Cold Case (“Fly Away”)

Season 1, Episode 8
Date of airing: November 30, 2003 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 16.47 million viewers, 10.8/16 in Households, 4.3/10 with Adults 18-49

As soon as the first minute or two was running past my eyeballs, I started remembering the outcome of this episode from when I watched the season for a second time some time ten years ago when I really tried to get into the habit of watching crime procedurals, as THE MENTALIST had just premiered and I loved the first few episodes of that show. It looks like this episode mad made itself into my memory banks, and the somewhat unique conclusion to this murder case was new enough for me back then to consider it the first of its kind, and the first time of something is remembered by everyone on this blue and burning planet. It really makes for an interesting story in a crime procedural, when one of the twists of the episode is that there is actually no killer and that the victim or victims died for nothing. Yes, there was danger and yes, there were suspects who could have hurt the victims in their own way, but Toya didn’t die because a man hurt her. Toya died because her mother thought the men in her life would come to hurt her, and she was too traumatized to ever get over that fear.

It’s hard to talk about your violent childhood.

That premise makes the episode special and more emotional than it probably had any right to be. That the writers would go even deeper with it by including a social worker who is also a pedophile, a father who has physically (and as implied, sexually) abused his daughter when she was still a child, and a central character whose first layers of a back story was being uncovered, almost makes this episode of COLD CASE necessary viewing in case you want to watch the most important episodes of the show, instead of going through seven seasons of Whodunit episodes. It’s an essential episode, and thankfully it’s also a great episode. Not just because of the story, but because the script must have been so good, the cast members were able to take out the emotional impact of the premise and direct it towards the camera. Laura Regan delivered as Rosie, and the fact that I never really knew in hindsight whether Rosie was going crazy over all the trauma she received, or was just really protective over her little girl that it had to lead to their deaths eventually. The writers could have helped themselves by explaining that Rosie became a little manic and crazy and had hallucinations, but it turns out that trauma is the most dangerous thing one can have, because it makes you think illogical things and it shuts you out of life.

That this episode wasn’t super perfect has to be blamed on the red herrings. COLD CASE hasn’t been known to do that over the previous seven episodes, but this episode had three to four suspects the detectives needed to go through to come to the ultimate conclusion of what really happened that night in Toya’s bedroom. Angel, Rosie’s father, the pedophile social worker, and even the black pizza delivery guy — all four had to be questioned by Lilly and her new partner (who may or may not have been inquiring about Lilly’s home life over the course of this episode) and that is something COLD CASE focused on doing for the first time. Maybe because the writers thought that the conclusion was unique for them and needed to be waited out and brought as late as possible. Maybe because the unique conclusion was unable to expand the story into a 44-minute murder mystery, because then the episode would have transformed into a story about how traumatized Rosie had been, which means the abuse she got from her father would have been the B story and the threat of the evil social worker would have loomed over the entire episode and not just during the fourth act.

Back in the nightmare-is past.

Victim/perpetrator rate: A female child died in this episode, but in a legal sense there was no killer for her, although technically it was Toya’s mother who killed her. Eight episodes in and I already have difficulties counting the people who were the killers of the story. I guess there will be a new count now: Killers who were not prosecuted by district attorneys for whatever reason, which makes Rosie the first person in this count. I will however count her as the killer — like I said, Rosie technically killed Toya, which means this is the first episode of the show in which a woman killed someone of her own gender. The victim rate is Men 3-5 Women (one of the women was a little girl), the perpetrator rate is Men 8-3 Women (one of the women was not prosecuted for the murder).

Cold Case (“A Time to Hate”)

Season 1, Episode 7
Date of airing: November 16, 2003 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 13.90 million viewers,9.2/14 in Households, 3.3/8 with Adults 18-49

When COLD CASE wanted to be diversity and inclusive, it forgot to be exactly that on screen. Going with the premise of gay bashing in the 1960s is a good idea and I can imagine that this won’t be the only episode of the show with that premise, but it was pretty obvious that drag queens were the only elements of the culture the producers were accepting for the story, because a man-on-man kiss or an actual depiction of a gay romance would have been too much for the twenty-first century mind and television audience. Even back in 2003, network executives were still scared to lose advertisers by putting gay images into their television dramas. Not that this episode would have been helped by the fact that Danny and Hank made out for the camera, but it would have made the story more authentic, and it would have made the gay bashing and hate against the LGBT community during the Hush bar scenes more important for the morale of the story.

