Twin Peaks: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (8 Apr. 1990)

TV Episode  |  Unrated  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 10,153 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 18 critic

Undercurrents of passion, greed, jealousy and intrigue surface in a seemingly respectable town when a high school homecoming queen is found murdered.


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Title: Pilot (08 Apr 1990)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Shelly Johnson (as Madchen Amick)


FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, a mystical loner and eccentric nature lover, comes to the small Washington state town of Twin Peaks to investigate the brutal murder of a young high school girl named Laura Palmer and soon becomes entangled in most of the town's problems and situations. Written by Matthew Patay

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Mystery That Holds Its Secret To The Very End


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

8 April 1990 (USA)  »

Box Office


$3,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although Joan Chen assumed the role of Jocelyn "Josie" Packard, the character was originally written as an Italian woman named Giovanna Pasquialini Packard, with Isabella Rossellini slated for the role. This earlier version of the character appears in the first pilot script David Lynch and Mark Frost submitted to ABC. In this seminal draft, the series was entitled NORTHWEST PASSAGE. See more »


As Sheriff Truman picks up the phone to take the call about Laura's body from Pete Martell, the reflection of the director wearing headphones can be seen in the glass. See more »


[first lines]
Pete Martell: She's dead. Wrapped in plastic.
See more »


Referenced in Mother Night (1996) See more »


The Nightingale
Lyric by David Lynch
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
Performed by Julee Cruise
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

Mystery, Murder, Mayhem, Mysticism...With Pie and Coffee to Go!
26 July 2003 | by (Arlington, VA.) – See all my reviews

With the exception of THE X-FILES, (which owes a great debt to this series, as well as several others,) no other series stimulated, captivated, obsessed and infuriated me more than TWIN PEAKS. I got the impression that by the end of its run, somewhere the great Alfred Hitchcock was nodding and smiling in approval. Of all the McGuffins ever perpetrated by filmmakers since Hitch came along, David Lynch and Mark Frost pulled off perhaps one of the greatest that ever became a TV show. And in the process, they reminded us that not all great actors are blond, blue-eyed and buffed to perfection.

Lynch cast his BLUE VELVET protégé, Kyle MacLachlan, as the quirky but diligent Agent Dale Cooper, investigating the brutal murder of town Teen Queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Yet, just as he showed us in VELVET, nothing is at all what it seems on the surface, and if you dare to look closer, you can find the truth about fantasy and reality, as well as the fragile curtain that separates them both...if your mind can take it!

IMNSHO, once the murderer of Laura Palmer was finally revealed, that's when the whole thing should've ended. This would've made the quintessential "limited-run" series in that case. But here's where Lynch and Frost became magicians...and started pulling dead, mutilated rabbits out of their collective hat. The more questions that were answered about Laura's death, the more other questions, other mysteries were uncovered...and the Great McGuffin was on!

Looking back now, I still get a little miffed when I recall how the whole series finally "ended," (but not really.) But more importantly, was I entertained nevertheless? I'd have to concur with that and vote a definite yes.

Besides, it was a great proving ground for some budding talent behind the camera, most of whom are still with us today, and still working. And what a rich gold mine of talent on the other side. In fine, Lynchian fashion, we got glimpses of some of the best character artists and new young talent not yet found or rediscovered in Hollyweird. We witnessed the return of Michael Ontkean, Piper Laurie, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn and Peggy Lipton, amongst others. Besides MacLachlan, we got intimate with such great players as Michael Horse, Kimmy Robertson, Everett McGill, Warren Frost, Wendy Robie, Ray Wise, Don Davis and even Mr. Lynch himself.

We made the acquaintance of new talents like Dana Ashbrook, Gary Hershberger, James Marshall, Joan Chen and Eric DaRe, some of whom still appear on our radar from time to time, and some who don't.

We got to meet members of the "Lynch Repertory Players," those actors who would appear in pivotal roles in all of his work to come (and some who had been with him from the very beginning), from the late, great Jack Nance and the enigmatic Michael Anderson, to the irreplaceable Grace Zabriskie as Laura's freaky, psychic mom.

And ah, yes, the Peaks Girls. Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn, and of course, the indispensable Sheryl Lee.

Not to mention Lynch's good-humored nods to "the Warhol rule," where such unlikely actors as Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady) and Frank Silva (Killer Bob) gained temporary notoriety, and eternal fame as some of the best Trivial Pursuit subjects ever.

And those guest stars. David Patrick Kelley. Heather Graham. Miguel Ferrer. And even in a brief cameo as a transvestite who just happened to be an FBI agent, some very game young actor by the unlikely name of David Duchovny.

With the release of the pilot episode to supplement the boxed set, we finally have it all...the Complete Experience. I could never stay mad at David and Mark for very long, and I have a taste for some cherry pie and coffee the way I like it...DAMN good. And HOT!

And my advice to anyone glued to BIG BROTHER 14, JOE MILLIONAIRE MEETS THE BIMBOETTE or EXTREME MONEYGRUBBING...Get to your nearest video store and buy or rent the entire series. Try some "UNreality-TV" for a change.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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