‘The X-Files’: Top 5 bad guys

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5. Alex Krycek (Sleepless Existence)

Until David Duchovny jumped ship and we met Agent John Doggett, it was a well-known fact that anyone who came to work closely alongside Fox Mulder or Dana Scully was either a bad guy, an unwilling bad guy, or one of Mulder’s ex-girlfriends.

Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) was the first and most formidable, going from obsequious yes-man to sister-slaughtering-scumbag to armless, alien-black-oil-polluted crazy before finally being blown away by the heroically humourless Walter Skinner.

At times, Krycek’s real motivations were unclear, and he occasionally seemed to have turned to the side of the light, but it was only ever for his own ends and never for very long. Definitely a wrong ‘un.

4. Darren Peter Oswald (D.P.O.)

Although his nifty ability to attract lightning at will and fatally zap people with it made Darren (played by Giovanni Ribisi, later Phoebe’s half-brother Frank in Friends) a formidable foe, Mulder and Scully can rarely have faced a more annoying adversary than this adolescent ass.

With his melodramatic cries of ‘You’re really pissing me off!’ and whiny declarations of puppy love for schoolteacher Mrs Kiveat, Darren was infuriating enough to make a character played by Jack Black seem tolerable – and if that isn’t the hallmark of a villain, we don’t know what is.

3. Virgil Incanto (2Shy)

Although it was tempting to award a place in this list to the notoriously stretchy Eugene Tooms, thoughts of his bile-drenched nest – ‘Is there any way I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?’, Mulder famously quipped after prodding around in it – brought to mind one of the most gruesome murderers in the X-Files’ canon: poetry-loving translator of 16th century Italian literature Virgil Incanto, the terror of the online dating sites, who brought a new meaning to the phrase ‘he oozes charm’.

Deliberately selecting ladies with a fuller figure, he would invite them on dates, turn on the charisma, and then suck out all their fatty tissue, leaving just a slimy mess of a corpse behind.

2. AD Kersh (The BeginningThe Truth)

During one of the several instances of the X-Files being closed down for some reason or other, Mulder and Scully ended up under the jurisdiction of perpetually grumpy Assistant Director Alvin Kersh (James Pickens Jr) – and although he wasn’t really a baddie in the monster-of-the-week or mythology-arc-git senses of the word (although he was occasionally seen in the company of the toothpick-chewingly-evil Jim Robinson from Neighbours) he was certainly so much of a persistent and pernickety pain in Mulder’s backside that nobody would have forgiven our heroes for taking him to Roswell, strapping him to a UFO and sending him as far away from the FBI Headquarters as possible.

Yes, he did eventually show a good side, by helping out Mulder and Doggett in the series finale, but that doesn’t prove anything. Even Krycek’s ghost was lending a hand by that point.

1. The Cigarette-Smoking Man (PilotThe Truth)

He started off as just some bloke hanging around in offices and ended up as the key figure in a global syndicate allowing aliens to colonise the Earth. Or, if you prefer, he started out as a friend of Mulder’s father but turned out to be Fox’s dad.

Then again, you might think of him as the guy who started off by flouting a lot of anti-smoking laws and ended up with cancer – although, of course, it was actually Adam ‘They’re not my brothers’ Baldwin who killed him.

You might know him as Cancer Man, or the Smoking Man, or C.G.B. Spender, or even Raul Bloodworth if you’re really hardcore. But however you remember him, and whatever you choose to call him, the Cigarette-Smoking dude is undoubtedly the most memorable bad guy in the history of The X-Files.

From some points of view – notably his own – he isn’t evil at all, even when he’s shooting one of his other sons, betraying most of humanity or rigging the Super Bowl, and he’d most likely say it wasn’t fair to be classed as such, but Ol’ Smoky (played by William B. Davis) has been the mainstay of malevolence since the days when Scully didn’t believe in aliens; there’s nobody more deserving of the number one slot than him.

He might argue it’s unfair, but the world isn’t a fair place. As he himself once put it, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates: a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for.’ So there.

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