Cold Case (2003–2010)
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A pretty teen joins a rich clique at school. She draws the attention of several of the guys. At one of their parties, she was found beaten to death on the tennis court in 1976.


Mark Pellington


Meredith Stiehm (created by), Meredith Stiehm




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kathryn Morris ... Lilly Rush
Justin Chambers ... Chris Lassing
Thom Barry ... Will Jeffries
John Finn ... John Stillman
Jeremy Ratchford ... Nick Vera
D.W. Moffett ... Todd Whitley
Lisa Waltz ... Melanie Whitley
Michael Reilly Burke ... Eric Whitley
Sherman Howard ... Tim Dorn
Elizabeth Franz ... Evelyn Shelby
Lillian Hurst ... Bonita Rafael
Kate Mara ... Jill Shelby
Tim Choate ... Charlie Winters
Mo McRae ... Burke Kelvin (as Mo)
Kip Martin ... Young Todd Whitley


A pretty teen joins a rich clique at school. She draws the attention of several of the guys. At one of their parties, she was found beaten to death on the tennis court in 1976.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






English | Portuguese

Release Date:

28 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The case Lilly Rush is investigating in this episode is eerily similar to a cold case that occurred in Greenwich, Connecticut, the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley. Michael Skakel, Ethel Kennedy's nephew, was convicted in 2002 of bludgeoning her to death with a golf club when they were both 15. His brother had also been a suspect. In this episode, a teenage girl is killed in 1976 in a wealthy suburb with a tennis racket. Years later, someone claiming to have witnessed the murder comes forward. Two brothers were suspects in the case, but were not charged, given their high connections in society. See more »


You Sexy Thing
Written by Errol Brown
Performed by Hot Chocolate
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User Reviews

This Pilot Shows Why Cold Case Did Melodrama Better Than Most
16 November 2018 | by Better_TVSee all my reviews

This show still holds up, and the pilot episode isn't bad at all. The plot is simple as can be: a maid approaches Detective Rush (Katherine Townsend) with information about a murder she witnessed in the '70s. Kate Mara is the victim, and the perp could be any one of the jerkoff preppies she hung out with.

All of Cold Case's strengths are on display here: fantastic licensed music that's smartly used in just the right places, great casting (D.W. Moffett is a standout), interesting (though not excessive) flashbacks, a touch of slo-mo, and a compelling sense of melodrama. That last point is key: Cold Case was never the most gritty, realistic detective show on TV, and it wasn't trying to be. Instead, it took a humanist approach, using heightened emotional tensions and situations to carry out its thesis that, as Detective Rush says in this episode, "People shouldn't be forgotten." It's corny, sure, but it also totally works.

All of that is to say, while the script here is alright (it deals with domestic violence and misogyny -- sad stuff, but we've seen it all before on network TV), it's the production values and music and cinematography (with a very distinct, steely-cool color palette) and acting that really elevate this material. When Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" starts playing over a montage in the final moments of the episode, it's hard not to find your eyes getting just a tiny bit moist -- and this is coming from someone who just called the plot "simple" two paragraphs ago. It's a testament to just how effective Cold Case can be.

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