Cold Case S03E01 Family

Season : 3
Episode: 1
Directed by: Mark Pellington
Written by: Meredith Stiehm
Production Number: {{{production}}}
Airdate: 25 September 2005
Date of Crime: 11 June 1988
Previous: The Woods (Season 2)
Next: The Promise

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When a young girl is contacted by a man claiming to be her father, Det. Rush and her team reopen a 1988 case of a teenaged boy who was killed on the same night the girl was born.


June 11, 1988: A graduation party is in full swing. Jimmy runs into his teacher, Mr. Wyatt who congratulations him on holding onto a B even though he bombed his final. Jimmy walks away only to run into a girl named Angie, evades signing her yearbook only to run into his coach who jokes about the fact that he’s losing his star runner. Jimmy finds his pregnant girlfriend Quinn, who tells him it’s time. The two quickly leave the party. Late that night in the caretaker’s closet a baby lying in the trash can. A car speeds away into the night, leaving Jimmy’s bloody body on the street. Down in the vault, a detective files away Jimmy Tate’s case file.

Present Day Lily enters the elevator; clutching the newspaper saying the serial killer she shot (George from episode 2 x 23 ”The Woods”) was buried. She exits and hurriedly puts the paper into the trash. She goes to her desk only to notice a young girl staring back at her. Lily meets Stillman and Lindsay Dunlay (from child services). The young girl is Claire Tate, 17 years old. Her dad was killed back in ’88 and his pregnant girlfriend had a baby (Claire) and left her in a trash can. But yesterday Claire was approached by an older man in a white van who says he knows what happened to Jimmy. However, the guy also claims that he’s her father, and would be coming back for her.

Roll Intro

Scotty, Jeffries and Vera are walking down the street when Vera brings up the case of the parashooter. Who? Sutton, a girl who’s parashooting into homicide from Northeast of Texas. Her father was killed in the line of duty, so who’s going to say no to a fallen hero’s daughter? Vera’s investigated, and apparently Sutton is a looker and throws it around too. From what he hears, there was some type of sexual scandal involving her and her sergeant. He says he has a sixth sense about this: girl’s only trouble. Lily and Stillman are down in the vault. Jimmy Tate was 18, graduated in ’88, killed that very night. The police thought it was a hit and run by some drunken kid that never came forward. His girlfriend, Quinn Ellis gave birth and dumped the baby in a trash can. She lost custody of Claire and has been in and out of trouble ever since. She’s wasn’t a suspect though: no driver’s license or car. Partial tire impressions at the scene were labelled as a Firestone.

Lily and Scotty visit Quinn at the halfway house. She tells them that night almost sunk her: first losing Jimmy, then losing the baby. Jimmy was gone right after Claire was born. She couldn’t think of anyone else that would be Claire’s father: Jimmy was her one and only. To this day he was still the best thing that happened to her, though getting pregnant messed them up. Flashback Jimmy and Quinn are talking in Math class when Mr. Wyatt tells them it’s either ”my way or the hallway”. The two leave and Jimmy asks her what’s wrong, she’s crying. Well she’s... pregnant. She took one of those tests, came out positive. Quinn tells them that they can fix it, and Jimmy agrees. They’ll take care of it. Flashback to Present Quinn tells the two that they didn’t really ”take care of it”; time got away from them, and they had her. She realizes that it probably would have been better, leaving Claire at a hospital or a church. Vera and Jeffries go and talk to a girl named Angie. Yes, she found that baby that night. She was drunk and thought she was hearing things, but it was a real baby. She ran back and told everyone, and word got around quickly whose it was. Most people didn’t know that Quinn was pregnant, but Angie happened to be in the nurse’s office when Jimmy came in.

Flashback Angie is in one of the nurse’s rooms when Nurse Laura calls Jimmy into the other room. He explains his situation to the nurse. Quinn’s pregnant. He’s borrowed $200 and they want to take care of it, but he doesn’t know where to go. Nurse Laura tells Jimmy that it costs more like $900, they’d both need parental consent and Quinn would never be able to have kids again. She shows Jimmy some photos that horrify him. Shaken, Jimmy quickly thanks her and leaves. Flashback to Present When asked, Angie points out that Jimmy didn’t come from money. His dad abandoned him and his mom, his wife. His mother sometimes worked and neglected her son. However, he could have gotten the money from the coach of the track team: they had an extra special relationship. She can’t remember his name, but she could find it in her yearbook and call Vera, giving him a flirty smile.

