Frank's Best
Cold Case S03E10 Franks Best.jpg

Season : 3
Episode: 10
Directed by: Michael Schultz
Written by: Andrea Newman
Production Number:
Airdate: 18 December 2005
Date of Crime: 11 December 2001
Previous: A Perfect Day
Next: 8 Years

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The team re-opens the 2001 case of a robbed and murdered deli owner when the brother of the man convicted of the crime brings forth new evidence, suggesting the man may have been wrongfully accused. Meanwhile Vera has a problem of his own when he discovers a baby abandoned out in front of the precinct.


Dec. 1, 2001. Inside of Frank’s Deli, Frank and his assistant Ricardo are helping all the regulars. Just then Frank’s son Tommy and his shaggy looking friend enter. Frank isn’t pleased but puts on a smile and tells the two ladies Tommy’s thinking ahead: taking college level computer classes even though he’s still in high school. One woman suggests Frank to get a new wife since Lydia has been dead for over a year. Tommy suggests his father go on a date, but Frank replies he’s too busy, and laughs off jokes that his dog, King, is the new wife. Late at night inside the Deli the cash register has been emptied out while Frank’s battered and bloody body lie on the ground. Inside the vault, a detective files away his closed case box.

Present Day. Lilly tells Scotty she hears a rumor that Kat Miller is coming to join their department. Leaving the courthouse, Lily and Scotty are stopped by Gabby Weiss, the public defender that worked on the Lopez case. She is here with Paulo Munoz, Ricardo’s brother. Gabby had represented Ricardo when he was convicted of murdering his boss in 2001. Paulo had come to help, but it took him 4 years to get through the post 9-11 customs. Ricardo had sent Paulo a letter stating he was scared: somebody had broken into Frank’s apartment 2 weeks before he was murdered. Scotty assures Paulo that they’ll try their best to clear Ricardo’s name.

Coming back from their coffee break, Vera and Jeffries are surprised to find a baby in a carriage outside the station. When nobody claims him, the two take the stroller inside and leave it with security at the front desk. In the vault, Lily, Stillman and Scotty go over the case file. Frank Dicenzio was found beat to death in his deli, most likely caused by a long, flat object. When Ricardo was found, he had a thousand dollars with him, which police figured was the same amount that was missing from the till. Scotty points out that Ricardo couldn’t get a bank account so keeping the cash on him was the safest thing to do, especially when he lived with six other guys in tight quarters. He would send it home to his wife and kids every month, just like Scotty’s grandfather used to do. Before Stillman leaves, he informs Lily and Scotty there is a new detective coming in today: Kat Miller from narcotics.

Ricardo tells Scotty and Lily that he came to Philadelphia because he heard there were more jobs here than in New York. But he didn’t find any work until he came across a ”Help Wanted” sign posted on Frank’s Deli window. Frank was a good boss and a good friend, he always helped Ricardo. And the break in at Frank’s apartment was more than that, it was an attack.

Flashback: Frank closes up his Deli as him and Ricardo carry bags of food back to his apartment. Frank whistles for King, but there is no reply. Before Ricardo can leave, Frank convinces him to stay for dinner; it’d be nice to have company with Tommy away at school. The two talk about their families until whining can be heard from the next room. The two men enter to find King lying on the floor, bloody and battered.

Flashback to Present: When Ricardo told the police they said it was just a dog. But Frank had thought somebody was trying to mess with him. It was never reported because nothing was broken and the door was locked. And Tommy was the only one Ricardo knew that had a key. Tommy nsists that King’s beating had nothing to do with his dad’s death.

Flashback: At the vet’s office, Frank finds himself having a nice conversation with a lady named Antonia until Tommy and Stump enter the office. Tommy offers to stay with his dad, much to Stump’s dismay. He insists ”that mutt” got what he deserved, prompting Frank to warn Stump to stay away from his family.

