Frank Black was a highly skilled criminal investigator within the Federal Bureau of Investigation who had the gift to put himself into the killer's mind and imagine himself as the killer. He had frequent dealings with the Millennium Group after he retired and moved to Seattle, Washington. (MM: "Pilot")
- Although his daughter, Jordan, and his wife, Catherine, featured in most episodes of Millennium, his mother and father were only seen in "Midnight of the Century" and his brother only appeared in "Sacrament".
- The Old Man referred to Frank as "Franklin" in "Beware of the Dog" and "Roosters," however, Black stated "My name is not Franklin." This suggests that "Frank" is short for Franklin and Frank Black doesn't go by that name, or that the Old Man preferred to address Frank by this name, even though it wasn't actually his name.
Childhood & Teenage Years
- "Walkabout" and "Goodbye to All That" give Frank Black's birth date as July 21, 1947. This is impossible, however, as "Midnight of the Century" establishes that he was 5 in 1946. It is more probable that the 1947 birth date is erroneous.
On Halloween of 1946, Frank went trick-or-treating with three other boys. One of the houses that the boys visited was a creepy, old building belonging to a Mr. Crocell. In a garden at the front of the house, it was decided that one boy would go inside the building while the others would wait outside. Frank was fooled into thinking he had been randomly selected by a boy who first mistakenly selected himself. Ignoring a friend's advice not to become afraid as he would return, Frank cautiously wandered up to the building's entrance, knocked on the door and, with Mr. Crocell's permission, ventured into the house.
There, Mr. Crocell told Frank the meaning of Halloween, and how, on Halloween night, the spirits of the dead reportedly returned to visit the living. When Mr. Crocell, a veteran of World War II who had lost many friends in combat, asked the young Frank if such a thing was possible, Frank answered that there was no such thing as ghosts. As Frank's "treat", Mr. Crocell offered him a cigarette. (MM: "The Curse of Frank Black")
Before December 25 of that year, at least one member of Frank's family noticed he had a different sense others didn't have that was similar but not exactly the same as visions his mother was reportedly having that included seeing many angels and a premonition of her own death.
On the night of December 24, Frank was sitting with his parents when his mother began to head upstairs. Although he succeeded in momentarily attracting her attention, he failed to prevent her from heading into a room upstairs, where she died alone. Frank would forget much about this incident, however. (MM: "Midnight of the Century")
- David Marx may have been one of the children who accompanied Frank when he went trick-or-treating in The Curse of Frank Black.
One night, Frank went with his brothers and their friends to a deep, dark pond that he had always feared. Some of his brothers' friends started to tease Frank to go under the water, as they had been doing, and one of them soon decided to play a trick on him; while one of his brothers distracted Frank by splashing him, another boy dived down and suddenly pulled him under the water. Frank's brother who had been splashing him was the only one who did not think the trick was funny and, after Frank resurfaced, his brother submerged the boy who had pulled Frank underwater, accidentally drowning the boy. Frank kept the incident a secret. In 1999, he recalled that he had never been so scared in his life and that the incident had haunted him. (MM: "Seven and One")
- Frank's memories in "Seven and One" seem to complicate his family line as he specifically states, for the first time in the series, that he had more than one brother. This would seem to contradict an obituary seen earlier, in "Midnight of the Century", which clearly states that Frank's mother, Linda, was survived by only two sons, Frank and Thomas.
When Frank was in the second grade, he heard an instructor comment that, to the inhabitants of Earth, the stars seemed fixed and the planets sluggish but, from the stars' perspective, Earth's solar system was chaotically active. (MM: "Luminary")
- The historical accuracy of this event is possibly questionable, as it is unknown whether Frank is joking when, in "Luminary", he remarks about hearing a lecturer comment on the stars, "I think he said the same thing when I was in the second grade".
