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5 Things Lawyers Can Learn From 'Twin Peaks'

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on October 09, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Some of us were ecstatic at the news that Showtime would resurrect "Twin Peaks," the cult TV show that lasted only two seasons on ABC in the early 90s, yet influenced an entire generation of television, from "The X Files" to "Lost." Even more good news: Series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost are set to write and direct each of the nine new episodes, scheduled to air in 2016.

For the uninitiated, "Twin Peaks" was nominally the story of Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLaughlin), an FBI agent sent to the sleepy Pacific Northwest logging town of Twin Peaks to investigate a murder. The show was really about how the small town is not what it seems, a television trope that it's credited with creating.

Are there any lessons you can glean from Agent Cooper, Sheriff Harry S. Truman, and the rest of the "Twin Peaks" gang? (If you haven't seen the show, and don't want it spoiled, then go read something else.)

1. Take Notes. Lots of Them.

Agent Cooper is always dictating notes on his tape recorder. The notes are always addressed to "Diane," a figure we never get to meet, and who may or may not even exist. Fictional secretaries aside, Agent Cooper has the right idea: You should always be taking notes, and keeping a notebook handy, because you never know when an idea will strike.

2. You Never Know When an Idea Will Strike.

Isn't that what I just said? Take plenty of down time; we know that our brain gets ideas when it's at rest -- for example, when we're in the shower, or in Agent Cooper's case, dreaming about a backwards-talking, dancing dwarf who holds the key to Laura Palmer's murder. So take a break every now and then, and bring a notepad with you.

3. Keep Your Friends Close.

After spending some time in Twin Peaks, Agent Cooper becomes a member of the Bookhouse Boys, a secret society of men who protect Twin Peaks from danger, corporeal or otherwise. Together, the Bookhouse Boys are able to accomplish more good than they could separately (like rescuing Audrey Horne from One Eyed Jack's). A good group of friends or colleagues is invaluable, and you never know when you might need them. (Alternatively, don't be That Guy whom no one wants to help out.)

4. Don't Rule Out Any Possibility.

When faced with a problem, consider all the angles. Agent Cooper didn't when trying to figure out who killed Laura Palmer. As it turns out, it was -- double spoiler alert -- her father, under the influence of Bob, the demonic spirit. Sure, Leland Palmer might not seem to be the obvious choice, but why should he be above suspicion? Everyone in Twin Peaks has something to hide.

5. Life Is Too Short to Drink Bad Coffee.

"You know, this is -- excuse me -- a damn fine cup of coffee," Agent Cooper proclaims on his first visit to the Double R Diner:

You know what really spoils my day? Bad coffee. Start every day right with a decent cup of coffee. No cheap stuff.

Can you think of any other lawyerly lessons from "Twin Peaks"? Let us know via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals).

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