Dakota Whitney was an ASAC and a Special Agent in Charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While investigating the deaths of multiple abductees in 2008, Whitney was instrumental in arranging the involvement of former FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, but she subsequently died, at the hands of one of the abductors, while working on the case. (The X-Files: I Want to Believe)
Helping Find a Severed Arm
Soon after FBI Agent Monica Bannan went missing from her home in Somerset, West Virginia, Dakota Whitney orchestrated a vast search effort that involved a line of FBI men as they all searched a snow-covered field (about ten miles from Agent Bannan's home) where Father Joseph Crissman – a convicted pedophile and former priest claiming psychic powers – had led them.
On several occasions while searching the field, Whitney had eye contact with Agent Drummy, who was also helping to keep the group in formation. Orders that Whitney issued the other seekers included an instruction to give Father Joe room as well as repeatedly instructing them, as Father Joe ran ahead of the group, to let him go. Moments later, Whitney helped Father Joe dig in an area of the field where he had indicated that there was something significant; she was instrumental in uncovering a severed arm that bore strike marks. As Whitney learned, the FBI were able to match the wounds on the arm to a tool that Agent Bannan had owned and blood from the arm to blood found in Agent Bannan's garage.
Involving Mulder and Scully
At one point, Whitney researched the work of former Special Agent Fox Mulder. She went through his cases involving psychics Luther Lee Boggs, Clyde Bruckman and Gerald Schnauz, developing a knowledge of his work on X-files cases and finding that work to be extremely impressive.
Finding no other connection between Father Joe and Agent Bannan than the severed arm, Whitney felt like she needed to know that she and her FBI team were not wasting time by seeking Father Joe's assistance, so she sent for Mulder; Agent Drummy consequently asked Mulder's former FBI partner, Doctor Dana Scully, to let Mulder know that the FBI urgently needed to speak with him. Shortly after 9:24 p.m. almost three days after Agent Bannan's disappearance, Whitney was talking with Special Agent in Charge Fossa in a conference room of FBI Headquarters when Mulder and Scully were led into the room by Agent Drummy. Whitney did not initially notice their presence in the room, as she spoke with S.A.C. Fossa, until Drummy approached her to announce that the pair of former agents had arrived.
Whitney first thanked Dr. Scully for making the visit happen and introduced herself to the agents. She acknowledged that the situation was awkward but nevertheless welcomed Mulder back and implied that, although the FBI had put Mulder on trial for bogus charges and tried to discredit a decade of his work, the FBI would no longer act on those charges even if Mulder was unable to help them or if Agent Bannan turned up dead. Admitting that she knew Mulder's work on the X-files cases, Whitney remarked that she believed Mulder constituted the best chance that Agent Bannan now had.
Whitney then briefed Mulder and Dr. Scully on the case, noticing that Mulder correctly, immediately guesstimated that the severed arm – although it was a man's limb and had not come from Agent Bannan's body – probably matched blood or tissue evidence found at or near the crime scene. When Mulder implied that he had realized the FBI doubted Father Joe's self-professed psychic abilities, Whitney looked Mulder up and down. She admitted that there was a question of credibility, regarding the priest, but was reluctant to reveal that Father Joe was a convicted pedophile, doing so only after Mulder made an intended joke that – if he was the investigator – he would be in bed with Father Joe, "kissing his holy ass." Whitney's information that Father Joe was a convicted pedophile influenced Mulder to suggest that he would stay out of bed with him.
Questioning Father Joe
Whitney then accompanied Mulder, Scully and Agent Drummy on a drive to dorms in Richmond where Father Joe lived, describing the nature of the buildings to a slightly puzzled Scully as they walked from their car towards Father Joe's residence. Whitney was quiet as the investigators were let into the apartment by Joe's roommate and while first Scully then Mulder questioned Joe. Whitney glanced at Father Joe, mere moments before he implied that he believed his visions were being sent by God. After Joe replied to a question from Mulder by describing his visions as consisting of a girl being assaulted but putting up a fight while he heard the noise of barking dogs, Whitney asked him – with the single word "where" – if he could place his visions but Joe was unable to discern a location.
Whitney generally continued to remain quiet as the investigators took Father Joe on a drive to a house near Agent Bannan's residence, in an attempt to test Joe by determining whether they could fool him into believing they had actually taken him to the home of Agent Bannan. However, Whitney did respond to Father Joe asking the investigators – during the journey – if they were getting close to their destination by instructing him to tell them if they were. After Father Joe realized that the residence where he had been taken was not really the former home of Agent Bannan but that her actual residence was nearby, Whitney gestured to Agent Drummy to follow him through Agent Bannan's home and then began to walk around the outside of the building with Mulder.
