Twin Peaks: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (8 Apr. 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 9,514 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 18 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?


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 »


At the end of the pilot, Sarah Palmer wakes up from the sofa screaming due to her vision. In the mirror above the sofa, you can see a reflection of what appears to be Frank Silva (Bob). Silva may have been off camera as he was the "on-set dresser" for this episode. It is more likely that he was there to assist Grace Zabriskie with her performance by recreating the scene in her vision (UK version of pilot). See more »


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


Referenced in Silent Hill (1999) 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

Too much for mainstream America's TV?
3 July 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When Laura Palmer is murdered in the quiet town of Twin Peaks, the similarities to another murder brings the involvement of the FBI in the form of Agent Dale Cooper. Cooper teams up with Sheriff Truman to help catch the killer. However using Cooper's less than conventional methods they find a mysterious world of goings on in the small town leading as far as drugs, deceit and demons.

David Lynch's television series falls somewhere between the themes of his films without the 18-rated content and a bit of a failure. Since Lynch's films don't get multiplex audiences it's perhaps surprising that this series was so successful (apart from being cancelled of course!). Lynch's look at oddities etc in normal life and his themes of things being wrong just behind the picket fences (see also Blue Velvet) come through well, as does his eye for quirky characters. Each episode had a cliff hanger of sorts although sometimes the plot spun wildly out of control. The actually twists in the identity of the killer and certainly the overall ending was maybe too much for mainstream America to deal with in a TV show but most of this is pure Lynch.

The performances are all good and link with his quirky vision well. Lynch favourite Kyle MacLachlan is good as Cooper while the rest of the cast are made up by TV actors on the whole who manage to hold a small town, TV drama feel to the whole thing that makes it feel that little bit more uncomfortable when the weirdness comes. Small roles from the likes of Miguel Ferrer, Lynch etc add interest.

Overall this is a long Lynch movie. Demons, drugs, weird characters all in a normal picket fence community. Very enjoyable if a little to much to last several series. Depending on how you feel about it the ending is either a superb place to leave it as it shows the power of evil, or a huge let down. I liked it myself.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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