Almost Paradise
Almost Paradise.JPG


Season : 7
Episode: 21
Directed by: Alex Zakrzewski
Written by: Christopher Silber & Adam Glass
Production Number:
Airdate: May 2, 2010
Date of Crime: May 21, 1989
Previous: Free Love
Next: Shattered


External Links
IMDB Site

Description

While the team investigates the 1989 case of a prom queen who was killed by a potentially deliberate hit-and-run after her prom, Rush tries to ignore her father's appeals to give her troublemaker sister another chance after she suddenly resurfaces.

Synopsis

May 20, 1989: Felicia Grant, her boyfriend and date, Cole Austen, her best friend Suzie Hill and Suzie's date, Lee Mavoides, are enjoying prom. Vice Principal Steve Burke keeps an eye on the students and later, Felicia is crowned Prom Queen. As she and Cole dance, the camera pans to a disco ball then cuts to Felicia running from a car and getting run over. Her death was put in the unsolved files.

In the present day, now Principal Burke and faculty advisor Ms. Jacobs meet with Lilly and Stillman. While planning the years prom, Ms. Jacobs searched through old decorations stored in the school's basement hoping to recycle some and found a disposable camera left over from the 1989 prom. Interested in what the styles at the time looked like, she had the photos developed. She noticed that Felicia Grant was in nearly every picture. Burke and Jacobs then state that Felicia's boyfriend was too drunk to drive her home, that Burke was too busy taking care of an injured student to drive her home and that the last photo she was in shows it was 12:15 am. She was struck by the car 15 minutes later, but three miles away: someone gave her a ride. The detectives reopen the case

The detectives review the details on the case. Most of the students attended an after party and alibied out. The four reminisce about their prom nights. Later Lilly and Scotty talk with Felicia’s best friend, Suzie, who recalls some friendly banter with Felicia being interrupted by a geek named Evan Maser, nicknamed Corky.  He approaches her with a piece of paper and tells her that he got her letter, and he likes her, too. Felicia’s befuddled stare and the hysterical laughter of a group of jocks (including Cole) reveals to Corky that he’s been had, and, furious with Felicia, he storms out. Suzie says Corky was never seen again after that night.

Vera and Jeffries track down Corky, now a karate instructor, who says he joined the Army the morning after prom, which he calls the worst night of his life. He admits to his fair share of problems, but insists he wasn’t the only one who had them. While sulking in the parking lot after his humiliation, he saw Felicia and Cole making out in his silver Mustang. Cole wanted to go all the way, but Felicia wasn’t ready; it didn’t feel right, and she wanted to apologize to Corky. Cole was angry, they argued, and Felicia fled the scene, with Cole in hot pursuit. Corky adds that Cole, whose father owned a car dealership, drove a new car every month. Meanwhile, Lilly takes some groceries to her father…to find her estranged sister Christina already there. Stunned, she walks out.

In sharp contrast to the now-buff Corky, the still-arrogant Cole is balding, overweight, and in a dead-end job as a mechanic when Vera and Jeffries catch up with him. He claims to have spent the hours following the prom "praying to the porcelain gods" (vomiting), and says he remembers nothing after being crowned king. He insists that there wasn’t a problem with Felicia; all she needed was a little reassurance. In a flashback, we see the two of them in the hallway talking about the future. Cole is convinced it contains nothing but “more awesomeness,” but Felicia’s more concerned about being a good person. They’re interrupted by Suzie and her date, Lee, who asks if there’s a problem. Felicia quickly avoids them and tells them to scram, and Cole explains that Lee was obsessed with Felicia, and gave her the creeps. Back at the office, while Vera’s been digging up Jeffries’ old prom photos and posting them around the squad room, Jeffries has found something interesting: Felicia’s high school yearbook, which contains a borderline creepy poem from Lee.

At her father’s request, Lilly meets her sister Chris at a diner to “hear her out.” Chris, armed with a photo of the two sisters at the beach as children, explains that she took a plea deal on the credit card fraud charge from five years ago and avoided jail time; she’s now trying to clean up her act and get an apartment near family, but she can’t get a lease with a felony on her record, and needs a co-signer. Lilly refuses; she wants to trust Christina, but can’t.

