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Series: Twin Peaks

Through the darkness of future past,
the magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds...
fire, walk with me.

An early-nineties television series created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Ostensibly a hybrid Crime Time Soap/Detective Drama, it quickly took off for parts unknown with a pervasive supernatural element that turned it partly into an Occult Detective story that smacked of slightly off-kilter Magic Realism. Basically, it had a little bit of everything. It paved the way for shows like Northern Exposure (which stole its Northwest locale), The Pretender (which stole its quirkiness), and The X-Files (which looted wholesale from it).

The plot kicks off with the discovery of a teen cadaver, "wrapped in plastic", one Laura Palmer. Eccentric FBI agent Dale Cooper responds to the matter in Twin Peaks, Washington, where he is paired with Sheriff Harry S. Truman. With the arrival of the Feds, further scandals begin to surface along with this supposedly unprecedented crime. Cooper, meanwhile, finds himself visited by enigmatic visions and dreams pointing to the real culprit: not a mere man, but a malevolent local entity which poses as one.

The murder investigation wraps up partway through Season Two, as the showrunners never really expected—or even intended—for the show to run that long. To justify Cooper's continued presence, an old foe from Cooper's past arrives in town to menace him in cryptic ways. The two plot treads eventually dovetail into one other, concluding with the notorious "How's Annie?" cliff hanger ending. The 1992 movie Fire Walk with Me (which functions as both a prequel and a sequel) hastily wraps things up. The show features a rather large and colourful cast with about as many subplots as there are characters, and the story contains quite a few examples of Red Herring Twist and Powers That Be. Nothing can be taken at face value in this story, not even the basic premise.

As the series was a huge ratings draw for a time, it naturally influenced and inspired several others across all media, including a surprising number of video games. As far as games go, they range from the obvious like Deadly Premonition and Alan Wake, to the less so like Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent and even The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

As mentioned above, the show saw its conclusion with Fire Walk with Me, and after years of rumors of a return (all of which were denied by Lynch), Showtime picked the show up for an additional nine episodes in October 2014, written by Lynch and Frost and set to air in 2016. The existing series finally saw a BluRay boxset release in mid-2014, which contains an exclusive final cut of Fire Walk with Me (by Lynch himself), which adds about 90 minutes of previously unreleased material.

This show is an example of:


This show provides examples of:

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    A-D 

  • '80s Hair: Lucy. Averted with Audrey, who has a very 90's haircut.
  • Adult Fear: The disappearance and murder of Laura Palmer, and the subsequent disintegration of her parents' lives.
  • Agent Mulder: Original Trope Namer Agent Cooper.
    • Not only that, David Duchovny played Agent Denise Bryson in the series that arguably made Agent Mulder and the X-Files possible.
  • Agent Scully: Albert.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Maddy's final scene.
  • An Axe to Grind: Leo Johnson and Bobby at the end of the first season and halfway through the second.
  • Another Dimension: Two of them — the White Lodge and the Black Lodge. You don't want to go to the second one.
  • Anti-Hero: Bobby, Shelly, MIKE, Jacobi (kind of) and Laura Palmer.
  • Anything That Moves:
    • Laura Palmer. Considering her part-time job...
    • Also, BOB, apparently.
  • Arch-Enemy: Windom Earle.
  • Arc Words: "Fire walk with me."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Ladies and gentlemen, Laura Palmer is dead. Jacques Renault is dead. Ronette Pulaski and Leo Johnson are both in comas. Waldo the bird is dead."
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Hinted to happen to Laura at the end of The Movie.
  • Ascended Extra: Ascended Actor, anyway. Sheryl Lee was originally cast to play Laura's corpse and limited flashbacks, but Lynch liked her so much he created the character of Maddy for her, feeding into BOB's modus operandi as revealed by the movie.
    • BOB is perhaps the ultimate example of this, being an Ascended Stagehand. Frank Silva received the role of BOB after a filming error by series creator, David Lynch in the pilot. Lynch liked the scene with Silva in the pilot, and decided to make him into a recurring character.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Invoked by Albert when trying to explain the existence of BOB.
  • Asshole Victim: Leo Johnson
  • The Atoner: MIKE claims to be this, but it's really difficult to say.
  • Badass: Quite a few, but especially Cooper, Truman, and ESPECIALLY Deputy Hawk.
  • Badass Baritone: Big Ed, whose voice is significantly deeper than anybody else in the cast.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Implied by the Bolivian Army Ending of the second season.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Windom Earle's quest to find the Black Lodge goes poorly for him.
  • Becoming the Mask: Ben Horne starts a campaign of saving the pine weasel as a way to derail Catherine's real estate plans. Somewhere along the way he actually starts to care, and this leads to extensive soul-searching on his part.
  • Bi the Way: In the companion book The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, Laura mentions having slept with both Josie Packard and her pimp/madame Blackie O'Reilly, Ronnette Polaski, and a lot of other women.
  • Big Bad: BOB.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Windom Earle.
  • Black Comedy: Windom Earle is a FUNNY guy, even if he is a complete psychopath. It also helps that most of the humor is at Leo's expense.
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Bobby Briggs prefers "business proposition".
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Black Lodge, who are strict about their own world's rules but clearly have just a slightly different set of values than everyone else.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: "How's Annie?"
  • Book Ends: An exchange takes place between Bobby, Shelley and a German waitress in the diner in the pilot episode, which is repeated almost verbatim in the final episode.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Some of Agent Cooper's investigation methods are unique to say the least. Surprisingly this is tolerated and even factored into serious case work by the officers of the Twin Peak's sheriff's department, who have probably never seen an FBI agent before and don't know any better.
  • Campbell Country: Twin Peaks itself and its surroundings, of course.
  • Captain's Log: Agent Cooper's tape recorder messages for Diane.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Harry, you're all right."
    • "Damn good coffee."
    • "Diane..."
    • Major Briggs: "That's classified."
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": From the subtitles at the end of Fire Walk With Me:
    Philip Gerard / The Man From Another Place: "BOB, I want all my... Garmonbozia (pain and suffering)."
  • Characterization Marches On: Cooper is noticeably more standoffish and reserved in the pilot episode than in every subsequent episode. Granted, he's meeting everyone in the town for the first time, but he's already become much more friendly and gregarious by the following episode, which takes place the next day.a
  • Chekhov's Gun: Andy's shooting lessons
  • The Chessmaster: Windom Earle is a rather literal example of this trope. He determines his victims through a game of chess played against Cooper, and even at one point dresses a victim as a giant chess piece before shooting him with a crossbow. By contrast, Pete Martell, who is even better at chess, but lacks the ambition or the capacity for cruelty to really be this trope.