As they paced around to the back of the house, Whitney explained why she insisted that Father Joe be considered a suspect, believing that the reason he had claimed God was speaking through him was that he wanted the Catholic Church to forgive him for his sins. Whitney continued to talk with Mulder at the back of the house, as Drummy watched Father Joe explore the area. After Mulder voiced his conclusion that his presence indicated that Whitney did not believe Agent Bannan would be found, Whitney admitted that, due to her decision to bring Mulder onto the case, she was presently not the most popular female agent at the FBI. Additionally, Whitney revealed to Mulder that she had researched his work on the X-files, including a few specific cases involving psychics, and that she had been most impressed with his work. Even though Mulder argued that he was merely a half of his team, Whitney stated that it was his insights that she needed.
Whitney rushed to Father Joe's position with Mulder and Drummy, upon seeing that the former priest had fallen to his knees. As Father Joe apparently experienced a vision of Agent Bannan's kidnapping, Whitney desperately tried to learn from Joe where the missing agent had been taken, but Father Joe insisted that he could not see the answer. Although Drummy walked away in impatient disbelief following the conclusion of the supposed vision, Whitney and Mulder subsequently noticed that Father Joe had cried tears of blood.
Helping Find an Ice Block
Late at night, Whitney again accompanied Agent Drummy and Father Joe on a drive. After Agent Drummy called Scully for his FBI superior, Whitney apologized to Scully for calling at such a late hour and reported that her FBI team were following another lead from Father Joe. After Joe guided the agents back to the same field where they had found the severed arm, Whitney was involved in another mass search of that area. When Mulder and Scully arrived three hours later, Whitney pointed out a shaving cut to Mulder and informed the new arrivals that the search effort had been unsuccessful, apologizing for sending for them as the FBI seekers prepared to abandon their search. Upon Mulder's request shortly after, however, Whitney indicated for the men to return to the field; the group subsequently discovered a buried block of ice that contained many bodies but not that of Agent Bannan. Whitney nodded at Mulder stating that her team would need resources and called out for her group to fetch concrete saws and a backhoe.
One morning at 10:20 a.m., Whitney was at an FBI facility in Quantico, West Virginia, where the ice block had been taken and was now being analyzed. Having learned that Mulder was going to call Scully, Whitney approached him in a laboratory of the facility, only to learn that he hadn't been able to contact Scully. Responding to Mulder predicting that the discovery of the ice block would make sense and would be a break in their case, Whitney acknowledged that both he and Father Joe were feeling that the finding was of great significance but claimed that all she was feeling was her head spinning; she reminded Mulder that she was no closer to finding Agent Bannan and suggested that the missing agent might essentially have to "stand in line" before she could be found.
Searching for Cheryl Cunningham
In another room of the same FBI facility, Whitney – along with a group of other FBI officials – quietly witnessed Mulder question Father Joe about another vision that specifically pertained to another female abductee who had been taken by the same man who had abducted Agent Bannan. The investigators did not know it yet, but this vision involved thirty-four-year old Cheryl Cunningham. After Agent Drummy responded to Mulder requesting an FBI car by making a skeptical retort, Whitney offered her help with obtaining a car for Mulder, who also asked that she acquire a list of missing persons in the area over the last forty-eight to seventy-two hours.
At 2:08 p.m., Whitney arrived – with other FBI members and Mulder – at the scene of an automobile crash in a snow-covered field in Somerset, West Virginia. She approached a pair of police officers, greeting one with friendly casualness before he handed her a written report. She took a quick glance at the paperwork and then told an approaching Mulder that the crash victim had been Cheryl Cunningham, adding that she had not attended work the night before and had likewise not been home. After Drummy and Mulder argued about what had happened to Cheryl Cunningham and Father Joe was admittedly unable to psychically sense anything from inside the car, Whitney commented that she thought the group was done with Joe, an assessment that Drummy agreed with. Whitney turned back to Mulder, however, upon him spotting a medical I.D. bracelet lying on the ground. Although Whitney was puzzled by this finding, she helped Mulder pop the car's trunk and examined evidence, from inside the trunk, that indicated Cheryl Cunningham had likely been at a local pool shortly prior to her disappearance.
Whitney then traveled with the other FBI officials and Mulder to the exterior of MacLaren Natatorium. She entered the building first, leading Mulder and Drummy inside, and spoke to an elderly male receptionist, telling him that they hoped he could help her group. Although the man was slow on the uptake and at first thought the visitors wanted lockers, Whitney clarified that they were with the FBI and wanted to show him a photograph, referring to images of Agent Bannan that Drummy subsequently showed him but the man did not recognize Monica Bannan. Whitney thereafter confirmed from the man that he had a sign-in register of the pool's visitors but had discarded the one for the previous day.
