''[[caption-width-right:303:I want to believe.]]''


[[folder: The truth is out there. ]]

''The X-Files'' is an American [[LiveActionTV TV series]] created by Creator/ChrisCarter. It ran nine seasons (1993-2002) and two movies (''[[Film/TheXFilesFightTheFuture Fight the Future]]'', which was TheMovie, in 1998 and ''[[Film/TheXFilesIWantToBelieve I Want to Believe]]'' in 2008). 2016 saw a limited revival in the form of six episode 10th season, which in 2018 will be continued with a longer 11th season running ten episodes.

FBI physician Dr. Dana Scully (Creator/GillianAnderson) is assigned the task of keeping tabs on Agent Fox Mulder (Creator/DavidDuchovny), [[BunnyEarsLawyer a talented detective]] whose [[OccultDetective obsession with the paranormal]] is of grave concern to his superiors. Working out of the [[ReassignedToAntarctica Hoover Building basement]], Mulder specializes in the Bureau's "X-Files": a collection of cold cases deemed unsolvable due to macabre or taboo elements. While Mulder attributes these elements to the supernatural and extraterrestrial, Scully is a skeptic who attempts to debunk his theories through scientific reasoning. [[TheyFightCrime Together they investigate all manner of strange and unusual cases]], which over time hint at a massive government conspiracy linked to [[RoswellThatEndsWell a series of alien abductions going as far back as the forties.]]

The show's writers, among them Carter and future ''Series/BreakingBad'' showrunner Vince Gilligan, were celebrated for their innovative mix of cop-show conventions, ''{{Series/Moonlighting}}'' style romance, urban legends, new age mysticism, government conspiracies, action, wry humor and genuinely scary moments. The show's high production values and sharp writing helped it reach beyond the niche ''Series/TwinPeaks'' crowd to make it one of the most popular and acclaimed shows on television and a bona fide worldwide cultural phenomenon. It was one of the earliest shows to be released in box sets (albeit on home video with inflated price tags) with behind-the-scenes goodies. These VHS sets became a common sight in supermarkets and rental stores, which fueled viewership even more.

Although it genuinely was good in its own right, the series arrived at the right time for that to happen; mainstream interest in ufology and related topics peaked in around 1998. These days however, E.T. doesn't get quite as much airtime as he used to [[Creator/TheHistoryChannel outside of fringe circles]], and as a result, ''The X-Files'' as a series is a lot less culturally relevant now than it was during production.

Episodes alternate between standalone MonsterOfTheWeek episodes and a complex, unfolding MythArc confirming pretty much every terrifying "conspiracy" of the past forty years (and even [[IKnewIt predicting a few new ones]]): there was [[WhoShotJFK a second gunman]], the Cold War is a sham, the government is in cahoots with various factions of aliens, and we're all slaves to the machinations of sinister (and worse -- [[NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering borderline incompetent]]) old men in smoke-filled back rooms. A quarter to a third of each season figures into Mulder's ever-growing investigation, though it was put on hold in 1997 to avoid conflicts with ''Fight the Future'' (then in post-production), resulting in the DenserAndWackier Season Five. Several of the show's most acclaimed comedic episodes were aired during this period. The final season was supposed to be followed by a series of movies that would eventually resolve the ongoing plot, but [[Film/TheXFilesIWantToBelieve the first post-series movie]] did not touch on the conspiracy plotline and met with lukewarm success. The show received a short-lived spinoff, ''Series/TheLoneGunmen''.

The future of ''The X-Files'' and its Myth Arc remained uncertain for a long time while die-hard fans kept expecting a third film that would either close-up the mystery or revive the franchise. [[http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/03/03/eccc-idw-panel-the-truth-is-still-out-there-x-files-chris-carter/ In March 2013, IDW announced that they would continuing the series as a comic book]]. The comic book, marked as the tenth season, came out in July 2013 and picks up after the events of the second movie. And now it has a [[ComicBook/TheXFilesSeason10 trope page]]!

[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_X-Files_(miniseries) A six episode miniseries]], which functions as the 10th season, with the involvement of Carter, Duchovny and Anderson began airing January 25th 2016, and feature a split of mythology and MonsterOfTheWeek episodes. Former writers/producers James Wong, Darin Morgan, and Glen Morgan contributed to the revival, and composer Mark Snow will also return. The first full-length trailer can be viewed [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1SmJUBT5q0 here]]. After this, an 11th season, consisting of ten episodes, started airing on January 3, 2018. Following this, though, Anderson has expressed reluctance to do further seasons, and Carter has declared the series on hold as a result, [[LeftHanging possibly permanently]].

The show has a [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/BestEpisode/TheXFiles Best Episode Crowner]] and many sub-pages like [[Characters/TheXFiles a character sheet]] or [[Recap/TheXFiles recaps]].

"Cold Cases", a series of AudioAdaptation episodes of the [[ComicBook/TheXFilesSeason10 season 10 comic books]] with revisits to past cases such as the Flukeman, was released on Audible on July 18, 2017, featuring the voice talents of Duchovny, Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and more. It does not correspond to the season 10 TV miniseries continuity.

A webcomic [[Webcomic/MonsterOfTheWeek recapping all the episodes]] has been started by [[Webcomic/{{Narbonic}} Shaenon K. Garrity]].and [[http://iwanttoreview.blogspot.com/ a blog devoted to reviewing the entire series]] was started by a writer for The Mary Sue.

