The new millennium is coming and things are beginning to happen. The organization called Millennium is getting ready and has hired former FBI profile Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) to investigate the darkest of cases. Frank can “see” the criminals actions…a darkness that he hides from his wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher) and worries his daughter Jordan (Brittany Tiplady) might have inherited to an even greater extent. Something is coming, and Millennium must be prepared.
Millennium—Season 1 aired from October 25, 1996 to May 16, 1997. The series was created by The X-Files creator Chris Carter and aired on FOX with many complaints about the level of violence. The series was critically acclaimed but never reached the popularity of The X-Files.
I was really excited when I heard there was going to be an X-Files “spin-off” series. All indications from promos and ads (pre-heavy internet exposure) indicated that Millennium was going to be in the same tone of X-Files with a bit of a horror slant. I can remember being slightly disappointed that Millennium was much less supernatural and more “serial killer” than expected…but the series still impresses.
Millennium seems to borrow a lot from Red Dragon. Red Dragon is the 1981 novel by Thomas Harris that introduced the world to Hannibal Lecter. The book (and later movie) featured a profile who would get into the murders and sometimes had troubles shutting off the horror he sees. The Frank Black character is like the Will Graham character but more in control. Lance Henriksen places him very icy but still manages to make him likable and a believable father/husband (Carter allegedly demanded Henriksen get the part).
The actual plots are very “killer of the week” this season. It is somewhat jarring when the series does get into sci-fi-esque storylines that are building to a bigger plotline. While entertaining, stories like “Force Majeure”, “Lamentation”, and “Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions” don’t seem to fit well with “The Well-Worn Lock”, “Broken World”, and other standard killer episodes. It is a weird balance that doesn’t seem to work as well as The X-Files mythos storylines.
The cast supporting Henriksen is pretty strong but besides Megan Gallagher and Brittany Tiplady, much of them are more guest cast. Bill Smitrovich appeared to be the series co-star at the beginning of the series but his character is killed off more than halfway through the season (allegedly due to infighting with Henriksen). Terry O’Quinn frequently appears as an agent for Millennium and C. C. H. Pounder also has some nice guest starring roles as a pathologist from the group.
Visually, Millennium is very low key. Frank’s “view” of the crimes are often showed in rapid succession quick edits. This also is a bit jarring for episodes like “Lamentation”, and “Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions” which features a more visual killer that seems supernatural. It doesn’t necessarily mix because of the set-up of other series episodes.
Millennium is a good profiler show, but it is unbalanced. I think expectation and this unbalance is what doomed it to not complete its run to the end of the millennium. The series is worth revisiting and features an interesting lead. Fans of The X-Files definitely should check it out since Frank Black later appeared in a “wrap-up” episode of The X-Files after the series cancellation. Millennium has also returned in comic book form to tell more stories of Black and his abilities. The X-Files showed that the truth is out there, but Millennium showed how scary it could be.
Millennium—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.1 Pilot Airdate: 10/25/96
Former FBI agent Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) moves his wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher) and their daughter Jordan (Brittany Tiplady) to Seattle, Washington after a difficult case. Working as a consultant for a strange group called Millennium, Frank immediately begins the investigation into a killer called the Frenchman (Paul Dillon) who is targeting homosexuals and strippers. Working with his friend and police lieutenant Robert Bletcher (Bill Smitrovich), Frank tries to stop the killer before he strikes again.
1.2 Gehenna Airdate: 11/01/96
Frank is summoned to San Francisco by Millennium agents Peter Watts (Terry O’Quinn) and Mike Atkins (Robin Gammell) to investigate a killing as he worries about the return of his stalker. Catherine meets with Bob Bletcher and voices her fears over Frank’s stability and why he must continue working. The investigation leads to a cult, and Frank might lose someone close.
1.3 Dead Letters Airdate: 11/08/96
A murder in Portland has Frank teaming up with another potential Millennium investigator named Jim Horn (James Morrison). Frank works to guide Jim as they search for the killer and sees similarities between himself and Jim. When the killer is close, Jim finds himself unable to break from the mind of the killer.
1.4 The Judge Airdate: 11/15/96
Parts of bodies are being mailed to people, and Bletcher calls in Frank and pathologist Cheryl Andrews (C. C. H. Pounder) from the Millennium Group to investigate. A mysterious man named “The Judge” (Marshall Bell) is recruiting criminals like Carl Nearman (J. R. Bourne) and Mike Bardale (John Hawkes) to carry out justice on cases he feels the court failed. Can the Judge outsmart justice and Frank?
1.5 522666 Airdate: 11/22/96
A bombing at an Irish bar sends the police looking for a bomber. Frank finds himself in contact with the man named Raymond Dees (Joe Chrest) who seems to love the thrill of the chase as much as he loves the killing.
