"I didn't say viewers would know who the killer was. I said they'd see Laura Palmer's killer during the premiere."
That was Bob Iger, the president of ABC Entertainment, playing semantic games and trying to talk his way out of a statement he made this summer that viewers of this season's "Twin Peaks" premiere would know who killed Laura Palmer.
It turns out that viewers probably won't know who killed Laura Palmer.
Iger's promise was overridden by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the show's producers, who now say we'll sort of know, maybe, who killed Laura Palmer after Sunday's return at 9 on WJZ-TV (Channel 13). Or let's put it this way, Frost says: We'll be shown the killer, but we may not know he or she is the killer.
Welcome back to "Twin Peaks," where nothing is what it appears to be, including promises of the sort Iger made.
"Twin Peaks" is nothing but questions.
For example, if "Twin Peaks" is as good as critics and fans think it is, why did it get shut out in the major Emmy award categories? Because of that poor showing, will it now be treated as just another show by ABC and live or die by its ratings? Can it reverse the steep decline it suffered from its premiere to finale last season? Can it make it through a full season of 22 shows? If the murder of Laura Palmer is ever solved, what then?
And will the rumor that Frost and Lynch will assume on-screen roles this season prove true?
Most of those questions can only be answered with time. There are some easier questions, though, that have been indirectly answered either through interviews or the publication of "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer," and "The Twin Peaks' Tapes of Agent Cooper," on cassette.
*As almost everyone knows, Cooper survived the gunshots of last season's finale. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
*Catherine Martell and Josie Packard are missing after the fire at the Packard Saw Mill, but Pete Martell is OK.
*Nadine Hurley botched her suicide attempt.
*Leo Johnson is paralyzed and unable to speak as a result of his accident. Johnson and Jacques (who no longer is counted among the living) are not hot suspects any more. The Log Lady says she saw a third person in the woods the night Laura Palmer was killed.
*Laura Palmer and Josie Packard had a sexual relationship. Laura Palmer also had a sexual relationship with the woman who runs One-Eyed Jack's, the house of prostitution frequented by Benjamin Horne and others.
Here's another question: Does this sound like a prime-time soap opera or what?
On one level, "Twin Peaks" is a prime-time soap opera -- and one likely to get a little more titillatingly sudsy if the entries in Laura's diary are any indication of where some of these characters' lives are leading them.
On other levels, though, "Twin Peaks" is as smart as anything on prime-time. It is the one entertainment show thoughtful people did not have to be embarrassed about watching last year.
Just don't expect too many answers or too much resolution Sunday night. That's not the style of Frost and Lynch.
At a press conference this summer in Los Angeles, Frost was asked if he and Lynch didn't feel they were pushing viewers too far with promises of resolution that were never fulfilled.
Frost was then reminded that in January he and Lynch had promised there would be a "sense of closure" to the seven episodes that ran last spring. There wasn't. In fact, they left almost nothing resolved.
But Lynch insisted that there was a sense of closure. "The sense of closure was that after the seven hours ended, they were over," he said with a big smile.
Welcome back to "Twin Peaks."