!!''The X-Files'' and its MythArc provide examples of the following tropes:


* AbortedArc:
** At the end of the first movie, Scully talks about the vaccine that saved her, saying that it could cure people from the alien virus. It could also seriously mess up with the upcoming alien invasion. Sigh, the agents decided to pursue other things.
*** This comes back in the Season 10 revival, when Scully realizes [[spoiler: the alien DNA introduced into her system through the vaccine might in-turn create a vaccine that can save Mulder and the rest of humanity that are beginning to succumb to a planned global epidemic.]]
** During Season 6-7 the Syndicate was [[spoiler:destroyed at the hands of the Alien Rebels. At the time, the writers spoke of their plans for a new Syndicate, headed by Alex Krycek and Marita Covarrubias.]] This plotline was set up in "Requiem" but never resurfaced.
** The beginning of Season 9 reveals that Reyes and Follmer are having an affair. It's never brought up again.
* AdventureTowns: The Dynamic Duo chases aliens, alien-human hybrids, clones, genetic mutants, vampires, serial killers or conspirators and encounters weird phenomena all over the United States. Plus in Norway, Hong Kong, Russia and Antarctica.
* AffectionateGestureToTheHead: Mulder and Scully would touch each other's forehead, stroke each other's hair, hold each other's head or cup each other's face. {{UST}} at its best.
* [[AgentMulder Agents Mulder]] [[AgentScully and Scully]]: The [[TropeNamer Trope Namers]] no less.
* AlienAbduction: A common theme, although it's usually ambiguous whether extraterrestrials or human conspirators are actually responsible for it. [[spoiler:Both Scully and Mulder]] were victims of it, among many others.
* AliensAreBastards: [[spoiler: The Greys fit this to a t. They didn't used to be like this, and were once very peaceful beings, but the Black Oil corrupted and twisted them like it does all other life.]]
* AlienAutopsy:
** We see a doctor take away a murdered alien body from [[spoiler: the site of the Rosewell crash]] in the Season 10 revival. The tech obtained from his dissection of the alien later on has far-ranging consequences.
* TheAllegedBoss: Walter Skinner is type 3. He eventually gets replaced due to his inability to make Mulder and Scully obey him. Alvin Kersh, the new boss, ''would'' be the same type, since it's not like Mulder, Scully and/or Dogget and Reyes listen to him any better, except for the fact that he plays dirty and has better connections within the Bureau than Skinner.
* AllTheoriesAreTrue
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: The Japanese version has a few ending themes, including [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iugHbSJ6ZMk "Love Phantom"]] by B'z, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJOE-fCf6gw "Unbalanced"]] by Maki Oguro, and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-3qSL19Yzs "True Navigation"]] by Two-Mix.
* AlwaysSaveTheGirl: In the very first episode, Mulder said that nothing else mattered to him except finding out the truth about the conspiracy and what happened to his sister. Early seasons of the show got a lot of mileage out of making him choose between pursuing his quest and saving Scully. Around the beginning of season 5, though, it pretty much ceased to even be an issue -- he decided Scully was priority #1 and never looked back. (She saves his butt just as often, of course.)
* AnchoredShip: For the first five seasons.
* AlternateContinuity: The IDW comic to the 2016 miniseries.
* AntiVillain: The Cigarette Smoking Man, some of the time.
* AnyoneCanDie: The show wasn't afraid to kill off characters [[OnceAnEpisode each season]], that were either well known and/or [[BreakoutCharacter much loved]] throughout its original run and later miniseries, starting with [[spoiler:[[Recap/TheXFilesS01E13BeyondtheSea William Scully]] and [[Recap/TheXFilesS01E24TheErlenmeyerFlask Deep Throat]] in season one]]
** [[spoiler:Season Two saw [[Recap/TheXFilesS02E25Anasazi Bill Mulder]] die]]
** [[spoiler:Season Three saw [[Recap/TheXFilesS03E02PaperClip Melissa Scully]] finally succumb to her injuries]]
** [[spoiler:Season Four saw [[Recap/TheXFilesS04E01Herrenvolk X]], [[Recap/TheXFilesS04E17TempusFugit Max Fenig]], and [[Recap/TheXFilesS04E18Max Agent Pendrell]] all die]]
** [[spoiler:Season Five saw [[Recap/TheXFilesS05E02ReduxII Section Chief Scott Belvins]] die]]
** [[spoiler:The first feature length movie saw the [[Film/TheXFilesFighttheFuture Well-Manicured Man]] die]]
** [[spoiler:Season Six has the [[Recap/TheXFilesS06E12OneSon Syndicate Elders]] all die]]
** [[spoiler:Season Seven saw the deaths of [[Recap/TheXFilesS07E02TheSixthExtinctionIIAmorFati Diana Fowley, Albert Hosteen, Michael Kritschgau]], and [[Recap/TheXFilesS07E10SeinundZeit Teena Mulder]]]]
*** It was also during this season that Mulder [[spoiler:finally accepted [[Recap/TheXFilesS07E11Closure that his sister Samantha, was gone]]]].
** [[spoiler:Season Eight saw [[Recap/TheXFilesS08E21Existence Alex Krycek]] die]]
** [[spoiler:Season Nine has the [[Recap/TheXFilesS09E15JumptheShark Lone Gunmen]] and [[Recap/TheXFilesS09E20TheTruthII Knowle Rohrer]] die]]
** [[spoiler:Season Ten saw [[Recap/TheXFilesMiniseriesE04HomeAgain Margaret Scully]] die]]
** [[spoiler:Season Eleven saw the deaths of [[Recap/TheXFilesMiniseriesE16MyStruggleIV Mr. Y, Erika Price, Monica Reyes, A.D. Walter Skinner, and the Cigarette Smoking Man]]]]
* AnywhereButTheirLips: In several scenes throughout the series between Mulder and Scully, forehead kisses, kisses on the cheek, and a couple [[IKissYourHand kisses on the hand]].
* ArbitrarySkepticism:
** Scully remains a hardcore skeptic long after she's seen shape-shifting aliens, watched Mulder be mind-controlled into [[NotHimself things he'd never do on his own]], etc. It's somewhat {{justified|Trope}}, though: later seasons tended to imply that Scully felt she had to take a more skeptical stance than she really believed anymore in order to keep Mulder's wacky ideas grounded. That is until [[spoiler:Mulder himself is abducted]], at which point Scully is promoted to a full-on believer. But as of season 10, she's back to something much closer to her original role, making this a ZigZaggingTrope.
** Even Mulder refused to believe in anything that was close to miracles and religiously paranormal stuff (in these episodes it's Scully who's open-minded, due to her religious beliefs). In episode "3", Mulder ''doesn't'' believe in vampires, which of course turn out to exist.
* ArcWords: "Trust no one", [[spoiler: Deep Throat's last words which come up various times throughout the series]].
