|Series:||The Lone Gunmen|
|Date(s):||17 May, 2001|
|Written by:||Nandi Bowe|
|Directed by:||Richard Compton|
While investigating the death of Byers' college roommate, the Lone Gunmen find evidence implicating FBI Assistant Director Skinner.
At the behest of Carol Strode, the Lone Gunmen investigate the murder of her brother, Jeff Strode. This leads them to Assistant Director Walter Skinner as a suspect. The situation that they step into turns out to be an FBI sting operation.
Mr. Memory entertains the crowd with his vast reservoir of knowledge. No question asked stumps him! A group of men in suits are meeting there during the show. A man has followed one of them there and he is blackmailing, Mr. Rose. He follows Mr. Rose to the bathroom to discuss the situation but doesn’t find the man in there. Instead, A.D. Walter Skinner is there. He calls him a son of a bitch while slamming him against one of the stall doors as the man’s glasses fly off his face. Outside of the bathroom, shots are heard. A waiter goes and finds the blackmailer dead, face down in a pool of blood.
Jimmy Bond describes how people go through life not really knowing each other in one of his many to the camera transitions in this story.
Richard Langly and Melvin Frohike have just put the finishing touches on their latest edition of their newspaper. The cover article is titled, “Lick it, stick it, and trip.” Langly asks Bond for a check to pay the printers. Jimmy wonders where John Byers is since he usually goes with him to the printers but Byers is nowhere to be found. The others note that he never came home last night.
Frohike says, “What do you think? Girl?”
They all break into incredulous laughter.
Jimmy goes outside to take the check to the printers but finds his car being towed for non-payment. As his car is taken, Byers shows up and presents Jimmy with the attractive Carol Strode.
“She’s going to help us catch a murderer.”
Inside the guys listen to Carol’s story with rapt attention. Strode says that her brother and her had been estranged for some years but he was recently murdered. His computer had been set up to automatically send a message in case of his death. In the message he claimed to have pissed off a lot of people over the last couple of years and one of them must have killed him. They ask Byers how he knows Carol and Byers explains that he knew her brother in college. Strode’s brother’s body was cremated by accident, further complicating any investigations into his demise.
The four Lone Gunmen and Carol Strode check out the bathroom where her brother was murdered. Mr. Memory comes out of one of the stalls and Jimmy Bond immediately recognizes him and asks if he remembers him. Mr. Memory thinks for a moment and remembers Jimmy from a show years back when he was there with a bunch of blind football players. They ask Mr. Memory if he knows anything about the man who was killed but he says he doesn’t. Jimmy can’t help but notice that Mr. Memory is wearing the same glasses as the murdered man. Pressed, he admits he found the glasses on the floor behind the john. The glasses appear to be unique as an electronic wire is hanging out of them.
Elsewhere, A.D. Skinner shows up in the park while Mr. Rose and his wife are out walking their dog. Mr. Rose seems to be in trouble with his wife since he’s being forced to pick up the dog’s “leavings.” Skinner is frustrated with Rose since he’s had to clean up the man’s messes. He informs him that he is confiscating Rose’s computer. When Rose asks why, the wife replies its because her husband can’t keep it in his pants.
Bay Point Marina
Frohike explains to Carol Strode that the found glasses are some kind of tiny video camera while Langly mentions how he found the location that the information was uploaded to. They find an apartment that Carol’s brother, Jeff, kept under an alias. His computer was wiped of all data but they discover a backup drive hidden but still in the line of sight of the main computer (downloads and stores the main computer’s data). They discover videos of the people Jeff was blackmailing kept as insurance. The last video shows Skinner attacking Jeff right before the video stops.
Back at the offices, all but Byers want to publish the story of A.D. Skinner being with a man who was murdered minutes later but Byers thinks the story is too flimsy. There isn’t enough proof to hurl accusations at a high ranking member of the FBI; they need to learn more.