1.6 Kingdom Come Airdate: 11/29/96
A killer (Michael Zelniker) is targeting priests and Frank finds an old case reawakened with the new deaths. Tracking the killer, Frank learns that faith has spawned a vendetta that is getting more and more deadly.
1.7 Blood Relatives Airdate: 12/06/96
James Dickerson (Sean Six) seeks the family he never had by attending random funerals of people he sees in the papers. When the loved ones of the people at the funeral begin to be killed Frank is called in to hunt down the killer.
1.8 The Well-Worn Lock Airdate: 12/20/96
Catherine is brought in to deal with Connie Bangs (Michelle Joyner) who is accusing her father of child abuse. Joe Bangs (Paul Dooley) is a well-known man in the community and stopping him before he abuses his youngest daughter could mean Connie summoning all the strength she has.
1.9 Wide Open Airdate: 01/03/97
A man (Pablo Coffey) uses open houses to target people for murder. As Frank and Robert search for the killer’s next victim, Catherine tries to help the only surviving victim of an attack.
1.10 The Wild and the Innocent Airdate: 01/10/97
A couple is on a cross country crime spree and Frank is called in to help capture them. Bobby Webber (Jeffrey Donovan) and Maddie Haskel (Heather McComb) seem to be searching for someone, and Frank must discover who Angel is before it’s too late.
1.11 Weeds Airdate: 01/24/97
A small town is rocked when teenagers become the target of a murderous kidnapper. Frank is called in to work with Cheryl Andrews to try to find the kidnapper and stop him from killing again.
1.12 Loin Like a Hunting Flame Airdate: 01/31/97
Art Nesbitt (Hrothgar Matthews) is targeting people at raves and sex parties to combat his sexless relationship at home. Frank Black and Maureen Murphy (Harriet Sansom Harris) are assigned from Millennium to track down the killer before he kills another couple.
1.13 Force Majeure Airdate: 02/07/97
A student who lights herself on fire and another girl who throws herself to her death are tied together, and Frank must learn how before it is too late. The appearance of an ally in Dennis Hoffman (Brad Dourif) and the coming alignment of the planets could be the key.
1.14 The Thin White Line Airdate: 02/14/97
An encounter at the hospital with the victim of an attack has Frank flashing back to his days as an FBI agent. With an apparent copycat killer (Scott Heindl), Frank must confront Richard Hance (Jeremy Roberts), the man who almost killed him.
1.15 Sacrament Airdate: 02/21/97
At his niece’s baptism, Frank’s sister-in-law Helen (Liz Bryson) disappears without a trace. Now, Frank and his brother Tom (Philip Anglim) race against the clock to find Helen while Bob warns Frank that he’s too close to the case.
1.16 Covenant Airdate: 03/21/97
A man confesses to the murder of his wife and children and Frank has been called in to confirm that he is sane for the death penalty. As Frank examines the case, he discovers that there might be more secrets that must be uncovered.
1.17 Walkabout Airdate: 03/28/97
Frank disappears and shows up in an alley with no memories of where he has been. As Frank tries to reclaim his missing time, he discovers he was part of an experimental drug trial…and the drug creator doesn’t want it to end.
1.18 Lamentation Airdate: 04/18/97
Murderer Dr. Ephraim Fabricant (Alex Diakun) has escape custody after a kidney donation to his sister. Frank is out to recapture the man he first put away and must deal with Fabricant’s “wife” Lucy Butler (Sarah-Jane Redmond) who could be hiding him. As Frank tries to track leads on Fabricant, his family could become the target of a killer…and tragedy will strike!
1.19 Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions Airdate: 04/25/97
Bob Bletcher has been murdered in Frank’s home and Frank is trying to come to terms with the death and how close his family came to murder. When a series of killings begin that seem to try to lure Frank back into Millennium, Frank finds he must return to work. With a strange attorney named Alistair Pepper (Richard Cox) courting Frank for his abilities and an impossible crime, Frank finds that he might be caught in a larger web than he ever expected.
1.20 Broken World Airdate: 05/02/97
A man is murdering horses in North Dakota, and Frank and the Millennium Group worry that people will be next. As Frank races against the clock to stop a potential killer, the lure of the crime is about to become too great.
1.21 Maranatha Airdate: 05/09/97
Frank is called to New York to investigate killings in a predominantly Russian neighborhood. Teamed with a Russian detective named Yura Surova (Boris Krutonog), Frank learns that the killings might be traced back to Chernobyl and a killer of legendary proportions.
1.22 Paper Dove Airdate: 05/16/97
Frank, Catherine, and Jordan travel to Catherine’s parents where Frank finds himself asked to clear a family friend of murdering his wife. Frank finds ties to a larger killing spree and must track down the killer (Mike Starr) before it is too late…but the killer might not be working alone.