ABC's credibility gap with "Twin Peaks" faces another test on November 10, with the network now claiming that Laura Palmer's killer will be identified on that night's episode.
The network issued a program description yesterday saying that the elusive killer will be "finally revealed after Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Truman's (Michael Ontkean) investigation receives some vital help from the one-armed man (Al Strobel)."
Strobel's one-armed man is a traveling shoe salesman who's been a recurring character in the show since last season.
ABC's latest hint is that the phantom-like figure who's been called "Bob" is the killer. Previous episodes haven't made it clear whether "Bob" is real or imaginary.
"On November 10, you will know who 'Bob' is," Robert Iger, president of ABC Entertainment, told an Associated Press reporter yesterday.
The November 10 episode falls squarely within the November sweeps rating period, when networks schedule attractive programming in an effort to boost their affiliates' ratings.
ABC said David Lynch, the co-producer and co-creator of "Twin Peaks," will direct the November 10 episode and guest star in it as a new character named Gordon Cole, agent Dale Cooper's boss at the FBI.
Other details from ABC about the November 10 episode: "Finances strain the relationship between Shelly (Madchen Amick) and Bobby (Dana Ashbrook); Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) confronts Ben (Richard Beymer) with what she knows about One-Eyed Jacks, and Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) tries to discourage Maddy (Sheryl Lee) from going home."
The Laura Palmer story line has become something of an albatross for ABC, and for "Twin Peaks."
ABC said the killer would be revealed on the show's first-season finale in May. But the confusing episode yielded no definitive answer, and ABC later said there had been a misunderstanding between the network and the producers.
In July, ABC's Iger promised that "the viewer will see the killer and know that it's the killer" in the first episode of the current season.
That episode began with Cooper experiencing visions and ended with a murky flashback scene of "Bob" seemingly in the act of committing the murder.