  • Cliff Hanger
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Episode Three in the first season ends with Agent Cooper having a dream from which he learns who killed Laura Palmer. Cooper immediately wakes up from the dream to call up Sheriff Truman to tell him that he knows who the murderer is but teases that the answer could "wait 'till morning." Come the next episode, taking place that following morning, Cooper recaps all the events from the dream that ended with Laura Palmer whispering the name of her killer in his ear. Then, once he's asked who the killer is, Cooper nonchalantly responds "I don't remember."
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Agent Cooper, who talks to a tape recorder while hanging upside-down by his boots in his room. His superior, Gordon Cole - played by the real Cloudcuckoolander of the series, David Lynch himself - was obviously an influence....
    Cole: Coop, you remind me today of a small Mexican chihuahua.
    • On the Twin Peaks side, Margaret (the Log Lady), the source for at least one of the page quotes and the following:
    "Wait for the tea! The fish aren't running!"
    • Nadine, though played for a kind of awkward tragedy.
    • To a lesser extent, Audrey, especially in the earlier episodes.
  • Cloudcuckooland: The FBI, judging by the agents that we see.
  • Color Motif: Red usually turns up suggesting danger and sexuality, most obviously in the curtains of One Eyed Jacks and the Black Lodge. You can't trust blue either, which seems to be associated with BOB - he wears denim, is often cloaked in blue light, and in the movie, a possessed Leland laments the appearance of MIKE, BOB's nemesis, "out of the blue".
    • Water Is Blue, and almost always associated with death.
    • Teresa Banks and Laura Palmer's murders were "Blue Rose Cases".
    • Major Garland Briggs goes around everywhere in his blue dress uniform, and formerly worked on Project Blue Book.
  • Companion Cube: Margaret's log, which arguably allows her to communicate with her dead husband, who now inhabits the Black Lodge and is probably Jurgen Prochnow.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Agent Cooper is one. Given that this is the Twin Peaks universe, though, the conspiracies he believes in may very well be real, at least in-universe.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: The Log Lady.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Windom Earle. When he's not killing people and stuffing their corpses, he enjoys a good chess game. Averted with Pete Martell, who is the best chess player around and is a perfectly sane and kindly old fella.
  • Creator Cameo: Cooper's superior, Special Agent Gordon Cole, is played — very loudly — by David Lynch.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Windom Earle arc. Interestingly, the most elaborate and traditionally Serial Killer-esque aspect of his mind games (the chess game, in which he kills a victim for everyone of Cooper's pieces he takes) is actually just a diversion from his real goal.
  • Cryptic Conversation/Word Salad Horror: Cooper's encounters with the Grotesque Gallery.
    The Man From Another Place: She's my cousin. But doesn't she look almost exactly like Laura Palmer?
    Cooper: But she is Laura Palmer. Are you Laura Palmer?
    Not-Laura: I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.
    The Man: She's filled with secrets.
  • Creepy Child: Mrs. Chalfont's grandson is creepy in the TV series.
    • Even more so in the movie.
    • Those familiar with David Lynch might find the grandson creepy (or alternately, hilarious) because he looks and acts identical to him, right down to the voice inflections and mannerisms. Which makes sense, as he's played by Lynch's son Austin.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Played straight with the Log Lady and several other characters. Averted by Cooper in that everyone takes his far-out theories seriously anyway (except for Albert, the only person who actually does have good reason to believe him).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The inhabitants of the Black Lodge could not by any stretch of the imagination be called good (they eat pain and suffering, after all) but some of them do help Cooper with his investigation on numerous occasions.
  • Dawson Casting: Gary Hershberger, 26, and Sherilyn Fenn, 25, played 17 or 18-year-old Mike Nelson and Audrey Horne. Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), James Marshall (James Hurley), Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson) were around 23.
    • Averted with Mädchen Amick who was 19, despite Shelly was probably a bit older than Bobby, and 18-year-old Robyn Lively to play Lana Budding Milford.
  • Deadly Prank: Windom Earle does this sort of thing a lot.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Albert.
    • He's just a regular snarker, but next to everyone in the show he seems like a jerk
