"Squeeze" is the third episode of the first season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on September 24, 1993. The episode was written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, and was directed by Harry Longstreet. It is the first "Monster-of-the-week" episode of The X-Files, separate from the Mythology arc which the first two episodes explored.
Mulder and Scully investigate a serial killer who has been active for nearly a century and is capable of squeezing his body through narrow gaps.
At dusk, a business man, George Usher, walks onto a street in Baltimore, Maryland and strolls to his car, unknowingly watched by a pair of menacing yellow eyes from within a storm drain.
After Usher exits an elevator in an office building, the doors to the elevator open again, but the cabin is gone. The cables in the open shaft tremble, as if they are being used for climbing. Usher makes a call to his wife and then leaves his office for a cup of coffee. As he leaves, a vent in his office is quietly unscrewed and starts to open. Usher returns to his office where, after his door is suddenly closed from inside, sounds of a struggle can be heard and the door handle repeatedly rattles. The noises abruptly end as a large dent is smashed in the door. As Usher's coffee drips on the floor and he lies dead, the vent is screwed back in place.
FBI Agents Dana Scully and Tom Colton are having lunch together in a Washington, D.C. restaurant. They are old Academy classmates and make small talk about their careers. Colton is a highly ambitious agent who speaks teasingly to Scully about her partner, Fox Mulder, whom Scully admits is a little "out there". Colton then starts to tell Scully about a case he has been assigned that involves a series of three victims, the latest being George Usher, who were each killed in a location where there were no obvious entry points and found with their livers missing, with signs indicating they were ripped out by bare hands. Scully admits the case may be an X-file. Colton is determined to solve the case himself but asks for Scully's help, reluctantly agreeing that she can include Mulder in the investigation.
GEORGE USHER'S OFFICE
In Usher's office, Mulder queries Scully as to why he wasn't personally asked to help with the case, seemingly surprised when Scully mentions he has an unflattering reputation, and asks if she also thinks he is "spooky". Colton arrives, apologizing for being late, and is formally introduced to Mulder by Scully; he asks Mulder, in a jesting and off-handed manner, whether be believes aliens are responsible for the murder. Mulder plays up to Colton's expectation of him as a kook, expounding on his own otherworldly ideas, before leaving Scully and Colton to converse. Mulder discovers a bizarrely elongated fingerprint on the vent that opened during Usher's murder but Colton dismisses the possibility that anyone could have crawled through it.
In the X-files office, Mulder shows Scully fingerprints that tie the recent murders to a series of related murders reported in the X-file, the others having occurred in Powhatan Mill 1963 and 1933, as well as one taken in 1903 (when fingerprinting was still in its infancy). Although Scully protests that Colton never mentioned these earlier murders, Mulder suspects Colton is probably not aware of them. Mulder also concludes, from the pattern of the earlier murders (five each year), that two more are due to be committed this year. When Scully questions his theories, Mulder clarifies that he does not think the murders are copycats, citing the identical nature of the fingerprints, and does not believe aliens are involved in the case. The two argue about who the case belongs to, with Mulder insisting that the murders were in the X-files long before the recent series and Scully saying that Mulder's theories are unwanted by the FBI in general. Mulder eventually suggests that they conduct their own investigation, separate from that of the Violent Crimes Section.
Scully types up a psychological profile of the killer and presents it to the VCS agents. On her recommendation Agent Fuller, Colton's superior, organizes stakeouts of the crime scenes, as Scully believes the killer will return to one of them. Fuller suggests that Scully work overtime with his team, making a reference to her usual work in jest that draws laughter from the other agents present but discomfort from Scully.
CRIME SCENE, 7:15 P.M.
Alone in a car, Scully is on stakeout in the parking garage of Usher's building when she is alerted by a faint banging noise. She searches the area and is startled when Mulder jumps out at her, with a joke about the situation. Scully is frustrated that he is jeopardizing her stakeout, but he insists that the killer will not return to the building, having already beaten the challenge it presented to him. Mulder starts to head home, but notices that something is moving inside an air shaft. He runs back to Scully, who calls for backup and follows him to the chute. Complying with orders from Scully, a man crawls out of the chute. He is then arrested by Colton and other agents. As Mulder walks away, he admits to Scully that she was right.
A polygraph test is conducted on the Eugene Victor Tooms, an employee of the Baltimore Municipal Animal Control. Colton and Fuller, watching from an adjacent observation room with Scully and Mulder, react with irritation when Tooms is asked two questions that concern the Powhatan Mill murders, which Mulder instructed the examiner to include. When asked if he is afraid of failing the test, Tooms shifts in his seat and admits that he is afraid and professes his innocence.
