The X-Files (1993–2018)
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The Pine Bluff Variant 

Mulder goes undercover to infiltrate a militia group armed with a deadly pathogen and wanted for domestic terrorism. Scully becomes suspicious when Mulder lets a suspect escape but she learns that his assignment may be a suicide mission.


Rob Bowman


Chris Carter (created by), John Shiban




Episode complete credited cast:
David Duchovny ... Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson ... Dana Scully
Mitch Pileggi ... Walter Skinner
Daniel von Bargen ... Jacob Steven Haley
Michael MacRae Michael MacRae ... August Bremer
Sam Anderson ... Leamus
J.B. Bivens ... Field Agent
Douglas Arthurs ... Skin-Head Man (as Douglas H. Arthurs)
John B. Lowe ... Dr. Leavitt
Ralph Alderman Ralph Alderman ... Manager
Dean McKenzie ... Army Tech
Kate Braidwood ... Usherette
Armin Moattar Armin Moattar ... Goatee Man


Scully is worried about Mulder when, during an undercover sting operation, Mulder apparently lets a suspect, Jacob Steven Haley, escape. Haley is a rabid anti-government militiaman who was observed in a park handing an envelope to someone who the FBI thinks was selling weapons. After Haley's escape, they find the other man dead with most of his flesh eaten away. Concerned that militiamen are in possession of biological weapons, FBI assistant Director Skinner takes Scully into his confidence and tells what is really going on. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The big inspiration for this episode is the movie with Richard Burton, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, based in a fantastic novel by John LeCarre. The big idea of the episode is to find lies under new lies. They get a great ambient of paranoia that fits perfectly in this season 5 in which we have some kind of distance between Mulder and Scully. See more »


Dana Scully: Exactly what agency are you guys from?
[gets no answer]
Dana Scully: Obviously not the Office of Information.
See more »


References The Maltese Falcon (1931) See more »


The X-Files
Written by Mark Snow
Performed by John Beal
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User Reviews

Scully is a bad ass, Mulder is deep undercover the best of The X-Files my absolutely favorite ep

The best Episode in The X-Files fifth season, diffrent than the past five season but absolutely great. It is my third favorite episode in the fifth season. The first is Patient X" than The Red and the Black. this episode "The Pine Bluff Variant" is the third favorite episode than would be Detour and Kitsunegari. It is in my top 5 best X-Files episodes. Season 5 abolutely great my favorite season ever. I have really enjoy this episode sadly over 20 years we did not got any episode that would have been a sequel to "The Pine Bluff Variant" ep at all. This is The X-Files this should have be nowdays. This Episode deserves 9 not 8.4.

The Pine Bluff Variant is John Shiban's best solo script for The X-Files ever. This is the hunt for deadly toxin that it is in possession of a militia group called "the New Spartans." Mulder (David Duchovny) is deep undercover by the F.B.I. and try's to get the deadly toxin and stop the group by hurting anyone else. Scully (Gillian Anderson) in this episode is a bad-ass. She didn't know what is going on and she suspect that Mulder become compromised and turned to evil, it is up to her to stop him. You have bank robbery in which the money is spread with deadly toxin in which millions of people across the country would have died. In movie teather the deadly toxin a virus was released and 14 people were killed by Bremer (Michael MacRae). You have 2 kids who snuck in to movie teather to see Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) my all tme favorite action film of all time and the discover the body's.

Mulder is on the hunt of this man August Bremer (Michael MacRae). Jacob Haley (Daniel von Bargen) is the second leader of the militia of the New Spartans and he needs to connect him to August Bremer. Haley suspect that Mulder is a spy but he can't prove it, so his hanchman break Mulder's fingers trying to break him while interogating him.

The effects of the biological weapon, which causes rapid degeneration of human flesh. The special effects and mood for the scene are absolutely amazing. Rob Bowman's direction, with Bowman demonstrating once again why he was the perfect choice to direct The X-Files: Fight the Future. The Pine Bluff Variant is a well-constructed piece of television.

Actress Kate Braidwood plays beautiful Usherette in movie teaher who later dies what a babe. She was before in The X-Files episodes. David Duchovny does great as Mulder, presenting a character who is very clearly dancing on the edge of a razor blade. Gillian Anderson is absolutely gorgeous as Scully who was very angry when she relizied Mulder was used and sent on a suicide mission.

The Pine Bluff Variant is a beautiful masterpiece that was based on a 1963 novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, written by John le Carre. One of my favorite episodes I seriously will watch this episode again. I have all 6 Seasons of The X-Files on DVD and I enjoy the Fith Season very much. "The Pine Bluff Variant" really surprised me and blew my mind away, I recommend this episode to any X-Files fans, should have got a higher rating and not 8.4 I would give it 9,0.

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