Pete (played by Jack Nance), born on June 28, 1934, is a lumberjack who married his boss' sister Catherine. What started as a "summer's indiscretion", developed into a marriage on the rocks, a marriage that from Pete's perspective never should have happened. "Catherine is plain hell to live with", Pete once admits during the course of the show. Catherine is ruthless, stubborn and determined and doesn't make anything easy for her husband (whom she feels is a useless, soft old fool). However, it is also made clear that Catherine was far richer than he, so he has at least a financial consolation. Pete also seems to harbor some genuine, nostalgic affection for his wife, which he expresses to Sheriff Truman when he thinks Catherine has died.
He is a keen angler. While Catherine plots to get back his late brother's business, the Packard mill, from his widow Josie Packard whom she despises, Pete spends his time fishing ("There's a fish in the percolator!") and joking affectionately with Josie. Perhaps too good to be true, Josie is pure balm to Pete after Catherine's constant spite and contempt.
Pete is a champion chess player, and regular winner of the Twin Peaks Chess Tournament. He uses this advantage in the second season to help Special Agent Dale Cooper with his chess game against Windom Earle.
In the series' finale, Pete accompanies Andrew Packard to the bank to open a safe deposit box with the key Andrew steals from his sister Catherine, which had been left by the late Thomas Eckhardt. As it turns out, there is a bomb inside the safe, planted by Eckhardt and activated once the safe is open. Pete and Andrew gaze in awe at the contraption as it explodes. However, because of the series' cancellation, their ultimate fate is never revealed.
Jack Nance also filmed some scenes for the 1992 prequel spin-off, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, but Pete Martell's character was completely edited from the film, along with plenty of footage of several deleted scenes because of time constraints.
"Wrapped in plastic"EditPete has one of the show's catchphrases-- "She's dead... wrapped in plastic", which led to everything from the show's fanzine title to Marilyn Manson's song on their Portrait of an American Family album "Wrapped in Plastic". The Gothic band Creaming Jesus also has a sample-laden song entitled Upside Down that samples the line.
Jack Nance earlier works with David LynchEdit
Jack Nance played the main role in the first feature-long film by David Lynch Eraserhead alongside Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs in Twin Peaks) and afterwards he also appeared in Dune and Blue Velvet.