(Note: The following was my entry in a contest Time magazine held in the late 1990s - I forget the exact year right off - in which the publication asked its readers to submit ideas for an episode of a television series in which characters from another series make an appearance. The winner was some dummy that had Homer SImpson turning up on an episode of "E.R." I still like MY idea better....)


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Dear Time:


My name is John Small. I live in Ravia, Oklahoma, and the following is my synopsis for the "wild and wonderful crossover between two shows" as called for in your Contest #4. Although I should warn you that it is actually a crossover between more than two shows, as you will see:


X-FILES: THE FINAL EPISODE

(Guest-Starring The Cast Of "DIAGNOSIS: MURDER" - among others)


Acting upon information obtained during his final, fatal confrontation with the Cigarette Smoking Man (in the previous episode), FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) goes in search of the mysterious true ringleader behind the long-running alien conspiracy. Utilizing tips provided by several "backdoor" sources - including former P.I. turned Naval Intelligence officer Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) and an elderly Korean War medical corps vet named Burns - Mulder and partner Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) follow a trail that eventually takes them to Los Angeles, where Scully is reunited with an old medical school chum, Dr. Jesse Travis (Charlie Schlatter), one of the ER doctors at Community General Hospital. 


Jesse‚Äôs colleague, Dr. Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) becomes involved in the investigation after his son, police detective Steve Sloan (Barry Van Dyke) is injured while pursuing a mysterious golden-skinned man who may just be the conspiracy ringleader Mulder has been searching for. Mulder, Scully and Dr. Sloan eventually track the Golden Man (special guest star Brent Spiner) to an abondoned warehouse, where the Golden Man reveals himself to be an android serving aboard a 24th Century starship. 


Furthermore, the android insists, Mulder and Sloan do not exist at all but are merely characters in an interactive Holodeck program which Scully - an intern on the starship's medical staff - has created for her own entertainment during her off-duty hours. As proof, the android offers brief glimpses of other Holodeck programs in which Sloan is a TV comedy writer and Mulder is the host of a sexually-explicit cable anthology series. When Mulder protests that all he has been shown simply cannot be, Scully simply smiles and says, "You were right - the truth really is out there," and points to the Holodeck entrance. 


Then she commands the computer to end the program; Mulder's world fades out of existence, taking Mulder with it. During the final scene, however, we learn that the android has developed a fondness for the Sloans and has made them the central characters of other Holodeck programs: one in which the younger Sloan is part of a group of space refugees looking for Earth, and another in which the elder Sloan drives a magical car and cavorts with a nanny who flies around on an umbrella (special guest appearance by Julie Andrews)...