Tammy Preston: Our Pure Heroine

tammy preston

I just finished reading The Final Dossier by Mark Frost, and what a wonderful novel it is! At first, it seems to give you everything on a plate, which I must admit I didn’t really want, but keep looking — all is not what it seems. This article will be full of spoilers, so please don’t look any further if you haven’t read it yet.

The Final Dossier is written almost exclusively from the viewpoint of Tamara (Tammy) Preston, played by Chrysta Bell. She discovered the Secret Dossier compiled by Major Briggs in the basement of Ruth Davenport’s apartment block a few weeks into the investigation. (That doesn’t sit quite right with me, if she had read The Archivist’s work then, she would have known a lot more than she did in Series 3).

In this new dossier, we learn all about the fine folk of Twin Peaks that Tammy’s Boss, Gordon Cole, felt an affinity to during his time in the town. That in itself is a little weird to me. Did Gordon spend any time with the folk we know and love? Other than Shelly, did he have a special bond with anyone? Tammy makes some pretty exciting discoveries during her journey and establishes herself as the new ‘Archivist’, giving us answers to questions we have long puzzled over. Including the ultimate question, ‘How’s Annie?’. I’ll get back to that later. Or will I? Reading this new dossier, Tammy says she’ll get back to a few things, but we never hear about them again. A symptom of a foggy mind, perhaps?

I feel quite a kinship to Tammy, maybe because I followed the FBI journey throughout my Series on this site. So who is Tammy Preston, and how does she hold up against her predecessors?

Firstly let’s get the obvious over and done with. Tammy is incredibly beautiful, and I found myself mesmerised by her. I could watch that wiggle all day long. But what I love about her is that while she physically exudes sex, she is not doing this on purpose; it’s not forced; it’s just her natural state of being. From reading her words and watching her work, it’s clear that her mind is on one thing only, her job.

tammy speaks to gordon and albert in blue haze

So what drives Tammy Preston? She made the Honors list at George Washington High, the dean’s list at MIT, and graduated at the top of her class at the FBI Academy in Quantico. Clearly, she is smart and works her ass off. She has an excellent eye for detail and an interest in the human condition. Indeed from her own musings and reflections of the people she meets while compiling this new dossier, we learn that she is made of great moral fibre.

Tammy, like Albert Rosenfield, is largely sceptical of the supernatural but open-minded enough about what she saw. She was put to this task by Gordon Cole for a reason. A fresh pair of innocent eyes. He chose her, and this is something she revels in.  Her relationship with Gordon is one of devotion to her boss, respect and eagerness to succeed for him. Yes, there has to be an ambition for her own sake, but her priority is to ensure that the faith he had in her is rewarded.

Indeed Gordon fought hard for her too. In the now-infamous scene between Gordon and Denise, which heeded the perfect line, “I told those clown comics to fix their hearts or die”, Gordon was fighting for Tammy’s inclusion in his team, reminding Denise that there was a time that her own career was in jeopardy because of her sexuality. Gordon once again put his reputation on the line for a woman, but for all the right reasons. A decision that would ultimately save his life when Diane Tulpa tried to kill him off. Tammy and Albert were there, on the ball, to take her out before she could pull the trigger.

Tammy fires her gun

Tammy cares deeply for Gordon. Her face, when Diane got him smoking after years of repentance, said it all. But this is what I like the most about Tammy; she’s no drama queen. She might give a disapproving look, but that’s it, no shouting or nagging. Even when Diane said, “fuck you, Tammy“, right to her face, in front of her Superior’s, she didn’t flinch; she just carried on with a smile. She’s all sorts of shades of cool.

Her relationship with Albert was also of genuine sweetness. She seemed to soften even his outwardly hardened demeanour. I want to think that her influence on him gave him the confidence to take out Constance Talbot for dinner. (This is still the moment I squealed at the most during Series 3, in my mind, there’s a love story to rival Ed & Norma right there). Albert respected Tammy, spoke to her unlike he spoke to anyone else. No sarcasm was directed at her at all. He was a mentor to Tammy, perhaps knowing his time as right-hand man to Gordon Cole was coming to an end, he needed her to be as brilliant as he was for the greater good. I think a little part of him rubbed off on her too — some of her comments in the Final Dossier are brilliantly bitchy, but generally saved for those that really deserved them, such as this comment about Lana Budding in her later years, “The engine was running, but the chassis needed an overhaul“.

