Dale Cooper

Dale Cooper

    Twin Peaks
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in Twin Peaks, Washington. Cooper gained an instant rapport with the citizens of this odd town. While the local police are initially skeptical of his unorthodox methods, Dale soon makes Twin Peaks his second home.

Profession… FBI agent. He’s sent to Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of popular high school student Laura Palmer. While it began as just another case, he’s fallen in love with the town and become a part of its tight-knit community. His unorthodox methods confuse his peers, as he generally relies on intuition and dreams and cares very little for facts. He records his everyday observations and progress into a tape recorder, always addressing them to “Diane.”

Interests… Eastern spirituality, Tibetan and Native American mythology, a “damn fine cup ofcoffee,” and pie. Dale is well-versed in Eastern traditions, something that informs his process as a detective. But he also enjoys simple pleasures and recording the mundane. As he once spoke into his recorder, “Lunch was $6.31 at the Lamplighter Inn. That's on Highway Two near Lewis Fork. That was a tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat, a slice of cherry pie and a cup of coffee. Damn good food.”

Relationship Status… single. Before coming to Twin Peaks, Cooper’s most serious relationship had been with his partner’s wife, Caroline. Cooper had been assigned to protect her but the two had fallen in love. One night, when Cooper had his guard down, Caroline was murdered by her husband, devastating Cooper, who swore he’d never get involved with someone involved in his case again.

Challenge… getting to the bottom of Laura Palmer’s death. Unlike other detectives who only have to deal with the facts, Cooper is also haunted by his past, as well as his dreams. His premonitions can lead to guilt, as he intuited Laura Palmer’s murder before it even happened, but couldn’t do anything to solve it, as he didn’t know it was her specifically. The town reveals itself to have a dark underbelly, with places like the Black Lodge and the White Lodge being filled with spirits threatening to swallow Dale whole.

Personality… eccentric. Dale is an odd bird, deeply introspective but also charismatic. He’s a suit-and-tie professional but also a head-in-the-clouds mystic. He relies on intuition and dreams more than his intelligence in a profession that relies heavily on concrete evidence. His idiosyncratic tendencies reveal themselves through his flighty and random trains of thought. He seems to be in communication with some supernatural force.


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