Pin Up Girl
Pin Up Girl.JPG

Season : 6
Episode: 9
Directed by: Chris Fisher
Written by: Gavin Harris
Production Number:
Airdate: 23 November 2008
Date of Crime: July 4, 1953
Previous: Triple Threat
Next: Street Money

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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.


Rita Marie Flynn was a pin up girl in 1953, with Arthur "Zip" Fellig as her photographer and boyfriend. In the opening, she and Arthur are at a photo shoot. Monty Moran, her boss is promoting their magazine on the phone. Betty Sue Baker, her best friend and Monty's assistant reads fan mail for Rita during her photoshoot with Zip. 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 a couch, having been shot in the chest, and a detective putting her 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 on the phone 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. He 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 her best friend, Betty Sue Baker. Lieutenant Stillman adds 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 continues with it looked like an attempted sexual assault. There was no blood or semen, but her clothing was torn. It is 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, kicks him out and comes back without knocking. There was an unregistered Webley .38 found outside near the building and matched the bullet taken from Rita. Vera walks in with magazines that Rita was on the cover with. Miller teases and asks if the magazines are dog-eared. Vera retorts they’re “research”. They continue to look through the magazines and joke about the themes. Zip was the boyfriend and last to see Rita; Rush says she will track him down.  

Valens goes to 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, that 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 are interviewing 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. Zip says Rita was faithful in front of and behind the camera. Flashback to 1953, we see Rita signing a contract with Monty. Rita and Betty gush about a banker that Betty likes. A fan asks for Rita’s autograph and she kisses a napkin for him. Rita’s favorite song, Istanbul, comes on and Rita then sings and dances with Zip to the song.  

Present day, Zip tells detectives Rita was the love of his life. Detectives think with all the male attention, Zip could have been jealous, but Zip brushes off the idea. 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. Monty is the one who made Rita famous, garnering the attention of the male population. Jeffries inquires if Monty owned a gun, but he did not. Monty’s statement was never taken after the murder. Monty believed Rita was killed by a pervert. Monty has no idea who Stanley Nopell is. Monty tells 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 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. Present day, Monty tells detectives his name was Beanie Emerson, the president of Rita’s fan club. Beanie 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 was 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.  

