A vicious serial killer is on the loose in Seattle, roaming strip clubs and gay hang-outs, believing he is on a mission to cleanse the plague-infested city from sin in preparation for the apocalypse. At the same time, renowned FBI profiler Frank Black retires to Seattle with his family as he gains membership in the secretive Millennium Group. He soon realizes that he must be the one to bring closure to the so-called Frenchman’s grotesque crimes, before further innocents are brutally killed.
Written by Chris Carter
Directed by David Nutter
Edited by Stephen Mark
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Bill Smitrovich as Lt. Bob Bletcher
Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts
Paul Dillon as The Frenchman
Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black
Stephen E. Miller as Det. Roger Kamm
Stephen James Lang as Det. Bob Giebelhouse
Kate Luyben as Tuesday
April Telek as Calamity
Don MacKay as Jack Meredith
Michael Puttonen as Pathologist Massey
Jarred Blancard as Young Man at Ruby Tip - 'Sammy'
Jim Thorburn as Coffin Man
Kimm Wakefield as Young Woman
John Destry as Driver on Bridge
Liza Huget as Nurse (II)
Jim Filippone as Chopper Pilot
Fawnia L. Mondey as Stripper
Promotional Episode Tagline
The wait is over.
Seasonal Episode Tagline
wait... worry... who cares?
Thy mother [is] like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Please note that this is the original Fox synopsis and occasionally this may differ from the events that were actually filmed. Please also view the Pilot episode transcript which has been painstakingly checked for accuracy against the actual episode.
A seedy peep show in downtown Seattle. As seedy men pay for brief glimpses of female flesh, one customer has more than sex on his mind. Mumbling obscure and ominous phrases, he hallucinates sheets of blood pouring over the body of a blond dancer. Later that night, she is savagely murdered.
Just arrived in Seattle, Frank and Catherine Black, and their five-year-old daughter Jordan, are happily settling into their new suburban home. But the evil of the outside world soon disturbs Frank’s contentment. Spotting a newspaper account of the dancer’s brutal death, Frank contacts his former boss, homicide cop Lieutenant Bob Bletcher. Frank volunteers his expertise as a retired FBI agent specializing in serial killers.
When he views the body, Frank catches vivid and bloody glimpses of the crime, and knows the Killer will strike again. His intimate knowledge of the details spooks his old friend. Now a consultant for a consortium of ex-law enforcement officers called the Millennium Group, Frank offers their resources to help the department find the killer. Peter Watts, a member of the group, agrees with Frank’s assessment. Driven by an external stressor, the killer is out of control...and out for more blood.
Stalking the gay cruising scene for his next victim, the killer is lost in a warped world of hallucinations, surrounded by passers-by with eyes and mouths gruesomely sewn shut. Later that night, the cops find his latest victim’s charred, headless body, and nearby, an empty coffin. Again, Frank’s detailed knowledge of the crime startles Bletch. Frank’s investigations and visions even lead him straight to the killer, who manages to lose Frank after a close chase.
Frank presents his findings to the homicide department. Obsessed by apocalyptic prophecies, and maddened by twisted sexual guilt, the killer believes he is cleansing sin from plague-infested Seattle. Not unexpectedly, the cops reject what they don’t understand...except for Bletch. He demands an explanation from Frank. And Frank, at last, reveals his secrets.
His gift is also his curse. He sees what the killer sees, becoming what we most fear to hunt, what we must destroy. In the past an anonymous person sent Polaroid photos of his family to him, distorting Frank’s knowledge of evil into paralyzing fear. He quit the FBI, refusing to let his family out of his sight. Then he was contacted by the Millennium Group, an association formed to battle the darkness that approaches with the coming millennium. They offered to help him use his gift, and Frank moved his family back to Seattle.
Frank must rush to the hospital when his daughter is stricken with a high fever. Despite his love for Jordan, he can’t leave his job behind. Alerted by sudden insight, Frank leads the cops to their most horrifying discovery: a man buried alive, his eyes and mouth sewn shut, his fingertips roughly amputated.
Finally, Frank tracks the killer to the police department’s own evidence lab. In a psychotic rage, the Killer savagely attacks Frank, raving about the apocalypse. Just in time, Bletcher’s bullet saves Frank from the killer’s deadly assault.
The killer’s death releases Frank to seek peace in the love of his family. But his serenity is shattered by a nightmare sent in the mail: anonymous Polaroids of his family.
Frank Black: The killer is confused about his sexuality. He feels guilt, quite possibly from his mother. So he goes to peep shows to try to feel something toward women but all he feels is anger – anger that fuels his psychosis, that distorts and twists his view of reality. [...] His way of dealing with [his confusion] is by fulfilling a prophecy.
