Gillian Anderson is saying goodbye to FBI Special Agent Dana Scully, 25 years after first taking on the role. Anderson has revealed that the 10-episode season of The X-Files is the last time we will see her play the character.
"It's been an extraordinary opportunity and an extraordinary character," Anderson tells Weekend.
"And I am hugely grateful. But there's lots of other stuff I want to do, and I don't really want to be tied down to months and months of doing any particular one thing.
"And I've got three kids and I want to be as present for them as I can, and it's time. I think we've delivered 10 strong episodes and for me I feel like it's ending on a high."
The current season of The X-Files is the second batch of episodes to be made after Anderson and co-star David Duchovny (who plays Fox Mulder) returned in 2016 after many years away from the conspiracy-centric franchise, which previously comprised nine seasons of television and two big screen movies.
Anderson says she intended the 2016 season to be her final turn as Scully, but stuck around for another run because she wasn't entirely satisfied with those six episodes.
"When I agreed to do those six, they was going to be my last," she explains.
"And then as we were doing them [X-files creator/producer] Chris [Carter] felt that we were just kind of getting going and still finding our feet after such a long time.
"It just felt like if I could fit it in and if the objective was to do potentially more 'Monster of the Week' episodes, and focus slightly in a different way, that maybe it would be a better way to end."
With well-received turns in acclaimed television programmes Hannibal, The Fall and American Gods, Anderson has made her mark outside The X-Files, even if Scully continues to be her most iconic role.
"I like to be challenged as an actor, and I like to do many, many different characters, and that's why I got into the business. I've done this now for decades, and it's time for me to hang up Scully's hat."
As her time with Scully comes to a close, Anderson reflects on the trail blazed by the character.
"You have to remember that [when we began], what was on TV was Baywatch," she says.
"You just didn't see that kind of woman [Scully] on television, that's why she is considered to be the iconic character she is, because it just didn't exist before. I think a lot of women felt they saw something recognisable for the first time.
"[For] a lot of young women, suddenly their eyes were opened to feeling like they were finally represented in some way on television."
Anderson is a vocal supporter of the #TimesUp movement that has been sweeping Hollywood.
"I've been paying very close attention to it," Anderson says of the recent conversation around sexual harassment and assault.
She recently displayed her solidarity by wearing black to the Golden Globes.
"[That gesture] was crafted by women in the industry, actresses, producers, executives, to say: we are here because we have a platform, we are opening up this conversation because we have a platform. But we are speaking for women all over the world in all industries . . . where they have felt that they have been harassed or abused or experienced some form of violence or some form of unfairness or inequality, and to say that we are here as your voices and this is the beginning of this conversation."
Gillian Anderson's final season as Dana Scully in The X-Files is currently screening on TVNZ2 on Thursdays at 8.30pm and is available on TVNZ OnDemand.