One day in the fall of 1955, when Frank was aged 14, he returned to Mr. Crocell's house in a car with four of his teenaged friends. Although all Frank and the other boys saw was a stretcher covered with a white sheet being wheeled out of Mr. Crocell's house and into an ambulance, Frank realised that Mr. Crocell had killed himself. He disagreed with his friends when they vilified Mr. Crocell, prompting one of the boys to rhetorically ask how he would know their theories were inaccurate. (MM: "The Curse of Frank Black")
Seattle Police Officer
From the moment he became an adult, Frank spent his life trying to understand how the mind of a killer worked - how they thought and felt. (MM: "Covenant") He joined the Seattle Police Department, where he worked Homicide with Lieutenant Bob Bletcher and the two officers ultimately became friends. (MM: "Pilot") On several occasions, Lieutenant Bletcher noted that Frank was continuing work after everyone else had gone home. (MM: "Blood Relatives")
- In the episode, Bob Bletcher sees Frank working late in Seattle Public Safety Building and remarks, "Like old times, huh? You're still here when everyone else has gone home". This might be an indication that Frank and Bletcher were based in the same building when they served in Seattle Police Department together.
FBI Training and Early Career
Frank joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation when it was all still called the Behavioral Science Unit, in or before 1977. (MM: "The Innocents", "The Thin White Line") While assigned to the FBI, he worked in the Behavioral Sciences Unit at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. (MM: "Lamentation")
- It is not entirely clear when Frank joined the FBI or when he worked at Quantico's Behavioral Sciences Unit.
In 1977, two bodies were found lying near one half of the same death card, which were used by soldiers in Vietnam to designate their kills. The week after the first two murders, two more bodies were discovered. Frank correctly believed that the murderer, known as the Death Card Killer, was actually Richard Alan Hance - a soldier who had returned from Vietnam that year. After the first four deaths, there was a lull in the killer's activities and the FBI consequently believed the murderer had went away.
However, Richard Alan Hance resumed his murderous actions. The Seattle Police Department received an anonymous call regarding the Death Card Killer's whereabouts and found evidence that the murderer may have squatted in a condemned building but was long gone. After the police had finished inspecting the area, Frank and several FBI agents arrived outside the condemned building that night. They had been assigned to determine whether anything more could be learned from the killer's abandoned belongings.
As rain beat down on their umbrellas, Frank stood with the agent in charge, who asked him if he was able to "get any feelings about this one". Frank replied that he believed the FBI had been provided with accurate information because the abandoned building was sufficiently isolated at night to resemble an urban version of the farm in Montana where Richard Alan Hance had killed his grandfather. The agent in charge then announced that, even though the building had been swept by the Seattle PD, there were still many places where the killer could be hiding. Frank and the other agents checked their weapons before the agent in charge told them to use caution and sent them into the building.
The agents entered in pairs - Frank accompanied his partner, Agent Riley, and they were followed by another team consisting of Agents Johnson and Clark. Each agent had his gun drawn and was carrying a flashlight, using it to check every corner as they worked their way through the building.
Johnson and Clark headed upstairs while Frank and Riley continued searching the first floor, room by room, with Frank leading the way. He soon discovered the remains of some food, including a can of Smeat - a canned meat product. Turning to Riley, Frank asked for cover before he holstered his gun, cautiously knelt down, picked up the can and smelled it. The odor was pungent and Frank realized that the food was decomposing. He estimated that the killer had been in the room less than forty-eight hours before. Referring to Frank's skilled detective work, Riley joked that he "must be great at parties" but Frank remained serious. He removed his gun from its holster and continued searching with his partner.
Upstairs, Johnson and Clark became separated. Johnson found Clark's deceased body, which had been slit at the neck, and was attacked himself by Richard Alan Hance. The noise of Johnson falling to the floor alerted Frank and Riley to the commotion and they raced upstairs. They searched for Johnson and Clark, whose bodies had been hidden by the killer. Frank and Riley, who decided to separate in their search, were consequently unable to find Johnson and Clark.
As Frank rounded a corner, he came face to face with Riley, who claimed he had almost mistakenly shot Frank in the dark. Frank admitted he was certain that the killer was nearby but Riley had made the mistake of assuming that Johnson and Clark were searching on the third floor of the building and relayed his assumption to Frank as if it were fact. Riley and Frank headed in separate directions, continuing their cautious search.