Closing In On the Kidnappers and Thanking Mulder
After it was determined that Cheryl Cunningham and Agent Bannan had both swam at MacLaren Natatorium, the District Attorney's office in Richmond questioned Janke Dacyshyn – who had, according to a fairly credible witness, swam with the women at the pool – but he was released due to a lack of evidence. That night, Whitney returned to Father Joe's residence with Mulder and Drummy but found that Joe had suffered a seizure while Scully had been visiting him; Whitney alone watched Joe being loaded into the back of an ambulance. She then notified Scully that the FBI had a suspect in the form of Dacyshyn, also recounting the Richmond D.A.'s encounter with him. Excusing herself from the company of Scully and Mulder, Whitney was privately informed by Drummy that Franz Tomczeszyn, Dacyshyn's employer and husband, had just been identified as having also been one of thirty-seven altar boys who Father Joe had molested. After Drummy relayed the same news to Mulder and Scully, Whitney told the former agents that her team had a warrant to search their suspect's offices and hurried away with Drummy, pausing as they left only to allow Mulder to accompany them.
Now that a firm connection between the missing women and Father Joe had been made, however, Whitney no longer sought Mulder's assistance. As an armed detachment of FBI men entered the suspect's offices, Whitney stopped Mulder outside, advising him to wait there and let the men do their jobs. She mentioned that she, as badly as anyone, had wanted to believe in Father Joe's psychic ability and, despite Mulder protesting that he did not need "the sweet talk," she lengthily thanked him for moving the investigation forward.
Chase and Death
As Whitney talked to Mulder, Janke Dacyshyn exited his office building, noticed by Mulder and Whitney. In a chase that ensued, Whitney armed herself as she ran and followed Mulder as he pursued Dacyshyn across a busy road and into a complex, multilevel construction site where Whitney lost track of the two men. She consequently asked a group of construction workers where they had gone and the workers pointed her in the right direction. On three occasions thereafter, she managed to determine Mulder's bearings from calling out his surname and hearing his response. The second time that he answered her, Whitney was warned by Mulder that Dacyshyn was heading her way before she saw the kidnapper run near her but manage to flee out of her line of sight and, on the third occasion, she encountered more difficulty with working out where Mulder was but eventually realized that he was on the floor above her.She peered out over a high edge overlooking an open elevator shaft and called out Mulder's first name. Once he appeared at the higher edge of the shaft, she asked him if he knew where Dacyshyn was but he stated that he had lost track of the kidnapper. Whitney mentioned that she had seen Dacyshyn and, just as she was about to tell Mulder where she had seen their quarry, she noticed that Dacyshyn was standing on the same floor she was, right in front of her. Her gun was momentarily grabbed by the kidnapper, who then pushed Whitney into the void behind her. Watched by Mulder from above, she tumbled to her death.
At Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital soon thereafter, Mulder notified Dr. Scully that both Agent Bannan – whose severed head had been in an ice chest that Dacyshyn had dropped on the ground, outside his office building – and Dakota Whitney were dead, although Scully had already heard this news. (The X-Files: I Want to Believe)
|FBI Special Agents in Charge|
|Walt Eubanks||Darius Michaud|
Dakota Whitney was played by Amanda Peet.
The character is the only one, in The X-Files franchise, to have ever been referred to as both an ASAC and a Special Agent in Charge. Whitney is credited as being an ASAC and is referred to by Agent Drummy as holding that rank but she introduces herself to Scully and Mulder, when she first meets them, as a Special Agent in Charge.
Chris Carter wanted this character to be a "foil for Scully." (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies) Amanda Peet summed up Whitney's relationship with Mulder by stating, "My character is supposed to have... feelings for Mulder and feel a connection with him, outside the office, so to speak." (The X-Files: I Want to Believe Blu-ray & DVD Special Features; Trust No One: Can The X-Files Remain a Secret?; "You Can Go Home Again")
Much of the scene in which Dakota Whitney leans over the edge of the elevator shaft before falling down the shaft was achieved with visual effects. For shots of Whitney leaning over the edge and falling, Amanda Peet was backdropped by green-screen that was ultimately replaced, digitally, by more authentic backgrounds of the open elevator shaft. Shots of Whitney's fall also incorporated wire work, as Amanda Peet was hung by wires, while flailing her arms as if she were falling. The camera then zoomed back and, with the green-screen replaced by backgrounds of the open elevator shaft, the camera move made the shots look like Whitney was falling away from camera.
A shot of Whitney landing at the bottom of the shaft was achieved with the use of a spring-like mechanism that propped Amanda Peet up before dropping her down a small distance to the ground. Besides digitally removing both this mechanism and the green-screen, the visual effects team were also required to essentially time-warp the shots of Amanda Peet, so that Whitney looked like she was falling faster and seemed like she was flailing her arms slightly more than the actress had been. One of the shots that were sped up in this way included the shot of Whitney landing on the ground. A factor that was important in deciding how well the process effected this shot was whether there was a feeling of weight to Whitney's body landing.