|Cigarette Smoking Man|
|Born||October 13, 1961|
|Family|| Fox Mulder (son)|
Teena Mulder (former lover, deceased: 2000)
Jeffrey Spender (son)
William Van de Kamp (née Scully) (grand son)
|Portrayed by||William B. Davis|
The man referred to as the Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM) also known as 'Cancer Man' by Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, was a mysterious operative who worked with the Syndicate to hide certain truths from the American public. He had top-level access to both the FBI and the Pentagon. (TXF: "Pilot", et al.) His real initials and surname may have been C.G.B. Spender. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
- For more information about the possibility of whether C.G.B. Spender were indeed the Cigarette Smoking Man's real initials and surname, see Aliases - C.G.B. Spender.
Work with the State Department
On August 19, 1953, the CSM was a member of a group of Washington officials sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to recover information from a survivor of the Zeus Faber, a submarine whose captain had been infected with the black oil. (TXF: "Apocrypha")
On October 13, 1973, the CSM was among the State Department officials present at the first meeting with the alien colonists. The State Department members voted and decided to form the "Syndicate" and initiated attempts to create a vaccine to stop the planned alien colonization. They informed the colonists of their plan to prepare for the colonization in exchange for postponing it for a period of time, as well as providing them with an alien fetus. The colonists agreed, taking their family as collateral, including the CSM's wife, Cassandra Spender. (TXF: "One Son")
Work with the Syndicate1992, the CSM was present at the meeting with FBI Section Chief Scott Blevins which assigned Special Agent Dana Scully to debunk the X-files. After Agents Mulder and Scully investigated their first X-file in Oregon, the CSM was present with Blevins at Billy Miles' hypnosis sessions with Doctor Heitz Werber. Afterward, he placed evidence from abductee Ray Soames into a secret file in the Pentagon, where many other boxes containing evidence could also be found. (TXF: "Pilot")
Later that year, he was present with Assistant Director Walter Skinner when Skinner reprimanded Agent Scully for her unconventional reports and investigations into the X-files. He was also present when Skinner reprimanded both Agents Mulder and Scully for possibly injuring Eugene Victor Tooms. When Mulder and Scully finished their investigation and sent file X 129202 to Skinner, the CSM told Skinner that he believed the file to be correct. (TXF: "Tooms")
In July, the CSM worked with AD Skinner in trying to ascertain the whereabouts of Special Agent Mulder, who had gone missing. After Mulder was discovered and reported back to Skinner's office, the CSM attempted to goad Skinner into placing Mulder on censure, transfer, suspension, and probation, a "four bagger", but when Skinner discovered that Mulder's phone had been wiretapped, he forced the CSM to leave his office. (TXF: "Little Green Men")
The CSM was present at a meeting, following Agent Scully's disappearance and possible abduction, which tried to ascertain Duane Barry's whereabouts. He closely observed Agents Krycek and Mulder. Later that day, Krycek contacted the CSM in order to tell him that Mulder had discovered that Barry was going to Skyland Mountain. After the events of Skyland Mountain, the CSM ordered Krycek to verify Mulder's version of events. When asked by Krycek why they did not simply eliminate Mulder, the CSM claimed it was policy not to eliminate him, or else Mulder's quest would become a crusade. That morning, the CSM observed the meeting with Skinner, Krycek, Mulder and other FBI agents which investigated the death of Duane Barry. (TXF: "Ascension")
In March 1995, the CSM was present in Skinner's office when Agent Mulder reported to Skinner about a case that he and Scully were assigned to, involving a contagion]]. The CSM asked Mulder questions about the case implying the Syndicate was involved. (TXF: "F. Emasculata")