It’s the usual interruption of love for gay people in the 1960s.

This episode also had to be very careful to not be this much against the LGBT community, yet still try to form a narrative around aging police detectives who have no experience hanging out with gays and crossdressers (which is why they have to have conversations about what to call them, as well as make a couple of soft jokes here and there), as well as a young cop who thinks he is the greatest man in the world and can therefore be allowed to ask a question that would otherwise make him sound almost inconsiderate. I get that Scotty asking George, a.k.a. Tinkerbell, why he dressed up as a girl even though he knew he would get beat up by the police, because in a way Scotty served as the audience surrogate and maybe the writers really wanted to get an explanation and an understanding into the episode to not leave the viewers in the rain about the LGBT community, but the way Scotty asked the question was a little … well, let’s just say he now knows something about a sub culture in Philadelphia he would have made jokes about during the previous day. This episode could almost define what American culture was thinking about LGBT back in 2003, about who was making which kind of joke and who was actually friendly and accepting towards the community. Compared to how life was depicted in the 1964 flashbacks, the 2003 scenes seemed awfully liberating, but only almost, because at the end of the day, people were still side-eyeing the LGBT community and network executives were still not allowing man-on-man kissing on broadcast television. You can accept that LGBT is part of your community and the overarching culture, but that still doesn’t mean you have to like it, let alone accept it within your own four walls. And CBS definitely was one of those people.

The story itself seemed okay. I liked the notion that a murder case from 1964 brings black-and-white scenes 39 years later, although the missing color took away from the red light the bartender turned on as soon as police came into the club to smash things up. I would have loved to see the actual red color emanating from the light, which would have meant that any other colorful light source in that bar (and those usually have a lot of light sources with varied color schemes) would have been anything but red, yellow or orange and I would have loved to see that on full display, as one could have done a lot with the color scheme of that setting. I also liked the fact that as soon as Scotty was questioning Timmy O’Brien and he made a face that essentially uncovered him as Danny’s killer when he saw his picture, the writers did not create another twist or red herring to put yet another suspect out of the hats of crime procedurals. No, after 30 minutes, the suspect was pretty much found out, the experienced viewer who already had a bunch of cop shows under their belt knew how the episode would end, and it certainly ended that way. Yes, it would mean COLD CASE became predictable again, but it also means that the writers knew what they were doing with the cop drama genre and that this wasn’t just another crime procedural dishing you one suspect after the next and you must find out who the real killer is by guessing which guest star is the most famous one to play the killer. No, COLD CASE focuses on the back story and flashback era first — it’s almost like writing the character of the killer is second-ranked.

Scotty has a few questions.

The B story of Danny’s mother meeting Hank was touching. It was just a small storyline, but it looked like it was having major good ripples for the characters involved — not only can Danny’s mother leave the land of the living in peace, but Hank also found an opportunity to clear his mind of the mistakes he did in his past and maybe come out of the closet. Stories like these remind me that the only thing that is missing from crime procedurals is a sequel-type story about how the characters were coping after the killer has been caught and the family members of the victims finally found out what really happened. A post-homicide investigation Hank would have been very intriguing for the story.

Victim/perpetrator rate: A man has been killed by three men. For the second time in a row there has been more than one perpetrator, and it’s the second episode in which a person kills someone from the same gender. We haven’t had women-on-women violence yet though. The new count is this: The victim rate is Men 3-4 Women, the perpetrator rate is Men 8-2 Women.

Cold Case (“Love Conquers Al”)

Season 1, Episode 6
Date of airing: November 9, 2003 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 14.39 million viewers 9.0/13 in Households, 3.6/8 with Adults 18-49

In which Summer Glau portrayed the murder victim in the flashback scenes, before I had a huge crush on the woman who would become a Terminator a couple of years later and attract me with her attractiveness. What a shame that she never really had anything great going on either in film or television, although maybe it’s a good thing she isn’t a full-blown superstar. It might mean she is not the greatest of actresses (although her role in TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES was suited for her), but it might also mean she wasn’t an actress taking each and every role, just to hope that the next one will lead her to Hollywood stardom.

