Last Updated: Friday 31 October 1997  Entertainment

Nick's Files
X-Files actor Nicholas Lea can't understand why people are treating him as a minor deity

Jonathan McDonald, Television Writer The Province

New Westminster native Nicholas Lea plays FBI Det. Alex Krycek on The X-Files and stars in the new Once a Thief. Province Photo by Chris Relke
Nicholas Lea is just plain baffled.

It baffles him that a writer from a British sci-fi magazine could call him for a piece on The X-Files and turn out to be an unadulterated fan.

It baffles him that, when he's met by a Japanese television crew, the reporter is shaking so wildly she can't even ask him a question.

Most of all, it baffles him that the world seems to care so much about silly off-hand comments David Duchovny would make about Vancouver's weather.

"Check this out," he says, grabbing the front section of a local paper off the couch. "You have this X-Files story on the front page, and" -- he starts flipping through the paper -- "a story about a cocaine epidemic in the Northwest Territories on page 14.

"It's completely out of whack. What is this -- a newspaper, or People magazine?"

Sorry to interrupt, but the fact is, people do care. They care enough about Duchovny, they care enough about The X-Files -- whose fifth season begins Sunday (Global, KCPQ, 9 p.m.) -- and they care enough about Lea that they'll treat him like a minor deity.

Lea -- a New Westminster native who plays FBI Det. Alex Krycek in the series -- been under the fans' microscope since he first appeared in an X-Files episode in the spring of 1994 as a nightclub patron who'd had a most uncomfortable run-in with a sex-changing alien killer.

The following season he was back as Krycek -- a double-crossing agent who's been in on everything from kidnapping to murder -- and he's been hounding Mulder and Scully ever since.

There's more. With the recurring roles of Krycek not quite filling his schedule, Lea grabbed a starring role in the new CTV series Once a Thief.

It's an uneven series, to say the least. In one recent episode, where Lea's Victor battles a bunch of thugs called Droogs, the action is silly, the plot is silly and the acting is just plain bad. From co-star Jennifer Dale to the Droogs, overacting spreads like a plague.

"It doesn't seem to be realizing its potential," Lea says of the John Woo-inspired show. "It's a strange recipe of comedy and action and occasional drama.

"It's a dangerous place to be. It's trying to please too many people."

In doing so, Once a Thief sometimes miffs even its cast -- which was universally disappointed by the Droogs episode in particular.

Lea defends the series -- "I hope you'll print this with the preface that the show is still learning and growing" -- but finds some of the plot development shallow and adds, "Time will tell where my commitment is."

There's no mystery about his commitment to The X-Files. He'll be in Vancouver in January to shoot two episodes, and he can't wait.

"Every week they (The X-Files producers) won't put their heads on their pillows until they have a show that's built around their integrity," says Lea. "I am very loyal to them. I'll work with them until they don't want me any more.

"I'm trying to cultivate relationships that are built on loyalty, honesty and integrity."

That being said, Lea takes TV with a grain of salt. He's glad to be able to get positive messages out, but bothered that people don't take half the effort they put into watching TV and do something to better the world.

So, he says, lay off his friend Duchovny. The criticism makes him sick.

"David loves Vancouver. He doesn't mind the rain," says Lea. "But he's from New York -- a big, booming, charismatic city. And Vancouver's not.

"It makes me ashamed. It's like a little kid and you take his toy away. I thought this town was smarter.

"They've busted their balls for five years. They deserve to do what they want."


Age: 35, born June 22, 1962, New Westminster

Stats: Green eyes, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds

Marital status: Single

Great jobs from his past: Selling clothes at Mark James, drinks at the Marble Arch No. 5

Favorite X-Files episode: Duane Barry

Internet nickname: Ratboy

Krycek summed up by Mulder: "You're full of crap, Krycek. You're an invertebrate scumsucker whose moral dipstick is about two drops short of bone dry."