Director: David Nutter
When FBI agent Moe Bocks of the Minnesota Bureau investigates the case of a female corpse dug up and mutilated, he is quick to think it is the work of extraterrestrial and calls in agent Mulder and Scully for their expertise with UFO's. However Mulder who has seen this before recognises it as the work of an escalating fetishist. Someone who collects dead things, hair and fingernails, no one quite knows why they do it. Scully who has never seen a case like it before although she has read about them, is badly shaken by what she sees.
Mulder warns agent Bocks that the escalating fetishist may progress from mutilating the dead to opportunistic homicide, killing people and then mutilating them. A theory given credence when a prostitute is found murdered and mutilated. After examining the body and how it was defiled Mulder tells Bocks that the killer has a deep hatred of women and will continue to kill until he is stopped. As word of the attacks spreads the local populous become uneasy, when a prostitute is hit by a john she pulls a knife and cuts him. Mulder and Scully joins Bocks as they question the man, who it turns out is innocent. But unknown to them the fetishist, Donnie Pfaster is in the next cell.
Scully struggling with her reaction to the case goes back to Washington with the prostitute's body, a move which pays off when she finds a latent fingerprint. But on her return she is intercepted and kidnapped by Pfaster and Mulder has to pull out all the stops to find her before it is too late.
Karen Kossoff mentions that Scully had lost her father the previous year. This happened in the episode "Beyond The Sea".
Chris Carter originally wrote Donnie Pfaster as a necrophiliac but due to pressure from Fox Television he was forced to alter the character to the less offensive, but still very creepy death fetishist. Nick Chinlund as Donnie Pfaster later returns in Season 7's 'Orison'.
The name Soames can be seen on a tombstone at the beginning of the episode - Ray Soames is the name of the person Mulder and Scully had exhumed in the Pilot episode.
Donnie Pfaster: (to Scully) There's no way out, girlie-girl... I know this house, girlie-girl, there's nowhere to hide.
Scully(voiceover): Death is a recorded event. For reasons natural or unnatural, when a body ceases to function, the cause of the effect can be clearly reconstructed. A body has a story to tell... If the victim was strangled, an examination of the veins in the eyes will reveal this. If the victim was shot, entry wounds and gunpowder residue can be used to reconstruct the events leading to death and help to establish a possible motive. Body temperature, preferably the temperature of the spleen, is an accurate indicator of the time of death. As are rigor, livor and levels of sodium in the blood. If the body was moved, sand, small rocks, vegetable debris, even pollen can be removed and analysed to determine the location of the original crime scene and place the position of the body at the time of death. Extracutenous stains and residues can indicate the use of poison or toxins. Hair and fibres, slivers of glass, plastic, even insect casings can serve to recreate the circumstances under which death occurred... It may be an irony only understood by those of us who conduct these examinations, who use these pieces to rebuild a narrative, that death, like life itself, is a drama with a beginning, middle and end.
Scully(voiceover): A complete model or psychological profile of the death fetishist does not exist. Extrapolating from material on file at the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, the compulsion is the result of a complex misplacement of values and a deviation from cultural norms and societal mores - often accompanied by extreme alienation from normal social interaction and traditional avenues for interaction with others. He is more likely to be white, male and of average to above average intelligence. Cases of fetishists with IQs over 150 have been documented. The progression of the pathology can be traced from the fantasy stage to the eventual acting out of fetishistic impulses, including opportunistic homicide.... Agent Mulder believes strongly that the suspect in this case is escalating toward this action. It is my opinion from reading these case files that death fetishism may play a stronger role than suspected in cases of serial murder. That once he begins to murder, it is the killing that draws attention away from a deeper motive. A motive which most people, including law enforcement professionals, dare not imagine. It is somehow easier to believe, as Agent Bocks does, in aliens and UFOs, than in the kind of cold blooded inhuman monster who could prey on the living to scavenge from the dead.
Episode Number: 37
Season Number: 2
First Aired: Friday January 13, 1995
Production Code: 2X13