In April 1995, the CSM led a group of Garnet operatives in hunting down Kenneth Soona after he broke into secret MJ documents. When he was unable to discover the MJ documents, the CSM informed the Syndicate that he had them and afterward discovered that Agent Mulder was in possession of the document. (TXF: "Anasazi")
After discovering that Mulder was at the Two Grey Hills Navajo reservation, the CSM and the Garnet operatives searched throughout the small town for Mulder and the MJ document, but was unable to find him. Soon afterward, the CSM reported to the Syndicate that Mulder had been killed and that the document had been fully retrieved. (TXF: "The Blessing Way")
The CSM's next report to the Syndicate didn't go quite as well, as the members were beginning to distrust whether he was in possession of the MJ files and whether Mulder was dead. Skinner later made a deal with the CSM in which Mulder and Scully were reinstated to the FBI and Albert Hosteen, who had told twenty other Navajos of the exact contents of the file, would not inform the public of the contents. The CSM was forced to make the deal. (TXF: "Paper Clip")
In November 1995, while salvaging a UFO, the CSM once again came into contact with people infected with the black oil. When he reported to the Syndicate, they were angered by his operations involving Skinner which put their secrecy at risk. The CSM had placed the salvage UFO and his black oil- infested former operative, Alex Krycek, into a secret missile silo, Silo 1013. (TXF: "Apocrypha")
In March 1996, the CSM was present after AD Skinner was charged with attempting to murder his own wife. He was apparently attempting to discredit Skinner in order to remove the assistant director's support of the X-files. (TXF: "Avatar")
In November 1996, the CSM contacted AD Skinner after discovering that Mulder and Scully were in possession of a diplomatic pouch. He was sent by the Syndicate to retrieve the pouch, which had highly classified secrets within it. He reported afterward to the Well-Manicured Man that Mulder had been spotted on a plane in Russia. (TXF: "Tunguska")
Soon afterward, the CSM was ordered by the Well-Manicured Man to discover who assassinated his physician. The CSM discovered the assassin, and his tie to the Russians, who had been attempting to inoculate their comrades from the black oil. Later, he was able to call off a congressional hearing started by Agents Mulder and Scully. (TXF: "Terma")
In April 1997, the CSM ordered his top assassin to murder Detective Ray Thomas. He reported to the Syndicate the progress with escaped smallpox-carrier bees, which he had exterminated, and the fact that he had a man in place to insure that that wouldn't happen again. (TXF: "Zero Sum")In October 1997, the CSM investigated Fox Mulder's apparent death. Despite the fact that the Syndicate believed Mulder to be dead, the CSM had his doubts. He was infuriated when he thought the Syndicate had sent someone else to keep Mulder in check. He later discovered that Mulder was in fact alive, and allowed him to retrieve the cure for Scully's cancer. (TXF: "Redux")
Shortly afterwards, the CSM reported to the Syndicate about Mulder still being alive. He claimed that he had allowed Mulder to escape with Scully's cure in order to insure Mulder's loyalty. Perhaps in response to this breach of security, the First Elder sent an assassin who shot the CSM in his apartment. (TXF: "Redux II")
In May 1998, the Syndicate brought the CSM out of retirement to deal with the Gibson Praise situation. After handing Praise over to the Syndicate, the CSM burned down the X-files office in the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building. (TXF: "The End")
In August 1998, the CSM worked with Dr. Ben Bronschweig after an outbreak of Purity occurred in Blackwood County, Texas. He used the victims in order to test various vaccines for the virus, which had mutated. The CSM attended the meeting, called by Syndicate leader Conrad Strughold to address this sudden development. Afterwards, he was able to obtain Agent Scully, who had been affected by the virus. He left for Wilkes Land, Antarctica to watch over an operation in a buried UFO. After he discovered a breach of security when Mulder secretly arrived, the CSM ordered all of the men to abandon the post and left Mulder. (The X-Files Movie)
