Cold Case Season 1

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Cold Case - Season 1

Cold Case

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Cold Case Season 1

The executive producers of the hit shows "Without a Trace" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman, along with Meredith Stiehm (ER, NYPD Blue), explore an equally absorbing facet of law enforcement in this fascinating drama series.

Headstrong and resourceful, Detective Lilly Rush works on "cold cases" for the Philadelphia Police Department, reopening dormant, unsolved homicides that occurred years or even decades ago, making use of today's science and finding fresh clues to crimes once thought to be unsolvable.

Episode guide

  1. 01 - Look Again (pilot)

    Headstrong and resourceful Detective Lilly Rush (series star KATHRYN MORRIS) works on ""cold cases"" for the Philadelphia Police Department, reopening dormant, unsolved homicides that occurred years or even decades ago. Previously, Rush had used her instinctive understanding of the criminal mind to crack current murder cases. Now, this experienced detective is intrigued by new challenges, such as interrogating witnesses to old crimes whose lives and circumstances have since changed, making use of today's science and finding fresh clues to cases once thought to be unsolvable. Rush sometimes seeks advice from her mentor, Lieutenant John Stillman (series star JOHN FINN). Also on the team is Detective Nick Vera (series star JEREMY RATCHFORD), a tough expert at getting confessions. Rush sees her new assignment as a turning point in her career, and she makes it her business to ensure that no victim is ever forgotten.

    Twenty-seven years ago, a maid, Bonita (LILLIAN HURST as present-day character), to a wealthy family partially witnessed the murder of teenager Jill Shelby (KATE MARA). Fearing for her job, Bonita never told anyone, but now dying of cancer, she wants the killer brought to justice. Rush reopens the case, in which two brothers were originally suspected but not charged due to their powerful society family. Still encountering recalcitrant witnesses, even including Jill's mother, Rush finds out that superstar lawyer Todd Whitley (D.W. MOFFETT as adult - ""Skin,"" ""For Your Love,"" ""Traffic""), the brother who was dating Jill, eventually married her best friend, Melanie (LISA WALTZ as adult), while Eric Whitley (MICHAEL REILLEY BURKE as adult), who was infatuated with Jill, is divorced, unemployed and an alcoholic.

    Both Eric and Todd refuse to tell Rush anything, however, and Melanie tries to implicate someone else. After learning that Melanie had a sexual relationship with Todd while he was dating Jill, Rush confronts him and forces him to admit that they originally lied about their whereabouts to conceal their relationship. Believing that Eric is the murderer, Rush persuades Jill's mother to reveal that there was a second witness, Charlie Winter (TIM CHOATE as adult), whom no one believed because he had a drug problem. Now a meditation guru, Charlie says that he saw Todd with the murder weapon, a tennis racket.

    Finally, Melanie fearfully confesses that she recently overheard Todd angrily telling Eric to stay away from their aunt's house. Rush interrogates Todd, who tells her that Eric killed Jill in a jealous rage. But Eric finally reveals the truth: Todd killed Jill after she kissed Eric. Rush finds the incriminating racket buried in the aunt's backyard and arrests Todd.

    Not appearing in this episode is series star DANNY PINO as Detective Scott Valens.

  2. 02 - Gleen

    The fiancée of fireman Rob Deamer (BRETT CULLEN) asks Lilly to help prove that Albert Miller (MARK BERNIER), a convicted felon about to be paroled on an unrelated crime, is responsible for the murder of Rob's first wife. When Rob's daughter, Gwen (JAMIE BROWN), starts threatening Albert, Lilly discovers several disturbing facts about Rob, including relationships and secret marriages that ended violently. During her investigation, she uncovers evidence that could potentially clear Albert while leading directly to the true killer.

  3. 03 - Our Boy is Back

    Rush confronts an old case that Vera was unable to solve involving a serial rapist who preys on single women. When the rapist sends a letter to the detective squad announcing he's returned to Philadelphia after a five-year absence and plans to strike again, Rush and Vera attempt to catch the criminal before he acts. The prime suspect in the past was Bruce Eldridge (GREG ZOLA), the boyfriend of a victim strangled to death during her attack. The detectives pursue Eldridge's possible involvement with the crimes; however, DNA evidence exonerates him. Rush's best hope of catching the rapist comes from the one victim, Ellen (BREE TURNER), who caught a glimpse of her attacker and is able to provide Rush with a composite sketch.