* AscendedExtra:
** The Cigarette-Smoking Man had four brief, mostly wordless appearances in the first season, doing little beyond hover in the background smoking. His role gradually expanded, and by the middle of Season Two he was firmly established as the show's BigBad.
** There's Nicholas Lea, who parlayed a brief guest spot in Season One's "Genderbender" as a random character, before going into a major role as Alex Krycek in Season Two (a trope YouLookFamiliar). The character of Krycek is an ascended extra as he was originally conceived as a temporary partner for Mulder when Scully was missing, and the producers were going to kill him off if Lea didn't do a good enough job portraying him. He instead went on to appear in every subsequent season.
* BadassBookworm: An Oxford-educated psychologist and a forensic pathologist with a physics degree [[TheyFightCrime fight aliens (and all sorts of other things)]].
* BadassLongcoat: Worn by most characters who look rather intimidating. The FBI wear them, the conspirators wear them, the mysterious informants wear them, everybody wears them! They all wear long trench coats or lab coats, and they all look awesome in them.
* BadBlackBarf: An alien virus called "Black Oil" caused black liquid to come out of the mouth, nose and eyes of its victims.
* BadDreams: Mulder frequently has nightmares about his sister's abduction; it's probably the biggest reason he's an insomniac.
** Both Mulder and Scully have nightmares about the other during their separate abductions. For Scully, they come so often and regularly that she panics when she ''stops'' having them, fearing that Mulder's death is the reason.
* TheBadGuyWins: [[spoiler:Well, the good guys don't, anyway. Sure, CSM and Rohrer are both dead and Mulder has escaped. However, many of the conspirators are still alive, our heroes have been forced into a life on the run, they have just discovered the date of a planned alien invasion and are no closer to stopping the alien takeover than they were at the beginning of the pilot.]]
* BagOfHolding: Mulder's and Scully's pockets. Boy, do they have to be deep and spacious! They have there their FBI badges, mobile phones, wallet/purse, calling cards, coins, keys, pens, latex gloves, bags for collecting evidence, flashlights of various sizes, and Mulder occasionally pulls sunflower seeds out of there.
* BatSignal: Mulder summons his informants by switching on a blue light lamp in his apartment (Deep Throat) and by putting the iconic X sign from masking tape on the window pane (Mr. X). Marita gave him his phone number, though.
* BeeAfraid: The GovernmentConspiracy uses bees as a vector for spreading TheVirus.
* BerserkButton: Do ''not'' come between Mulder and Scully. No, really. It's a ''bad'' idea. That goes for both of them, by the way.
* BigBadEnsemble: TheSyndicate, a shadowy group of powerful individuals led by [[spoiler:Conrad Strughold and the First Elder]] with the [[FanNickname Cigarette Smoking Man]] as TheDragon and the [[spoiler:alien colonists]] as the [[spoiler:GreaterScopeVillain]], with later seasons [[TheReveal revealing]] that its more of a [[TheBigBadShuffle big bad shuffle]] between its various myriad forces & factions; each with [[GambitPileup vastly differing goals and agendas]].
** The [[spoiler:miniseries]] would end up [[spoiler:{{retcon}}ning much of the show's MythArc, and [[TheReveal reveal]] that the Colonists have now abandoned UsefulNotes/{{Earth}} due to its dwindling resources]], leaving [[spoiler:the Cigarette Smoking Man as the DragonAscendant and sole BigBad of the series]]; though [[spoiler:he's currently engaged in an EnemyCivilWar with a rival faction]].
* TheBigBoard: The X-Files office has bulletin boards and walls covered with pictures, photos and newspaper clippings concerning the paranormal and the cases Mulder and Scully were working on. In addition, they often used slide shows to present cases. Considering Mulder's interest in the paranormal and the level of his obsession, some might consider his office to be a RoomFullOfCrazy.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:At the end of the show, the GovernmentConspiracy has taken some hits but is still going strong, and alien colonization of Earth is supposedly inevitable and proceeding on schedule for 2012. Mulder and Scully are on the run from a death sentence... but they're both alive, and they're together, and that means maybe there's hope.]]
* BlackEyesOfEvil: They mean you've been infected with the Black Oil, some kind of alien [[TheVirus virus]]... thing.
* BlackHelicopter
* BlackSpeech: Whenever you hear German, Japanese or Russian, the chances are they are spoken by evil conspirators, and dark post-world-war-two and post-cold-war undertones are implied.
* BlandNameProduct: "Morley Cigarettes", the Cigarette Smoking Man's brand of choice -- although this isn't the first show on American TV to use Morleys.
* TheBlank: The Alien Rebels have no faces, having sealed every orifice on their bodies to prevent infection by the Black Oil.
* BlessedWithSuck / CursedWithAwesome: Tends to be the case whenever the MonsterOfTheWeek is human.
* BloodyMurder: Alien-human hybrids with acidic blood.
* BodyHorror: All the time, especially in the MythArc episodes.
* BondVillainStupidity: The Conspiracy has opportunity to kill Mulder, but never does.
** Creator/HarlanEllison was complaining about this as early as the first season, apparently, leading to a scene where the Cigarette-Smoking Man explains that killing Mulder would "turn one man's religion into a crusade." (Which still comes across as sort of a HandWave, as they've killed plenty of dogged investigators before Mulder and TheConspiracy has remained intact.)
** In CSM's last appearance he claims [[spoiler:he protected Mulder from assassination [[EvilIsPetty so that he would learn The Truth that the alien invasion was coming, and there was nothing he could do to prevent it]].]]
* BreatherEpisode: The comic relief episodes actually provided some of the more interesting and innovative {{filler}} and served to counterbalance some of the more ridiculous ''serious'' episodes as the series went on.
