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Robert Patrick: Case Closed Part One

As the former Terminator prepares to say goodbye to Agent Doggett, he takes a look at his time on THE X-FILES

By MELISSA J. PERENSON     May 10, 2002


Robert Patrick as Agent John Doggett on THE X-FILES.
© 2001 Fox
Never mind a warm up period: from the moment he jumped into active duty on THE X-FILES in season eight, Robert Patrick knew his character almost instantly. "I had a real good essence," he says matter-of-factly.

Dogget (Robert Patrick) and Reyes (Annabeth Gish) are helped by an FBI trainee to find clues leading them to a serial killer in the THE X-FILES episode "Release"



From Patrick's perspective, the government conspiracy mythology is easier for his character, Agent Doggett, to absorb than is the existence of paranormal or extraterrestrial phenomena. Explains the actor, "Buying into a conspiracy is a little bit different than buying into the fact that there are UFOs or there's paranormal activity."

Unlike Scully - who wrote the playbook on skepticism, and took years to open her mind to extreme possibilities - Doggett progressed along a bit faster. With each passing episode, the more Doggett sees, the more he, reluctantly, has to accept. "He's smart enough to acknowledge things as they happen to him. Willingly, he's being asked to acknowledge certain things as he goes week to week. That's been really fascinating to me," says Patrick. "That's been the fun part for me to play as an actor. It's like, how do you keep this guy rooted in reality when he's dealing with all of these things?"

John Doggett (Robert Patrick) finds himself behind bars in "John Doe."



As an actor, Patrick enjoys the creative process inherent in exploring a new character, as well as the process of choreographing a particular scene with his co-stars and director. "If you ask any of the directors we've had, I love to be directed. You're constantly trying to find out a better way; and every time you do a scene, there's probably a lot of different ways you can go and a lot of different things you can do. But eventually you have to do what the director sees in his vision for the show."

Ultimately, he adds, "You just try to be in the moment and you react off what everybody else is doing."

While Patrick has enjoyed the chance to contribute his voice towards Doggett's evolution, this season Doggett had a chance to flex new muscles thanks to developments in the show. With Mulder gone and Scully teaching at Quantico, Doggett was suddenly left holding the keys to the basement office of the X-Files - not quite the place a self-avowed skeptic would expect himself to be, agrees Patrick. "He's still a skeptic; he doesn't buy into all this stuff," Patrick says of his character in the ninth season. "I try not to make him to judgmental and yet, he has his own opinion. He's very, very skeptical - and most of that is rooted in his guilt for the loss of his son. He just doesn't want to acknowledge that there are other ways other than just the facts because he's a cop and he's a detective."

Scully (Gillian Anderson), Reyes (Annabeth Gish) and Doggett (Robert Patrick) investigate the bizarre murder of a teenager on THE X-FILES episode "Lord Of The Flies."



The transition this season for Doggett is a big one: not only is his belief system challenged, but he's now working with a new partner-in-X, Agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), who replaces Scully in the X-Files division. "This season I've had less time to deal with Scully," acknowledges Doggett. "But then, she's dealing with what's going on with her and her baby and the loss of, or not being able to be with, Mulder."

Be sure to check back soon for the rest of our chat with Robert Patrick.

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