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Doggett and Scully?
The West Wing shootout was cool. But The X-Files aired TV's juiciest cliffhanger last season. Mulder abducted by aliens! Cigarette Smoking Man dead! Scully pregnant!

The eighth season of Fox's paranormal drama, debuting Nov. 5, will be its most challenging yet. Not only will David Duchovny appear only in up to 11 episodes, Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) joins the cast as John Doggett, a steely-eyed, by-the-book FBI agent. We caught up with Frank Spotnitz, one of the show's executive producers, and asked him about the upcoming season.

Q: We all know Scully's pregnant. Who are the daddy candidates?
A: It could've been Mulder. There is a very violent debate whether that would be a good plot development. Other things I've heard is that somehow it's an alien pregnancy. And there was an episode last season where Scully was in the company of Cigarette Smoking Man and she was unconscious and woke up in a bedroom. Those are the three scenarios.

Q: When will we find out who the father is?
A: You'll get more information early in the new year, probably some time after Christmas. Since Mulder is missing, I think it would be difficult for Scully to get real hard answers.

Q: You've said viewers may not like Doggett right away. Why?
A: Most X-Files fans love Mulder and they love Mulder with Scully. It's quite natural that when you've loved a character and actor to feel resistance to a new guy coming in. No matter how wonderful the new actor and character is, it's a hard sell to the audience. Plus, Scully doesn't like him. I suspect he'll win her over. Robert Patrick is a hard actor not to like.

Q: Are you concerned fans may not ever like Doggett?
A: It's a real risk. There was a powerful chemistry between Mulder and Scully that helped make the show what it is. We're very aware of how dangerous this is, but these are the cards we were dealt.

Q: Doggett catches up with Mulder in the season opener. What's the story?
A: I can't say. You have to watch. We want to preserve the surprise.

Q: What makes Robert Patrick so manly?
A: That's not the adjective I'd use. He's a masculine presence. He has more of a blue-collar, working man quality.

Q: Cigarette Smoking Man isn't dead, right?
A: He sure looked dead to me. (William B. Davis) is not under contract anymore.

Q: Is Gillian Anderson OK? She looked a tad gaunt in the Entertainment Weekly spread.
A: Did she really? She's great. I guess that was the fault of hair and makeup.

Q: When are the aliens coming to colonize the earth?
A: That's the big question. I can't say. That's part of the mythology that might be answered in the movie series.

Q: What's up with the movie franchise?
A: The decision to go forward for an eighth season put everything into question. Will there be a movie series? Will the audience still be there for a movie series? I don't know.

Q: (Series creator Chris) Carter has said the episodes will be scarier this year. What are we gonna see?
A: When a show has been on the air as long as we have, you have to do different things to keep it interesting. We did go further out with offbeat and funny episodes, now that we have a new central character, we have to play it straight and earn that right to get that far out again.

The X-Files is © 20th Century Fox
This story written by Kevin D. Thompson (Staff Writer) and is © Palm Beach Post. Published in their Arts & Entertainment section on Sunday, October 1, 2000.

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