Anyway, this was a solid episode, but it had a story which reminded me why I will probably never watch more than one episode of COLD CASE in two or three weeks: There was just not any excitement in it all. Glau didn’t have a lot of screentime to make this episode about herself, and the actual murder investigation was only kept interesting because of Scotty’s introduction to the show and how he was interacting with his new colleagues and reacting to the cold case which he may or may not have been fully invested in. He is a good enough detective to not see this investigation of a cold case as a time of waste, but he also seemed like he was ready to make fun of it, and maybe that is something the show needs every once in a while, even if it’s just to up the comedy ante of this very serious detective crime drama. The only scenes in the murder investigation that are worth mentioning were the ones set in the interrogation room, when Lilly and Scotty were questioning Bennett and Jane separately, with their younger selves being depicted on the video camera screen — it was quite the clever way to have one of those unique “flashes” from a character changing from his past self to his present self and this time around the actual flashes were not used. But then even that positive thing had to get weird when the murder flashback scene was led into by another shot of the video camera screen, which had the first second or two of Paige receiving Bennett’s phone call. What started off as great and unique turned into awkward and weird and a little too visual for a series that makes the flashback scenes look different with each episode, as if the directors and series producers decided not to talk to each other about how the flashback scenes were to look like. Then again, the flashbacks were a good way to showcase the talent of the directors, and directors on television shows never really get the chance to take control.

The new kid was first to find the murder weapon.

This was also the first episode with quite the few conveniences in the narrative. For starters, the murder weapon, or as Scotty called it “the bitch killer,” was still at the garage, as if Will not only forgot that he ever put the gun there, but also forgot that he was an accessory to murder. Yes, Will thought that Bennett hit a dog with his car, but the gun itself was dropped into the story as a convenient plot twist to get to the murder weapon, which is the most infamous piece in a murder investigation that could bring down everything, and then forgotten as that plot twist, because now I have no idea why Will would hide the gun for Bennett, yet still believe that Bennett killed a dog. Not talking about how Bennett killed a dog and then hiding a gun for Bennett? Will really was a convenient dumb man in this episode.

Then there was the convenience of Jane and Bennett lying about how they knew Paige or who got to know about the fact that Paige stole Bennett’s virginity. Lilly and her team may be homicide detectives, but they could have arrested the couple for those lies alone, which were the most obvious sign of Bennett and Jane covering up their murder of Paige. I did however loved that Lilly was creating the false letters between Paige and her best friend Heidi, and how those were essentially leading to Bennett and Jane breaking apart in the interrogation room. The letters were important for the case to be cracked, but they would have been more than useless in the court of law, as they did not create a narrative of who killed the victim or who could be the murderer. Although I don’t know how those letters would be perceived in a courtroom if they happened to be mentioned, or when Bennett and Jane’s defense lawyers come upon the fact that the detectives created potential evidence to convince the killers to talk. I would love to get a legal analyst’s mind about whether or not Lilly essentially created a way for the case to be thrown out in court because of those letters.

Before she became a killing machine, she was the victim of a human one.

One final note: The episode missed a chance to depict a touching scene of Al being released from prison. You have this back story in your hands, which is quite intriguing for anyone who likes to investigate murder cases for wrongly imprisoned people, but it’s not getting a payoff at all. Al’s life was as affected by Paige’s murder as the ones who were involved with it. Also, his name is in the damn episode title. His release from prison should have been depicted.

Victim/perpetrator rate: A woman has been murdered by a couple of people (one a woman, the other a man). For the first time in this show, there was more than one perpetrator. The new count is this: The victim rate is Men 2-4 Women, the killer rate is Men 5-2 Women.

Cold Case (“The Runner”)

Season 1, Episode 5
Date of airing: October 26, 2003 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 14.08 million viewers, 9.1/14 in Households

Maybe it’s happening because I have about two decades of television under my belt and in my eyeballs, but I am starting to really get emotionally involved in some of the cases of this television show I watch about twice a month. When Lilly united Diane and Sammie at the very end of the episode, I was thinking about pushing a tear out of my eye, just to remember the fact that Joe Washington truly was a wonderful young man, who may have gotten off the tracks as a teenager, but got his act together and really decided to help someone. But as it’s always the case, the past catches up to everyone, and Joe had to pay with his life for that past, which meant that the person he wanted to protect was never able to be protected. Joe may have been the murder victim in this episode, but Sammie’s life was also destroyed. She was also killed at the train tracks on at fateful day in July of 1973. “The Runner” didn’t just pull his little revolver to put three bullets into a young police officer, but he also took apart the life of the little girl inside the car, who just wanted to get out of this neighborhood.

