The X-Files: Season 3, Episode 15

Piper Maru (9 Feb. 1996)
"The X Files" Piper Maru (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 1,285 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

The agents investigate the mystery surrounding a sunken World War II aircraft.



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Title: Piper Maru (09 Feb 1996)

Piper Maru (09 Feb 1996) on IMDb 8.6/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Clothier ...
Commander Johansen
Jo Bates ...
Jeraldine Kallenchuk
Morris Panych ...
The Gray-Haired Man
Ari Solomon ...
Paul Batten ...
Dr. Seizer
Russell Ferrier ...
The Medic
Lenno Britos ...
Kimberly Unger ...
Joan Gauthier
Rochelle Greenwood ...
The Waitress
Joel Silverstone ...
Engineer #1


Scully and Mulder investigate the case of the crew of a French salvage ship who are all, with one exception, suffering from severe radiation burns. Mulder is particularly interested in the case as the ship was working at the coordinates he believes is the site of a UFO crash. Evidence at the home of the one salvager who escaped the radiation burns leads Mulder to Hong Kong where he meets Krycek, who he believes killed his father. It's also obvious that the entity, black oil, is transferring itself from one person to another. Meanwhile, Scully is upset to learn that the police will shut down the investigation into the murder of her sister Melissa. Assistant Director Skinner assures her he will pursue the matter but he is warned off by representatives of the intelligence community. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

9 February 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The flashback to the mutiny on the submarine features an uncredited (and very young) Michael Buble. See more »


While the Piper Maru is supposed to be a French ship and the French secret services are involved, only background voices have a French accent and no accurate accent is actually seen spoken on-screen ; all on-screen "French" characters have at best Canadian accents. See more »


Wayne Morgan: What the hell is that?
Fox Mulder: Looks like the fuselage of a plane.
Dana Scully: It's a North American P-51 Mustang.
Wayne Morgan: Yeah, sure is.
Fox Mulder: I just got very turned on.
See more »


Referenced in AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Black Gold Or Texas Tea?
5 July 2006 | by (Washington Terrace, Utah) – See all my reviews

Piper Maru introduces us to the Black Oil, the alien substance that will play a major part throughout the rest of the mythology episodes. Scully's speech about interest in the opening teaser sets the tone for the rest of the episode. Great dramatic acting by Gillian Anderson. The black oil in the eyes of an infected person is such an iconic shot of the x-files. I think why I like this episode so much is the new direction that the series takes with the introduction of the Black Oil. It adds a new and sometimes confusing dimension to the already established conspiracy involving alien colonization and alien/human hybrids. When Mulder first meets Krycek toward the end of the episode, Krycek appears sweaty and very nervous, and I'm not exactly sure why. It's not explained at all. The model sub used to begin the flashback is probably one of the worst special effects I've ever seen on the show. It looks like something out of Godzilla. It's just a very minor flaw in an otherwise spectacular episode. And Piper Maru's final shot works very well for a cliffhanger; a very cool shot.

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