Later, the examiner declares that, in her own opinion, Tooms passed the test. Fuller arrives with news that supports Tooms' story of having been called in to find a dead cat in the ventilation system but Scully maintains, in opposition to Colton and Fuller, that the alibi remains questionable. Mulder notices that Tooms clearly lied on the two Powhatan Mill questions; when the examiner begins to explain the readings, Fuller shouts over her that Tooms was obviously not alive in 1933. Fuller chooses to let Tooms go and hurries out of the room, followed by the examiner. After Colton asks Scully if she is coming with him, she politely declines, nevertheless thanking him for allowing her to temporarily work with the Violent Crimes Section. Recalling their earlier conversation, Colton tells Scully that Mulder is not merely "out there" but "insane" before rushing out of the room.
As they walk through the station's bullpen, Scully wonders why Mulder pushed his theory even though it was obvious the others would never believe it. He suggests that he did so not only because he shared her belief that Tooms is guilty, but also due to his opinion that his own (admittedly) frequent encounters with cynics increases the need for him to play up to their skeptical expectations. Scully remarks that he was acting extremely territorial, but then regrets this comment. Mulder tells her he values the fact that, even if she does not always agree with him, she respects "the journey" their investigations take. Mulder pledges to accept her continued cooperation with the Violent Crimes Section if she wishes to rejoin them, but she admits to being curious as to what other evidence has convinced Mulder that Tooms committed the murders from years ago.
Using a computer, Mulder digitally elongates Tooms' fingerprint until it matches those found at the crime scenes, definitive proof that Tooms was responsible for Usher's murder as well as the previous murders.
Meanwhile, another businessman named Thomas Werner arrives home while Tooms watches from the darkness. Once Werner enters his house, Tooms climbs up the side of the building onto the roof, where he reaches down the chimney, his fingers extending as he does so, before squeezing his entire body inside. Werner tries to light a fire in his fireplace, but is puzzled when the newspaper barely catches. Tooms attacks Werner from behind as the last remaining embers go out.
While Detective Johnson takes measurements of where Werner's body is in relation to objects in the room, Colton suggests that the latest removed liver might have been placed on the black market. Johnson scoffs at this, since the liver has clearly been ripped out in crude fashion. Colton, at his wits end, is willing to entertain any theory, but corrects himself and says "any sane theory" upon seeing Mulder arrive with Scully. Colton initially tries to stop Mulder from entering the crime scene, but acquiesces when Scully suggests that obstructing Mulder's investigation could be marked down in Colton's personnel file. When Colton coldly asks whose side she is on, Scully replies "the victim's," and an annoyed Colton walks out. Scully begins to read a profile of Mr. Werner but Mulder cuts her off, having already found another of Tooms' elongated fingerprints on the fireplace. Mulder also notes that something has been removed from the mantelpiece.
Mulder is searching through old records with a microfiche projector, coming across a 1903 census record concerning Tooms, as Scully enters. She notifies him that not only has Tooms' listed address turned out to be fake, he has not returned to work since his arrest. When Mulder shows her that the address for Tooms from the census record is the apartment below that of the 1903 murder victim, Scully starts to formulate a theory that the previous murders were committed by Eugene Tooms' ancestors. Worrying that Tooms will kill one more victim before emerging again in 2023 if he is not stopped now, Mulder suggests that he himself and Scully search through the available records for any more information on Eugene Tooms. The agents are largely unsuccessful in their search but, after they have plowed through the records, Scully informs Mulder that she has found the current address of the investigator of one of the murders in 1933.
LYNNE ACRES RETIREMENT HOME
The agents visit the now-retired Frank Briggs at the Lynne Acres Retirement Home. He recounts how he, an experienced detective at the time, was appalled by the 1933 murders and experienced a sense of evil in the room at Powhattan Mill where they were committed. After Mulder helps the ex-detective get a box, Briggs recollects that he continued to investigate Tooms, unofficially, in 1963, by which time he had been assigned a desk job. The box includes all the evidence Briggs amassed, including a jar containing a piece of another removed liver. Briggs explains that Tooms would also take personal belongings of his victims as trophies, and shows the agents photographs that he himself took in 1933, including a picture of Tooms - in which he looks virtually identical to his current appearance - and the building where he lived, the same address where Tooms was living in 1903 and where the first victim was killed in the same year.
