Mulder, I don't even know how I entertained the thought. People don't live forever.

Mulder: No, no, I... I think he would have. I just think that... that death only looks for you... once you seek its opposite.