Has it really been 20 years since “Who killed Laura Palmer?” was the burning question that encompassed the landscape of pop culture and kept rabid “Twin Peaks” fans in a ‘Whodunit?’ guessing game throughout the show’s first season?
As Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper might say, Wednesday night USA Network’s “Psych” served up a damn fine tribute episode to the breakthrough ABC show, with both a cast reunion and a clever crime caper set in a “Twin Peaks”-esque town, in an episode aptly named “Dual Spires.”
“I would say the diehard ‘Twin Peaks’ fans are in for about 48 minutes of pure bliss. I don’t think any of the winks or the tributes will be lost on them and I think it’ll be wonderful,” said “Psych” star James Roday, in a joint conference call to the press with Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer in “Peaks.”
“It was the closest I’ll ever come to being in an episode of my favorite show, so it was ridiculous,” he continued.
Sheryl rejoins her original “Twin Peaks” cast mates Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Robyn Lively (Lana Milford… and yes, older sister of Blake), and Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady) as “Psych” stars James Roday and Dulé Hill try to solve a quirky murder mystery that is jam packed with more references, homages, and throwbacks than any fan of the cult series could ask for.
“The one thing that people tell me that they experienced so often with ‘Twin Peaks’ was that it brought people together,” Lee recalled. “That people were watching it together as a community and talking about it together at work. So, I think when they think of the show they’re also remembering that sense of community that they shared this thing with,” Lee said about the “Twin Peaks” phenomenon.
Psychic investigator Shawn Spencer and his partner Gus (Roday and Hill), while on a trip to a Cinnamon Festival in northern California, cross paths with the “Peaks” alumni townsfolk and investigate the death of a local high school girl, whose body is found on the shore of the local lake.
Sheryl Lee has a scene in the episode that mirrors the sequence in the “Twin Peaks” pilot that set up the mystery of Laura Palmer’s murder: the reveal of her body washed ashore wrapped in plastic. That moment on set was particularly memorable for Roday.
“It was the moment, the precise moment that Sheryl’s character opens the plastic and reveals the dead girl. The juxtaposition of Laura Palmer looking at Laura Palmer, it was kinda mind blowing,” he revealed.
“Yes, that is the perfect way to describe it. I actually did feel as if I was out of my body that whole day,” Sheryl Lee added.
“There’s a lot of things in the past 20 years I don’t remember, but that day 20 years ago laying on that beach in the freezing cold, I remember as if it was yesterday. And so, it was very, very surreal and it was more. It touched me deeper than I expected it to. It sort of snuck up on me,” she recalled regarding her revisiting the Laura Palmer scene.
Another “Peaks” alumni, Ray Wise, who played Laura’s father (and murderer) Leland Palmer, ironically already has a recurring role on “Psych.” He returns as Father Westley in the episode to lend a hand in solving the crime.
In addition, songstress Julee Cruise, who sang the haunting music heard in “Twin Peaks,” also joined the team and offered her rendition of the “Psych” theme song over the episode’s special opening credits.
“’Twin Peaks” was iconic. I think it changed the face of television and to be able to rub shoulders with this cast. In even the tiniest of ways, I feel like I got to participate in some of that magic. Huge honor and very very grateful that it was able to come together,” Roday concluded about the experience.
The “Psych” “Twin Peaks” themed episode aired Wednesday night on USA Network and will repeat throughout the week.