Musings in the Dark: Leonard Betts


Leonard Betts

Leonard Betts (S4E12) is a paramedic with an awesome secret. While out on a call, Leonard’s ambulance gets hit by a truck and he is decapitated. Scully & Mulder visit the morgue and see Betts’ head. Scully tries to do an autopsy while Mulder goes to visit Betts’ apartment, but there is nothing there and no one at home–at least as far as Mulder is able to see. The bathtub is full of Betadine solution and after Mulder leaves, Leonard emerges from the solution, having re-grown his head.

Scully learns that Betts shared fingerprint DNA with a man named Albert Tanner. Mulder has a conversation with Leonard’s former partner, Michelle, who praised his ability to be able to diagnose cancer.  Then the agents visit Tanner’s mother, who informs them that Albert has been dead for six years. While this is going on, Michelle finds Leonard and questions how he is still alive. Betts reluctantly kills her and is caught by a security guard. The guard goes to get help and Leonard escapes by breaking his thumb. While the agents are investigating, Leonard kills a man in order to consume his lung.

Mulder & Scully manage to track Leonard to a storage facility and as they open the door, Leonard drives out, nearly running them over. The agents fire at his car and a bullet hits the gas tank and it explodes, seemingly killing Leonard. But the audience knows that Betts has already duplicated himself and it was the older body that died in the fire. Mulder, making one of his customary leaps, determines that Betts is able to regenerate himself and must consume cancerous tissue, and as a result, he is still at large. So they wait for him to show up outside of his mother’s house. 

Leonard’s mother encourages him to take a cancerous tumor from her body and he does so before calling an ambulance for her. Scully & Mulder confront Betts’ mother.  Scully rides with her to the hospital while Mulder searches the house for him.  What Mulder doesn’t know is that Leonard was a stowaway on the ambulance and he attacks Scully. Scully kills him with defibrillator pads and as the episode ends, she notices that she has a nosebleed.

I remember this episode fondly and it’s in my top 3 for sure.  It aired immediately after Super Bowl XXXI, and if I recall correctly, it aired without commercials. “Leonard Betts” literally began with a bang and kept viewers (well at least me and, according to Wikipedia, 29 million others) enraptured with its bizarre storyline. The episode has some gore to it, but just enough. The whole concept of a limb-regenerating man who regenerates an entire body every five or six years was mind-blowing for me at the time. Just a deliciously weird episode…and now I want to watch it.


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