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A newly-discovered photo shows new evidence in the 1953 murder of a popular pin-up model. As the detectives re-open her case, they learn she had a number of obsessed fans and jealous friends to deal with.


In 1953, many men and boys read magazines featuring Rita Marie Flynn as a pin up girl. In the opening, she has a photoshoot with Arthur "Zip" Fellig as her photographer and boyfriend. Monty Moran, Rita's boss, is promoting their magazine on the phone. Betty Sue Baker, her best friend and Monty's assistant, reads fan mail for Rita. After the shoot, Monty informs the trio that the magazine is going national, with Rita on the cover and Zip taking her picture. Monty pops champagne and they celebrate. Rita is overjoyed and kisses Zip before they toast. Cut scene to Rita lying dead on her couch, having been shot in the chest, and a detective putting her case box away.

Present day, Rush and Valens are leaving work and heading to the bar Jones. They are stopped by an older gentleman, Gus Medica, who had called the day before about Rita. Valens asked if Gus was family and he admits he’s just a fan. Gus shows Rush a book that was recently released with Rita’s crime scene photos. He tells them he has new information: Gus had purchased a photo in 1955 at Rita’s estate sale, the only photo of its kind. The photo happens to be taken moments prior to her death. The cops at the time chalked it up to some creep who took the photo. Rush and Valens see the photographer’s stamp on the back and decide to investigate.

Rush reads through Rita’s file. Rita was discovered by Monty in a drugstore she worked at with Betty. Lieutenant Stillman says that a neighbor heard a gunshot around 9 at night and ran up to find the chain on the door broken and Rita’s dead body. Miller adds that it looked like an attempted sexual assault. There was no blood or semen, but Rita's clothing was torn. It's mentioned that there was a Peeping Tom in the neighborhood who was never caught. Rush and Miller theorize that the photographer wanted a picture, Rita didn’t want to, she kicked him out and he came back without knocking. There was an unregistered Webley .38 found near the building and matched the bullet that killed Rita. Vera walks in with magazines featuring Rita on the cover. Miller teasingly asks if the magazines are dog-eared. Vera claims they’re “research”. They continue to look through the magazines and joke about the themes. Zip was Rita's boyfriend and the last person to see her; Rush tracks him down.  

Valens sees a lab technician, Frankie Rafferty, who brushes him off as being busy. She perks up at the mention of the pin up girl’s photo and introduces herself to Valens. Rafferty tells Valens that the photo is an original, not mass produced, and straight from a dark room. Rafferty and Valens talk about the softball game from the previous week, and Valens didn’t touch first base. Rafferty reveals the name on the back of the photo as Stanley Nopell. As he’s leaving, Valens flirts that he touched the base and Rafferty retorts that “the saddest lies are the ones we tell ourselves”.

Miller and Valens interview Zip, who is still a photographer and selling Rita’s photos. They ask if he knows Stanley Nopell; Zip didn’t know that Rita was working with other photographers as she was under contract. He says Rita was faithful in front of and behind the camera. Flashback to 1953, Rita is signing a contract with Monty at a nightclub. She and Betty gush about a banker the latter likes. A fan asks for Rita’s autograph and she kisses a napkin for him. Rita’s favorite song, Istanbul, comes on and she then sings and dances with Zip. Present day, Zip tells detectives Rita was the love of his life. The detectives think with all the male attention, Zip could have been jealous, but he brushes off the notion. Zip’s alibi was he was home the night of Rita’s murder. Valens asks if Monty knew who Nopell was and Zip informs them that Monty knew everyone.

Rush and Jeffries visit Monty. He made Rita famous, garnering her attention from the male population. Jeffries inquires if Monty owned a gun, but he did not. Monty’s statement was never taken after the murder. He believed Rita was killed by a pervert. Monty has no idea who Stanley Nopell is. He tells the detectives that there was one fan that took things too far with Rita. Flashback to 1953, Monty is on the phone talking about business. Rita and Betty are discussing Betty’s upcoming date with the banker, "Blue Eyes", while they wait for a late Zip. Rita begins to take pictures while they wait. Zip arrives and Rita goes to her dressing room to grab her lei. As she opens the door, a boy runs out with her clothing, causing her to scream. Present day, Monty tells detectives his name was Beanie Emerson, the president of Rita’s fan club. He followed them everywhere. Monty laughs off the notion of Beanie being a suspect. Monty claims back then, they assumed that type of behavior to be teenage hijinks. Rush counters that with the present day term of stalking.