  • Death by Sex: Three of BOB's victims include Teresa Banks, Laura Palmer and Ronette Pulaski (the latter of whom survives), all of whom were sex workers.
  • Deconstruction: A woman backstabbing her mentally ill lover? She's trying to obtain her best friend's diary to present it to police. Instead of being a pure black and white, with bad people doing bad things with bad intention and good people doing good things with good intention, bad people do good things for bad reasons, good people do bad things for good reasons, bad people do bad things for good reasons, and the full spectrum of morality exists. There are truly good characters, flawed characters with good intentions, redeemable characters with bad intentions, and evil demonic beings. Not to mention that the Magic Realism prevalent in many soap operas is turned on its head: the supernatural elements generally include incredibly horrifying eldritch abominations and other surrealist elements.
  • Demonic Possession: Leland and finally Cooper. In all likelihood, Agent Jeffries as well.
    • And to a smallish degree, Laura. Or at least something's in there.
    • By contrast, Gerard and the old bellhop, who are inhabited by much more benevolent spirits. Maybe.
  • Demoted to Extra: Johnny Horne, Audrey's brother, appears in a few early episodes before disappearing until a late season 2 cameo.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Josie Packard and Blackie O'Reilly are confirmed as this in The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, and there is heavy hinting for Blackie in the show as well. Although Josie, at least, is a pretty complicated character, and her apparent bisexuality is never played for any particular discomfort or associated with her moral failings.
  • Did We Just Have Coffee At The Black Lodge? Cooper understands his dream in episode 2 is significant. It takes some time, however, before he realizes its characters are extra-dimensional monsters who feed on human suffering.
  • Disguised in Drag: It's fairly obvious (and not at all odd, considering the show) that the stout Japanese businessman with the impressive moustache is really a woman but it's not obvious that she's Catherine Martell.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Averted - the main plot arc is the investigation of who killed Laura Palmer, and Laura Palmer is one of the most developed and fleshed-out characters in the show despite being both a sex worker and a Posthumous Character (she later serves as the protagonist of The Movie). Nor is Ronette Pulaski treated as any less human because of her profession.
  • Distressed Damsel: Many, but above all Laura.
  • The Ditz: Lucy and Andy.
  • Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Nadine, after returning from the hospital (after attempting suicide).
  • The Dog Bites Back: Parodied when Leo gets hold of the remote control for his shock collar... and points it at Windom Earle like a weapon, without realising that he's still wearing the shock collar himself. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: "A policeman's dream!"
  • Doomed by Canon: Laura Palmer is the main character of the prequel film. The movie's ending is a bit of a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Maybe. BOB's fellow Lodge creatures don't always seem to care that he's been raping and murdering young women left and right. Just that he won't front them any of the suffering he takes from his victims. On the other hand, MIKE claims to have "seen the face of God" and become The Atoner, but then, he could be lying. MIKE's motivation is one of the greatest mysteries of the show.
  • Downer Ending: As there is no third season to provide closure, we're left to assume that half the cast is dead and Cooper's soul is trapped in the Black Lodge while BOB makes use of his possessed body.
    • This was not the intended finale, and the full, uncut movie was meant to offer a bit more closure. Released to the public on the blu-ray set, it gives a few more tantalizing minutes after the end of the series but the Downer Ending still remains essentially unresolved.
  • The Dragon: Hank, first to Mr. Horne and later to Jean Renault.
    • Also, Leo to Windom Earle.
      • Jonathan, and later Miss Jones, to Thomas Eckhardt.
  • Dragon Lady: Josie.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Miss Jones carries out Thomas Eckhardt's order to assassinate Sheriff Truman despite Eckhardt's death.
  • Dr. Jerk: Albert.
  • Dreaming The Truth
  • Dream Sequence: Cooper's is a famous example.
  • Driving Question: The Laura Palmer case.
  • Drugs Are Bad: A heavily implied (but not quite anvilicious) aesop. While drugs are indeed a major part of Laura's downfall, her drug use doesn't exactly lead to her problems so much as result from them.
  • Dying as Yourself: Leland Palmer
  • Dysfunction Junction: Laura was the prom queen and overall darling of the town. She was also heavily into cocaine and BDSM prostitution. Plus, you know, she's being repeatedly raped by her demonically-possessed father.

