Leland Palmer

“We have to dance – for Laura!”

Screenshot of Ray Wise as Leland Palmer, from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
© Lynch/Frost & Twin Peaks Productions.

Leland Palmer, Laura’s father

Leland Palmer is a well-known and respected attorney in the town of Twin Peaks. He is helping his primary client Benjamin Horne to sign the contracts of an important business deal with a Norwegian investment group, when he learns his seventeen year old daughter has been found dead.

Leland on Pinterest

Leland Palmer’s story

What no parent should have to endure

Leland is taken to the morgue by Sheriff Truman to identify the dead body of his beloved daughter, Laura Palmer.

Parents shouldn’t bury their children. What Leland has been put through no man should have to endure, as Dr Hayward, a friend of the Palmer’s family, later puts it.

Leland Palmer is devastated by Laura’s sudden death and suffers from multiple nervous break-downs. During Laura’s funeral Leland flings himself into his daughter’s grave and must be pulled out by Sheriff Truman and agent Cooper.

Leland Palmer’s work seriously affected by his great sadness

Leland Palmer is very dedicated to his work. In just a couple of days he learned the Norwegian language basics in preparation of a meeting with the Norwegian investment group interested in Ben Horne’s Ghostwood Estates Project.

Ben Horne’s best-laid business plans are washed away when his daughter Audrey uses Leland Palmer’s daughter’s murder to paint Twin Peaks as a dangerous place, frightening away the Norwegian investors.

When a few days after the funeral it comes to Leland’s ears that Ben Horne has found a second investment group – one from Iceland this time – he rushes to offer his services.

Leland Palmer and the magical isle of Iceland

Leland just needs something to occupy his mind but Ben Horne, fearing Leland’s instability might jeopardize his newly planned business deal, kindly rejects Leland’s help.

Tragically the depressed Leland Palmer doesn’t catch Ben Horne’s subtle rejection and later shows up very confused at the event Ben organized in honour of the magical isle of Iceland. When the music starts, Leland Palmer loses it. He bursts out in tears and almost instinctively starts dancing.

Ben Horne’s business partner Catherine Martell succeeds in camouflaging Leland’s nervous break-down by making the group of Icelandic investors believe that Leland’s curious dance moves are part of the local dance tradition.

Leland Palmer and his wife Sarah

Both Leland and his wife Sarah suffer greatly from their daughter’s terrible murder. Leland Palmer really tries to support his wife Sarah who’s on tranquilizers but he’s too much of an emotional wreck himself.

The arrival of Laura’s cousin Madeleine Ferguson, who – apart from her hair colour – looks almost exactly like Laura, is of great support to Laura’s parents. The things about Laura they recognize in Madeleine’s person come to them as a chock at first but eventually help them to deal with their daughter’s death.

Leland has got his wife Sarah worried on more than one occasion. One night Leland’s hair turns grey over night. Leland is very happy at times but stays very unstable.

Leland Palmer dancing and singing

Leland obsesses about dancing for which he had been taking lessons together with his wife Sarah. Laura used to jokingly refer to her parents as “Fred and Ginger” – a reference to the American dancing couple Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who were an inspiration for the Italian movie “Ginger e Fred” directed by Federico Fellini (1986).

At a Hayward’s family diner party Leland Palmer starts singing along with a song, played on the piano by his daughter’s best friend’s younger sister, before crashing into grief all over again.

Leland snaps when Jacques Renault is arrested as a suspect for Laura’s murder

When Leland hears a Canadian called Jacques Renault got shot during arrest for the murder of Laura, he rushes to the hospital overwhelmed by emotion.

Dr Jacoby, who suffered a heart attack and happened to share a room with Jacques Renault, would later declare under hypnosis to have witnessed Renault being suffocated by Leland Palmer using a pillow.

To his wife Sarah’s and niece Madeleine’s complete surprise, Leland Palmer is arrested at his house for the murder of Jacques Renault.

Leland Palmer – Quotes

“Hyggelig a mote dem. Jeg Heter Leland Palmer. Translation is: How are you? My name is Leland Palmer.”

“What the hell was all that? Why doesn’t someone do something about all of this. My god, that guy came out of nowhere. He was harassing my daughter.”

“Guy just pulls up out of the blue… I mean… what is this world coming to?”

“Sarah? Have you told them about the necklace? They’ll love that one. She had two visions.”

“We have to dance – for Laura!”

“I just feel I need something, I need something to … to occupy my mind.”

“Is it true, Harry? You find him! You’ve got the killer?”

“Have you ever experienced absolute loss? More than grieve. It’s deep down inside. Every cell screams. You can hear nothing else.”

[Singing The King and I] “Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you. Getting to like you. Getting to hope you like me.”

“Somebody dance with me.”