Twin Peaks: Season 1 (1990)

SEASON:

Season 1
Twin Peaks

Critics Consensus

Twin Peaks plays with TV conventions to deliver a beguiling -- and unsettling -- blend of seemingly disparate genres, adding up to an offbeat drama with a distinctly unique appeal.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 29

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1030

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Episodes

Air date: Apr 8, 1990

Also known as "The Northwest Passage," the two-hour pilot episode of Twin Peaks originally aired April 8, 1990. The central plot of the series is set when Pete Martell (Jack Nance) finds the body of high school student Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) wrapped in plastic by the water at the Packard Sawmill dock. As the town slowly gets word of her murder, Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) from the FBI arrives in the Washington town of Twin Peaks to investigate. Assisted by Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), Cooper retrieves Laura's secret diary and a videotape. At the morgue, Cooper discovers the letter "R" from under Laura's fingernail, evidence similar to the murder case of Theresa Banks a year ago. Meanwhile, at the Great Northern Hotel, Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) disrupts her father's business deal, causing the would-be investors to back out. Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) and Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) locate the scene of the murder and find half of a gold heart necklace. Also, Laura's safe deposit box is opened, revealing a copy of Fleshworld magazine and about ten thousand dollars. Laura's boyfriend, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), who is having a secret affair with waitress Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick), is brought in for questioning. Later on at the Roadhouse, Laura's other boyfriend, James Hurley (James Marshall), kisses Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle), Laura's best friend. This episode features Julee Cruise singing "Falling" and "The Nightingale" during the scenes at the Roadhouse. The American broadcast version ends with Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) having a vision about the other half of the heart necklace. The European release contains extra scenes and an alternate ending. The Twin Peaks pilot episode was not included on the 2001 Artisan Entertainment DVD release of Twin Peaks: The First Season due to rights restrictions.

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In David Lynch's cult mystery drama, the murder of local high school girl Laura Palmer brings quirky FBI agent Dale Cooper to the town of Twin Peaks.

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In David Lynch's cult mystery drama. the murder of local high school girl Laura Palmer brings quirky FBI agent Dale Cooper to the town of Twin Peaks.

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Air date: Apr 26, 1990

Originally broadcast on April 26, 1990, episode three of Twin Peaks, "Rest in Pain," takes place the day of Laura Palmer's funeral. After having breakfast with Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn), Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) explains his dream to Sheriff Harry Truman (Michael Ontkean), claiming it is a code that reveals the identity of Laura's killer. At the morgue, Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) wants to continue the autopsy while Doctor Hayward (Warren Frost) wants to release the body for the funeral. Albert doles out insults and Harry punches him out. The autopsy report reveals that Laura had been tied up and cut on the night of her death, and that she was addicted to cocaine. Laura's cousin, Madeline (also played by Sheryl Lee), arrives for the funeral, where Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and James (James Marshall) get into a fight and Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) loses control. That evening is a full moon, and Cooper gets introduced to the Bookhouse Boys, a secret society formed to get rid of the evil presence in the woods. They find out somebody is running drugs across the Canadian border into Twin Peaks and they capture Bernard Renault (Clay Wilcox).

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Air date: May 3, 1990

The investigation into Laura Palmer's murder continues in Twin Peaks, Vol. 4, the fourth regular-season episode of David Lynch and Mark Frost's ground-breaking television series, combining elements of soap opera, murder mystery, horror film, and postmodern comedy. In this installment, directed by Tim Hunter (River's Edge), Agent Dale Cooper finds his dream visions paying off: Sarah Palmer, Laura's mother, has also had visions of the evil man named Bob, while Deputy Hawk has located the One-Armed Man of Cooper's dream. Yet these leads, which point towards local veterinarian Bob Lydecker, seem like a fruitless dead-end -- that is, until the call from the FBI forensic lab reveals that mysterious bites on Laura Palmer's body were made by a mynah bird, a fact that points them towards several other clues. Also searching for clues are Laura's classmates Audrey Horne and Donna Hayward; Audrey begins to suspect that her father may be involved with Laura's death, while Donna finds herself falling in love with Laura's former boyfriend James Hurley. Meanwhile, the drug ring collapses in on itself, secret plans are made regarding the saw mill, and Hank Jennings is released from prison, all of which means the town may soon face a whole new series of problems.

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Air date: May 10, 1990

Episode five of the first season of Twin Peaks, "Cooper's Dreams," originally aired on May 10, 1990, and was directed by Lesli Linka Glatter. Trying to start her own investigation, Audrey goes to a job interview at her father's department store. She manipulates the manager, Emory Battis (Don Amendolia), into a job at the perfume counter and learns some secret connections between Horne's and One-Eyed Jacks. Hank Jennings (Chris Mulkey) returns from prison to work at the Double R Diner, so Norma tells Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) that they can't continue their affair. Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) has a counseling session with the Briggs family, and Bobby reveals details about Laura's connection to drugs. Agent Cooper, Hawk, Sheriff Truman, and Doctor Hayward go hiking in the woods and have tea with Margaret Lanterman (Catherine Coulson), also known as the Log Lady, who tells them about her visions on the night of Laura's murder. While out in the woods, they find Jacques Renault's cabin full of clues, along with a possible witness -- a mynah bird named Waldo. That night, the Icelanders have a reception at the Great Northern, where Audrey spies on Catherine and Ben, and Leland dances out of control. James and Donna continue their own investigation with the help of Madeline, who shares clues that she found in Laura's bedroom. The main suspect, Leo Johnson, is assaulted by both Hank and Shelly.

