Cold Case Wiki

Lillian"Lilly" Rush (born January 28, 1968) is the main character on the show. She is portrayed by Kathryn Morris

Lilly was the only female homicide detective in Philadelphia, until the later arrival of Lennie Desalle, then Josie Sutton, and finally Kat Miller. She specialized in working cold cases alongside her partner, Scotty Valens. According to Lilly, "People shouldn't be forgotten, even if they're my kind of people. Maybe, they don't have a lot of money, they don't have lawyers, but they matter."

Shortly after Lilly's change from on-the-line jobs to cold cases, her partner, Chris Lassing, transfers out because of his diabetic condition, leading to Scotty Valens being promoted to homicide and becoming Lilly's partner.

Lilly solves the most difficult cases in order to seek the truth after all these years in hopes of giving the victim's family and the victims themselves, justice. She often works long hours on these cases. Because of this, her relationship with men are relatively shaky and her family can best be described as dysfunctional.


Lilly was raised on welfare by an alcoholic mother, Ellen Rush, who often neglected her and her younger sister, Christina Rush. Her father, Paul Cooper, abandoned the family when she was six. This left Lilly to fend for herself and care for her sister. The family lived in Kensington, a rough part of Philadelphia.

At the age of ten, Lilly had been sent out late at night by her mother to buy alcohol, and a man brutally attacked and robbed her. Suffering a broken jaw, among other injuries, young Lilly was nursed by Ray Williams, whom she later almost married as a young adult, but neither could bring themselves to get off of his motorbike to go into the courthouse after having ridden to Knoxville.

As of season two, nine years had passed since her ended engagement to Patrick, a man that cheated on her with her sister, Christina, when she was a beat cop.

Later in life, Lilly confides to her boyfriend Joseph Shaw that she was once engaged to Ray, but he was not the "settling down" type.

It is Lilly's lack of trust in other men that leads her to be alone most of the time. Her lack of trust can be traced back to her childhood when her father walked out.

At the end of season seven, after rescuing her sister (Shattered), Lilly discovers that she's now an aunt to Christina's baby daughter.



Lilly has a troubled relationship with her family. Having to take care of her alcoholic mother Ellen since she was a child has lead to a very strained relationship between mother and daughter as adults. Though Lilly's childhood has left her with significant trust issues, and Ellen's behavior continues to hurt her, Lilly takes her mother in when she becomes sick, as she still loves her though she admits that she wishes she didn't. Ellen eventually dies in Lilly's home while she is at work.

Her relationship with her sister, Christina, is strained as well. Years ago, Lilly was engaged to Patrick, who then cheated on her with Christina, leading to an estrangement of the sisters. When Christina returns 9 years later to Philly, an apparent beginning to making amends is cut short when Christina reveals that she has been dating Scotty, prompting Lilly to storm out after accusing Christina of destroying everything she touches. Despite their differences in the past, Lilly still tries to protect her sister when an NYPD detective, Mark Phillips, makes a visit to her apartment with an arrest warrant for credit card fraud. When Lilly calls Christina down to the office to meet her, Christina denies these allegations. Lilly doesn't believe her and tells her that she doesn't want any more 'early morning visits from the NYPD'.

Lilly's father, Paul Cooper, left the family when she was six years old, and they didn't have any further contact except a letter to Lilly when she was 15 until 2008, when she tracks him down. When they get in touch again, their relationship is fraught with tension as Lilly blames Paul for leaving her alone with her mother, and is upset with him for keeping her a secret from his second family. After Lilly's almost drowning, they reconcile, and she eventually meets her father's family, regularly having dinner with them.


Lilly has a special relationship with her boss, John Stillman. He not only caught the man who attacked her as child, but also recruited her to homicide years later, and is a father figure for Lilly. John treats her mostly like the rest of the squad, though he is protective of her when she is in danger especially when she was held hostage by serial killer George Marks.

When Scotty Valens was first transferred to homicide, Lilly didn’t think much of him, though they quickly found their rhythm as partners and became friends. However, when Scotty began to date Lilly's sister, Christina, behind her back they had a falling out, though they eventually reconciled. They are very close, covering for each other and saving each other's lives on multiple occasions, and Scotty is the one person Lilly can always rely on and call if she needs help.

Romantic Relationships[]

Ray Williams[]

Ray is Lilly's old flame from her teenage years. They grew up together, and Ray took care of her after her attack. When Lilly was 19, they ran off together and almost married in Knoxville, though neither of them could bring themselves to get off Ray's bike. Years later, Lilly still has strong feelings for him.


When Lilly was a beat cop, she was engaged to Patrick. However, once while she was at work, he got drunk and slept with Christina, presumably resulting in the end of their relationship.

Jason Kite[]

It is Scotty who first notices that there is something going on between ADA Jason Kite and her. Soon, romantic gestures flares between her and Kite, and they date for a while, but it quickly ends in when Kite is put off by Lilly bringing her work home.

