Its 1966 and the SS Americana is making its final round trip voyage across the Atlantic. Among the passengers is Darcy Curtis, a young woman excited about a once in a lifetime chance to travel abroad, who was trying to discover her place in the world. Unfortunately, her body is discovered in the bowels of the ship in 2009, during some extensive refurbishment of the vessel by new owners. In 1966 it was thought that Darcy had jumped overboard to commit suicide, as her shoes were found by the guardrail of the ship in the tradition of many others who’d ended their lives in that way. However, with the discovery of her body, it is evident that she was murdered. As the team digs in to Darcy’s past they discover that her best friend and travel companion, Grace Stearns, had pushed her to her death during a heated argument about Grace’s husband, who had recently left her. Grace had desperately wanted Darcy to marry her husband’s cousin in order to rekindle her own marriage, but Darcy was inspired by her journey to take life by the horns, and not just do what was expected of her. This had led her to meet and fall in love with a young man on the ship, Tucker Benton, and she and Tucker were about to get married when Grace confronted Darcy. Unable to accept that Darcy was moving in a different direction then her, Grace acted in a fit of rage and killed Darcy. Meanwhile, Rush must testify at Moe Kitchener’s (the man who ran her off the road) bail hearing, and is shocked when Moe is able to sign his own bond and return to the streets.
The cold case team digs in to discover what happened to a skateboarding prodigy, Nash Simpson, who went missing in the 1990s. After discovering that the body of a John Doe found in an abandoned warehouse was Nash, the team finally has some clues to go on. What they discover is that Nash had made plenty of friends and enemies after running away from New Jersey to Philly, and that he had ultimately been able to parlay his skills as a skateboarder in to a career. Nash had secured himself a sponsor and was on the way to becoming a star, but ultimately one of his new found junkie friends betrayed and killed him in order to secure his next fix.
When a juvenile repeat offender, Michael, suggests the accidental death of an underage inmate serving time at Havenhurst Academy was actually a murder, Valens is particularly interested in what really happened. Valens knew the victim, Alex, and had tried to steer him straight before he ended up at Havenhurst, which was touted as a much more effective rehabilitation center than juvenile prison. However, the truth was that an overzealous judge had been systematically over sentencing young offenders to Havenhurst because his sister-in-law owned it, and keeping it full of prisoners was making them both very rich. Alex had discovered the truth and was about to blow the whistle on the whole thing, but the Academy’s Director caught up with him and in a moment of panic killed him to keep him quiet, and then staged it to look like an accident.
After meeting his son, the cold case team is inspired to reopen the case of an innovative jazz musician, Billy Sanders, who was murdered in 1970. They discover that Billy had been very involved with creating the Philly sound that became big business in the 1970s, but that he had never been credited. They also discover that his father was a reverend at a local church where Billy played the organ, and that his father disapproved of his new musical direction. The team suspects that either Billy’s employer, Ronde Brooks, had killed him for the rights to his music, or that his father had killed him for abandoning the church. However, they discover that a young female collaborator, Chandra, had killed him after he planned on leaving his job with Ronde to strike out on his own.
The wreckage of a World War II era aircraft is found outside of Philadelphia along with the remains of a female pilot who had been reported missing in the 1940s. The pilot, Vivian Lynn, had been part of the WASP program that taught female pilots how to run non-combat military flights in order to free up male pilots for active duty. It had long been suspected that high winds had caused her to crash while out on a mission, but when the wreck is examined the cold case team discovers someone had tampered with the plane’s engine, and had intentionally caused the crash. They investigate Vivian’s history with the WASP program and find that she was their top pilot, but also that she was very head strong and not very gracious with her fellow WASPs. Ultimately, the team discovers that her own Commanding Officer had sabotaged her plane after Vivian threatened to blow the whistle on the male pilots and mechanics that were interfering with the WASP program. The Commanding Officer had been afraid that if the military’s top brass had discovered the problems, they would have shut down the program for good, so she caused Vivian to crash for what she thought was the greater good.