In September 1998, the CSM reported to Conrad Strughold in Fort Tataouine, Tunis, concerned that Mulder may have seen too much. This concern was brought on when he received word that the X-files had been re-opened. (The X-Files Movie)
Later that month, the CSM reported to the Syndicate about a fully gestated alien on the loose in Phoenix, Arizona. He was sent by the Syndicate to "dispose" of the problem. He was able to release Gibson Praise from Syndicate custody in order to find the creature. (TXF: "The Beginning")
By November 1998, the CSM was still keeping tabs on Mulder and Scully by consulting with Assistant Director Alvin Kersh. He was present when Agent Scully attempted to ask Kersh for the use of Navy satellites. Afterwards, he attempted to contact Agent Jeffrey Spender about the information, and later worked with Kersh and Spender to discover what Agent Scully was doing. (TXF: "Triangle")
In early 1999, the CSM visited Dr. Eugene Openshaw after "tidying things up" at the Potomac Yard, which had suffered from an attack by the rebel aliens. He learned from Openshaw that the rebels had kept Cassandra Spender alive in order to expose the conspiracy. He reported to the Second Elder about the rebel attack soon afterwards. However, the Second Elder was killed by one of the rebels. The CSM later attended a Syndicate meeting, and grew suspicious of the "Second Elder", who was actually a rebel alien, when he suggested joining the alien resistance. The CSM sent both Krycek and his son, Jeffrey Spender, to kill the rebel who was impersonating the Second Elder. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
In response to these events, the Syndicate had another meeting, where the CSM reported that they should turn Cassandra Spender, their chief experiment fighting colonization, over to the alien colonists, in order to start colonization early and have their families returned. The CSM's idea was agreed upon, and he began making preparations. He and Diana Fowley arrived at El Rico Air Force Base in time to see the rest of the Syndicate elders destroyed by the rebels, before they quickly escaped. (TXF: "One Son")
After the Syndicate
Soon after, the CSM visited Fox Mulder after the artifact had made Mulder immune to the black oil. He extracted genetic material from Mulder in an attempt to make himself immune, even though there was a chance the procedure would kill Mulder. (TXF: "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati") As a direct consequence of his attempt to infuse himself with hybrid DNA, the CSM slowly began to die from cerebral inflammation. By the next summer, he became wheelchair-bound and had undergone a tracheotomy, which may have resulted from cancer as predicted by Jeremiah Smith.
In the spring of 2000, the CSM and an assassin were able to stop a scientist known as Cobra from releasing a genetic cure for disease. The CSM tossed away the cure after retrieving it. (TXF: "En Ami")
In June 2000, after a UFO crash in Bellefleur, Oregon, the CSM attempted to rebuild the project. He sent for Krycek and Marita Covarrubias to investigate and retrieve the UFO. Krycek was unable to retrieve the UFO, and instead returned to the CSM's apartment. There, Krycek attempted to kill the CSM by pushing him down a flight of stairs. (TXF: "Requiem")
The CSM survived his fall, and went to live in the magnetite pueblos with a group of Native Americans. He became a wise man in their tribe. In May 2002, the CSM sent Mulder, who was in hiding in New Mexico, a key to the Mount Weather Complex in Bluemont, Virginia. The CSM was later killed by black helicopters sent to kill Agents Mulder and Scully. (TXF: "The Truth")
The CSM refers to Mulder as his 'son.' After visiting the Mulder family in the 1960s, the CSM would fondly remember young Fox and Samantha playing. (TXF: "Talitha Cumi") The fact that the CSM is his biological father has been noted in The Sixth Extinction: Amor Fati. When Scully encounters Jeffrey Spender in his disfigured state (TXF: "William") she tests his DNA and believes him to be Mulder himself because their DNA is similar, but she eventually realizes him to be Jeffrey Spender, related by blood. Jeffrey Spender (TXF: "The Truth") tells the military tribunal that Fox Mulder is indeed his half-brother.
