CTP Episode of the Day - 09.27.06 - The List

Today's Cherished Episode: The List (3x05)
Original Air Date: October 20, 1995
Written By: Chris Carter
Directed By: Chris Carter

A death row inmate makes good on his promise to return from the dead and kill five people who wronged him.

"Yeah, but imagine if it were true, Scully. Imagine if you could come back and take out five people who had caused you to suffer. Who would they be?"
"I only get five?"
"I remembered your birthday this year, didn't I, Scully?"

Some "The List" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title for this one is self-explanatory. This was the second episode written and directed by series creator Chris Carter.

-- "I'd done some research on death row," said Carter, "and I wanted to do a story about a man who, whether or not he is innocent or guilty going into death row, is treated horribly while in prison and comes back to avenge that treatment."

-- "For 'The List,'" said Carter, "we ended up having to construct an entire cell block of a prison. There wasn't a prison set or a prison to be used in Canada to shoot in, so we built a three-story prison set which would function on all levels. I wanted to be able to shoot from every possible angle."

-- Carter admitted going over budget ("Breaking the piggy bank," as he put it) in building the prison set for this episode from scratch, but he justified the expense by noting that the set was recycled in subsequent episodes (including "Teso dos Bichos" and "Talitha Cumi") as well as rented out to other productions in Vancouver as the only prison set in town. "It really came in handy," said Carter. "It paid for itself and then some. We used a lot of prisons on this show."

-- Construction coordinator Rob Maier's crew had just 10 days to build the set, one of the biggest jobs of the year. In addition, each part could be unbolted, taken apart, and reassembled, despite standing nearly three stories high and fully supporting a man's weight on its upper level.

-- "The List" also represented a departure in terms of the show's design, using green colors and underwater sounds to establish the submarine-like atmosphere Carter sought in the jail. "'The List' was an attempt to do something different," said cinematographer John Bartley, who considered the episode unique in terms of its look compared to other installments of The X-Files.

-- On the downside, virtually everyone would be just as pleased if they never saw or smelled maggots again, including the stars. "So far the maggots have been the hardest to work with," said Gillian Anderson, referring to the assortment of creatures featured on the show up to that time. "They're just the most disgusting things you can imagine."

-- Not everyone felt quite so squeamish. Special effects makeup supervisor Toby Lindala didn't have time to do a full-body replica of the first victim found on the autopsy table covered with maggots. As a result, the actor, Denny Arnold, simply had some makeup applied to make him look like a corpse, then had to lie there with actual maggots crawling on him. Lindala recalled the actor taking the ordeal good-naturedly, lying prone on the table and yelling, "If any of those little bastards get anywhere near my mouth, I'm going to eat them!" Rice was used in place of the maggots in some instances, but the bugs actually did have to be placed on the prop bodies.

-- "Since 'The List' was about a man who was reincarnated as a fly, maggots were all-important to the trail of evidence," quipped Chris Carter. "I had never worked with maggots before. I had, of course, like most people, come into contact with them in the garbage can unexpectedly several times. But we actually had to have a wrangler come in with maggots and dump them onto an extra [Denny Arnold, mentioned above] who sat there and let those maggots crawl all over him. It's actually one of the most disgusting images that I've ever been part of on a set. It's not something you want to do right before or after lunch on a set, for people who are in the future looking to direct maggots, which I would recommend against anyway."

-- Despite a lack of flash relative to other stunts performed on the show, stunt coordinator Tony Morelli said the final car crash -- when the warden careens headfirst into a tree -- was the most harrowing action sequence he undertook during the third season. "I just strapped myself in and went for it," said the former kickboxing champion.

-- Actor Mitchell Kosterman recalled a memorable feast catered by Chris Carter for the cast and crew while Carter was directing "The List": "The lunch break was at six in the evening. We were on the grounds of a shut-down mental hospital, with lots of lawn and leafy trees. There was a crisp white Arab-style tent set up on the grass. People were lined up going into the tent. At the entrance there were four people in costumes reflecting the time of the French Revolution. The food being served was roast quail, sea bass, vol au vent, and some kind of mashed-potato-in-a-bird's-nest thingy. Just inside the tent were two large salad and bread tables. In the middle of the bread table was a head. Well, it was actually some guy with his head poked through a hole in the table. He had a thick accent and was issuing humorous epithets to the diners as they took the bread, and often shouted, 'Let them eat cake!'"

-- Interestingly enough, it was Mitchell Kosterman's character (the guard, Fornier) who wound up losing his head.

-- A deleted scene from the beginning of this episode shows Neech Manley's journey to the electric chair, and Danny Charez appealing to the Governor for a last-minute stay of execution.

-- "The List" featured the first slide show of Season 3.

-- "I remembered your birthday this year, didn't I, Scully?" Apparently not, as in Season 4's "Tempus Fugit" Scully reveals that never in the four years he has known her has Mulder remembered her birthday.

-- The tree that the warden crashed into at the end looked very much like the tree that the Marine hit in Season 2's "Fresh Bones."

-- Joseph Patrick Finn's name appeared twice in the credits for this episode: once at the beginning, in his role as line producer, and once at the end, in his role as the prison chaplain.

-- The writing staff pointed to "The List" as being noteworthy in that nothing really gets solved, inasmuch as Mulder and Scully walk away with the wrong solution even though Mulder isn't entirely satisfied by pinning the crimes on Parmelly.

-- In Carter's case, the number five seemed to be the charm: He received a Director's Guild of America nomination for "The List" (the fifth episode of Season 3), after having garnered a prime-time Emmy Award nomination for writing "Duane Barry," the fifth episode of the show's second season, which he also wrote and directed.

-- The executioner bears the same name (Perry Simon) as an NBC executive that Chris Carter knew during his days producing for that network.

-- J. T. Walsh (Warden Leo Brodeur) was an accomplished television and film actor, having appeared on the big screen in such hits as Hannah and Her Sisters, Good Morning, Vietnam, The Grifters, Backdraft, A Few Good Men, Hoffa, and Sling Blade. He also played Captain Frank Bach in the X-Files inspired, but short-lived, sci-fi series Dark Skies. His real name was James Patrick Walsh, and he intended to go by his real initials, J.P. Walsh, but during a casting call, his initials were miscalled and he liked J.T. better than J.P. Walsh died of a heart attack on February 27, 1998, at the age of 54. His last films, The Negotiator and Pleasantville were dedicated to his memory. Additionally, Jack Nicholson dedicated his Best Actor Oscar for As Good As It Gets to Walsh.

-- Badja Djola, the actor who played Napoleon "Neech" Manley, died of a heart attack on January 8, 2005. He was 56 years old.

-- April Grace (Danielle Manley) appeared as Valery in Playing by Heart with Gillian Anderson. She had a recurring role as Transporter Chief Hubbell on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and played the same role in a guest appearance on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She also had recurring roles as Elizabeth Talley on Chicago Hope and as Sergeant Toni Williams on Joan of Arcadia. Last season, she appeared as the mysterious Mrs. Klugh, one of The Others, on Lost.

-- Once & Future Retreads: Mitch Kosterman (Fornier) was Detective Horton in "Genderbender" and "Sleepless" and the Sheriff in "Travelers." Paul Raskin (Ullrich) was Dr. Eric Ilaqua in "Sanguinarium." Craig Bruhanski (Guard) was a Security Guard in "Soft Light" and the Saw Operator in "Gethsemene." Joseph Patrick Finn (Chaplain) was also the person to whom Scully confessed in "All Souls." Don MacKay (Oates) was Warden Joseph Cash in "Beyond the Sea," Charlie in "The Host," and the Judge in "Pusher."

(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "The List"!