Reggie Purdue was an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was also the ASAC of Agent Fox Mulder, while both were in the FBI's Violent Crimes Section. The two remained friends for many years but, in 1993, Reggie Purdue was killed by John Barnett, a criminal whom both Agents Purdue and Mulder had past history with, while having a phone conversation with Mulder. (TXF: "Young at Heart")
Wife's Death & Early Relationship with Mulder
On the day when Mulder first walked into Reggie's office, very soon after Mulder had left the FBI Academy, Reggie was annoyed by even looking at Mulder. Reggie soon realized, however, that Mulder was particularly astute and could think three jumps ahead of most other individuals. Reggie found Mulder's mental aptitude to be scary and heard many others comment on it, with the same or a similar reaction.
Reggie hated Mulder's routine of chanting his first name and never gave much thought to renowned FBI gossip about Mulder or the fact that his nickname was "Spooky", figuring that it was merely about Mulder's general paranoia. On the other hand, Reggie was also aware that many people in the FBI had big plans for Mulder.
For as long as Mulder knew him, Reggie was working on a mystery novel. He once promised to show the story to Mulder but never did. In 1993, Mulder remarked that he thought Reggie had been afraid that Mulder would not like the story; Mulder described himself as "probably the only guy in the Bureau he trusted enough to even ask."
Early Cases with Mulder
Reggie learned or saw that John Barnett – a criminal who was repeatedly committing armed robberies, in various areas of Washington, D.C., without ever getting caught – was a white male of five-eleven to six feet, and typically wore a ski mask. Even though Mulder had a theory on the case (specifically, that Barnett had an inside connection to an employee at the armored car company who was secretly informing the criminal about large shipments of cash), Reggie believed Mulder was "full of it."
Reggie and members of a large task force, to which Mulder was also assigned, staked out an airport warehouse but a commotion was caused when Barnett took his own accomplice, the driver of the armored truck, hostage. Even years later, in 1993, Reggie was of the opinion that Mulder, who had taken up a position directly behind Barnett without the criminal realizing, should have taken the clear shot that he had been presented with but this was against FBI regulations and, instead, Reggie and the other task force members had witnessed Barnett shoot both the driver and Agent Steve Wallenberg to death. Reggie wished that Mulder had killed Barnett when the chance had come and realized that Mulder had since never forgiven himself for Barnett's two killings in the airport warehouse.
Reggie sat with Mulder during some of Barnett's trial and witnessed Mulder cause a disturbance at the end of his testimony. After Mulder eventually sat back down next to him, Reggie saw Barnett turn to them and swear that he would get Mulder. In 1993, Reggie remarked that he would never forget having witnessed this. (TXF: "Young at Heart")
In May 1989, Reggie made a phone call to Mulder, while the younger agent was searching for suspected murderer Susanne Modeski at the Computer and Electronics Show at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Mulder – who had just questioned two men (John Fitzgerald Byers and Melvin Frohike) who had been assisting Modeski but claimed they were completely unfamiliar with her – answered the call by confirming that it was himself who was receiving and, once he heard the caller's reply, said, "Oh hey, Reggie!" before asking (in a friendly, informal manner) why Reggie was calling. (TXF: "Unusual Suspects")
In 1990, Reggie brought Mulder onto a case involving multiple killings of young girls, as he believed that Mulder could get inside the killer's head. Thanks to a remarkably accurate profile that Mulder wrote on the killer, the murderer (John Lee Roche) was soon caught. (TXF: "Paper Hearts")
Further Investigation of Barnett
In 1993, Reggie Purdue started to investigate a recent case involving a lone gunman who matched Barnett's description and had robbed a jewelry store, shooting a salesgirl to death after she had filled up a bag for him. Reggie called Mulder and brought both him and his FBI partner, Special Agent Dana Scully, onto the case.
Reggie discovered that not much evidence had been found, with the exception of a hand-written note that said, "Fox can't guard the chicken coop." Reggie, who was introduced to Scully by Mulder, showed him the recent note, which was extremely similar to ones that Barnett had sent to Mulder during the investigation of the criminal, years earlier. Even though Reggie was alarmed that the criminal had demonstrated characteristics that were typical of John Barnett, he was bewildered as to how it could actually be Barnett, who had been imprisoned and therein certified as dead on September 16, 1989.