The team investigates the death of a jockey who was found in a horse grave near a local track where he was buried in 1986 after losing what would have been his last race. The jockey, Sonny Sandoval, was a past-his-prime local hero working for Baxter, a wealthy Texan horse owner whose primary interest is financial gain. After talking with Sonny’s son, the team suspects Angelo, a protégé with a drug habit, was responsible for Sonny’s murder after Sonny had pressed charges against Angelo shortly before his death. The team’s investigation reveals that Sonny actually had empathy for Angelo and defended him to a rival jockey. They also discover the camaraderie between jockeys and the abuse their bodies take from the sport. Rush and the team turn there focus to Baxter, interested only in the bottom dollar and angered that Sonny lost his last race, fires Jose. Jose didn't know that Sonny threw the race for him. Sonny didn't realize Jose actually bet on him to win, which got Jose not only fired but penniless as well. Jose feels his father never cared about him and ruined him professional and financially. Jose had broken down and killed his father with a stable rake in a rage, not knowing that his father was always looking out for him and had taken out a $3 million dollar insurance policy in Jose's name which the team discovered.
A new lead propels the Cold Case squad into the world of hip hop to investigate the ‘91 case of Donalyn Sullivan, a young foster child and gifted rapper with big dreams and an even bigger cross to carry.
The death of a secretive familial patriarch prompts a mother’s appeal to Stillman to revisit the 26-year-old murder of her teenaged son in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. In the process of learning about a boy’s struggle against a world mired in tradition and haunted by secrets, the team uncovers the sinister underbelly behind the Friendship Gate.
In 1999, Luke, a gifted debater from a rough neighborhood, is found dead two months after he gets a scholarship to debate for Maynard Green Academy. When a Maynard Green debater brings Rush a threatening letter written to Luke just before his “suicide”, Rush sets out to investigate. Jealousy at first seems at the root of the murder when the team discovers that Luke wasn’t well like initially by his new teammates. His position on the team causes Luke to drift away from his father and his former partner, Ronnie, but when Rush and the team learn they were both trying to protect him, the investigation centers on the author of the threat, Luke’s Maynard Green teammate, Alyssa. In the end Alyssa helps the police decode the shorthand of Luke’s last words and discover the killer was Luke’s former Coach Darren, desperate for a championship.
When Tommy Flanagan, an undersized scrappy hockey upstart, is killed on the eve that the U.S Hockey team wins the Olympic Gold Medal in 1980, Cullen Masters, a local goon and Tommy’s Bush League rival, is the prime suspect. The case is thrown out, but the town still blames Cullen. He finds a woman who can alibi him the night of Tommy’s murder and Rush and the team take the case. After vetting Krause, a past-his-prime bully who loses his spot on the team to Tommy; we learn that our no-nonsense Coach Heaton may have had motive as Tommy had eyes for his daughter, Molly. We later discover that the expensive hockey stick that killed Tommy belonged to his brother Sean, a hockey player who was meant to go places only to have his career cut short by injury. Was Sean jealous of Tommy? In the end we realize that Tommy death had nothing to do with hockey, but everything to do with love. Tommy’s best friend Dwight got Molly really drunk and slept with her which resulted in a pregnancy. A pregnancy that Dad believed to be Tommy’s and covered it up by sending Molly away. Tommy found out and confronted Dwight and in a fit a rage Dwight killed Tommy.
