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Deep Throat (episode)   Credits   Gallery   Transcript   Background information    

Production

  • This was the first regular episode of the first season, preceded by the pilot episode. As such, it is the series' first episode to have the usual opening and closing credits, accompanied by the theme song.
  • The character of "Deep Throat", introduced in this episode, was based on the infamous Watergate informer – later revealed to have been W. Mark Felt – who used the same pseudonym, particularly as depicted in All the President's Men, one of the primary inspirations of writer and series creator Chris Carter, and a big influence on the series' writing staff in general. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies, p. 39) Another source of inspiration was Donald Sutherland's portrayal of "Mr. X" in the film JFK. (X-Files Confidential, p. 37) Although Carter thought up the character concept of Deep Throat while writing the pilot episode of The X-Files, it was only afterwards that he told the Fox executives he wanted to use the character in the series. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 31)
  • One major influence on this episode was literature regarding ufology. An aspect which came from this source was the notion of an Air Force base where UFO technology was reported, by some, to be in storage. Though the influential base was actually called Nellis Air Force Base, Chris Carter decided to name the fictional version Ellens Air Base. "I don't know why I didn't just go ahead and call it Nellis, but I had a high school and college girlfriend whose last name was Ellens and so this was sort of a nod to her, as are most of the characters in the show, come from high school friends, friends over the years." Carter did something similar with "The Flying Saucer" diner, as he based it on an actual diner named the "Little A'Le'Inn", located outside of Nellis Air Force Base. Once again, he was unsure – years afterwards – why he used a different name for this episode's equivalent. "We were sort of making our own world," he observed. Carter also took Yellow Base from ufology, though without changing its name and although it was never publicly revealed to exist; it was rumored to be, in Carter's words, "a site of much goings-on with things alien at Nellis Air Force Base." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • Some concepts which Chris Carter took from UFO lore was the idea of Men in Black – who wore dark glasses and worked for the unknown government agencies – as well as brainwashing and memory-deletion of pilots who worked on the top-secret projects involving UFO technology. ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • This episode was inspired, in particular, by a rumored project that the US Air Force purportedly had, called the Aurora Project. "In southern California, I remember sitting in my house and hearing sonic booms and having people talk about the Aurora Project, that there were aircraft that the air force was not telling us about, that were overflying southern California," reflected Chris Carter, "and this was a sort of nod to that, to the rumors that there were aircraft flying the skies that were using a sort of hybrid of scavenged, salvaged UFO technology." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • Chris Carter tried to use this episode to establish some concepts regarding the insidiousness of the government in The X-Files. "It was all an effort to sort of set up the idea that the government has knowledge about the existence of extraterrestrials and was willing to go to great lengths to protect it from people like Mulder. And that they were going to great lengths and wasting people's lives in order to utilize and experiment with the material." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • While plotting this installment, Chris Carter boarded the story for the episode. The scene in which Scully, in a car parked outside of Ellens Air Base, is woken by the vehicle's rear window suddenly shattering went through a revision shortly thereafter. "I had [...] come up with something less than spectacular at this story point," admitted Carter, "and it was James Wong, who had come onto the show with Glen Morgan, who suggested I do something larger, which was break that window out." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • By having Mulder's memory erased through the administration of drugs, Chris Carter tried to depict the government as an interesting adversary, believing they were interesting as an enemy so long as they had "interesting tools and methods" at their disposal. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18)
  • It was important to Chris Carter for this installment to show Scully as a strong female who didn't need her FBI partner to save her from dangerous predicaments. He wrote the scene in which she overpowers a security agent and forces him to drive them to Ellens Air Base because Carter wanted to demonstrate Scully's complete equality. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18)
  • This episode's script went through five drafts. These were dated 1st, 9th, 14th, 20 and 22 July 1993.
  • At first, Location Manager Todd Pittson had a problem with the enormity of the various locations called for in this episode's script. "At the first production meeting," said Pitson, "I recall doing a quick mental calculation based on the twelve locations required for 'Deep Throat' [....] Pondering these numbers, I questioned whether the Lower Mainland could successfully double as so many different regions and states and still retain a sense of newness [....] 'Deep Throat' was huge in every way, establishing the show's dynamic from day one [....] The location list for 'Deep Throat' speaks for itself, and took us from downtown Vancouver to the furthest reaches of the Lower Mainland." (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), pp. 29 & 30)
  • The Washington, D.C. bar near the start of this episode was actually a restaurant in Vancouver called The Meat Market. Noted Chris Carter, "[It] was actually a much divier location than the production designers would have you believe." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • Ellens Air Base and the grassy areas immediately outside the base were represented in and around Boundary Bay Airport in Delta, south of Vancouver. (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 30) This site was also used as the hangar where Mulder, wheeled through the building atop a gurney, apparently sees a UFO. According to Chris Carter, the Boundary Bay location was "far outside of town, I think to the end of our ability to go without financial penalties." He also called the airport "a great location." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • An intersection between Airport Road and 80th Street, situated just outside Boundary Bay Airport, was the actual site of the checkpost shown in Ellens Air Base's last appearance. However, the checkpost itself was created by the construction department. (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 30)
  • A rural road in South Surrey was the filming location for an encounter Mulder and Scully have with a group of Men in Black. Relatively nearby was Hilltop Café, which served as The Flying Saucer roadside diner. However, transporting cast and crew to the café turned out to be controversial, as it was a time-consuming and costly move. (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), pp. 32 & 31)
Deep Throat UFO sketch

