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



(created by), | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video






Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Clothier ...
Commander Christopher Johansen
Jo Bates ...
Jeraldine Kallenchuk
Morris Panych ...
Paul Batten ...
Dr. Seizer
Russell Ferrier ...
Lenno Britos ...
Kimberly Unger ...
Joan Gauthier
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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 February 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Piper Maru is also the name of the ice-breaker ship used by Weyland Corporation's retrieval team in AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) See more »


Scully goes onto Miramar NAS to visit/question a Naval CMDR about the P-51. She tells him she used to live next door. She states he was a pilot in WWII and he would therefore be well past retirement age. Military retirees are not provided base housing. The CMDR would not have been allowed to remain in his active duty housing after retirement. See more »


Scully: You know, it's strange - men can blow up buildings, and they can be nowhere near the crime scene. But we can piece together the evidence and convict them beyond a doubt. Our labs here can recreate out of the most microscopic details their motivation and circumstance to almost any murder. Right down to a killer's attitude towards his mother and that he was a bed wetter. But in the case of a woman... my sister... who was gunned down in cold blood in a well-lit apartment building by a shooter who ...
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 (Roy, 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.

35 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
G Anderson mindthinkr
XF vids profprimbud
What episode do you find to be the worst? Ryohazukisama
Please tell me that the whole colonization really happened nyhcskin
Diana Fowley. kimmie_baever
Mulder in season 8 prinsmars_91
Discuss Piper Maru (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: