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FBI Special Agent Fox William Mulder is a fictional character in the Fox science fiction-supernatural television series The X-Files, played by David Duchovny. Mulder's peers consider his (often correct) theories on extraterrestrial activity as spooky and far-fetched. With his FBI partner Dana Scully, he works in the X-Files office, which is concerned with cases with particularly mysterious or possibly paranormal circumstances that were left unsolved and shelved by the FBI. Mulder was a main character for the first seven seasons, but was limited to a recurring character for the following two seasons. He returns as a main character for the tenth and eleventh seasons.

Mulder made his first appearance in the first season pilot episode, broadcast in 1993. Mulder believes in extraterrestrial unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and a government conspiracy to hide or deny the truth of their existence. Mulder considers the X-Files and the truth behind the supposed conspiracy so important that he has made them the main focus of his life.

Mulder was born on October 13, 1961 on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The mysterious disappearance of Mulder's sister and his ensuing search for her became the consuming drive of his life. In 1983, Mulder graduated with first class honors from University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. He then graduated with honors from the Quantico FBI Training Academy in 1986. Mulder joined the FBI on October 24, 1984. On graduating from the Academy, Mulder began his work in the Behavioral Science Unit (psychological profiling) under Agent Bill Patterson, with whom he had a testy relationship.

In 1988, the FBI assigned Mulder to the Violent Crimes Unit. Around this time, Mulder first came across the X-Files, an obscure FBI section dealing with cases relating to the paranormal; he pored over these cases in his spare time, becoming obsessed with them. In 1991, Mulder re-opened the X-Files with Special Agent Diana Fowley, but Fowley left shortly thereafter. Mulder investigated the X-Files by himself until March 1992, when Dana Scully, an instructor at the FBI Academy's Forensic Science Research and Training Center, was partnered with him for the purpose of applying scientific reasoning to Mulder's work and theories.

Mulder's ultimate goal was to uncover what he believed to be a government conspiracy to hide the truth about alien life, and to find out what had happened to his sister. His quest and belief in the existence of aliens was, for most of the series, the driving force of the plot, or mytharc. However, during a period of time after Scully's cancer went into remission (season 5), Mulder was convinced by Michael Kritschgau that aliens did not in fact exist, and that the government conspirators had merely concocted that threat as a smokescreen, to justify military activities and toy with him.

During the seventh season, Mulder eventually discovers the truth about his sister. Samantha was abducted (either by the alien colonists or the government conspirators), and various tests were performed on her. She was then returned to The Smoking Man to live out her life under his supervision, all the while undergoing additional tests. She was unable to bear the testing any longer so she ran away from her home and was eventually admitted to a nearby hospital, where she disappeared from her locked room. It is revealed that Samantha was taken by "spiritual intervention", with the help of beings called "Walk-ins". Mulder is briefly reunited with Samantha's spirit.

Mulder was also abducted by the aliens himself in 2000, and returned to Earth, almost dead, a few months later. He had been infected by an alien virus (for the second time), but Scully found a way to rescue him. After Mulder returned home to his apartment, an application was submitted to the FBI for his reinstatement to the X-Files but this was declined by Deputy Director Alvin Kersh, who had been promoted in charge of the X-Files shortly after Mulder had been abducted. He returned to work for a brief period of time, but was eventually fired for failure to follow orders not to investigate any X-Files. After Scully gave birth to William, Mulder went into hiding in New Mexico after Kersh said his life was in danger.

After about a year in hiding, Mulder obtains crucial information from a secret facility about the date of the planned alien colonization effort, but is caught and put on trial for the murder of Knowle Rohrer. Despite a defense organized by Walter Skinner with numerous witnesses, the judges sentence Mulder to death. With help from several people, including a reformed Kersh and the ghost of Alex Krycek, Mulder breaks out of prison and escapes with Scully. As of the series finale, Mulder and Scully were on the run. Six years after the events of the ninth season, Fox Mulder's fugitive status is clear. Scully mentions that he is wanted by the FBI and dialogue also shows that the FBI does not really want to find him and is simply happy to have him "out of their hair". He is called to assist with the investigation of a missing FBI agent. In exchange for his help, all charges against him are dropped.

Seven years later, Mulder returns to the FBI when the X-Files is re-opened, in order to look into a government conspiracy, when it transpires they have been using alien technology. Along with Scully, they investigate several cases together like they had done originally. Six weeks after their return to the X-Files, Mulder confronts an alive Smoking Man to try and prevent him carrying out a plan to depopulate the United States using a virus applied to smallpox vaccines. In a vision of Scully's, Mulder falls sick to the disease, but refuses the Smoking Man's help and his proposal to join his elite. Mulder is saved by Agent Miller and they regroup with Scully, however, she says Mulder needs a blood transfusion and only their son can give it to them. At that moment, an unidentified flying object hovers over the trio, which is where season ten ends. The beginning of season eleven reveals this vision came from Scully's son, William. Over the course of season eleven, Scully and Mulder search for William. Skinner learns from the Smoking Man, that the Smoking Man, who is Mulder's father, also artificially impregnated Scully, and thus is William's father as well. In the third episode of the eleventh season, "Plus One", Scully and Mulder are intimate again. In the season 11 finale, "My Struggle IV", she reveals to Mulder that she is pregnant with his child.

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