Sensing something from inside one of the rooms, Frank turned back to Riley but he was already ascending a flight of steps to the building's third floor. Frank continued to enter the room and searched it. He heard a creak and realized the noise had come from a closed door in the room. When he opened the door, Johnson's body fell on top of him from inside, pinning him to the ground. Richard Alan Hance appeared as if from nowhere and placed his foot over Frank's right wrist. The pain of Frank's hand being crushed caused him to lose his grasp on his gun and he dropped the weapon on the floor. With a sharp-bladed knife, Hance slashed a line in Frank's right palm. Frank grimaced in pain and tried to stand up but the weight of Johnson's body atop him prevented his escape. Hance whispered "Joker" as he dropped a torn half of a playing card near Frank. Kneeling down close to Frank's face, Hance asked Frank, "Can you see what I see, FBI? Can you see your fear? Can you see what you really are?"
The killer stood back up and was about to stab Frank when Riley entered the room and fired his gun, wounding the murderer. Hance returned fire, shooting Riley until his weapon was empty. Finally, Frank managed to escape from under Johnson's body. He picked up his own gun from off the ground and targeted the killer holding the weapon in his uninjured left hand. Frank ordered Hance to drop his gun but the murderer did not comply and continued to aim his weapon at Frank. The FBI agent cocked his gun at Hance, shouting at the murderer to "give [him] a reason" to fire. Eventually, the killer surrendered and slowly placed his gun on the floor. Slumped on the ground in pain, the murderer requested an ambulance and sniggered. Frank grimaced at the killer in anger and disgust.
As Hance had taken the lives of Clark, Johnson and Riley, Frank believed he had almost been the second of a pair. For the rest of his life, he would bear a scar left by the knife wound. He would also keep a constant check on Richard Alan Hance, who was ultimately placed in Washington Correctional Center. (MM: "The Thin White Line")
From 1979 to 1986, a series of nineteen murders committed in San Francisco were attributed to the enigmatic serial killer Avatar. The only survivor of the murders described the killer as wearing a robe and a hood. The murderer would kill couples, take souvenirs, and taunt the police. According to Frank, he himself practically lived with the numbers 696314 when he was in the FBI, as they were related to a file on Avatar. Frank learned that the killer's first victim had been from Sheboygan, Wisconsin but had been found in San Jose, and that numbers written on a wall next to the victim were actually the co-ordinates of San Francisco in atlases. He also learned the locations of several other sites used by Avatar to drop bodies, and discovered that Avatar's favorite operetta was The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan.
On the night of December 2, 1982, Avatar shot and consequently killed his eighth victim, a cab driver, on a crowded street. The driver was soon discovered and, still covered with blood, Avatar was seen heading into a public park. Frank was sent into the park, accompanied by forty police officers. Using flashlights, the police searched all night. At one point, Frank felt the killer but his own instincts were not completely refined and he was too slow to react, allowing the killer time to escape. The police found no-one and gave up their search at dawn. Days later, however, a letter arrived, with a swatch of bloodied clothing. In the letter, Avatar accurately described dozens of officers who had been searching for him in the park. He included such intricate detail as the officers' badge numbers, implying that he had been extremely close to the officers even though none of them had seen him. The letter proved that Frank had been close enough to stop the murderer and he blamed himself for having failed to do so.
Avatar also sent four ciphers to San Francisco newspapers, three of which were published and cracked by an amateur cryptographer. The fourth was reportedly never decoded, but a small group including Frank secretly did crack it and led people to believe that it had not been cracked. The fourth cipher was a paraphrased quote from a poem by Henry James. The original was, "we work in the dark, we do what we can, we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, our passion is our task, and the rest is the madness of art". However, Avatar changed the last word to "pain", so that the last line read, "the rest is the madness of pain". Frank later estimated that maybe only ten people in the US knew there had been a fourth cipher, as the fact of its existence was never made public.
After the unsuccessful night search for Avatar, eleven more unexplained murders were subsequently attributed to the killer, before he apparently stopped for a break of twelve years, starting from 1986. (MM: "The Mikado")
That same year, Frank moved to Washington, D.C.. He worked on sexual homicide cases for ten years, eventually becoming "a big star at the FBI". (MM: "Pilot") He made many friends there, including Andy McClaren. (MM: "The Innocents") He also became a member of ViCAP, but later left the program. (MM: "Gehenna")
- In the pilot episode, Frank says that he and his family have been living in Washington, D.C. for "ten years" prior to 1996. This could either be an accurate date or merely a rough approximation.
