Tag Archive: television series


Cooper-Dale-Agt

Dale Bartholomew Cooper is a fictional character, an eccentric Special Agent of the FBI. Cooper was the central figure of the ABC television series “Twin Peaks”, and was played by actor Kyle MacLachlan.

The series was created by legendary film director David Lynch and Mark Frost, and went on to achieve a cult status of its own.

The Man, and His Methods

David Lynch named Cooper as a reference to D. B. Cooper, the unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft on November 24, 1971. Cooper escaped by parachute, never to be seen, again.

Born on April 19, 1954, the fictional Dale Cooper is a graduate of Haverford College. After joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cooper was based at the Bureau offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was partnered there with the older Special Agent Windom Earle (actor Kenneth Welsh) – a closet psychopath whose various crimes (when they came to light) would return to haunt Cooper, in later years.

Key among these was the case of Earle’s wife, Caroline, who witnessed a federal crime, some time after Cooper joined the Bureau. Earle and Cooper were assigned to protect her; it was around this time that Cooper began an affair with Caroline. One night in Pittsburgh, Cooper let his guard down – and Caroline was murdered by her husband (who had also committed the crime witnessed by Caroline, during a psychotic break). Windom Earle was subsequently sent to a mental institution, from which he would later escape, to wreak havoc in Twin Peaks.

Cooper was devastated by the loss of the woman he would later refer to as the love of his life. He swore to never again become involved with someone who was part of a case to which he was assigned.

An introspective man, Cooper is fueled by a profound interest in the mystical, especially the mythology of Tibetan and Native American cultures. Much of his work is based on intuition and the interpretation of dreams, rather than conventional logic. While working a case, Cooper also dictates regular reports to his (never seen) assistant Diane, using a hand-held tape recorder.

“A hairless mouse with a pitchfork sang a song about caves.”

Okay, this is actually a quote from the “Twin Peaks” parody sketch when Kyle Maclachlan guest hosted Saturday Night Live in 1990. But the fact that it’s not a million miles from the kind of stuff Dale Cooper puts out during his “real” adventures gives an indication of the methods of the man.

At some point in his career, Cooper was placed under the direct authority of FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole (played in the series by David Lynch, himself). Under Cole’s mandate, Cooper was occasionally assigned the mysterious ‘Blue Rose’ cases.

The Town, and Its People

On February 24, 1989, Cooper arrives in the fictional Northwestern town of Twin Peaks, to investigate the murder of local teenager Laura Palmer (actress Sheryl Lee). Here’s a YouTube clip, of Dale’s arrival, from the series’ pilot episode:

It’s a complex case, involving the town’s eccentric characters (like The Log Lady), metaphysical entities, and other-dimensional spaces like the mysterious Black Lodge. During his extended stay, Cooper winds up helping the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department to investigate other cases, as well.

Cooper gains an instant rapport with many of the townspeople – including Sheriff Harry S. Truman (yes, like the President; actor Michael Ontkean) and his junior officers, Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill and Deputy Andy Brennan. 18-year-old Audrey Horne (played by Sherilyn Fenn), the daughter of local businessman Benjamin Horne, develops a serious crush on the eccentric FBI man. Over time, a close and affectionate friendship develops, between the two.

And Cooper falls in love with the “damn fine coffee”, and cherry pie, for which the town would become famous. Check out the YouTube clip below, to get a flavor of the place:

The Laura Palmer mystery is eventually “resolved” on an ambiguous note, with Dale Cooper’s evil doppelganger on the loose in Twin Peaks (a fugitive from the Black Lodge; watch the show on DVD, it’s too complex to go into, now), and the dead girl’s spirit vowing that “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”

His Anticipated Return

Now, 25 years on, that promise is to be fulfilled. In 2016, Showtime will be bringing us a sequel to the cult series. The network says that nine new “Twin Peaks” episodes – set in the present day – are going into production soon. And Kyle MacLachlan is set to return, as Dale Cooper – as are several other characters from the original 1990s run.

Showtime’s president, David Nevins, has even persuaded David Lynch to direct all nine episodes.

Fans will no doubt be hoping that the sequel will answer the questions left hanging at the end of season two in 1991. Nevins is keeping quiet on this.

Only time will tell.

Keep watching this space.

Peace.

Frank-Black-Millennium

Frank Black is the central figure of “Millennium”, a television series created by “X-Files” originator Chris Carter. In the show, Frank Black is played by actor Lance Henriksen.

