From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
FBI Special Agent Dale B. Cooper is a character from the television series Twin Peaks, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. He is the lead protagonist of the series and also briefly appears in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan) is an FBI agent who arrives in Twin Peaks to investigate the brutal murder of the popular high-school student, Laura Palmer, falling in love with the town and gaining a great deal of acceptance within the tight knit community. He displays an array of quirky mannerisms such as giving a 'thumbs up' when satisfied, sage-like sayings, distinct sense of humor, along with his love for a good cherry pie and a "damn fine cup of coffee". One of his most popular habits is recording spoken-word tapes to a mysterious woman called 'Diane' into his dictaphone that he always carries with him, that often contain everyday observations and thoughts on his current case.
Cooper is a graduate of Haverford College. He is also revealed to be something of an introspective personality, due to his profound interest in the mystical, particularly in Tibet and Native American mythology. Much of his work is based on intuition and even dreams; this is in contrast to other fictional detectives who use logic to solve their cases. Like many television detectives, however, he sometimes bends the rules or goes outside the law.
Cooper remains one of the most popular characters from a dramatic television series, and is cited as a favorite of television writer Joss Whedon.