Lilly and Valens reopen a presumed homicide from 1979 in which an unidentified victim's blood-drenched shoes, underwear and sheets were found in a trash bag, but no body. The investigation begins when a battered wife accuses her husband of murdering a girl in 1979 and brings in an amateur film from the time that supposedly shows him committing the crime.
March 15, 1979. It is night time in an area of Philadelphia frequented by prostitutes. A young woman emerges from an alleyway and she exchanges waves with a prostitute, Marquette, before going up to a car to talk to the driver. "Hey, Papi, can you spare any change, help a girl out?" She needs money for a bus ticket so she can get home. The driver glares at her for a second before spitting in her face. Marquette scares off the driver before coming to the aid of her friend, wiping off the spit with a Kleenex. Marquette wonders why the girl’s ”merchandise” isn’t for sale; who is she saving herself for anyway, a knight on a white horse? The girl replies that maybe she is, and her knight is going to take her far away from here. Just then a car pulls up to the curb, the driver honking and waving a wad of cash. Looks like her knight is calling. The girl approaches the car and talks to the two teenage occupants. "Got any spare change, help a girl out? See, my mom’s real sick and I need money to get on the bus." Somebody throws some trash into a dumpster late at night. The camera pans over and we can see a garbage bag lying open on top of the trash. A single white high heel shoe covered in blood lies beside a pile of rose petals. Down in the vault, a detective puts a box onto one of the shelves. Taking a marker, he writes on the box, May ’79. Jane Doe
Present Day: Lilly and Scotty are buying coffee at an outdoor stand when a woman in sunglasses approaches the pair and asks if they are detectives. She wants to know where she can go to if she...knows something. She says its about her soon to be ex-husband. Lilly notices the bruises on her arms, and asks if the soon-to-be ex hits her. She glances down at her arm and chooses instead to say her husband has a habit of visiting prostitutes. Lilly states that all they can do is arrest him for assault, if she is willing to press charges. The woman pulls an old film canister out of her purse and hands it to Scotty, maybe this will change their minds. She found it in her husband’s belongings. Lilly takes the tape and reads the name. Daniela. Was she one of the prostitutes he visited? No, she was the girl that he murdered.
Inside headquarters in a darkened room, Lilly notes that the film was made back in 1979. The woman's husband must have been a kid when it was made. In the film a guy is taking Daniela’s head and forces her to bob it up and down. In a fit of rage he pushes her onto the bed and pulls out a gun, pointing it at her face. Daniela is pleading for her life. A scream is heard before the tape ends. Scotty’s only remark is ”some kid.”
Down in the vault, Scotty and Lilly are flipping through the cold case files. Lilly comes across a file that is presumed to be homicide of a Jane Doe dated May 1979 which could be a match. The only things that were found was a trash bag containing women’s clothing, a handbag, all soaked in blood alongside rose petals. A body was never found. Probable cause of death: gunshot wound to the head. Stillman arrives and asks if the date of the film has been confirmed. The year was definitely 1979; they’re just waiting for the exact month. Stillman remembers the case: no body, no ID so the case went cold on day one. Lilly holds up a snapshot of Daniela that was obtained from the home movie.
Lilly and Scotty visit the soon-to-be-ex-husband John who says that his wife is just after his money, but she won’t get a dime because she didn’t earn it. He laughs off the home movie, saying that he was just a kid and that it was all a game, ask the girl yourself. The detective say they can't because she's dead. Oh well, one less cesspool in the world, he remarks. Well, seems to Lilly that John has a thing for those ”cesspools”. Scotty reads off a long list of charges, one of which includes putting a prostituel in the hospital. Scotty wants to know how John hooked up with Daniela. Same as how anybody picked up that type back then: driving around the old bus depot.
Flashback: John and his best friend, Chris, are sitting in his car. Chris wants to go, they shouldn’t be here. John replies that the only reason that they are here is because that stupid girl ran out of them. Chris replies that the only reason Cassie did that was because John was a pervert, she didn’t want to be his porn star. John spots Daniela and decides she’s the one. Driving up the curb, John honks the horn and waves a handful of cash. Daniela comes up to the car and asks them to help her out. She spots Chris and the two have a moment before they exchange greetings. John asks Daniela if she’s ready to work it. Oh no, she doesn’t do that sort of thing. John replies that the two of them are just film students, and they just need an ”out of sight, drop dead gorgeous knockout” like Daniela to star in their film. Daniela agrees, as long as it’s just the movie, nothing else. Okay? The door opens and she gets into the car. Flashback to Present John claims that all they did was score a joint, drove around looking for a motel before the three of them went back to her place. Daniela was alive when they left, and he has the rest of the film to prove it. If they don’t believe him, the detectives can ask Chris, he was there. And oh yeah, Daniela says that she wasn’t a whore, but she gave Chris some service...for free.
