A fireman's fiancé (DeLane Matthews) asks Lilly to help prove that a convicted felon, about to be paroled on an unrelated crime, is responsible for the murder of the fireman's first wife. The young mother was killed by a homemade bomb packed in a laundry-detergent box shortly before she was to testify in court against a man who exposed himself to her.
The episode opens with a flashback of May 19, 1983 at the Deemer home. Dana Deemer is putting on make-up as her husband Rob is getting dressed and talking to her about taking the stand against some pervert (Albert Miller) when there are ten other women who could do so. Dana wants him put away. Their young daughter Gwen comes into the bedroom and asks her dad if he’s going to the firehouse. He acknowledges and picks up his daughter and leaves the room.
Cut to another sequence of Dana approaching the backyard picnic table where she picks up a box of Gleen laundry detergent and it explodes into fire with glass flying all over.
Cut to the case being closed and the box being stored at the police headquarters in November 1983, only six months after the accident.
Cut to present: Stillman and Rush are walking into the office. Stillman mentions Lorraine Loomis and a job in 1983. She contacted him and is waiting for her in the office. He tells Rush he’s sending her over to talk to her. Lorraine asks if Det. Rush handles cold cases and explains it’s her fiance’s daughter Gwen who needs help and she will be arriving. She explains that this girl’s mother was murdered 20 years ago and she’s haunted by it and her father, Lorraine’s fiance, won’t talk about it too much. The daughter is obsessed about it. Gwen then arrives. A quick flashback shows her as the young Gwen. She tells Lorraine she doesn’t think coming to the police is going to do any good and Lorraine asks Rush for help. Lilly asks Gwen for information. Gwen tells Rush that her mom was killed by Albert Miller, a deranged pervert against whom she was about to testify. He exposed himself to her. One week before his trial, a bomb went off in her face. She was alive for 16 minutes after it went off and then died in their backyard. Gwen was upset because Miller never got arrested. Lilly told her that sometimes ”we don’t always get them” to which Gwen agreed. Then Lilly finished her sentence ”...the first time”.
The man was in jail now, for another charge, but was about to be paroled in three days. Lilly wanted to know how long Gwen had been tracking him. Gwen said she just turned 25 and that was how old her mother was when she died and now she realizes how young that is. Lorraine talked about Gwen’s behavior being reckless, calling Miller in jail and making threats. Lilly told Gwen she didn’t want to do that but Gwen said if no one is going to do anything about her death she would. Lilly asked for more information on what Gwen recalled that day of the accident. Gwen says she can only recall parts of what happened because she was only 5 years old.
Cut to flashback: Gwen was playing with her dolls in her bedroom and her mom came in. Her mom told her she’d be back to fix her hair. And then little Gwen heard the explosion in the backyard and was terrified. She went out to the back and saw her mother. She wished she had never seen something like that. It haunted her. Lilly said she’d talk to the parole board and see if they’d give Miller more time but Gwen had to stop with the threats. Rush runs into Jeffries and Vera in the police station talking about a case they are working on and Rush tells them she can’t help because she has a new (old) case. They tried to talk her out of following up on it right away and she refused. Next we see Rush and her partner (Lassing) in the files reviewing the case: Dana Deemer: bomb left on her backyard table in some kind of a box. She picked it up and it went off in her face. Suspect was Albert Miller, a high school teacher and chronic sexual deviant. Dana dies before her scheduled appearance to testify against him for flashing her. A case was never made against Miller because they couldn’t place him at the scene.
Rush and Lassing to to talk with Gwen's father Rob, an ex-fireman. Rob doesn’t want them to spend time on old cases when there are many new ones. But Lilly says they work old as well as new cases. He felt that his wife’s case should have been an open and shut case but felt it slipped through the cracks. Lorraine talked about the worry of Gwen and Rob agreed how she wasn’t helping matters by threatening Albert Miller. He says she never got over losing her mom. Lilly wanted to know if Rob got over her. He said he tries to look ahead not back. Lilly said she would try to see if something could be done before the parole hearing. Rob agreed that would be good because he is a dangerous man. Lilly wanted to know if Miller threatened Dana in 1983. Rob said he did but that Dana still insisted upon testifying. Lassing wanted to know if it was his fire company that responded to the scene. Rob said he had responded to 1000 fires and when he heard his own address.
Flashback: Fire trucks arrive to the house back in 1983. Little Gwen is crying for her mom saying her mom is hurt. Rob talked about sitting by her body as long as he could and then they handed him her wedding ring. Lassing wanted to know if there was an arson investigator on the scene from his company. Rob gave a name of Frank Lawson who still works at Cedar Brook.