In October 1973, the CSM visited the Mulder household and may have had a role in choosing Samantha to being abducted. Fox remembered this situation in 1997 while suffering several hallucinations. (TXF: "Demons")
In July 1994, the CSM wiretapped Mulder's phone in an attempt to send Mulder on probation and out of the FBI. His attempt failed when Mulder told AD Skinner about the wiretapping. (TXF: "Little Green Men")
In August 1994, Mulder was present at two meetings with the CSM involving Agent Scully's disappearance and the death of Duane Barry. He began to suspect that his partner, Alex Krycek, was working with the CSM after discovering cigarette butts in Krycek's car. (TXF: "Ascension")
In November 1994, shortly after Scully's return, Mulder discovered where the CSM lived. Mulder appeared at the CSM's apartment on 900 W. Georgia Street and attempted to threaten him for information. Mulder failed and, in his disgust, nearly resigned from the FBI. (TXF: "One Breath")
In March 1995, Mulder had a conversation with the CSM in Skinner's office in which the CSM informed Mulder that the truth sometimes needs to be hidden from the public in order to protect them. (TXF: "F. Emasculata")
In April 1995, Mulder came into possession of a top secret MJ document which was being searched for by the CSM and Garnet operatives. The CSM desperately searched for Mulder and nearly killed him when lighting an old refrigeration car on fire. (TXF: "Anasazi")
In October 1997, the CSM allowed Mulder to gain the cure for Scully's cancer from the Advanced Research Project Facility in the Pentagon. He later visited Mulder and helped explain how the cure worked by inserting a microchip in Scully's neck. The CSM later brought a person who he claimed to be Samantha Mulder to meet with Fox at a restaurant. The next day, the CSM attempted to persuade Mulder to work for him, but Mulder turned the offer down. Mulder later believed the CSM had died after much of his blood was found in his apartment. (TXF: "Redux II")
In August 1998, the CSM was quite perplexed when he discovered Mulder in Antarctica, and even more confused when he discovered Mulder had the Purity vaccine. (The X-Files Movie)
In early 1999, the CSM had a conversation with Mulder when he found him searching Diana Fowley's apartment. The CSM told Mulder of the events involving his father in 1973, and informed Mulder of the location where the colonization was to begin. (TXF: "One Son")
In October 1999, after being exposed to an alien artifact, Mulder became an alien/human hybrid. When the CSM put him to sleep to work on extracting his alien genetic material, Mulder entered a dream state where he had several conversations with the CSM, and ultimately ended up living in the same neighborhood as he was while alien colonization that Mulder had apparently caused took place outside. While Mulder was in the dream, some of his genetic material was removed to provide immunity for humans against the viral Sixth Extinction. The material was implanted in the CSM, although, as stated above, it eventually began to kill him slowly. (TXF: "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati")
In May 2002, the CSM secretly sent Mulder the key to the Mount Weather Complex. With this key, Mulder learned of the date set for the colonization. When Mulder once again set eyes on the CSM, he at first believed him to be a ghost. (TXF: "The Truth")
In May 1998, the CSM informed Spender, who did not recognize him, that he had him assigned to the Gibson Praise situation. The CSM also told Spender to know whom to "sacrifice" when necessary, and to not follow someone else's crusade. He later informed Spender that he was his father and they began working together. (TXF: "The End")
In early 1999, Spender had a heated confrontation when he believed his father was simply using him for his dirty work. Even so, he accepted when the CSM sent him out to kill a rebel alien impersonating the Second Elder. When he discovered from Krycek that his father had been involved in directing his mother's experiments, Spender was angered and decided to stop working for the Syndicate. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
After the destruction of the Syndicate, the CSM appeared in Spender's X-files office, and shot him for his betrayal. (TXF: "One Son") When Spender didn't die, the CSM subjected him to brutal cloning experiments. (TXF: "The Truth")
Spender, disfigured by his injuries, later remembered that the CSM had destroyed his face and his dignity, but was unable to eliminate the one thing that Spender loved the most - his hatred of his father. Spender attempted to take revenge on the CSM by injecting a liquidized form of magnetite into Scully's baby son, William. The metal would stop the aliens, that the CSM had conspired to aid, from acquiring William, the one thing they needed. (TXF: "William")
- The flashbacks seen in "Demons" were hallucinations and may or may not have actually happened.
After her return in 1974, the CSM raised Samantha with his son, Jeffrey, at April Air Force Base in California, all the while continuing experiments on her. She ran away from the base in 1979, and when the CSM showed up with other government officials at the Dominic Savio Memorial Hospital, she had disappeared. (TXF: "Closure")
In October 1997, the CSM brought a woman he alleged to be Samantha to meet with her brother, Fox. She claimed that she had been raised by the CSM, that he was her father, and that he had cared for her throughout her entire life. (TXF: "Redux II")
- The episodes "Two Fathers", "Closure" and "The Truth" establish that she could not have been the real Samantha, but she may have been a clone that the CSM used.