Background Information and References
Chris Carter (DVD Commentary on Pilot):
The peep-show club, which we called the Ruby Tip, was inspired by a Seattle institution which is called the Lusty Lady which is on Main Street in Seattle, which is where the pilot is set and the show is set.
You can read more about the Lusty Lady here.
A shot of the Frenchman picking up a gay man before driving away was filmed under the Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver. The same bridge was also used as the bridge, in the same episode, where the Frenchman drags the lifeless body of the gay man out of a car and into its trunk (boot); in this later scene, both the road running along the top of the Lion's Gate Bridge as well as the bridge's underside can be seen.
The memorable scene on the bridge where Frank Black chased the killer was filmed on Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver, Canada.
- The Pilot episode of Millennium attracted over 17 million viewers when it premiered in 1996, the highest rating network premiere in history.
- The address of the Black's new home, commonly referred to as 'the Yellow House' is the fictional address 1910 Ezekiel Drive, Seattle, WA 98924.
- Before it was to be known as Millennium, the shows working title was 2000. The Pilot episode is sometimes referred to as 2000 or The Frenchman after Elizabeth Hand's reconstructed novel.
- The famous Yellow House is unique in the Pilot episode. The rest of the series used a different but similar looking residence as the original neighbourhood didn't want a film crew camped outside of their homes on a semi-permanent basis. The replacement house shown in every subsequent episode appeared in the second episode of The X-Files.
- FOX network originally wanted William Hurt to play Frank Black, but Chris Carter was adamant about Lance Henriksen playing the lead role. (Thank God!)
- Mark Snows dark theme song for the series was inspired contrary to popular belief, by the opening of a traditional Scottish song that Chris Carter allegedly sent him by Ceilidh (pronounced Kaylee) Minogue, and not the catchy dance/pop song 'Confide in Me' by Australian singer Kylie Minogue. Ceilidh (pronounced Kaylee) is a form of traditional folk music that originated in Scotland. Visit Ceilidh Minogue's website for examples of their work.
- The poem that the Frenchman recites to the strippers in the episode Pilot was composed by William Butler Yeats and is called The Second Coming.
- In the opening title sequence, and in many promotional materials, the word "Millennium" was spelled with two upper-case M's (MillenniuM) The Roman numeral MM means 2000, the year which marks the turn of the Millennium. Many fans therefore spell the show as MillenniuM on the Internet.
- Such was Chris Carter's standing with the FOX network at the time, that he was given an entire month to shoot the pilot with little or no network interference - almost unheard of indulgences for a brand new show.
- The sound crew added a 'starting up' car engine sound effect in post production to The Frenchman's car when it was parked by the bridge marked Peste. However the engine could already be seen to be running prior to the sound effect; as displayed by the smoking exhaust pipe.
Credit: The Unofficial Millennium Companion Volume 1 by N.E.Genge
- The Credits and Transcript for this episode refer to the stripper killed at the start of the episode as Calamity. However, when Frank Black picks up the newspaper from his porch, the article shows in its text and under the photo that the victim was Joanne Sandor, age 27. This may be a blooper, or in fact Joanne may have been using the stage name of Calamity.
Credit: The Old Man
Notable Episode Dialogue
- Climbing through cold river, waist deep.
Bob Bletcher: It's a good thing I already have a family.
- Bob Bletcher: What do you see?
Frank Black: I see what the killer sees.
Bob Bletcher: What, like a psychic?
Frank Black: No. I put myself in his head. I become the thing we fear the most.
Bob Bletcher: How?
Frank Black: I become capability. I become the horror. What we know we can become only in our heart of darkness. It's my gift. It's my curse.
- Detective: So you're the guy that caught the guy...
Frank Black: Leon Cole Pigget.
Detective: I was always curious - How did he prepare them?
Frank Black: In a skillet with potatoes and onions.
Original Fox Promotional Episode Stills
View the 12 available original 1996 Fox Millennium Episode Guide images for this episode of Millennium here.
(Comprised of 2 murders + 0 kills in self defence + 1 justifiable homicides + 0 suicides.)
NB. Where applicable, large groups of victims (such as multiple victims in a plane crash) are represented by a count of group count of 1 due to impracticalities with listing so many unidentified persons. For enhanced details, see the Violence Markers below.
- The Frenchman was responsible for the attempted murder of Frank Black during this episode of Millennium (Pilot).
- The Frenchman was responsible for the attempted murder of Coffin Man during this episode of Millennium (Pilot).
- The Frenchman was responsible for the murder of Calamity during this episode of Millennium (Pilot).
- The Frenchman was responsible for the murder of unnamed man during this episode of Millennium (Pilot).
- Lt. Bob Bletcher killed The Frenchman during this episode of Millennium (Pilot) in a justifiable homicide.
(View Millennium's Violence - Deaths, Killers, Victims and Criminality Analysis)