* CandlelitBath: Scully likes them.
* CaptainsLog: Early seasons had Scully (and sometimes Mulder) writing case reports at the end of many of the MonsterOfTheWeek episodes. In the final seasons, after David Duchovny left the show, Scully read her journal entries as letters to the missing Mulder.
* ChekhovMIA: Mulder's sister. She did get used eventually.
* ChestBurster
* ChillyReception: Mulder toward Scully initially; later, either of them towards anyone replacing the other (especially between Scully and Fowley).
* ConspiracyTheorist: Loads of 'em, including Mulder and the Lone Gunmen.
** At the beginning of the 2016 revival, Mulder & Scully meet Tad O'Malley, a conspiracy theorist in the vein of Alex Jones that helps drive the season's arc.
* ContagiousCassandraTruth: Mulder usually had this problem after convincing Scully. Other characters they convinced also tended to suffer this trope (if they weren't blackmailed or bribed by the AncientConspiracy).
* ContinuityLockout
* CoolOldGuy: Arthur Dales
* CreepyChild: Approximately one per season and several were a part of the MythArc stories.
* CrisisOfFaith: Scully started the show as a [[RaisedCatholic nonpracticing Catholic]]. Part of her CharacterArc involved her coming to terms with her faith and deciding she could pray and attend church regularly even if she didn't always agree with everything TheChurch said.
* CryptidEpisode: There are enough cryptid episodes to stuff the Berlin Zoo full with them.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Seasons 4 and 8.
* DeadlyDoctor: Evil doctors collaborate with the conspiracy, having no scruples performing experiments on people.
* DeadlyNosebleed: [[spoiler:She doesn't actually die of it, but]] this is the only visible symptom when [[spoiler:Scully]] has terminal cancer.
* DealWithTheDevil: We find that [[spoiler: Monica Reyes]] has made a deal with Smoking Man to save herself from the [[spoiler: triggered pandemic]] that occurs at the end of Season 10.
* DeathByPragmatism: [[spoiler:The Conspiracy]], despite their best wishes.
* DeclarationOfProtection: Mulder goes just a little nuts with the protection when Scully returns from being abducted in season two. He feels he failed to protect her from it, which is only compounded by the guilt he still feels over his sister's abduction years before. He ditches her when things get hairy, lies to her about where he's going so she won't follow him, and asks her to sit out cases for fear of her life. The only thing this does (besides piss Scully off--she's a trained FBI agent, after all) is show the bad guys that the only way to hurt him is to hurt her and it starts a vicious cycle of Scully being kidnapped, saved, and then Mulder being ''more'' protective.
* DeusAngstMachina: The main characters get a disproportionate number of metaphorical {{Groin Kick}}s just within the few years in which the show takes place. [[spoiler:Mulder has both parents die and is constantly tormented by people who appear to be his sister but aren't, but Scully takes the cake having one parent and her sister die (the sister being at least partly her fault) and the entire abduction plotline.]]
* DidTheyOrDidntThey: [[spoiler:Lots of teasing from late season seven on. Eventually it's confirmed that yes, they did.]]
* DiedHappilyEverAfter: [[spoiler:The fate of Samantha Mulder.]]
* DistressedDamsel / DistressedDude: One of the first shows to have both male and female leads carry the DistressBall more or less equally.
* DoNotAdjustYourSet
* ElectiveMute
* ElvisLives: Mulder claims to believe this, but [[DeadpanSnarker knowing Mulder]] he could be making fun of himself.
* EmergingFromTheShadows: A common occurrence.
* TheEndOrIsIt: Leading to FridgeHorror galore. At the end of many episodes the things Mulder and Scully investigate are still running rampant and could be doing who knows what.
* EnemyMine
* EveryoneCanSeeIt
* ExposedExtraterrestrials: Applies to most "Gray" aliens, except in the episode "The Unnatural," where [[ItMakesSenseInContext the Gray is wearing a baseball uniform]]
* EyelessFace: The alien rebels have their eyes, ears and mouth sealed up so they can't be infested with the 'black oil'.
* EyeScream: The alien rebels sewn up eyes definitely count. Creepy as hell!
* FacialDialogue: Mulder and Scully are ''very'' good at this. Most conversations have a layer of embedded subtext just from their facial expressions. It's also part of what makes the audience feel like they've walked in on something they shouldn't; it's very intimate.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Goal: to expose The Truth.
* FingertipDrugAnalysis: Mulder, ''all... the... time''.
* FirstNameBasis: Agent Doggett and Agent Reyes always call each other John and Monica, unless other agents are around. This likely comes from their time spent working together on the kidnapping and murder of Doggett's son years prior.
* FreshClue: A couple times, a still-burning [[BlandNameProduct Morley cigarette]] left on the ground or in an office ashtray indicates that the [[BigBad Cigarette-Smoking Man]] has been there recently. Since he's TheChessmaster who's far from careless, he most likely [[CallingCard deliberately left these there]].
* FriendshipMoment: Many of these between Mulder and Scully. Pretty much any time either of them says "You're the only one I trust".
* FriendToAllChildren: For someone who was portrayed as the typical BigBrotherBully and who only had rare occasions to interact with children during the series, Mulder is quite good with them.
* FromCamouflageToCriminal: A number of episodes featured disgruntled veterans from the Vietnam and Gulf wars who use their various abilities to seek revenge on military and political figures.
* GeekyTurnOn
-->'''Mulder:''' Looks like the fuselage of a plane.\\
'''Scully:''' It's a North-American P-51 Mustang.\\
'''Mulder:''' I just got very turned on.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: Much to everyone's chagrin and no one's surprise, there is no X-Files division of the FBI.
* GovernmentConspiracy
* TheGreys: Played a major role in the MythArc.