In 1973, the CSM had a photograph taken with his colleagues at the State Department, who would all later form the Syndicate. Those in the picture included Bill Mulder, the Well-Manicured Man, Victor Klemper and Deep Throat. (TXF: "Paper Clip")
- The events remembered by Fox Mulder in "Demons" were hallucinations and may or may not have happened.
The Well-Manicured Man had grown increasingly angry at the CSM shortly afterward, when he noticed the CSM's penchant for lying and implying that their problems could be solved "with enough bullets". (TXF: "Paper Clip")
In November 1995, the Well-Manicured Man was at odds with the CSM when he believed that the CSM put the Syndicate's security and secrecy at work in botching a UFO salvage operation. (TXF: "Apocrypha")
In November 1996, the CSM reported to the Well-Manicured Man on his farm in Charlottsville about the situation involving a diplomatic pouch. The Well-Manicured Man once again had to remind the CSM how this problem couldn't be solved with killing. (TXF: "Tunguska")
In May 1998, the CSM was recalled from his retirement by the Well-Manicured Man to retrieve Gibson Praise. The CSM told the Well-Manicured Man that the Well-Manicured Man was a coward, and the Well-Manicured Man hated the CSM's attitude that their operations were all a "game". (TXF: "The End")
In August 1998, the CSM called the Well-Manicured Man at his home in Somerset, England to inform him of a Syndicate meeting scheduled in London. The Well-Manicured Man did not approve of the CSM's suggestion of working with the alien colonists after the Purity virus mutated. (The X-Files Movie)
In August of that year, Krycek began showing hostility towards the CSM after he was ordered to support Agent Mulder and not eliminate him. Krycek did not like the secrets that the CSM kept from him nor the fact that the CSM treated him like a common soldier. (TXF: "Ascension")
The CSM then sent Krycek to kill Dana Scully. When he failed to complete the task and killed Melissa Scully instead, this caused unnecessary tension between the CSM, Krycek, and the Syndicate. (TXF: "The Blessing Way")
Soon afterward, the CSM sent Krycek to retrieve the missing MJ document from AD Skinner. Krycek received the document, but was nearly killed with a car bomb afterward by others sent by the CSM. As a result, Krycek angrily broke off all ties with the CSM. (TXF: "Paper Clip")
In May 1998, Krycek was sent by the Syndicate to retrieve the CSM from his retirement in Canada. He brought the CSM back to the Syndicate, and was about to kill him before ordered by the Well-Manicured Man not to do so. (TXF: "The End")
In early 1999, Krycek was working for the CSM again as his driver and chief operative. He assisted Jeffrey Spender in the assassination of a rebel alien, and was surprised to learn that the CSM had shared little information with Spender. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
In June 2000, the CSM sent Krycek to Bellefleur, Oregon to retrieve a UFO. Krycek instead worked with Mulder before he returned to the CSM's apartment and attempted to finally "send the devil back to hell." (TXF: "Requiem")
In June 2000, the CSM called Covarrubias to assist him in his final days in bringing back the project. She was sent to release Krycek from a penal colony in Forj Sidi Toui, Tunisia and was present when Krycek attempted to kill the CSM soon afterwards. (TXF: "Requiem")
In early 1999, the CSM turned to Fowley, following his son's attempt to kill the rebel alien, for help dealing with the rising rebel situation. He informed her of the events that had occurred leading up to the "Second Elder"'s assassination. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
Fowley remained close to the CSM, and was to go with him and the Syndicate when colonization began. When it turned out to be fake, and a group of rebels began to slaughter the Syndicate, Fowley and the CSM immediately left. (TXF: "One Son")
The CSM worked with AD Skinner in a similar capacity as he did with Blevins. In 1994, he assisted Skinner in pressuring both Agents Mulder and Scully during their investigation of the Tooms case. (TXF: "Tooms")
In July of that year, the CSM assisted Skinner in investigating Mulder's disappearance. After Mulder returned and Skinner learned that the CSM had wiretapped Mulder's phone, Skinner kicked him out of his office, much to his shock. (TXF: "Little Green Men")
In August, the CSM had once again been allowed access to Skinner's meetings, if not his office, and was present at two meetings concerning Duane Barry and Agent Scully's disappearance. Skinner barely acknowledged his presence. (TXF: "Ascension")
