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The X-Files episode
4-D TXF.jpg
John Doggett looking for Erwin Lukesh in an alternate reality
Episode no. Season 9
Episode 4
Written by Steven Maeda
Directed by Tony Wharmby
Production no. 9ABX05
Original airdate December 9, 2001 (Fox)
Guest stars
  • Cary Elwes as Brad Follmer
  • Gil Colon as Agent Rice
  • Dylan Haggerty as Erwin Timothy Lukesh
  • Ming Lo as Doctor Kim
  • Angela Paton as Miriam Lukesh
Episode chronology
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"Dæmonicus" "Lord of the Flies"

"4-D" was the fourth episode of the ninth season of The X-Files science-fiction television series created by Chris Carter.



At the beginning of the episode, FBI Agent Monica Reyes is monitoring Erwin Lukesh, who is suspected of being a psychotic killer who cuts out his victims' tongues. In pursuing him, she goes into an apartment building and is attacked by Lukesh with a razor. John Doggett, Reyes' FBI partner, who has been observing her electronically, hears a scream, and rushes to help Reyes. He finds that her throat has been cut and she is dying. Doggett chases Lukesh into an alleyway where he tells Lukesh to stop. However, Doggett loses sight of Lukesh momentarily and then finds he has vanished. Lukesh then appears behind Doggett and fires at him with his Reyes's gun.[1]

The setting of the episode then changes; Doggett arrives at Reyes's new apartment having brought her a housewarming gift. Neither seems to be aware of the previous events. Reyes than receives a phone call from Walter Skinner, her superior, who informs her that Doggett has been shot and is being taken to the hospital. Reyes tells Skinner that Doggett is in her apartment, but when she looks for Doggett, he is gone. When she arrives at the hospital, Reyes again tries to explain that Doggett was with her but it's then discovered that the bullet that Doggett was shot with matches Reyes's gun. She is questioned by the FBI, again telling the story that Doggett was with her at the time of the shooting. Then we see that that Lukesh is observing the questioning from outside the room and identifies Reyes as the shooter.[1]

Doggett regains consciousness, but is breathing with the help of a respirator. Meanwhile, Lukesh goes to his apartment where he lives with his disabled mother. As he prepares to fix her lunch, he goes to his freezer and pulls out a bag containing a human tongue.[1]

Reyes performs a background check on Lukesh, and becomes convinced he is in fact responsible for the shooting. Reyes goes to Doggett, and through a computer setup that enables him to tap out words, Doggett tells her that Lukesh shot him but that Doggett also saw her with her throat cut.[1]

Lukesh then returns to the alleyway where Doggett was shot and then vanishes. Based on the contradictory evidence, Reyes concludes that Lukesh can travel between parallel universes in order to kill. She also concludes that the unharmed Doggett disappeared because two versions of the same person cannot exist in one universe. Skinner questions Lukesh, who becomes agitated when his mother is mentioned. Seeing this, Skinner decides to hint that his mother will be questioned, which leads Lukesh to become more uncomfortable. Lukesh returns home to find his mother has found the gun he shot Doggett with. After she threatens to talk to the FBI, Lukesh kills her.[1]

Doggett tells Reyes that to resolve the situation, she must turn off his respirator and allow him to die but she refuses. Suspecting that Lukesh plans to kill Reyes next, Skinner then convinces Reyes to go back to her apartment while he, Scully and Brad Follmer monitor her. She returns to her apartment and is attacked by Lukesh. The team rush to her aid, however, with Follmer shooting Lukesh in the head, killing him.[1]

Reyes then returns to the hospital, closing her eyes as she shuts off Doggett's respirator. As she opens her eyes, the scene changes back to her apartment at the moment Doggett had disappeared. He is there again, alive and well. Reyes, stunned and fighting back tears, embraces Doggett as he, evidently unaware of any of the previous events, asks her what's wrong.[1]


Steven Maeda, the writer, had previously written The X-Files episode called "Vienen". That particular episode had proved successful, and he was asked to pen a stand alone episode. His efforts were hampered by the fact that the departure of David Duchovny had made the general circumstances of The X-Files more difficult. The plot which Maeda created was inspired by the situation of a real-life French journalist, Jean-Dominique Bauby. Bauby had been paralysed and could only communicate by blinking his left eyelid. Maeda wanted to employ that type of aliment in his script, and originally thought of drawing up a guest character for this purpose. However, he felt eventually that this would be more successful with a regular character, and decided upon Doggett. Deciding how to achieve this, and how he could resolve this for the end of the episode, he concluded that the concept of parallel universes could be used.[2]

Visual effects expert Mat Beck was instructed to devise how to transport the characters of Doggett and Lukesh between different universes in the plotline. Beck considered for a period of several days how to illustrate the effect; by blackhole, or vanishing in a water-like rippling effect. Beck decided to record the actors behind the two characters performing certain actions, and then used software to morph the two together to make it appear as if they had vanished. Later, artistic touches were added in post-production editing to give a more futuristic effect. Maeda, meanwhile, wished to create a villain that would be as memorable as other notable enemies in The X-Files, such as Eugene Victor Tooms and The Flukeman. The character of Lukesh was in part inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "4-D". BBC. Retrieved October 1, 2009.  
  2. ^ a b GE Fabbri 2006, pp. 15.

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