Flashback to Present: Tommy admits that Frank could have been right in thinking that Stump beat up King. He had given Stump a set of keys so he would have a place to hang out with his girlfriend. Even though Stump was a messed up person, Tommy is still insistent that Stump didn’t kill Frank. Back at the office, Scotty has found information on Stump: a mile long rap sheet dating back to December 2001, right after Frank’s murder. The security officer shows up at the office with the baby stroller and the news that nobody has claimed the baby. Right when Vera is calling DHS, Kat Miller shows up for her new post in homicide. Her schedule and social calendar has been cleared, minus this one event that happens every Tuesday night at 7 that she can’t miss. Fair enough.

Lily and Jeffries find Stump working at the garage. The night Frank died he and Tommy were both in that computer class, they can check the attendance records themselves. Even if Ricardo wasn’t the one that killed Frank, he brought some serious trouble to the deli.

Flashback: Hiding around the corner of the deli one night, Stump sees Frank approached by a man named Felix. Ricardo still owes him some money and he likes to keep strict rules about his business. When Frank threatens to call the cops and expose what Felix does to his clients he gets hurled into a pile of garbage. If Felix doesn’t get his money, he’ll have two people to take care of now.

Flashback to Present: Stump didn’t tell anyone else about this since Frank had been on his case all the time back then. Back at the station, Stump’s alibi has just been cleared: he and Tommy were in class the night that Frank was killed. With the help of Paulo, Scotty and Kat track down Felix who tells them Frank wasn’t a problem to him.

Flashback: Inside the apartment, Ricardo and Felix are having an argument until there is a knock at the door. It is Frank, and he is definitely not happy. He has Ricardo’s set of keys which contains the key to Frank’s apartment. Everything is looking suspicious to Frank: Ricardo took a long break the day King got beat up, he was itching to leave that night when Frank invited him over, and he was the one that always said to leave King at home because he got in the way. With no other choice, Frank fires Ricardo.

Flashback: Ricardo never said anything to Felix about the key to Frank’s apartment. But two days later Ricardo paid Felix back in full giving him no reason to hurt anyone. Back at the station, Lily opens the door of the investigation room to find Vera and the baby asleep on his shoulder. This was the only way that Vera could get the baby to go to sleep. Lindsey from child services comes in to take the child. They found the mother who apparently had to work a double shift and gave the baby to her troubled brother because the sitter cancelled. Vera is glad that Julie and him never had kids. At the jail, Ricardo admits he never told Scotty about being fired because Frank took him back the next day. Even though he has no proof, Ricardo insists that Frank loaned him the money to pay back Felix. He also knows since neither him or Frank planted the key to the apartment on the set of keys, only one other person could have. Tommy. Tommy admits that he planted the key to the apartment on Ricardo’s set of keys. He put the key there in order to protect Stump and get Ricardo fired. His dad seemed to lose all common sense after his mother died, especially in the choice of people he surrounded himself with.

Flashback: Tommy watches Frank get ready for his date. It’s been a while since he wore a suit, maybe a good sports jacket will do the trick. When Tommy hears his father is going out with the lady he met at the vet, Antonia, he becomes concerned. He believed her to be married to a big, brute guy. And she’s loud and flashy, not like his mom was. Frank agrees that nobody is going to be like his mother, she was one in a billion. Frank knows he’s been too busy since Tommy’s mother passed away and he’s sorry. Maybe the two of them can spend time together again, like they used to. Tommy agrees and tells his father to be careful.

Flashback to Present: According to Tommy, Antonia’s husband continued to stalk her after they split and they would continue to have fights in the street. He knows something bad must have happened on that date, his father was home half an hour later. He died a few days later. Antonia tells the detectives that even though Ray, her ex-husband, gave her a hard time about dating again, he was the one that had been unfaithful to her. If Ray had heard about her date with Frank, he would have loved it: it was a complete disaster.

