A high school girl is found murdered and wrapped in a plastic bag. This is Laura Palmer. The townspeople, from the Sheriff, Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) to her boyfriend Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) to her best friend, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) to her parents, are distraught, as she was so well-liked. But it seems that Laura had a lot of secrets, including drug use and a secret boyfriend. Special Agent Dale Cooper (Lyle MacLachlan) arrives from the FBI, and he suspects that her murder ties into some other cases he's investigating. In an hour and a half we're introduced to over a dozen idiosyncratic characters, including the "log lady", Joceyln Packard, a Chinese woman who has inherited a lumber mill (and is having an affair with the Sheriff), Audrey Horne, who sort of seems autistic, and Deputy Tommy, who cries everytime at a crime scene.
The very first episode of David Lynch's bizarre television series is not as weird and as surreal as I remember it being, probably because almost every current show exceeds it in that regard. But for the time in which it was made, this was a groundbreaking show.