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Agent Arthur Dales in 1952.

Special Agent Arthur Dales was one of the first FBI agents to make an attempt at investigating the X-Files, although he later retired in obscurity. (TXF: "Travelers")

Biographical Information[]

Early life[]

Arthur Dales was born to an eccentric family sometime in the 1920s. His brother, sister, and family goldfish were all named "Arthur". As a young man, he bore a striking resemblance to his brother, although this changed as they grew older. (TXF: "The Unnatural")

Arthur's brother, Arthur, might have been joking or speaking metaphorically when talking of the other Arthurs in their family.
It is possible that Dales was raised in or near Roswell, New Mexico, since his brother later served as a police officer there.

The German song "Lili Marleen" was playing when Dales' unit rolled into Berlin. (TXF: "Travelers")

FBI career[]

Dales joined the FBI and was partnered with Agent Hayes Michel. By 1952, he investigated suspected communist spies for the House Un-American Activities Committee.

On June 24, 1952, he and his partner arrested Edward Skur for contempt of Congress at Skur's home in Leesburg, Virginia. That night, Dales went to a bar known as the "Hoot Owl". It was here that Michel called him and informed him that Skur had killed himself in his cell. Dales was distraught that Skur had died, and traveled back to the Skur residence to inform Skur's wife. It was here that he caught a glimpse of Edward Skur, alive. After a short pursuit, Skur overpowered Dales and, before being interrupted, Dales saw an alien spider in Skur's mouth. Skur then escaped.

The next day, Dales filed a report on these events and set up a manhunt for Skur, going door-to-door throughout his neighborhood. After Michel showed Dales a photograph of a supposedly deceased Skur, Dales was contacted by Roy Cohn. Cohn put it across to Dales to amend his report and take out the references to Skur. After amending the report, he went with Agent Michel to Chevy Chase, Maryland and investigated the murder of a German doctor. Dales found a bar coaster that said "Come Alone". Alone, Dales went to the bar where he met State Department official Bill Mulder. Mulder warned Dales about Skur and the fact that he had murdered the doctor, and planned to murder Dales. After hearing Mulder's story of a criminal conspiracy, Dales attempted to contact Michel, not knowing yet that Michel had been killed by Skur.

Dales investigated Michel's death, but an autopsy was specifically not allowed by Cohn, and Michel was sent to Bethesda. Dales decided to investigate the deaths of Gissing and Oberman, two men Mulder mentioned had the same affliction as Edward Skur. With the help of Dorothy Bahnsen, Dales discovered his first "X-File", which concerned Gissing's death and Gissing's unexplained murder of Dr. Strohman. With the coroner's help, they autopsied Gissing and discovered a crab-like alien in his esophagus. After uncovering this "xenotransplantation", Dales went to Skur's household and informed Mrs. Skur of his intention to help. He was picked up outside of the house and taken by Mr. Cohn to Director J. Edgar Hoover at FBI Headquarters. Hoover paired up Dales and Bill Mulder to capture Skur. Dales met Skur at a bar, and was attacked. The plan had been to have Dales killed but Dales managed to handcuff Skur and escaped. Dales' career was ruined by his insubordination. (TXF: "Travelers")

With his career in tatters, Dales spent years investigating the X-files, the first agent to do so. (TXF: "The Unnatural") During this assignment, Dales did not have a very "savvy" partner and he believed this lack of partnership led to his early retirement. (TXF: "Agua Mala") Dales ultimately reached the rank of Special Agent in the hierarchy of the FBI. (TXF: "Travelers")

It is not entirely clear precisely when Dales held the rank of Special Agent. In "Travelers", he is once referred to (in 1990) as a "former Special Agent" and is otherwise clearly established as being an "agent" (in the 1952 portions of the episode), but the latter rank may also be used to informally refer to a Special Agent. In "Agua Mala", no FBI rank is ever given for the character.


Dales at home in 1990.

Dales retired to an apartment building in Washington, D.C.. (TXF: "Travelers")

On November 21, 1990, Dales was visited at his apartment by Special Agent Fox Mulder, from the Behavioral Sciences Unit. Mulder was investigating file X-525652, the Edward Skur case, after Skur's death and mention of "Mulder". Although intrigued when he learned Mulder's name, Dales turned Mulder away and refused to be questioned.

The next day, Mulder visited Dales again. Dales let Mulder in and told him of the events of 1952. Mulder was surprised that his father had been involved, and Dales believed that, if Mulder continued investigating the X-files, he would be ruined. (TXF: "Travelers")

Mulder visited Dales several other times, and Dales spent many nights talking about Mulder with his brother, Arthur. By 1999, Dales had moved to Florida and his brother took his apartment. (TXF: "The Unnatural") He moved to Florida for the weather.

Dales speaks with Scully and Mulder, telling them about a sea monster.

Later that year, Dales contacted Mulder from his home in the Terra Nueva Trailer Park in Goodland, Florida, supposedly about a "sea monster" during Hurricane Leroy. Mulder and Scully visited Dales at his home to investigate the sea monster, which had attacked and possibly killed Dales' friends, Jack and Sara Shipley. Dales listened to a police scanner at his home and was able to follow some of Mulder and Scully's investigation with it. Dales was impressed after learning of Scully's accomplishments during the investigation. Intending to make a toast to honor their success with the investigation, Dales offered the agents water, but they immediately turned it down. (TXF: "Agua Mala")

Background Information[]

Arthur Dales was played by actor Darren McGavin, who is perhaps best known for the title role in Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a television series that Chris Carter used as inspiration for The X-Files. Although McGavin had turned down the part of Mulder's father, William Mulder, Arthur Dales is essentially a founder of the X-files and the role acknowledges McGavin's influence on the series. Young Arthur Dales (and the younger version of his brother) was portrayed by Fredric Lehne.

The writing of "Agua Mala" started with the episode's writer, David Amann, being asked by The X-Files' team of writer/producers to come up with a story that included Arthur Dales. The character can be seen wearing a seersucker bathrobe in that episode, due to McGavin having mentioned to costume designer Christine Peters (about a half-hour before his first shot on the episode) that he would especially like one.

The character was originally to have appeared in "The Unnatural" and two scenes were filmed with McGavin. However, the actor unfortunately had to step down from the project due to illness. The script was rewritten and the part of Dales' brother was invented to replace the role. However, the same scenes that McGavin had filmed virtually remained the same. The versions of these scenes that include McGavin (and his portrayal of an Arthur Dales) are included on The X-Files' Season 6 DVD as deleted scenes.


Agents assigned to the X-Files
Arthur Dales


Fox Mulder


Dana Scully


Jeffrey Spender


Diana Fowley


John Doggett


Leyla Harrison


Monica Reyes


Arthur Dales
Special Agent Arthur Dales   •   Officer Arthur Dales   •   Ms. Arthur Dales   •   Goldfish Arthur Dales