Special Agent Dale Cooper

"Every day, once a day, give yourself a present." Click to Tweet

Screenshot of Kyle MacLachlan as Dale Cooper, from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
© Lynch/Frost & Twin Peaks Productions.

Dale Cooper, an eccentric FBI agent

Smell those trees!

FBI Special agent Dale Cooper arrives in Twin Peaks on February 24th in 1989 at 11:30 AM. His mission is to investigate the brutal murder of the popular high school girl, Laura Palmer.

He quite rapidly falls in love with the town and gains a great deal of acceptance within the Twin Peaks’ community.

Dale on Pinterest

The Dale Cooper tapes to Diane

FBI agent Dale Cooper displays an array of quirky mannerisms, remarkable sayings and a distinctive sense of humour. He always carries with him his voice recorder making tapes to a woman called ‘Diane’.

Dale Cooper’s dreams and visions

Much of special agent Cooper’s investigation is based on intuition and dreams in contrast to for example Sherlock Holmes who uses pure logic to solve cases.

His first dream while staying at the Twin Peaks’ Great Northern Hotel features a dwarf, the dead Laura Palmer, a man with long grey hair called Bob and a one-armed man called Mike.

A giant appears to Cooper in visions and dreams. Cooper is convinced the dwarf’s and giant’s words will help him solve the Laura Palmer murder mystery.

Dale Cooper’s biography

Agent Cooper’s early carreer

He is born on April 19, 1954 and graduates at Haverford College. At an early age, the little Dale Cooper gets interested in the mystical, particularly in Tibet and Native American mythology.

Dale Cooper first worked at the FBI offices in Philadelphia. Agent Cooper partnered up with the older and brilliant Windom Earle. At some point, Cooper would be placed under the authority of FBI Chief Gordon Cole.

Agent Cooper, Windom Earle’s pupil

Some time after Cooper joined the Bureau, Earle’s wife, Caroline, was a witness to a federal crime. Windom Earle and Cooper were assigned to protect her.

Dale Cooper began an affair with Caroline. One night, whilst in Pittsburgh, special agent Cooper let his guard down – and Caroline was murdered by her husband.

Agent Cooper was absolutely devastated by the loss and swore to never again get involved with someone who was a part of a case to which he was assigned.

Two murder cases

One year before the murder of Laura Palmer, Special agent Chester Desmond disappeared while investigating the bizarre murder of Theresa Banks.

Special agent Cooper takes over the case, but is unable to find out what happened to Desmond or Theresa Banks, the murder victim.

In Twin Peaks

Agent Dale Cooper enters Twin Peaks

On February 24, 1989, Cooper travels to the town of Twin Peaks to investigate the Laura Palmer murder which shows similarities with the Theresa Banks murder.

While in Twin Peaks, agent Cooper learns of the mysterious places called the Black Lodge and the White Lodge and the spirits inhabiting them.

FBI agent Dale Cooper interrogates several of Twin Peaks’ inhabitants among which Donna Hayward, Laura’s best friend, Bobby Briggs, Laura’s boyfriend, James Hurley, Laura’s secret boyfriend, Leo Johnson, relationship with Laura unknown and Dr Lawrence Jacoby, Laura’s psychiatrist

Dale Cooper’s dream

While staying at the Great Northern Hotel, Dale Cooper has a dream that plays 25 years later: He meets with the dead Laura Palmer who tells him that sometimes her arms bend back.

They sit in a room with red curtains and they’re accompanied by a dwarf wearing a red costume. The dwarf tells him that gum he likes is going to come back in style and does a weird dance.

Laura Palmer leans over and whispers the killer’s name into Cooper’s ear, which he can’t remember at waking up.

The owls are not what they seem

“All things considered, being shot is not as bad as I always thought it might be, as long as you can keep the fear from your mind… but… I guess you could say that about most anything in life – it’s not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.”

One night Cooper gets shot by a masked person at his hotel room door. Laying shot on the floor, Dale Cooper has a vision of a giant telling him 3 things amongst which: “The owls are not what they seem.”

The giant takes Dale Cooper’s ring and tells him he will give it back when he solves the mystery. When waking up at the hospital, Cooper notices his ring has disappeared.

Some days later Cooper hears from Mayor Briggs that the military picked up a radio signal coming from the Twin Peaks’ woods. It addresses Cooper and repeats the giant’s message: “The owls are not hey they seem.”

Special agent Cooper finds Laura’s killer by following the clues that the dwarf and giant left him. After solving the murder mystery, he decides to stay in Twin Peaks and falls in love with Annie Blackburn.

Agent Cooper in the “The Black Lodge”

Cooper starts receiving notes with chess game moves from his former partner Windom Earle who seems to have taken an interest in the Twin Peaks’ woods and the Black Lodge.

Agent Cooper eventually enters the evil Black Lodge to rescue Annie, who has been kidnapped by his former partner.

In the Black Lodge, FBI agent Dale Cooper encounters the dwarf, the giant, Laura Palmer and many other lost souls. At a certain point, Cooper starts being chased by what seems to be Cooper’s evil doppelganger.

Eventually it shows Cooper escapes from the Black Lodge and re-appears in the woods where Harry Truman is waiting for him. When Sheriff Truman and Doc Hayward help agent Dale Cooper to bed after his stay in the Black Lodge, they hear him crash the bathroom mirror and yell out: “How’s Annie?”

Dale Cooper – Relationships

Prior to Twin Peaks, Cooper’s strongest romantic relationship was his affair with Caroline Earle, the wife of his former partner, Windom Earle.

When entering Twin Peaks, Cooper quickly bonds with many of the townspeople – most particularly Sheriff Harry S. Truman and his deputies, Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill and Deputy Andy Brennan. While Truman is sceptical of Cooper’s unconventional investigation methods at first, he is most often willing to accept Cooper’s judgment.

Cooper’s investigation gets help from the medically skilled but very sarcastic FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield.

In Twin Peaks, Cooper discovers that the 18-year-old hotel owner’s daughter Audrey Horne has a crush on him. The attraction appears mutual, as Cooper is clearly drawn to Audrey.

But Cooper falls in love with Norma Jennings’ sister, Annie Blackburn. Special agent Dale Cooper helps her to prepare for participation in the Miss Twin Peaks pageant. Despite winning the contest, she is kidnapped by Windom Earle and taken to the Black Lodge.

Dale Cooper – Quotes

“Damn good coffee! And hot!”

“Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair or two cups of good hot black coffee.”

“Smell those trees!”

“Gentlemen. When two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry we must always pay strict attention.”

“This must be where pies go when they die.”

“Diane, it struck me again earlier this morning, 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?”

“Diane, slept great last night. Got to find out what kind of sheets these are; not cotton, not rayon, silky. Damn fine sheets. I’m gonna get naked and slide around in them.”

“In the pursuit of Laura’s killer I have employed bureau guidelines, deductive technique, ‘tibetan method’, instinct, and luck. But now I find myself in need of something new, which for lack of a better word, we shall call: magic.”

“Twenty four hour room service must be one of the premier achievements of modern civilization.”

“All things considered, being shot is not as bad as I always thought it might be, as long as you can keep the fear from your mind… but… I guess you could say that about most anything in life – it’s not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.”