Reacquaint yourself with the 6 key characters returning in Twin Peaks Season 3. Despite Twin Peaks being mostly recognised for its unapologetic surrealism and outlandish plots and mythology, there can be little argument about what truly made the show tick: its characters. As varied, weird, and quirky as the happenings around them (people are the product of their environment, as they say), the motley cast of misfits, hicks, connivers, and honest to goodness townsfolks created a memorable tapestry of humanity and supernatural beings.
With the main cast now confirmed for season 3, we’d like to profile the 6 key characters from the previous two seasons who we know will be returning to our screens in May this year. Beware, spoilers abound. If you haven’t seen Twin Peaks before and plan to before Season 3 in May then don’t read on! If you don’t plan on watching seasons 1 & 2 then read on for the lowdown on the key characters of Twin Peaks.
Special Agent Dale Cooper
Character Description: The main protagonist of Twin Peaks, this FBI agent served as the audience surrogate to lead us into the weird and wonderful town of Twin Peaks. Dale Cooper is a classic “white hat” character with just enough quirks to feel right at home in Twin Peaks. He is wholesome to his core with a sage-like outlook on life but isn’t afraid to take direct action when needed.
Role in Twin Peaks: Dale Cooper arrives in Twin Peaks to assist the local law enforcement with the investigation of the murder of Laura Palmer, he is soon haunted by dreams of a strange place where he is given cryptic clues about the case. Before the case is solved, he quickly endears himself to the locals but as he draws ever-closer to Laura’s killer he is shot at the end of season 1 in his hotel room. After solving the case mid-way through season 2, Cooper falls in love with Annie Blackburn (the sister of the Double R Diner’s owner, Norma Jennings) and must rescue her from the Black Lodge in the series finale. However, Cooper returns a “changed” man…
Most Memorable Scene: Eliminating potential murder suspects by throwing rocks at a bottle based on a deduction technique that came to him in a dream about the oppression of Tibet (see the scene here).
Famous Quote: “Damn fine coffee.”
Last seen: In the final shot of season 2 it was revealed that Dale Cooper had been possessed by BOB after returning from the Black Lodge.
Twin Peaks Season 3: It looks like the Special Agent will very much be the protagonist again this time around since Kyle MacLachlan was the first confirmed cast member for the show’s return. Whether Dale will be feeling himself again is one of the most pertinent questions leading into the new season or will BOB still be pulling his strings?
Character Description: The murdered high school sweetheart who lived a double life of vice, drugs, and prostitution. Adored by the local townsfolks but preyed upon by the town’s more nefarious characters led to her becoming a disturbed, borderline psychotic young woman whose demise was perhaps inevitable.
Role in Twin Peaks: Laura’s murder kicks off the proceedings with the show after her body is discovered on a riverbank by Pete Martell and the investigation into her killing leads to a dark journey through Twin Peaks’ seedy underbelly and eventually to the infamous Black Lodge. The actress who plays Laura Palmer, Sheryl Lee, also appears in the show as Laura’s doppelganger cousin, Maddie Ferguson, who assists Donna and James with their efforts to solve Laura’s murder but who suffers the same fate as Laura at the hands of BOB. Both are seen frequently in the Black Lodge sequences and it’s not always clear which is which, with fan theories often eluding that Laura eventually goes to the White Lodge.
Most Memorable Scene: The reveal of Laura Palmer’s body wrapped in plastic on the riverbank creating the first iconic image of Twin Peaks.
Famous Quote: “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
Last seen: In the Black Lodge delivering the prophetic line “I’ll see you again in 25 years” before turning into the demonic Maddie.
Twin Peaks Season 3: Sheryl Lee is confirmed in the cast and is likely to be operating as Laura Palmer and Maddie Ferguson from the beyond in either the Black or White Lodge.
Character Description: The bereaved father of Laura Palmer who perhaps surmises the entire show the best as he veers from wholesome charm to off-kilter eccentricity to outright darkness. Leland remains an enigmatic and schizophrenic character throughout his time in the show as he tries to work through the death of his daughter and one very serious and unexpected issue of his own.
Role in Twin Peaks: After being informed of the death of his daughter in the first episode, Leland goes completely off the rails and only gets more erratic from there on in. He becomes incapable of fulfilling his role as the attorney for Benjamin Horne at the Great Northern Hotel despite many attempts to return to the job. After the arrival of Laura’s cousin, Maddie, Leland initially seems more comforted but it soon becomes clear that there’s more to Leland than meets the eye. It transpires that Leland has been possessed by a demonic spirit called BOB from the Black Lodge since he was a boy and was responsible for several murders, including his own daughter and then Maddie’s at the start of season 2. After being arrested after Dale Cooper suspects his true identity and BOB leaves Leland’s body, killing Leland in the process.
Most Memorable Scene: When Leland’s hair turns to bright white and singing a joyful song after an eventful night in Twin Peaks (see the scene here).
Famous Quote: “We have to dance for Laura.”
Last seen: Leland is seen in the Black Lodge saying “I didn’t kill anybody” and it could be he is trapped there after serving as BOB’s vessel for so long, remaining as a plaything for BOB.
