Jeffrey Frank Spender was the son of the Cigarette Smoking Man and Cassandra Spender, as well as the paternal half-brother of Fox Mulder. He worked as a Special Agent in the FBI (wherein he was, at one point, assigned to the X-Files Unit, partnered with Special Agent Diana Fowley), until being shot by his father and subjected to medical experiments that disfigured him to the point of being unrecognizable. (TXF: "Patient X", et al.)
At a young age, Jeffrey Spender was left without his mother after she was taken for a prolonged period of time. During this time, he was raised (along with Samantha Mulder) by his father on April Air Force Base, California. (TXF: "Closure") He later went back to living with his mother, after she was returned, and his father left the family when Spender was twelve. While in his mother's care, an impressionable young Spender was unwittingly convinced by his mother that he too had been abducted and even went as far as to undergo regressive hypnotherapy, during which he described an alien encounter. (TXF: "Patient X")
Working at the FBI
Early FBI Career
After joining the FBI in his twenties, Spender had a meteoric rise through the ranks that was, unbeknown to him, due to the connections of his father. He first came into contact with Mulder and the X-files, already well aware of their reputation, when Mulder was assigned to the case regarding the reappearance of Jeffrey's mother. Agent Spender attempted to dissuade Mulder and Scully from becoming involved with her in any way, using his hypnotherapy tape as a cause in point as to the persuasive nature of his mother's apparent "delusions". He tried to help her despite his skepticism regarding her claims, but this attempt ultimately proved unsuccessful. When Cassandra was taken again, Agent Spender blamed Scully for the failure of his mother's protection. He was furious with Scully when he learned that she had been at Ruskin Dam when his mother had gone missing, as he assumed that Scully had taken Cassandra there.
Shortly thereafter, Agent Spender received a letter from his father, who had retired to Canada following an attempt on his life. Jeffrey sent the letter back to his father, unopened. (TXF: "Patient X", "The Red and the Black")
Gibson Praise Case
When a murder took place during a chess tournament, Agent Spender was placed in charge of the investigation and deliberately excluded Mulder from the case. Despite his efforts, Mulder became involved in the investigation, as did Scully, and they soon determined that the recent shooting had, in fact, been an attempt on the life of eight-year old Gibson Praise.
Agent Spender, during this case, was first assigned to work with Diana Fowley and held the captured shooter in jail, without food or water. When Mulder went to speak with the prisoner, Spender objected to this idea but did not prevent the visitation from taking place.
In the car park of FBI Headquarters, Agent Spender was approached by his father. Spender was still unaware of the man's identity but was told by the stranger that he had a promising future and that his career advancement could be aided by the mysterious man. Before their conversation could be concluded, Mulder interrupted, warning Spender to the danger that the Cigarette Smoking Man posed. With his actions now controlled by his father, Spender abused his position to ensure that Gibson was captured by his father, with no direct evidence to suggest this, while the assassin was killed in prison by a gunman. However, Mulder appeared to know of Spender's involvement and attacked him in a corridor of FBI Headquarters, having shown his distrust of him previously. An angry Spender told Mulder that he would see to it that his career was ended.
