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Alvin Kersh.jpg

Alvin D. Kersh is a fictional character in the Fox science fiction television series The X-Files, played by James Pickens, Jr.. He serves as a figure of authority within the series, first introduced as an Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is later promoted to the post of Deputy Director. Kersh acts as an antagonist who bureaucratically prevents Special Agents Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, John Doggett and Monica Reyes from investigating cases dealing with the paranormal, dubbed X-Files.

Kersh first appeared as a guest role in several episodes of the series' sixth season, returning as a recurring character in the eighth and ninth seasons. Kersh's creation was driven by a need to place pressure on the character of Walter Skinner. The character has been met with mixed to negative critical responses, although he was initially positively received before coming to be considered a "one-note" role as the series progressed. Pickens, as part of the series' ensemble cast, earned a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his work.

Kersh's first appearance in the series was during the sixth season opening episode "The Beginning". As an Assistant Director, he temporarily became supervisor to Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully when they were assigned away from the X-Files division. During this time The Smoking Man could be seen in his office, reminiscent of his silent presence in Walter Skinner's office in early seasons. Kersh assigned Mulder and Scully mostly to menial tasks, such as terrorist details and Federal background checks. When they did investigate an X-File behind his back, Kersh would charge them for expenses they incurred on the case, forcing them to pay out of their own pocket. He also attempted to separate Mulder and Scully, believing that Mulder threw away a promising career as a criminal profiler, but that Scully's career could still be saved.

When Mulder and Scully were reassigned to the X-Files office, Kersh continued to climb the ladder, culminating in an assignment as Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was not long after his promotion that Mulder was abducted by aliens. At the beginning of the eighth season, Kersh assigned John Doggett to run the manhunt for Mulder. When the manhunt failed, Doggett was assigned to the X-Files with Scully, until Mulder was found in "This Is Not Happening". When Mulder returned, Kersh refused to assign him to the X-Files, keeping Doggett in that position. When Mulder and Doggett pursued an unauthorized case, Kersh was prepared to fire them both, but Mulder accepted full responsibility and was dismissed from the FBI. Shortly thereafter, Mulder disappeared again. After Doggett saw Kersh in a late night meeting with two conspirators, Knowle Rohrer and Gene Crane, Doggett brought in Monica Reyes to help him investigate Kersh's involvement in Mulder's disappearance. The investigation turned up nothing. Although Doggett seemed convinced that Kersh was involved in the conspiracy, Kersh insisted that he was actually protecting Mulder.

During the ninth season, The Toothpick Man, a key conspirator, could be seen in the company of Kersh, much like The Smoking Man before. During the series finale "The Truth", he sets up a kangaroo court to try Mulder and sentences him to death, deliberately ignoring evidence which would free him. However, he helps Doggett and Skinner free Mulder from a military prison. Following this, Kersh had to permanently close the X-Files to appease his irate superiors, which would remain closed until the season 10 episode My Struggle.

Kersh returns in the eleventh season, where he maintains his same job and tasks Mulder and Scully with finding an AWOL Skinner.