They go into the other interrogation to talk to Beanie, now called Ben. Miller wonders if it was Beanie who snuck into Rita’s apartment the night she died. Valens and Miller don’t believe him, but Beanie 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. Beanie offers up someone else that Rita had to be fearful of. Flashback to 1953, Beanie is following Rita as she enters a 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 Rita sees Betty. Betty is mortified and runs off stage with Rita hot on her heels. Rita came to show Betty something and Betty tells Rita she lied to her dad that she was waiting tables. Rita offers to lend Betty money, if that’s what she needs. Betty angrily tells Rita 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 would tell Blue Eyes what she’s doing. Betty, angry, 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 about Rita. Rush brings up the club, The Red Curtain, to Betty. Betty is ashamed and tells her it was a long time ago. Betty’s father was an alcoholic who needed Betty’s help. Betty denies having anything to do with Rita’s death. Betty and Rita end up making up after their fight at the club. Flashback to 1953, Rita and Betty are apologizing to each other about their fight. Rita then shows Betty the surprise she originally wanted to show her. Rita shows Betty the photographs, including the one of her. Rita takes a picture at the club and her subject, a man reacts in anger and attempts to attack Rita. Present day, Betty says the man’s name was Reg Donaldson, a World War II veteran. According to Betty, Reg had quite the temper and she saw him pull a gun out once. Betty kept her mouth shut because she was working as a dancer. Rush leaves her card with Betty. Valens and Rafferty are looking at crime scene photos. Sparks are noticed between Valens and Rafferty as she 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 says Stanley Nopell again and writes Constantinople on the white board. She erases some of the letters and shows Stan Nople and comes to the conclusion that Rita was Stanley Nopell and picked that after her favorite song. Rita makes 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 Reg’s marriage. Reg’s marriage was already broken and he overreacted with Rita. After the war, he had many issues. Rita apologized Reg and asked if he could take her around a neighborhood to take pictures. Rita pulled Reg 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. Reg said Rita was considering quitting modeling. Valens follows up with Rafferty and asks if Rita could have developed it somewhere or on her own. Rafferty replies that home dark rooms were very common. Valens, lacking conversation, asks about the photos hanging up. Rafferty explains she likes the photo, she always sees something new. Valens and Rafferty come up with their own explanations for the people in the photograph. Rafferty confronts Valens, telling him quick follow ups are phone calls, but he came in person. Valens asks Rafferty out and Rafferty accepts. The gun found nearby was registered to Philip Moran in London, Monty’s uncle. Philip Moran 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 the gun was stolen before she 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 tells Monty she doesn’t want to model anymore, but she wants to be a photographer. Monty tells Rita she could be a photo journalist taking serious pictures. Monty reminds her of her contract as a model and not as a photographer. Monty offers to publish the photos. If Monty can’t have her 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. Monty 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 Zip 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. Zip brushed off the idea of Rita quitting modeling and being a photographer. Zip struggled in photography after Rita died. Valens stating that Zip was a hack and Rita outgrew him. 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 tells her the photos are ugly and tells her she should stick to modeling. Rita is hurt by Zip's response and envisions them both being photographers and making it big. Zip says he’s the photographer, Rita is the pin up girl. Zip offends Rita by telling her photo journalism takes brains, dedication, and not behaving like a tramp in bars. Rita breaks up with Zip and leaves the studio. Present day, Zip knew that Rita was better than him, but couldn’t admit it. Zip 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 her 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 in the photo, placing her at Rita’s apartment. Vera and Rush lie, saying Betty’s fingerprints match the gun. Betty had copies of all Monty’s keys being his assistant. Vera says the nightclub was a dangerous place and Betty took the gun for protection. Betty remembers the gun and it at Rita’s apartment.  

Betty went to Rita’s apartment after her terrible date to feel better and have drinks. Betty was envious of Rita. Betty was stuck, taking care of an alcoholic father, while everything was easy for Rita. Flashback to 1953, Betty opens Rita’s door and breaks through the chain shouting for Rita. Rita asks what’s wrong and tells her she doesn’t look so good. Betty yanks the photo out of Rita’s hands, the photo Rita took of herself. Rita informs Betty that Monty wants to publish her photos. Betty with disdain, throws the photo on the table. Betty wants another drink, but Rita tells her she’s had enough. Betty smacks her away with anger. Betty tells Rita about the night, pulling a photo of Rita out of her purse. Her date wanted Rita’s autograph. Blue Eyes only asked Betty out to get to Rita. Rita doesn’t want to believe that and feels sorrow for Betty’s crappy date. Betty begins to cry, showing her envy of Rita. Betty yells at Rita she should go make Blue Eyes happy, but more importantly she makes everyone happy. Rita goes to console Betty, but she shoves her back, ripping her shirt and pulls the gun from her purse. Betty yells at Rita to sign the photo for Blue Eyes. Rita tries to get Betty to put the gun away, but Betty shoots her in the chest. Rita falls back onto the couch and dies. 

Present day, Betty is arrested and having her mugshot taken. Zip is taking photos of girls and smiles at the picture of Rita he has hanging up. Jeffries gives Stillman a portrait of Sofia Loren. Vera is looking at a magazine before putting it in Rita’s box. Rafferty is at the batting cages with Valens on their date. Monty develops the photos that Rita took and sees Rita 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 victim's manager sees her in a darkroom as he develops one of her prints.
  • The song "Best Friends" by Michael A. Levine was also featured in this episode when Rita is photographing the neighbourhood with Reg.
  • Sophia Loren, an Italian film actress and pin up girl is mentioned.


  • 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?"

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