Release   Credits   Gallery   Transcript    

"Release" is the seventeenth episode of the ninth season of The X-Files.


A particularly adept student from Scully's class at the FBI Academy helps to finally solve the murder of Agent Doggett's son.


The Tip

Agent John Doggett arrives at building 1161 in a run down part of the city. He goes inside the slum and checks his note to confirm he is at the proper room, #311. A man bursts out of the door of the apartment and knocks Doggett down, escaping out the side door. Doggett gets to his feet but rather than chase after the suspect, he follows the sounds coming from inside the apartment.

John Doggett opens the wall. blood flows out.

He follows the sounds to a freshly cemented wall. He touches the wet cement and digs through it with his hand down into the drywall. In the beam of his flashlight, bloods oozes out of the drywall.

Agent Dana Scully presents her FBI cadets with a Jane Doe’s body that Doggett found in the wall last night. She reveals that an anonymous tip led him to the body and the sounds of rats feeding on her led Doggett to the wall she was sealed in. Scully’s best cadet, Rudolph Hayes, answers her challenge to further explain what happened to the woman and how they could ID her. He says she was a single woman, unemployed, and drunk when she was killed. She met the wrong person in a bar; the man had killed before and intended to kill her with one stab wound into the heart but she struggled so he was forced to stab her multiple times instead.

Scully calls Agents Monica Reyes and John Doggett in after confirming that the woman that Doggett found was the second victim just like her cadet had told her. She points out that they both disappeared from the same bar and though it is certainly not an X-File, they should run with the case now that they have it.
When Reyes and Doggett go to thank Hayes for his help, he dismisses the profile of the killer of the two women. Hayes claims to see things and he says it’s an ex-con recently paroled, in his 40s, lying to his parole officer about looking for a job since he has resumed his old job of murdering people for an organized crime syndicate. As Hayes walks away, Doggett stares at the departing man, completely stunned.
Reyes turns to him and says, “Kind of annoying, isn’t he?”

Cadet Rudolph Hayes returns home and adds the recently murdered woman to a vast wall of victims’ murder photos. He sits down quietly on his bed.

Rudolph Hayes sits in his apartment, surrounded by homicide victim photographs.

Reyes and Doggett speak with parolee Nicholas Regali. He denies knowing anything about the women despite the evidence that the two agents point out. They leave but warn him that he will be caught.


Unable to sleep, Doggett gets up in the night and takes a box out of the closet. It is his son’s ashes.

In the morning, Doggett calls Rudolph Hayes in about his son, Luke. Doggett gives a rundown of Luke’s disappearance and murder. While riding his bike around the neighborhood, with his mother watching from the porch, Luke suddenly didn’t come back around for another lap. No ransom, no clue as to why he was taken. The police scour the area for two days and find nothing. After three days, they find him dead in a field. Doggett asks Hayes to look into this case now but Hayes tells him something interesting.
“Agent Doggett, that case I helped you with yesterday? That is your son’s.”

Hayes brings Doggett back to his apartment and the walls of pictures from unsolved homicides. Hayes enlightens Doggett about how he does it. He says he collects the photos from these homicides because if he sits with the pictures for a long time quietly, they speak to him. Doggett obtusely suggests Hayes may be crazy. Hayes shows the photo of the best suspect they ever had, Bob Harvey. Hayes says Harvey took Luke Doggett but it was Regali who murdered the boy.

Doggett goes to see Assistant Director Brad Follmer who was once on the organized crime FBI task force in New York City. Follmer says Regali was low level and as far as he knew not involved in Luke Doggett’s death. However, he will ask around, pull some files and so on.

Reyes talks with Doggett about how he believes Regali was involved in his son’s murder. Reyes expresses doubt out of some desire to protect Doggett. Though the evidence is thin, Regali gassing up his car two miles from Doggett’s home in Long Island was suspicious.

Doggett goes to see his ex-wife Barbara Doggett in Woodbury, Long Island. He convinces her to come in and try and identify Regali in a line-up as someone cruising their neighborhood. She is very reluctant to do so but goes in anyway. She fails to recognize Regali in the line-up.

Barbara Doggett stops Scully in the hall and relates how John Doggett feels he failed his son. She believes he could have something with Monica Reyes if he would let her in. Doggett and Reyes come into the hall. Barbara briefly tells Doggett that she will be at her mother’s and leaves. Scully discloses that the force and the trajectory of the wounds suggest Luke Doggett died at the hands of the same killer as the women but different weapons were used, there is no clear M.O., and so forth so it would never hold up in a court of law. Doggett walks off, saying he will find some evidence that will hold up.