- It is unclear exactly when Frank Black investigated sexual homicide cases, only that he was assigned to that task over an undefined stretch of ten years. In "Pilot", Bob Bletcher recalls that he had heard investigating those cases had "pushed [Frank] into early retirement". Other episodes reveal that Frank retired sometime between 1992 and 1996, giving the start of his work on sexual homicide cases sometime between 1982 and 1986. Although he is said to have moved to Washington, D.C. "ten years" prior to 1996, he may have started investigating sexual homicide cases before that, while he was in Seattle.
- It is also unknown when Frank was a member of ViCAP, but it is possible that he left the program before retiring from the FBI.
Prior to 1991, Frank met Catherine Miller, who was also from Seattle. (MM: "Seven and One", "Pilot") The two slept together several times and eventually married. (MM: "Siren", "Pilot") The Hunziger family, which included a father, mother and their only son, attended the wedding. Frank learned that the father, who was a friend of Catherine's father, was an officer in naval intelligence. (MM: "Paper Dove")
- It is never clearly specified when Frank first met Catherine or when they married. In the pilot episode, he says, "We've been in Washington, D.C. for the past ten years", which could mean that, like Frank, Catherine also moved to Washington, D.C. in 1986 or that they married in that year. It can be determined from information regarding the age, and therefore also the birth year, of Jordan from "Seven and One" that Frank first met Catherine sometime before 1991. The surnames of Catherine's parents are given as Miller in episode credits and it can therefore be assumed that her own surname was also Miller before Frank married her. Although "Paper Dove" establishes that the Hunziger family attended the wedding, it is only made clear that the father was present at the ceremony and the episode does not specify whether the entire family was present or, if not, whether the mother or son was absent.
In 1991, Frank's wife, Catherine, gave birth to a girl who they named Jordan. (MM: "Seven and One", "Pilot") Because he or his wife had been diagnosed as being unable to conceive, Frank considered their daughter as being a miracle. (MM: "Pilot") When Catherine went into labor, Frank took her to a large, six-story building in Seattle that served as a hospital. (MM: "Goodbye, Charlie") In 1997, Frank remarked that the day his daughter was born, even though late in his life, was the most important day of his life. He described her appearance at birth as having a head shaped like a football and hands that were as wrinkled as a 90-year-old man's. He also recalled thinking that she looked like she had traveled a thousand light years. According to Frank, everyone in the room where she had been born "got zapped by God", the nurses and doctors present in the room were "all jaded" and they, as well as himself, were all "stoned from the joy of this experience", the significance of which he believed was hard to forget. He also realized that he had been thinking he had "manufactured" himself and had forgotten he had ever been born. Frank believed that, from the day she was born and thereafter, his daughter gave him a gift to be able to look at every man and see a child within them. (MM: "Monster") Catherine and Frank posed for a photograph with their new baby daughter shortly after she was born. (MM: "The Sound of Snow")
- On Jordan's birthday, as seen in "Seven and One", eight candles are on her birhday cake. It can therefore be assumed that Jordan is eight at the time of the episode, set in 1999, and that she was born in 1991.
In the same year, Frank profiled Doctor Ephraim Fabricant and learned of his appetite for death when the two spoke. Fabricant's obsession with death eventually became overwhelming, resulting in his torture and murder of five nurses in Cedar Falls. Frank helped catch Dr. Fabricant, who then faced the death penalty. However, Frank wanted to tap Fabricant's mind and study the killer so that he might learn the nature of evil. Frank believed an understanding of Fabricant's pathology would help to catch other human predators, men who acted without conscience on irresistible impulses. The judge agreed with Frank and, on his recommendation, stopped Fabricant from facing the death penalty. Frank's profile of the killer stated that Fabricant was only interested in freedom so that he could continue to kill. The FBI ultimately learned a lot from Fabricant and he became an asset to behavioral science. (MM: "Lamentation")
- In one scene of "Lamentation", which is set in 1997, Frank Black states that it has been six years since Dr. Fabricant has "touched, tasted or indulged his interests", providing evidence that he was jailed in 1991.