A sketch of the UFO from this episode.

  • At least seven different UFO design proposals were submitted for this episode. The seventh was a concept sketch including a bottom view, top view and end view of the craft. (X-Files Confidential, p. 102)
  • This episode was the first from The X-Files that featured the work of Assistant Art Director Clyde Klotz, who later married Scully actress Gillian Anderson, on 1 January 1994.
  • This episode's production commenced after an entirely different filming crew to that of the pilot had been put together. Noted Chris Carter, "We came back several months later with a whole new crew, a different director of photography, John Bartley." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features) R.W. Goodwin, who oversaw physical production on The X-Files, found this installment's making was a particularly challenging period for the largely new crew. "'Deep Throat' was a break-in period where everybody came to learn the kinds of demands of quality that we were making," he recalled. "They'd worked on several shows prior to ours that hadn't been as challenging or demanding. There was a certain level of quality that they had to step up to, and in all honesty, virtually all of the departments did that. But it was a learning experience." (X-Files Confidential, p. 38) Carter offered, "Bob not only [...] put a great crew together, [...] but also on this episode, he ended up becoming the sort of B-unit director and was running night and day, making sure that we got this episode done in 8 days." According to Carter, though, attempting to film the installment in such a limited time frame was difficult. He recalled, "It was a 24-hour operation for us, a scramble. We just couldn't do the work that we wanted to do and to do the show that we wanted to do with so little money and so little time, and I think that became very apparent." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • This episode was produced in July 1993. Though the first day of the shoot was planned to involve the Budahas residence, the building selected was about to receive a "facelift" when the production crew arrived there. Daniel Sackheim requested that further renovations be put on hold until after filming was completed. (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 30) The filming of the outing's teaser then proceeded, with Sackheim directing. "This was our first action scene," remarked Chris Carter, "and Dan [...] I think really set the mood for probably the next five years of the show when he directed this action sequence." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • One of the shooting days was due to commence with filming the engagement that Mulder and Scully have with a group of Men in Black. Owing to the distance of the location for this scene from the usual geographical confines of the series' filming, the production department hired a large tour bus to transport crew members to the location, hoping to avoid having to reimburse crew for mileage travelled to the site in their personal vehicles. Watching the first crew cars arrive, Todd Pittson was surprised by how many there were. "One by one I counted heads, wondering who could possibly be on the bus, since virtually everyone had arrived by car," Pittson detailed. "When the bus finally pulled up in a cloud of dust, its door swung open and – with a dramatic flourish – the lone occupant, key grip Al Campbell, stepped out." The day's filming then went ahead with the scheduled scene. (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 32)
  • To show a helicopter flying at night over Ellens Air Base, the production crew needed to acquire a special permit. This was because, in Vancouver, helicopter flight at night was not generally allowed, a fact Chris Carter was informed of. Getting the permit therefore took special effort by the crew and the producers. ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • It was a sunny Thursday afternoon in July when the crew assembled on location and prepared to film the scene in which, at a checkpost guarding the entrance to Ellens Air Base, a bewildered Mulder is exchanged for a security agent. Todd Pittson related, "As day turned to night, we moved onto a runway apron and adjacent field, where we continued filming through the night. From the perspective of production, the scene became surreal as cast and crew scrambled to complete the last 'night' scene at 6 a.m. the following morning, just as the first rays of sunrise illuminated our hangar deep in the background. By then, everyone was staggering to follow Director of Photography John Bartley's single utterance, 'We'll shoot into the western sky... that'll buy us a few minutes." (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 30) One part of the episode for which Bartley endeavoured to avoid the sun was the scene showing Mulder being detained by military personnel on the air base. "This scene [...] was done, I think, just as the sun was coming up [...] John Bartley trying to rig the angles," offered Chris Carter, "so that we were not seeing too much of the sky where the sun was rising, shooting into the western sky, trying to keep it as dark as possible." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • The sequence in which Emil and Zoe bring Mulder to Ellens Air Base, he subsequently sneaks onto the base, and a UFO hovers above him at night was shot in a continuous filming block of time. R.W. Goodwin characterized this as "amazingly difficult." (X-Files Confidential, p. 38) He elaborated, "It was about seven different scenes we had to shoot. It was ridiculous." Furthermore, the scenes were shot out of chronological sequence, with the scene involving the UFO scheduled before the one involving the teenagers. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18) In one interview, Goodwin remembered, "We started shooting ten o'clock Friday morning." (X-Files Confidential, p. 38) Another time, he recalled, "We started shooting about noon on Friday." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18) Regardless of what time the filming started, Mat Beck offered, "It was a pretty hectic day." ("The Truth About Season One", The X-Files (season 1) DVD special features)
  • As they progressed with the filming, the crew realized they would have insufficient time, that Friday afternoon, to film the teenagers leading Mulder to the edge of the Air Force base. "We had to turn it into a night scene," continued R.W. Goodwin. "Then we had to turn it back into a day scene because we couldn't get it shot before the sun came out." (X-Files Confidential, p. 38)
  • The scene with the UFO that hovers over Mulder was originally written as a night scene but, because the shooting was starting so early in the day, the crew chose to revise it as a day scene. Realizing the sky would get dark before they could shoot the footage which takes place by the fence perimeter, the crew put the UFO scene back to being a night scene. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18)
  • Due to the extreme amount of concentration the crew expended on the UFO scene, the sun was coming up by the time the production staff tackled the scene involving Emil and Zoe. R.W. Goodwin pointed out, "If you watch it, it looks as though it takes place at sunset, just before night. In fact, it was sunrise. It was us on Saturday morning out there all staring at each other, saying, 'What are we doing out here?'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18) The filming finally ended at eight o'clock on Saturday morning. (X-Files Confidential, p. 38; Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18)
  • Whereas a temporary score had been used for the pilot and Composer Mark Snow had taken some influence from it for that episode, this outing gave him an initial opportunity to determine more how he himself would like the music to be. Explained Chris Carter, "This is really Mark Snow's chance to, I think, not follow necessarily the lead of the pilot score [...] but this was Mark Snow's first real, I think, solo score and it also set the tone for the series, and I think his music is much more minimal here. Actually, there's much less music here than I think we came to use." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • Chris Carter and Mat Beck struggled to improve the visual effect of the two supposedly-flying dots of light which Mulder and Scully observe at Ellens Air Base. Carter later remembered sitting with Beck, "trying to make this effect look three-dimensional and better and we just couldn't do it with the time. I think we ran right up to our air date and we came up with what ultimately looked like some kind of hi-tech pong game." The UFO which flies directly over Mulder was digitally added to, as well. ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)