Twin Peaks Season 3: Ray Wise was a late addition to the cast list for season 3 but he is now sure to reprise his role as Leland Palmer, though in what capacity remains to be seen.
Character Description: A demonic supernatural being from the Black Lodge who feeds off the suffering and fear of humans (known as “garmonbozia” – a form of currency in the Black Lodge as theorised by fans). As a spirit, he inhabits human hosts but can also travel through the real world by taking the form of an owl and via light fittings in homes.
Role in Twin Peaks: He inhabits the body of Leland Palmer throughout most of the duration season 1 and 2, making infrequent and unexpected appearances lurking in the Palmer household. He previously had an unholy partnership with the One-Armed Man, MIKE, before MIKE removed his possession by cutting off his arm. BOB is behind the murder of Laura Palmer, Teresa Banks, Maddie Ferguson, and the attempted killing of Ronette Pulaski. After leaving Leland’s body, BOB returns to the Black Lodge but briefly returns to take the soul of Josie Packard after he was attracted to by her wrong doings in the conspiracy to take over the Packard Mill. BOB then makes several appearances in the Black Lodge in season 2’s finale as he taunts and tricks Dale Cooper before hitching a ride out of the Lodge with him.
Most Memorable Scene: BOB’s first appearance behind Laura’s bed in the opening episode terrifying Laura’s grieving mother, Sarah (see the scene here).
Famous Quote: “Fire walk with me.”
Last seen: On the other side of a cracked hotel mirror as Dale Cooper laughs maniacally as it is revealed BOB has a new host.
Twin Peaks Season 3: BOB is a serial killer who leaves a letter under the ring finger nail of each of his victims that will eventually spell “Robertson” and, so far, he’s only managed four of those letters and will likely be wanting to complete that sequence in season 3. Sadly, Frank Silva passed away in 1995 so how BOB will manifest himself in the upcoming season is one of the most tantalising aspects of the show’s return.
Character Description: Audrey Horne is ostensibly a sexually awakened Nancy Drew who’s never shy of getting involved in her own investigations and troubles at her own behest. Audrey veers between teen innocence and temptress as she attempts to assist Special Agent Dale Cooper and loves causing trouble for her father, Benjamin Horne, in his business dealings. One of the kookier characters in Twin Peaks (and that’s saying something), she also possesses the sexiest set of eyebrows ever seen on television.
Role in Twin Peaks: Audrey Horne instantly forms a crush on Dale Cooper after he arrives to stay at the Great Northern hotel (owned by her father) and endeavours to help him forthwith. This leads her following in the footsteps of Laura Palmer as she learns that the girls at the perfume counter in Horne’s Department store are being surreptitiously recruited to be prostitutes at the gambling joint, One Eyed Jack’s, just north of Twin Peaks. After securing a job at One Eyed Jack’s, her identity is revealed and the owner, Blackie O’Reilly, holds her hostage as a bargaining chip to gain full control of One Eyed Jack’s from Benjamin Horne. She is rescued by Dale Cooper and later becomes involved in the Stop Ghostwood campaign to protect local forestland from her father’s intended development on the land. As part of her new found movement, she mounts a protest at the Twin Peaks’ Savings and Loans by chaining herself to the safety deposit room.
Most Memorable Scene: Tying a cherry stalk into a knot in her mouth during her “job” interview at One Eyed Jack’s (see the scene here).
Famous Quote: “I’m Audrey Horne and I get what I want.”
Last seen: In Twin Peaks’ Savings and Loans as it blown up by Andrew Packard springing a trap left by his old business partner in season 2’s finale.
Twin Peaks Season 3: Sherilyn Fenn is on the cast list but how Audrey survived the explosion is anyone’s guess. Flashbacks in season 3 are unlikely as the main cast has aged significantly over the last 25 years, so one must presume that she did somehow make it out of the bank alive.
Margaret Lanterman AKA: The Log Lady
Character Description: The Log Lady is arguably the most iconic character from Twin Peaks, which is surprising given her short amount of screen time over the first two seasons. Very occasionally referred to by her real name, Maggie, she is a hermit who lives in the woods around Twin Peaks and is seemingly attuned to the supernatural happenings in the town. The Log Lady quickly became a fan favourite and is synonymous with the show’s weird reputation.
Role in Twin Peaks: Despite her infrequent appearances, the Log Lady is key to leading the police investigation towards the Black Lodge’s involvement in the murder of Laura Palmer and reveals the nature and means of its inhabitants as well as the entrance to the Lodge itself. She believes her husband was killed by the denizens of the Black Lodge and is a firm believer that “the owls are not what they seem” in Twin Peaks. She also seems to share a bond with Major Briggs, the only character in Twin Peaks who we know has been to the White Lodge, suggesting that maybe she too has been there.
Most Memorable Scene: The Log Lady’s introduction in the Double R as she tells Dale Cooper to ask her log a question. (see the scene here).
Famous Quote: “My log saw something that night.”
Last seen: Bringing a jar of burnt engine oil to Dale Cooper to open the gateway to the Black Lodge.
Twin Peaks Season 3: Bittersweetly, Catherine E. Coulson died soon after production began on Twin Peaks’ third season so while her appearances are likely to be few and far between, it is fitting that Catherine got to reprise one of the most iconic roles in television one last time.