A grumpy old man with psychic powers that show him how someone will die assists the agents with the hunt for a crazed killer who targets psychics. He also cryptically reveals to Mulder and Scully their own ultimate fates.
Scully and Mulder are called into the investigation of a series of murders where the victims were all psychics of some sort. A tea leaf reader, tarot card reader and palm reader are all the apparent victims of a serial killer. The local police have brought in a well-known TV psychic that Mulder finds laughable. He does come across Clyde Bruckman, an insurance salesman who may be a genuine psychic. While Scully is appropriately skeptical, Mulder realizes that Bruckman can only see one thing - how people will die.
Several local psychics in St. Paul, Minnesota are found dead in their stores with no real evidence left behind. When the police department hires a famous TV psychic to lead their case, Mulder and Scully are quite skeptical - but Mulder has found a psychic of his own.
- In a store, Clyde Bruckman (special guest star Peter Boyle), a life insurance salesman, purchases a paper and a lottery ticket and leaves. In the street, he almost bumps into an inconspicuous man (Stuart Charno), who heads to a palm reader named Madame Zelma (Karin Konoval). After seeking his fortune, the inconspicuous man attacks and kills her. A few days later, the eyes and entrails of a tea leaf reader, who was also a doll collector, have been found in her apartment, her body being missing.
FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) arrive at the scene of that murder to help the local cops, who have recruited the help of a psychic, the eccentric Stupendous Yappi (Jaap Broeker). Although the psychic delivers extremely vague clues, the cops are thoroughly impressed; both Scully and Mulder, however, are not, especially after Yappi diagnoses that it is Muldernot Scullywho is a skeptic.
Meanwhile, after Bruckman takes the trash out for his neighbor, he discovers the body of Madame Zelma outside in his dumpster. When interviewed by Mulder and Scully, he reveals details about the crime that he could not have known from the media accounts, which causes Mulder to believe that Bruckman has psychic ability. Mulder insists that Bruckman join them in a visit to the crime scene at the doll collector's apartment. Thanks to seemingly psychically gained information from Bruckman, her body is soon found in a nearby lake.
At the police station, Mulder tests Bruckman's ability by having him handle various objects to see what they "tell" him. It becomes apparent that Bruckman's only real psychic talent is an ability to see details of people's deaths. Scully arrives with a key chain bearing the insignia of an investment company which uses astrology to make financial predictions, taken from the doll collector's body - the same key chain was found on two of the other dead fortunetellers. Bruckman knows that the firm is owned by one Claude Dukenfield, not through a psychic revelation but because he coincidentally sold the man an insurance policy recently. He says that Mulder and Scully will not be able to talk to Dukenfield though, because he has been murdered.
Mulder and Scully drive Bruckman to a wooded spot where Bruckman has said they will find Dukenfield's body. As they tromp through the woods, Bruckman explains how he gained his ability following the death of Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper in a plane crash. Bruckman cannot pinpoint the exact spot where the body is, however, so they return to the parked car, where they see a lifeless hand sticking out of the wet mud underneath. Traces of silk fibers are subsequently found on Dukenfield similar to fibers found on previous victims - they are later analyzed and found to be from lace.
At his home Bruckman has gotten a note from the killer saying he is going to die when they first meet, and telling him to say "hi" to the FBI agents. The killer apparently also has some psychic ability - the postmark is dated before Bruckman joined the murder investigation. Bruckman describes Mulder's death as the killer sees it: getting his throat slit by the killer after stepping in a pie in a kitchen. However Bruckman tells Mulder he's not able to see what happens afterwards. Meanwhile the killer (the inconspicuous man from the beginning) consults a tarot card reader, who says that the killer seeks answers from "a man with special wisdom" and that his confusion will soon abruptly end "with the arrival of a woman - a blonde or a brunette, possibly a redhead." When there is just one card left unturned, the killer says that it is not meant for him but for the reader, and turns it over to reveal the "death" card.
Since the killer knows Bruckman's home address, the agents bring him to a hotel where they take turns guarding him. While Scully does not believe in Bruckman's power, the two develop a fast friendship. Bruckman asks Scully why she is not interested in knowing how she will die. Scully finally breaks down and asks him to tell her, to which Bruckman, joyfully, but cryptically, replies, "You don't." Bruckman later tells Scully that they will end up in bed together, in a very special moment neither of them will forget. This reinforces her skepticism.
A detective named Havez (Dwight McFee) takes over as Bruckman's guard when Mulder and Scully are called to investigate yet another new murder victim: the tarot card reader. As they leave they bump into a bellhop who is delivering food to Bruckman's room. The bellhop is actually the killer, and when he enters the room (while Havez is in the washroom), he is delighted to discover that Bruckman has been brought right to where he works. As he prepares to kill Bruckman, Havez re-enters and the killer attacks and kills him instead. Meanwhile, Scully finds the same silk fiber at the new crime scene, and realizing that the bellhop had it on his uniform, deduces that he is the murderer. They rush back to the hotel. Mulder chases the killer to the basement kitchen and the scene plays out as described in Bruckman's earlier premonition, but when the killer attacks Mulder, Scully arrives in the nick of time and shoots him.... what Bruckman had seen was the dying killer's last thoughts, not Mulder's death.
Unable to find Bruckman in the hotel, Mulder and Scully return to Bruckman's apartment to find that Bruckman has committed suicide; Scully sees a plastic bag has been tied around his head, and that he is clutching a bottle of pills in his hand. Scully sits on Bruckman's bed holding his hand, deeply moved, just as he had predicted. That night Scully sees a commercial for the Stupendous Yappi on TV, causing her to throw her phone at it.