Cold Case S04E13 Blackout.jpg

Season : 4
Episode: 13
Directed by: Seith Mann
Written by: Tyler Bensinger
Production Number:
Airdate: 14 January 2007
Date of Crime: 11 January 1996
Previous: Knuckle Up
Next: 8:03 AM

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New evidence shows that the drowning of a woman in a swimming pool in her ex-husband's house wasn't accidental. Suspicion soon falls on her family as the detectives learn about the twisted relationship she had with her ex-husband and grown children, as the family's dirty secrets start to come out. Meanwhile, as Vera's relationship with Toni continues, he starts to bond with her son Andre.


January 14, 1996. The Williams family is celebrating Matt’s birthday. His mother Virginia, uncle Tad, grandfather Stan, and his grandfather’s young girlfriend, Diane, are all gathered in the living room while Matt is turning the pages of a photo album he’s been gifted with. Then suddenly the doorbell rings – it’s Lauren Williams, Matt’s grandmother and Stan's ex-wife. Everybody is surprised and disappointed to see her. While she introduces herself to her ex-husband’s young fiancee, the lights go off. The snowstorm outside has caused an electricity blackout. Lauren is scared of the darkness. Next scene, she is found dead, floating in the swimming pool, the lights still off. Her death is classified as ”accidental death by drowning."

Present Rush and Valens walk into the pool area of the home. The new owner of the house has found a red nail and some scratches under the diving board. Valens looks under the diving board to confirm. The picture in her file shows her hand missing a red painted nail. Vera walks upstairs and says hello to Andre. Toni hands him a sock, she had found in her bedsheets. They flirt and confirm plans for a date later that day. The team discusses the case at the station. Lauren's blood alcohol level was .24.

Valens and Jeffries question the ex husband, Stan. He says his daughter had invited her to the party to be cordial. He admitted to wanting to kill his ex but had no part in her actual death.

Flashback Diane comes in with candles to get them through the blackout. Lauren makes more snarky remarks. She has researched the young lady and tells of the three children she left behind. This is all new information to Stan. The children look on, all too familiar with her antics. Diane told Lauren she would pay for this and leaves the room.

Present Stan says Lauren had done him a favor with the revelation of the information. Diane didn't take it very well. Rush and Vera question Diane. In retrospect, the blackout was a blessing.

Flashback Diane is looking through a photo album. Tad walks in the room. Diane admires an old picture of Lauren. He says his father was probably fooling around on his mother their whole marriage. Lauren bursts into the room and corrects him. It was about the time Tad was born, in fact. Tad and Lauren bicker, at the amusement of Diane. Tad rips a picture of Lauren out of the album and throws it in the fire, wishing it was really her.

Present Diane says she went upstairs and waited for Stan to break up with her, which he did. Valens and Miller talk to Tad in his photo room. He says whoever killed his mother deserves a medal. He had inherited 3 million upon his mother's death, but he gave it all away.

Flashback Lauren belittles the dinner choice for the evening, as well as Ginny's son's education choice. She holds the fact that she financially helps Ginny over her head. They argue and Ginny leaves the room, despite her mother's threats. Tad applauds.

Present He was never more proud of his sister than in that moment. The focus turns to Ginny. Rush and Jeffries talk to Ginny and Matt. Matt does not speak highly of his grandmother at all. He excuses himself out of the room. She says only one thing scared Lauren...the dark. She claims to be asleep when her mother died.

Flashback Ginny, Stan and Tad are sitting in front of the fire. Tad praises her. Lauren walks in, asking where Matt is. It's three against one. It's another bitter battle amongst the family.

Present Lilly asks if there's any truth to Lauren's accusations. Ginny denies it. Nick talks with Andre on the basketball court. He tries to connect with him, talking about girl trouble. He gives him advice. Stillman and Rush re-question Stan. They mention Lauren's accusations that he was a pervert. He says it's only because she was mad that he cheated on her. That night, Lauren trained her sights on Matt.

Flashback Lauren is in Matt's room, giving him his gift, a camera. She tells him she needs to talk to him about his life's options. She's hoping for him to move in with her. Stan listens in. She invites Matt for a swim. Lauren catches Stan looking in.

Present That was the last time Stan saw her alive. Jeffries questions Matt. He failed to mention swimming with his grandmother. Matt says she tried to destroy him that night.

Flashback Lauren and Matt are in the pool together. Lauren insists he not call her grandma, call her Lauren. She asks about his love life, he needs some experience with someone he can trust. She's trying to seduce him. Tad walks in and orders Matt out of the water.

Present Matt's not totally sure what his grandmother was attempting, but Tad rescued him. Miller and Valens question Tad about his mother's pedophiliac ways. He denies killing her. For all of his years of abuse at the hands of his mother, he didn't just hate her, he loved her as well. Makes life gray, which is why he photographs in black and white.

Flashback He finally confronts his mother about abusing him. She accuses Tad of being jealous. Lauren looks for reassurance on her beauty, even in her son's desperate, hurtful face. He tells her she's ugly on the inside and continues to mentally abuse him. The lights turn on and Tad leaves.

Present He walked away swearing he'd never see her again. He didn't know those words would ring true. Valens confirms the lights came on. But she was found with the lights off. They remember only one person knows about Lauren's fear of the dark. Rush confronts Ginny with the fact she was the only one who knew. Ginny admitted to knowing what her mother had been doing to her brother all those years. She wasn't about to let it happen to her son as well.

Flashback Ginny walks in to find her mother at a lounge chair at the pool. Ginny turns off the lights. They discuss their earlier fight. Ginny is disgusted at her mother's actions. Lauren is unapologetic. Ginny pushes her mother into the pool. She tells her mother to give her her hand to help her out. Lauren slaps it away. Lauren makes another snide remark and Ginny holds her under the water, crying "I hate you".

Present Ginny writes out her confession in tears. Stan sits solemnly. Stillman walks Ginny out. Matt embraces her. Tad does as well. Scotty takes the closed box to the file room. Nick plays basketball with Andre and his mother. Tad process a photo of his mother. Lilly sees Lauren's ghost staring into the pool. She turns off the lights.

Main Cast

Guest Cast




  • This episode received a numerous errors at the time of its production such as the following:
    • When the image of Donna Mills; who played Lauren Williams, disappears when the lights turned off by Lilly Rush, her reflection does not disappear from the surface of the pool, citing that the video graphic editor team forgot to include the mentioned detail too.
    • Her position in the pool was on the other side, but after Lilly looks at her, her position was been changed and suddenly she appeared besides her.
    • The date of the crime (or murder) in this episode took place on January 11, 1996 as written on William's death certificate; however its opening date or the beginning scenario was marked January 14, 1996, making it another mistake of the production team taking 3 days after she was killed, she was last seen on the aformentioned date which some of the fans noticed this as a funny scene
  • This episode is loosely based on the 2003 murder of Florence Unger.


  • The Wallflowers "One Headlight"
  • Collective Soul "The World I Know"
  • R.E.M. "Bang And Blame"
  • Collective Soul "December"
  • Dave Matthews Band "Typical Situation"
  • Closing Song: Goo Goo Dolls "Name"
Season 4 Episodes
Rampage | The War at Home | Sandhogs | Baby Blues | Saving Sammy | Static | The Key | Fireflies | Lonely Hearts | Forever Blue | The Red and the Blue | Knuckle Up | Blackout | 8:03 AM | Blood on the Tracks | The Good-Bye Room | Shuffle, Ball Change | A Dollar, A Dream | Offender | Stand Up and Holler | Torn | Cargo | The Good Death | Stalker

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