Valens and Miller discuss their lack of information on Stanley Nopell—a ghost. Beanie is brought into interrogation. They open the interrogation room to find Vera looking at pin up girl magazines. Again, Vera calls it “research” and Valens grins knowingly. Valens and Miller talk to Beanie, now called Ben. Miller wonders if it was him who snuck into Rita’s apartment the night she died. Valens and Miller don’t believe Beanie's denial, but he serves up his alibi. They still don’t believe him because he was caught breaking and entering, and stalking Rita. Beanie admits to his zealous behavior and following her around all the time. He offers up someone else that Rita had to be fearful of. Flashback to 1953, Beanie is following Rita as she enters a strip club. Heads turn as Rita walks amongst the men, but she pays attention to the girl in lingerie dancing on stage. The girl turns and is revealed to be Betty. She is mortified and runs off stage with Rita hot on her heels. Rita came to show Betty something and Betty confesses she lied to her dad that she was waiting tables. Rita offers to lend Betty money, if that’s what she needs. Betty angrily says that her dad drinks away all the money she makes. Betty tells Rita that she was wrong; men do like to “see” and they are willing to pay for it. Rita inadvertently insinuates that she will tell "Blue Eyes" what Betty's doing. Betty angrily tells Rita to go to hell and storms off. Present day, Beanie thought that Rita and Betty were friends and thought Betty was ashamed.

Rush talks to Betty, who has since become a nun, about Rita. Rush brings up the club, The Red Curtain. Betty is ashamed and says it was a long time ago; her father was an alcoholic who needed her help. Betty denies having anything to do with Rita’s death. They eventually made up after their fight at the club. Flashback to 1953, Betty apologizes to Rita for her outburst. Rita then shows Betty the surprise she originally wanted to show her: photographs she took, including one of Betty. Rita believes "Ordinary life can be beautiful, too" and takes a picture of a man at the club. Her subject reacts in anger, attempting to attack Rita. Present day, Betty says the man’s name was Reg Donaldson, a World War II veteran. He had quite the temper and she saw him pull a gun out once. Betty kept her mouth shut back then because she was working as a dancer. Rush leaves her card with Betty.

Valens and Rafferty are looking at crime scene photos. Sparks fly between them as Rafferty tells Valens that the camera used to take the photo had a self timer, indicating Rita took the picture herself. Rush reveals that Reg spent time in a psych ward in England, along with the gun. Valens tells her it was a self-portrait. Rush thoughtfully says, "Stanley Nopell" and writes "Constantinople" on the white board. She erases some of the letters and shows the anagram "Stan Nople". Rush comes to the conclusion that Rita was Stanley Nopell and picked that name after her favorite song. Rita made up a man’s name to work as a photographer in a heavily male-dominated occupation. They assume that Reg wasn’t after the pin up girl, but was instead after the photographer after being caught with a stripper.  

In interrogation, Reg does own a gun, a .22. Rush points him out to be a suspect since Rita had a photo that could have broken up his marriage. However, Reg admits his marriage was already broken and he overreacted with Rita. After the war, he had many issues. Rita had apologized to Reg and asked if he could take her around a neighborhood to take pictures. She pulled him out of the darkness he had fallen into. Flashback to 1953, Reg and Rita are walking down the street together. Rita takes pictures along the way. She takes a picture of some kids and they invite her to be in the photo. Reg takes the photo of them. Present day, Rita was supposed to show Reg the photos, but never got the chance. Reg was at The Red Curtain at the time of her death. He reveals Rita was considering quitting modeling.

Valens follows up with Rafferty and asks if Rita could have developed the photo somewhere or on her own. Rafferty answers that home dark rooms were very common. Valens, lacking conversation, asks about the photos hanging up. Rafferty explains she likes the photos, she always sees something new. Valens and Rafferty come up with their own explanations for the people in the photograph. Rafferty confronts Valens, pointing out that quick follow-ups can be done with phone calls, but he came in person. Valens asks Rafferty out and she accepts.

The gun which killed Rita was registered to Philip Moran in London, Monty’s uncle. Philip had already died and could not be the doer. However, Monty could have inherited his uncle’s gun. Jeffries and Stillman interrogate an annoyed Monty. They show him the gun and tell him it was registered to his uncle. Monty claims to have forgotten about the gun, and that it was stolen before Rita died. Rita had told Monty she was going to quit modeling. Flashback to 1953, Monty enters Rita’s apartment, telling her she should lock her door. He sees her photos on the table and says they’re fantastic, not believing she took them. Rita admits to Monty she doesn’t want to model anymore, but wants to be a photographer. Monty suggests Rita could be a photo journalist taking serious pictures. He reminds her of her contract as a model, but offers to publish her photos; if Monty can’t have Rita as a pin up girl, he wants her as a photographer instead. Rita, overjoyed, hugs Monty. Present day, Monty laughs at the memory. Rita was more talented behind the camera than in front of it and Monty would make more money. He kept some of her negatives. The gun was locked up in the safe in Monty's studio and Zip had a key. Monty said they were better off without Zip, that Rita made him look good.

