The 37 characters returning for the "Twin Peaks" revival — and what you need to know about them
In just a few months, the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington — and all of its wacky, occasionally disturbed residents — will return to TV after a 26-year hiatus, still with executive producer-slash-auteur David Lynch at the helm.
Lucky for fans of the cult favorite original, literally dozens of members of the original series’ cast are set to return either in lead, recurring, or cameo roles, with only a few notable exceptions — like Lara Flynn Boyle’s Donna Hayward, Piper Laurie’s Catherine Martell, and Michael Ontkean’s Sheriff Harry S. Truman — sitting out for the second go-round, with new blood like Laura Dern and Amanda Seyfriend daring to venture into the haunted woods for the very first time.
And since not everyone will have time to visit (or re-visit) Twin Peaks before its Showtime debut on May 21st, here’s the lowdown on every cast member returning — and where we last saw them:
Special Agent Dale Cooper
The star of the show, as played by Kyle McLaughlin, entered Twin Peaks as an outsider when he was tasked with investigating the death of the popular, enigmatic 17-year-old Laura Palmer. He eventually found her killer thanks in part to some supernatural dream-visions, but soon fell in too deep and got stuck in the evil that resides in the town, as the series ended with Cooper stuck in the demonic “Black Lodge” realm.
As played by fan-favorite Sherilyn Fenn, the whip-smart, curious teen Audrey — daughter of the richest man in Twin Peaks — helped Cooper in his investigation into her classmate’s death, eventually developing legitimate feelings for him (and going undercover as a prostitute, which led to her briefly being kidnapped by some of her father’s enemies) along the way. They never hooked up due to issues offscreen (McLaughlin objected to his character romancing a high school girl), and Audrey’s fate was left hanging in the finale as well, as she got in the way of a bomb at a bank.
Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson
As played by Sheryl Lee, both Laura and her cousin, Maddy, were killed by a demon called Killer Bob’s (or sometimes just Bob’s) spirit possessing the body of Leland Palmer — Laura’s dad and Maddy’s uncle, with the former’s death serving as the central event of the series. In life, Laura was tortured by long-term abuse by her father, and via the FBI’s investigation it was revealed that she was secretly working as a prostitute and abusing cocaine before she was killed.
Maddy was Laura’s bookish, innocent cousin who came to stay with the Palmer family after her death … and of course, was brutally murdered for her trouble.
Both characters frequently appeared in Cooper’s dreams, either at the Black or the White Lodge, to give him clues and warn him of dangers to come.
As played by Mädchen Amick, Shelly Johnson’s plot line largely revolved around she and her boyfriend Bobby Briggs’ attempts to kill her abusive husband, Leo. Leo was eventually rendered comatose, with Shelly and Bobby conspiring to live off his insurance money, but he later regained some cognitive abilities … only to be kidnapped by a psychopath (Cooper’s ex-partner, Windom Earle), forced into slavery, and left to die a horrific death.
At the end of the series, Shelly declined Bobby’s marriage proposal.
As played by Ray Wise, Leland, Laura’s father and killer, was possessed as a child by the demonic spirit of Killer Bob. He (well, Bob) molested and raped Laura for years before ultimately killing her, and he also offed both his niece, Maddy, and murder suspect Jacques Renault at Bob’s behest. He died in police custody, and Cooper later saw his spirit residing in the Black Lodge.
As played by Grace Zabriskie, Sarah, Laura’s grieving mother, spent much of the series having a nervous breakdown over the deaths of her daughter and her niece, as well as over her husband’s shady behavior. She was also shown to have some supernatural abilities in predicting the future and seeing things (notably Bob) that no one else could.
As played Dana Ashbrook, Bobby was Laura’s boyfriend and cocaine dealer. He cheated on her with Shelly Johnson, his partner throughout the series to whom he later (unsuccessfully) proposed marriage.
As played by Richard Beymer (aka Tony from West Side Story), the wealthiest man in town — and Audrey’s dad — was one of the primary antagonists of the original series, despite having nothing to do with Laura’s death. He owned The Great Northern Hotel, the department store Horne’s, and One Eyed Jack’s, a casino-slash-brothel across the Canadian border. He had an affair with Laura after she began working as a prostitute at One Eyed Jack’s, and was eventually arrested for her murder … until Cooper fingered Leland as the real killer, and set Ben free.
