Real-Life Murder In New York That Inspired ‘Twin Peaks’ In Development For Documentary TV Series

In 1990 'Twin Peaks' had the whole country was asking 'Who killed Laura Palmer?'

Paul Butterfield / Getty Images

In 1990 'Twin Peaks' had the whole country was asking 'Who killed Laura Palmer?'

After Twin Peaks came to television in 1990 the murder-mystery genre changed forever. Twin Peaks went on to inspire a number of shows including The Sopranos, Bates Motel, The X-Files, The Leftovers, and countless others. What many people don’t know is that the premise of the series is actually based on a true story.

Twin Peaks follows Agent Dale Cooper — as portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan — as he investigates the murder of a teenage girl named Laura Palmer in the small Washington town of Twin Peaks. As Cooper delves deeper into the mystery, he finds darker and darker forces at work beneath the veneer of this seemingly innocent and quaint town.

The influential television series was based on the 1908 murder of a Hazel Drew, who was 20 years old at the time of her death. Her body was discovered near Teal’s Pond in New York. Similarly, Laura Palmer’s body is discovered near a lake in Twin Peaks.

According to Comicbook.com, the murder of Hazel Drew is the subject of an upcoming book titled Blonde, Beautiful and Dead: The Murder Mystery That Inspired Twin Peaks. The book is also currently being optioned to become a television documentary series, though which network it would end up on is still up in the air.

Part2 Pictures will reportedly be working the book into the currently-developing series.

The cast of ‘Twin Peaks’ at San Diego Comic Con in July 2018. Paul Butterfield / Getty Images

Series co-creator Mark Frost states that he grew up hearing stories of Hazel Drew from his grandmother, serving as a warning to younger children from wandering too far from home. The president of Part2 Pictures, David Shadrack Smith, spoke with marked optimism about the book and upcoming series.

“This is one of those stories that you can just see and feel the second you hear about it. It has all the texture and twists of Twin Peaks but has the beauty of being true crime with a current-day investigation unfolding alongside the events of the past. We’re excited to take a multi-platform approach to it with Metabook and create something that lives across diverse media.”

Twin Peaks is the collaborative work of Mark Frost and David Lynch. While the original series went off the air in 1991, the duo teamed up with Showtime in 2017 to create a wildly different third season of Twin Peaks, entitled Twin Peaks: The Return.

Showtime’s recent revival of Twin Peaks was a massive critical success, garnering near-universal acclaim from television critics and from fans of the original series. Review site Rotten Tomatoes currently scores the third season at 94 percent.