    E-H 

  • Eccentric Townsfolk
  • The Eighties: Although both the series and Fire Walk With Me were released during the 90s, and done in a style filled with visual reference to The Fifties, both are set during the tail end of the 1980s.
  • Enemy Within: Leland, and later (one can assume) Cooper.
  • Energy Beings: It's implied that BOB and other Black Lodge inhabitants can travel through electric wires when they're not possessing people.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: The food at the local hospital looks (and smells) downright disgusting.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Windom Earl has been seeking the Black Lodge for decades in order to harness its evil power for his own ends. He doesn't last a day in the place before overstepping his welcome and suffering a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Averted. If you didn't already find creamed corn disturbing, you will now.
  • Evil Twin: Of Agent Cooper, and possibly the Man From Another Place and Laura, within the Black Lodge.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Leland Palmer's hair turns white in the first episode of the second season, at which point he ceases to be paralyzed by grief.
    "God, I feel like singing! Come on, everybody, and just get happy!"
  • Eyepatch of Power: Nadine. Good old casually-600-pound-pressing Nadine.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Averted due to Executive Meddling. Lynch wanted to take as long as possible to solve the murder.
  • The Fair Folk: The residents of the Black Lodge. Okay, so they're not really "fairies", but they still fit the bill.
  • Faking the Dead: Catherine Martell and her brother, Andrew Packard.
  • Fat Bastard: Jacque Renault
  • Fatal Family Photo: A security guard at the Twin Peaks bank discovers that his wife has just given birth to a boy seconds before a massive explosion apparently kills everyone.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Being possessed by BOB. Being raped by BOB. Being trapped in the Black Lodge for twenty-five years that could either go back in time, forward in time, or completely nonlinearly, and may not even equate to human world time.
  • Femme Fatale / Fille Fatale: Audrey Horne is on the border, since she's 18.
  • Final Exam Finale: Everybody comes Back for the Finale, including the dead characters and characters still in town who'd not been seen for ages. The show asks you to remember Jacoby describing a burning motor oil smell, what Hawk said about the dweller on the threshold, and that Ronette Pulasky and Sarah Palmer ever existed. Of course, Cooper's still in the Black Lodge, everybody's in mortal peril, and the last shot of the second season is BOB in Cooper's body laughing about the turn of fortune... for 25 years.
  • Five-Man Band: The police department.
  • Foreshadowing: "She's my cousin. But doesn't she look exactly like Laura Palmer?" referring to Maddy. Also, in a way, Laura herself could be considered The Man From Another Place's cousin, since BOB is possessing her father, BOB is the 'familiar' of MIKE, and The Man split off from MIKE like Athena from Zeus.
    • A bit of a stretch, but the fact that the third season of the show is taking place 25 years after the events of the finale, both in real life and in the show, seems to indicate Cooper's first meeting with The Man From Another Place to be this.
  • Foot Focus: After successfully completing a complicated gambit, Catherine reveals her identity to Ben Horne by showing him her pedicured foot.
  • From Bad to Worse: The series starts with the relatively mundane murder of Laura Palmer, but by its end has become a full-blown Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Gainax Ending:
    • The ending for the "International Version" of the pilot episode. It ended up being heavily edited and recontextualized for Cooper's dream at the end of the second episode.
    • Season two ends on a bad one. "How's Annie?"
  • Gambit Pileup: The show definitely trends towards this, especially regarding the real estate deals. At times, it feels like half of the town is constantly working to ruin or destroy someone else.
  • Gambit Roulette: Catherine's machinations to get control of the real estate are helped by heaps of luck; there's even an "Everything is going exactly as we planned..." line midway through season 2.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a deconstructive surrealist paranormal Psychological Horror Police Procedural Crime Time Soap with comedy, drama, and teen angst.
  • Godzilla Threshold: When BOB finds another victim, everyone begs Cooper to use any of his kooky methods that they previously disparaged in order to catch the killer.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The FBI in the Twin Peaks universe often deals heavily in supernatural cases. These more often than not tend to be just a little more dangerous than the usual kind of work. The movie implies that FBI code for these cases is "Blue Rose".
  • Government Conspiracy: Dale Cooper is a strong believer in conspiracy theories. Given his own experience...
    • Major Briggs is sort of a part of one. In one scene, he gives Cooper a piece of very sensitive information and apologizes for not being able to tell him any more. Cooper responds that, as a fellow employee of the federal government, he understands completely.
  • Grotesque Gallery: Lodge inhabitants include The Man From Another Place (a dwarf, who is actually a severed arm in human form), The Giant (a ... giant, obviously), a one-armed man, and a singer played by Jimmy Scott (who suffered from Kallmann Syndrome).
  • Hannibal Lecture: Jean Renault gives Cooper one.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Ben Horne becomes a nice guy toward the end of season 2 (see We Want Our Jerk Back).
    • Leo Johnson is a irredeemable, abusive control freak toward Shelly in Season 1, but suffers much of the same abuse at the hands of Windom Earle in Season 2. His Heel-Face Turn begins when he is reluctant in assisting Windom Earle kill an innocent victim, then sets fellow captive, Major Garland Briggs free and asks him to keep Shelly safe. Bear in mind Leo previously tried to immolate Shelly at the end of Season 1.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold:
    • Audrey Horne. At first sight she seems to be a spoiled troublemaker who aspires to be a femme fatale (often successfully), but with time it is revealed that she's actually an lonely innocent with good intentions.
    Director Todd Holland on Audrey's character: "She's one of my favorite characters because you thought she was such a big slut and she's probably the most moralistic person in Twin Peaks and that's all tremendous fun. The ones like her father feign morality and are incredibly treacherous, but they carry on a good business front."
    • Albert Rosenfield is an obvious Jerk Ass, but eventually reveals a great love for the teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and he mellows out.
  • Hidden Villain
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Laura. And Audrey invokes this when she tries to get into the business for investigative purposes, but doesn't stay long enough to do any actual hooking.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Laura Palmer's peers. And she herself, but with a bit of extra baggage.
  • Horrifying the Horror: MIKE does this.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Whatever else the inhabitants of the Black Lodge are, they are all surely this — even the seemingly more benevolent ones, such as the Giant.