tammy preston and albert rosenfield sat at their desks

So has Tammy Preston got what it takes? All of the Blue Rose Task Force Agents that precede her have been led down a path that ultimately led to their demise in some shape or form.  Phillip Jeffries, Blue Rose Task Force founder, along with Gordon Cole, has now moved between timelines so often he barely exists at all. His grasp on reality is perhaps completely diminished; he may exist in so many timelines at once that he cannot be viewed in any one reality. Was it his deep interest in the occult and esoteric subjects perhaps that flawed his investigations into Judy? He travelled too deep inside the rabbit hole he could never return to the surface.

Windom Earle chose a similar path. His madness stemmed from the need for power and control, using people like puppets, pawns in a chess game.  Now we know he threw his wife Caroline and partner Dale Cooper together in an attempt to prove he was right about the spark he has sensed between them. Windom Earle was chaos, and he met a deserving, fiery end.

Chester Desmond remains one of the few completely unanswered questions in the world of Twin Peaks, and I am glad of that. He perhaps failed before he got very far on his mission; he may not have been made of the right stuff. Too cool? not conscientious enough?

Then there’s Agent Cooper. Who got so close may have even partly completed his mission, but perhaps his unwavering need to be the White Knight, always having to save the damsel in distress, got him into a pickle that he’s terminally unable to break free from. His flaw was falling in love so easily. Not a bad trait to have in some situations, but it is if it makes you take your eyes off the prize. His interest in Tibet may have got him as far as he did, and of course, I don’t think his story is over yet; it may play out time and time again. He may be the damsel that needs saving now, as it appears travelling through alternative realities had an obscure effect on his internal clock too. There’s a real chance he could end up like Jeffries or Briggs if he doesn’t get it right or isn’t removed from the situation.

Tammy, of course, is well aware of what happened to those that walked the path before her, but when she was offered a place on the Task Force, she didn’t have to consider it for a second. She was in. She made a bold move. Some might say even say she has perfect courage.

Tammy gives Gordon a hard look for smoking

She saw a lot in the first few weeks on the task force. Including the arrival of The Double, his body disappearing right before her eyes, a BOB ball appearing from his body and being smashed to smithereens by a cockney lad with a green glove.  She saw the real Diane appear from the shape of another woman, and then she, the real Cooper and Gordon all disappear into blackness. Only for Gordon to return alone later and Diane and Cooper to be lost in time once again. Quite a lot to take in.

So Tammy, at the request of Gordon, hangs around in Twin Peaks post Cooper’s devastating return to do some digging on the local’s. What she discovered was extraordinary. Unknowingly she has answered the question we have wondered about for so long, “How’s Annie?”  It appears that Annie, now residing at a psychiatric hospital, in a serene but catatonic state, answers this question once a year, every year, at 8.38 am on the anniversary of the day she was found in the woods, with just two words, “I’m fine“.  A response to the story being played over and over again?  Wherever Annie’s mind is, it appears that she is ok. Her never ageing body may exist here, but her mind does not. The question may be now not of how she is but where she is?

Tammy felt a great deal of sympathy for Annie, and like me, she felt that Annie and Cooper could have been the real deal if only they had the chance. They were perfect for each other in every way.  The joy she shares with Gordon as they watch Albert and Constance enjoy time together shows that she is a romantic. But she does not appear to have any romantic ties of her own. Maybe she chooses not to, as I am sure she would have a string of potential suitors. Perhaps the job is all she needs.

Tammy and Gordon smiling
Chrysta Bell and David Lynch in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Tammy has also discovered more information about Judy than any other Agent before her that we know of, certainly more without losing her head in the process. She uncovered who the billionaire was behind the glass box and the reasons behind its construction. Plus, the pretty major reason why Mr C/BOB was so keen to find those coordinates. Now that she is aware of what it all meant, she can’t just leave it there, right?

Her final discovery in the town of Twin Peaks is the most shocking. Laura Palmer is not dead. In the show, we knew this happened; Cooper saved her, and Cooper told Hawk that things would be different. Hawk nodded with understanding. If anyone will remember the real version of events, it’s Hawk. Is this why his ‘living’ map changes so often? Jeffries also suggested that Cole would remember the ‘official version’. Tammy does too. She wisely decided to leave the town as soon as her memories of what happened there started to fog. Unlike the other Agents before, she decided to take a step back, remove herself from the situation, and not be dragged into the secrets still smothering the town.

