6 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Twin Peaks’ Investigator Dale Cooper

Kim Taylor-Foster
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The Twin Peaks revival is gathering pace. The all-new third season brings back many of the old faces and picks up 25 years after the chilling and mysterious ending of the show’s second season, which aired its final episode in 1991. One of those returning faces is Kyle MacLachlan, who reprises the role of everybody’s favourite FBI agent, Dale Cooper. There are many things we know about Coop – that he loves coffee and cherry pie for one thing – but there are some little-known facts about him that you just might thank us for revealing here.

1. He Has a Middle Name

And it’s Bartholomew. This tidbit of information was published in a Twin Peaks trading cards set that was released in 1991, along with Coop’s date of birth – April 19, 1954. This makes him an Aries. It also stated the place in which he grew up – Philadelphia. This was confirmed in the book The Autobiography of Special Agent Dale Cooper, which was written by Scott Frost, the brother of Mark Frost who co-created the series alongside David Lynch. He also penned two Twin Peaks episodes.

2. He Once Went Undercover as Barney Rubble

Twin peaks
Dale Cooper holds a chip from One Eyed Jack's

This happened when Cooper visited sleazy club One Eyed Jack‘s with Bookhouse Boy Ed Hurley to investigate Jacques Renault in the series. The pair identified themselves as Barney and Fred to madame Blackie O’Reilly, who didn’t bat an eyelid as she directed them to the casino. Perhaps she’d never seen The Flintstones?

3. He Shares His Name with a Legendary Figure

Twin Peaks Dale Cooper
Agent Cooper shares his name with a legend of another kind

Namely D.B. Cooper, the name given to an unknown hijacker of a plane flying between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. He extorted $200,000 in ransom and then parachuted out and was never seen again. The name wasn’t plucked from nowhere, although it’s unlikely to be the culprit’s real name – he bought his plane ticket under the alias Dan Cooper. The FBI kept the case open for 45 years before eventually suspending it in July 2016. Having already established that Dale Cooper’s middle name is Bartholomew, the fictional federal investigator is also D.B. Cooper.

4. He Drops a Lynch Easter Egg in the Pilot Episode

In a speech he has in the show’s first episode, Cooper makes an oblique reference to a Marilyn Monroe biopic Twin Peaks creators David Lynch and Mark Frost had planned. Remember the scene? It’s the one where he’s hanging upside down in his hotel room speaking into his voice recorder.

“There are two things that continue to trouble me, and I’m speaking now not only as an agent of the bureau but also as a human being. What really went on between Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys, and who really pulled the trigger on JFK?” he muses.

Not only does the scene reference the ill-fated Frost-Lynch Marilyn biopic, it also recalls the famous Richard Gere scene from Paul Schrader’s 1980 hit American Gigolo.

5. Coop Was Meant to Start a Relationship with Audrey

That’s right. Agent Cooper was supposed to embark on a full-blown romance with Audrey Horne, who expressed her affection for him in the series. But Kyle MacLachlan’s girlfriend at the time, Lara Flynn Boyle – Donna Hayward in the show – stepped in and put a stop to it. That’s according to Sherilyn Fenn, who plays Audrey, who spilled the beans in an interview with The A.V. Club.

“She was mad that my character was getting more attention, so then Kyle started saying that his character shouldn’t be with my character because it doesn’t look good, ’cause I’m too young. Literally, because of that, they brought in Heather Graham — who’s younger than I am — for him and Billy Zane for me. I was not happy about it. It was stupid.” – Sherilyn Fenn

Fenn may not have agreed but Kyle MacLachlan’s reasoning, of course, makes sense – the argument that Audrey was too young for Dale Cooper is spot on. She’s of high school age in the show. It would have put a whole new perspective on the moral, upstanding FBI agent, who already transgressed once by having an affair with Windom Earle’s wife. Something that always seemed a little out of character.

6. Dale Cooper Appeared on Saturday Night Live

Dale Cooper popped up on Saturday Night Live when Kyle MacLachlan hosted and appeared as the character in a send-up sketch. The action takes place in a mock-up of his Twin Peaks hotel room. It parodies the convoluted plotlines and surreal tone of the show, as well as a host of Twin Peaks characters including Leland Palmer, Leo Johnson, Harry Truman, Nadine Hurley, the Log Lady, Audrey Horne and The Man From Another Place. The sketch notably features Chris Farley and Mike Myers.

Catch the new season of ‘Twin Peaks’ on May 21 in the US and May 22 in the UK.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.
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