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For the trio of the same name, see The Lone Gunmen.

The Lone Gunmen was a 2001 television series centered around Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers and Richard Langly; characters that had been introduced in The X-Files and known to the world as The Lone Gunmen, intrepid independent journalists and conspiracy theorists that run a newspaper of the same name.

It was created by Chris Carter, along with X-Files producers Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz. The series was canceled at the end of its first season, with the final episode, "All About Yves", ending with a cliff-hanger. Despite this, the characters of Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers and Richard Langly continued to appear in The X-Files, with the plot of The Lone Gunmen series finally being resolved in the episode Jump the Shark.

Series Overview[]

Due to its lighter nature, The Lone Gunmen has several features not present in either The X-Files or Millennium.

One such feature is the use of contemporary music. Different music is heard throughout the series, from classic rock such as "Bad To The Bone" by George Thorogood, to modern electronica such as "Weapon of Choice" by FatBoy Slim.

Perhaps the most unique feature however, was the use of the pre-credit teasers; although all were related to the episodes in question, several contained sequences that did not feature in the action of the episodes. This ranged from flashbacks of the main characters' childhoods (for example, "Like Water for Octane" and "The Cap'n Toby Show"), to Jimmy facing the camera and narrating his thoughts about metaphorical football helmets, at the start of "The Lying Game".

Similarly, the teaser for "Jump the Shark" also gave a short biography of the Gunmen, supposedly narrated by Morris Fletcher. This was done in the same style as that from The X-Files episode Dreamland II, in which Fletcher narrated a brief biography of Fox Mulder.

Production Information[]

Build Up to the Series[]

After initially appearing only once in E.B.E., the season one episode of "The X-Files" that introduced the Lone Gunmen, the trio became popular amongst both the crew and fans of the series, and continued to appear sporadically throughout the next few seasons.

When the filming schedule for Season 5 clashed with that of The X-Files: Fight the Future, the crew needed to produce the first few episodes of the season with minimal input from the series' two main leads, David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully. It was for this reason that the first produced episode of the fifth season, entitled Unusual Suspects and set in 1989, gave the backstory of how the three individual characters joined to create the Lone Gunmen.

After the trio subsequently made several smaller appearances, Unusual Suspects was followed by Three of a Kind in Season 6. Not only did this episode continue the Susanne Modeski storyline from "Unusual Suspects", but it also formed a useful template of how the characters of Byers, Frohike and Langly could convincingly hold their own (as they were not the classical types of leading characters who normally drive a network television series), and how a framework of their own series would take shape; the writers realized that such a series could essentially be "Mission:Impossible with three geeks."

The idea for doing a spin-off series featuring these three characters had been suggested very early on, even before "Three of a Kind". According to writer Vince Gilligan, the series of The Lone Gunmen came about because he and other writers of The X-Files were all fans of the three Gunmen characters and thought there was enough interest in them for a spin-off to The X-Files. Originally, he, Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban - all three of whom were writers from The X-Files - approached the creator of that series, Chris Carter, and said they would like to do a spin-off featuring the Gunmen. Even then, Carter thought the notion seemed like a perfect idea. The writers, however, still had to convince the executives at the Fox network, who did not definitely understand the idea until the writers pitched it to them. These executives and writers sat in a room together where the writers pitched basic elements of the proposed series' Pilot, including its sense of mystery.

Although the pilot was given the go-ahead, Ten Thirteen Productions was typically slow to inform the Gunmen actors of this development. As a result, some of the performers who would play lead roles in the proposed series first learned of its conception via the daily Variety; Dean Haglund called Tom Braidwood with advice to buy a particular edition of the publication and, when Braidwood did so, he found an article about how Fox had let out news that they were about to do a Lone Gunmen pilot for a potential series featuring the Gunmen.

Still focusing on conspiracy theories, like The X-Files, but with its attention switched to technological crime rather than aspects of the paranormal, the pilot episode was broadcast on 4 March 2001, less than two years after "Three of a Kind" had aired.

Original Airing[]

The Lone Gunmen was first broadcast during a five-week hiatus between two important mythology episodes of The X-Files' eighth season, "This is Not Happening" and "DeadAlive". The fledgling series was initially broadcast on Friday nights at 9 pm, a slot in which The X-Files had aired between its pilot episode and early in its fourth season, before having moved to Sundays to make way for Millennium airing on Friday nights. The third and fourth episodes of The Lone Gunmen were first broadcast in the same week as each other, on Friday and Sunday night of that week, respectively. Remaining on Sunday nights, virtually the entire series was subsequently aired in consecutive weeks, with the exception of the penultimate episode to be produced, "The Cap'n Toby Show", which was first aired three weeks after the series finale.

