Twin Peaks - Season 1, Episode 3 - Rotten Tomatoes

Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Episode Info

Originally broadcast on April 19, 1990, the memorable and pivotal second episode of Twin Peaks, "Zen, or the Skill of Catching a Killer," contains the infamous surreal dream sequence with the Little Man From Another Place (Michael J. Anderson). On Saturday night, sleazy businessman Benjamin Horne (Richard Beymer) and his immature brother, Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly), visit the brothel One-Eyed Jacks for a night of debauchery. Meanwhile, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Mike (Gary Hershberger) meet Leo (Eric Da Re) in the woods for a drug deal. The next morning, Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) decides to teach Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and his crew about Tibet. In order to gain perspective on the identity of the "J" name referred to in Laura Palmer's diary, Cooper reads "J" names aloud along with their connection to Laura, then throws a rock at a bottle. The bottle breaks after the name Leo Johnson is read. Also that morning, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) run into each other at the Double R diner. At the morgue, the angry pathologist Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) has arrived to inspect the body, and he wastes no time insulting the residents of Twin Peaks, especially Sheriff Truman. That night, Pete Martell (Jack Nance) complicates Catherine's plans to burn the mill when he sneaks a key to Josie Packard (Joan Chen). Finally, in an unforgettable montage, Cooper has a dream involving the One-Armed Man, the Little Man From Another Place, and Killer Bob in a red-curtained room. He wakes up believing he knows who killed Laura Palmer.


Kyle MacLachlan
as Agent Dale Cooper
Joan Chen
as Jocelyn `Josie' Packard
Mädchen Amick
as Shelly Johnson
Eric DaRe
as Leo Johnson
Ray Wise
as Leland Palmer
Lara Flynn Boyle
as Donna Hayward
Dana Ashbrook
as Bobby Briggs
Sheryl Lee
as Laura Palmer
Jack Nance
as Pete Martell
Michael Ontkean
as Sheriff Harry S. Truman
Piper Laurie
as Catherine Martell
Eric Da Re
as Leo Johnson
Sherilyn Fenn
as Audrey Horne
Peggy Lipton
as Norma Jennings
Richard Beymer
as Benjamin Horne
View All

Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer Photos

Critic reviews for Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer

I didn't sign up for this. Okay, I totally did but not for this. Just when I try to go and make a note of something that happened on Twin Peaks, some other surreal dreamscape/missing-appendage-ghost/blood-curdling scream distracts me.

May 19, 2017 | Full Review…

A show that is trying too hard to be weird for the sake of being weird.

August 21, 2018 | Full Review…

Also, Leo is easily the most terrifying character I've seen on a major network TV show. I don't believe he killed Laura Palmer, but I doubt whoever DID will terrify me as much as the sight of Leo with a soap-filled sock.

June 13, 2017 | Full Review…

With only two episodes behind it, Twin Peaks was firmly established, if on uncertain ground, and for the moment at least, no one in the country could look away.

May 19, 2017 | Full Review…

This is the episode where everything that makes Twin Peaks really Twin Peaks come together.

May 17, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Though it is best known for the way it ends, this defining episode of Twin Peaks is packed with many wonderments.

May 19, 2017 | Full Review…

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