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When an old truck containing human bones is pulled from the Delaware River, the team re-opens the case of a missing and possibly murdered girl who disappeared unexpectedly in 1932. Detectives Rush and Valens discover that the truck was owned by a 1930s era bootlegger during Prohibition, prompting an investigation that leads to the supposedly dead sister of the vehicle's owner, and the revelation of a long-buried love affair.

Synopsis []

When a submerged, bullet-riddled truck is pulled up from a river, the cold case team will solve their coldest case to date--70 years.

The truck is registered to a bootlegger, and since the remains were female, it is first believed to be those of his sister.  When it is discovered that they are of African American descent, this leads the team to a love story way before its time.

Rush and the team manage to track down the sister, who is still alive, and this is where they learn the story of Rose Collins and Billie Ducette. Rose is the younger sister and ward of a local bootlegger, Curtis Collins, who always travels with her as he delivers liquor to a club, where the music draws her in.  As she is sitting in the truck enjoying the music, she sees an African American girl who changes into men's clothing and then enters the club.  Since her brother doesn't allow her to enter the club she returns later without him.  When she goes up to the bar and orders a drink she is sitting next to the owner and the "mysterious" girl.  The owner tries to tell her that this is no place for her and her brother would be furious if he knew she was there. Rose states she has paid for a drink and has a right to be there and enjoy the music.  After seeing the girl light a cigarette, she asks for one and the girl tells her she doesn't have anymore.  She gets one from the owner and upon lighting it coughs which causes the girl to snicker at her. The girl then makes fun of her and tells her she really needs to leave, and drinks Rose's drink which causes her to timidly leave the club.

Then as Rose is leaving school one day, the girl is waiting outside for her. Rose says something to her about being in a skirt and the girl, whose name is Billie, tells her that she cleans houses and that is how she has to dress. As they continue walking and talking, Rose learns that Billie used to "go with" this other girl (Little Georgie) which causes Rosie to blush and say she's dating someone too: Ted. They see this other girl standing at the corner and Billie tells Rose to leave. The team tracks down the "other woman" since they learn she carried a gun and the truck was full of bullet holes. They cannot connect her to the murder.

In the end, they learned of a blossoming romance between Rose and Billie through poetry written by Billie to Rose and Rose's confession of her love. This causes her decide to run away with Billie by stealing some of her brother's liquor because Billie had been beaten badly by her now ex-boyfriend, Ted and his friends. When they're caught by Curtis, he wants to kill Billie and forces Rose to get his shotgun, which she then uses to help her and Billie escape. Curtis chases after them and shoots at the truck with no luck. They come to a sign that declares the bridge is out and decide to go over the edge into the river.  Curtis stops his truck, but sees the girls continue on. Rose re-surfaces, but Billie does not; the poetry reference.

The last scene where a team member, family member, or someone very close to the victim usually "sees" the victim, as they are satisfied their murder has been solved, instead shows an aged Rosie being approached by a still young Billie. Both women walk together through the park, and then one sees a suddenly young again Rose walk off hand in hand with Billie. This strongly implies that Rose died on the bench she was sitting on and was greeted by Billie, her first and only true love, before both women left to the afterlife together.

In the last clips, Billie's ex-girlfriend, Little Georgie, is seen cheerfully greeting two African-American girlfriends and kind of flirting with them (and one of them playfully flirts back, while her girlfriend huffs a little). The still living Curtis (who couldn't be charged with murder) is seen in a nursing home, drinking from a silver flask.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]



  • Billie Ducette appears to be heavily inspired by blues singer and LGBT icon Gladys Bentley.
  • The ending scene appears to be derived from the 1991 buddy road film Thelma & Louise.
  • This is the third oldest case in the series, and the oldest case in this season.
  • This is the oldest case where all of the suspects are still alive.
  • Michael Levine's composition "Best Friends" is featured throughout the episode. In the closing sequence, an original poem is heard over the score. The song can be found on the Cold Case soundtrack.
  • This is the first episode to use an original composition during the closing sequence.
  • Nobody gets arrested in this episode, since the death was ruled as a suicide. This was second suicide case, after "Daniela".
  • This episode won a GLAAD Media Award.
  • Debut of Tessa Thompson.
  • Will Jeffries turns 60 in this episode. This contradicts the episode Strange Fruit, where his age is worked out to be 54. In terms of Thom Barry's age, Jeffries was 55 years old at the time of this episode.
  • The episode begins with the usual disclaimer "The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event", however the episode does depict an actual person: Billie Holiday.
  • At the time of the flashbacks, the sale and possession of alcohol was illegal under the 18th amendment, which had taken effect in 1920, ushering in a 13-year "dry" epoch known as the "Prohibition Era". The 18th Amendment was entirely repealed in 1933 by the ratification and passage of the 21st Amendment.


  • Ethel Waters with Ben Slavin "I Got Rhythm"
  • Billie Holiday "Trav'lin All Alone"
  • Ivie Anderson with Duke Ellington "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"
  • Bessie Smith "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"
  • Closing song: Michael A. Levine "Best Friends"

See More Cases[]

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Season 1
Look AgainGleenOur Boy Is BackChurchgoing PeopleThe RunnerLove Conquers AlA Time to HateFly AwaySherry Darlin'The HitchhikerHubrisGluedThe LetterThe Boy in the BoxDisco InfernoVolunteersThe Lost Soul of Herman LesterResolutionsLate ReturnsGreedMaternal InstinctsThe PlanLover's Lane
Season 2
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