  4. 06 - Love Conquers Al

    Rush reopens the murder case of a 16-year-old girl after a prison inmate, bargaining for a reduced sentence, relates a conversation he overheard 22 years ago, intimating that the wrong man is currently serving time for the murder. She uncovers evidence that suggests a loner named Will Harrell (JAMES DuMONT) is responsible for the crime. After finding traces of the girl's blood in Harrell's car, which was sold a few days after the murder, Rush and her new partner, Detective Scotty Valens (new series star DANNY PINO), interrogate the suspect, who insists that he has a good alibi for the night in question. The trail soon leads the detectives to a former popular track star and his high school sweetheart who appear to have had a motive for committing the crime.

  5. 07 - A Time to Hate

    Rush gets a visit from a frail 75-year-old woman seeking justice for her dead son, the victim of a 1964 gay bashing incident. Nearing the end of her own life, the woman believes the police never aggressively pursued the case because of her embarrassment over her son's lifestyle as well as societal prejudices at the time. As Rush investigates, she discovers a former underground world in which gay men were forced to live like criminals. Rush also elicits the help of a retired cop, who was a member of a secret squad in the '60s that antagonized gay men, in order to finally track down the thugs responsible for this forgotten hate crime.

  6. 08 - Fly Away

    Rush and Valens reopen a case involving a young woman, Rosie Miles (LAURA REGAN), who is slowly emerging from a 2-year coma with no memory of the murder of her daughter, Toya (AYNSLEY LEMON). Rush and Valens' only leads are an unknown man fleeing the building moments after the daughter fell to her death and an anonymous telephone call partially describing the fugitive. The case takes an unexpected turn when Rush discovers an old videotape from a security camera in the victim's bedroom; however, Rush must rely on Rosie to provide additional details on the night of the fall.

  7. 09 - Sherry Darlin'

    Rush reopens a cold case when she receives a cryptic phone call from an anonymous man who claims he murdered his grandmother in 1989 and buried her in the basement of his former home. After Rush and the team locate the body and determine the caller's name to be James Hogan (JAKE BERN), she tries to get James to reveal why he's suddenly confessing 14 years after the murder. When his admission of guilt doesn't match the facts, Rush researches deeper into James' past and realizes that he must be protecting someone else.

  8. 10 - Hitchhiker

    Rush reopens the case of a hitchhiker found murdered in 1997 near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Initially, after reviewing the case, Rush and the homicide team believe that the victim, Matt Mills (CHRIS BECKWITH as the 1997 character), was hitchhiking with his recent casino winnings and was murdered by a truck driver, who may have committed a series of homicides along his truck route. However, after further investigation, they learn that Matt had a troubled past, having robbed a convenience store as a teen with his cousin. This revelation leads Rush to believe that Matt's murder may have been an act of revenge. But when Matt's sister recounts a conversation she had with her brother on the night he was killed, Rush eventually discovers an unlikely suspect.

  9. 11 - Hubris

    A former college professor, Roy Minard (JEFFREY NORDLING - "The Lone Ranger"), asks Rush to reopen a murder case. Minard's career ended in disgrace when he became the prime suspect in the violent murder of his student Holly Rickter (KAITLIN DOUBLEDAY). Although Minard admits to a love affair with Holly, he maintains his innocence and offers Rush and Valens a compelling new theory on the murder, hoping to finally clear his name and return to academia. Rush speaks with several witnesses to Holly and Minard's relationship, including a schizophrenic ex-classmate, Barry Tepler (BLAKE SHIELDS), who was in love with Holly and appears to have had a strong motive for committing the crime.

  10. 12 - Glued

    Lieutenant Stillman asks Rush to investigate the 1980 unsolved murder of an 8-year-old boy. Stillman worked the case and is still haunted by it. Initially, the team focuses on a local thug who quickly moved away after the killing. Then the victim's mother becomes a suspect. The detectives question a former neighborhood priest, who is now retired, and realize the priest heard the killer's confession but refuses to divulge the identity. Rush concocts a scheme to get the murderer, a former drugstore clerk who is now a successful businessman, to confess.

  11. 14 - Boy in the Box

    Rush and Valens reopen the unsolved killing of Arnold Collier (LYNDON SMITH), a 6-year-old orphan who died in an empty field in 1958. The former orphanage where Arnold lived now operates as a day care center. The two detectives interview several nuns who still work in the building. The investigative team locates the boy's now-adult sister, Gretchen (MOLLY CHEEK), who was sent to the orphanage with her brother when their parents died in a car accident. After further investigation, Rush and Valens realize that Arnold's records were falsified, and they soon discover that the identity of Arnold's mother could lead to the killer.