At the end of the series he fell into a deep depression and began to atone for his many sins, one of them being an affair with Eileen Hayward 17 years before that had led to the birth of Eileen’s daughter, Donna. When Eileen’s husband (and Donna’s previously presumed father) Doc Hayward found out, he punched Ben, resulting in yet another cliffhanger where Ben cracked his head on fireplace equipment.
As played by James Marshell, James Hurley began seeing Laura behind Bobby’s back before her death, and Donna Hayward afterwards. He lived with his Uncle Ed and Aunt Nadine due to his troubled family situation, and later left Twin Peaks on his motorcycle to see the world and avoid the drama.
As played by Everett McGill, “Big Ed” was married to Nadine but in love with Norma Jennings, his high school crush. He suffered a tremendous amount of guilt for his role in a hunting accident that took Nadine’s eye, and therefore stayed put in his marriage despite being tremendously unhappy.
By the end of the series, Nadine had mentally regressed into her teen years thanks to a suicide attempt, so Ed planned to finally marry Norma … until Nadine suffered a blow to the head and snapped out of it, leaving the wedding plans up in the air.
He was also one of “Bookhouse Boys” that unofficially served as deputy to Sheriff Truman.
As played by Peggy Lipton, Norma, the owner of the Double R Diner, was Shelly’s boss, Big Ed’s lover, and wife to the paroled criminal Hank, who later returned to prison. Much of her plot revolved around her affair with Ed, her troubled relationship with Hank, and her knowledge of Laura Palmer, thanks to the two of them working with the Meals on Wheels program.
As played by Wendy Robie, Nadine was batshit insane, with her plot in the first season largely revolving around her manic attempt to build the world’s first completely silent drape-runners. When her invention failed to sell, she overdosed on pills, fell into a coma, and woke up thinking she was a teenager. She joined the high school wrestling team thanks to her superhuman strength, began dating that team’s captain (yeah, we know), and left Ed and Norma to continue their affair in peace … until she got hit in the noggin and regained all of her adult memories, just in time for the finale.
As played by Harry Goaz, Andy was a dim but dedicated deputy in the Twin Peaks sheriff department. When he wasn’t out investigating Laura’s murder, he was either dating or fighting with Lucy Moran.
As played by Kimmy Robertson, Lucy was the childlike receptionist at the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department. She dated Andy Brennan, and began fighting with him once she became pregnant … either with his or Dick Tremayne’s baby. Before the baby’s birth, she decided that no matter who the child’s biological father was, she wanted Andy to be its father.
Tommy “Hawk” Hill
As played by Michael Horse, Hawk was yet another deputy in Sheriff Truman’s department. He played a major role in the investigation into Laura’s demise, and — thanks, of course, to his Native American ancestry — seemed to have a firmer grasp on the spiritual goings-on in Twin Peaks than his coworkers.
Dr. Lawrence Jacoby
As play by Russ Tamblyn (yep, Amber’s dad), Dr. Jacoby was the ~ eccentric ~ Hawaiian-shirt-wearing therapist of Laura Palmer, and also (of course) a suspect in her death. He was close to Laura because working on her case helped him care about his patients — who also included Ben Horne and Nadine Hurley.
As famously played by David Duchovny, Dennis/Denise was a DEA agent who came to Twin Peaks to help Cooper, after the latter got in hot water with the Canadian Mounties and the FBI for mishandling Audrey’s rescue from One Eyed Jack’s on their terf. (And also, for allegedly stealing cocaine.)
“Dennis” initially became Denise when she tried on women’s clothing during a sting operation and found it relaxing, though she sometimes switched back to Dennis when the job called for it because, well, it was the early ’90s and no one knew anything about trans people.
As played by Miguel Ferrer, Rosenfield was a forensic analyst called in by Cooper to assist on Laura’s case — though his rough demeanor and disdain for small town life caused issues with the Sheriff’s Department, most notably Sheriff Truman, who punched him in the face.
After Laura’s case was solved, Rosenfield returned to Twin Peaks to help Cooper hunt for Windom Earle, the madman who went on to kill Leo Johnson with a bunch of spiders.
As played by David Patrick Kelly, Jerry was the douchebag little brother of Ben Horne, as well as his business associate and emissary. Though arguably as intelligent as Ben, Jerry dressed and acted in a flamboyant, “playboy” manner that made him less equipped for leadership, but perfect as a lackey.
