The X-Files: Season 3, Episode 17

Pusher (23 Feb. 1996)
"The X Files" Pusher (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 1,270 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 4 critic

A seemingly unmotivated murderer, who can apparently talk his victims into killing themselves is on the loose and it is up to Mulder and Scully to study the clues left to them by the person and capture him.



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Title: Pusher (23 Feb 1996)

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Episode cast overview:
Robert Wisden ...
Agent Frank Burst
Swat Lieutenant
Agent Collins
Don MacKay ...
Brent Sheppard ...
Deputy Scott Kerber
Meredith Bain Woodward ...
Defense Attorney
Julia Arkos ...
Ernie Foort ...
Lobby Guard
Darren Lucas ...
Lead Swat Cop


Scully and Mulder investigate a series of deaths, all of which have been ruled to be suicides. Connected to all of the suicides is Robert Patrick Modell who has confessed to the crimes on the telephone and who the FBI has been trying to apprehend. When they do, the car carrying him is in a major traffic accident. Mulder comes to believe that Modell has the ability to suggest to people that they commit suicide. How he does it isn't known and not surprisingly, Scully is skeptical about it all. It all comes down to a battle of wills between Modell and Mulder. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

23 February 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Writer/executive producer Vince Gilligan's episodes contain numerous references to his girlfriend, Holly. Some of the more prominent examples of this: the name of the secretary in episode #3.17, "Pusher", Susanne Modeski's pseudonym in episode #5.3, "The Unusual Suspects", and Mulder and Scully running into the police at Holly Street in episode #7.12, "X-Cops". See more »


The FBI motto on the building is incorrect as it reads "UNITED STATES BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION" instead of "FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION". See more »


Mulder: [repeated by multiple characters] He had to go.
See more »


References How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) See more »


Performed by Robert Wisden
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User Reviews

A little too forced.
23 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The directing, acting, and basic elements are here but there are quite a few plot holes and the basic situational premise is very flimsy.

I think some of the most glaring incidents of illogic:

1-Mulder recognizing and knowing that some random personal ad for "I solve problems" in some random magazine has been posted since 1994 (when the killings started, obviously)

2-When the agent self-immolates, why did he go into the building alone? They pretty much knew what this guy does from the start of the investigation...yeah.

3-The telephone-heart attack. Does his suggestion work by voice? With the judge and the FBI security, it seemed to be eye it is via telephone wires...or some mind-to-voice-to-ear manipulation which makes my brain hurt. I mean, if he can persuade through rhetoric, FINE. but what of the eye contact action? Consistency. Please. And how can Pusher will/control someone to do something that that person couldn't do to begin with? If he could cause people to have heart attacks or levitate, why not just always do that? Why not reverse the progress of his tumor? OH GOD, I think he's telling me to go on the internet and review this episode... makehimstopmakehimstopohplzohplzmakemestop.

4-Pusher says that he read in Scully's file that she shot Mulder once before, but we learned from Skinner that the only file Pusher accessed was Mulder's (if her file even had that information, they were kinda AWOL and off the record when that happened).

5-Why is Skinner immune totally from even a weak suggestion, but Mulder almost kills Scully?

I just feel like they didn't develop the supernatural idea at all before going right on to try to get at some head-to-head between Mulder and Pusher. This made everything kind of a mess from the get-go. And no amount of Ronin or Ninjas could cool their way out of it.

I really like detective and creative sci-fi/supernatural stories, and I have to admit that I like action too. Guns don't really hurt my interest either. And the x-files usually has these things down solid. And they give you some historical, forensic or humorous information along the way.

I think that if I were a little younger, the agent lighting himself on fire would have probably distracted me more, too. But unfortunately, none of that good stuff here was really clicking and the only mystery that got solved was how "Pusher" couldn't force me to care.

5 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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