You remember killed cops with alcohol.

I guess it’s the right kind of story for a show like COLD CASE, which looks like it might have found the strengths of its stories already, but doesn’t know what to do with the characters and whether to give them back stories. Five episodes in and I know nothing about the lead detectives on the show. Five episodes in and I know more about each individual victim of the episodes than the main characters, which I don’t know was intended or not (giving the guest characters all the back story while the central characters go home empty, so that COLD CASE is switching around the formula of how to write television?). It certainly makes the stories of the episode more emotional and impactful, which by itself is a very intriguing thing. It tends to show though that a television writer has to sacrifice something to make either the story or the characters count in an episode. COLD CASE sacrificed the central characters, which is a move no other television drama has done, making COLD CASE a very unique show.

Consider me surprised that the events in 1973 weren’t filled with racism, let alone with the premise of a poor black neighborhood being ruled by a local drug kingpin. There was no racism to be found, as Joe was a respected police officer and the events happened in a black neighborhood. But there was certainly an amount of poor black people in this episode, although the writers did manage to cut this story as quickly as possible — pretty much after Detective Jeffries mentioned that you get born in this neighborhood, you die in this neighborhood. Would the story have been more impactful if Sammie’s character arc had been developed more during the final act of the episode? She put herself into the world of drugs (something that is by itself a dramatic story already — picking up a needle like that just because she wanted to play with Joe and his friend), and then she was almost raped by “The Runner,” let aloe had to witness a murder, which she conveniently did not tell Lilly about when she delivered the tape recorder. Between Joe’s murder and now, Sammie must have gone through hell and back, just to fall back into hell again, which is one hell of a story to tell when you write for dramatic television. It’s a story I would have preferred over Joe’s story, but I guess CBS was not the right network for Sammie’s back story to be fully lit under a row of spotlights.

You investigate murders by running alongside the suspect.

I was also happy that this turned out to be another episode having decided not to play with the “red herring” trope. That Sammie was not Joe’s secret lover was pretty much obvious, and that “The Runner” would have something to do with Joe’s murder also seemed clear. The writers stayed away from turning to villains who had no reason to be in the story, and they always stayed “local” — as in, within the neighborhood the story was set, within the set of characters the writers have established for the episode. I still have no idea if that way of COLD CASE storytelling will keep going for all seven seasons, but for right now it makes for an impressive crime procedural that is more an anthology series about the same detectives solving crimes rather than a television drama with characters you care about week to week.

Victim/perpetrator rate: A man has killed a man, which makes this episode the first time COLD CASE had a person kill a victim of the same gender. The victim rate is Men 2-3 Women, the killer rate is Men 4-1 Women.

Cold Case (“Churchgoing People”)

Season 1, Episode 4
Date of airing: October 19, 2003 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 11.62 million viewers, 7.8/12 in Households, 2.9/7 with Adults 18-49, 3.7/8 with Adults 25-54

Justin Chambers is still on the show. That means this episode and the previous one must have switched places, making things a little awkward for me 16 years later. At least now I know that I wasn’t remembering wrong when I thought that Chambers was in four episodes, which means this must in fact be his final one. I would still love to know why he exited the show this early, but I guess I’m just too lazy to figure it out on my own by reading all the online publications that might have had Chambers’s exit from COLD CASE as a topic.

White people can get out of jail pretty easily.

This episode was surprisingly impressive. Crime procedurals are always better when they don’t go from one red herring to another, because that means the show would lose focus on its characters. Episodes of crime procedurals should exist because of the guest characters and the stories they fill, while the remainder of the episode can be completed with banter between the detective characters and maybe a few ongoing arcs here and there. And this hour decided to forego all the ongoing stuff (which the writers have’t even introduced anyway, so it’s not like we’re losing something) and instead focus on the family with a death case in their past, and it turned out to be almost a tearjerker. I was pretty stunned during the final flashback scene that depicted the murder and I almost couldn’t believe that I was emotionally affected by it. It doesn’t happen all the time I am being emotionally affected by an episodic crime procedural, but here I was, almost crying my heart out over Ryan having to witness in fear and terror the murder of his father, while 13 years later trying to reunite with his estranged sister. That was a dramatic plot, and it’s one I would love to see on one of the Lifetime killer movies.

Lilly is doing some of her hardcore interrogation tactics

Yeah, maybe there was a red herring in this hour when Lilly and Chris started to investigate Judy’s side in the murder and how her husband might have been the perp, since when it’s about cheating spouses it’s all about revenge, but the episode was never focusing on that plot halfway through, and it did help to explain why Mitch and Charlotte would have such a toxic marriage during the 1990 story. Of course, the episode never went into the notion why Mitch would stay in this family and not just leave them — either by himself because he is a chicken, or with his kids, just so they can be protected from their abusive mother. That’s an angle of the premise that never came over in the story — probably because Mitch needed to be dead and this story needed to be an episode of COLD CASE. But nevertheless, the emotional impact was certainly there. Ryan and Tina’s lives were destroyed after the death of their father, and I can’t even imagine how deep Ryan must have been pulled by his own mother in the months and years after the murder. All the secrets he had to keep, all the fear he had about his mother, and in the meantime there is Tina who somewhat successfully got away from this family, leaving Ryan all alone in his very unique cell.

Of course, the episode helped itself to the fact that Ryan and Tina never mentioned anything about Charlotte’s gruesome way of living a perfect family life. I can’t imagine that the murder was the first-ever spout of violence from Charlotte, which means at least Tina would have had something to talk about when the detectives showed up at her door, acquiring about the murder 13 years ago. Why she didn’t is beyond me. Convenient storytelling is convenient.

An evil face in the centre of darkness.

Best part of the episode: Lilly has visited the school of telling false stories, so she can get answers out of her subjects. She was talking to Ryan about her ill mother, which was probably a bullshit story from her, as all the things she needed was to keep Ryan talking. You can see that it’s a false story when you see Lilly take over Tina’s role in front of her, needing Charlotte to talk. That’s some awesome detecting and I can certainly hope the writers never lost the sight of that talent of Lilly’s, as she will be needing it for the next six seasons and 19 episodes.
Worst part of the episode: Ryan told Lilly and Chris that he will do whatever he can to help with the investigation. Halfway into the story and Ryan demanded Lilly to drop the case. I hate it when suspects change their minds midway through the story, just so they can look like suspects.
Weirdest part of the episode: I know it was an intended form of style, but during the scene in which Charlotte killed her husband, her face was being illuminated by an external light source that realistically did not belong into the scenery. It gave a great image to Charlotte’s bloody face right after the murder, but it did bring me out of the episode for a second, as I was mulling over where the light was coming from.
Victim/Perpetrator rate: Things were switched this time around, as a woman was the murderer and a man was the victim. Things stayed domestic though. It’s now Men 1:3 Women on the victim side, and Men 3:1 Women on the perp side. I excluded Ryan here for obvious reasons — he didn’t kill his father, although he can be considered an accessory to the murder by law.
Player of the episode: That reunion scene between Ryan and Tina at the end was impressive. Their family has been shattered and they don’t know whether they can ever forgive each other for it. But here they are, trying their hardest.

Cold Case (“Useless Cats”)

Season 1, Episode 3
Date of airing: October 12, 2003 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 12.82 million viewers, 8.6/13 in Households, 2.8/8 with Adults 18-49

Three episodes in and the writers already went into the premise of rape and murder, which is always something a crime procedural should touch with gloves, because those kind of stories are a hot iron every time you decide to take it as a premise. If you’re not sensitive enough with a fictional story of rape and murder, you get a ton of complaints, advertisers jump ship and your show might be dead before it has even begun. This episode of COLD CASE did the job alright — it was not insensitive with its case, it was thankfully not filled with multiple red herrings, in which one suspects gives the baton to another, and it managed to give Nick Vera enough screentime and a back story to find out who this fine gentleman is as a homicide detective. Three episodes in, and Nick is pretty much the only one being given a back story with depth, but the thing is that depth only consists of a homicide he couldn’t solve.

Can you remember who raped you?