Continuity

  • When Mulder briefs Scully on the specifics of the case, the setup varies in this episode from the series' usual formula, as the setting is a Washington, D.C. bar instead of Mulder's basement office.
  • Following his introduction herein, Deep Throat went on to become a recurring character in The X-Files. Due to this as well as other factors, Chris Carter considered this outing highly defining, stating, "The episode [...] further served to establish the landscape we were going to be working in with The X-Files: the introduction of Deep Throat, and the idea that the government knows even more than we established in the pilot and that they will go to any length to protect that information." (X-Files Confidential, p. 37) Additionally, Carter said, "This show would also become important to the mythology [....] Even though there were only four or five mythology episodes during the first season and there were twenty-five episodes, there was a connection between this first episode past the pilot and the last episode of the season, so that the show actually seemed like it had an idea where it was going; it had a structure and a concept of what it was trying to accomplish. So, I think that this is probably one of the most important episodes to the life of the series because it really set up – in addition to the pilot, or along with the pilot – it set up what the ultimate and larger quest for Mulder and Scully was going to be and that – like in "The Erlenmeyer Flask", which would be the final episode of the season – that anyone was expendable and in this case, it looked like even Mulder was expendable." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features) Deep Throat's historic pseudonym is never mentioned within this episode itself, being first used by Scully in "The Erlenmeyer Flask".
  • Chris Carter noticed that clothing was a continuity difference that goes some way towards distinguishing this outing from later installments of the series, partly because he didn't approve of the polo shirt Mulder wears in this episode. "I think that was maybe the first and last polo shirt we ever saw on The X Files [....] I think the cut-off sweatshirt was soon to disappear from Mulder's wardrobe as well." Carter was also of the opinion that the wardrobe selection for Scully in this episode likewise "shows her wardrobe has been a work in progress." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • The voice-over narration in this episode's conclusion is the first of many in the series, as such narrations became a recurring narrative device in later episodes.

No information to date "Deep Throat" can be found in the episode itself. However, the CD-ROM The X-Files: Unrestricted Access dates the events of this episode to within August 1993, after the late July date of "Squeeze", as seen on a computer screen in that episode, even though "Squeeze" was produced and broadcast subsequent to this episode, and is arranged after "Deep Throat" on The X-Files Season 1 DVD.

Goofs

  • When the Men in Black pull Mulder and Scully over and confiscate their evidence, they make sure to disarm the agents as well. When one of the black-suited men removes the magazine from Scully's pistol, it appears to contain only one bullet.

Trivia

  • A newspaper article Scully reads early in this episode is written by a "C. Carter".
  • At one point, Colonel Budahas tells Mulder and Scully his birthday is November 21, 1948, the same birth date as Dori Carter née Pierson, Chris Carter's wife.
  • A numberplate Scully checks, after she and Mulder encounter Men in Black, is CC1356. These are Chris Carter's initials, birth day and abbreviated birth year.
  • Scully's writing of her field report refers to an X-file about some of the events of this episode as "#DF101364", the initials and birth date of Dana Freedman, who is now known as Dana Walden. She worked on The X-Files as a publicist before running the 20th Century Fox television studios. ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)