    I-L 

  • Idiot Ball: Happens sometimes towards the end of the series with both Harry and Cooper. The greatest offender, however, is Major Briggs, who after establishing that a murderous psychopath is hiding out in the forest is to take a casual relaxing walk in the forest on the way home. Harry and Cooper thinks it's a great idea.
    • The entire investigative team. They deduce from the first episode that Laura's death was part of a string of killings including Theresa Banks and was to have included Ronette Pulaski and yet they make absolutely no efforts to connect the three girls, and aside from a brief talk with Ronette's parents, they completely ignore anything to do with her. No attempts are made to talk with her friends or any other relatives, this in comparison to the efforts they go to investigating Laura Palmer's life. Essentially they just decide that Laura was the primary target of the attack since she was the one that died.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place:
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In Episode 4, Andy drops his gun and it goes off by accident. In the next episode, Bobby gives a braggadocio-filled impression of how he'd handle being caught having an affair while waving a gun around with his finger on the trigger.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Agent Cooper. He fires six shots at the range, leaving four bullet holes on the target.
    Cooper: I put four through the eyes and two through the nostrils.
  • Interim Villain: In Season 2, Wyndom Earle served as this, until BOB, the original Big Bad, returned.
  • Invisible Backup Band: James' song he sings while playing guitar in the episode "Coma" has bass and percussion come out of nowhere halfway through.
  • Is This Thing On?: Played painfully straight with the town's mayor in the pilot and later on in the second season.
  • It Makes Sense in Context
    • Surprisingly, yes. The Prophetic Dream that Agent Cooper has in the second episode is full of surreal imagery, but everything eventually comes to make sense.
      • "You may think I've gone insane, but I promise I will kill again," foreshadows Leland Palmer's death scene, specifically that he wasn't insane, his inhabiting spirit was.
      • The shadow that passes behind the curtain is supposed to be an Ominous Owl.
      • "That gum you like is going to come back in style," will be said to the killer while Cooper's in earshot, triggering his memory of Laura telling him who killed her.
      • "She's my cousin. But doesn't she look almost exactly like Laura Palmer?" foreshadows Maddie and her fate, as well as hinting at the Demonic Possession that links the Man From Another Place to Laura.
      • "I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back" references Laura Living a Double Life as a bondage prostitute.
    • Outside of the dream, other seeming nonsense makes a bit more sense when considered in full context than it may initially seem.
  • It Makes As Much Sense In Context
  • Japandering: This Georgia is damn fine coffee!
  • Jerk Jock: Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson, although they both mature a lot by the end of the series. Also see Name's the Same.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Albert defines this. After an amazing speech in which Albert's heart of gold becomes apparent, he and Sheriff Truman — formerly bitter enemies — become close friends and even hug one another in a later episode.
    • Bobby Briggs, initially a whiny Jerk Jock who's barely any less abusive to Shelley than her husband (and also killed a guy in a coke deal gone bad), becomes a not-too-bad guy by the end of the show.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Averted right off the bat in the pilot episode when Agent Cooper specifically asks Sheriff Truman if he is going to have any trouble with this. Played straight with the very crooked Deer Meadow jurisdiction in Fire Walk With Me, though, who learn the hard way not to give Chris Isaak any trouble.
  • Just Friends: Audrey and Cooper, to the ire of both David Lynch and the Fan-Preferred Couple crowd.
    Audrey: But don't you like me?
    Cooper: I like you very much. You're beautiful, intelligent, desirable. Everything a man wants in his life. But what you need right now, more than anything, is a friend. Someone who will listen.
  • Karmic Death: Windom Earle and presumably Leo Johnson.
  • Killed Off for Real: Jacques Renault, Maddie Ferguson, and Leland Palmer.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Agent Cooper
  • Large Ham: Twin Peaks has at least a few of these, most notably BOB, Windom Earle, Nadine Hurley, and Gordon Cole.
    • Bobby Briggs definitely has his moments as well.
    • Ben Horne's always been the kind of person who likes to hear himself speak, but he gets especially in the early second season when he begins to lose his composure as things start to fall apart for him. It begins around the time he gets falsely accused of murdering Laura Palmer and is forced to spend jail time, but he's probably at his most hammy when he goes completely off the rails and thinks he's General Robert E. Lee.
  • Latex Perfection: Catherine Martell, disguised as a mysterious Japanese businessman after Faking the Dead.
  • Left the Background Music On: The first episode has Audrey doing this, much to her father's dismay.
    • She does it again with the jukebox at the diner in the second episode.
    "God, I love this music. Isn't it too dreamy?"
    • This happens on a radio (which is immediately changed) in season 2 episode 2. Actually, this happens a lot on Twin Peaks in general.
    • In another season two episode, some melancholy flute music plays over an establishing shot of the abandoned house Windom Earle is occupying, which turns out to be... Windom Earle himself playing the flute. It sounds kind of silly, but it's in fact a pretty eerie moment since he's doing it while waiting for Leo Johnson to come to so he can torture him.
  • Leitmotif: "Laura Palmer's Theme" and later (in the second season) "Audrey's Prayer" are repeatedly used as love themes. Some characters (Hank Jennings or Windom Earle, for example) have their own themes as well.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The little trailer park trailer that isn't there today. And the convenience store that apparently the Lodge creatures once lived above.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • The Lost Woods: The Ghostwood National Forest that surrounds Twin Peaks. Home to a portal to an Eldritch Location, numerous drug dealers, the occasional rogue FBI agent, and the Ominous Owls. Some people want to build a country club out of it.
  • Love Dodecahedron: And how. It's easier to name the characters who aren't a part of it. To put it simply, nearly everyone in town has at least two lovers, which leads to a lot of sharing.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Windom. Freaking. Earle.