* HalfHumanHybrid: Alien/Human hybrids.
* HeadbuttOfLove: Gently bumping their heads is Mulder and Scully's signature gesture of their mutual trust and support.
* HealingHands: Aliens have this ability, as well as several [[MonsterOfTheWeek monsters of the week]].
* HeldGaze: Mulder and Scully are big on doing this.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Mulder, obviously.
* HollywoodSpelling: Constantly.
* HowWeGotHere: Used several times for both MythArc and MonsterOfTheWeek episodes.
** The monologues that bookend Season 10 recap nearly the entire series.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: The MythArc episodes (often two-parters or trilogies) sometimes used complementary names as "The End"/"The Beginning", "Two Fathers"/"One Son", "Biogenesis"/"The Sixth Extinction I & II" or "Within"/"Without". The standalone episodes' titles were often extremely vague words or phrases brought up by a single line of dialogue or some other subtle or insignificant aspect of the episode, sometimes [[ForeignLanguageTitle in a foreign language]]. The show famously played a game with its fans who tried to find meaning in anything, no matter how obscure or insignificant it might appear, including the names of the episodes.
* IfJesusThenAliens: Averted. Scully is Catholic and believes in miracles, but is a hardcore skeptic about all other paranormal phenomena; Mulder is agnostic and rather cynical about organized religion but believes in basically everything else. (It's implied at least once that God is deliberately hiding himself from Mulder's perception as a test of Scully's faith.)
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Scully has them. Mulder...not so much.
* InfantImmortality: Baby William, at every turn. The number of times that child should have died, before and after birth, are staggering. But not even a scratch.
* InverseLawOfFertility: Inverted -- [[spoiler:Scully doesn't seem particularly interested in having kids until she finds out her abduction left her infertile, at which point she decides she really wanted to become a mother...and then she inexplicably becomes pregnant.]]
* {{Jerkass}}:
** Agent Spender (though he had his sympathetic moments).
** Assistant Director Brad Follmer.
** Assistant Director Kersh is one [[spoiler:until the show's first GrandFinale, where he helps break Mulder out of prison]].
* JerkassHasAPoint: One of the things that made Kersh a formidable antagonist towards Mulder and Scully was that he quite accurately pointed out that their actions often flaunted FBI procedure and law.
* JurisdictionFriction: Present in the very first episode.
* LampshadeHanging: Whenever an episode recycled a plot previously seen in another show or movie, someone would typically point it out.
** A particularly good one from the season six opener, when recapping what happened in ''[[Film/TheXFilesFightTheFuture Fight the Future]]'':
-->"Are you sure this isn't something I saw in ''Men in Black''?"
* LastNameBasis
** Mulder and Scully to each other. Mulder says he even made his parents call him Mulder, but it doesn't seem to have stuck. Mulder occasionally called Scully "Dana" [[YouCalledMeXItMustBeSerious at emotional moments]] in the first few seasons, then mostly gave it up, as if the last names had actually become more intimate by that point. Scully never even tried to call him Fox after the first time.
** The Lone Gunmen are also known only by their last names, likely because two of them have {{Embarrassing First Name}}s.
** Most of the agents at the FBI go by last names; Skinner is always called by his last name even after becoming more of a friend than a superior to Mulder and Scully.
** Averted by Reyes and Doggett, who refer to each other by first name on a regular basis.
* LetXBeTheUnknown
* LightIsNotGood: The classic "aliens have floodlights all over the place" effect.
* LighterAndSofter: Season 6, and most of the comedic episodes in general.
* LivingEmotionalCrutch: Both Mulder and Scully become this to each other, verging on HeroicBSOD whenever they're involuntarily separated. This is portrayed as basically a good thing; their relationship ends up helping both of them overcome their personal issues to some degree.
* LockedRoomMystery
* LondonEnglandSyndrome: All over the place.
* LongingLook: Mulder and Scully had an astonishing talent for giving each other looks so singular, emotional and full of meaning they made anyone else in the room -- or on the other side of the television screen -- feel like they were intruding on some absurdly private moment.
* LongRunnerCastTurnover: By the time the series ended, only AD Skinner remained a main character. Mulder, Scully, and the Cigarette-Smoking Man were all demoted to regulars or extras.
* LovedINotHonorMore: Subverted. Several times the show puts Mulder in what looks like a FriendOrIdolDecision between saving Scully and his quest for the Truth -- but ultimately it's strongly implied that the only reason he's able to achieve any success in his quest is because he has Scully as his partner.
* MacGuffinSuperPerson: Baby William. He is described as "more human than human", a normal human child with none of the human frailties. He is seen as the salvation of the human race from alien invasion; he is the epitome of what the Syndicate has been trying to do for years: create a human/alien hybrid. While they did it in a lab (with diastrous results), William was gestated naturally. If they can figure out to replicate that, or make a vaccine against the alien virus, the human race has a chance of surviving. So, they're after him. And the Super Soldiers, who are bent on making sure alien invasion is swift and that resistance is futile, are after him to kill him. On top of that, he is kidnapped mid-season 9 by a UFO cult who are convinced he is connected to a UFO they found. He has supernatural powers, most notably telekinesis. He is seen making the mobile above his crib move on its own (scaring his mother to death in the process). He also has a Christ-like birth, with Scully giving birth in a shack in the middle of nowhere, a guiding star, and the Lone Gunmen acting as the Three Wise Men. Though it took place in mid-May, not December.
** William factors heavily through the entire arc of the Season 10 revial.
* TheManBehindTheMan
* MayanDoomsday: December 21, 2012 was listed as the day the alien invasion was supposed to happen.
** Reyes mentions 2012 as when the mechanizations began for [[spoiler: pandemic that begins at the end of Season 10.]]
* MaybeEverAfter: [[spoiler:The television series ends on this note for Mulder and Scully.]]
** The second film confirms [[spoiler: that they are in a relationship.]]
** However, at the beginning of Season 10, [[spoiler: they are still friendly, but are now estranged, and that Scully initiated it.]]
* MeaningfulLook: Mulder and Scully have many of these.
* MeaningfulName: It's eventually revealed that the main alien antagonists call themselves the Purities. This should tell you everything you need to know about [[{{Narcissist}} what they think of themselves]]... not to mention what they think about ''[[OmnicidalManiac everybody else]]''.
* MedicalRapeAndImpregnate: It's strongly implied this happens to many victims of AlienAbduction. [[spoiler: Including Scully.]] Mulder actually calls the conspirators "medical rapists" at one point.
** In Season 10, the agents meet Sveta, who says she has been abducted and impregnated several times, with [[spoiler: the fetuses taken from her before she is returned]].
* MenDontCry: Averted. Mulder is much more prone to openly showing emotion than Scully is.
* TheMenInBlack: Alex Trebek?
* MissingTime: Comes up several times, most prominently happening to Mulder and Scully in the very first episode.
* TheMole: A lot of these.
** Krycek, for all of one episode before he's found out.
** [[spoiler:Marita Covarrubias, X's replacement.]]
** [[spoiler:Fowley]]
** [[spoiler:Section Chief Blevins]].
** [[spoiler:Deep Throat]] is a Mole in the Syndicate.
** Mulder originally thought Scully was a mole (and says so outright when he first meets her).
** [[spoiler:Reyes]] becomes a mole, reaching out to Scully when [[spoiler: a planned pandemic]] is set into motion.
* MonsterOfTheWeek: The modern TropeCodifier.
** Subverted on a few occasions where the "[[VillainOfTheWeek monsters]]" are [[{{Mundanger}} human]], and during episodes where the Monster ''helps'' the agents in their case (or is otherwise non-violent).
** [[spoiler: On very rare occasions, the monster is tied to the MythArc or is a recurring character, including the Black Oil in ‘’Vienen’’, Virtual!Langley in ‘’This’’, and even William Scully, Fox and Dana’s child in ‘’Ghouli’’.]]
* MotherNatureFatherScience:
** Inverted. Mulder is the emotional, intuitive one who believes in mysticism and the paranormal, while Scully is a stoic, logical scientist. (The inversion of conventional gender roles was quite deliberate on the part of the writers.)
** Played jarringly straight in the few episodes where the MonsterOfTheWeek is a religious icon that Scully believes and Mulder doubts.
** Played straight in seasons 9 with Doggett and Reyes, as they were meant to replicate (but not duplicate) the believer/skeptic relationship of their predecessors.
** In season 8, with Doggett being the non-emotional, straight-laced former cop and Scully being the believer, it's played straight. Even though she's not as skeptical as she was when she joined the X-Files, Scully is still Scully. She's still the logical scientist, and though she admits she's seen things she can't ignore, she's ''not'' the believer. However, to keep the office running (and to keep Doggett from dismissing the work outright), she is forced to take on Mulder's role in his absence. In some of the episodes, you can tell she's suggesting things she absolutely does not believe in, but entertains them because the cases ''are'' X-Files. It's mentioned at least once that she finds it hard to "be Mulder," not only because she's never been the believer in the relationship, but because she is unable to make the insane leaps of logic Mulder was infamous for.
* TheMountainsOfIllinois: What happens when you film in Vancouver (and later Los Angeles) but set your stories all over the US, even the flat bits.
* TheMovie: Two of them. The first one is part of the show's MythArc, the second is basically a long MonsterOfTheWeek episode.
* MyBiologicalClockIsTicking: Scully's abduction left her infertile (somewhat ironic, considering her abduction was written in to allow Gillian Anderson to go on ''maternity leave''). It's a source of {{angst}} for her. It's played ''much'' more subtly -- and with good reason; he'd never be enough of a {{jerkass}} to actually bring it up, considering Scully's infertility -- but Mulder is implied to be somewhat wistful about not being in a position to have kids too.
* MultiPartEpisode: There are almost as many multi-part episodes of the show as there are stand alone. Most of the mythology episodes ended up being multi-parters though they were rarely named as such.
* MysticalPregnancy: At least two, despite the first one having supposedly rendered her infertile.
* MysteriousInformant: Several. Deep Throat, X, and Marita are the three main recurring ones.
** An unnamed doctor [[spoiler: present at the Rosewell crash site in 1947]] appears to been in contact with Mulder since the X-Files were closed.