At the police station, Vera tells Rush he has something. Jeffries tells her they located something in the databases about the pervert because they didn’t have the auto tracking data system then. From 1978-82 Miller worked his summers in the mines on a iron range in Minnesota working with explosives. Lilly and Vera talk about getting physical evidence from the scene. Vera is to go to the warehouse to see what evidence they had so they can use for the hearing. Lilly thinks it’s time to talk with Miller.
Rush and Lassing go to the prison to talk with Miller who tells them that Gwen has been calling him to say she’s going to shoot him dead on the street if he gets out. He tells them he flashed Dana like he’s flashed many ladies and never killed any of them. He said he never threatened Dana. He has Compulsive Sexual Behavior and that he is not a violent man. It’s a psychological condition that he feels should not be a criminal thing. Lassing confronts Miller that he walked naked through a women’s middle school. Miller said he had an urge that he couldn’t handle but he didn’t blow people up. Rush asked him about the explosives he worked with in Minnesota. Miller said he put fuses into dynamite and pushed a button. That was it. Lassing asked why he didn’t mention that part of his work to the detectives in 1983. Miller admitted that would have been committing suicide. Rush said that murder would be more his style. Miller claimed he was a reformed man by being in jail and training eye dogs for the blind. He felt he paid his dues. Rush asks Lassing after leaving Miller if Miller had murder in him. Her partner thought maybe he did it 20 years ago.
Rush is back at police headquarters. She is looking for original evidence and calls in someone to go to the Deemer house to check things out. Rush wants to know the oldest crime scene evidence ever stirred up. Louie says Lucy from 6000 years ago. Rush thinks fresh evidence could be found at this 20 year old crime scene. Lilly thinks a good place to look is a crawl space where it was all protected by the house. She doesn’t think anyone looked there.
Cut to the house: Louie pointed out the places where evidence could possibly be attained. Rush verified he was going to check the crawl space. Lassing tells Lilly that a Maria Sanchez is out front claiming to be the first person on the scene (a neighbor who came over and helped with Gwen at the scene) Rush and Lassing meet with Maria. Rush shows her a picture of Miller and asks if she ever saw him in the neighborhood. Maria says she should have said that she did see him. Rush says that would be lying. Maria asks how else justice could be done. Lassing asks: ”but you never did see him”. Maria says technically no. Rush asks for an account of what happened that day. Maria explained that she was letting her dog out and heard an explosion (they cut to the scene of what happened). Maria saw Dana and there was blood all over. She heard Gwen call out and rushed to her and took her in the house and as they ran she saw a phone off the hook and put it back on and ran to the front taking Gwen where the fire engines were arriving. Rush said that Maria never mentioned the telephone in 1983. Maria says she guesses they never asked. Lassing wanted to know if she was sure of hanging it up. Maria says she’s sure because she was thinking: ”what if her husband tries to call." Rush tells her partner to get the telephone records from 20 years ago.
Frank Lawson, the fire marshal shows up at the house. Lilly had called him earlier. Rush asks him what they found on the scene in 1983. He says it was an explosive device/gun powder – it wasn’t sophisticated. Louie calls out to Rush. Louie found charred cardboard the remnants of the box with the bomb which could have finger prints and bomb residue. Rob Deemer shows up and is a bit upset. He wants to know what they are looking for. Lilly tells him they are looking for remnants of the explosion. Rob seems skeptical. He mentions that Lilly contacted Frankie Lawson and Lilly wants to know if the two of them have a problem between them. Rob says he thinks Frank had a thing for his wife.
Back at the police headquarters, Vera is going through telephone records from 20 years ago. Vera claims there is no telephone number associated with Albert Miller that called the Deemer house. Lilly wants to know if he did call her why would Dana go get a package he left for her if he was threatening her? Louie enters with some evidence from the house. He puts together pieces of card board and they look at it with a magnifying glass. It spells GLEEN. They have a picture in the file of Dana standing by a cupboard with the detergent in the closet. The bomb was made at the Deemer house. They speculate if Miller still did it. How would a flasher know what kind of laundry detergent Dana used on. The bomb had to be made closer to home by someone she trusted.