Black follows in the tradition started by novelist Thomas Harris, in creating the character of Will Graham, for “Red Dragon”:
That of the FBI profiler as eideteker (eidetektive? Hmm. Good word; think I’ll use it again).

Someone who can literally put themselves in the mind of a killer. See what they might see, feel what they might feel.

In Frank Black’s case, it is never fully clear whether this ability is a psychological projection of extreme empathy, or a genetic / psychic trait. The fact that Frank’s daughter, Jordan inherits the skill would seem to suggest the latter.

A bit of the character’s history, from a YouTube compilation, “The Curse of Frank Black”:

Whatever the case, it’s a dark and dangerous gift. One that takes a heavy toll on the person who possesses it.

A Heavy Toll

The legacy of Frank Black’s eidetic gift is emotional instability, and retirement from duty as a profiler for the FBI.

Frank relocates to Seattle, Washington, together with his wife Catherine (actress Megan Gallagher) and daughter Jordan (actress Brittany Tiplady). There, he overcompensates for the darkness in his soul by moving into a model suburban house, which he paints bright yellow.

Black immerses himself in domestic life, hoping to escape his past.

Fat chance.

Apocalypse, Then…

“Millennium” is set in the latter years of the 1990s. As the year 2000 approaches, several crackpot individuals and groups emerge, looking to commemorate the event in various grisly and / or apocalyptic ways.

As the death toll mounts, Frank is approached by the Millennium Group, an association of mainly ex-FBI agents (including Terry O’Quinn as Black’s former colleague Peter Watts) who have chosen to monitor the activities of these killers – and to intervene, when necessary. Black is hired as a consultant to the group.

Thrown back into the heat of active investigations, and forced to use his heightened perception again, Frank feels the strain on his health and home life.

A Hidden Agenda

Things go from bad to worse, when it emerges that the Millennium Group exists merely to prevent the coming of any Apocalypse other than the one of its own design.

Frank’s discovery of this has tragic consequences. His running battle with the group eventually forces Black and his daughter to become fugitives, from the law.

Evolution of the Show

“Millennium” ran for three seasons on the Fox Television Network, from 1996.

Fox executives initially lobbied to cast William Hurt as Frank Black, but the actor was unwilling to commit to a role in a television series. Creator Chris Carter (who wrote the show with Henriksen in mind) sent a copy of his script for the “Pilot” episode to Lance Henriksen, and the rest is history.

Here’s a YouTube clip of the series intro, with that haunting theme tune:

The first season dealt mainly with Black pursuing various serial killers and other murderers, with only occasional references to the Millennium Group’s true purpose.

The second season introduced more supernatural elements, with Frank coming into conflict with forces that often appeared to be apocalyptic or demonic in nature. Humor (along the lines of that seen in “The X-Files”) was injected into some of the storylines, to relieve what was felt to be an oppressive aura of gloom and gore from the show’s first season.

The final season had Frank returning to Washington, D.C., to work with the FBI following the death of his wife at the hands of the Millennium Group. He was joined by a new partner, Emma Hollis (actress Klea Scott) who joined the Group – despite Frank’s warnings and her own observations.

At the time of the show’s cancellation, Frank is seen escaping from Washington, having taken Jordan out of school, the Millennium Group in hot pursuit.

Frank Black returned in “The X-Files” season seven episode “Millennium”, a cross-over that effectively served as a series finale for “Millennium”. Though unresolved, the story ended on an optimistic note, with the suggestion of some kind of normal life being possible for Frank and Jordan.

A Bright Future?

To be confirmed.

With the release of “Millennium” on DVD, Lance Henriksen proposed a continuation of the series.

Henriksen has since gone on to support the Back to Frank Black campaign, a movement dedicated to the return of the character.

Creator Chris Carter has joined Henriksen in expressing interest in a film based on “Millennium”, though Fox has expressed no enthusiasm for such a project.

Which is a shame, as it could tie up some of those loose ends.

In comparison to the other eidetektives out there (See? Told you I’d use the word again) – your “Profiler”, “Mentalist”, or whoever – Frank Black is one of the more memorable.

And “Millennium”?

Worth checking out. It’s not cozy fun, by any means, but it is riveting.

I’m out, at this point.

I’ll see you, when I see you. If not, before.

Peace.