    M-P 

  • Magic Realism
  • Malevolent Masked Man: The Chalfont/Tremond child.
  • The Man Behind the Man
  • Master of Disguise: Windom Earle, master of the Wig Moustache Accent. In fairness, most of the people he's trying to fool have never met him and have no reason to be on their guard.
  • Master of Your Domain: Agent Cooper, of a sort.
  • Medicate The Medium: A variant where the medication actually inhibits the talent.
  • Mind Rape: Literally.
  • Mind Screw: Anything involving the Black Lodge.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot
  • Mirror Monster: BOB, perhaps the most iconic example of this in television history.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: All of BOB's victims are white women ( not counting Jacques, whose murder BOB may have had nothing to do with), although this may be simple statistics; rural Washington is a pretty white place.
  • Mix and Match
  • Mood Whiplash: The series changes from serious crime drama to lighthearted comedy to surreal horror extremely frequently, especially at the beginning of the second season.
  • Murderers Are Rapists
  • Must Have Caffeine: Agent Cooper's catch phrase is "Damn good coffee." Indeed, all the cops seem to love coffee and donuts.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Audrey.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Both Laura and Leland experience these moments... though in the second case, it's for a pretty good reason. Ben as well, albeit in a much more Narm-filled fashion.
  • Myth Arc: The investigation of Laura Palmer's murder, though there quickly turns out to be much, much more going on than just that.
  • Name's The Same: The name of Bobby's partner in crime is Mike Nelson. In-universe, Bobby and Mike have the same names as BOB and his former accomplice, MIKE.
    • Not to mention the obvious examples of Sheriff Harry S. Truman (who even hangs a stag's head over his death with a placard reading "The Buck Stops Here") and Ben & Jerry Horne.
    • In episode 7 of season 1, Cooper and Big Ed adopt the aliases of Barney and Fred.
  • Narnia Time: Time in the Black Lodge is a somewhat more Mind Screw-worthy take on the idea.
  • Never Found the Body: Catherine Martell.
  • The Nineties: While the show is mostly done in a Retraux style meant to evoke The Fifties, the 90s style is still very evident in the clothing styles and technology.
  • No Dead Body Poops: The aversion is mentioned, but not depicted.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Maddy's demise.
  • No Indoor Voice: Regional bureau chief Gordon Cole, as played by David Lynch. And he's calling you from Orrrrrrrrrrrrrr-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-gonnnnnnnnnn!
  • No Medication for Me: Forced on Phillip Michael Gerard to force a transformation into MIKE, his "inhabiting spirit." Inverted by Windom Earle, who uses haloperidol to mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia, first to get out of a jail sentence, then later to drug his captives.
  • Not Himself
  • Occult Detective: The natural result of Agent Cooper becoming aware of the town's less-than-normal qualities. Of course, he started out using such investigative techniques as throwing rocks at a bottle while listening to the list of suspects to determine which leads to follow, which he learned from the Dalai Lama in a dream. Keep in mind, given what we find out in The Movie, Cooper had already foreseen Laura's death and Gordon Cole likely informed him beforehand that he was working on a Blue Rose case. Which means the rules are, to put it mildly, just a little different.
  • Odd Friendship: Well, most of the town's residents and the agents dispatched there are odd, to say the least, but the trope is best exemplified by Albert and Truman later in season 2.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Windom Earle and Dale Cooper might have been this before Earle went insane.
  • Ominous Owl: They are the eyes of BOB. Maybe. In any case, they are not what they seem.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Played with. In the pilot, several of the more sympathetic characters who indeed did not kill Laura do not call their lawyers when being interrogated by Cooper and Truman. However, while Bobby Briggs is at least initially one of the less sympathetic characters and could be viewed as a "bad guy", he did not kill Laura either - and yet his family's lawyer is present at his interrogation.
  • Out with a Bang: Mayor Doug Wilford, in the "wedding night" variant.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Bookhouse Boys are supposedly dedicated to battling "the evil in the woods," but they seem to be mostly just a social club. Even when Demonic Possession and unexplained disappearances start happening right in front of them they don't seem to make the connection.
  • Place Beyond Time: The Black Lodge, where Cooper winds up stuck for at least 25 years while still communicating with himself and others through their dreams at various points in time — including before Laura Palmer's murder, which brought him to Twin Peaks in the first place.
  • Powers That Be
  • Power Walk: The first shot of Season 2, Episode 9.
  • Precocious Crush: The reason why Cooper can't return Audrey's feelings.
    "Audrey, you're a high school girl. I'm an agent of the FBI."