Cut to the hearing for Miller. Rob, Lorraine and Gwen are there waiting outside the Miller hearing. Rush tells Gwen that she won’t be able to stop the hearing. Gwen is upset and wants to know about evidence found at the house. Lilly tells her it doesn’t support evidence against Albert. Lilly told Gwen it didn’t mean she was dropping the case, though. Miller comes out and passes Gwen and Gwen loses it. Gwen asks Lilly why she should trust Lilly because she doesn’t even know her. Lilly tells her if she did know her she’d know she was just getting started.
At the police headquarters, Vera calls over Lilly talking about the telephone logs. He has gone over three times and that there is no record of an incoming call that morning. But he has another number showing. There are nine calls to the Deemer house one month before Dana dies. The number is traced back to Frank Lawson who is an explosives expert. Lawson was only calling when Rob was at work. Vera had records of the work schedule. Lilly can’t believe there is a duty record to locate!
Cut to Lilly talking to Lawson at work. She wants to know why he transferred to another firehouse as it was a 40-minute commute. Frank says it was for a change of pace. Lilly brings up the tension she thinks is between Frank and Rob. Frank says Rob and he drifted apart after Dana’s death. Lilly brings up the 9 secret phone calls in one month while Rob is not home. Frank says the marriage was falling apart because Rob wasn’t a great husband and his mom was hard on Dana. Frank and Dana talked. She needed someone to talk to. Lilly asked Frank if he was in love with Dana.
Flashback: Dana is talking to Frank about her life. They have feelings for one another. They would talk about her wedding ring like it had a surveillance camera in it. She told him when she takes her wedding ring off it sets Rob off. Maybe, they joked, there was a tiny microphone in it.
Back in present day, Frank tells Lilly the day Dana died the only thing Rob could think about was that ring. He was running around looking for the ring. Lilly asked him if he thought Rob planted the bomb. Frank said no because the guy she was going to testify against did it. Lilly told him that was the old story. Frank told Lilly that both he and Rob were at work, although, Rob was upstairs while he was downstairs. Lilly wanted to know if there were phones upstairs. Frank said only where he was. Lilly wanted to know if he called Dana that day or left the building. Frank said he would have remembered if he did. Lilly said that Frank could have called or left. Frank said he could have but he didn’t. Lilly reminded Frank that he was an explosives expert and half in love with Dana. Frank said he did love her but why would he kill her?
Back at police headquarters, Lilly, Lassing and Stillman hash the story out about Frank and Dana: Dana’s unhappy and wants to leave Rob and Frank knows it and blows her up or Lawson’s in love with her and thinks she’s going to leave her husband and she laughs in his face. Stillman reminds them he knows about bombs. Lilly says he hangs out in her kitchen and knows what detergent she uses. Stillman reminds them to keep looking at the two guys. Lilly decides to work through the night and go back to the bank records to follow the money. Lilly find deductions in 1979, automatic deductions, payable to the court for spousal support. Rob had a prior marriage.
Lilly and Stllman visit Rob's first wife, Adrian Martin. Adrian tells them the marriage was a disaster. Rob was temperamental. She was afraid of him sometimes – he was possessive—and she left him. But Rob wouldn’t let her leave without getting the ring back. Lilly gets a phone call after their meeting with Adrian and finds out there was another wife. Rush and her partner call in the woman to headquarters. She says it was only two years but she was traumatized by him. He was possessive and controlling. Lilly wanted to know if Rob made a big deal about the wedding ring. She wanted to know how Lilly knew that. She tells them about going out one night with a male friend from high school and when she got home Rob asked her to take her wedding ring off. She wanted to know why and he told her to do it and she’d find out. She took it off and he took it downstairs and crushed the ring in a vice. So she left him. Lilly wanted to know what kind of workshop he had. She told them he made amateur rockets as it was his hobby. Jeffries interrupts Lilly that Miller is on the line; Gwen tracked him down.
Lilly meets him at the scene where his car windows have been smashed out by Gwen. She is sitting in the police car. Lilly asks him not to send her to jail. She doesn’t believe he did anything to Dana. He promises not to press charges if Lilly gets her out of his life. Lilly goes to the police car and talks to Gwen that it’s not the right track to be on to handle the situation. She tells Gwen that she doesn’t believe Albert killed her mother. Gwen disagrees. Lilly tells her that the bomb that killed her mother was in a box of GLEEN and that the person who killed her would have known what brand of detergent she used and that wouldn’t be Albert. Also someone placed a phone call to her mother that morning. Lilly asks Gwen if she was aware of that and for some reason there’s no record of that phone call and they don’t know how to explain that. Gwen is upset saying she wanted Lilly’s help getting Albert. Lilly says that there’s evidence pointing another way – to her father. Gwen says that’s crazy. Lilly tells her his hobby was making rockets – how her mom and dad fought and how he had two other wives. Gwen said it was one wife. Lilly explains that there was a wife before her mom and one wife after her mom. Gwen doesn’t feel that matters. Lilly says it reveals a pattern of her father’s behavior that wasn’t known in 1983. Gwen doesn’t understand. Lilly explains he had controlling relationships with both women and fixated with getting the wedding ring back when it was all over just like he did when he lost her mother. Gwen said his father was devastated over losing his mother. Lilly told her that her father was hunting for the wedding ring while she lay there dying and Maria, the neighbor, was holding her hand.
