Despite previous rumors to the contrary, there's finally (semi-) definitive proof that Michael Ontkean won't be back to reprise his role as Sheriff Harry Truman in David Lynch's Twin Peaks reboot. TV Line has reported a source close to Ontkean said, "Michael is fully retired from show business." As for who might replace one of Twin Peaks' more competent residents, Robert Forster might step up to bat, though the cast is far from confirmed. (In fact, the only person locked down at the moment is Kyle MacLachlan.)
The loss of Ontkean comes as a blow for a reboot that's already had some struggle getting off the ground. After it was announced late last year, David Lynch departed from production and it was rumored to have been axed. Lynch returned to the fray earlier this year. Then, it looked like the release would be pushed from the original 2016 air date to 2017 (exact timing still to be specified). Last month, the Log Lady Catherine Coulson, who had been slated to appear in the new Twin Peaks, died of cancer. So Ontkean's outright refusal to sign onto the project is just the latest in a series of setbacks and tragedies in the making of a new Twin Peaks 25 years later.
The Sheriff played the straight man to Dale Cooper's occasionally ditzy, enigmatic FBI agent, and though Ontkean won't be back, there are plenty of moments to revisit before the series comes back with a recast Harry Truman — or a new Sheriff character entirely.
1. "Welcome To Amateur Hour"
When Cooper's superior Albert comes to Twin Peaks to take over the Laura Palmer investigation, he has nothing but criticism for the quaint little town and the people running the operation. Truman takes the blows as long as he can, but he lasts but a minute before telling Albert, "I hear you're real good at what you do." Albert affirms, so Truman continues: "Well that's good, ’cause normally if a stranger walked into my station talking this kind of crap, he'd be looking for his teeth two blocks up on Queer Street." Albert looks sufficiently cowed.
2. Speaking Of Albert...
Truman confronts Albert again, with a totally different outcome — I doubt that anyone saw it coming that his diatribe would end in "Sheriff Truman, I love you."
3. A Green Butt Skunk
Consistently one of the most earnest characters on Twin Peaks, aside from his comrade Cooper, Truman gives Cooper a fishing lure shortly before his departure from the town. He tied it himself, he tells Cooper — his dad taught him how. (Cue the "aww!")
4. "A Clean Place, Reasonably Priced"
Truman is mentioned before he even appears on screen — and it's a joke about his memorable name, no less. The fact that he shares a name with late President Truman is an underutilized pun on Twin Peaks, which makes its occasional references all the more delightful.
5. "Every Day, Once A Day, Give Yourself A Present"
6. Harry Isn't Perturbed By A Llama
Piecing together the Laura Palmer murder brings Truman and Cooper to a veterinary office, tracking down a bird who might be their only witness. For a prototypical Small Town USA kind of town, Twin Peaks has some quirky denizens — including a llama-wielding young woman in the waiting room of the vet.
Michael Ontkean brought charm and measure to the role of Harry S. Truman. He's sure to be missed, and we're hoping the Twin Peaks universe comes up with a fitting explanation for his departure from the Twin Peaks Sheriff's office.