Welcome to amateur hour: Albert Rosenfield’s best moments

We look back at Miguel Ferrer’s iconic Twin Peaks character’s most memorable appearances

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Miguel Ferrer Twin Peaks
Courtesy of CBS Television Distribution

Through the late Miguel Ferrer’s gloriously abrasive performance, Albert Rosenfield quickly became one of Twin Peaks’ most fiendishly beloved. In a world occupied by oddballs and eccentrics, Agent Rosenfield was an especially overt example of Lynch‘s penchant for the aberrant. Sharp-tongued and cynical as hell, the FBI pathologist was a prolific, scene-stealing delight.

In celebration of the actor’s life, we‘ve compiled our favourite moments from his best-known character’s appearances on the show. With Ferrer confirmed to appear in Showtime’s third series of the cult show, don’t bank on this list getting longer come May 2017. 

ROSENFIELD‘S INTRODUCTION

In a blistering introduction, Albert Rosenfield announces himself to the town of Twin Peaks with scathing aplomb. “What the hell kind of a two-bit operation are they running out of this treehouse, Cooper? I have seen some slipshod backwater birds, but this place takes the cake,” he declares, without flinching. The scene is a two-minute whirlwind of spiky opprobrium, in which the pathologist’s disdain for the rural town is projected onto everyone that he meets; it’s a magnetic demonstration of Rosenfield’s character and the manner in which he operates. There’s no sign of those social niceties here – not a peep.

YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH OF ME?

Rosenfield has absolutely zero chill. None. Nada. After announcing himself to the townsfolk, he wastes no time in further offending the Twin Peaks residents. Beginning his tirade with “I’ve got compassion coming out of my nose, pal – I’m the sultan of sentiment”, he launches into a no-holds-barred rant that includes several his most eloquent Albertisms. Dishing out terms such as “hulking boob” and “withering hayseed” with hardened nonchalance, Albert Rosenfield demonstrates that he was television’s original creative insulter. It earns him a punch from Sheriff Truman, but that’s still not enough to stop him. “A hail of bullets would be nice,” he responds, as he picks himself up. You can’t imagine it’s the first smack he’s taken.

FASHION SUICIDE

There’s no doubting that Albert is a multifaceted man, but we never had him down as a fashionista. In one of the pathologist’s trademark, polysyllabic bursts, he conducts a brief yet measured analysis of Agent Cooper’s new threads, concluding that although his colleague has strayed close to “fashion suicide”, he’s managed to make a success of the flannel shirt. It’s further evidence of Ferrer’s character’s say-what-you’re-thinking approach to interaction, while also serving to illustrate that despite the prickly exterior, he’s not exclusively confined to all-out assholery. 

COOPER’S INTUITION

Though it’s the murder of Laura Palmer that sets the events of Twin Peaks in motion, it’s Theresa Banks’s killing that sets Cooper, Rosenfield and co onto the case. During a conversation in their Philadelphia office in Twin Peaks: Fire Come Walk With Me, Cooper describes to his colleague how he senses that Banks’s killer will strike again, before accurately – and correctly – describing the next victim as a blonde, sexually active female, that’s using drugs and crying out for help. Rosenfield’s response? “Well damn Cooper that really narrows it down – you’re talking about half the high school girls in America!”

I LOVE YOU, SHERIFF TRUMAN

Albert Rosenfield is one of the most offbeat examples of David Lynch’s fascination with the idea of character duality. When another argument between Truman and himself threatens to get physical, Rosenfield delivers the most memorable of his breakneck monologues, in which he snappily condemns violent retaliation and announces that he walks alongside Ghandi and Martin Luther King as a purveyor of love. His pacifism only contributes further to his status as one of Twin Peaks’ most richly complex characters; Rosenfield fluctuates between relentless verbal maiming and the spreading of peaceful solidarity at his own, bipolar will. “I love you, Sheriff Truman,” he concludes, leaving everyone – especially the audience – completely baffled as to what he’s really about. In a town jam-packed with the puzzling and paradoxical, Rosenfield is one if its strangest enigmas.

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