Mulder remarks, as he and Scully enter the bare apartment where the census record stated Tooms was living, that Briggs was right about there being a strong sensation. Mulder discovers a hole in the wall behind a propped-up mattress and the agents climb down into an old coal cellar. There they come across the trophies that Tooms has collected over the years, including the one taken from Mr. Werner's mantelpiece, and find a nest made from rags and newspapers. Mulder touches the construct, accidentally covering his hands in a substance that Scully identifies as bile. Mulder then reveals that he thinks Tooms is a genetic mutant who hibernates in the nest for thirty years and needs the livers for sustenance during his hibernation cycle. Scully reminds Mulder that Tooms will have to return so they decide that, while Mulder keeps watch on the building, Scully will organize a surveillance team. On their way out of the cellar, she becomes momentarily caught on something in the darkness and a hand, holding her necklace, reaches down from the rafters, where Tooms watches.
66 EXETER ST., 11:30 A.M.
Mulder is waiting outside Tooms' building at 66 Exeter Street when Agents Kennedy and Kramer arrive. Mulder reminds them of their objective, adding that he and Scully will relieve them in eight hours if Tooms does not make an appearance. Kennedy jokingly refers to Mulder by his his nickname "Spooky" as he exits the car.
At the FBI Bureau, Scully is preparing to meet Mulder when Colton bursts in. He voices his frustration with the fact that Scully is using two of his men to sit outside a building that has been condemned for ten years, to which she defensively says that his investigation is not being impeded in any way. He tells her that when they had lunch he was looking forward to working with her because he believed she was a good agent, but now he is desperate to remove her from the case, due to her close association with Mulder. Scully is furious when Colton tells her that his regional ASAC called off the stakeout and tries to call Mulder with the news, but Colton insists that he get the opportunity to gloat. Fuming, Scully tells Colton his career can only end with him "landing on your ass" and storms out as he calls Mulder, ultimately getting Mulder's answering machine.
Scully drives home and goes inside, not knowing that Tooms is watching her from the bushes across the street.
66 EXETER ST., 7:25 P.M.
Mulder drives up to Tooms' building and is surprised to find no-one no one waiting for him. He runs inside.
In the bathroom of her apartment, Scully gets Mulder's answering machine and relates her aggravation with Colton, telling Mulder to call her back when he returns home. She then starts to run a bath and walks out of her bathroom as Tooms appears in the window, apparently climbing up the side of her building.
In the cellar, Mulder discovers Scully's necklace amongst the collection of trophies and rushes out.
Scully finishes running her bath and starts to open a bottle of bath salts when bile drops onto her hand from a grille in the ceiling. She flees into the living room and grabs her gun.
Mulder rushes to Scully's apartment, frustrated when she doesn't answer the phone - which she can't, because the phone wires servicing her apartment have been cut.
Scully is making her way through the apartment when Tooms punches through a floorboard vent and grabs her leg, tripping her up and causing her to lose her gun. Although she manages to struggle free of his grasp, Tooms bursts out of the vent and is about to rip out Scully's liver when Mulder kicks the front door in. Tooms smashes the pane above the bars on Scully's bathroom window but is jumped by Scully. Mulder manages to handcuff one of Tooms' hands but is knocked across the room, which gives Scully time to attach the other cuff to the bathtub's faucet. Mulder victoriously comments, as Tooms gives up, that the killer will not be able to fill his quota this time.
Detective Briggs is relieved to the point of tears when he sees a report about Tooms' capture in the Section Two newspaper.
Another copy of the same article is ripped up and licked by Tooms, who uses it towards building a new nest in the psych ward cell where he is now confined. Mulder is observing the killer through a window in the cell's door when Scully arrives. She says official findings confirm that Tooms is genetically a human anomaly. Mulder ignores her, instead lamenting the inadequacy of the public's high security measures. The agents wander away as a food tray is brought to the cell and passed through a small, rectangular slot in the door. Alone in his cell, Tooms stares at the slot and smiles, sinisterly.
"Oh my God, Mulder! It smells like... I think it's bile!"
"Is there any way I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?"
- - Scully and Mulder
"So, what is this – the Anti-Waltons?"
- - Mulder
"You said Mulder was out there? The guy's insane!"-Agent Tom Colton
"I can't wait until you fall off and land on your ass!"-Scully
- Doug Hutchison as Eugene Victor Tooms (First appearance)
- Donal Logue as Special Agent Tom Colton
- Henry Beckman as Detective Frank Briggs (First appearance)
- James Bell as Det. Johnson
- Gary Hetherington as Kennedy
- Rob Morton as Kramer
- Paul Joyce as Thomas Werner