Cold Case Wiki
Luke Cronin
Luke in 1999
Luke Cronin
Portrayed by Nick Niven
Episode Forensics
Status Deceased (1999)

Luke Cronin was an 18-year-old high school senior and champion debater who was the victim in "Forensics". His decision to take a step back from the cutthroat academics of his new school would cost him his life.


Luke was a prodigious young man who excelled in everything he touched, especially debate. After transferring to Maynerd Green from Jefferson High on scholarship, Luke began to change, causing him to lose touch with his old life and hurting everyone and everything in his path, specifically his friends and family. He also began taking drugs that were prescribed by the coach Darren Musk. Luke barely got to see his best friend Ronnie Jacks, except for two times. Once when Ronnie punched him and another when Ronnie talked him away from drug use. As Luke became consumed with his schoolwork, he started spending time away from his father, Stan Cronin, who became suicidal because of his son's absence at home.

After Luke stopped taking drugs, he decided that he would change the debate case. He decided to wing it during a tournament and lost. Luke's partner, Alyssa Lane, wrote him a threatening letter in shorthand. They talked backstage where he found out that his performance tanked her chances of going to Dartmouth. Alyssa told him to go back to his old school. Luke pro-coned it before heading home where he found his father with a gun, which he took away before dropping Stan off at a VA hospital on suicide watch. Luke left his pro-con list with his father. It was the last thing he ever gave Stan and also written in shorthand.

Luke then decided to quit debate and go back to his old school, also wanting to look after his father. When he revealed this to Darren, the coach became angry. Darren was a former debating master himself and couldn't accept that his star student would be leaving Maynard Green. In a very heated argument, Darren insulted Stan and Luke revealed he knew the coach had lied about his debate career; Darren wasn't a champion, he had and still has a huge ego that ruined his chances which he wrongfully blamed on his partner. Darren lost it and shot Luke to death with Stan's gun.

Darren manipulated the crime scene to make it look like Luke committed suicide by planting the murder weapon, along with pills and alcohol, in the dead boy’s hands. Luke became a bit of a romantic legend in Maynerd; the boy genius who won every debating tournament he participated in, then killed himself when he lost.

Luke's suicide was reopened in 2009 when another student, Keith Oats, discovered Alyssa's note in Luke's possessions. Alyssa decoding the pro-con list led to Darren's arrest. In the epilogue, Stan imagines seeing Luke coming home.