    Q-T 

  • Rape as Backstory: All but stated for Leland, who seems to have been abused as a child by BOB, who was likely in the form of someone who lived near (or...in) the Palmers' lake house. Laura faced the same fate of abuse at the hands of BOB, but allowed herself to be killed rather than go on to be possessed.
    • The "Cooper's Diary" book suggests that Cooper was also sexually abused by BOB (he came into his room) as a child.
  • Rape as Drama
  • Rasputinian Death: Leo Johnson. He survives being shot twice, two axe battles with Bobby Briggs (one of them being right after awakening from a coma from said gunshot), survives being out in the woods with no water, gets electrocuted by Windom Earle on a number of occasions, then finally it is implied Leo met his fate at the hands (fangs?) of a venomous spider.
  • Recursive Acronym: Beware Of BOB.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Laura Palmer's death.
    • Also Leland Palmer's death.
  • Redemption in the Rain: Leland Palmer's death. Sort of. It's actually a sprinkler.
  • Red Herring: During the investigation into Laura Palmer's death, the big money for her killer was Leo Johnson. Talk show host Phil Donahue, who devoted an entire hour to Twin Peaks wasn't buying any. He described Leo Johnson as "the biggest Red Herring since Nikita Kruschev". And of course, turns out he was right.
    • Agent Cooper describes Red Herring as his least favorite kind of fish.
  • Red Herring Twist
  • The Reveal: Numerous.
  • Revival: "I'll see you in 25 years." Season two ended in 1991, season three will begin in 2016.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Cooper and Hawk.
  • Scenery Porn: Twin Peaks has some truly beautiful cinematography. The opening also gives you a good first look at some of the breathtaking nature scenery you're going to see in the show.
  • Schmuck Bait: Thomas Eckhardt leaves his enemies a tantalizing series of puzzle boxes that lead them to a safety deposit box booby-trapped with high explosives.
  • Serial Killer:
    • BOB.
    • Windom Earle, kind of.
  • Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Laura angsts over having this attitude in The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.
  • Shout-Out: Many, most notably to the Gene Tierney film Laura during the first season.
  • Show Within a Show: Invitation to Love
  • Smug Snake: Ben and Jerry in the first season.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: Played for laughs:
    Gwen: God, how you must hate us white people after all we've done to you.
    Hawk: Some of my best friends are white people.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Petty criminals like Leo Johnson and Jacques Renault eventually give way to more effective and dangerous men like Hank Jennings and Jean Renault.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": BOB — all caps.
    • Not to be confused with "BOB!".
  • Spy Speak: In-universe, the FBI uses a visual variant of this (seen in the form of Lil the dancing girl) and it is implied they utilize the phrase "Blue Rose" as a code for cases that may involve the supernatural or other bizarre phenomena. Also arguably one interpretation of Gordon Cole's bizarre Word Salad one-liners.
  • Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male: Nadine is very persistent in her attraction to Mike even after he has made it perfectly clear that he is not interested in her, even forcing a kiss on him in the diner in one episode (and the show makes it very clear that she is much stronger than him physically). Presumably their relationship would not have been Played for Laughs if it had been an exceptionally strong thirty-five-year-old man lusting after an eighteen-year-old woman still in high school.
  • Stylistic Suck: From what little we see of it, Invitation to Love, the soap opera everyone in Twin Peaks apparently watches, is fairly ridiculous. Considering the fact that it mirrors some events of the show, it may be a case of Self-Deprecating Humor.
  • Surreal Horror
  • Sweater Girl: Audrey
  • Switching To GEICO: In the surreal Black Lodge:
    "I've got good news. That gum you like is going to come back in style."
  • Talking through Technique: Windom Earle engages Cooper in a chess game via newspaper, in which for every one of Cooper's pieces Earle takes he will claim another victim. Cooper seeks Pete Martell's help in playing a stalemate game, losing as few pieces as possible. As Earle once played a game of chess with Cooper every day for three years he is intimately familiar with Cooper's playstyle, and so when reading one of Cooper's early moves he instantly recognizes it as out of character for Cooper, and hence surmises that Cooper is receiving outside help and that he is trying to play to a stalemate.
  • Things That Go Bump in the Night: BOB.
  • To Hell and Back: Cooper in the series finale. The Black Lodge may not be Hell itself, but neither is it pleasant.
    • But did he really come back???
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Killer BOB.
  • Transvestite: A young and studly David Duchovny as DEA Agent Dennis Denise Bryson.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The corrupt businessman who pretty much runs Twin Peaks is secretly funding a brothel and casino beyond the Canadian border. The town darling is a prostitute and drug addict in her spare time. Did we mention that the town also contains hidden access to the home of some really weird creatures that speak almost only in riddles?
  • Turn in Your Badge: Season 2, episode 10.

    U-Z 

This show's production and television run provided examples of:

  • Executive Meddling: Responsible for Cooper and Audrey, who everyone involved wanted to end up together, being paired off with two new love interests and suffering a bad case of Love Makes You Stupid in the last few episodes of the show.
  • Kudzu Plot
  • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: The movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Subverted in that it was actually a prequel. Well, sort of...
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Lampshaded by Mädchen Amick when discussing fan reaction to the solving of the central mystery:
    "As much as I heard, everywhere I went, 'Who killed Laura Palmer?', I don't think anybody was very happy to find out who it was. They liked to want to know, not necessarily to know."
  • Weirdness Censor: Many of the residents of Twin Peaks are unfazed by the strange goings on in their town. This is justified as most are simply to absorbed in their own matters to care. For example, Nadine excitedly mentions to a stranger that she finally figured out how to make quiet drap-runners by using cotton balls. During this explanation, she nonchalantly mentions she figured it out while waiting for her husband to be released from intensive care, not elaborating on how he got there. The others are members of the Bookhouse Boys and are already accustomed to the paranormal nature of the town. Subsequently they accept Agent Cooper's strange methods at face value, as his unorthodox tactics appear practical to them.
  • Wham Episode: The final one, and several others along the way, including Maddy's death at the hands of Laura's killer. Basically, whenever The Giant shows up you know it's going to be one of these.
    It is happening. Again.
    • And of course, the first season finale. Audrey is captured at "One-Eyed Jack's", Nadine tries to commit suicide, Leland murders the newly captured Jacques Renault in the hospital, Leo tries to kill Bobby but is shot by Hank, the mill burns down with Catherine and Shelly inside as Pete rushes to the rescue and Cooper is shot in his hotel room by an unknown assailant.
    • Mark Frost has talked about how he really wasn't sure the show would get a second season, so he packed every conceivable cliffhanger he could into the first season finale (to the point that it almost became a parody) in the hopes that someone would say, "Okay, I have to know what happens next."
  • Wrap It Up

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alternative title(s): Twin Peaks
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