In common with many authority figures in conspiracy fiction, the group are claimed to be in possession of substantial secret knowledge - hoarding it until such a time as they think it would be opportune to disclose to the public. Through the years they have been a group of determined and (at times) desperate people trying to find clues in the "events" of our history, looking for moments when the human and the inhuman have crossed paths, studying whatever possible clues they can find, and attempting to piece together the future. They are trying to find the appropriate branch of the future to take, the branch which will shift the control from these inhuman elements and into their hands. These objectives have forced them to ignore conventional ethics governing individuals in exchange for the responsibility of ensuring the survival of mankind. Some junior members of the organization are unaware of this agenda, having not yet been initiated into full membership.
The Group is led by the Elder with the Old Man acting as a type of spiritual leader. The symbol for the Millennium Group is the ouroboros, a snake biting its own tail. Time, life continuity, the endless cycle of life, completion, the repetition of history, the self-sufficiency of nature and the rebirth of the earth can all be seen within the circular boundaries of the ouroboros. The Group chose it as their symbol out of respect for the beginning and the end of all.
The theme of large, quasi-governmental organisations with storehouses of dreadful secrets, staff being unknowningly used to further an agenda and an interest in controlling the path mankind will take into a threatening future is also an echo of Millennium creator Chris Carter's earlier work on The X-Files.
The Millennium Group was formed around 10 AD by a group of Christians avoiding persecution. They formed the Group to defend to world against the forces of Satan and other evils as the years draw closer to the Millennium...and beyond. However, Group members began to turn on each other when the Hand of Saint Sebastian was discovered in the year 998 AD. It was believed that whoever had possession of the Hand would have the power to destroy the Devil and win the battle of good vs. evil at the end of the Millennium. A lot of Group members wanted that Hand. Some were willing to betray each other for it. Despite the fact that this infighting had eventually been resolved, this theme of conflicting views and beliefs would come back centuries later to haunt the Millennium Group. Now, in modern times, the Group has manifested itself as a private law enforcement consulting firm as a way to fight off evil.
In the 1940s, with the world on the verge of nuclear Armageddon, the two top officers of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, and Clyde Tolson, decided that there needed to be an independent group that could go above the law. A group that could do what the government and law enforcement couldn't.
Hoover, who was already a member of the original Millennium Group, Tolson, and their assistant Lily Unser decided to create their Group. Hoover adopted the ouroboros insignia of the Millennium Group, claiming that he discovered the symbol from a scientist named Kekule. However, he was really creating his own version of the Millennium Group.
Hoover and Tolson began to recruit members for their Group straight from the FBI. Eventually, however, Hoover's Millennium Group merged with the descendants of the Original Millennium Group to form a larger, more diverse Group mixed with ex-law enforcement personnel and scientists.
Now, in modern times, the Millennium Group appears at first glance to be a group of ex-law enforcement agents (mostly ex-FBI) who consult police departments and other law enforcement agencies. However, this is only a fraction of what the Group does. In reality, the Group comprises many different experts in the law enforcement, legal, technology, medical, and scientific fields.
The Millennium Group comprises a number of extremely intelligent individuals who want to save the world. However, not all of these members share the same beliefs. Throughout history, the Millennium Group has had access to scientific breakthroughs, that were banned, or withheld, by those in power at the time. Nicolaus Copernicus (the first European astronomer to formulate a modern heliocentric model of the solar system). Galileo Galilei (whose championing of Copernicanism, particularly the heliocentric model of the universe, was controversial within his lifetime. The geocentric view had been dominant since the time of Aristotle, and the controversy engendered by Galileo's opposition to this view resulted in the condemnation of heliocentrism in 1616 by the Catholic Church as contrary to Scripture. Galileo was eventually forced to recant his heliocentrism and spent the last years of his life under house arrest on orders of the Inquisition.) This enabled the Group to leap generations ahead of mainstream research. It has also divided the Group into two factions: the Roosters, or the Theologians and the Owls, or the Seculists. Both factions share the same basic belief - that the world is coming to an end - but each has its own views regarding the source of this apocalypse.
During Millennium's second season episodes Owls and Roosters, the Millennium Group is almost divided amongst these two factions.