In 1992, Frank worked as part of an FBI investigative team that included an agent named Ardis Cohen. The group attempted to catch a homicidal serial killer who murdered priests, although the team was unsuccessful. They did not know at the time that the killer was Galen Calloway, who, on September 29, 1992, was convicted of vehicular manslaughter related to driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to five years in a state prison. Members of the FBI team incorrectly suspected that the unidentified murderer had simply stopped killing and they closed the case until further notice. (MM: "Kingdom Come")
In the same year, Jake Waterston was wanted for kidnapping, raping and murdering three nurses in Newport News, Virginia. Frank chased the killer, but the man eluded capture. (MM: "The Wild and the Innocent")
According to his wife, Catherine, Frank would occasionally "vanish" in 1992, sometimes for days at a time, and would check into hotels using the name David Marx. Shortly thereafter, he collapsed. (MM: "Walkabout")
With other FBI agents, Frank investigated a serial killer named Ed Cuffle in Minnesota. The killer would take Polaroids of his victims which he would send to the police. After months of trying to catch Ed Cuffle, the FBI finally did so and he was sent to prison with triple life sentences.
A year later, however, Frank was sent a letter with no return address that contained several Polaroids of his wife, Catherine, in various locations. (MM: "Pilot") He never discovered who had sent the pictures, but whoever it was terrorized him. (MM: "Pilot", "Lamentation") The numbness he had previously experienced concerning the unspeakable cruelty of the crimes he was investigating suddenly became paralyzing fear or understanding, having developed a kind of facility to see what a killer saw. (MM: "Pilot", "Gehenna")
- In the pilot episode, Frank claims that he was paralyzed by fear. However, in "Gehenna", his wife makes a point of saying that he wasn't paralyzed by fear, but by understanding.
Because the case had become personal, Frank went insane. (MM: "Dead Letters") He found it almost impossible to leave his house, convinced that he shouldn't go to work when he was incapable of protecting his own family. (MM: "Pilot") He was afraid to leave his wife alone and found it extremely difficult to let his daughter out of his sight, aware that her very existence was miraculous. (MM: "Gehenna", "Pilot") Frank's wife tried to help him remember that he was a good person but Frank would not hear her. (MM: "Dead Letters")
- In "Dead Letters", Frank's wife tells him, "You didn't hear me back then", but she does not clarify which occasion she is referring to. However, it seems likely that Catherine Black was talking about Frank's breakdown, as many of the other references to his past in the early episodes of Millennium refer to that specific period.
- In the episode "Weeds", Frank tells his wife, Catherine, about a case he worked on involving a kidnapper who would pick up kids at bus stops, take them to his cabin in the woods, torture them for seven or eight days and then return them to the bus stops, as if nothing had ever happened. According to Frank, the kidnapper was never caught, but suddenly stopped without explanation. In "Covenant", Frank reveals that he once had a case in which a man stabbed himself 27 times - three times in the heart - and lived. It is unclear when Frank investigated these cases, but it's likely that he worked on them prior to his retirement, as they are not cases he investigates in Millennium. In "Kingdom Come", Frank tells killer Galen Calloway that he has "seen children murdered in their beds". The timing of this is even more unclear, as it was not necessarily one of Frank's cases. Also, there is a possibility he is actually lying (it is, after-all, a killer he is talking to, and not someone close to him, such as his wife) or that he may have only watched it on television and not in reality. If Frank is being completely honest and did witness children being murdered in their beds in real life, it seems probable that he saw such an absurdly horrific crime while working as a Seattle police officer or in the FBI.