I also noticed that this episode showed what COLD CASE could look like when it doesn’t have a lot of flashback scenes, let alone songs from the era to stick into the hour of entertainment. There wasn’t much of all of that in this episode, which was both refreshing and disappointing — refreshing because COLD CASE is already putting hard work into not being defined by the same thing over and over, but disappointed because I started watching the show, hoping to get a bit of music with my homicide investigation. Maybe the producers were a bit gun shy to go all in which this episode, because the murder happened five years ago, which in television terms isn’t a lot of time — between then and now there was a presidential election and the war of terror has begun. Okay, television kind of changed in general during those five years, but that is a different topic.

Kids are the ones leading the detectives to a new clue.

What I liked about this episode is the aforementioned disuse of red herrings. Yes, the first half of the episode had Lilly and Vera deal with two suspects, but one of them was pretty much innocent, since he accepted to give another DNA sample if needed, while the other was just a huge dick. As soon as those two suspects were put away with negative DNA matching, the episode was off to the race to introduce the real serial rapist and one-time murderer, and from here on the writers took their time to establish the guy and make him look as evil yet charming as possible. The first time Carl talked to the detectives, he definitely had something going for himself that instantly made him the perp, and he never gave that up even after it was clear that he was the serial rapist and killer. Crime procedurals usually don’t give that much attention to the killer — essentially telling the audience that this is the guy, but needing the detectives to find it out for themselves, with proof and evidence that is submittable in court. Usually those kind of shows go through the ranks of suspects, with the killer having been one of the people interviewed by the detectives throughout the episode, but COLD CASE did it a little different with this episode, and here is to hoping that the show will keep it up and be a bit different from other crime procedurals. When it already managed to look different from the first two episodes by putting Carl in a cell immediately, without onlookers throwing their eyes at the newly arrested perp of the Philadelphia police department, then there definitely is hope that COLD CASE won’t be the same show in every episode.

In jail no one can hear you worry about your future.

Then again, this positive aspect fo the episode came with the eradication of some of the flashback scenes, making Gail a victim no one really knows about at the end. Carl’s other victims, those who survived, got more attention than the dead girl the episode’s story started with. Which also means the flashbacks are just a means to an end in this show, and the writers could live without it, since you can create other means to certain ends.

Best part of the episode: There was a sense of realism in the story. Ella couldn’t identify the rapist because she wasn’t ready — it was too close to the event, she was probably too traumatized to have a sketch of the perp created. Sometimes it simply takes a while for the memories to be as clear as Ella’s. It’s also a great way to emphasize on victims of sexual assault not coming forward immediately and instead wait years or forever.
Worst part of the episode: Vera was being told to be nice, yet he was still somewhat of a dick to his prime suspect during the investigation. It didn’t really make him look like a proper homicide detective.
Weirdest part of the episode: Justin Chambers was already removed from the opening credits with this episode. I always remembered he was in at least four episodes before Danny Pino replaced him, but it turns out Chambers only kept it up for two hours. In cases like these I am always interested to know why the actor left a show this suddenly. Or if the writers decided to at least give the characters a sense of goodbye, when the actor happened to have left quickly — similar to how Maria Bellow was written off ER in the fifth season premiere. But no word about Chris’s departure here.
Victim/perpetrator rate: This episode’s victim was a woman, killed by a man. The victim rate is Women 3:0 Men. The perp rate is Women 0:3 Men.
Player of the episode: Lieutenant Stillman gets respect for keeping Lilly and Jeffries away from the rape victims, because it was too late to have them be asked about a rape five years ago. Somebody in this police department is thinking before investigating, which is great.

Cold Case (“Gleen”)

Season 1, Episode 2
Date of airing: October 5, 2003 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 13.96 million viewers, 9.3/14 in Households, 3.3/8 with Adults 18-49, 4.4/10 with Adults 25-54

Procedural crime television regularly puts in a twist into the story that makes it easier for the detectives to find out the next big clue leaping the story forward, and bringing the perpetrator close to arrest. Usually those twists are ridiculous in nature, because they seem too unrealistic to ever be used in real-life, whether it’s a strain of hair somewhere in the bushes, accidentally found by a flashlight, or the reflection of the victim’s eyeballs from a dark video, which show the room the victim was being kept in — and I only make up one of those things right now, and it isn’t the one you probably expect. This episode of COLD CASE had such a ridiculous twist, although it’s more believable than the reflection off an eyeball. Louie finding out that the bomb was in a box of laundry detergent was not only the break the murder case from 20 years ago needed, but it was also the convenient twist leaping the homicide investigation forward, showcasing that COLD CASE wasn’t embarrassed to use these quick twists to continue telling the story and make the past police investigators look foolish.