  12. 15 - Disco Inferno

    In 1978, fire destroyed a disco, and 23 people died. The partial remains of a body were recently found six feet underneath the building site--in the former VIP room. The victim died of a gunshot wound to the head. Rush and Valens realize the blaze didn't kill the victim and believe that the fire was probably set in order to conceal this murder. Through scientific forensic testing, the dead man is identified as Benny Rosen (CONOR DUBIN), a disco fanatic and possible cocaine dealer. Rush and Valens delve into the drug and sex-filled world of the disco scene. Though the killing first appears to be drug-related, then a crime of passion, Rush and Valens ultimately discover that an unlikely suspect is responsible for Rosen's murder and the 22 others.

  13. 16 - Volunteers

    Human remains found in the excavation site for a new building lead Rush and Valens to investigate the unsolved deaths of a man and a woman in their mid-20s who disappeared in 1969. After identifying the two as Gerard (GARLAND WHITT) and Julia (AMBER BENSON), the detectives delve into the couple's lives, learning they were both active in the 1960's counter-culture scene when they vanished. Gerard and Julia also volunteered for an underground organization that helped women obtain safe abortions when the procedure was illegal. After Rush and Valens locate a woman, Renee (MARY-JOAN NEGRO as 2004 character), whom the couple helped shortly before their disappearance, the detectives find that she could provide the key to uncovering the killer.

  14. 17 - The Lost Soul of Herman Lester

    Stillman asks Rush and Valens to reopen the 1987 case of Philadelphia high school basketball star Herman Lester (MEHCAD BROOKS), who was stabbed to death hours after leading his team to the state championship. Lester's son, a current basketball phenomenon playing for the same school as his father, recently received a death threat. The detectives investigate a jealous teammate of Lester's who was released from the squad, a local bookmaker and the longtime basketball coach of Lester and his son--who was hoping that both players' success would elevate his own career. TIM MATHESON ("The West Wing," "Animal House") directed the episode.

  15. 19 - Late Returns

    A current murder case leads Rush and Valens to reopen a cold case from 1992 involving a young woman, Vanessa Prosser (LAURA ALLEN), killed after leaving a political event on election night. The detectives try to find a connection between Vanessa's 1992 death and current homicide victim P.J. Prosser (JIM MESKIMEN), and an autopsy reveals that the man was Vanessa's biological father. Rush and Valens also discover that Vanessa's father was obsessed with finding his daughter's killer--leading them to believe that the same person may be responsible for both murders.

  16. 21 - Maternal Instinct

    A court-appointed psychologist approaches Rush regarding a client, Sean (ASHTON HOLMES), a troubled 17-year-old boy who's been lost in the foster care system since he witnessed the murder of his mother, Rebecca (TRACY MIDDENDORF), 14 years ago. The teen has recently been suffering intense nightmares about the incident, and the doctor asks Rush to reopen the case to finally give Sean closure. As Rush and Valens investigate, they realize that Sean's dreams match key pieces of evidence from the crime. In addition, by contacting Rebecca's family and friends, Rush and Valens learn that Rebecca and Sean were living on the run, seemingly from one of the men in her past.

  17. 22 - The Plan

    Rush, Valens and Vera investigate the 1999 murder of a military academy swim coach, Nash Cavanaugh (ROBERT RUSLER), who died in the academy's swimming pool. The detectives discover that a blood test showed Cavanaugh was drunk when he was killed, but Cavanaugh had more than one secret--he was also a pedophile. The team finds three boys who wanted Cavanaugh dead. But when one of the boys shoots himself in the head, a fourth victim confesses. Meanwhile, Valens encounters a big problem at home.

  18. 23 - Lovers Lane

    In the season finale, DNA evidence reveals the wrong man has been imprisoned for the 1986 murder of beautiful 15-year-old Eve Kendall (MAE WHITMAN - "Independence Day"). Rush and Valens reopen the case and discover that the teen was desired by several men, both younger and older. The investigation initially leads to Mark Adams (MICHAEL BIERMAN as 1986 character and BENJAMIN PARRILLO as adult), Eve's former boyfriend. Mark professes his innocence and is eventually dismissed as a suspect; he still loves Eve and has an immediate connection with Rush, who bears a striking resemblance to the dead girl. After speaking with Eve's mother and several of her old friends, the detectives discover crucial information about Eve's final days, which brings them closer to finding her killer.