Frank finally managed to overcome his ordeal when Mike Atkins, a member of a group of men who called themselves the Millennium Group, brought him to the organization. Atkins and the other members of the Millennium Group helped Frank understand the nature of his "gift" and convinced him to return to a realm, for the safety of his family and his sanity, he never wanted to experience again. Atkins also convinced Frank that he could be of service again and, believing that the Millennium Group was a criminal investigative consulting firm, he agreed to work with them. (MM: "Pilot", "Gehenna", "Luminary", "Owls")
- In "Pilot", when asked how he beat his nervous breakdown, Frank replies, "I was approached by a group of men who helped me understand the nature of my facility... my gift." In "Gehenna", Frank tells Mike Atkins, "You're the reason I was even able to come back to work, Mike, that I'm a member of the Group." The same episode also establishes that the Millennium Group included Mike Atkins. In "Luminary", Frank is questioned by several members of the Millennium Group and, when asked "why are you here", he tells them, "Mike Atkins brought me to the Group. He helped me understand the nature of my gift and convinced me that I could be of service again." In "Owls", Frank recalls, "The Group, Millennium, convinced me to return to a realm, for the safety of my family, my sanity, I never wanted to experience again.... I agreed to work for them because I believed that they were a criminal investigative consulting firm". Note that the "group of men" referred to in Frank's statement from "Pilot" is not necessarily referring to the Millennium Group, although such an interpretation seems the most likely as both are said to have helped Frank understand the nature of his "gift".
In 1996, Frank moved back to Seattle with his wife, Catherine, who was also from Seattle, and their daughter, Jordan. Catherine had visited their new home at 1910 Ezekiel Drive before moving there, but Frank had since painted the house yellow. He met their new neighbor, Jack Meredith, and told him that he had returned to Seattle because he wanted to "come home and put some roots down". (MM: "Pilot")
While he remained a private citizen, Frank went back to work because he had to - it had become a part of his identity. (MM: "The Judge", "Gehenna") He was reunited with his old friend, Bob Bletcher, and met Detective Bob Geibelhouse. The detective was aware that Frank had once caught a serial killer named Leon Cole Piggett, who had prepared his victims in a skillet with potatoes and onions before he ate them.
- It is unclear whether Frank was working in Seattle or Washington, D.C. when he caught Leon Cole Piggett.
Frank worked with Bletcher and Geibelhouse in an attempt to catch a murderer known as the "Frenchman". Millennium Group member Peter Watts introduced himself to Frank during this investigation and provided him with information on the case. One night in the Seattle Public Safety Building, Frank was attacked by the Frenchman. However, he was saved by Lieutenant Bletcher, who shot and killed the murderer.
Shortly thereafter, Frank brought a puppy home with him that he gave to his daughter and opened a letter sent to him that contained Polaroids of his wife and daughter in various locations in Seattle. He realized that the person who had previously sent him Polaroids had followed his family and himself while they had relocated. (MM: "Pilot") Frank sent the pictures to Mike Atkins, asking him to keep them and their existence secret.
While investigating a case in San Francisco with Peter Watts, Frank first met and worked with Jim Penseyres, who had worked at ViCAP just after Frank had left. The investigators were soon joined by Mike Atkins, who returned the Polaroids to Frank and revealed that he had kept the pictures secret. Although Atkins had come to the conclusion that the photographer's sole objective was to terrorize Frank, he claimed to have been unable to obtain much forensic evidence from the pictures. Frank admitted to Mike Atkins that the case he was currently investigating seemed to be unlike any other case he had ever seen, an assessment that Atkins agreed with.
The case concerned male teenage victims who had been terrorized into fearing an all-powerful beast they reported to have seen in "the red rain" before they died. While investigating the case, Frank himself claimed to have seen the hideous face of the beast on the day he had arrived in San Francisco and struggled to understand the nature of evil - something he had previously thought he understood. A murderous cult leader was ultimately arrested in suspicion of having killed at least one of the terrorized teenage boys though Frank, having returned to Seattle at Mike Atkins' recommendation, was not directly involved in the arrest. (MM: "Gehenna")
Shortly thereafter, Frank worked on a case in Portland, Oregon with James Horn, who was being considered by the Millennium Group for recruitment. When they met, Horn admitted to having heard a lot about Frank from Steve Choleski at ISU. Frank revealed that, unlike Horn, he had never been separated from his wife. (MM: "Dead Letters")
In late 1999, Frank Black checked himself into the Hartwell Psychiatric Hospital in Woodbridge, Virginia. He initially intended to stay there for thirty days, but eventually ended up living there for several months.