Assignment to the X-Files
Mulder and Scully were subsequently reassigned while Spender was put on the newly modified X-files, along with Diana Fowley. For the majority of his time in the FBI, Spender did not believe in the supernatural and gravely disagreed with Mulder on all things, making his position completely unproductive. He was once told by Assistant Director Walter Skinner that he had made absolutely no progress on the X-files. (TXF: "The Beginning", "Triangle", "Terms of Endearment")
Upon the return of Cassandra Spender in 1999, Jeffrey was alerted by his father that a faceless alien had killed and assumed the identity of a Syndicate member. Agent Spender was instructed, by his father, to kill the impostor using a gimlet weapon that the CSM provided him with. Jeffrey failed this task, however, which was then successfully carried out by Alex Krycek. Stunned by his first encounter with an alien, Agent Spender was "reassured" by a manipulative Krycek, who let slip that Jeffrey's father was responsible for the experiments being conducted on his mother. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
Agent Spender then had a heated debate with his father and said that he would not be able to do anything while the CSM kept him on stalling Fox Mulder. The CSM replied disgustedly, "You pale to Fox Mulder!" Turning his back on his father, Spender attempted to rescue Cassandra from Fort Marlene, but only found a traumatized Marita Covarrubias, who claimed she could help him find his mother. However, the pair were left trapped in the medical facility after Krycek spurned a chance to release them. During this time, the Syndicate were tricked and ambushed by more faceless alien rebels, who immolated the group of human conspirators along with Cassandra. Realizing the full implications of what had happened, Spender worked to get Mulder and Scully reassigned to the X Files. While in his office, he was approached by his father, who had escaped the group killing at the airbase. After a brief conversation, the CSM shot Spender, his own son, in the face. (TXF: "One Son")
Breaking into the X-Files
Spender survived having been shot. In 2002, a disfigured man broke into the X-files office, where he attacked John Doggett before eventually being apprehended by him. The man assumed the identity of Daniel Miller and claimed that he accessed the FBI building using a keycard given to him by Fox Mulder. Scully was called to talk to the man and she then ran medical tests to determine the nature of the man's burns. He claimed that he was looking for some of the X-files that Mulder told him about that somehow related to his injuries that he claimed to have come from the remnants of a government conspiracy. Meanwhile, Agents Doggett and Reyes theorized that the man was none other than Mulder himself. Scully took his blood and sent to a laboratory, finding that it was a positive match for Mulder's.
Skinner was skeptical but Doggett and Reyes were sure it was Mulder and, for a while, Scully herself also believed that. After "Mulder" injected something into baby William, however, he was put back into the interrogation room after a brief chase in which Doggett apprehended "Mulder". Scully talked to him and "Mulder" revealed to her that he was, in fact, Jeffrey Spender. This explained the nature of the DNA match (as Spender was Mulder's half-brother, due to their biological relationship to the Cigarette Smoking Man) and how he had managed to access the FBI building. He confessed that he had not seen Mulder and that what he had injected William with was done so as to protect the boy and to make him "normal". The nurse who had examined the baby earlier had said that he was perfectly fine. (TXF: "William")
Testifying for Mulder
Some time later, Spender testified for Mulder after he was convicted of infiltrating a government facility and killing super-soldier Knowle Rohrer. Spender supported Skinner's defense on the grounds of alien conspiracy and stated that, after surviving his gunshot wound, he had been taken by his father and made to suffer brutal tests. After he was dismissed, Spender exchanged nods of respect with an astonished Mulder. (TXF: "The Truth")
Jeffrey is responsible for ensuring the safety of William following his adoption. In 2016, he is attacked in a car park by a man who demands to know the boy's location, however Jeffrey manages to escape and secures himself behind a door, which forces the man to leave. Jeffrey contacts Mulder over the situation. Later on, he goes to see a hospitalized Scully, where she asks about the location of her son, however he refuses to give up the details as he made a promise to never disclose the information to anyone, Mulder and Scully included. When Scully mentions that Jeffrey's father is still alive, he dismisses her claims, as he was seemingly killed fourteen years prior.
Despite the brutal disfigurement he had back in the early 2000s, Jeffrey appears to have healed somewhat and more normal looking, apart from some scars remaining around his face. (TXF: "My Struggle III")
Character Creation & Casting
Jeffrey Spender was played by actor Chris Owens.