Joseph Shaw[]

A case where a social worker was murdered draws Lilly's attention more than most. She finds herself feeling a connection to the victim, Joseph Shaw. As she solves the case, she discovers that Joseph is still alive, his foster brother having been murdered and Joseph allowing the authorities and the murderers to believe it was him so as to avoid a second attempt on his life. He and Lilly form a relationship, having much in common, including their dedication to their careers and their love of cats. Lilly and Joseph are drawn apart, however, by the arrival in town of Lilly's former flame, Ray. Joseph breaks up with Lilly after finding out that she had gone to see him in the hospital after his rough lifestyle gets him beaten up. Sadly, it is at this point that Lilly had said a final good-bye to Ray. In a rare moment of total honesty, she blurts out to Joseph that she doesn't want to be alone.

Eddie Saccardo[]

Nearly two years after the end of her short-lived relationship with Joseph, Lilly meets her match in Detective Eddie Saccardo, a brash, egotistical fellow detective who works in the narcotics division. After working together on a few cases, Lilly comes to tolerate and even grow fond of Saccardo, especially after watching him use his personal history of drug abuse to get a witness to open up (although this could just be a made up lie in order to seek the truth, there is no indication that Saccardo has even admitted to being a former drug user himself), a tactic Lilly often uses with witnesses in respect to her rough childhood. The two share a common trait of drinking, even in Jones Tavern. Sadly, their relationship came to a quick end after Saccardo was summoned to go undercover, he later reappeared in Season Seven's "Jurisprudence," after secretly texting Lilly. It's there when he gives her the gun in "Chinatown," but Lilly never uses it. They ended up going out for a night of fun and dinner, that's when Saccardo gives her a bracelet. The two then head to the beach, watching the sunrise together and share a kiss. In the end, Lilly discovers the apartment that he's been using is empty, and finds a box with a diamond bracelet inside. Saccardo is still undercover at this point. We later discover during the The Last Drive In that Lilly is no longer with Saccardo.

Ryan Cavanaugh[]

Lilly meets FBI agent Ryan Cavanaugh. She initially doesn't like him, but when they investigate a murder that happened at Woodstock they grow closer and have a fling.


Lilly is a highly competent detective, deeply committed to her job and driven by a need to find out the truth and bring justice to the victims. She thinks the victims shouldn't be forgotten, keeping pictures of them at home during investigations. As first female homicide detective, she had to deal with workplace harassment though she never reported anyone, fearing it would only get worse. Lilly is a very skilled interrogator, often using her own personal experiences in order to get suspects to open up to her.

Lilly was recruited to homicide in 1999 by John Stillman and initially partnered with Ben Fulcrum, a racist and cynic detective. Appalled by his uncaring attitude to the victims, Lilly swore to herself to never become like him. Her first case was the homicide of Vaughn Bubley, though she didn't close his case until 2005.

One of Lilly's most challenging cases was that of a serial killer who stalked his victims like wild animals. One of the victim's bodies from 1985, Janet Lambert, is found by hikers in a wildlife preserve. The investigation quickly leads Lilly and the cold case squad to the grisly discovery of 8 more decapitated bodies. Soon, suspicion falls on George Marks, who gets brought into the interview room. During interrogation, he manages to get most of the team members agitated until Lilly is finally brought in to get George to confess to these gruesome murders. Instead, George hints about Lilly's dark secret to being the real reason why she became a cop. By this, he was referring to her attack as a child, which she rarely discussed.

Months later, when Lilly finally confronted George with evidence that he murdered not only the victims from their previous encounter, but his own mother as well, George forced Lilly into reliving her attack before their shootout which ended his life.

In 2007, shortly after the death of her mother Ellen Rush, Lilly interviewed a victim, Kim Jacobi, only to be ambushed by the person who had murdered Kim's family the year before. The entire homicide department was held hostage for a short time, with Detectives Scotty Valens and Kat Miller outside the building and under orders from the SWAT team not to break their perimeter. Scotty broke this order and approached Lilly's location in an observation room, where she was attempting to negotiate with the killer. Using a code word they had established that morning, Scotty shot the killer from the blind side of a two-way mirror in the interview room, but not before he shot Lilly in the chest. While undergoing surgery, Lilly apparently sees her late mother before her. She eventually recovers in time to convince John Stillman to reopen the Jack Raymes case, and credits Scotty for saving her life. She rarely discusses the shooting, not even with her mandated psychiatrist, though she suffers from nightmares afterwards.

In May of 2009, while working on the Kate Butler case, Lilly is pushed off a bridge while inside of her car by Moe Kitchener, plummeting forty feet into the river. When Kitchener is released on bail, Lilly obsesses over him, beginning to stalk and harass him. When he is killed, she consequently becomes the main suspect until the victim's father admits to killing Kitchener.

After working on a case with the FBI, agent Ryan Cavanaugh tries to recruit Lilly, but we don't exactly know if she will take the job.