In late December of that year, FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully sought Black's help to catch a necromancer. Mulder knew Black only by reputation, as he was considered by many to be the best criminal profiler who attended Quantico. (TXF: "Millennium")
- 1966- Seattle Police Department, supervisor Bob Bletcher
- 1977- FBI Academy student, instructor Mike Atkins
- 1977-1995 FBI Agent, Violent Crimes Section, partners Agents Gilbert, Kane and Dixon
- 1996-1999 Millennium Group candidate
- 1998-1999 FBI Consultant, Violent Crimes Section, supervisor Assistant Director Andy McClaren, partner Emma Hollis
Grandparents and Ancestors
- Although Frank claims to remember that this was true of both his parents and grandparents "forty or fifty years" before 1996, his mother died on December 24, 1946, and at least some of his memories therefore must have originated before that date, about fifty years prior to his recollection.
Main article: Henry Black
Main article: Linda Black
Main article: Thomas Black
Once, Thomas badly wanted a bike for Christmas. Although his father told him that he would definitely not get the bike, Frank was given it as a gift on Christmas morning. He watched as Tom excitedly jumped on the bike. However, Tom accidentally scratched the bike against their father's car. When their father saw the scratch, Frank vouched for Tom and lied that he was the one who had scratched the car.
In 1997, Tom and his wife asked Frank to serve as their newborn son's godfather. On February 4 of that year, Frank was present at the baby's baptism. When Tom's wife, Helen, went missing the same day, Frank searched for her with the help of the Seattle Police Department. Tom visited the Seattle Public Safety Building, where Frank worked. After his wife had been missing for nearly four hours, Tom became worried that the Seattle PD had no suspects yet but Frank assured him that the police were looking and believed that Tom was doing everything he could.
- The Season 3 Millennium episode "Seven and One" seems to complicate Frank Black's family line as he specifically states, for the first time, that he had more than one brother. This would seem to contradict an obituary seen in "Midnight of the Century" which clearly states that Frank's mother, Linda, was survived by two sons, Frank and Thomas. The only episode in which any of Frank's brothers appears is "Sacrament", which features Thomas Black.
Main article: Jordan Black
Main article: Catherine Black
Colleagues and Mentors
Main article: Mike Atkins
Main article: Robert Bletcher
Main article: Bob Geibelhouse
Main article: Andy McClaren
Main article: Emma Hollis
Millennium Group Members
Main article: Old Man
Main article: Peter Watts
Main article: Lara Means
Main article: Lucy Butler
A documentary entitled "Order In Chaos: Making Millennium Season One" is available on the Season 1 Millennium DVD and includes interview footage with Millennium creator Chris Carter, co-executive producer Ken Horton and director David Nutter.
In the documentary, Chris Carter recalls, "I had this idea for a character in mind that became Frank Black and it sort of took shape over time, but I was under the gun... A retired FBI agent, and the idea of the prophecies, Nostradamus, taking the poetry, the millennial, apocalyptic poetry: those things were sort of added on to this idea of this character, a person who wanted to retire from something but could not, and that was basically the long and short of that; it didn't require much research." Carter later comments, "I think, you know, like a good... like Shane, like any cowboy, any good movie, Western movie, the hero is always very self-reliant, quiet, capable, dangerous. That's what I saw Frank Black as."
As for casting the role, Carter reveals, "There was a moment when Bill Hurt's name was mentioned, and I think it was one of those ideas that everyone gets excited about without thinking about the reality of it. So, while his name may have been mentioned, I doubt Bill Hurt ever knew that he was even up for this role. So Lance Henriksen really was the first and last choice."
Director David Nutter remembers, "Chris had come to me with the name of Lance Henriksen and I jumped up and down and said, "Absolutely. That’s exactly the guy you want." You want that everyman, but also you want someone as far as Frank Black is concerned that has lived life, and has seen hell, and has reached for heaven but not often had it."
Actor Lance Henriksen recalls that his agent sent him the script of Millennium's pilot episode and he remembers thinking, "the character was, I thought, really exciting, 'cos it’s a new idea, a new kind of person." At the time, however, Henriksen wanted to work on movies rather than on television and the Fox network also had some initial concerns. According to Ken Horton, "They wanted somebody hot, in his thirties. At worst, in his early thirties."
David Nutter recalls that he, Chris Carter and Lance Henrikson went for lunch together and began to speak about Frank Black, about how important the character was and how they aimed to make the series and the character unlike any other private detective on television.