Byers runs off and Frohike has a chat with him. Frohike suggests that Byers doesn’t want to run the story because it makes Jeff Strode look bad as a blackmailer but Byers claims it’s just that he doesn’t want to run a weak story.
“We may look to all the world like the ‘National Enquirer,’ but we’re going to operate like the ‘New York Times’ or else I don’t want to be here.”
Yves Adele Harlow is called in and she looks at the footage. Although she doesn’t recognize the intended blackmail victim, she recognizes the man he was sitting with as Russian mob boss, Ara Frumin. She posits that maybe Skinner works for the mob since plenty of Moscow police work for the man as well. They need to figure out who the blackmail victim is since they must be key to this whole situation.
Mr. Rose and Mr. Frumin meet in an alley. Frumin is a bit upset about the man that Rose killed in his favorite club but ultimately trusts Rose. He knows the man was blackmailing Rose over his mistress and a man with secrets is a man he can trust.
Byers, Langly, Frohike, and Carol Strode follow Skinner to a park where he meets with Mr. Rose. They leave Carol in the van with her patched into the glasses video camera Langly is using himself. While trying to overhear the conversation of Skinner and Rose with their listening devices, Langly tries to shake off Rose’s dog as it humps his leg in the bushes. As Langly, Frohike, and Byers try and leave they are stopped by an irate Walter Skinner. Frumin and one of his henchmen followed as well so when Rose returns to his car after his meeting with Skinner, Frumin’s henchman brings him to their car. Rose turns in the car’s passenger seat to find Carol Strode in the backseat with Frumin who says, “I don’t take chances.”
Jimmy and Yves discuss how they could find the guys who have disappeared. She can’t find any information that would suggest they were arrested or are in the hospital. Jimmy suggests they track the van, they find it was towed from Banning Park. FBI agents begin beating down the door of the Lone Gunmen offices and Yves & Jimmy hide in a crawlspace while the agents scour the place.
In a safe house, Skinner shows the three guys the article they wrote about an FBI assistant director killing a man in the bathroom of Club Tamarind. Langly takes the wrong path.
“You’re only going to kill us like you killed Byers’ old roommate!”
Skinner leaves the room and comes back with the supposedly dead Jeff Strode. Strode doesn’t seem to know Byers well despite supposedly being roommates. Skinner explains that the Lone Gunmen are interfering with a FBI sting operation. Mr. Rose is their operative.
Byers responds that they were investigating Jeff Strode’s murder and didn’t plan on interfering with the FBI. Strode recounts that he found an importer who was having an online affair with a woman. He was an FBI agent posing as an importer with his cover wife being another FBI agent and the woman he was having an “affair” with was his real wife. He stepped into the wrong situation; blackmailing an undercover FBI agent. So Skinner had to fake Strode’s death to give Rose credibility.
Frumin is actually dealing in plutonium and looking for an importer to work with. However, now Skinner had to deal with them which meant that he lost track of his agent entirely. All they know is they saw him and Carol Strode leaving with Frumin.
At the safehouse, Langly tries to use the glasses’ uplink to contact Yves and Jimmy who have recovered the van. Skinner tells them Rose was released and informed them that they are keeping Carol.
Jeff Strode and Byers get into a bit of a fight about Jeff getting him into this mess. By using the male pronoun to describe Carol, they are forced to reveal that Carol Strode was Byers’ college roommate, Carl Strode. This would put Carol in greater danger since the driver’s license showed a birth date and name that showed no one born on that date with that name.
Jimmy fears that the Lone Gunmen are dead and blames Skinner.
Byers tries to tell the FBI about his friend’s secret and how it might endanger them. He doesn’t much like Jeff because he blabbed to everyone about Carl’s plan to become a woman before he was ready to tell people. Langly admits he is mostly bothered that Byers didn’t tell them because he thought Carol was kind of hot.
“Is that wrong?”
