"The List" is the fifth episode of the third season of The X-Files. Written and directed by series creator Chris Carter, the episode first aired on October 20, 1995 on the Fox network. It is a "Monster-of-the-week story, independent of the series' mythology arc.
A man about to be executed by electric chair vows to return to kill five men who wronged him in prison.
Napoleon "Neech" Manley (Badja Djola), a death row inmate at a Bradford County, Florida prison, is brought to the electric chair. Before he is executed, Neech proclaims that he will be reincarnated and avenge himself against five men who tormented him in prison. Shortly after the execution, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are brought in to investigate when a prison guard is mysteriously found dead in Neech's cell. The agents meet the prison's warden, Leo Brodeur (J.T. Walsh), who believes that Neech planned the guard's murder with someone on the outside before the execution. John Speranza, another inmate, believes that Neech has returned. When Scully explores the prison's showers, she meets another guard named Vincent Parmelly. He claims that another prisoner, Roque, is keeping a list of the remaining four victims. Later, the head of another guard, Fornier, is found inside a paint can. An examination of the head shows the premature appearance of larvae. The prison coroner tells Scully that the first guard's lungs were completely infested with the larvae, belonging to the green bottle fly. Meanwhile, Mulder talks to Roque, who wants a transfer out of the prison in exchange for revealing the remaining three people on the list. Brodeur later finds Fornier's headless body in his office. While searching Neech's cell, Mulder discovers evidence of his obsession with reincarnation. Scully, of course, is skeptical. They later talk to Neech's fearful widow, Danielle Manley, who is secretly seeing Parmelly. Roque is brought to the showers, where he is beaten to death by Brodeur after revealing he is the fifth person on the list.
Brodeur puts the prison under lockdown and tells Mulder that Neech had a violent history with all three victims. Mulder believes that Neech came back for revenge against the guards, but doubts that Roque was on the list. He requests that he be provided with the name of Neech's executioner, who turns out to be a volunteer named Perry Simon. The agents arrive at Simon's home to discover his decomposing body in the attic. Mulder confronts Speranza about the list, but Speranza only tells him that Roque was not on it. He claims to have seen Neech "big as life" outside of his cell. Based on phone records, Scully theorizes that Neech's lawyer, Danny Charez, may have engineered the murders with Speranza. The agents interview Charez, who tells them about Danielle's relationship with Parmelly; after they leave, Charez is suffocated by a resurrected Neech. Brodeur visits Speranza in his cell, and offers to have his death sentence commuted in exchange for stopping the murders. Speranza takes the offer. That night, Parmelly visits Danielle, who has become agitated since Mulder and Scully have begun staking out her house. The agents now suspect Parmelly to be behind the murders and leave to notify Brodeur, who asks that Parmelly be arrested. Soon afterward, Danielle wakes up to see Neech by her bed. She grabs her gun and confronts Parmelly, thinking he is Neech's resurrected form. The agents and a police task force arrive to see her shoot and kill Parmelly. Meanwhile, Brodeur—assuming that Charez and Parmelly were on the list—thinks Speranza has reneged on their deal and has him taken to the showers. Before Brodeur kills him, Speranza claims that one person remains on the list. Parmelly is blamed for the murders. The agents start to leave Florida, but Mulder soon pulls over. He remains frustrated, since Parmelly was on-duty during only one murder, and was not one of the three men who knew Perry Simon's confidential identity. He also points out inconsistencies in the actions of Parmelly and Roque, who was also assumed to be part of the plot. Mulder believes that Parmelly was not responsible for the deaths, and that Neech had indeed been reincarnated to enact his revenge. However, Scully convinces Mulder that the case is over, and that they should return home. Just then, Brodeur passes them in his car. A fly lands upon his face, near his nose. Looking in his rear view mirror, the fly turns into Neech, who attacks Brodeur and causes his car to crash into a tree, claiming his last victim.
Cast and Characters
- Mitchell Kosterman (Fornier) previously played Detective Horton in The X-Files episode "Gender Bender" and "Sleepless".
- Bokeem Woodbine as Sammon Roque
- Badja Djola as Napoleon "Neech" Manley
- John Toles-Bey as John Speranza
- Ken Foree as Vincent Parmelly
- April Grace as Danielle Manley
- J.T. Walsh as Warden Leo Brodeur