Reception

  • Chris Carter and Daniel Sackheim were pleased with one another's work on this episode. Remembered Carter, "I wrote this episode which he thought was great and he did a wonderful job directing it." (X-Files Confidential, p. 37) Carter specified, "I think you can't underestimate Dan Sackheim's contribution to the show – the things that he brought to this [...] mythology episode, [...] the energy that Dan brought, the know-how, choice of lenses, shooting long lens here [in the episode's first scene between Mulder and Scully], just giving the show a look and a feel that would, I think, stick with it, that other directors would emulate [....] It was really Dan I think who showed us what could be done." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • Chris Carter additionally thought this episode's cinematography was used appropriately. "This is actually a very bright show, as X-Files episodes go [....] And an episode like this, it's not a scare-fest, maybe needed a little bit of a brighter approach [than was usual on the series]." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features) He liked, too, the portrayal of Scully's confrontation with a security agent. "I thought that was a great scene where she gets in the car, and then he breaks the window. And Gillian was terrific in it, when she puts the gun up to him and says, 'Hands on the car. Do it! Do it! Do it!' It was great." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18) Carter thought the UFO that flies over Mulder was depicted well, also. He clarified, "I think this effect was particularly good, given the restrictions we had." Another scene which won Carter's approval is when Mulder, having crept onto Ellens Air Base, is chased and caught by military personnel, Carter remarking, "Dan Sackheim shot [it] so well." Yet another scene Carter responded favorably to was the last one in this episode, of which he said, "This is probably the best set-up and most effective set-up for the entire mythology of The X-Files. It's just performed so beautifully by Jerry Hardin." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • One problem Chris Carter had with this episode immediately upon viewing it was a polo shirt worn by David Duchovny herein. "Wardrobe problems being worked out all the time, I think once I saw that shirt I outlawed polo shirts on the show. It just wasn't flattering to Agent Mulder and not something I thought he would wear when he was off duty, as it were." A criticism Carter had in hindsight was the renaming of such aspects as Nellis Air Base and the "Little A'Le'Inn". He opined, "It would have been, I think, a lot better, in the end, to stick to the facts, as they were." Neither did he approve of the visual effect used to represent two fast-moving dots of light seen in the sky over Ellens Air Base, critiquing, "I think [it's] one of the worst effects we've ever done on The X-Files and it was because it was really a factor of time and money and at that point, in the early 90s, that special effects were still pretty crude and hard to do." Carter also believed this installment's plot lacks depth, observing, "I think as X-Files stories go, this is a pretty slim story. This is a lot of running around, finding very little to plot. It's actually a very slim plot." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
  • R.W. Goodwin described the sequence in which a UFO hovers above Mulder and a runway he is standing on as "my most vivid memory of the episode." (X-Files Confidential, p. 38)
  • Howard Gordon found this a successful installment. He observed, "The Army using alien technology is what made it most interesting. The whole Roswell thing and Ellis Air Force Base are the pillars of UFO mythology, so it was an appropriate and smart first choice for Chris. And then the idea of the government doing mind control... People really responded to Mulder's putting his neck on the line, seeking the truth and then getting taken himself and having his brain subjected to the same thing these pilots were subjected to." (X-Files Confidential, pp. 37–38)
  • When this episode was broadcast, persons most opposed to the selection of the Hilltop Café as a filming location noted that The Flying Saucer diner's exterior shot was so tight, the production crew could have simply opted for a diner in downtown Vancouver instead. (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 32)
  • This installment was watched by 4.51 million viewers during its UK premiere, on BBC 2. The episode was consequently the first to hit the channel's number one spot, in terms of viewer ratings. (The X-Files Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2,  p. 31)
  • Cinefantastique (Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 18) rates this episode 4 out of 4 stars. The magazine goes on to enthuse, "The X-Files' second episode remains one of its best, shot through with paranoia and welcome doses of the show's trademark dark humor [....] David Duchovny is excellent in this second episode, whether he's teasing Scully, or numbly trying to figure out what happened to him at the base. Gillian Anderson also warms to her part, especially towards the end, when the tiny Scully overpowers a security agent and holds him at gunpoint to effect Mulder's rescue." Cinefantastique also describes the sequence in which Mulder gets a close view of what is happening on Ellens Air Base as "a visually glorious scene of Spielbergian proportions."
  • In his reference book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium and The Lone Gunmen, writer Robert Shearman scored this episode 5 out of 5 stars. He critiqued, "This feels like a second pilot, much more confident in its pacing and its tone, with both Anderson and Duchovny giving the leads a depth that is surprising this early into the run. A skilfully scripted story of cover-up and paranoia, it sets up the overall themes of the show so well, it almost seems like a primer. That's all the odder when you consider it's actually a very atypical episode: it's concerned not with moments of horror, but of wonder [...] and no-one dies. What's so great about Deep Throat is the way in which it balances its political themes with something much smaller and more intimate [....] But the most haunting parts of the episode are the domestic [....] Rather brilliantly, the second episode of The X-Files has [by the end] offered us all the proof we need that the government is colluding with aliens in some form – but Scully hasn't seen the proof, and Mulder has forgotten it. It's like a mission statement. The audience now knows what our heroes need to rediscover."
  • Hereafter, The X-Files quickly gained a reputation for long days and longer nights of filming, a tradition begun with the production of this episode. (X Marks the Spot (On Location with The X-Files), p. 30) Also after the installment's creation, the name Bob Budahas became a recurring in-joke. "I don't know why but [...] people didn't believe it was a real name," recalled Chris Carter, "and I remember some of the writers would tease me about it during the course of the show." ("Deep Throat" audio commentary, The X-Files Mythology, Volume 1 - Abduction special features)
Budahas residence

A house that appears in both this episode and in episodes of Millennium.


Cast and Characters

  • Regarding the casting of Jerry Hardin as Deep Throat for this installment, Chris Carter contrasted the role to the Cigarette Smoking Man, setting out to find someone who could portray Deep Throat with a similar but different quality. Hardin's role in the 1993 Sydney Pollack movie The Firm essentially became his audition for the part and evidently won him the role. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies, p. 39) Hardin enjoyed his character's introductory scene in this installment. "That was a fun scene and a funny idea: You trap some guy in the john and give him some life-or-death information in an interesting way, then disappear," commented the actor. (Starlog, issue #211, p. 29)
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