The Owls have a secular view concerning the end of the world. The Owls' belief is based on this leading-edge scientific research unavailable to the general populace. They claim that six billion years ago, before the formation of the Earth, two neutron stars collided six billion light years away. That collision released cosmic rays, particles of such extreme energy, that a collision of these particles could transform the vacuum of space and create a tear in the fabric of our universe. The Owls claim to have proof, that such a tear, an expanding cosmic bubble, will eventually reach our solar system. And a new universe, it's properties calculated anywhere from apocalyptic to inconsequential will be created. They believe this apocalypse can only be avoided through the use of applied science. The Owls are the smaller and less influential of the factions. They are anxious that the Roosters' faith in the Bible will lead the Group astray.
The Roosters are the dominant faction. The majority of the Millennium Group's members, they follow the Group's original teachings. They see Armageddon in specifically religious terms. That is, they believe that the world is facing the eschaton foretold in the Book of Revelation, threats and disaster of biblical prediction and proportion. They believe that this end will come from something beyond the understanding of man. No one really knows what this threat is, but it will likely be directly related to the influence of Satan and the wrath of God. In this understanding the Millennium Group's role is to offer guidance for a struggling humanity.
The rooster is probably used as a symbol because of its association with the dawn. In Christian symbolism the rooster is also often used to signify the resurrection of Christ. A rooster's crowing to herald the sunrise is also sometimes likened to a preacher or prophet crying out to awaken people to the light of God.
The owl is traditionally the totem of the goddess Athena, and is often used as a symbol for philosophy. Athena was goddess of wisdom and patroness of philosophers. It is an apt symbol, at all night discussion sessions have long been a part of philosophic discourse.
The imagery of owl and rooster is interestime because these birds are emblematic of different periods of the day. The owl is nocturnal, and the rooster diurnal.
In recent times, a small Representative Board has been formed where Owls and Roosters can both sit and appeal their ideas to the Elder.
The Structure of the Millennium Group
The infrastructure of the Millennium Group is based upon the following tiers:
The Old Man
In the Group, one wise man is chosen to be the spiritual leader. This chosen one is dubbed the "Old Man" (usually because it is an old man who is chosen). The Old Man has a number of tasks which include (but not limited to) initiating candidates, providing moral guidance, making predictions, and providing any high priority consultation. The Old Man commands the utmost respect in all Group members, and his say is prime over all others.
The Elder is essentially the leader of the Group. The Elder makes decisions, approves the acceptance of Group candidates, gives orders, and is the head of the Representative Board. All Group actions must have the Elder's approval. The Elder may consult the Old Man at his discretion.
The Inquisitor is the judge of a candidate's merit. He is the chairman of a review board that reviews the candidate's progress and achievements.
Patrons are special Group members who are assigned to recruit consultants to the Group, then guide and educate them in the ways of the Group when the consultant is accepted as a Candidate. Some Group members will spend many years as a patron.
Consultants and Candidates
After being introduced to the Group by a Patron, one can begin to work for the Group as a consultant. Consultants have limited access to the Group's resources and know nothing of the Group's origin, although they are led to believe that they have full access and knowledge. After an unspecified period of time, and once the consultant has unknowingly proved himself "worthy," the consultant will then become a candidate for membership into the Group. At this phase, the candidate's Patron will gradually and carefully reveal the Group's origin and wider purpose. Candidates will be given a higher access to the Group's resources. A Candidate will be sent to meet the Old Man. Then, he/she will go through unspecified "tests" at determining what "evil" is as well as election sessions in which a small handful of Group members will interview the Candidate and assess his or her candidacy and loyalty to the Group. If the Candidate passes the elections and the tests and has the Old Man's approval, the Candidate will now be accepted as a full member and all the Group's resources and secrets will become available.
The Millennium Group consists of many employees providing varying services, for instance security and assassination specialists (such as Mr Blaylock and Mr Mabius), others include as an example criminal profilers, crime scene examiners, drivers, forensic scientists, biological medical staff, researchers, snipers and assault team members.
The interest in evil
The Group struggles to understand evil, in both biblical and scientific contexts. Biblically, they research cases where a supernatural evil is assumed present to understand true evil. Scientifically, they promote the study of the minds of serial killers, even going so far as to recreate some. The Group continues to fund research into bio-genetic science that may someday allow a lifeform to be physically separated into "good" and "evil" entities.
Acknowledgement: This analysis of the fictional Millennium Group in Chris Carter's Millennium tv series makes substantial use of a modified version of the Wikipedia entry for the Millennium Group, for which we are very grateful:
Wikipedia contributors, "Millennium Group," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia