"Diane, 11:30 AM, February 24th. Entering the town of Twin Peaks."
(This article contains spoilers of Twin Peaks.)
On this day in 1989, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper drove into the town of Twin Peaks, Washington, to investigate the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer.
Although there have certainly been some imitators, no television show is quite like Twin Peaks. David Lynch and Mark Frost's quirky, campy crime drama — which first premiered in the spring of 1990 — is perhaps one of the most beloved shows of all time. There are many aspects of Twin Peaks that contribute to its rightful cult status: its suspense, its impeccable soundtrack, its subtle goofy humor. But, really, the best part of Twin Peaks is its array of diverse, complex characters.
Whether you love them or hate them, the characters of Twin Peaks are really what keeps the show afloat. Below, we've ranked 23 of the show's recurring characters from worst to best.
23. James Hurley
Boring. Whiney. A bit of a womanizer. Not a good singer. The motorcycle is one of his few redeeming qualities. I understand why we need James for plot reasons, but I wish we didn't.
22. Leo Johnson
If you've seen even just the pilot of Twin Peaks, I don't need to explain to you why Leo is garbage. Leo only ranks higher than James because Leo was barely alive for the majority of the show.
21. Leland Palmer
I know, I know — it was Bob who technically killed Laura, not Leland. But since Bob is not a mortal human being, I have to extend my rage unto Leland.
20. Benjamin Horne
When it's time to "eat the rich," Ben Horne is first on my list. He slept with his daughter's teenage classmate and had a weird fascination with the Confederate Army. Garbage!
19. Catherine Martell
Ladies, is it #girlboss to con an entire town for your own financial gain?
18. Dr. Will Hayward
Dr. Hayward was in 30 episodes of Twin Peaks, and I can hardly remember anything about him aside from Donna's whole paternity crisis. Boring.
17. Bobby Briggs
Especially after watching Twin Peaks: The Return, I firmly believe that Bobby is a well-meaning young man. Was it necessary for him to have sold cocaine as someone with generational wealth? Of course not. But I do think he deeply cared for both Laura and Shelly; he just needed someone to whip him into shape.
16. Maddy Ferguson
Maddy is nice, but boring, and not very helpful in figuring out who killed her own cousin. Not even Sheryl Lee's acting — a highlight of Twin Peaks' prequel film, Fire Walk With Me — could save Maddy's flat character arc.
15. Nadine Hurley
My heart goes out to Nadine. All she wants in life is love and silent drape runners.
14. Donna Hayward
Although I do admire her dedication to helping solve Laura's murder, we all agree that Donna is a little bit annoying, right? The James-Donna love story arc is one of my least favorite aspects of the show. I didn't miss her in The Return.
13. Josie Packard
I certainly don't agree with a lot — OK, most — of what Josie did. But trouble just seemed to find her, and for that, I can't fully hate her. She's also the best-dressed character in the entire show, which is a plus.
12. Major Garland Briggs
The scene at the Double R Diner when Major Briggs tells Bobby he had an optimistic vision about his son's future is, hands-down, one of the most heartwarming moments in the show (especially considering Bobby grew up to be a deputy sheriff). Sure, Major Briggs can be a little cold and standoffish, but he has a good heart and he's an important asset to the show.
11. Audrey Horne
During the show's earlier moments, it's easy to dislike Audrey. She's conniving and ruthless, and her attempts to woo Agent Cooper are pretty creepy. But, can you blame her when she's been neglected by her father her entire life? As the series progresses, you definitely begin to feel for Audrey, and you realize her antics are all conducted as part of her search for true love.
10. Ed “Big Ed” Hurley
Ed, our favorite sad boy. He's just a poor man who's too afraid to leave his unhappy marriage. I feel a lot of sympathy for Ed.
9. Pete Martell
Pete minds his business. Pete loves Josie, but Pete also respects his marriage to Catherine. Pete does his job and doesn't bother anybody. Be like Pete.
8. Shelly Johnson
Shelly's only flaw is her poor taste in men. But, even though she's stuck in an abusive marriage, I like that Shelly isn't portrayed as a helpless damsel in distress; she demands respect from Bobby, and her friendship with Norma is one of my favorite relationships in the show.
7. Deputy Andy Brennan
It's no secret that Andy isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. But he's incredibly sympathetic and always tries his best; that alone makes him better than 80 percent of Twin Peaks' other characters.
6. Norma Jennings
I, like Ed, would also probably have a decades-long crush on Norma Jennings.
5. Sheriff Harry S. Truman
I would trust Truman with my life. Besides his brief breakdown after Josie's death — again, understandable — he's a mellow, likable guy who's very good at his job.
4. Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill
Ah, Hawk: the sheriff department's token white-passing POC. He's by far the most chill character on Twin Peaks, and for that reason alone, I love him. (His wit and good intentions put him high on the list, too). I was happy to see him get a little more screen time in Twin Peaks: The Return, but if I'd written it, I would've had Hawk retire and become a voice of a meditation app.
3. Lucy Moran
Lucy is an immensely underrated character. Does she have much to offer in terms of the show's plot? Not at all. But she's easy to love and always guaranteed to conjure a chuckle. Also, her bangs and collection of sweaters are enviable.
2. Special Agent Dale Cooper
I don't claim to know everything about television, but I do feel confident in my belief that Agent Cooper is the best male protagonist in television history. In the first couple of episodes of Twin Peaks, I often found myself thinking: "Why am I supposed to care about this popular, pretty white girl who dies?" Well, you're not. What you're supposed to care about is Cooper — this strange, aloof-yet-approachable man — succeeding at his goal.From his love of coffee and pie to his deep respect for his colleagues and the residents of Twin Peaks, Cooper is incredibly admirable. He has a genuine love for life, despite constantly being surrounded by darkness. Although he's experienced severe heartbreak and grief, he still manages to bring out the best in other characters, notably Annie Blackburn in the series' final episodes. He's the reason we still care about the happenings of Twin Peaks long after Laura's murder is solved.
1. The Log Lady
I would die for the Log Lady. Yeah, Cooper is smart and has some supernatural abilities, but where would he and the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department be without the incantations of Margaret's precious log? Nowhere. Without the Log Lady, Twin Peaks would not exist.