* NoHuggingNoKissing: The show was famous for this early on, but even then it was oddly subverted in a few instances, and by around season 6 Mulder and Scully had really become awfully, uh, cuddly for platonic friends.
* NoSenseOfPersonalSpace: Mulder in regards to Scully, as well as being quite affectionate. She is definitely unnerved by it in the early seasons, but eventually gets used to it.
* NoodleIncident: In season 2, it's revealed that Scully has a key to Mulder's apartment. How this came about is never discussed. It's not known whether Mulder has a key to her apartment.
* NotLoveInterest: While it took them seven seasons to get around to making it official, for all intents and purposes Mulder and Scully were best friends/lovers/spouses since day one. It could even be argued that their bond transcended all three of those roles to become something more all-encompassing than most people ever experience. It certainly cannot be ''denied'' that they were the most important people in each others' lives almost since the first time Scully walked into Mulder's basement office.
* NotOfThisEarth: The mysterious bacteria and virus, first appearing in "The Erlenmeyer Flask".
-->'''Dr. Carpenter:''' A fifth and sixth DNA nucleotide. A new base pair. Agent Scully, what are you looking at... it exists nowhere in nature. It would have to be, by definition... extraterrestrial.
* NotQuiteDead:
** Mulder on more than one occasion.
** Krycek, many times.
** The Cigarette-Smoking Man in season 5 and again in season 7.
*** And we find he survived [[spoiler: the airstike]] on his position at the end of Season 9.
** Jeffrey Spender, presumed dead in season six, but seen again in season nine.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Practically everyone else in the FBI except for Skinner. In particular, Kersh and Follmer.
* OccultDetective: Mulder and Scully investigate the paranormal.
* OddCouple
* OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: The mysterious and shady group called "Syndicate" effectively controls the world with various conspiracies.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted -- there are at least four fairly important characters named William, three of whom go by the nickname Bill: Mulder's father, Scully's father, Scully's older brother, and [[spoiler:Baby William]]. ''And'' it's Mulder's middle name.
* TheOnlyOneITrust: Mulder and Scully towards each other. No wonder they provide the page quote.
* OrificeInvasion: Very common, most memorably in the form of the Black Oil.
* OurCryptidsAreMoreMysterious: So many examples that the show may actually have ''started'' some cryptid legends.
* OurHeroIsDead: Killing Mulder at the end of the season becomes almost traditional.
* OurMonstersAreDifferent: Well, most of the time.
* ParanormalInvestigation
* PlatonicLifePartners: Mulder and Scully [[spoiler:for the first five seasons]].
* PoliceAreUseless: Zigzagged. Mulder and Scully are themselves police and extremely competent, hence an aversion. Other cops, be they local police or other FBI agents, can be all over the place: genuinely helpful, well-meaning but ineffectual, obstructive bureaucrats or in cahoots with the Syndicate/Monster of the Week.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: The Consortium as a whole. The upper levels seem to be composed entirely of older, upper-class white men. They also consistently failed to realize it was Mulder and Scully ''as partners'', not Mulder individually, who might pose a threat to their plans, thinking of Scully only as Mulder's BerserkButton when they could be bothered to notice her existence at all.
* PornStash: It's a recurring joke that Mulder has one. Unusually for the trope, he makes no real attempt to keep it secret, and Scully doesn't seem to care beyond thinking it's kind of silly.
-->'''Mulder:''' Whatever tape you found in that VCR? It isn't mine.\\
'''Scully:''' Don't worry, I put it in the drawer with all the other videos that aren't yours.
* PowerOfTrust: "Trust no one" is a major {{catch phrase}} in the show, but it's subtly ironic -- one of the show's main themes is actually the importance, in a world of lies and conspiracies, of having someone you can trust absolutely. Mulder and Scully spend so much time saying things like "You're the only one I trust," it became a common fandom joke that they were just using "trust" as a code word for "love".
* PowersThatBe
* ProperlyParanoid: Practically the entire cast displays this behavior at some point. Yes, [[TheMenInBlack the Conspiracy]] really is out to get them. So much so that everyone largely stops caring after a while. What Suzanne Modeski tells the Lone Gunmen could be the series' motto: "No matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough." This might however take paranoia to the point of kitsch.
* PurelyAestheticGlasses: Both Mulder and Scully are seen wearing reading glasses occasionally in the early seasons.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: Mulder in season 2 after the X-Files were shut down, and both Mulder and Scully in season 6 when Fowley and Spender replaced them.
* ReassignmentBackfire: Scully was pulled out of being a professor at Quantico to debunk Mulder's work on the X-Files. She is unable to do it and starts siding with him.
%% RecycledScript is trivia and go in the Trivia tab.
* RedHerring: Red Herrings were used on the MythArc level as well in some standalone episodes. Several clues that appeared to be important to the mysteries the agents Mulder and Scully were supposed to unravel ultimately lead nowhere, or were not simply addressed again.
** The fate of Samantha Mulder was probably the biggest Red Herring of the series. Her abduction was a defining moment of Mulder's life as it triggered his belief in the paranormal and motivated his career at the FBI. Throughout the series, Mulder was tormented by her clones and reassurances that she's still alive. [[spoiler: However, it was revealed that she had been abducted by the conspiracy who had collaborated with the aliens. She was saved by some strange kind of fairies or angels which made her body disappear, meaning that her corpse will never be found, but Mulder did see her ghost.]]
* RewindReplayRepeat: Happens frequently, usually when Mulder catches a glimpse of something in the footage that everyone else overlooked.
* RoswellThatEndsWell
* SayMyName: The two leads do this an awful lot.
* ScienceHero: Both of them, but moreso Scully than Mulder.