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Air date: May 17, 1990

Twin Peaks, Vol. 6 is the sixth regular-season episode of Twin Peaks, the famed, short-lived television serial from David Lynch and Mark Frost. This volume centers around the undercover infiltration of One-Eyed Jack's, another step in the investigation of Laura Palmer's murder. Agent Dale Cooper, Sheriff Harry Truman and Big Ed Hurley all explore the casino and brothel, posing as oral surgeons. Audrey Horne has also been working been her way into One-Eyed Jack's -- posing not as a customer, but as a potential employee, recruited in the same manner as Laura Palmer. Audrey winds up there on the same night as does central suspect Jacques Renault. Meanwhile, James Hurley and Donna Hayward, suspicious of Dr. Jacoby, lay a trap for him by disguising Laura's cousin Madeline as Laura, back from the dead. This installment, directed by famed cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, contains some of the most memorable moments of the series, which is characterized by bizarre comedy and surreal details within an atmosphere of brooding mystery. Especially notable scenes are Audrey's "audition" for Blackie, where she ties a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue, and the ultimate fate of Waldo the mynah bird.

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Air date: May 24, 1990

The final cliffhanger episode of the first season of Twin Peaks, entitled "The Last Evening," originally aired on May 24, 1990, and was written and directed by series co-creator Mark Frost. James (James Marshall) and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) search for clues and find the missing tape, while Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) gets assaulted and ends up in the hospital. Agent Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) undercover operation at One-Eyed Jacks is successful in setting up and arresting Jacques Renault (Walter Olkewicz), who confesses details about the night of Laura's murder. Also at One-Eyed Jacks, Audrey's secret investigation is almost discovered when her father, Ben Horne, unwittingly goes to visit "the new girl." The end is near for the Packard Sawmill, as Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) prepares to burn it down with Shelley and Catherine inside. Hank Jennings (Chris Mulkey) reveals details of his criminal history, as well as his secret connection to Josie Packard. With several characters meeting their fate in this episode, including the two main suspects (Jacques and Leo), the mystery of Laura Palmer's murder is even more puzzling. The season finale ends with Agent Cooper receiving a gun shot in his room at the Great Northern Hotel.

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Air date: May 17, 1990

Twin Peaks, Vol. 6 is the sixth regular-season episode of Twin Peaks, the famed, short-lived television serial from David Lynch and Mark Frost. This volume centers around the undercover infiltration of One-Eyed Jack's, another step in the investigation of Laura Palmer's murder. Agent Dale Cooper, Sheriff Harry Truman and Big Ed Hurley all explore the casino and brothel, posing as oral surgeons. Audrey Horne has also been working been her way into One-Eyed Jack's -- posing not as a customer, but as a potential employee, recruited in the same manner as Laura Palmer. Audrey winds up there on the same night as does central suspect Jacques Renault. Meanwhile, James Hurley and Donna Hayward, suspicious of Dr. Jacoby, lay a trap for him by disguising Laura's cousin Madeline as Laura, back from the dead. This installment, directed by famed cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, contains some of the most memorable moments of the series, which is characterized by bizarre comedy and surreal details within an atmosphere of brooding mystery. Especially notable scenes are Audrey's "audition" for Blackie, where she ties a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue, and the ultimate fate of Waldo the mynah bird.

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Air date: May 24, 1990

The final episode of the first season of David Lynch and Mark Frost's acclaimed, genre-bending television serial, Twin Peaks, Vol. 7 sees the climax of several important plotlines. Donna Hayward and James Hurley's trap for Dr. Jacoby backfires when he is beaten by a masked man and has a heart attack. Meanwhile, Cooper's undercover infiltration of the local brothel, One-Eyed Jack's, leads to a telling encounter with Jacques Renault, who ultimately confesses to his activities on the night of Laura Palmer's murder. Audrey Horne's evening as a fledging worker in One-Eyed Jack's has taken a much darker turn, however, as she hides from her first potential client: her father. Meanwhile, Leo Johnson sets the mill on fire, with his wife inside; little does he know that plans are being made to dispose of him as well. The episode, directed by Mark Frost, concludes ambiguously, with the appearance of a mystery figure who shoots Agent Cooper in the stomach. Many observers believe the cliffhanger nature of this season-ending episode alienated many viewers who expected a clear-cut solution to the "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" mystery, and that this disappointment contributed heavily to the show's rapid decline in popularity.