Present: At a construction site, Lilly and Scotty meet up with Chris, who admits that they were dumb kids, a few months from graduating high school. But he backs up John’s story. All they did was shoot the movie. When they left, she was alive. He remembers where Daniela lived, and Lilly comments on his good memory. Bad memory actually. John had always been a little crazy. And that night, he went out of control.
Flashback: Chris is holding the camera, filming around Daniela’s room while John is laughing hysterically. John tries to get Daniela to do the funky chicken. Daniela nervously complies, but John wants more enthusiasm and begins forcefully bobbing her head up and down for her. Chris tells John to stop it, noticing the fact that Daniela doesn’t look too pleased. Daniela slaps away John’s hand, and John pushes her to the bed in a fit of rage, calling her a whore and cesspool. Pulling out a gun, John yells at Chris to continue filming. Making sure that he is still within the shot, Chris tells Daniela that she is going to die. Tense moments pass before both Daniela and Chris start screaming. A single click is heard, yet Daniela is still alive. The only thing Chris can think of to say is to call his friend crazy. Now in her own fit of rage, Daniela pushes John backwards and onto the floor. She starts kicking him, yelling at him to get out of her place. Chris picks up his friend, calling him a jerk. Daniela chases them to the front door and yells at them one more time to get out of here. Chris turns around and tries to say that he’s sorry, but the door slams in his face.
Present: Chris says that they went home after that and he never saw the girl again. He stopped hanging out with John too; the video was the beginning of the end of the friendship. Chris says that Daniela was just a scared kid; she wasn’t any sort of prostitute. Scotty asks him if he knew if John ever went back to visit Daniela to finish what he started. No. What about Chris—did he ever go back to visit Daniela? She was a pretty girl after all. Maybe Chris couldn’t leave that alone. Chris just smiles and says that he probably blew his chances after that night.
Scotty, Lilly and Stillman are viewing the rest of John’s tape. It confirms that Daniela was alive when the two boys left. Processing on the video shows that it was made in March of 1979; the trash bag was found in May. So perhaps the boys aren’t the doers. Scotty notes that Vera and Jeffries found Daniela’s apartment a half an hour ago and maybe they’ll find something there. Stillman is still skeptical. The connection between Daniela and Jane Doe is looking thin. He tells Lilly to phone Jeffries to give them the heads up. Lilly dials on her cell phone and tells Jeffries that the job might have died on them.
At the crime scene, Jeffries notes that the case wasn’t the only thing that died on them. The apartment was sprayed with luminal, revealing a bloodbath. He glances to the wall behind him, which reveals a giant glowing spot. In the office the next morning, Jeffries reports that the last known resident in that apartment was a Daniela, without a last name. Vera says that the landlord told them that Daniela disappeared sometime in May of ’79. The DNA samples of the blood from the floorboards matches the blood that was found in the trash bag. Daniela is Jane Doe. Vera notes that whoever the doer was, he was careful. No shell casings were found and he washed the blood off of the walls. Lilly goes off to question the landlord, find out Daniela’s origins.
Stillman tells Vera and Jeffries to ask around the old bus depot, maybe somebody there knows her. Lilly and Scotty enter the apartment alongside the landlord, Lester. The apartment was turned into a storage room after Daniela left. Lester doesn’t recall the exact date that she disappeared, only that it was sometime in May. She took most of her stuff, so he figured that Daniela just ran off again. Lester never knew where she came from either. Scotty asks him if he ever heard any gunshots come from her apartment, but Lester replies that gunshots around here is everyday sort of thing. Lilly hands him a picture of Chris and John and asks if he ever saw them hanging around. Lester shakes his head no. Besides, Daniela already had a man. Who? Some crazy Latin guy that was staying with her, always yelling at her like he was down to his last taco. Never showed his face, but Lester said he heard him every weekend loud and clear, just like clockwork. Flashback Lester walks by Daniela’s apartment and hears a male voice yelling. Daniela walks out and closes the door, visibly shaken. Lester steps in her path and says she owes more rent, because she has somebody staying in there. Daniela replies that she can’t pay any more rent, she’s barely getting by. She promises Lester that he’ll be out, by tomorrow. Lester lets her pass.