In episodes of The X-Files, Owens had previously guest-starred as the Young Cigarette Smoking Man in both "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" and "Demons", as well as The Great Mutato in "The Post-Modern Prometheus". Each of these portrayals influenced the creation of the character Jeffrey Spender; Owens' performance as the monster in "The Post-Modern Prometheus" impressed both Chris Carter and Mulder actor David Duchovny so, after Duchovny recommended to Carter that Owens be brought back to the series as soon as possible, Carter (thinking much along the same lines) took advantage of Owens' Cigarette Smoking Man heritage to create the character of Jeffrey Spender especially for the actor. (Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 4)
Due to Carter's and Duchovny's belief that Owens had done such a good job of portraying The Great Mutato, Owens was cast in the role of Jeffrey Spender without having to audition. Carter would later comment on how the production crew's belief in Owens as an actor had influenced the casting when Carter stated, "I think it went a long way toward making our choice an easy one." ("The Red and the Black" audio commentary)
Owens was first informed by his agent that The X-Files' production crew might want to bring the actor on as a regular. After his appearance in "The Post-Modern Prometheus", Owens was at a local movie theater to watch a film and, while ordering a martini in a bar next door, he heard someone say in his ear, 'I didn't know they served two-headed guys here.'" Owens turned to see that it was Chris Carter who had spoken. Carter shook the actor's hand and asked Owens if he had 'heard the good news', which was when the actor knew that a regular role for him on The X-Files was confirmed. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies, Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 4) Owens regarded the fact that he didn't have to audition for the part of Jeffrey Spender as a great privilege and the most substantial one he had been granted, up to that point in his acting career. (Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 4)
Appearances in Seasons 5 & 6
Chris Carter thought the introduction of Jeffrey Spender, in the Season 5 two-parter that consists of "Patient X" and "The Red and the Black", was, "The thing that actually, I think, vaults us forward past this point and into a new chapter of the mythology." ("The Red and the Black" audio commentary)
As the fifth season's production period entered its final months, rumors began to circulate – especially among The X-Files' Vancouver crew members – about the future of the series, particularly concerning whether the show would be moving to Los Angeles for its sixth season and whether the new recurring character of Jeffrey Spender was planned (in case David Duchovny cut back his commitment to the series) to become a replacement for Duchovny's character of Mulder – either as a part-time or fully-fledged substitute. Other, contradictory rumors that Owens heard were that either he or Duchovny would appear in only eight episodes of the sixth season and that his casting as Jeffrey Spender was a sign that the series would either be leaving Vancouver or staying there. According to the actor himself, he always knew that Duchovny would not be leaving the series but only discovered that The X-Files would indeed be moving to Los Angeles when the official announcement was made. (Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 4)
The Nazi Spender's fight scene with Mulder in "Triangle" necessitated the creation of a mock-up short-wave radio, as the production crew did not want to use a real vintage radio due to the hazard of actors Chris Owens and David Duchovny bumping into it, during filming. (The End and the Beginning: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 5) This fight sequence also incorporated the use of doubles to represent the Nazi Spender and his opponent. ("Triangle" audio commentary)
The scene in which the Nazi Spender pulls a gun on the 1930s Scully for angrily ordering him to stop killing innocent civilians is, according to Chris Carter, "a sort of allusion to the earlier scene where Scully had told Spender what to do." Another similarity between the two relationships has each Spender being likened to a weasel by Scully; Agent Spender is told by the modern Scully, "Don't even think about trying to weasel me," and the Nazi Spender is shouted at by the 1930s Scully (during her protest), "Listen to me, you little weasel." ("Triangle" audio commentary)
Shortly after the airing of "Terms of Endearment" in January 1999, Owens started to notice strange reactions from people on the streets of Los Angeles and assumed their odd expressions were those of annoyance with the Spender character and/or the fact he had destroyed evidence in that episode. One day, a particularly aggravated male fan of the series shook his finger at Owens and just said, "Paper shredder!" (The End and the Beginning: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 5)