Back at the station, Stillman, Lily and Scotty go over the nurse’s record. She built up quite a rap sheet back in the day, assaulting patients, breaking windows at offices, etc. Most notably was in ’87 when she ran a doctor off the road in her car... with firestone tires. Next morning Josie Sutton arrives in Stillman’s office. He tells her that she probably knows of all the rumours that are going around about Sergeant White and her, but Stillman doesn’t need to know what happened. They both agree that they don’t want trouble. Scotty enters and the two are acquainted. He tells Stillman that the track coach wasn’t at his last known address because his wife tossed him, so he’s heading to his work place now, taking Sutton along at Stillman’s request. Lily and Vera question Nurse Laura. She knows she got through to Jimmy because right after the holidays he asked for the name of an obstetrician. Lily spots Claire at the entrance and excuses herself. The guy in the van came back and asked Claire to go with him to dinner to have a father daughter talk. Lily tells her that she spoke with her mother, but Claire isn’t interested in meeting her mom. Down at the gym, Scotty and Sutton talk to Coach Johnson. He lent Jimmy the money to get the abortion, but obviously Jimmy chose to throw his life away because he gave it back. He felt he had to have a talk with Jimmy, and show him the light about Quinn.

Flashback Sitting in the bleachers during practice, Jimmy gives back the money. They’re going to have the baby and be a family. Coach Johnson hates to say it, but questions if the baby is really Jimmy’s. He’s seen her with other guys when Jimmy’s not around, doing more than talking. Maybe it’s not Jimmy’s mistake at all. Flashback to Present Coach Johnson tells Scotty that he knew Quinn made the rounds. He thinks this is relevant to Jimmy getting killed; it is possible that Quinn got so angry at having a baby and no father that she just went and mowed Jimmy down. Back at the halfway house, Quinn swears to Scotty that Jimmy was her one and only. She swears that she didn’t have multiple boyfriends just... one other guy. Flashback Quinn is sitting by the pool, having gotten out of swimming practice by saying she had her period. She thought they were going to be happy with something like this. Jimmy is... but he’s hearing things. Coach Johnson said that Jimmy’s not her only guy. She replies that Coach Johnson’s a jerk. She went to the locker room one time and he was in the office. Coach had said that he liked her, thought she was pretty and he started touching her. She just froze, and then it was over really quick. Jimmy doesn’t believe Quinn, and breaks up with her.

Flashback to Present Quinn tells Scotty that they weren’t going to raise the baby anymore. After awhile Jimmy came up with another idea: they were going to give the baby away to be adopted, by she doesn’t know by whom. That night in the stalls Jimmy just told her ”it’s all over” and went to go get him. Jimmy’s death ruined her life, so why would she kill him? Jeffries tells Lily that he’s pulled Dr. Sterling’s records, the doctor that Nurse Laura recommended. Jimmy and Quinn went to see him in March. Since they were both minors an adult had to accompany them: Jered Wyatt, the math teacher. Lindsay shows up saying that Claire’s school just called, she disappeared this afternoon. She was abducted by the guy in the white van.

The team is down at the high school asking the students questions. Scotty and Sutton show up with some news. Coach Johnson isn’t answering his phone, AND he owns a white Dodge van. Scotty and Vera spot somebody they know, Timmy Horan (from episode 2 x 17 ”Schadenfreude”). He tells the two that he saw the white van with Coach Johnson as the driver. Claire willingly got in herself. Stillman and Jeffries question Mr. Wyatt. He tells them that he helped out Jimmy and Quinn because they were nice kids. Well, to be frank, he helped them out because he was married and wanted to stay that way. Jimmy just had something over him. Flashback In his classroom, Mr. Wyatt is making out with Nurse Laura when Jimmy walks in. He chases Jimmy down and offers to cut him a deal. He knows about Quinn. Mr. Wyatt offers to help. Jimmy points out that there is something they need... this appointment. Flashback to Present Mr. Wyatt confirms that he took the two of them to the doctors’, and now they both knew each other’s secrets. It was his insurance. He doesn’t know what Nurse Laura did as her insurance policy, but she pitched a fit after Jimmy walked in on them. Lily and Scotty visit Nurse Laura at the hospital. She suggests they go and talk to Angie: she was in her office everyday to take her anti-psychotic medicine. Angie was also obsessed with Jimmy. Nurse Laura thinks she could have snapped that night, because she went off her meds for graduation.