A Message

Hayes stands in the sunlight in his apartment concentrating on the photo of Luke Doggett.

Doggett suggests that Regali was bribing someone because there isn’t even a sign that a case was being built against him. Reyes immediately gets an idea from this. Reyes and Doggett confront A.D. Follmer about his time in New York. Reyes recounts how she saw him talking with a mobster three years ago and taking money from the man. She broke off their relationship as a result and left, rather than report it to the higher-ups in the FBI. Follmer claims they were buying the help of the man she saw to get at the crime family and that it is all documented.
Follmer nudges the conversation into a different direction by casting doubt onto Cadet Rudolph Hayes. The real Hayes died years ago and the man they have been speaking with is Stuart Mimms of Mendota, Minnesota. He was a mental patient diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He checked himself out in 1992 and they can place him in New York city in the year of Luke Doggett’s homicide.

The FBI storm the apartment of Hayes. They find him sitting there patiently waiting for them. All the pictures have been taken off the walls. He doesn’t resist as they take him away.


Mobster Nicholas Regali & A.D. Brad Follmer discuss Luke Doggett.

Assistant Director Follmer speaks with a friendly Nicholas Regali. Follmer calmly asks Regali about being involved in the death of Doggett’s son. Follmer gets angry at Regali’s denial and says he is out. Regali reminds him of a video tape showing Follmer taking bribes and tells him he isn’t done with them by far. Regali gets out of Follmer’s car, leaving the man only with thoughts of his past corruption.

A new line-up is organized and Barbara Doggett steps forward to look at the men arrayed behind the one-way glass. She recognizes Hayes/Mimms.

Scully and Doggett face Stuart Mimms about his falsification of an identity to get into the FBI and possible involvement in Luke Doggett’s death. Mimms explains that Doggett’s ex-wife identified him since he used to watch her and John Doggett when he became obsessed with the case. He admits to doing all of this to get into the FBI and get close to Agent Doggett because no one would believe a mental patient. He reminds Scully that he studied the case obsessively because that’s what schizophrenics do, obsess. They realize that Hayes/Mimms gave the tip that led them to the Ellen Persich’s body at the beginning of the case. Hayes/Mimms asks to leave.
“I’ve received another message. I’d like to go back home now to the institution.”

Doggett goes to see Regali in the bar.
“I’m not here as an FBI agent. I’m here as a father.”
Regali decides to tell Doggett the story of what happened as a hypothetical situation. Basically, there’s a businessman who has to associate with various forms of scum, like pedophile Bob Harvey. Harvey took a little boy and when the “businessman” walked in on Harvey with the boy, the boy saw the businessman’s face. That was a problem and there was a solution.


A.D. Brad Follmer guns down Nicholas Regali.

Regali walks off and leaves the bar. After a moment, Doggett draws his firearm and follows Regali. A gunshot brings him outside to find Nicholas Regali on the ground, dead. A gunshot through the eye socket. A woman screams.
“Oh, my God! He shot him! He just took out his gun and shot him!”
Doggett turns and looks behind him to find a crazed looking A.D. Brad Follmer with blood splatter on his face and clothes. He stares at the man as Follmer drops his weapon to his side.



John Doggett and Barbara Doggett pour their son's ashes into the ocean.

John and Barbara Doggett stand on the beach, the waves crashing at their feet. Weeping, John pours the ashes of his son into the water. Barbara soundlessly leaves with the container for the ashes. He walks away from the water and embraces Monica Reyes.


Background Information

  • The woman playing Doggett's wife in this episode is Robert Patrick's real wife, Barbara Patrick. She previously appeared in the same role in "John Doe".
  • In this episode, The Washington Post is mentioned. In real life, the managing editor of that newspaper in the 1970s, Howard Simons, is credited with dubbing Watergate informant W. Mark Felt (whose identity, at the time, was kept secret) "Deep Throat". The use of this alias was Chris Carter's original inspiration for having a character known merely as "Deep Throat" in The X-Files.
  • This episode is the last that Cary Elwes appeared in as A.D. Brad Follmer. It is also the last episode to feature Victoria Gallegos as his secretary.

Cast and Characters



Guest Starring


External Links

Episode Navigation

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.