Lilly re-opens the 1929 case of a woman found dead in a ravine on Christmas Day when the victim's great-granddaughter comes in asking for help. Meanwhile, Lilly's estranged mother shows up, hoping to re-connect with her daughter, and telling her she's gettin married... for the fourth time.
In 1928 going on 1929, Violet Polley, a vivacious, plucky young woman, attends a New Year’s party in a rich family’s mansion and meets Nick Bartleby, the young and attractive host. She is a promising singer and songwriter attempting to support herself. A year later, on December 25, 1929, she is found murdered, tossed down a ravine.
Lilly meets with her mother and learns she is getting married, again, and asks her to be her maid of honor. Lilly is overwhelmed by the request and leaves. At the station, Aimee, Violet’s great granddaughter, wants to know more about her family history and thus the murder of Violet and asks Scotty and Lilly to re-open the 1929 murder case. Lilly, understanding the great granddaughters feeling of not being able to outrun her screwed up family, and agrees to look into the case.
There isn’t much to go on, but they start by going to the boarding house where she was living. There they find a journal belonging to one of the girls who lived there. In the diary, the girl describes how Ginger Swensen was helping Violet to meet important people so she could sell her songs to famous singers.At the public library, Vera and Lilly find a newspaper from the 20’s with an interview of Ginger, where she describes how Violet got drunk and sang a song during the Bartleby party, wowing everyone. After Violet finished her song, Ginger says she saw Felix Spyczyk, the Bartleby’s driver, escort Violet away. At the precinct they find that Felix had a rap sheet. Jeffries and Scotty track down Daniel Spyczyk, Felix’s grandson, and ask him if he knows anything about Violet. Daniel says that in his last years, Felix wanted to tell everything about his years working for the Bartlebys, so Daniel recorded his grandfather’s stories. In the tapes, Felix tells he took Violet to the study room where Nick Bartleby was waiting for her. He says she was ”the girl who said ’no’ to Nick Bartleby”, and instead of being mad about it, Nick got even more infatuated by Violet. He ordered Felix to send 300 flowers to the boarding house where Violet lived.
Jeffries tells Scotty he knows a song named 300 Flowers and that a singer he knows, Lena, covers it. Scotty teases Jeffries about him having to look good if he's going to see the woman he talks about in his sleep. Lena tells him it is a song about a love triangle between a girl and two men. She starts singing the song and we flashback to 1929. Violet is sitting in the living room with red roses all around her and a man comes in, saying he came to take her back, but Violet tells him she is not going back. At that moment, Nick Bartleby arrives and she decides to go with Nick, leaving the man behind. Kat finds a brochure about a pig contest in California showing Jeb, the man who appeared earlier, and his pig, giving him an alibi for Violet’s murder. They also find a gossip magazine from 1929 covering a story about Nick Bartleby dumping his on-and-off girlfriend Carmela La Fleur for Violet. It says Carmela was furious about it and even threatened Violet. Vera and Jeffries find Carmela’s biographer, who is also the grandson of Carmela’s personal stylist, and ask him if his grandfather ever said anything about Carmela’s grudge against Violet. He says his grandfather told him that a few months after their fight, the two girls made up and became friends. Flash back to 1929: Violet comes looking for Carmela in the backstage, and asks if Carmela could sing one of the songs she wrote. She starts crying and Carmela feels sorry for Violet. When she asks Violet about her crying, she realizes the girl is pregnant and offers to buy Violet’s songs so she can have some money for the baby. Jeffries and Vera realize Violet’s baby is a Bartleby, and so is Aimee. Lilly meets with her mother again and this time she meets her future step-father, too. She argues with her mother about her future husband not knowing about her being an alcoholic, and says she will not be her mother’s maid of honor because she will not attend the wedding.
Scotty and Jeffries meet with Muriel Bartleby, Nick’s baby sister. She says she doesn’t believe Violet’s baby is Nick’s daughter, and claims she witnessed Nick dumping Violet a while before she was murdered, right after the stock market crash in October 1929. She flashes back to that day: Nick is drunk in the living room and the family is choosing some items to be sold because they have lost everything in the crash. The difficulty of the depression and its affect on his family's wealth had him overwhelmed. Carmela is there trying to comfort Nick, when Felix comes in saying Violet is there to see Nick. He says he doesn’t want to see Violet and when Felix insists, Nick fires Felix. Felix, having nothing else to lose, opens the door and lets Violet in. She comes in with a baby stroller and claims the girl is Nick’s child. He says it's scandalous, so she suggests they could get married, to which he replies he cannot marry a nobody, especially not now. Violet pleas for him to at least take the baby, since she can’t provide for her alone, but he refuses. Muriel then offers Violet a clock made of gold as help, which she accepts before leaving. Lilly and Scotty go talk to Daniel Spyczyk again, and press him to tell the truth about his grandfather and Violet. He puts on the tape where Felix tells what happened and we flash back to that afternoon in 1929. Felix tries to get Violet to blackmail the Bartlebys about the baby, but when she refuses saying she is not that kind of girl and that blackmailing the Bartlebys would make them as bad as the Bartlebys, Felix freaks out and kills her with the clock Violet was holding. Felix leaves to dump Violet’s body. Hearing the baby Rose's cries Carmela rushed outside and seeing no one and thinking Violet abandoned her, she took her to an orphanage.
Violet’s song 300 Flowers starts playing while Scotty takes the clock to the lab. We also see snippets of Felix, Carmela, young Muriel, Nick, and Ginger, Aimee receiving the quilt Violet made for Rose, her baby, and another cold case is put to rest. Lilly decides to go to her mother’s wedding after all and there she sees Violet playing the piano.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Tracie Thoms as Kat Miller
Special Guest Star
- Tommy Dewey as Nick Bartleby (1929)
- Emily Kosloski as Carmela LeFleur (1929)
- Nick Spano as Felix Spyczyk (1929)
- Michael Clayton McCarthy as Mickey Stein Jr. and Mickey Stein Sr.
- Gena Shaw as Aimee Goodman
- Cordelia Reynolds as Ginger Swensen (1928/1929)
- Allison Miller as Violet Polley (1928/1929)
- Shelley Robertson as Lena
- H. Richard Greene as Daniel Spyczyk
- Sammi Hanratty as Muriel Bartleby (1929)
- Betty Murphy as Docent
- Jeff Newburg as Jeb Shiner (1929)
- Greg Travis as Jackie
- Josh Hopkins as ADA Jason Kite (voice only)
- Unknown infant as Rose Polley
- This is the second oldest case in the series.
- The song 300 Flowers was composed by Michael A. Levine specifically for Cold Case, with lyrics by Liz W. Garcia.
- This is the second episode to feature an original composition of the series for the closing sequence. The first one was Best Friends.
- First appearance of Meredith Baxter as Lilly's estranged mother Ellen Rush.
- This episode is loosely based on The Great Gatsby.
- Furthermore, the name of this episode comes from a quote by Daisy in the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald .
- Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra "Charleston"
- Michael A. Levine "300 Flowers" [Piano Solo Version]
- Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five "Heebie Jeebies"
- "One Dress Left" performed by Allison Miller (Violet)
- "The Jazz Age" from Associated Production Music
- "After You've Gone" from Associated Production Music
- Fanny Brice "Secondhand Rose"
- Ida Cox "You Stole My Man"
- Ethel Waters "True Blue Lou"
- Closing Song: Michael A. Levine "300 Flowers" performed by Allison Miller (Violet)