* SerialKiller: Several times. Most of them are really horrifying.
* ShapeShifting: The Alien Bounty Hunters and several monsters of the week.
* SherlockScan: Mulder does this sometimes, being able to tell that the person he's interviewing happens to BE the monster of the week. It's often forgotten that Mulder acquired his reputation of "Spooky Mulder" from way before he got involved with the paranormal. Supposedly, his skill at quickly building detailed profiles was so good that people felt that it was "spooky", to the point that he had attracted the attention of senior FBI agents when he was still a cadet. However, after repeatedly getting dismissed for his outlandish theories he became less and less forthcoming with them unless it's to Scully, who feverishly does everything she can to debunk him.
* ShipTease:
** A lot for Scully and Mulder, although they were mostly relatively restrained about it until around season 6.
** The writers were also very aware of other shippers in the fandom, including the [[SlashFic slash]] fans, and enjoyed throwing out occasional bones for the Scully×Skinner, Mulder×Skinner, and Mulder×Krycek crowds.
* ShirtlessScene: Mulder was shirtless fairly often.
* ShoutOut: Enough with [[ShoutOut/TheXFiles it's own sub-page]]. And it's looong.
%% please list Shout Outs at the sub-page.
* SignatureItemClue: The ash from The Smoking Man's cigarettes have made it clear he's somehow involved a few times (one of the first being when it tipped Mulder off that he'd been in TheMole's car).
* SinisterMinister: Common in the religiously-themed episodes.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Pretty far over on the cynical side... but not quite as far as it might appear at first. It's [[CrapsackWorld a world of dark conspiracies, betrayal and lies, with monsters hiding in every shadow]], but there are two people in it who [[PowerOfTrust really can trust each other]], and that ''might'' [[EarnYourHappyEnding be enough]] to [[AWorldHalfFull make a difference]].
* SpiritualSuccessor
** To ''Series/KolchakTheNightStalker''. Several ''X-Files'' episodes are directly inspired by ''Kolchak'' episodes.
** Has its own in ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', ''Series/{{Lost}}'', ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' and several other ParanormalInvestigation programs. ''Fringe'' in particular so closely resembled ''X-Files'' that it was criticized by fans as being a ripoff of the original.
** It also influenced the mood and writing of less obviously related shows like ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' (which Joss Whedon described as ''Series/MySoCalledLife'' meets ''The X-Files''), ''Series/{{Alias}}'', ''Series/{{Bones}}'' and ''Series/EleventhHour''.
* StartToCorpse: Varies, but episodes frequently opened with unfortunate victims dying in mysterious ways, so it was often pretty close to zero.
* StatingTheSimpleSolution: The First Elder constantly suggests killing Mulder... only to be overruled by the other conspiracy members, who are either feeding him information or manipulating him for their own purposes.
* StrappedToAnOperatingTable
* StrictlyProfessionalRelationship: They started out purely professional but their relationship has been very strong since season 1, with several sweet bonding moments when they assured each other of their trust and loyalty. Every so often Mulder would flirt with a woman and not notice Scully's jealousy. Outside of that they were all business.
* SugarAndIcePersonality: Scully, as TheStoic, is very steely and distant with everyone, including her family. But with Mulder, she's a lot more relaxed and emotionally open.
* SuperSoldier: A new MythArc element added in season 9.
* SurveillanceAsThePlotDemands: Just assume the Conspiracy is always spying on everything.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Carefully and consistently averted.
** X was very different from Deep Throat, replacing grandfatherly benevolence with deadly pragmatism.
** Marita, X's replacement, was quite different from either of her predecessors and turned out to be a [[TheMole mole]] to boot.
** Doggett and Reyes were very different from Mulder and Scully, replacing the Absolute Believer/Healthy Skeptic dichotomy with Absolute Skeptic/Open-Minded, and replacing Mulder and Scully's relationship with a more conventional gender dynamic. While they become close, they're never as [[LivingEmotionalCrutch emotionally dependent on each other]] as Mulder and Scully could be [[spoiler:even before they were romantically involved]], and they're on a FirstNameBasis right from the start.
* SympatheticMurderer: Very common. You're usually supposed to feel at least some degree of sympathy for the monster, even if Mulder and Scully end up having to kill it.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Interestingly averted in the earlier seasons, at least for Scully. She sees a therapist a few times after her abduction in season two.
* ToBeContinued: They had several two-parters and trilogies. Some mythology stories ended with this as well, and the next episode would be a standalone one.
* ToiletHumour: Unfortunately. Mulder would often make not very tasteful jokes about hemorrhoids and similar things.
* TheTopicOfCancer: Scully almost died of alien-induced cancer. Other abductees were not as lucky.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Mulder loves munching on sunflower seeds.
* TragicKeepsake: Scully always wears a small gold cross necklace. When she's [[AlienAbduction abducted]] near the beginning of season 2, it's torn off, and Mulder wears it himself for the three months she's missing. It shows up a few more times when they're separated as a symbol of their bond: Mulder finds it again when he's tracking down Scully in [[Film/TheXFilesFightTheFuture the first movie]], and [[TheLadysFavor she apparently gave it to him to wear before he went off alone]] and got himself [[PutOnABus abducted]] at the end of season 7.
** In Season 10, Scully begins to wear a necklace made from an old quarter that her [[spoiler: mother was wearing when she died]].
* TrueLoveIsExceptional
* {{Tuckerization}}: Many character names, some of them are listed in the Shout Out sub-page. For starters, Mulder is the maiden name of Carter's mom, and Scully and Doggett [[NamedAfterSomebodyFamous come from Dodgers broadcasters Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett]].
* TurnCoat: It's a show about conspiracies, so there's lots of these.