Flashback to Present: The only thing Lester knows is that his name is Edwin, or Edwardo, and he heard that same voice back the very next weekend. Scotty asks Lester if he ever tried to get a piece of Daniela’s ”Latin ass." Lester chuckles and tells him that he can’t blame him for trying, Daniela was sure something. But he wasn’t going to do anything to her, nothing that wasn’t already done to her a million times before. Lilly and Scotty watch Lester exit before looking around. Magazine pictures of foreign places are taped up onto the wall, probably Daniela’s doing. Scotty remarks that since there are no windows in the place, Daniela probably had to look at something. Maybe the pictures were Daniela’s windows. Vera and Jeffries catch up with Marquette, who says she was lucky and got out. Now she’s helping prostitutes do the same, ”one soul at a time”. According to arrest records, Marquette worked the bus depot back in ’79. Did you ever know a girl named Daniela? Marquette smiles at the memories, stating that Daniela was a shining star. She also realizes that the reason Vera and Jeffries are here is because Daniela is probably dead. Marquette had always thought Daniela had gotten out when she stopped coming around. Jeffries hands her the same pictures of Chris and John and asks if she had ever seen them before. Looks like every other white boy that would come to the depot. But Daniela never gave any of that up. She wasn’t hooking at all.
Flashback: Marquette and Daniela are hanging out in her apartment. Daniela inspects a ring. Maybe she can get some bread for this ring so she can get the landlord off of her back. Marquette wants to know who gave her that ring. Edwin Castillo? Who is he anyways? Your man? Daniela will only say that he is nobody, just a guy from a long time ago. Marquette wants to know if he followed her here, to which Daniela replies that Edwin follows her everywhere. But don’t worry, he won’t be mad at Daniela selling his ring, because he’s not the real thing. Flashback to Present: Marquette tells Vera that she never met this Edwin character. Daniela was secretive about the guys she had in her life. Guys? Yeah, this one, and the other guy that would always pick her up in a red Camaro. Never saw his face, just the car. Marquette particularly remembers the look on Daniela’s face whenever that car would pull up. It looked like she was falling in love for the first time, every time.
Vera meets up with Lilly, Scotty and Stillman outside of the building. He found the 1979 Camaro registrations. It turns out that Chris owned one. At his apartment, Chris admits that he and Daniela had a thing. A thing? Daniela was head over heels for you. Lilly also notes that since Chris lied to them once, it’s probable that he’ll lie to them again. Well, this isn’t the sort of thing that you tell the world. Scotty puts it plainly that they aren’t the world, they’re homicide. Chris finally admits that after that night, he went back to Daniela’s to say that he was sorry. Flashback: Chris waits around the corner and finally sees Daniela come out of her apartment. He comes out of hiding and Daniela says that she’ll shoot him in the head if he comes near her. Chris says that he had no idea that John was going to do that, but it is only when he mentions the Empire State Building that Daniela stops. What? The Empire State Building, he saw it on her wall, along with the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of whatever you call it. Pisa. Chris tells her that he wants to see those places one day, and he knows that she wants to see those places as well, that’s the only reason why she put it up on her wall. So what? Chris offers her a heartfelt apology, and Daniela grudgingly accepts. Well uh, New York’s only a few hours away, so perhaps sometime, they could get together (only if she wants to) and we’ll see the Eiffel Tower. You mean the Empire State Building? But Daniela accepts. Flashback to Present: Scotty asks Chris how long the relationship lasted. About two weeks. Chris admits that his father would have killed him if he found out. He was never informed of Daniela’s (other) boyfriend either. But Chris did take her to see the Empire State Building. He also notes that Daniela’s home held bad memories for her. Was she from New York? No, across the river: New Jersey. Lilly wants to know why home had bad memories for Daniela. Chris blinks as he realizes Lilly’s question. He never asked.
Lilly is busy at the computer, looking for missing persons in New Jersey. Nobody matches Daniela’s description, but suddenly a match for Edwin comes up in Jersey City, Jersey. A late night drive to the apartment building and a woman answers the door. She hears Lilly asking for Edwin Castillo and jumps to the conclusion that her baby is dead. Scotty assures her that is not the reason they are here. A sigh of relief later, the woman asks for his whereabouts, she has not heard from him in 25 years. He ran real wild as a boy, the two of them would fight constantly, but she always thought that he would come home. But why would Lilly and Scotty want to find him? Lilly thinks that he was involved with this girl, and hands her a picture of Daniela, asking if she looks familiar. The woman takes the picture and starts to be overcome with emotion. Scotty asks if Mrs. Castillo knows that girl. Girl? That’s her son, Edwin. Lilly and Scotty look at each other in shock.
