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The team re-opens the 1991 death of a talented 14-year-old female rapper who was placed into foster care with her sister.

Meanwhile, Lilly gets an unusual gift from Saccardo to help protect her from Moe.


In 1991, a woman named Alice tells her husband Kenneth not to smoke in the car since their new foster daughters, Donalyn and Meesha, are in the back seat. Kenneth tells them they have a curfew in their new house. As they drive by a street corner, Donalyn is impressed to hear a woman who is rapping by the curb. Kenneth warns Donalyn he doesn’t want to see her on the corner. Later, Donalyn’s body is wrapped in a rug and dumped in the streets.

A convict named Sticky tells Valens and Rush he would like to go to his daughter’s funeral in exchange for information about Donalyn. He explains he found Donalyn dead in the basement of his club after his birthday party. He wrapped her body in a rag, then dumped her in an alley. Sticky explains his gang, the 26 Street Villains, would have targeted him if he spoke to the cops, even about a dead girl. Rush asks him for the name of people who went to his party.

Rush and Valens examine the scene. They see dried blood on one of the pipes and wonder if it was used to kill Donalyn.

Stillman and Vera learn that Donalyn and Meesha were moved from house to house. They discover that Alice reported Donalyn missing three weeks before her body was found. The team welcomes back Miller. They confirm that the pipe found at the club was the instrument of death.

The detectives tell Alice and Kenneth about Donalyn’s death in the club. Kenneth claims he was fishing with a friend in Baltimore when Donalyn died. He thought she and her sister needed some discipline. Kenneth wasn't around much due to his job as a trucker. He explains that after Alice lost a baby, they divorced in ’92.

Alice notes Donalyn had a hard life and was distant despite her efforts to make the sisters feel welcome. Alice remembers seeing Donalyn and Meesha singing a Queen Latifah song. She suggested they should have a girls day to go shopping and get their nails done. Donalyn was hesitant to go, but agreed. After Donalyn's death, Alice eventually adopted Meesha, who is a doctor at a children's hospital now.

Miller and Vera meet with Meesha, who's surprised they're reopening her sister's case after so long, and ask her if she recognizes anyone from Sticky’s birthday party. She remembers a kid named Zen. Meesha recalls when she went to the street with Donalyn and saw Zen try to make fun of Donalyn using freestyle rap lyrics. Donalyn took the microphone and schooled Zen with clever insults. Zen became upset, grabbed Donalyn, and told her the street belongs to him and his gang, the 26 Street Villains. Meesha tells them Zen’s real name is Zeb Edwards.

Rush and Valens meet with Zeb while he takes a break as a bus driver. Zeb explains he changed and now is a family man. They ask him if he went to Sticky’s party. Zeb says that that he and Donalyn, who he called Sugar Dawn, were cool before she died. He recognized her talent and helped her with her image before introducing her to a music producer named Huxtable. After Donalyn impressed Huxtable with her lyrics, a female rapper named Big Soph got jealous of her. Zeb explains that Big Soph got a big record contract after Donalyn's death.

Valens tries to track down Kenneth’s alibi, but has trouble getting ahold of the friend he went fishing with. Miller plays the team rap lyrics that Donalyn recorded.

Rush and Stillman meet with Big Soph. They tell her they know she previously assaulted someone with a razor. Soph insists she was cool with Donalyn. The detectives point out she got her big break after she performed for a record company during Sticky’s birthday party, where Donalyn was also supposed to perform. Soph says she gave Donalyn some pointers. She remembers helping her sell her rap tapes. Huxtable pulled up, asked Donalyn for the money for her recording session, then put her in the car. Soph says that was the last time she saw Donalyn.

In his apartment, Eddie gives Rush an anniversary present. She opens it and sees it is a revolver. Rush states most men give out flowers or diamonds. Eddie explains the gun is completely untraceable. He advises she be careful since there is a scumbag out there who wants her dead. Rush declares she doesn’t need protecting. Eddie assures her the gun is there if she needs it.

Miller and Vera meet with Huxtable at his workplace, a funeral home. Huxtable claims he had to put out a tough image. He remembers telling Donalyn that she shouldn’t be out on the streets selling her tapes. He gave her a book called Go tell it to the Mountain, but she said she already read it. Huxtable told Donalyn that she has talent and is smart. He suggested she just be a kid. She asked Huxtable to pull over so she could fire Zeb. Huxtable notes when he prepared Donalyn for burial, she was unrecognizable.

