Millennium (1996) – Dead Letters, and The Judge

Glen Morgan and James Wong pen Dead Letters, an episode that doesn’t deal with any arcs of the season, but gives us a look at the procedure and the strain of hunting a serial killer. Dead Letters first aired on 8 November, 1996, and sees Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) teaming up with a profiler that the Millennium Group is interested in recruiting, James Horn (James Morrison).

As they team up to hunt down a serial killer, Horn shows signs of wear and strain, as he is also dealing with big issues in his personal life, and Frank begins to worry and doubt Horn’s abilities even as the killer they are tracking seems to be raising his game, and becoming an even larger threat.

On the homefront, Frank’s daughter, Jordan (Brittany Tiplady) has been having nightmares, and Frank wonders if some of his work is leaking into his home life, despite his efforts to keep them separate.

This one seems very steeped in actual profiling, and procedure, as Frank and James work to draw the killer (Ron Halder) out into the open, hoping to capture him before he can kill again. But the investigation affects Horn more and more until he has to step away, even as the killer draws closer to his next victim.

But will Horn cross the line as he plunges deeper into the darkness and will Frank be able to save him before its too late?

Dark and moody, and without the end of the world/revelations tones of the first two episodes, this story shows us that not all of the episodes will have those overtones, but will focus on the efforts of profilers and their work.

This is not going to be an easy show to get through for some viewers…

The Judge was written by Ted Mann, and first aired on 15 November, 1996, and although it mentions the story, incorrectly, Jesus and the demons by the name of Legion, this story isn’t one of the mythology arc, instead we are given another darkly disturbing story of a Judge (Marshall Bell) doling out what he sees as a higher form of justice to those who committed wrong doings.

Frank gets called in by his friend at Seattle PD, Bletcher (Bill Smitrovich) when seemingly unrelated people begin receiving body parts in the mail. As Frank investigates he begins to believe that whoever is committing these physical assaults, and dispatching them is doing it at the behest, and under the direction of, someone else.

This is an interesting idea, and Bell is wonderfully disturbing (will we see him again?), and the execution of this episode, and the series, continues to be top-notch.

The episode features a lot of recognisable names, Cch Pounder shows up as a coroner, and John Hawkes, JR Bourne, and Brian Markinson all make appearances in the story. This one once again proves that not all the episodes are going to be end of times related, but they sure are going to be dark.

That being said, this episode isn’t quite as dark as the previous tale, but you can definitely see how this show, despite being from Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files, isn’t going to be for everyone. My investigation into the darkness continues as I explore more of Millennium.

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