They realize they could disable the video camera, remove the wire on the window, and escape the safe house.
Skinner tells Rose about what to do with the Russian mobsters and that if he orders a rum and coke he can get help from the bartender. He heads in while Yves and Jimmy watch him. Jimmy is dressed like Walter Skinner including a mask that looks exactly like him. Yves gives him a mouthpiece so he sounds exactly like Skinner. Jimmy is extremely angry because he believes Skinner killed Langly, Frohike, and Byers.
The others have escaped the safe house, feeding the camera a looped tape of them sitting around the room. The old movie on the tape cutting back in spoiled the illusion.
The Russian mobsters bring Carol Strode to the table with Mr. Rose and Frumin’s associate puts a weapon to Rose’s chest. An interesting weapon: an airgun with a tiny piece of plutonium in it. Silent and he would walk out of there a dead man. The plutonium pit they are smuggling is too big to bring into the room with them. Frumin demands that Rose explain who Strode is and who Rose is or they’ll kill him. Rose tries to shake them off but Jimmy Bond as Skinner appears, waving. He comes over acting a bit overly emotional and demanding a payoff for all the people he has been killing for the mob to cover their tracks. The bartender comes over and suggests they order a rum and coke. Jimmy as Skinner wants a Cuba Libre but eventually settles on a rum and coke. Agents all around draw guns on the mobsters who surrender without incident.
The FBI locate the plutonium in the back of a vehicle as the real Skinner heads in to find fake Skinner and Carol Strode. Skinner circles Jimmy while Carol Strode embraces her living brother Jeff. Jimmy as Skinner excitedly hugs the not murdered Lone Gunmen and apologizes to Skinner for thinking he killed them. Skinner peels off Jimmy’s mask at the mouth.
“Larry, Moe, Curly, I see you’ve found yourselves a fourth stooge.”
A grumpy Skinner leaves as Frohike says it was nice working with him again.
Back at the offices, they admire their latest article which managed not to reveal Carol’s secret. Jimmy and Yves already knew it the moment they met Carol. The other Lone Gunmen explain that the Moscow wire service was paying them 125,000 roubles (less than $4400 US dollars) for the rights to reprint their story. They used the money to get Jimmy his car back.
“Maybe that’s what friends are, the people you can show your true face to.”
- This episode is the first of three in The Lone Gunmen spin-off series to feature a guest, crossover appearance by a character who first appeared in The X-Files. According to Frank Spotnitz, Ten Thirteen Productions had always been resistant to the idea of doing crossovers in Millennium and The X-Files but the writing staff thought that doing crossovers in The Lone Gunmen would be fun, since the series was comedy, a completely different genre to the majority of episodes in the two other series.
- Skinner actor Mitch Pileggi watched tapes of Jimmy Bond actor Stephen Sneddon and Sneddon's performances, to prepare for his own performance as Jimmy Bond playing Skinner.
- To create the effect of Jimmy Bond's Skinner mask being torn, Mitch Pileggi was lined up by Mat Beck's effects unit and was filmed both with and without a tearable mask. Footage of the actor performing was then tracked on a computer-generated face so that the effects team had control over the contours of the actor's face. This allowed the actor to deliver a line of dialogue, have his mouth essentially pulled off and then deliver another line.
- Vince Gilligan found this episode to be fun, due to Mitch Pileggi's appearance on the series, and was pleased to see the actor be allowed an opportunity to be funny because, according to Gilligan, the actor was hilarious in person and was completely different from his usual character, A.D. Skinner.
Catherine Dent as Carol Strode
Tony Denison as FBI Undercover Agent Larry Rose
Peter J. Lucas as Ara Frumin
Robert Lewis as Jeff Strode
Mitch Pileggi as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner
Robert Rozen as Mr. Memory
Maria Louisa Figura as Larry’s Wife
Lawrence Cotton as Waiter
Glenn Ennis as Bartender
Jano Frandsen as FBI Guard
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