Flashback: Frank and Antonia are all smiles as thy sit down at a restaurant. They talk about the state of their pets, kids and struggles as a single parent. Frank admits he tries, but he can’t hold together a family like his wife did. Antonia feels like she should tell him about Stump. She often sees him and Tommy playing hockey on Monday nights with Stump racing around the rink, bullying the other kids. Stump also stole money from the snack stand and beat up the kid who works there. But Frank is sure that Tommy wouldn’t have put up with it. Frank refuses to hear or believe any more and leaves.

Flashback to Present: Antonia was sure of it: every Monday night she saw Tommy and Stump out there on the ice. All the kids were scared of him. And suddenly, Stump has no alibi for the night of Frank’s murder. Stump however, still insists he had nothing to do with Frank’s murder, he was in class that night. But Scotty and Jeffries aren’t so sure, especially when the adhesive residue found on Frank matches that of hockey tape. Stump insists that his past isn’t catching up with him, but Tommy’s past is. Everybody thought Tommy was the good guy but after his mom died he developed a whole other side. Tommy was the one that beat up the kid at the snack stand and scared him into keeping his mouth shut. The night Frank died; they snuck out of class as usual. All they were going to do was have snacks and beer from the deli then play a little hockey.

Flashback: Tommy and Stump sneak into the deli and take a few cases of beer from the freezer. But before they leave, Tommy decides to eavesdrop on Frank and Ricardo’s conversation in the back room. Frank apologizes to Ricardo for everything and even offers him the hope of being partners one day. He had originally thought for Tommy to be his partner and keep this a family business, but now he’s not so sure. Ricardo assures him that Frank feels like family to him, so therefore this will be a family business. Frank confesses that he feels closer to Ricardo than to Tommy. Angered, Tommy takes all the money from the cash register and leaves.

Flashback to Present: Stump speculates that Frank probably found out that Tommy beat up the dog. After they drank the beers Tommy didn’t want to play hockey so he went home. Stump had been covering for him all this time not because he was Tommy’s friend, but because he didn’t want to end up like Frank. Tommy insists that he wasn’t angry, that he knew his father tried his best to take care of him. He knew his father loved him because in the end he got all up in Tommy’s face. Tommy was the failure.

Flashback: As Tommy enters the deli and Frank ridicules him on his stupidity: Tommy must have known he’d see the open cash register. Tommy also admits that he snuck out of class one or twice, no big deal. Frank knows this is all his fault, he’s been a bad father. And he’s going to make it up to him. He knows there are places where they help kids with Tommy’s problems, but Tommy doesn’t want to go to a school for freaks. Why does his father have to end up with everything, the deli, the dog, Ricardo, while Tommy ends up with nothing? But the moment Frank puts his foot down, Tommy grabs his hockey stick and hits his father over the head. In a fit of rage. He continues to hit his father until he is dead.

Flashback to Present: Lily escorts Tommy into a jail cell. Scotty escorts Stump out of the station. Antonia watches TV with her cat and daughter. Jeffries takes Frank’s file and changes the name from Ricardo Munoz to Tommy Dicenzio. Vera fills out a form for the adoption agency. Scotty and Stillman visit the grand opening of the deli opened by Paulo and Ricardo Munoz. As the two detectives sit down to eat, Ricardo sees Frank smiling back at him from the doorway.


Main Cast

Guest Cast



  • This episode shares similarities with the Season 7 episode Dead Heat.
    • Both victims are fathers who are killed by their respective sons.
    • Both sons feel neglected and overlooked by their father and have anger control issues.
    • Both victims have an animal who is put in mortal danger prior to their deaths.
    • Both victims appear to a friend who they worked alongside and acted as a mentor to.


  • Steve Tyrell "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
  • 3 Doors Down "Be Like That"
  • Vonda Shepard "Silver Bells”
  • Don Omar "Reggaeton Latino"
  • B.B. King "Please Come Home for Christmas"
  • Natalie Merchant "Life Is Sweet"
  • Closing Song: The Calling "Wherever You Will Go"

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