Back at the office, Vera can’t believe the turn of events. So she, was a he? That makes either Chris or John have a stronger motive, falling in love with a girl only to find out she was a guy. Lilly inspects a picture of a young Edwin, and notes that even as a kid he signed his name as Daniela. Scotty says Edwin and his mother would fight day and night about Edwin wearing makeup, jewellery. Ran away after one too many screaming matches, but the fights continued over the phone, and that was the arguing that the landlord heard. Stillman teases Vera about one of his former crushes actually being a guy, while Lilly smiles and inspects a slightly older picture of Edwin/Daniela, and flips the picture over to see the words ”See ME” written on the backside. Vera and Scotty question John. At first John doesn’t believe them, until Vera shows him a picture of Edwin aka Daniela. Edwin’s face is identical with Daniela’s. So Cassie was right. Who was Cassie? A girl that John knew back in high school. She knew something was up with....Flashback:In John’s dark (and somewhat perverted) room, Cassie flirts with Chris while John sets up the film. She wants to know where Chris has been these past few months, but he only says that he’s been busy. Chris gets up to leave, until a shot of Daniela comes up. Cassie tries to get close to Chris, but he just stares at the screen. She notices that there’s something funny about Daniela, only to have Chris retort that there’s nothing funny about her.
Flashback to the present: John wants to set one part of the record straight. He never touched that. Scotty laughs and tells John that he can’t have it both ways. It is Chris’ turn to be investigated by Lilly. He claims that he didn’t lie that time. Oh yeah? You weren’t with Daniela for two weeks. You were with her for a lot longer. And then you found out the truth. Chris maintains that he didn’t kill her. Lilly’s theory is that Cassie was figuring things out with Daniela, maybe everybody else was too, so putting a bullet in Daniela’s head would be the only way out for Chris. Chris looks at Lilly and says that it happens once, you only get one chance, you don’t walk away when that happens. When what happens? When you find the one you’ve been looking for all along. He tells Lilly that it didn’t matter to him, what Daniela was, she was his chance.
Flashback to the rooftop: Daniela is showing Chris some dance moves while the radio is playing. Chris tries, but only manages to fall flat on his back. A different song comes up on the radio, and Daniela shyly tells him that she loves that song. Chris pulls Daniela into a slow dance and the two sway back and forth to the music. He pulls closer for a kiss, and Daniela shyly steps away. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do after the prom? Are you going to come with me? Yes. Chris pulls her closer, but Daniela pulls away once again. If she doesn’t want to do anything, that’s fine with Chris, it’s cool. But it’s not that. Daniela replies that Chris doesn’t see her. She wants the whole world to see her for who she really is. Chris insists that he really sees Daniela for who she really is.
Flashback to the present: Chris blames himself for being such a dumb kid. Like taking Daniela to the prom would have changed anything: she didn’t even come. Why not? But Chris clams up and doesn’t say anything else. Lilly, Scotty, Vera and Stillman and mulling over the details of the case. John said that their prom night was May 12, around the same time that Daniela disappeared. Stillman thinks that something probably happened that night. Lilly and Scotty head out to find the girl, Cassie, who was so determined at being Chris’ ”prom squeeze”. At a restaurant, Cassie claims that she barely remembers the night of her prom and who Chris brought. In fact, she barely remembers Chris at all. Well that’s funny, ’cause Chris remembers you and is wondering where you ended up. I got pregnant, that’s where. Lilly flashes Chris’ picture in front of Cassie. He IS a good looking guy, any girl would have been head over heels for him. But Cassie smirks and replies that Chris barely knew she was alive. It would’ve changed her life if he had brought her to prom, but he didn’t. Lilly flashes the picture of Daniela and asks if Cassie remembers her. Chris was going to bring her to prom. Cassie laughs half heartedly. So that’s who Chris meant, when he showed up at the prom like that. Like what? All beat up.
Flashback: The prom is in full swing, all the kids dancing to YMCA. Cassie and John are dancing together when Chris enters and sits at a table by himself. Cassie happily sits down next to him, only to notice his black eye. ”He hit you again, didn’t he?” ”Her as well.” ”Who? Your date?” Cassie tries to offer him a comforting shoulder, but Chris ignores her. The only thing that Chris does is repeat the lines ”he made her go away; he made her go away forever.” Flashback to Present Scotty wants to know who Chris was talking about. Cassie tells him that it was the one person that Chris could never face up to. His pops. Lilly and Scotty are interrogating Chris’ father. They understand now why Chris has not spoken to him in over 25 years. He just wanted what was best for Chris, that was all. And that included killing a girl? Chris’ father replies that he never touched...Daniela. Ah, so you knew what she was? No, not at first. Just didn’t want Chris hanging out with runaways, so I gave her a piece of my mind. The night of the dance, Chris’ father followed Chris...to a part of town that he should have never set foot in.