Reggie also initially looked to Mulder to tell Scully who Barnett was, but, soon thereafter, Reggie showed her a video – in his office at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. – of Barnett's capture at the airport warehouse, commentating on the footage for her.
Although Mulder believed that Barnett was still alive and had returned to harass him (with both the hand-written note that Reggie gave him and photographs he found on his car), Reggie was of the opinion that someone was playing mind games on Mulder and was convinced that the criminal was actually dead. In his own office, Reggie tried to convince Mulder that he was correct, but Mulder was as steadfast in his suspicions as Reggie was in his own beliefs.
Reggie arranged to continue their discussion in private and recalled his earliest memories of meeting Mulder. When Mulder complained that he had already heard the story, Reggie insistently suggested that Mulder hear it again, continuing by attempting to explain to Mulder how he had disappointed many people in the FBI despite having shown early promise. Reggie argued that Mulder was now generally considered as being an embarrassment and a liability within the Bureau, a statement that led Mulder to ask if Reggie was implying that someone within the FBI was the culprit they were looking for. Reggie was open to this conclusion, giving Mulder general advice that it was always best to "cover your ass" regardless of what the truth actually was.
Scully politely intruded on their private discussion and handed Reggie evidence that Barnett was dead. Indirectly remarking on this documentation while studying it, Reggie reminded Mulder of his own theory that someone was playing mind games on Mulder, who then hurried out of the room while disputing Reggie's idea with a comment on how it did not account for the recent killing of the sales clerk.
One night soon thereafter, Reggie fell asleep in his house while wearing his glasses and reading a book entitled, "City at Night". He was startled awake by a phone call from Mulder at 10:45 p.m., by which time his glasses were only half on his face. He dropped them on the floor as he reached from his bed to switch on a bedside lamp and answer his ringing telephone.
Reggie at first thought it was already midnight or thereabouts but Mulder corrected him, referring to Reggie as "old man." Even though Reggie complained that he had nevertheless been sleeping, he took Mulder's advice – to listen, as the younger agent explained that, apparently, Barnett was actually not dead after all. Reggie wondered what new evidence Mulder had uncovered and learned that he had spoken to an inmate who was confined to the prison where Barnett had been held and who was firmly claiming that he had seen Barnett alive, on the night on which the criminal had reportedly died.
Reggie tiredly assumed a sitting position on the edge of his bed and, realizing that Mulder was still at FBI Headquarters, he tried to persuade Mulder to go home and get some rest, but Mulder quickly discarded the notion. Reggie at first did not realize the significance of Mulder's confusion at the fact that the note from the jewelry store had been found, by Agent Henderson, to have been written by a right-hander, until Mulder added that the prison inmate had sworn that he had seen Barnett's right hand amputated.
Death & Legacy
Reggie was also unaware that, while he had been talking with Mulder, John Barnett had been creeping up behind him in the darkness. Immediately after Mulder notified Reggie of the two facts that could not easily be correlated, Barnett stood on Reggie's fallen glasses, breaking them, and then strangled Reggie, the killer using his deformed right hand to do so. Reggie dropped the phone during the commotion. After Barnett let go of his neck, Reggie was thrown backwards onto his bed and, with his last dying breaths, slumped onto the floor – near his phone, through which a confused Mulder had all the while been shouting for Reggie to explain what was happening. The killer, whose right hand was actually a salamander arm that had been grafted onto him, tossed another note for Mulder down on Reggie's lifeless body before departing the scene. This note cryptically referred to Reggie's murder and was handwritten with the phrase, "Funeral for Fox's friends – then for Fox."
Subsequently, Reggie's death was thoroughly investigated. At Reggie's house, Mulder told Scully about the death of Reggie's wife and the mystery novel that Reggie had privately been writing. Mulder then showed the latest handwritten note to Agent Henderson, confirming for her that it had been written by the same person whom he thought had killed Agent Purdue. Mulder finally exacted revenge on Reggie's killer by shooting Barnett – this time, unnecessarily endangering the life of a hostage, when the chance to shoot the murderer came – and the killer died in hospital, soon thereafter. (TXF: "Young at Heart")
Reggie Purdue's death scene was originally to have been longer than the duration it actually became; this murder scene's edit was due to Fox's standards and practices department having concerns about the violence of the scene and thus being uncomfortable about letting it drag on. Producer Chris Carter argued against these concerns but ultimately lost out to the television network and consequently shortened the scene, considerably.