Opening up the gates to a treasure hunt of explosive remains.

I mean, Rob’s story maybe should have been an angle to investigate in 1983, considering he had a wife before Dana no one knew about, but then again, who am I to judge detectives from 1983 not having the possibilities to fully uncover a potential suspect’s past and finding out that he already had a wife before his current one was killed by a bomb in a laundry detergent box. Still, the fact that Rob had a wife before Dana without anyone knowing (but the wife who was lucky enough to get out of the marriage early enough not to get killed herself) would have made him the immediate suspect, as it was shown during the 2003 investigation. You find out that Rob had three wives and was about to get his fourth? Yeah, maybe there is an issue here. And it’s the twist that definitely made the investigating swing far away from the pervert Albert Miller, and towards Dana’s husband at the time. And all this after Louie figured out that the bomb was in a box of Gleen. If 1983 investigators would have looked in the crawl space of the house, instead of being lazy, then the case would have never been cold. It does make you think fi there are real-life cases sloppily investigated like this, and how many murderers currently in prison are in fact innocent. It also makes me wonder whether groups like the Innocence Project goes through old cases like this, meticulously investigating them and looking for a spot in which past detectives might have handled the case sloppily.

The villain is looking at us like he wants to threaten us.

The case did have a nice emotional angle to it, thanks to Gwen’s obsession of her mother’s death, as well as pervert Albert Miller being her killer. There was perfection in that scene when Gwen had to get past her previous obsession and live with the fact that she has been wrong and needs to bring in her father now. When she handed over the untraceable phone, even I was impressed by the emotional value of the story, and how it turned out to be a relief for Gwen, when her father was arrested and the case of her mother’s murder was finally solved, and I’m usually never impressed about crime procedurals. But this is still the early stages of COLD CASE – just wait for half a season before the stories and homicide investigations become generic, and when the writers have to come up with more unique stories to into only have the same setup in every episode, in which the victim, usually a woman, was killed by a man, usually her boyfriend or husband. This is the second episode of the show, and Lilly Rush was investigating the second domestic dispute having ended in a death.

Meanwhile, the characters have still not been established, and I am a little surprised that I know more about the guest characters after two episodes than the characters who are considered regulars. Chris must have some sort of life, since he left Lilly to check the bank records all by herself, and Lilly obviously does not have a life, since she was sitting in headquarters all night long to check the bank records. That’s pretty much the only piece of character information this episode delivered — the rest of the 43 minutes were filled with the story of the episode only, and that can get boring quite quickly as well. Maybe in about half a season.

A moment of romance in the past.

Best part of the episode: Dana and Frank happened to have a nice little romantic thing going on in 1983, according to their flashback scene. It almost made me jealous, but besides that it also showed how much of a grip Rob had on his wives, when they feared they could never get out of the marriage and live a happy life. I’m also glad that part of evil Rob’s character was never really the focus of attention in this episode, or the hour really could have been dark.
Worst part of the episode: You know you’re dealing with the killer, when the man in front of you aggressively directs yo to stay away from his family. That happened with Rob in this episode, it sort of happened in the pilot, too. Men always have to be so goddamn predictable, which is no wonder they lead the chart of being killers.
Weirdest part of the episode: Consider me surprised that the site of a bombing was still standing twenty years later. The house wasn’t demolished, nor was it renovated to make it livable again. It just stood there, always to be remembered as the house that exploded .
Victim/perpetrator rate: Like the pilot episode, the victim has been a woman, and the perp has been a man, updating the rate to Women 2:0 Men when it comes to victims, and Men 2:0 Women when it comes to murderers.
Player of the episode: Louie might have steered the investigation towards Rob, but it was the emotional attachment to the case that made Gwen score for Lilly Rush’s team. Without Gwen’s tragic obsession to the case, the story wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting as it eventually turned out to be, making her the winner of this hour.