According to Lance Henriksen, "My first question to Chris was, "How are you going to make this hero a hero? I mean, it is so dark, how are you going to handle this?" And he said that the fact that the guy is a stand-up guy through all of this is what makes him a hero. Not that I was looking for a hero role, but I knew you had to care about this guy." Regarding Carter, Henriksen later notes, "He was very, very convincing. All the questions I had, he answered. The way it all went down was pretty outrageous."
Regarding the actor, co-executive producer John Peter Kousakis says, "That role was written for him and there isn’t a person who has viewed that series that doesn’t believe that from the get-go."
Although Frank Black was usually played by Lance Henriksen, A.J. Adamson also appeared as younger versions of the character in the Season 2 Millennium episodes, "The Curse of Frank Black" and "Midnight of the Century", as well as the Season 3 episode, "Seven and One". Additionally, Shaun Toplass played Frank Black aged 14 years old in "The Curse of Frank Black".
Cinematographer Robert McLachlan reveals that a very minimalist lighting approach was usually used on Millennium. He comments, "The fact that Lance Henriksen’s face is so fantastic, and he’s got these amazing eyes, it didn’t matter where in a room you put a light, it would always seem to catch in his eyes. So I never really needed to have that much there."
In one of the last scenes to be filmed for the pilot, Lance Henriksen had to stand in front of a roomful of men and describe how the Frenchman viewed the world. According to Chris Carter, "In playing some of his other movie parts, he had fallen into some habits and I asked him to take some of those things away which may have been applicable to other roles, but for what I was looking for, I wanted a very still, quiet and powerful character."
David Nutter states, "One thing Chris Carter once told me was, when people speak with their hands and so forth, they’re selling something, and so, basically, I took that very, very seriously and wanted Lance to not do that." Although Lance Henriksen was challenged by the prospect of acting without using his hands, David Nutter remembers, "when he fought through that, and fought through those things he felt he needed to do, there was a beautiful honesty that was revealed."
According to Ken Horton, Lance Henriksen later remarked, "It's the best scene I have ever done in anything... From that moment, I understood the character completely. I understood what he was doing. He’s not a hard-sell guy. He’s a guy who says what he has to say. If you buy his shit, great. If you don’t, he moves on."
Lance Henrikson also found that adjusting to a busy television schedule was challenging. "You get to a fatigue that is so deep, it feels like despair. And I was doing a very dark character. So besides looking into the abyss, I felt the despair from fatigue and it started working on me a little bit," Henriksen explains. "I wasn’t difficult to live with for anybody but my wife. On the weekends, she’d say, "Frank Black, can Lance come out and play, please? Leave him at the door."
Regarding the actor, John Peter Kousakis notes, "He began, after the season got under way, to adjust to it. Found it, of course, at times, to be very frustrating but he was terrific in that role."
Frank Black's Ability
According to several of the interviewees, including Lance Henriksen and Frank Spotnitz, Frank Black's "gift" was never meant to be perceived as a psychic or supernatural ability, as some viewers thought of it. In the Pilot, Lt. Bletcher directly asks Frank if he is psychic and Frank simply replies, "No." Lance Henriksen explains, "I thought he was a forensic profiler, but he was also like a brilliant chess player. He saw the outcome, and when something would happen, he would see a larger picture and a larger outcome down the road."
Frank Spotnitz states, "At least for me, and I think for Chris, we never wanted to cross the line into the supernatural with any of that. It was more about an exquisite sensitivity to the way some people think, to the monstrous way some people think."
Three members of the Academy Group, a real-life organization of retired FBI agents who do detective work and use their FBI skills for corporations and individuals, met with Chris Carter, Lance Henriksen and other production personnel. Henriksen remarks, "Their way of approaching things was very helpful, because it meant that you didn’t come in with preconceived ideas." However, Henriksen also recounts, "When the flashbacks and things would happen in the show, I would get a little embarrassed by it, because I knew that these guys, if they could have flashbacks like that, they would be grateful to have a flashback that was accurate."
Frank Black is referenced in the title of the Season 2 Millennium episode "The Curse of Frank Black".
Frank Black appeared in a five issue comic book sequel for Millennium by IDW Publishing from January to August 2015.