* UhOhEyes: The monsters' eyes sometimes indicated the level of their evil.
* {{Ultraterrestrials}}: A key part of the MythArc -- [[spoiler:the "aliens" are actually Earth's original native inhabitants, who've returned from a leave of absence]].
* UndyingLoyalty: Mulder and Scully's loyalty to each other transcends time, space and apparent death, among other things.
* UnguidedLabTour: Comes up a couple times, though they usually aren't so much secret ''labs'' as academic or government labs doing secret ''things''.
* TheUnReveal
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Guess who? (The term actually originated in online ''X-Files'' fandom.)
* TheVirus: Turned UpToEleven at the end of [[spoiler: Season 10]].
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: Various baddies, but the most prominent example is the Alien Bounty Hunter, a recurring antagonist. He's an extraterrestrial assassin, and can look like anyone.
* WaitHere: Any time Mulder drops one of these on Scully, you can rest assured that the MonsterOfTheWeek or other paranormal phenomenon is about to make an appearance and poor Mulder will have nobody around to verify his account. It doesn't always result in one of them being taken hostage but often does.
* WeHaveBeenResearchingPhlebotinumForYears: At various points throughout the MythArc.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:The Syndicate.]]
* WhamEpisode: The show was quite fond of these.
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: Even disregarding the rather questionable justification for the bad guys not simply offing Mulder as they've done with so many other people (that Mulder would become a martyr), they don't even seem to try to discredit him that much.
* WhosYourDaddy: A major plot point in season 8.
* WorldOfSnark: Everyone is a DeadpanSnarker, specially Mulder, Scully and Skinner.
* WrittenInAbsence: Scully's [[AlienAbduction abduction]] -- an event that would go on to shape the entire MythArc, as well as Mulder and Scully's relationship and CharacterDevelopment throughout the rest of the show -- was written in simply to get Gillian Anderson out of the way while she was heavily pregnant in RealLife.
* XMakesAnythingCool
** "The X-Files" sound way better than "the U-Files". They might have been called that for "unsolved" but weren't thanks to the filing system at the FBI in the 50's.
-->'''Clerk Bahnsen:''' It's in an X-file.\\
'''Agent Dales:''' An "X-file"?\\
'''Clerk Bahnsen:''' Yes, unsolved cases. I file them under "X".\\
'''Agent Dales:''' Why don't you file them under "U" for "unsolved"?\\
'''Clerk Bahnsen:''' That's what I did until I ran out of room. Plenty of room in the "X"s.
** Mr. X, Mulder's second MysteriousInformant.

[[folder: Trust no one. ]]