A soldier, Mike Donnelly in 2005 turns up dead after the robbery of a pawn shop. Rush and Stillman begin questioning former candidates that Donnelly tried to recruit and realize there may have been some resistance from one candidate’s father, Jerry Harkin and that he went off the deep end when his son was killed, turning him suspect. They rule out Jerry when he reveals that Mike had come to him after his son died and that there is no evidence linking him. Bobby Kerns, a former recruit, turns up a red flag when his arrests show up on file from the DA and his alibi falls through. When they question Bobby they discover that Donnelly had been living out of the recruiter station and that his wife Kirsten’s claim that they were in the Poconos is false and that she was there with another man, Donnelly’s supervisor Sgt. Gomez. However, Sgt. Gomez checks out and they go back to questioning another recruit Victoria, who they discover robbed the pawn shop and came to Mike for help. Due to Victoria’s fear of abandonment and knowing Mike was going to be deployed, in a fit of anger, she had taken out a pistol and shot Mike.
Our team investigates the death of one time cop turned private investigator, Harry Denton, when his remains show up at a construction site. Right before Harry was murdered, he was working a case that his lawyer friend Wilson Katz hooked him up with. Caroline Hargreave, a wealthy widow who demanded discretion, needed Harry to track down her runaway daughter, Bunny. Harry soon discovers that Caroline was really Bunny’s step-mom and she killed Bunny’s father, as she did her previous husband, in order to collect the inheritance. Bunny knew this and wanted to escape from Caroline who threatened to put her in an institution. Harry tells Bunny to run away and fakes her death by staging a terrible car accident. When Harry confronts Caroline he ends up paying the ultimate price for it. The doer turns out to be Wilson Katz, Caroline’s attorney, who knew Caroline killed her two former husbands, but was still in love with her anyway.
Our team investigates the murder of Carlos Espinosa, a young and very talented graffiti artist, who used blank walls to express himself. We discover that in a world where tagging was a means to claiming ones turf, Carlos may have crossed the line. Miller’s ex-husband Jarrod, now remarried, is back in town and wants visitation rights with their daughter Veronica. Valens secretly continues to investigate the attack of his mother outside the grocery store that she refuses to talk about. He discovers other victims and realizes that the attack was much more severe. His mom was raped. Moe Kitchener is found dead, slumped over in his car with a bullet in his head, at the end of this episode.
Our team investigates the death of young aerialist, Mia Romonoff, when she falls out of her silk cocoon while performing a death defying headline act for the Jones Brothers Circus. In a photo of her fall it looks as if she failed to brace for impact suggesting she was already dead or unconscious before the act. Mia’s was adopted by Cleo, the circus clown after both her parents, both died in attempting death defying stunts. Once Mia became the headline act with her cocoon number she became the envy of the other performers. We travel into the world of this traveling circus and we uncover some not so savory people would do everything to protect its secrets, including the most unlikely character who had an ultimate motive to wanting her dead.
Moe Kitchener is found dead with a gun shot wound to the head and all eyes point to Rush as the doer. However, when Hank Butler (ep. 172) comes into to confess for his murder, Rush is exonerated.
While at a wedding of one of their colleagues, Louie, our team discovers that Louie’s soon to be wife, Anna, was engaged once before to Dan Palson. Dan called it off the night before the wedding and was found dead a few hours later. The fall from his hotel balcony was ruled a homicide but the doer was never identified. They branch out and start chatting up various family members, and what initially seems like a fun way to kill time at the wedding turns into a full blown murder investigation. All eyes point to Anna as the doer but further evidence reveals that Anna’s promiscuous sister had eyes for Dan as well. Things get even more complicated when they discover that Dan was actually married to a woman in Baltimore. Records also indicate that Dan and his best man, Phil, had dreams of opening a fancy gym and marrying into Anna’s wealthy family would help. The team learns that Dan’s wife, Melanie, was in a hospital for the past eight years after suffering from an irreversible brain injury from a boating accident in Mexico. Dan just received a call from the hospital saying that Melanie called out his name. He breaks it off with Anna only to get another call from the hospital telling him that Melanie had just died. Unable to live with the guilt, Dan jumps from his hotel room balcony to his death.