Flashback: Chris is putting a rose corsage on Daniela’s wrist when the door bursts open and his father enters the room, demanding to know what he is doing. He thought he made it clear for Chris to stay away from her, and punches his son in the face. Daniela cries out in her man voice as she grabs Chris’ father and begins to punch him. He pushes Daniela back and stares at her in surprise, realizing the truth that she is actually a guy. He demands to know if Chris has turned into a faggot, and Daniela demands for Chris to tell his father the truth. I’m asking you for the last time son, what did you do with that thing? Faced with his father, Chris buckles and tells his father that nothing happened. Chris’ father seems satisfied with that explanation, while Daniela is heartbroken. He tells Daniela to stay away from him and his son and proceeds to drag Chris out of the apartment. Daniela calls out for them to wait, and she takes off the corsage and hurls it to the ground where it shatters into pieces. She tells Chris’ father to ”take your trash out of here.” Chris sadly picks up the corsage before letting his father drag him out.
Flashback to Present: Chris’ father said that Chris went to the prom that night ”like a normal boy”. End of her, end of story. Not quite. Lilly has picked up on the fact that Chris gave Daniela a rose corsage. Yes, but he took it back. As Chris exits his apartment, Lilly and Scotty show up, saying that they know about the corsage and the fact that Daniela made Chris take it back. So then, why did the petals end up with Daniela’s bloody clothes? Unless, Scotty theorizes, that Chris went back. All Daniela had wanted was for the world to see her as a girl like Chris did, until his pops showed up. Then Chris was ashamed of what Daniela was, so he hid her things so that nobody would know where she was and then tossed her away like a piece of trash. Scotty demands to know where Chris hid Daniela, but Chris refuses to talk. Lilly reminds Chris of what he said about Daniela being his only chance, and that you don’t walk away from that because maybe it is the only one you get. Lilly tells Chris that she knows his father made him walk away from that, and she’s asking him not to walk away again. On the verge of tears, Chris tells Lilly that he already did walk away.
Flashback: Back at prom night, a frustrated Cassie goes back to dance with John. As the song changes to a slow one, she purposely wraps her arms around John, giving Chris the evil eye the whole time. As Chris pulls the broken corsage out from his pocket, he experiences a series of flashbacks showing him slow dancing with Daniela on the rooftop. Chris makes up his mind and rushes out of the gym and runs like a madman to Daniela’s apartment, screaming her name. Just before he reaches the door, a gunshot is heard, stopping him for a split second. He rushes into her apartment to find her body on the bed, her hand holding a gun. He spreads the rose petals over her lifeless body and takes her hand, saying to her that he came back for her. He came back.
Flashback to Present: Chris, Lilly and Scotty watch as Daniela’s body is being dug up from her grave beside a river. A prostitute is walking down the street and runs into Marquette handing out cards. She takes it and considers it for a second before walking away. John drives by and looks at the prostitutes that are winking at him. He thinks for a second before driving away. Mrs. Castillo flips through a scrapbook containing pictures of a young Edwin/Daniela. She kisses a picture of Daniela before putting it into the scrapbook. Chris is standing at the rooftop. Suddenly in the circle of hanging laundry, he ”sees” a smiling Daniela in her white prom dress. He happily goes up to her and the two start dancing. The viewer ”sees” the young Chris and Daniela slow dancing away on the rooftop. Lilly carries a picture of Daniela and the bag of rose petals and places them in the Jane Doe box. She puts the closed case file on the shelf, crosses out the name of Jane Doe and writes Daniela.
- 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
- Robert Catrini as Pops (1979)
- Julanne Chidi Hill as Marquette (1979/2004)
- Brian Cousins as John (2004)
- Nicholas D'Agosto as Chris (1979)
- Fritz Greve as Chris (2004)
- Cody McMains as John (1979)
- Katie Rich as Cassie (2004)
- Onahoua Rodriguez as Daniela
- Christopher Allen Nelson as Lester Hughes (1979)
- Terrence Evans as Lester Hughes (2004)
- Ryan Templeton as Cassie (1979)
- Nina Hodoruk as Kaitlyn
- Yomi Perry as Esther Castillo
- Charles Kahlenberg as Pops (2004)
- Donna Summer "Bad Girls"
- The Knack "My Sharona"
- Katy Pfaffl ‘Beautiful”
- Anita Ward "Ring My Bell"
- England Dan & John Ford Coley "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight"
- Cheap Trick "I Want You To Want Me"
- Van McCoy ""The Hustle
- The Village People "Y.M.C.A."
- K.C. and the Sunshine Band "Please Don't Go"
- Closing Song: Bread "Goodbye Girl"