Cold Case Wiki
Claire Tate 1988
Claire in 1988
Claire Tate 2005
Claire in 2005
Claire Tate
Portrayed by Unknown (1988)
Brooke Anne Smith (2005)
Episode Family
Status Alive

Claire Tate is the daughter of Jimmy Tate and Quinn Ellis. Her father was also briefly thought to be the track coach of their school, Bruce Johnson, who had raped Quinn.


Claire was born on June 11, 1988. Jimmy helped Quinn give birth to her in the school bathroom on prom night. Jimmy then left, promising Quinn that he'd be back. However, he never returned and Quinn, fearing that Jimmy had abandoned his responsibility as a father, and herself scared of the responsibility of being a single mother, left the baby in the caretaker's closet in a garbage bin. In actuality, Jimmy had left to call off the deal he'd made with their math teacher, Jered Wyatt, to let him adopt the baby. Wyatt, enraged that his one chance at saving his already fragile marriage was removed, murdered Jimmy by running him over with his car. Angie Parrington, who was both drunk and off her psychosis medication, stumbled upon baby Claire after hearing her crying.

Claire was then placed in the foster care system. She had a rough upbringing and didn't find a permanent, stable home. Because of her status, Claire grew up to be very cold and antisocial, often not caring about committing various minor crimes such as smoking inside a police building.

One day in 2005, an unidentified man in a white van stopped at Claire's school and claimed that he was her father, rather than Jimmy. The man drove off after some school teachers forced him to leave, although not before telling Claire that he'd be back for her. She later reported it to the Child Services agent in charge of her, who then reported it to the Cold Case division. The detectives proceeded to reopen Jimmy's case and deduce what happened that night.

Claire is visited by the man again, this time with the promise of going out to dinner. When Lilly Rush confronts her with the possibility that he has ulterior motives, Claire states that she doesn't care, also reacting coldly when Lilly tells her about her birth mother.

Afterwards, Claire was seemingly abducted from the school by the man in the white van. In actuality, she willingly went with the man in question. Claire also left a note to her foster parents telling them not to pursue her or the man. However, Lilly and John Stillman manage to track down her and the man's location at a motel via cellphone transmission. They then arrest the man, Bruce Johnson, and Claire is reunited with Quinn.

Lilly broke the news to Claire that Bruce was not her father, and in fact raped her mother as a teenager (and was likely planning to do the same to her), much to her devastation. Although Claire initially tries to tell her mother off, after they both learn what actually happened to Jimmy the night of her birth, they embrace each other. Claire is later seen with Quinn, admiring her mother's needlepoint.


  • According to Quinn, Claire greatly resembles Jimmy, lending credence to Jimmy being her birth father.