When a gun for groceries program yields a .44 Colt that was involved in the murder of a dock worker turned wrestler for the indy-circuit Mike Malone, our team re-opens his murder investigation. In an attempt to salvage his relationship with his nine year old son Tim, Mick joined the wrestling circuit to impress his son who happened to be a big wrestling fan. We enter the seedy world of indy-wrestling where we discover the extreme measure that our not so savory characters would take in order to make a quick buck. Mick's quick rise to fame revealed an ugly reality to him and walking away from it costs him his life.
Vera finds himself drunk and in a ditch after his car runs off the road and he calls Rush to come pick him up. However, when she gets there he’s nowhere to be found. In an effort to find Vera our team uncovers an arson case that Vera has been secretly investigating. Apparently, in 2006 Vera put a father away for killing his two kids by setting his house on fire. This guy recently shows up murdered in prison and new evidence surface which suggest that our cops covered up evidence that prove our guy didn’t intentionally set the place on fire.
We open with a two teenagers at a local drive-in making out and out of nowhere shots ring out killing the male teenager in the car. Stillman introduces Rush to FBI Agent Diane Yates, a personal friend and colleague of his, who needs our teams help in investigating a recent murder case of Mel Shaver who was shot dead while walking his dog. Yates, a no nonsense aggressive agent shares nothing with our team in terms of why the FBI wants in on this case. Yates does tell Rush that she’s the reason Stillman’s marriage ended. Ballistics reveal that Shaver was killed by a serial killer who stopped killing for 27 years but has come out of retirement. In order to find a connection between all our victims, our team breaks down all their backgrounds and whereabouts which eventually lead us to Bill Shepard, a ex-marine who once owned a local drive-in which was taken away by the bank. We track down Bill Shepard’s son, Paul, who claims to have not seen his father in thirty years. They track down a PO box where Bill’s been receiving VA checks and are about to interview the postal clerk when suddenly shots fly out of no where killing our clerk. While frantically trying to end our killer’s rampage our investigation is stalled when it’s revealed that Yates wasn’t cleared to work this case. However, Rush finds a way to gets Yates out of debriefing and they track down Bill’s cabin only to discover that he’s been dead in the basement for years. The serial killer is still out there. To be continued…
We pick up where we left on in episode 18 with Rush and Yates taking the lead on tracking down our serial killer who turns out to be Paul Shepard, son of the first serial killer Bill Shepard, who killed himself 30 years ago. Apparently Paul was with his father on that fateful day when he killed himself and Bill left his son a suicide letter. In the letter it identified all the people in Bill’s life whom he felt let him down or mistreated him that he ultimately silenced. Rush learns why Yates has been pursuing this case so aggressively, she was the girl at the drive-in and her date, Barry, was Paul’s first victim. Barry died in Yate’s lap. Our team discovers a pattern in the recent killings and realizes that Paul was following his father’s killing pattern, silence everyone who let him down. In a race against the clock, Rush and Yates try to decipher all the people in Paul’s life that may have let him down and track them down before it’s too late. They track down Paul’s cousin, Tom, who recently told Paul he had to evict him from his building where he ran a video store after he was unable to make the last six months of rent. However, when the team arrives at Tom’s house it’s too late. Further investigation reveals that Paul was having trouble paying for fertility treatments that his wife was about to receive. They track down the receptionist from the fertility clinic only to have shots ring out nearly killing her. In the end we find Paul back at home about to kill his wife, Claire, and then kill himself. Rush gets Claire to lie about being pregnant which convinces Paul to surrender.
