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Millennium/Dead Letters

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Dead Letters
Season 1, Episode 3
Airdate November 8, 1996
Production Number 4C02
Written by Glen Morgan &
James Wong
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
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The Judge
MillenniumSeason One

Dead Letters is the third episode of the first season of Millennium.

Starring: Lance Henriksen (Frank Black), Megan Gallagher (Catherine Black)

Brittany Tiplady (Jordan Black)

Guest Starring: Chris Ellis (Jim Penseyres), Ron Halder (The Killer)

and James Morrison (Jim Horn)

Co-Starring: Garvin Cross (Patient), Anthony Harrison (Detective Jenkins), Lisa Vultaggio (Janice Sterling), Rob Morton (Lewis), Maria Louisa Figura (Cindy Horn), Cooper Olson (T.C. Horn), Michelle Hart (Marjorie Holden), Fulvio Cecere (Security Guard), Andrew Laurenson (Clown), Allison Warren (Officer Sarah Stevens), Ken Shimizu (C.S.T. Member)


Plot Overview

Frank is called to a crime scene after comforting his daughter Jordan on a terrible nightmare. The crime scene consists of a dismembered body in an animal shelter located in Portland, Oregon. While there appears to be no evidence to support it, Frank Black is determined that there is a hidden message and the killer is not done. Frank is teamed up with a local detective by the name of Jim Horn who dismisses Frank's views on the killer. Jim is being looked at by The Group for membership, but Frank sees a slight emotional unbalance due to a recent separation.

The next dead body turns up in a UPS Dead Letter Office with the message "Hair Today...Gone Tomorrow" written on a single strand of hair. Frank starts to get into the killer's head with this message. He deduces that the killer feels he has been reduced to nothing, and that the killings are his way of leaving his mark. Horn however is taking everything personal. He feels that the next victim could be someone he cares about. Frank tries to calm him down, letting him know he's not alone in this feeling.

A nurse with the message "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" shows up as the next victim. The killer also leaves behind a lens from his glasses that were broken. Frank decides to spring a trap, using the killer's arrogance against him. A newspaper article is printed bashing the killer, stating he is of lower intelligence for misspelling ventured "ventered". Frank hopes that this will bring the killer out into the open at the memorial. Horn, on the cusp of losing it, beats an innocent man at the memorial thinking he is the killer. It later turns out the killer did show, leaving a cross with the word "ventured" etched onto it.

Going through the tapes of the memorial, they start to hit the streets with photo's of likely suspects. They finally get some leads when the orange van the killer uses is identified, and an optician remembers one photo as a customer. The optician, Janice is the next victim according to Frank, so he uses her as bait to trap the killer.

As they wait, Horn grows more and more unstable, seeing the van and the killer everywhere. He finally admits to Frank that he can't cope, and takes off. But it is all a ruse as Horn fakes a flat tire right in the only path the killer could take to get to Janice at the store. The killer arrives just on time, as Horn lays into him. Frank and the rest get to Horn just as he's about to beat the killer to death. Because of what went down, the contents and the van are rendered inadmissible in court. Luckily there is enough evidence in the killer's home to send him away.

As we close, a more calm Horn asks Frank at home how he stays sane amidst all the chaos. Frank cradles Jordan in his arms, giving him his answer.


First Act Quote

For the thing I greatly feared
has come upon me.
And what I dreaded
has happened to me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
I have no rest,
for trouble comes."
Job 3:25, 26


  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington

Arc Advancement





The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • This is Morgan and Glen's first episode, they would go on to write seventeen episodes in all, and serve as executive producers in the second season.
  • This is also director Thomas J. Wright's first episode. He would go on to film twenty-six episodes.

Allusions and References

  • The title refers to letters which cannot be delivered or returned to sender and are re-routed to a Dead Letters Office. The killer in the episode also feels like a Dead Letter.
  • Jim Horn's (James Morrison) son T.C. is a nod to the Wong/Morgan show Space: Above and Beyond in which Morrison played Colonel T.C. McQueen.

Memorable Moments


  • Frank: He needed one lens replaced. The left lens?
Janice: Well, that I don't remember. But what I do remember is that he was getting all weirded out.
James: Weirded how?
Janice: I guess his glasses got a little lost in the shuffle, so I asked him for a service slip number and he gets all sweaty, and his eyes got real weird. So I went back, I asked the technicians, maybe they had seen them. And I guess they were in the tray right behind me, but all the trays are marked with the customer's name on it. And he starts going: "I have a name! I have a name!"