'Mulder, have you noticed that we're on television?'
Season: Seven (2000)
Written by: Vince Gilligan
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Considering that by its seventh season The X-Files was nearing the end and David Duchovny was looking to move on, then there's a surprising amount of innovation and clever episodes that make up its run. Duchovny and Gillian Anderson get to be writer-directors for an episode each, while Duchovny gets to co-write another with Chris Carter and even William B. Davis, the Cigarette-Smoking Man, writes an instalment for the show.
Perhaps none are as innovative as this one, however – an X-Files episode filmed as if it's a real-life documentary, complete with hand-held video cameras, no incidental music and segments filmed in ‘real time'. Sure, it's a gimmick, as Mulder and Scully follow a fear monster stalking down a line of victims, but it's a good gimmick. Innovation shouldn't always be rewarded for its own sake, but X-Cops more than delivers on its promise. It can perhaps be argued that the final product is a little hollow, and has nothing to say about the real nature of television, but that's not its prime motive. X-Cops is an entertainment episode, and any self-referential barbs are there are bonuses, not the main intent.
On the subject of entertainment then as we've seen throughout these featured episodes The X-Files wasn't a series exactly noted for its love of political correctness. The show-stealing turn in X-Cops are Edy and Steve, two stereotyped homosexual lovers, hilariously played by Curtis Jackson and C.W. Smith.