While still in NY, Rush agrees to help FBI Agent Cavanaugh investigate the murder of an Army recruit, David Quinn, when he was found shot to death at Woodstock in 1969. Cavanaugh’s Director wants them to them to take a closer look at this cold case even though no new evidence warranted it being opened. Back from a break from his first tour of duty, Quinn shows up at Woodstock to track down Annabelle, a young lady he met and fell in love with while on a train to Fort Dix. Quinn unsuccessfully tries to convince Annabelle to run away with him to Canada. Annabelle, it turns out, was an informant for the FBI and was working undercover at Woodstock to weed out any extremist trying to bomb recruiting facilities. Rush and Cavanaugh track her down and realize that she is now a NY congressman. Cavanaugh’s Director wanted them to re-open the case hoping that if Quinn’s murder is solved Annabelle will sign off on funding a FBI Cold Case division. Every anti-war protester becomes a suspect as Quinn stood for everything they were protesting against. In the end our doer turns out to be Howard Wasserlauf, a local farmer and injured vet who unsuccessfully attempted to re-enlist for duty for the past 11 years. Quinn and Annabelle snuck into his barn to spend the night and Wasserlauf caught them. Realizing that Quinn was a soldier, Wasserlauf befriended him up until he discovered that Quinn was going to run away to Canada and ignore his second call to duty. Vera ex-girlfriend, Megan, comes to Vera desperate for answers after her house is broken into and sentimental jewelry is stolen. It turns out Megan’s husband, Rick, staged the robbery when his mistress shows up at his house. Yates takes some personal time off to be with her mom who is ill. Stillman shows up to support her. Rush contemplates working for the FBI.
Our team investigates the unsolved hit and run of 17 year old prom queen, Felicia Grant, when photos from prom night resurface providing evidence that she may have been murdered. Principal Burke and a teacher find the photos that indicate that Felicia was driven somewhere and then dropped off on the side of the road before she was hit. Her boyfriend and prom king, Cole, was too drunk to remember anything and apparently caught a ride with friends to an after party. Being popular also meant that Felicia was envied by the not so popular students. Her best friend Suzie loved Felicia but always lived in her shadow. Suzie’s date, Lee, is discovered to be Felicia’s childhood friend who Felicia stopped hanging out with once she became popular. Was Lee angry that she abandoned him for a different crowd? Through the course of the night Felicia begins to realize how petty and superficial high school can be and breaks up with Cole as he tries to have sex with her in his backseat. In the end we discover that Principal Burke, who always saw something special in Felicia, was the one who offered to drive her home after the prom. When he makes a pass at her she demands to be let out of the car and in a moment of panic he hits her. Valens spreads the word to an inmate gang leader friend, that Jimmy Mota (assaulted Valen’s mother in ep. 16) is a snitch. We find Jimmy stabbed to death in the prison shower at the end of the episode.
We pick up where we left off in episode #21 with Rush entering a trashed motel room hoping to find her sister Christina who’s been missing. Rush’s service weapon is taken after she’s hit and knocked unconscious. She enlist the help of Valens to help her find Christina, but not before they stop at Rush’s house to pick up her unregistered gun Saccardo gave to her. They track down the unsavory doctor who prescribed Christina Oxycodone and uncover a string of pharmacies who have been supplying drugs to addicts in exchange for cash. Christina and her thug of a boyfriend, Cliff, were frequents at some of these pharmacies. In the end Rush and Valens track down a badly beaten Christina in a Jersey apartment but not before Cliff shows up. Rush does to Cliff what he did to Christina. It turns out Christina has baby and was reaching out to Rush in an attempt to get her life back in order. New evidence on a young girl’s murder that’s been haunting Jeffries for the past 17 years gives him reason to open up the case. Wanda Johnson, a smart and vibrant teenager was shot and dumped and her murderer was never found. Shocking new evidence reveals that an eye witness saw her in Mercury Sable that we learn to be owned by Deputy Commissioner Patrick Doherty. It turns out that Doherty’s son, Matt, and his buddy Ronnie offered Wanda a ride home from school back in 83. They made a detour and decided to settle a score with a drug dealer that ripped them off. Matt pulls his father’s .38 out of the glove compartment spooking Ronnie who yells at him to put it back. Ronnie tries to take the gun away from Matt and it accidentally goes off killing Wanda. In a panic they dump the body in the Badlands. Patrick Doherty covered for his son all these years.