When The X-Files went off the air in 2002, we not only lost the longest running sci-fi series in network TV history, but we also said goodbye to one of the most influential and inspiring heroines that has ever graced our screens: FBI Special Agent Dana Scully, played by the one and only Gillian Anderson. As we prepare for this weekend’s reboot (!!!), airing on Fox and CTV, let’s look at all the ways this redhead was so rad.
1. She never compromised who she was
Scully was brought into Mulder’s X-Files to legitimize his work. She was the skeptical scientist to his emotional believer. Despite her many close encounters of the third kind, she stuck to what she knew to be true: the science and probability of it all. Hence why she said, “Mulder, no” so many times.
2. …However, she wasn’t afraid to believe
Scully’s repeated brushes with the supernatural and conspiracy theories—including surviving a possible alien abduction—forced her to question herself and her strong-held beliefs. By the series’ end, Scully had undergone a profound transformation: she believed the truth was, indeed, out there.
3. She was tough AF
Despite her small stature, Scully had no problem taking down men (including little green ones) twice her size. Handy with a gun, a microscope and a quick-witted barb, she was a force to be reckoned with. The line from the “Triangle” episode in season three—“I want you to do me a favor. It’s not negotiable. Either you do it, or I kill you. You understand”—is trademark D.S.
4. She could be vulnerable
Scully was never one to be ruled by her emotions (that was Mulder’s job). But when her father died in season one’s “Beyond the Sea,” her defenses dropped, and for the first time we saw a Scully who wasn’t solely ruled by logic. (And don’t even get us started on when she was dying from cancer and reaching out for Mulder’s hand. ALL OF THE TEARS.) Her soft side only added to her strength.
5. She had no time for mansplaining
Usually the only female law enforcer present at a crime scene (Oh, ’90s TV…), Scully shot down mansplainers basically all the time. “‘Baby’ me, and you’ll be peeing through a catheter,” she famously said, proving she ain’t got time for that.
6. She rocked power suits like no one else
Choosing shoulder pads over cleavage, Scully’s wardrobe was MADE for striking power positions. Sure it favoured function over fashion, but her uniform—dowdy skirts, oversized jackets and tons of navy and beige—was the epitome of #GirlBoss chic.
7. Her side-eye game was strong
If Scully wasn’t buying into the latest nutty conspiracy theory Mulder was selling, her eyes had no qualms making sure he knew it.
8. She was a good mother
At the end of the eighth season, Scully gave birth to a son named William who was, we think, part Mulder, part alien (natch). Anyway. During the final season, upon learning William had “special powers” and was wanted by those involved in the alien conspiracy, Scully made the ultimate maternal sacrifice and gave her son up for adoption in order to ensure his safety.
9. She made Mulder wait for it
Since day one, these two had some crazy chemistry. So many long-held gazes and flirtatious back-rubbing and handholding. However, Scully is nothing short of a professional, which is probably why she made Mulder wait seven years to help her out of her power suit.
10. She inspired young minds
Since 1993, a significant number of young women have gone to pursue STEM majors, particularly the sciences, because of Scully. Known as The Scully Effect, the uptick of scientific girl power has even outlasted the original series.