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 9,924 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 17 critic

An eccentric, mystical FBI agent arrives in the small Pacific Northwest town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of a young high school girl.


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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?


The 90 minute pilot (Region 3 DVD) does not feature the dream sequence ending seen in other versions. Also, Laura's mom screams at the end when the broken heart necklace is dug up, not from seeing Bob at the foot of Laura's bed. See more »


Laura Palmer's body is found on what is supposedly a lake shore in front of the Packard home. During the filming sequence however, the tide lowers and the shore becomes more exposed - a highly unlikely occurrence on a lake. The scene was filmed at the Kiana Lodge on Agate Pass in Puget Sound and between takes, the tide went out. See more »


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


Referenced in Greedy Guts (2000) See more »


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

TV phenomenon of 1990
31 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Laura palmer (Sheryl Lee) is found dead--nude and wrapped in plastic. She was born, raised and killed in the town of Twin Peaks. The town sheriff (Michael Ontkean) and FBI Ageny Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) try to find out who killed her...and why. We are then introduced to the interesting...and very bizarre...residents of the town.

Absolutely fascinating. This exploded on TV in 1990 and was a huge hit. It led to the series which (unfortunately) was buried in bad time slots and mismanaged by the network (for instance, director/co-writer David Lynch was never going to tell who killed Laura but the network forced him to come up with a killer leading to a REAL stupid unmasking). Still, it was well ahead of its time and absolutely fascinating. It's like Peyton Place on drugs--or Peyton Place as done by David Lynch.

The opening pilot (which has an alternate ending) was released in Europe as a movie. It's just incredible--beautifully directed with a now classic movie score that perfectly fits the material. It's full of fascinating characters and images and--like most Lynch movies--has plenty of purposely strange moments--but it's never TOO obscure or disgusting (he DID have to keep in TV standards). The characters are full 3-dimensional people--weird perhaps but full characters. Also there are teenagers who (for once) are treated with respect and ACT like teenagers.

The acting is almost great across the board--but Dana Ashbrook, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Finn, Ray Wise and James Marshall are especially good. The only bad performances are by Kyle MacLachlan (TOO strange) and Micheal Ontkean (TOO emotionless). Still this is great. Never dull and just beautifully done. A must-see. But if you don't like Lynch you might want to steer clear of this. A 10.

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