In February 1997, Skinner contacted the CSM in an attempt to cure Scully's cancer. The CSM informed him that there was a certain way to cure the cancer and that he would be willing to sell that method to Skinner for a price. (TXF: "Memento Mori")
In April 1997, Skinner was finally made to pay the price so that Scully could be cured. He was involved in covering up the murder of Detective Ray Thomas, and the CSM had used his gun for blackmail. He later appeared at the CSM's apartment and threatened him with a gun when the CSM implied he wouldn't save Scully. (TXF: "Zero Sum")
On November 16, 1998, the CSM was speaking with AD Alvin Kersh when they were interrupted by Agent Scully. He was later assisted by Kersh when they were trying to ascertain what Scully was trying to do. (TXF: "Triangle")
William B. Davis' favorite line of dialogue from the third season finale, "Talitha Cumi", involved the Cigarette Smoking Man referencing Bill Mulder, when the CSM tells Teena Mulder, "He was a good water-skier, your husband. Not as good as I was, but then... that could be said about so many things, couldn't it?" Davis was amused and aware that this reference to William Mulder additionally implied that the CSM was a lot better in bed than Mulder had been. The statement was also an inside joke, as – at the time the episode was produced – Davis was actually a championship-level water-skier in reality.
He stayed by her at the hospital for days, apparently trying to wait for Fox Mulder. Soon after X's death, the CSM contacted an alien bounty hunter who cured Teena of her brain damage. (TXF: "Herrenvolk")
In early 1999, the CSM was saddened to learn from Dr. Openshaw, that he might have to kill Cassandra to protect the conspiracy. He soon realized that he was unable to kill Cassandra to protect the conspiracy. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
The CSM finally decided that he would have to return Cassandra to the colonists, which would inversely start the colonization.
Other Friends and Enemies
In April 1995, during his search for the missing MJ documents, the CSM ordered his top assassins, Alex Krycek and Luis Cardinal to murder Scully. They failed and murdered her sister instead, causing tension between Scully and the CSM. (TXF: "The Blessing Way")
In August 1998, after being infected with the black oil, the CSM led a team to retrieve Agent Scully and take her to a secret base in Antarctica. (The X-Files Movie)
In the spring of 2000, the CSM contacted Scully with the supposed cure for all disease. Scully left with the CSM to get the cure, all the while taping the conversations she had with him. The CSM brought her to a cabin in Milford, Pennsylvania to meet with his contact, Cobra. Scully was able to get the disk containing the cure from Cobra, just after he was killed. The CSM saved Scully and soon replaced her disk with another before she left. (TXF: "En Ami")
In September 1998, the CSM used Praise to hunt for an alien who had killed several people in Phoenix, Arizona. Praise accused the CSM and the Syndicate of being very afraid of him. Praise later ended up in the custody of Mulder and Scully. (TXF: "The Beginning")
His smoking was used to verify his presence on various occasions, such as in Krycek's car in August 1994 (TXF: "Ascension"), in Skinner's office in November 1994 (TXF: "One Breath"), in the 2400 Court Motel in May 1996 (TXF: "Wetwired"), and in Diana Fowley's apartment in early 1999. (TXF: "One Son") In addition, Agent Scully smelled smoke on Diana Fowley in October 1999. (TXF: "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati")
Chronic smoking is often associated with anxiety, which can be seen as a symbolism for heavy remorse - or at least second thoughts - about all the cold, cruel decisions the CSM made given his responsibility to and position in the Syndicate. This habit gave him cancer (TXF: "Talitha Cumi"), which can again be seen as a metaphor for this guilt constantly burning him from the inside.
- A Morley cigarette was found in a Millennium Group archive room in the Millennium episode "The Time is Now", leading some viewers to suspect that the CSM was a member of the Millennium Group.
The inflammation had expanded by June 2000, when the CSM was confined to a wheelchair and could not breathe on his own. A nurse named Greta consequently lived with him and attended to his needs. At this point, Krycek attempted to kill the CSM and take advantage of his weakened state. (TXF: "Requiem")
The CSM went by many names throughout his career. Those who worked with him, referred to him with monikers or nicknames..