Flashback Nurse Laura asks Angie why she came, it’s been 3 days. Angie tells her that she just graduated, so nobody can make her take her meds. Jimmy walks by only to have Angie stop him. She has something for him and doesn’t even know why he still likes Quinn. Jimmy quickly defends Quinn before running off. Angie threatens that she’ll find him. Flashback to Present Nurse Laura tells the detectives that Angie was the kind of girl that got what she wanted. She went off her medications once before and lit a cheerleader’s hair on fire at a pep rally. At the station, Stillman shows them a note that Claire wrote to her foster parents, telling them not to be worried about her, she’s with her dad. Sutton shows up. She combed though all the new car registrations from June ’88 since she figures new tire treads, new car. One of the buyers was Angie who bought a Corvette on June 10th, the day before Jimmy was killed. Angie tells Vera that the car was a grad present for Jimmy. Her parents had missed it, so out of guilt they told Angie she could buy any car she wanted. She showed that car to Jimmy, but he just kept on walking, rambling about finding Mr. Wyatt. Vera asks Angie about the possibility of her turning that Corvette onto Jimmy herself, but Angie can’t even drive stick-shift. Sutton and Jeffries interrogate Mr. Wyatt. Seems like he and his wife put in a lot of time and effort into trying to have a baby. Mr. Wyatt admits that having a baby was all he and his wife ever wanted. He had thought that the baby could save them. Sutton asks him what went wrong.

Flashback Jimmy finds Mr. Wyatt by his car. Car seat, diapers, formula, he’s thought of everything. However, Quinn’s not bringing the baby. Jimmy realizes that he can’t do it. After witnessing the birth of his child, he realizes that those two girls are all he wants. But Mr. Wyatt is desperate; they’ve already tried every other method. He gets into the car as Jimmy is walking away. Finally, he starts the car and runs over Jimmy. Flashback to Present Stillman tells Lily that they’ve found out where Claire is. They go to arrest Coach Johnson at the motel just as Scotty pulls up with Quinn. At first Claire is hostile and Quinn tearfully tells her that she messed up really bad, but she was just so sad that Jimmy didn’t want her anymore. Lily and Scotty tell Quinn that Jimmy did want her, and Mr. Wyatt was the one that hit him that night because Jimmy couldn’t bear the thought of parting with his girls. Now Claire understands what Jimmy meant by saying ”it’s all over”.

Flashback A scream echoes down the hall as Quinn gives a final push in the washroom and Claire is born. Jimmy can’t believe it; Quinn’s just done the most amazing thing. He’s ecstatic about his daughter and how small she is. He happily tells Claire that it’s all over and she starts to cry. He leaves to find Mr. Wyatt with the promise that he’ll be right back. Alone, Quinn waits for an eternity for Jimmy to come back. Finally, she wanders across the hallway into the caretaker’s closet and puts the baby into the trash bin. She tells her daughter that ”no matter what happens, your mom and dad loved you.” A final kiss and Quinn leaves.

Flashback to Present Quinn and Claire embrace in a tearful hug while Stillman escorts Coach Johnson into the cop car. Jeffries escorts Mr. Wyatt into a jail cell. Vera is escorting Angie out of the police station. Nurse Laura is sitting outside the hospital reading a romance novel. Sutton files away Jimmy’s closed case box. She looks around the vault at all the other closed cases. Quinn and Claire are sitting on the porch of the halfway house, looking at Quinn’s needlework. Lily looks back and ”sees” Jimmy smiling at his two girls finally reunited. He smiles at Lily before he disappears.


Main CastEdit

Guest CastEdit


  • The newspaper article reporting George Marks's burial mistakenly gives his age as 40. This would have made him only seven years old during the 1972 flashbacks in "The Woods".


  • Pet Shop Boys "Always On My Mind"
  • The Church "Under The Milky Way"
  • Garth "Velvet & Veil"
  • Depeche Mode "Never Let Me Down Again"
  • Howard Jones *No One Is To Blame"
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark "Secret"
  • Rick Astley "Together Forever"
  • Closing Song: Peter Gabriel "In Your Eyes"