According to Owens, he first learned of Spender's seeming demise in "One Son" via the usual way – when Chris Carter phoned the actor to discuss his latest script – and, upon Carter telling him that Jeffrey Spender would make an heroic exit from the series' story arc, Owens questioned himself about this news as he was slightly unable to believe that he was leaving the series so soon. Apparently, the news of Spender's departure from the series was confirmed for him shortly thereafter, however, when he received the episode's script. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies)
Langly actor Dean Haglund, claiming he was repeating Owens' account of having first learned of Spender's fate in "One Son", once recounted a different story. According to Haglund, "The script came, "One Son" came, with a couple of pages missing. And those pages were what happens to Agent Spender. So Chris Carter calls Chris Owens and they're talking on the phone and he goes, 'Listen, I don't want you to be upset, but you get shot in this episode, but they don't find a body, so you may come back.' [...] He hangs up the phone, and silently, under the door, slips the actual scene where he gets shot. It's just quietly slipped under his door, like the courier was just listening at the door for Chris to tell him before he actually gives him the information. And then he just looks at it and thinks, 'Oh my God, I'm in an X-Files episode! How creepy is this?'" (The X-Files (season 6) DVD Special Features; "The Truth About Season 6")
When it came time to film Jeffrey Spender's final scene in "One Son", actor William B. Davis (playing his usual role of the Cigarette Smoking Man) became upset, saying that he didn't want to shoot Owens and adding that he enjoyed working with the actor. On the other hand, Davis had no trouble with slapping Owens, in a scene of "Two Fathers" in which Spender is twice hit by the CSM. (The End and the Beginning: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 5)
Agent Spender (along with Alex Krycek) was included in early discussions of William B. Davis' script for the Season 7 episode "En Ami", shortly after Davis started conversing with Frank Spotnitz about the story, but Spender (as well as Krycek) was eliminated from the plot early in the episode's writing process. (all things: The Official Guide to The X-Files, volume 6)
Three years after Jeffrey Spender had been written out of the series and actor Chris Owens had moved to Toronto, Owens received an unexpected phone call from David Duchovny, who said that The X-Files' production crew was filming the series' finale as well as the second-to-last episode and that he wanted to bring Spender back for these two episodes. Duchovny reassured Owens that Spender's survival of the shooting years earlier could be explained away via the plot device of an alien injection but mentioned that the experience would not be fun for Owens, as he would be "under all that shit"; Owens did not realize what Duchovny meant until he got to the studio and personally saw the makeup for Spender's disfigured appearance, a sight that shocked Owens. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies)
Regarding the design work that went into this makeup, director Kim Manners said, "That makeup job that Chris Owens endured probably took maybe six hours. Cheri Metcalfe, she would come up with these designs and sketches and bring them to myself and Chris [Carter] and Frank [Spotnitz], and the three of us would pow-wow with Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, and most of those makeup decisions or any creative decision were really kind of done or decided as a team." ("The Truth" audio commentary)
The script of "The Truth" introduces Jeffrey Spender by stating, "If you watched the series lately you'll recognize Spender. If you haven't, you are looking at a man whose face has been burned off. Whose scarred, hideous, almost inhuman features are 'disguised' under prosthetics."
After Spender gives his testimony and fails to defend Mulder, the script states, "Spender looks to Mulder. He rises and shuffles past the table where he and Skinner sit, mouthing the words: 'I'm sorry.' Mulder notes gratefully, while Skinner dies inside." None of these actions are included in the final version of the episode, however.
Archive footage of Jeffrey Spender being shot by his father in "One Son" is included in both "William" and "The Truth". The latter of these two episodes also includes a flash-cut montage of Spender being subjected to experiments that were first similarly shown in "William", as well as archive footage of Agent Spender being confronted by Mulder in a corridor from the episode "The End".
|Appearances for Jeffrey Spender|
|Agents Assigned to the X-Files|
|Arthur Dales||Fox Mulder||Dana Scully||Jeffrey Spender|
|Diana Fowley||John Doggett||Leyla Harrison||Monica Reyes|