Vera and Valens confront Zip about Monty’s safe and that he had the key. Zip doesn’t recall any gun in the safe. He brushed off the idea of Rita quitting modeling and being a photographer, yet he struggled in photography after Rita died. Valens calls Zip a hack who Rita outgrew. Zip, irritated, tells the detectives that they were a good team and Rita ruined it. Flashback to 1953, Rita shows Zip some of her work. Zip lies that the photos are ugly and she should stick to modeling. Rita is hurt by Zip's response and envisions them both being photographers and making it big. Zip insists he’s the photographer, Rita is the pin up girl. Zip offends Rita by telling her photojournalism takes brains, dedication, and not behaving like a tramp in bars. Rita breaks up with him and leaves the studio. Present day, Zip knew that Rita was better than him, but couldn’t admit it. He was at the studio the night of Rita’s death, packing up his things. Betty was there trying on Rita’s clothes for her date. Vera asks if she had a purse with her, but Zip doesn’t recall. Instead, he offers detectives the photo he took of Betty that night.

Vera interrogates Betty with the picture Zip took. Rush tells her it’s the photo from the night of her date and Rita’s death. Vera shows Betty the photos from the crime scene. The same purse that Betty took for the date was on Rita’s coffee table, placing her at Rita’s apartment. Vera and Rush lie that Betty’s fingerprints match the gun. Betty had copies of all Monty’s keys, being his assistant. Vera notes the nightclub was a dangerous place so Betty took the gun for protection. Betty remembers the gun and left it at Rita’s apartment. She went to visit Rita after her terrible date to feel better and have drinks. Betty was envious of Rita; she was stuck working a demeaning side job to take care of her deadbeat father while everything was easy for Rita, who was living the high life. Rush gets Betty to confess by reminding her of forgiveness in her faith.

Flashback to 1953, an intoxicated Betty opens Rita’s door and breaks through the chain, shouting for her. Rita is concerned. Betty yanks the photo Rita took of herself out of her hands. Rita informs Betty that Monty wants to publish her shots. Betty reacts with disdain, throwing it on the table. She wants another drink, but Rita tells her she’s had enough. Betty smacks her away in anger and collapses on the couch. She rants about her night, pulling a photo of Rita out of her purse--"Blue Eyes" wanted Rita's autograph; he only asked Betty out to get to Rita, even laughing in her face when she thought they were on a date. Rita feels sorrow for Betty. Betty begins to cry, showing her envy of Rita's luck. Rita explains she's not just lucky, she works hard. Betty laments that the men at the club never ask for her autograph, but "other things". Rita assures Betty once again that she doesn't have to work there and can stay with her. Betty rejects her and stands up, exclaiming that Rita should go make "Blue Eyes" happy, but more importantly she makes everyone happy. Rita goes to console her, but Betty shoves her back, ripping Rita's shirt, and takes the gun out from her purse. Betty yells at Rita to sign the photo. Rita tries to get her to put the gun down. She assures her friend that things can get better, reminding Betty they were once in similar circumstances. Betty retorts that's what hurts most and shoots Rita in the chest. Rita falls back onto the couch and dies. Betty is shocked at what she did.

Present day, Betty is arrested and having her mugshot taken. Zip is taking photos of a girl and smiles at the picture of Rita he has hanging up. Jeffries gives Stillman a portrait of Sofia Loren. Vera looks at a magazine with Rita's picture before putting it in her case box. Rafferty is at the batting cages with Valens on their date. Monty develops the photos that Rita took and "sees" her smiling at him. Rush is looking at a picture of her holding her father’s hand as she stands in front of a house. 


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]



  • First appearance of Tania Raymonde as Frankie Rafferty.
  • The song "Best Friends" by Michael A. Levine was featured in this episode when Rita is photographing the neighbourhood with Reg, foreshadowing the identity of her killer.
  • Sophia Loren, an Italian film actress and pin up girl, is mentioned.


Promotional Stills[]

Episode stills from Erin Cummings' flickr site, taken by Justin Lubin.

Behind The Scenes[]


  • Guy Mitchell "Look At That Girl"
  • The Four Lads "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"
  • Ruth Brown "I'll Wait For You"
  • Michael A. Levine "Best Friends"
  • Kay Starr "Half A Photograph"
  • Nat King Cole "Somewhere Along The Way"
  • Closing Song: Nat King Cole "Can't I?"

See More Cases[]

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