James Hurley

"Well, we were in the woods when she started saying this scary poem, over and over, about fire." Click to Tweet

Screenshot of James Marshall as James Hurley, from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
© Lynch/Frost & Twin Peaks Productions.

James Hurley, a lonely biker

He loves riding his bike. Sometimes riding at night, James Hurley punches off the headlights, rolls the throttle and just rockets blind into the dark.

James Hurley lives with his uncle who owns Big Ed’s gas station. He helps Ed Hurley out as a mechanic and likes working on his motorbike.

James’ eccentric aunt Nadine Hurley draws people’s attention with her eye patch and weird obsession with noiseless drape runners.

James’s character

Laura Palmer’s secret boyfriend

James Hurley was Laura Palmer’s secret boyfriend. They secretly met at Twin Peaks’ High School and at picnics down the woods. Bobby Briggs, Laura’s official boyfriend, hates his guts because of their relationship.

James’ love for Laura was sincere. It’s unclear whether Laura’s love for him was authentic. On an audiotape sent to Dr Jacoby Laura says “God, James is sweet, but he’s so dumb, and right now I can only take so much of sweet.”

A troubled relationship with women

James comes from a troubled family. His father left his mother when James was very young. His mother is an alcoholic. She goes to another town, shacks up in some cheap hotel with a couple of bottles and picks up guys.

James Hurley fell in love with homecoming queen Laura Palmer who turned out to be a bad girl. He tried to help her stop using cocaine, at which he succeeded for a while.

In the end James Hurley was too much of a sweet boy to really understand Laura’s world. He couldn’t control her dark thoughts or protect her from the things she was involved with.

“I remember this one night when we first started seeing each other. She was still doing drugs then. Well, we were in the woods when she started saying this scary poem, over and over, about fire”

Donna or Maddy, James Hurley’s problem of choice

After Laura’s death, James Hurley fell in love with Laura’s best friend Donna Hayward. They first kissed while burying the golden half-heart necklace that James shared with Laura.

From their first encounter James was also attracted to Laura Palmer’s look-alike cousin Maddy Ferguson. This led to fights with Donna who noticed his interest in Laura’s cousin.

Seeing James and Maddy hold hands at the Double R Dinner nearly drove Donna into the arms of Harold Smith, another loner who had taken an interest in her.

James Hurley song: Just you

Donna, James and Maddy record a song called “Just you” at the Palmer’s house where Laura’s cousin is staying. It’s during the recording of this song Donna begins to understand that Maddy is flirting with James.

While James calms down Donna who bursted out in crying, Maddy Ferguson has a vision of BOB stepping right at her in the Palmer’s house living room.

James Hurley’s Story

“An easy rider” at Sparkwood and 21

At the night of her murder, Laura jumped of his motorbike at Sparkwood and 21 before she ran out into the woods.

James Hurley didn’t go after his girlfriend. As he claims, he slammed the gas and drove off.

“It all makes some kind of terrible sense that she died… that someone killed her. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

James’ motorbike’s reflection in Laura Palmer’s eye on a video shot during a picnic, gives away to agent Cooper that Laura was secretly seeing James Hurley.

Some days after Laura’s murder, Sheriff Truman finds a bag of cocaine in James’ motorbike’s gas tank while having received a tip that James is “an easy rider”.

How did James Hurley help out the Laura Palmer murder investigation?

In search of evidence Donna, James and Maddy figured out a way to break into Dr Jacoby’s home. They tricked the psychiatrist into leaving his home by sending him a fake video of the dead Laura Palmer, played by her cousin wearing a blonde wig.

Their plan nearly went very wrong for Dr Jacoby but Donna and James succeeded in collecting valuable evidence. Hidden in a coconut they found a golden half-heart necklace and Laura’s audiotape, which Dr Jacoby had been keeping from the police.

James Hurley’s involvement in Harold Smith’s suicide

Despite warnings from the police, Donna and Maddy continued their private investigation without James Hurley. This culminated in an attempt to steal Laura Palmer’s secret diary from Harold Smith’s house.

It was only because of James Hurley’s swift action that Donna and Maddy managed to escape safely from Harold Smith’s home. After hearing Sheriff Truman started an investigation on Harold Smith, who was found dead alongside Laura Palmer’s secret diary with pages thorn out.

James Hurley – Quotes

“You always hurt the ones you love”

“It’s not really a place it’s a feeling. Sometimes riding at night, I punch off the headlights and roll the throttle in just rocket blind into the dark.”

[Discussing Laura with Donna]“Donna, she was a different person. I’m telling you there were things she was involved with. Things she let herself get pulled into. Things she thought you’d hate her for. She said there are things about me… she said even Donna doesn’t know me.”

“It all makes some kind of terrible sense that she died… that someone killed her. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

“I changed my mind. I’m not sorry.”

“I remember this one night when we first started seeing each other. She was still doing drugs then. Well, we were in the woods when she started saying this scary poem, over and over, about fire”

Relatives