The X-Files (1993–2018)
8 user 5 critic

Soft Light 

Scully's former student, Det. Kelly Ryan, asks the agents to help her catch a runaway government scientist responsible for several mysterious disappearances. Mulder realizes that the man is deathly afraid of his shadow for some reason.


James A. Contner (as James Contner)


Chris Carter (created by), Vince Gilligan

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Episode complete credited cast:
David Duchovny ... Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson ... Dana Scully
Tony Shalhoub ... Dr. Chester Ray Banton
Kate Twa ... Detective Kelly Ryan
Kevin McNulty ... Dr. Christopher Davey
Steven Williams ... Mr. X
Nathaniel DeVeaux Nathaniel DeVeaux ... Detective Barron (as Nathaniel Deveaux)
Robert Rozen ... Doctor
Donna Yamamoto ... Night Nurse
Forbes Angus ... Government Scientist
Guyle Fraizer ... Officer #1
Steve Bacic ... Officer #2
Craig Bruhnanski Craig Bruhnanski ... Security Guard (as Craig Brunanski)


Three deaths have occurred around Richmond, Virginia. The only traces which each of the victims seem to have left behind are black scorch marks of unknown origin. Mulder and Scully are called in by an old student of hers, and the search for the truth begins in its shadows. Written by EJS

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TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 May 1995 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Kate Twa, who plays Kelly Ryan, previously appeared in The X-Files: Gender Bender (1994), playing the female half of the gender-switching serial killer. See more »


Zooming in on Dr. Chester Banton's jacket on the security tape shows frames of impossible angles from the original tape. See more »


Mulder: Hey Scully, can you spare a prophylactic?
See more »


The X-Files
Written by Mark Snow
Performed by John Beal
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User Reviews

Talk About Being Afraid Of Your Own Shadow
10 May 2006 | by MuldernscullySee all my reviews

Soft Light is a mixed bag for me. I think the concept of having a deadly shadow is interesting and fun. At the same time, I think it's too ludicrous of an idea to take seriously. In the end though, the first point wins out and I can say I enjoy the episode. It may lose a couple of points because of it being too fantastic of an idea. Also, they never explain what Dr. Banton's connection with Margaret Wysnecki is. Mulder finds an Amtrak train ticket in her garbage to coincidentally lead them to the train station, but that's it. Why was Dr. Banton in her house? That aside, Tony Shalhoub does a fine performance as Dr. Chester Ray Banton. X makes an appearance as well. His actions in this episode make you wonder on what and/or whose agenda is he? When the agents discover that all exits are locked from the inside, a subtle reference to 'Squeeze' is made, which is a bonus. This episode has some good Mulder/Scully dialog; always a plus. The special effect of people being killed by the shadow is a bit cheesy. Though for a TV budget, it's probably considered to be good. In summary, if you suspend your belief a little higher than usual for an X-Files episode, you'll enjoy Soft Light.

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