Valens and Rush bring in Zeb and suggest he hurt Donalyn. He counters that after Donalyn fired him, she took him back. Before she died, he told her he got her on the radio. Zeb asked Donalyn to perform her single that everyone knew at Sticky’s party. Donalyn demanded to be able to perform a new song. Zeb told her she didn’t know anything about life. Donalyn performed a song about the pain she felt. Zeb tells the detectives Donalyn was like a sister to him. He gives the detectives names of people who were at the party.

Rush meets with Eddie at his apartment. She tells him he didn’t have to give her a gun since her problems are her own. Eddie figures Rush wants him to back off. Rush decides to dispose of the gun.

Vera informs Miller that instead of fishing, Kenneth was at a D.C. hotel with his teenage girlfriend who he met the day Donalyn died. Miller suspects that Donalyn was referring to Kenneth in her latest rap song when she talked about "the Phantom". They go to his apartment and knock on his door. Kenneth opens his door, sees that the police are there, claims he needs to unhook his security chain, and closes the door, but doesn’t reopen it. Moments later, Vera and Miller grow suspicious of Kenneth and kick down the door. They see him on the floor after he shot himself in the head.

Stillman arrives at the scene and learns that Kenneth was a pedophile.

The detectives bring in Meesha and ask her about the Phantom. They play her Donalyn's rap and hear that she didn’t want to leave her sister alone with Kenneth and Alice. Meesha remembers when Donalyn wanted to run away after Alice found her rap tape and figured it was about her home life. She argued with their foster parents before storming out.

Rush and Valens meet with Alice and ask her if she knew about Kenneth being a predator. Alice tries to defend her ex-husband, but Rush assures her that he can’t hurt her now. She admits that Kenneth followed Donalyn to the club to talk some sense into her. Alice says Kenneth told her he hit Donalyn in the head with a pipe. Rush reveals Kenneth couldn’t have been at the club because he was with his 17-year-old girlfriend in Maryland. Valens points out the only person who would have known Donalyn was killed by a pipe would be the killer. Alice confesses she didn’t want Donalyn and Meesha to leave, but she never would've let Kenneth hurt them; she actually left her husband to protect Meesha.

Alice remembers when she found Donalyn at Sticky’s club. Alice told Donalyn she couldn’t continue running away with her sister. Donalyn accused Alice of only caring about Meesha’s well-being. Alice refuted this and tried to reason with her but pushed Donalyn down when she grabbed a pipe. After Donalyn threatened to call a social worker, Alice took the pipe and whacked her on the head in panicked anger. Realizing she killed Donalyn, Alice tearfully apologized to her body.

Soph plays Donalyn's original rap song, "Read Between the Lines". Huxtable listens to the song. Zeb drives past the street corner where he first met Donalyn and sees a rap battle between some kids. Meesha sadly watches Alice being arrested for Donalyn's murder. She goes home and sees a vision of her sister and her younger self singing and dancing together. After the case, Rush hides Eddie’s gun in her fireplace.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]





  • Thom Barry does not appear in this episode.
  • Tracie Thoms returns after a three-episode absence.
  • This episode featured two original songs performed by Danièle Watts as Donalyn "Sugar Dawn" Sullivan: "Goin' Off" and "Read Between the Lines".
  • This is the fourth time an original music is used during the closing sequence after "Best Friends", "Beautiful Little Fool" and "Static".
  • Third time that the ending song is performed by a cast member. The first time was in "Beautiful Little Fool", where the closing song ("300 Flowers") was performed by Allison Miller (Violet Polley). The second was in "Wednesday's Women", where the closing song "This Little Light of Mine" was performed by Tracie Thoms.
  • Andrew Garrett's nickname "Huxtable" is a reference to the family featured on the sitcom The Cosby Show. Kadeem Hardison, who plays the older "Huxtable", was a regular on the spin-off sitcom A Different World. He also appeared in a season 1 episode of The Cosby Show.
  • This episode has at least two recycled plot points:
    • Donalyn is a black girl who was molested by her stepfather, just like Dawn Hill in "Detention".
    • Alice killed Donalyn so she could have an opportunity to be a parent, just like Jered Wyatt in "Family".


  • Earth, Wind & Fire "Singasong"
  • Schoolly D "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?"
  • Queen Latifah feat. Monie Love "Ladies First"
  • MC Lyte "Act Like You Know"
  • Queen Latifah "Bad As a Mutha"
  • Soul Hooligan "Soul Searching"
  • 'Sugar Dawn' "Goin' Off"
  • Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock "It Takes Two"
  • 'Sugar Dawn' "Read Between the Lines"

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