Baz Greenland continues the alphabetical breakdown of The X-Files by looking at Scully’s season eight partner and unfairly dismissed John Doggett…
The idea of any character replacing Fox Mulder as the lead on The X-Files should have been unthinkable. The idea that this character could then potentially carry on the show without Scully was even more absurd. And yet that was the situation the show faced when David Duchovny announced that he was only coming back for half of season eight.
Enter Robert Patrick as John Doggett…
Doggett was a character with integrity, dedication to Scully and the X-Files and a grounded sense of reality; he was just the breath of fresh air The X-Files needed. Many fans dismiss him as a product of the declining years of the show but having just worked my way through season eight, I’m going to admit something quite controversial. John Doggett is a brilliant character.
What is so great is that he wasn’t dismissive of his assignment. He spends his first weekend on the job reading up on every case so that when he comes face to face with alien shapeshifters and the black oil he is fully up to scratch on the situation. He shows great respect for Scully even when she is arrogant and dismissive of him in the early days of their relationship and proves time and time again that he is a man of honor, saving her life on several occasions and standing up to the villainous Deputy Director Kersh when the facts present themselves.
By the time the episode ‘Medusa’ came around halfway through season eight, there was a strong, respectful working relationship between Doggett and Scully; he demonstrated his ability to take command of an expedition into the subways of Boston while Scully has his back on comms as they investigated the latest threat. Doggett protects Scully’s secret but calls her out when needed and so by the time Mulder returns and is immediately dismissive of this new presence in their lives, Scully is quick to defend Doggett as a man above reproach.
And he really is. His working relationship with Mulder is just as interesting in those late season eight episodes; he has Mulder’s back when they go up against the black oil and he quickly proves himself to the most paranoid man in the universe. It isn’t long before Mulder willingly hands over the keys to the X-Files to Doggett and calls on him to help protect Scully from the threat of alien super soldiers.
Come season nine, we fully see ‘skeptic’ Doggett investigating the X-Files with ‘believer’ Reyes and it is an interesting new partnership. Doggett isn’t dismissive, even though he is a man that – like Scully – needs hard evidence. He is respectful of the work to the very end. It’s all down to Robert Patrick’s grounded, engaging performance.
Of course, like a lot of the later years, Doggett was cast aside as part of a bad era, but that is unfairly dismissive of the character. He at least deserved a mention in the revival and I am hoping we get at least one appearance from the great John Doggett when season eleven eventually rolls by…
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Baz is currently working his way through The X Files, revisited classic episodes and reviewing them at http://www.Thedigitalfix.com