Gwen’s father shows up at the police car at that moment to take her home. Gwen gets out of the car and they go to his car. Lilly confronts Rob that she needs to talk to Lorraine who is in the car. Rob wants to be left alone. Lilly tells Rob she’s getting deception from him. He leaves. Lilly looks at Lorraine’s ring on her finger and asks her if the ring is new. Lorraine tells her she got it this morning.
Cut to Rush and Lassing meeting with Gwen and she tells them she was checking out her dad’s workshop and was thinking about her mother. She tells Lilly about how she saw a whole pool of blood and can’t forget it. She feels if she has to turn her father in, she’ll have to kill herself. Lilly wants to know if Gwen has evidence against him.
Flashback: She’s the five-year-old talking and she says she knows how to make a phone call with leaving no record of it. Her father knows how to wire to do that to make phone calls anywhere in the world and they do that – Gwen, her mother and father, and they laugh.
Back in present day, Gwen explains that her grandfather was a telephone repairman. She wants to know how her father could do that. Lilly asks where her father is. Gwen tells her that her father and Lorraine went to the Pocono’s – they had eloped. Lilly, Gwen and Vera go to the Pocono’s to where they are. Vera makes a comment to Rush that there isn’t enough to arrest him. Lilly says that he doesn’t have to know that. Rush and Vera sit down at their table in the restaurant and Lilly says that she hopes they haven’t taken their vows yet. She tell Lorraine to go sit with Gwen to get the details of why Rob doesn’t have much luck with marriage. Lorraine leaves.
Rob accuses Lilly of brainwashing her daughter. Lilly says she doesn’t know how to control people like her. Rob wants to know what Gwen and Lorraine are talking about. Lilly says ”rocket bombs”. Rob says Gwen doesn’t believe that. Lilly confronts him about how he makes untraceable calls. Lilly confronts him about his two other wives – Colleen and Adrian. Lilly keeps needling Rob with the information she gathered on his personality. Then Rob flies off with remarks about his wife flirting with his friends, mouthing off to his mother and insulting her to her face. Then Lilly says how it would be handy to have a guy like Albert Miller to set up.
Flashback: Rob comes out of the house with the box of GLEEN. He puts it on the table and sets it up as a bomb. Then he makes a call to his wife which is untraceable from the fire department. He tells her he got her something and it’s out on the back porch. He tells her that he’ll wait while she goes to look and he hears the explosion.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Justin Chambers as Chris Lassing
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Brett Cullen as Rob Deamer (2003)
- Jamie Anne Allman as Gwen Deamer (2003)
- Sara Arrington as Dana Deamer
- DeLane Matthews as Lorraine Loomis
- Doug Spinuzza as Louie Amante
- Jerry O'Donnell as Frank Lawson (2003)
- Nadia Axakowsky as Adrian Martin
- Marlo Bernier as Albert Miller
- Madeline Carroll as Gwen Deamer (1983)
- Bianca E. Conchas as Maria Sanchez (1983)
- Jack Galle as Frank Lawson (1983)
- Brian D. Johnson as Rob Deamer (1983)
- Dorian Lopinto as Pauline
- Julia Vera as Maria Sanchez (2003)
- This episode is the first appearance of Doug Spinuzza as Louie Amante.
- Madeline Carroll, who plays the young Gwen Deamer in this episode would later play the young Hillary Rhodes in the sixth season episode "November 22nd. She is one of the few actors to play two different roles on the show.
- When Lilly asked Louie about the oldest crime scene fresh evidence was ever discovered at, Louie responds "Lucy, six thousand years old. Someone smashed her skull in." Presumably Louie was either kidding or confusing Lucy (a 3 million year old hominid skeleton), with Ötzi the Iceman (a European mummy preserved in ice since 3300 B.C., who had suffered several wounds, including a blow to the head).