Described as counterculture patriots, they were ardent conspiracy theorists, government watchdogs, and computer hackers who frequently assisted central X-Files characters Mulder and Scully, though they sometimes had their own adventures. The Lone Gunmen authored a news publication called The Magic Bullet Newsletter (a pejorative reference to the single bullet theory and, like the group's name, a reference to the Kennedy assassination), later renamed The Lone Gunman, of which Mulder was a loyal subscriber. None of them had day jobs; they relied on financial backers who believed in their cause, and what revenue the subscriptions to their paper generated. They shared a loft apartment (where they also worked) and used a 1970 VW Transporter (minibus) to commute.
Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood) was a former '60s radical and the oldest of the three. Though a skilled computer hacker, Frohike was primarily the photography specialist for the newsletter. Frohike had a lascivious attitude toward women. However, he had a more purely romantic attitude towards Dana Scully; when she was gravely ill in the episode 'One Breath', Frohike appeared at the hospital in a tailored suit carrying a bouquet. His unique sense of fashion made him stand out: leather jackets, furry vests, combat boots, fingerless gloves, etc. Frohike considered himself the "action man" of the trio and would often be seen doing very intense stunts (many rigged to look more impressive than they really were). Despite his childish scraps with Langly and others, Frohike's age and experience gave him a kind of quiet wisdom that occasionally surfaced when he consoled his friends about the sorry nature of their lives. In The Lone Gunmen episode "Tango de los Pistoleros," Frohike was revealed to be a former tango champion who danced under the stage name "El Lobo."
Richard Langly (Dean Haglund) was the most confrontational and socially immature of the three. He was a big fan of The Ramones and enjoyed critiquing the scientific inaccuracies of the short-lived sci-fi series Earth 2, and he had a long-running competition with Frohike over who was a better computer hacker. He also had "a philosophical aversion to having his image bounced off a satellite." His nickname was "Ringo". Langly was a Dungeons and Dragons player (as 'Lord Manhammer') and enjoyed violent videogames like Quake. (In the William Gibson-penned X-Files episode "First Person Shooter," Frohike and Byers were also avid gamers, an uncharacteristic development for both men and one that was never referenced again in later stories.)
Kenneth Soona aka The Thinker (Bernie Coulson) - an unofficial fourth member, a computer hacker, who succeeded in accessing Majestic 12 files and encrypting them onto a digital tape in the season 2 finale of the X-Files titled "Anasazi". He was killed by assassins working for the Cigarette Smoking Man, who eventually re-acquired the tape. He was referred to in the first episode of season 3 titled "The Blessing Way" as being murdered, but he was not in that episode.
Jimmy Bond (Stephen Snedden) - another "fourth member", who joined the trio in The Lone Gunmen series. Though he shares the bravery and physicality of his namesake, he initially appears to be rich but not very bright, and is fascinated with the trio, who often consider him a nuisance. His saving grace is his boundless optimism, coupled with an idealistic view that the jaded Gunmen wish they still held.
Yves Adele Harlow (Zuleikha Robinson) - a femme fatale thief who sometimes works with the Lone Gunmen trio (although sometimes she is their rival). The alias Yves Adele Harlow is an anagram for Lee Harvey Oswald. The anagram name, Yves Adele Harlow, could also be a reference to Marilyn Monroe. Monroe played a supporting role in All About Eve (an episode in the series is "All About Yves"). Before she died, she had planned to star in a biopic about Jean Harlow. The Lone Gunmen are obsessed with John F. Kennedy's assassination (Kennedy and Monroe were having an affair), which was supposedly committed by Lee Harvey Oswald. It was later revealed in the X-Files episode "Jump the Shark" that Yves' real name was Lois Runce.
Kimmy the Geek (Jim Fyfe) - an expert hacker and a Star Trek fan who occasionally helps the trio. He is the twin brother of Jimmy the Geek, a character killed by a bus in The X-Files episode "Three of a Kind", played by the same actor.
In 1989, John Byers meets a woman named Holly in an electronics expo. Holly claims that her ex-boyfriend (Mulder) is stalking her and has kidnapped her daughter. She gives Byers an internet address which is supposed to locate her daughter. The file is encrypted, so Byers enlists the aid of computer hacker/cable salesman Melvin Frohike. Frohike decrypts the file, but when they confront Mulder, they discover he is an FBI agent. Suspicious, Byers and Frohike get Richard Langly to hack into the FBI network. They discover that Holly's real name is Susanne Modeski, and she is wanted for bombing an FBI lab. The three confront Modeski, and she admits that she works for the Army Advanced Weapons facility at Whitestone, NM. She has developed a gas that causes fear and paranoia, and the military plans to test it on civilians. She then enlists the help of the three to stop the government’s plan. They track the material to a warehouse, where the gas is in a shipment of asthma inhalers. Mulder follows them and is about to arrest them when all five of them are ambushed by two hitmen sent to kill Modeski. A shootout ensues, and Mulder takes cover.
Modeski kills the hitmen and promptly flees. A team led by X sanitizes the scene, cautioning the guys to stay out of trouble. The trio got their name as a result of Byers confronting X at this point about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. X's cynical reply was, "I heard that it was a lone gunman."
The police arrive soon after. All three of the Gunmen are arrested, and Byers recounts his story to Detective John Munch. Munch is skeptical, but Mulder verifies the story, so the guys are released. They find Modeski, and she implores them to tell as many people as they can about the government conspiracy. Without warning, a black rental car pulls up, and the occupants force Modeski inside. Later, the guys are visited by Mulder, who says that he has weird ideas in his head that he can't seem to shake.
Since becoming X-Files mainstays, Gunmen styled technogeeks have appeared on other television series, such as Brian Roedecker on Millennium and Abby Sciuto on NCIS. Similar characters have appeared in many genre series: a trio of geeky would-be villains in season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a pair of nerdy "paranormal investigator" bloggers who appear in the first season "Hell House" and third season episode "Ghostfacers!" of the show Supernatural, while Invasion featured Dave, a rather Frohike-esque blogger journalist who was determined to bring the truth about alien "hybrids" to the world.
One or all of the Gunmen appeared in the following X-Files episodes, as well as all episodes of The Lone Gunmen.
See also: List of The X-Files episodes
The X-Files: The Game (Video game)
The X-Files: Fight the Future (Feature film)
The Lone Gunmen, a spin-off of the popular series The X-Files, was a television show that aired on FOX, featuring the characters of the same name. The show first aired in March 2001 and, despite good reviews, was cancelled due to a drop in ratings. The last episode aired in June 2001.
The debut of the show in March 2001, began with Byers' father faking his death to uncover a conspiracy to hijack an airliner. The lone gunmen try to get to the truth of his supposed death and uncover the conspiracy.
One retrospectively interesting aspect of this pilot episode is that the airliner has been hijacked (via remote control of the plane's autopilot) and, by the end, both Byers and his father have boarded the plane to try to stop the hijacking. Through the aid of the other Gunmen, they are able to regain control of the plane and just miss crashing into the World Trade Center with the airliner. This, of course, is before the actual attack against the Trade Centers later that year.
Their spin-off series involved investigating mostly corporate crime, aided (and sometimes hindered) by a mysterious thief named Yves Adele Harlow (Zuleikha Robinson). Despite fan loyalty, the show was ultimately cancelled after 12 episodes. The Gunmen themselves died in the season 9 X-Files episode "Jump the Shark", sacrificing themselves to stop a bio-terrorist. They briefly reappeared in the series finale, as Mulder spoke to their ghosts.