3×19 Hell Money

The agents travel to San Francisco’s Chinatown district after a night watchman at a crematorium discovered a man being burned alive inside an oven. Mulder discovers a Chinese character scrawled inside the oven door, along with a wad of currency. Glen Chao, a detective of Asian descent, identifies the writing as the Chinese word for “ghost.” He also explains that the currency is called “hell money,” which is used as an offering to spirits during the Chinese Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. The threesome learn that the victim’s name is Johnny Lo. They search Lo’s apartment and discover blood stains beneath a newly installed wall-to-wall carpet.

Meanwhile, an Asian man, Hsin, temporarily leaves his daughter, Kim, so he can attend a mysterious meeting. At an abandoned restaurant, Hsin participates in a strange game in which players draw colored tiles from jade vases. A Wiry Man draws a tile that elicits great excitement from the crowd-and a sense of relief from Hsin. The Wiry Man is escorted to a back room, where he is drugged. Shortly thereafter, the agents discover his body in a cemetery.

Scully’s autopsy on the Wiry Man’s corpse reveals evidence that the man’s body organs had been harvested. The agents confront Chao about their discovery, but they sense he is being protective about the goings-on within the Chinese community. But Chao does provide the name of the man who installed the carpet in Johnny Lo’s apartment: Hsin.

Mulder, Scully and Chao pay a visit to Hsin’s apartment. Hsin’s eye is heavily bandaged, which he claims is a work-related injury. As Chao and Hsin carry on a conversation in Chinese, Mulder discovers one of the colored game tiles. After the threesome leave the apartment, Hsin tells his daughter they need money for her leukemia treatments. But Kim blames her father’s eye injury on the mysterious meetings. Moved by his daughter’s concern, Hsin tells the head-gamesman, a Hard-Faced Man, that he no longer wishes to participate. But the Hard-Faced Man insists Hsin is close to winning a jackpot worth two million dollars.

Meanwhile, Chao is attacked by what appear to be masked demons. But when Mulder visits the hospital, Chao is not to be found. By checking a hospital chart, the agents realize Chao’s blood type matches the blood found on the carpet padding at Johnny Lo’s apartment. Mulder suspects Chao is somehow involved.

The agents return to Hsin’s apartment, where they question Kim. She explains that the family has no medical insurance, and that the cost of leukemia treatments is very high. Mulder realizes Hsin is participating in some sort of game. The agents pay a visit to an organ procurement organization, where they are told that a number of Asian men request typing and antigen work-ups, only to disappear.

The agents trace a phone number supplied by the organization to an abandoned restaurant. Inside the kitchen, the agent’s discover human organs being stored in freezers. Unbeknownst to them, another game is underway in a room over the restaurant. Hsin loses and is dragged to the back room. Chao, no longer willing to help cover up the activity, interrupts the game and smashes one of the jade vases-revealing tiles of all the same color within. The participants realize that the game is rigged, and a melee breaks out.

The agents hear the commotion and race upstairs. They find Chao holding the Hard-Faced Man-about to remove one of Hsin’s organs-at gun point. Hsin is rescued and his daughter is placed on a recipient list at the organ procurement organization.

Original Air Date: 3/29/96

DAVID DUCHOVNY as Special Agent Fox Mulder
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully

B.D. WONG as Detective Chao
GRAHAM SHIELS as the Night Watchman
STEPHEN CHANG as the Large Man
DONALD FONG as the Vase Man
PAUL WONG as the Wiry Man
DINA HA as Dr. Wu
JAMES HONG as the Hard Faced Man
ED HONG-LOUIE as the Money Man