Or did she? She was aware that she was starting to forget the truth, that she was beginning to remember a different world, a world where Laura Palmer did not die. Was she able to escape the fog?  She isn’t the first Agent to have this happen to her. Both Gordon and Albert totally forgot about Phillip Jeffries visit to the Philadelphia FBI Headquarters before the murder of Laura Palmer. It appears that moment was erased, but the memory started creeping back into their minds just in time to know what they had to do — get to Twin Peaks. Jeffries arrived in Philidelphia that day in a year he was not expecting to, just like Cooper did in the very final moments of Series 3. Can Tammy get to grips with that before it’s too late and Cooper ends up like Jeffries?

diane says fuck you tammy

It makes me wonder now, what we are reading is just one version of events. This dossier too is full of holes from the truth as we knew it. Perhaps The Secret History of Twin Peaks, compiled by Major Briggs, is more of the ‘unofficial version’ that won’t be remembered by anyone other than Cole, but more of the truth than even we knew!  Or maybe it is a collection of documents from various realities. Did Briggs keep a souvenir from every time history was changed? By him? By Jeffries? By someone else entirely?

There’s still so much work to be done. Can a woman of such integrity now just leave it all alone? Seeing what she’s seen, knowing what she knows? I think she’s just getting started and there may be no better person for the job than Tammy Preston, her senses wide open to the here and now. She may not be the popular choice amongst fans; perhaps her apparent lack of flaws makes her less interesting? Her journey starts here, and she knows what not to do. She has no interest in power, no one to risk everything for. She knows that Ba’al & Joudy absolutely cannot be brought together. Her final words in the dossier may be the most important.

We mustn’t give up.


  1. I don’t know why there is so much hate for Special Agent Preston among our fandom. She stepped into the void left by Coop, and in a lot of respects reminds me of Coop. Her true Gentleman Caller is the Bureau, and unlike Coop, she is loathe to cheat. I hope she is followed up on, but unfortunately the Blue Rose Task Force’s days are numbered thanks to the sudden death of Agent Rosenfield, and the arrival of a maniac in the White House and a mania within DoJ to hack and slash budgets.

  2. I loved Tammy. The only quibble I had with her is that during the scene where Gordon and Albert see the vortex/portal and she is wearing stilettos in the field. I wouldn’t mind if she doesn’t visibly stumble while standing still and covering them. I feel like a talented agent would not wear heels into the field where she may be chasing suspects or having to stand for hours. It took me out of it tbh. The same episode though, I loved her expression to Gordon’s declaration of Bill Hastings fate. It cracked me up! I hope if the story continues, Tammy continues to be an important character and member of the Blue Rose task force.

    1. Good point about the stiletto’s. In fact, I found her whole ensemble to be a distraction; as if she were a retro fantasy version of an FBI woman especially suited to the fantasies of Gorden Cole and David Lynch.

  3. I think Gordon wanted a “catch-up” on the last quarter century of local and personal events in Twin Peaks not because he had any personal care for those people (aside from Shelly), but because he’s aware that Cooper will be changing the past and that he will “remember the unofficial version” (i.e. where Laura dies). He wants a full report on the events since Laura Palmer’s death in the original timeline as related to those who were close to Laura or the investigation, so that once everyone aside from him remembers the “official version” he’ll be capable of parsing out the ways that reality has changed, in the hopes that this information will be of use to the Blue Rose Task Force in some way, either in fighting the good fight against Joudy and her ilk or in assisting in the return of those trapped in other worlds, like Coop and Laura and possibly Chet Desmond and Audrey as well (depending on the still-unclear questions of what’s happened to them).

  4. I get the impression that most of the ‘Anti-TP’ brigade aren’t anti-TP at all, they are anti-Chrysta Bell. I don’t mind Chrysta Bell, she got better as S3 went on but Annie Wersching’s TP of the audio books is much easier to buy as the brilliant and sceptical agent that Cole has apparently been watching since high school.

    The only time I really got annoyed with TP (and Gordon) was the aforementioned scene where they watched Albert and Constance. That didn’t strike me as either of them being romantics, more the kind of patronising “aaah aren’t they cute” attitude people often have towards single older people who suddenly find romance.

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