Jeffries confronts Lee with the yearbook; he is now head chef in a restaurant. Lee explains that he and Felicia were friends, but once she made cheerleader, she forgot he existed. He says he took her best friend to the prom to get a rise out of her, but then realized she wasn’t worth the drama. He recalls a moment at the prom where they argued, and he told her she was the one who changed; he was still the same guy. Felicia insisted that being popular wasn’t all it was cracked up to be: everyone wanted to be her, or be with her, but nobody loved her. She pointed out that he came to check on her in the hallway, and that must mean he still cared. Lee’s cornered, and he admits it. He had noticed her looking miserable lately, and she was touched: he was the only one who had. They hugged and that’s when Suzie caught them. Livid, Suzie stormed off and Felicia took off after her. Lee has one more bit of insight for the detectives: he and Suzie weren’t at Fairmount Park making out, as she’d claimed. She went to the after-party without him.

When Scotty and Lilly confront her, Suzie admits to the lie, saying she was embarrassed over her childish behavior. In a flashback, we see Felicia clearing the girls’ restroom so the two of them could talk then telling Suzie that Lee was actually the guy she lost her virginity to. It was long ago and way over, and Felicia urges Suzie to go for it, but she's not interested in Felicia's sloppy seconds, but that’s not what Felicia meant. “You’re the only thing in this ridiculous place that matters to me,” Felicia insists, and begs Suzie to say they’re okay. Suzie says it, but she doesn’t mean it: she tells Scotty and Lilly that she went to the after-party, told Cole about Felicia and Lee, and then hooked up with him as revenge.

Predictably, Cole doesn’t remember hooking up with Suzie, and when Scotty and Vera confront him about new paint on the front of his Mustang, he insists he rear-ended a truck. He says prom night was the highlight of his stellar high school career. In a flashback, we see Cole and Felicia arguing about Lee. She breaks up with him, and he’s stunned: they were meant to be together. He insists that everything will be fine at Penn State next year, but she’s got another bombshell for him: she’s not going to Penn State, but Berkeley. Cole eventually figures out that this means he’s not getting any tonight, but he’s got no hard feelings. To comfort him, Felicia takes off her panties and gives them to him, and takes a selfie with him. Cole tells the detectives that he took the pictures about 11:30 pm, which is 45 minutes earlier than the clock in one of the pictures indicates. So what happened during those 45 minutes…and who took that picture?

Jeffries gets to the bottom of it, realizing that Principal Burke only gave them 23 of the 24 pictures on the roll of film. Fortunately, CVS kept the negative: one that showed a picture of a silver Volvo registered to Burke. Lilly and Stillman confront him about the photo, the glowing recommendation letter he wrote for Felicia to attend Berkeley, and credit card records from repairs to his Volvo. Burke finally admits that Felicia wasn’t just any other student to him. He recalls seeing her alone outside the school and, after finishing off her roll of film for her, offering her a ride. After she shared the details of her crazy night and her trepidation about the future, he comforted her. Thus reassured, she told Burke she didn’t think of him as a teacher, and he definitely didn’t think of her as just a student, a point he proved by kissing her. She fought him off, they argued, and she split, only to have Burke run her down from behind. The montage shows us Burke being arrested, Cole waxing his beloved Mustang and still living in the past, Suzie seeing Felicia, and Jeffries getting revenge on Vera by finding Nicky’s own high school prom photos. Lily goes to the hotel where Chris has been staying and to her worry, discovers the room ransacked and Chris missing. 

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

And

Co-starring

Notes

  • The first part of the two-hour season finale.
  • Tracie Thoms does not appear in this episode.
  • For the third time, the main actors are not credited in an opening sequence. Instead they are listed afer a brief title sequence as the episode plays.
  • Paul Cooper is confirmed to be Christina Rush's father in this episdoe.
  • This episode features a number of parallels to "Family". In both episodes the victim was a high school student in the late 1980s mowed down by a car the night of their senior prom. In both cases, the driver was a member of their school faculty.
  • Last appearance of Raymond J. Barry as Paul Cooper.

Music

  • Young MC "Bust a Move"
  • Ann Wilson and Mike Reno "Almost Paradise"
  • SImple Minds "Don't You (Forget About Me)"
  • Aerosmith "Angel"
  • The Throw “Wishing”
  • Morrissey "Suedehead"
  • OMD "If You Leave"
  • U2 "All I Want Is You"

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