• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #60: Dana Scully


"The truth is out there. But so are lies."

I was slow to warm to The X-Files. I eventually started watching it because Jen was a faithful devotee, and if she was making this list, I suspect Fox Mulder might have shown up in the first week of January. But for me, it was always about Dana Scully. She was a hardheaded, no-nonsense agent from the Clarice Starling school of petite FBI badassery. She was a scientist, steeped in logic and reality, and the perfect foil for Mulder's fantasies.

As time went by and the series twisted itself in knots over its own labyrinthine mythology, Scully became more invaluable for her systematic approach to inquiry. I don't think she ever really believed Mulder's fairy tales, even when confronted with hard evidence or abducted by aliens herself. Too rational, too grounded. But as Mulder's lifeline, she gave him plenty of leash, and enabled him to pursue his dreams. The romantic tension between the two deepened, a credit to two excellent actors, and gave the series a veneer of humanity. When Duchovny bailed on the show and they brought in the T-1000 to replace him, things petered out.

Even two films and a new television series couldn't bring things back from the dead, no matter how much we might want to believe. But nothing can change that there was a time in the late 1990s when Dana Scully was the very archetype of the smart, sexy heroine. And that, X-Philes, is the truth.

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