These nicknames included:
- "Cancer Man" (by Fox Mulder in November 1995) (TXF: "One Breath")
- "Smoking Man" (by Fox Mulder in 1996) (TXF: "Talitha Cumi")
- "Cigarette Man" (by Fox Mulder in 1997) (TXF: "Memento Mori")
- "Smokey" or "Old Smokey" (by Fox Mulder in May 1998) (TXF: "The End")
- "Cigarette Smoking Man" (by Dana Scully in early 1999) (TXF: "Two Fathers")
- It was originally meant for the character to never be identified. He was identified in scripts and closed captioning as the Cigarette Smoking Man in every episode he appeared in. The nickname "Cancer Man" was inserted into the series as an in-joke, after it became a popular term for the CSM on internet newsgroups.
In November 1996, Melvin Frohike believed that the CSM had used the nom de plume of Raul Bloodworth. Based on the works of Bloodworth, Frohike also believed the CSM had used the name "Hunt" briefly while serving under General Francis. (TXF: "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man")
In the 1960s, the CSM used the name "C.G.B. Spender" on various documents including a file pertaining to his son, Jeffrey. (TXF: "Two Fathers") When Special Agent Fox Mulder confronted him with this information, the CSM seemed surprised.
In early 1999, Agents Mulder and Scully discovered that the CSM went under the moniker "C.G.B. Spender". Scully investigated it and discovered its connection to many scientists and top government officials, including Bill Mulder. (TXF: "Two Fathers")
- It has never been determined if "C.G.B. Spender" is his real name or not. Scully believed it to be one of hundreds of aliases after investigating the name in "Two Fathers."
In 1968, a man working under the nom de plume Raul Bloodworth wrote the novel Take a Chance: A Jack Colquitt Adventure. He sent it to Montgomery & Glick Publishing, but the publisher, Albert Godwinkle wouldn't publish, citing how terrible it "stunk" and that it should be burned.
Shortly afterward, Melvin Frohike discovered these two publications and believed them to be written by the CSM. Extracting information from Jack Colquitt in these novels, Frohike informed Mulder and Scully of the events he believed corresponded to the CSM's "autobiography." The CSM was apparently intrigued by these events, as he secretly listened in, and was about to assassinate Frohike, but decided against it. (TXF: "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man")
- All of the following information comes from Frohike's story in "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man" and it is unknown which, if any, details are correct and which are fabrications. It should be noted that his age and military duty conflicts with his activities above. This may have been deliberately changed in the story he wrote so his identity could not be tracked down, as Frohike attempted to do. The background might have been entirely fictional, and Frohike mentioned he still had to check it out more.
According to Frohike, the CSM was born on August 20, 1940 (which does not make much sense considering his apparent age as portrayed in 1953 in Pearl Harbor questioning the Zeus Faber's crewman) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His father was a Communist activist executed as a spy, and his mother died of lung cancer. This all happened while the CSM was still quite young, during World War II, and he was raised in various orphanages throughout the Midwest.
Career with the US Army
The CSM became a Captain in the US Army and served in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with fellow captain, William Mulder. He was not a fan of movies, enjoyed reading novels and never smoked. He had secretively served in several clandestine operations, including the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Bay of Pigs incident and the assassination of Rafael Trujilo.
On October 30, 1962, he reported to General Francis, who instructed him to assassinate the president, John F. Kennedy. He accepted the assignment without question, and was removed from the Army with all record of his service stricken in order to fulfill his new duties.
Work with General Francis
It took over a year for the CSM's plan to unfold. On November 22, 1963, the plan was set in motion to assassinate President Kennedy. The CSM went under the alias of Mr. Hunt, and he was using Lee Harvey Oswald as a patsy. He dressed as a worker of the City of Dallas Public Works and set up at the Trinity River Outlet. He assassinated President Kennedy from that sewer opening. He later went to the Texas Theater and observed Oswald's capture when Oswald was searching for him. The CSM decided to stay and watch the movie and smoked one of Oswald's Morleys. The assassination is referenced in One Breath, when the CSM responds to Mulder extorting information from him at gun-point with "Don't try to threaten me, Mulder. I've seen presidents die."