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Twin Peaks: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

An FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the strange town of Twin Peaks.

News & Interviews for Twin Peaks: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Twin Peaks Season 1

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (15)

It's the most intelligent, gorgeously filmed and highly stylized series of this disappointing season.

Jan 31, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Twin Peaks is like the horrific, teasing fever nightmare that takes you to the head of the darkened staircase and throws you off, leaving you frozen in midflight at an exquisite peak of terror and wordless exhilaration.

May 14, 2017 | Full Review…

Imagine the eeriness of Twilight Zone, the wit of "Hill Street Blues," the stylishness of Miami Vice and the originality of Max Headroom combined with the vamping and soap-opera enticement of Dynasty.

May 14, 2017 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Twin Peaks isn't just a habitat for murder and weirdness, it's a place where you can fall in love with a stranger in a roadside diner over a cup of coffee as black as midnight on a moonless night.

Jul 31, 2019 | Full Review…

What we have is a leg-pull of considerable class.

Jan 31, 2018 | Full Review…

Twin Peaks, which debuts Sunday as a two-hour movie, is like nothing you've seen in prime time -- or on God's earth. It may be the most hauntingly original work ever done for American TV.

May 14, 2017 | Full Review…

A little weak in sum, but its highlights are blinding and not necessarily limited to David Lynch's contribution.

Jun 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Many remember the eight episodes in season one as being brilliant.

Mar 8, 2019 | Full Review…

Twin Peaks smuggled avant-garde into prime time, brimming with a surrealism you just didn't encounter back then... there's still nothing quite like it on TV.

May 16, 2018 | Full Review…

The foray of filmmaker David (Blue Velvet) Lynch into series television is visually arresting and mysteriously atmospheric, as strange and unsettling a project as any in the medium's history.

May 14, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Still mourning the demise of St. Elsewhere? Tired of chasing Molly Dodd through the cable scheduling maze? Rejoice, lovers of the offbeat: David Lynch has come to television.

May 14, 2017 | Full Review…

More of Lynch's sensibility is visible than would likely have happened before "movie values" recently emerged as a tool for beating video outlets and movie theaters at their own game.

May 14, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Twin Peaks: Season 1

  • 2d ago
    Mahogany was our waitress tonight and the service was fantastic. Drinks were really cold and food was fresh and hot!!
  • Jul 02, 2020
    Absolute fantastic piece of TV that's timeless, and a sustained classic.
  • Jun 28, 2020
    Very very disappointing
  • May 02, 2020
    The hypnotic devil is in the kaleidoscopic details!
  • May 02, 2020
    Twin Peaks couldn't decide which genre it wanted to be so it chose all of the above and has subsequently been accepted as brilliant. Combining genres is tricky because while you could be succeeding in one area, you're often failing in another. This is especially true of Twin Peaks where there are scenes of whacky genius speckled throughout an overly convoluted storyline involving uninteresting and poorly acted characters. While these choices are meant to satirize soap operas, the series ends up being just as unwatchable as the soap operas themselves. When what you are doing is the same as what you're mocking, you're not successfully mocking it. Twin Peaks lacks the inflection in its voice that signifies it's making fun of soap operas not just obliviously being as bad as they are. Then there are creepy scenes and a dark mystery which distract from the comedy and make you wonder if the series wouldn't have been better had it gone the more dramatic and suspenseful route. Still it has its moments: Kyle MacLachlan's character is oddly engaging and the dancing dwarf has got to be one of the best things put on television.
  • Apr 30, 2020
    Diane, it's 2:17 and i've finished season 1 of Twin Peaks. The writing is incredible. Each character is so unique and weird. My favorite characters are Agent Cooper because his dialogue and personality are so likable and hilarious and Audrey because her motivations seem to be so ambiguous. The many different story lines are also really intriguing and well played out.
  • Apr 29, 2020
    First season of the iconic surreal (horror/thriller/comedy/soap opera/mystery) drama was excellent, with quirky and interesting characters and an engaging storyline while keeping the tonal changes and different subplots between the characters consistent and devoting enough time to everything. Second season for me struggled in comparison, especially with subplots, but thoroughly excited to see the revival!
  • Apr 25, 2020
    Though I'm not in love with the show yet, the first season of Twin Peaks is one of the most unique and strangest seasons of television that I've seen and it's impressive that it came out thirty years ago. It has good characters with my favorite being Special Agent Dale Cooper played by Kyle MacLachlan, a compelling mystery, a nice mix of genres like neo-noir, psychological thriller, and black comedy, and David Lynch's signature surreal visual style that is at times dreamlike and also nightmarish.
  • Apr 14, 2020
    Distinctly diverse in tone and character in a way that only Lynch could pull off successfully.
  • Mar 31, 2020
    Intreguing, very exciting to watch. Sometimes bizarre, in the best way possible. Cliffhangers at a master level. Memorable characters.

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