Frank Spotnitz and the other creators of the show, including the crew and actors, loved working on it and the experience was a joyous one for all involved.

Technical Information[]

The series used breakaway vans for filming.  Partially to get the shots they needed in filming and partially due to the fact that actual VW vans are so tiny inside that the actors wouldn't be able to move around.  (Audio commentaries)


As a specific spin-off series, several other characters who had been introduced in The X-Files and had made several appearances in that series appeared in some episodes of The Lone Gunmen series.

The only episode of The X-Files to feature any characters introduced in The Lone Gunmen is "Jump the Shark", in which Jimmy Bond, Yves Adele Harlow and Kimmy the Geek appear.

Despite both The Lone Gunmen and Millennium having connections to The X-Files, no crossovers between The Lone Gunmen and Millennium ever occurred.


Since the series' cancellation, Vince Gilligan has admitted that, in the long term, there unfortunately was not enough interest in the Gunmen characters to sustain a spin-off series about them, despite what the writers had originally thought.

Frank Spotnitz has suggested that the reason the series was so short-lived was that it was released at a time when interest in The X-Files had already peaked. He has also speculated that, if the spin-off series had been done three or four years earlier, the outcome would probably have been different.

Main Cast[]


The The Lone Gunmen - Frohike, Langly and Byers.


Season 1, 13 episodes:

No. Episode Name / Summary
s1,ep1 "Pilot"

The Lone Gunmen investigate the suspicious death of Byers' father, a top tier government agent, and discover a top secret plan for a false flag operation eerily similar to the real life event colloquially known as 9/11.

s1,ep2 "Bond, Jimmy Bond"

The Lone Gunmen are trying to find out who killed a fellow hacker. In the midst of their adventures they meet a not-so-bright football player named Jimmy Bond.

s1,ep3 "Eine Kleine Frohike"

Frohike goes deep undercover as a long lost son, after the Gunmen receive a tip which could lead them to a female baker who poisoned members of the French Resistance back in the second World War.

s1,ep4 "]Like Water for Octane]]"

The Lone Gunmen and Jimmy are trying to find the long lost "water powered" car that Frohike saw with his own eyes back in 1962. Only, they are not the only ones who are after it.

s1,ep5 "Three Men and a Smoking Diaper"

A baby is introduced in the lives of the Lone Gunmen as a link between a popular senator running a campaign for re-election who was involved with one of his campaign workers who died in a very suspicious accident.

s1,ep6 "Madam, I'm Adam"

The guys are approached by a desperate man in need of help who claims to have apparently been erased from existence. The Gunmen's only clue to this mystery is the man's inexplicable hate for a specific late midget wrestler.

s1,ep7 "Planet of the Frohikes"

The Gunmen receive an email for help from a 'slave' subjected to secret government tests. The slave turns out to be a superintelligent chimp called Peanuts, who escapes supposedly to stop a soviet chimp spy turned assassin for hire, Bobo.

s1,ep8 "Maximum Byers"

Jimmy and Byers are jailing themselves into a high security jail so they can get access to a death row inmate who is potentially innocent.

s1,ep9 "Diagnosis: Jimmy"

While the Lone Gunmen stalk an illegal grizzly-bear trader in a snowy forest, an injured Jimmy believes his doctor is a serial killer.

s1,ep10 "Tango de los Pistoleros"

Yves becomes a smuggler's partner in a tango competition in Miami while the Lone Gunmen are afoot to uncover what Yves is after.

s1,ep11 "The Lying Game"

The Lone Gunmen are surprised to find that FBI's Walter Skinner is somehow involved in the murder of Byers' old college roommate who tried to blackmail a gangster with ties to Russian mafia.

s1,ep12 "The Cap'n Toby Show"

Cap'n Toby, the host of a long-running children's show and Langly's childhood hero, is accused of spying for the Chinese. The gang investigates the so-called Rose-Colored Glasses Lady, a dangerous operative who may know more.

s1,ep13 "All About Yves"

In the series finale, the Gunmen team up with Morris Fletcher, the sleazy Man in Black from X-Files: Dreamland, to find the person who stole the list of false flag operations. The cliffhanger ending is resolved in X-Files: Jump the Shark.

Background Terminology[]


A legend is an explanatory piece of information accompanying an illustration, map or chart. Many legends appear in The Lone Gunmen, usually including information such as time or setting, over the events of a scene.

The legends used are similar to those seen in The X-Files, as text appearing on the screen one character at a time, as though being written. Unlike with The X-Files, however, the legends always appear in the center of the screen, as opposed to far left.

The term 'legend' was never used on-screen in any series, but originates from terminology used by production personnel.

Related Links[]

External links[]

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