As played by Lynch himself, Cole was Cooper’s immediate FBI supervisor. His most notable character trait was being hard of hearing, to the point where he had to wear hearing aids at maximum volume and spoke VERY LOUDLY for comic relief. He popped up in Twin Peaks now and then when Cooper needed assistance, and once kissed Shelly — the only person whom he could hear speak at a normal volume — in front of Bobby at the Double R Diner.
Phillip Michael Gerard
As played by Al Strobel, Phillip — also known as the One-Armed Man — played host to the spirit of Killer Bob’s serial killing partner-in-crime, Mike. Mike, however, realized the err of his ways and cut off his own arm to repent, and later spent his time in a traveling shoe salesman’s body trying to stop Killer Bob. He also appeared to Cooper in dreams to try to assist in the investigation.
As played by Phoebe Augustine, Ronette worked with Laura both at the perfume counter at Horne’s and as a prostitute at One Eyed Jack’s. She was with Laura the night of her death, and was also raped, beaten, and left for dead by Bob/Leland … but Ronette managed to escape, and was later able to identify Bob from an FBI drawing.
As played by Gary Hershberger, Mike was Bobby’s best friend, Donna’s boyfriend (before James), and of course, a drug dealer. He dated Nadine when she thought she was a teenager, but was left devastated when she regained her adult memories and left him.
As played by Carel Struycken, The Giant was a supernatural entity who appeared to Cooper in visions, most notably after he’d been shot. He gave him cryptic clues about Laura’s killer, alerted him to Maddy’s demise, and eventually, warned him not to allow his girlfriend Annie (Heather Graham, who is not returning) to compete in the Miss Twin Peaks contest — as doing so led to his eventual demise and entrapment in the Black Lodge. The Giant sometimes possessed the body of an elderly waiter at the Great Northern Hotel.
The Log Lady
As played by the late Catherine E. Coulson, who wrapped filming on the revival before her death in 2015, the Log Lady claimed to have a psychic connection to the log she carried with her pretty much 24/7; a log that apparently could communicate with supernatural realms. She acted as a medium between the log and the FBI, and was a frequent asset to Cooper.
As played by Walter Olkewicz, Jacques was the middle brother in the criminal Renault family. He also ran drugs across the border with Leo Johnson, worked as a casino dealer at One Eyed Jack’s, and had rough sex with Laura the night of her death (along with Leo). He fled Twin Peaks after Laura’s murder, but was eventually tricked into returning by Cooper … and later suffocated to death by Leland at the hospital.
As played by Jan D’Arcy, Ben Horne’s wife (and Audrey’s mother) was a very minor character, most known for being (understandably) very mad at her awful husband and his awful brother.
As played by Warren Frost, Doc Hayward was Eileen’s husband, father to their three daughters (though as mentioned, he was not the biological father of Donna), and Ben Horne’s cuckold. He was way nicer and seemingly more normal than most characters on the show.
As played by Charlotte Stewart, Betty was mother to Bobby and wife to Major Garland Briggs (who will not appear in the revival, as actor Don S. Davis died in 2008). She was sweet, religious, and not really involved in the main events of the series.
As played by Alicia Witt, Gersten was Donna’s youngest sister — a gifted student and pianist whose most famous act on the show was playing “Get Happy” at a manic Leland’s request.
As played by Harry Dean Stanton, Carl, manager of the Fat Trout Trailer Park, was primarily featured in Fire Walk with Me, a prequel film focused on the final seven days of Laura’s life. Yet another teen prostitute and cocaine addict — and a friend of Laura’s — Teresa Banks, was murdered in the park by Leland Palmer.
Cook at the Double R Diner
As played by Marvin Rosand, Cook at the Double R Diner was … the cook, at the Double R Diner.
As played by Andrea Hays, Heidi was that German waitress at the Double R Diner.
Louie “Birdsong” Budway
As played by Bellina Martin Logan, Birdsong was a desk clerk at the Great Northern Hotel.
The Roadhouse Singer
As played by Julee Cruise, the Roadhouse Singer was the ethereal singer at the Roadhouse.
As played by Carlton Lee Russell, the Jumping Man appeared once as a spirit in the Black Lodge. He wore a white mask and, well, jumped.