At a grocery market in Virginia, Agent Frank Burst and a phalanx of sheriff's deputies
arrest a man known only as Pusher. Pusher is shackled in leg irons and seated in the back
of a cruiser, a heavy steel screen separating him from Burst and a deputy (who's at the
wheel). As the deputy waits his turn to pull onto a busy highway, Pusher uses the sound of
his voice to take control of the deputy's mind. Against his will, the deputy drives the cruiser
directly into the path of an oncoming truck, and an enormous collision ensues.
Burst survives the impact, but the sheriff's deputy is killed and Pusher escapes. Burst
approaches Mulder and Scully for help with the bizarre case. He describes how, a month
earlier, Pusher called him and confessed to a string of contract killings going back two
years. The murders Pusher confessed to had all been ruled suicides by the coroner's office.
But he possessed intimate details known only to police. Burst believes Pusher was
bragging when he confessed to the crimes, as if he was playing a twisted game. Most
disturbing is how Pusher somehow willed the sheriff's deputy to unlock his shackles.
A clue finger-written on the wrecked police cruiser leads the agents to back issues of a
magazine called "American Ronin" (a ronin is a samurai warrior without a master). After
leafing through several issues, the agents find "hit for hire" ads they suspect were placed
by Pusher. They trace a telephone number listed in the ad to a pay phone, which, in turn,
leads them to a driving range where Pusher works. Heavily-armed federal agents surround
the range. Pusher takes refuge inside a shed and is cornered by an agent. He wills the agent
to pour gasoline over his own body and set himself on fire. Scully extinguishes the flames,
and Pusher is taken into custody. But during a preliminary court hearing, Pusher (whose
real name is Robert Modell) clouds the mind of the presiding judge and is released.
Using his mental powers, Modell slips by FBI security and gains access to the agency's
computer records. Skinner spots the intruder and attempts to intercede. But Modell
overpowers an office cleric's mind and wills her to spray mace in Skinner's eyes. During the
confusion, Modell escapes with the records.
Skinner recovers, and later informs the agents that Modell fled with Mulder's computer
file. Burst, Mulder, Scully and a team of SWAT officers storm Modell's apartment, but find it
empty. What they do find is epilepsy medication. Scully theorizes that if a brain tumor
triggered Modell's powers, he might be dying... and committing murders as one last big
"hurrah." Modell phones the agents as they are sifting through his apartment. As Burst tries
to keep him on the line until the call can be traced, Modell wills him to suffer a fatal heart
The FBI tracks Modell to a nearby hospital. Mulder fears that Modell might focus his
powers on one of the armed agents, so he enters the building alone, unarmed and wired with
high-tech video gear that allows Scully and the other agents to see what he sees.
As Mulder walks through the building, shots ring out. He finds the dead bodies of an MRI
technician and a security guard. He also finds a medical chart which confirms the tumor is
fatal. Modell clouds Mulder's mind and forces him to play Russian roulette, first on himself,
and then on Scully. Scully trips a fire alarm after realizing that Modell must concentrate all of
his energy for his powers to work. This distracts Modell long enough for agents to rush him.
Later, we see Modell in a hospital bed, weak and near death.
................... CREDITS .....................
THE X-FILES "PUSHER" #3X17
Original Air Date: 2/23/96
DAVID DUCHOVNY as Special Agent Fox Mulder
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully
MITCH PILEGGI as Assistant Director Walter Skinner
ROBERT WISDEN as Pusher (Robert Modell)
VIC POLIZOS as Agent Frank Burst
STEVE BACIC as Agent Collins
D. NEIL MARK as Deputy Scott Kerber
JULIA ARKOS as Holly
DON MACKAY as the Judge
MEREDITH BAIN-WOODWARD as Defense Attorney Brent
J.D. SHEPPARD as the Prosecutor
DARREN LUCAS as Lead SWAT Cop
ROGER R. CROSS as SWAT Lieutenant
JANYSE JAUD as the nurse
ERNIE FOOT as the lobby guard
HENRY WATSON as the baliff