The CSM continued to work with General Francis and write his novel. He was a fan of Martin Luther King, Jr. and was somewhat saddened when, in discussion with J. Edgar Hoover and other top officials, the CSM decided that King had to be eliminated. He decided to work with another patsy.
On April 3, 1968, the CSM arrived in Memphis, Tennessee to fulfill his duty, carrying a picture of a young Fox Mulder. He used the name Raul with his patsy, James Earl Ray, and they arrived across from the Lorraine Motel. On April 4, he successfully assassinated Dr. King and pinned it on Ray.
Soon afterward, he finally finished his novel, Take a Chance, and was deeply saddened when it was not accepted for publication. He began to focus more on his work afterwards, including Robert Kennedy, implying he was also killed by the secret government.
Work with Ronald
In the intervening decades, the CSM had grown to having very near full control over every secret operation in the United States. He was in charge of events involving Anita Hill, the Rodney King trial, the Bosnia and Herzegovina elections, the Super Bowl, and the 1980 Olympics. He spoke to dignitaries such as Saddam Hussein, and was disappointed when he discovered that Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned.
On December 24, 1991, the CSM was brought in after a downed UFO was discovered with an extraterrestrial biological entity. He wanted to study the E.B.E. alive, but his colleague Ronald, also known as Deep Throat, followed Security Council Resolution 10.13 and destroyed the E.B.E., despite the fact that it would have helped Bill Mulder's project.
In March 1992, the CSM chose Scully to work on the X-files based on her senior thesis, Einstein's Twin Paradox: A New Interpretation, which dealt with various operations such as Majestic 12. He used surveillance techniques to monitor Scully and Mulder's first meeting, and was quite happy at Mulder being able to tell why Scully had been assigned to the X-files.
In 1996, the CSM was overjoyed when he discovered that his second novel, Second Chance, had been accepted to be published. When CSM discovered he would lose some creative control, he was let down but still optimistic. He wrote out his resignation letter in preparation of his work's publication.
When his work hit newstands on November 12, the CSM was angered at the fact that they changed the ending to his story, and decided afterward to keep up his work and not resign from his position.
In the original script for the episode "Pilot," the character of Lake Drazen, an FBI agent, was the template for the Cigarette Smoking Man. Drazen was to have introduced Scully to Mulder, and be present at Mulder's slide-show presentation. At the end of the script, Drazen threw Scully's report into an incinerator, reminiscent of the CSM in the final episode.
William B. Davis was the actor who most frequently portrayed the CSM in episodes of The X-Files. However, both Craig Warkentin and Chris Owens, the same actor who played Jeffrey Spender, portrayed younger versions of the CSM. Warkentin appeared in "Apocrypha" and Owens appeared in both "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man" and "Demons".
Although William B. Davis first appeared in the pilot episode of The X-Files, it was not until "Young at Heart" that he was first given dialogue. His character in that episode may have been the CSM and, if so, his first lines would also be the CSM's first words. However, the character was not clearly established as being the CSM and was instead credited as "CIA Agent". The first time that the CSM definitely did speak was in "Tooms".
The CSM made a short but memorable appearance in The Simpsons episode "The Springfield Files". In a pose virtually identical to that seen during his first appearance on The X-Files, the CSM is seen smoking a cigarette while standing next to a filing cabinet that he leans on.
The Cigarette Smoking Man's forty appearances makes him the most prolific recurring character who was never made into a main character. He narrowly beats out Melvin Frohike by two appearances. Other than Mulder and Scully, the CSM is the only character to appear in both the first episode ("Pilot") and the last episode ("The Truth"). In addition to the episodes listed below, the CSM may have also appeared in "Young at Heart", as mentioned in the above section of this article.
- Season 1:
- Season 2:
- Season 3:
- Season 4:
- Season 5:
- The X-Files Movie
- Season 6:
- Season 7:
- Season 9:
In the Topps Comics series of comics, the Cigarette Smoking Man appears in Not to be Opened Until X-Mas (the series' first issue), A Little Dream of Me (the third issue) and Thin Air (issue seventeen).