The X-Files (1993– )
18 user 6 critic

Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man 

The Lone Gunmen reveal the (possibly fake) secret history of the Smoking Man to Mulder with focus on three episodes from his life - the assassination of JFK, his attempts at becoming a novelist and one of his UFO cover ups.


James Wong


Chris Carter (created by), Glen Morgan

Watch Now

With Prime Video





Episode complete credited cast:
David Duchovny ... Fox Mulder (voice)
Gillian Anderson ... Dana Scully (voice)
William B. Davis ... Cigarette Smoking Man
Morgan Weisser ... Lee Harvey Oswald
Chris Owens ... Young Cigarette Smoking Man
Donnelly Rhodes ... General Francis
Tom Braidwood ... Melvin Frohike
Bruce Harwood ... John Fitzgerald Byers (voice)
Jerry Hardin ... Deep Throat
Dan Zukovic ... Agent
Peter Hanlon ... Aide
Dean Aylesworth ... Young Bill Mulder
Paul Jarrett ... James Earl Ray
David Fredericks ... Director
Laurie Murdoch ... Lydon


While the Cigarette Smoking Man listens in on a conversation Scully and Mulder are having with Frohike, he recalls his own past and how he got to be where he is today. As a young army officer, working alongside Mulder's father, he was recruited by a general and an intelligence operative. His past was effectively erased and from that point working only in the shadow world. He was implicated in the assassination of presidents and civil rights leaders. He was also a frustrated mystery writer but his bizarre tales of assassinations and alien conspiracies are seen as too outlandish by the publishers he approached. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 November 1996 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the Dec 24, 1991 flashback, CSM wants to make sure the Bills never win a Super Bowl. In the early 1990s the Bills had lost four straight Super Bowls (a record), and as of 2018 have never won a Super Bowl. See more »


CSM has some letter head with an address in Pasadena California. La Cienega is not a street in Pasadena and the zip code is not a Pasadena zip code. Rather, the Zip Code is in nearby South Pasadena and La Cienega is in Los Angeles. See more »


The Cigarette Smoking Man: Life is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So you're stuck with this undefinable whipped mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while there's a peanut butter cup or an English toffee. But they're gone too fast and the taste is... fleeting. So, you end up with nothing but broken bits filled with hardened jelly and ...
See more »


References Apocalypse Now (1979) See more »


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Written by Edward Pola and George Wyle
Performed by Andy Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A New Side to the Cigarette Smoking Man
31 March 2016 | by Robinson2511See all my reviews

There are few villains nastier than the Cigarette Smoking Man, he's merciless, cruel, and extremely dangerous, to the point where liking him could be rather difficult. But after watching Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, I actually felt a good deal of sympathy for this character.

Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man begins with the Lone Gunmen telling Mulder and Scully that they may have found the identity of the Cigarette Smoking Man, while the Smoking Man prepares a rifle ready to fire on the Gunmen. As he hears the story the Lone Gunmen have found, he begins to think back on his own life.

Here we learn that Cigarette Smoking Man was recruited from the Army and given the assignment to assassinate President Kennedy and frame Lee Harvey Oswald. Five years later, he assassinates Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love how this is done, I love how the plot plays off the death of two of the most famous assassinations in human history. This was done by Glen Morgan to show that the Cigarette Smoking Man is "the most dangerous human being alive", and this was done brilliantly.

We also learn during the flashbacks that the Smoking Man is an aspiring writer who desperately wants to get one of his science fiction novels published. The scene where he gets a call from a publisher to say that his story will be published in a magazine, we see a side to the Smoking Man I never thought we'd ever see.

He shows a lot of excitement at this news even typing up a letter of resignation from the Syndicate. The next day when he buys a copy of the magazine, he finds that the ending to his story has been changed, and the shopkeeper tells him that the magazine is rubbish, we see this great look of sadness in his face, this is where I first felt sympathy for him. I especially liked his play on the "Life is like a Box of Chocolates" phrase!

But what I liked most about the Smoking Man in this episode, is how it is hinted that he doesn't like his the evil life he leads. He not evil because he thinks he's right or because he likes it, but because he believes that his life allows him nothing else.

This is the Cigarette Smoking Man I want the character to be, a stone-cold nasty man on the outside, but on the inside he's a desperate, lonely man longing for a second chance in life.

The only thing I found disappointing was where Frohike tells Mulder and Scully that everything he found out may not be completely true, and many fans may like this to leave a little mystery in the character, but this for me is the perfect villain, forced to do evil things, but really wants a second chance in life.

I love at the very end of the episode where the Smoking Man aims his rifle at Frohike but decides not to, yet. Depending on what in the episode you believe to be true this can be interpreted in many different ways. Did he do this because having power over his enemies is enough. Well I prefer to interpret this as he could kill him, but doesn't really want to, because he doesn't want to be evil, and the world isn't forcing him to be evil that night.

This is the Smoking Man I want to see in the X Files, and Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man does a great job of giving this mysterious character some backstory, while allowing the viewer to decide what is true, and what is not...

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 18 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed