Lilly and the team reinvestigate the 1969 murder of Eleanor “Ellie” McCormick, a 19-year-old woman whose body was found by her boyfriend, 19-year-old Warren Cousins at his apartment the day he fled to Canada to avoid fighting in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Lilly learns Scotty and her sister Christina have been seeing each other.
At a wedding party, a young woman and man talk on the dance floor. He is in a wheelchair. The woman, Ellie McCormick, goes to the bathroom and is confronted by a man, Warren Cousins, who has been smoking pot. He can't believe she is engaged to another man at the party and she walks off. She is then shown murdered. The Cold Case team is shown arresting an adult Warren Cousins in the present day who does not seem to know Ellie is dead even though she was found in his apartment. He had fled to Canada to avoid the draft.
The team arrests Warren for Ellie's murder. He appears to not know she had died. Lilly questions Warren and he denies killing her. She was supposed to join him in Canada, but never showed up. She pursued Warren behind her boyfriend's back according to him. They meet outside the party and talk and he gives her his coat to keep warm. He says he's not going to Vietnam. He tells her it is impossible to not look at her. She returns his coat to him. He does not know how she ended up dead in his apartment.
Jeffries and Vera speak with Brian McCormick (the young man in the wheelchair) who recalls watching the draft on TV. He recalls a little Vietnamese girl causing his paralysis in the war and that it is hard to know who to trust over there. Ellie cries after the remark. Her boyfriend asks her why she is acting funny. Her brother noticed her reaction while her boyfriend did not get drafted. They don't know Warren's birthday was called during the draft.
Lilly suspects her sister is seeing someone. Christina tells her it's someone from the bar.
Scotty tells Warren his alibi checks out. Scotty asks him about Ellie's boyfriend at the time, Bud Lydecker. He recalls Ellie coming to see him at a house party where the crowd is partying. Her friend (the bride) accompanies her. Ellie and Warren kiss. A brick is thrown through the window. Her friend tells Ellie it is was "him". Warren thinks Bud threw the brick. Scotty tells Warren that Ellie cried when he got drafted.
Vera and Jeffries visit Bud. He admits to throwing the brick through the window but that was meant for the bride. Suzanne had had sex with the drummer in the bathroom during the wedding reception and was discovered by Ellie and her boyfriend. Suzanne told Ellie not to be a hypocrite. Bud then broke up with Ellie because he did not want to meet the same fate himself. He was told of the murder by his dad. Ellie was the first person he knew personally who had died.
Suzanne say Ellie was dreamy over Warren. She recalls her abusive husband confronting Ellie. He threw water in her face and said her knew about her going to see Warren at night. He calls her a whore. She stood up to him after a violent episode against Suzanne. She insists Terry could not have hurt Ellie as they had all grown up together.
Lilly and Scotty visit the abusive husband about the incident and his violence. He recalls visiting Ellie and telling her he is going to Vietnam but does not want to go to be like her brother and get dumped. He asks her to meet Warren about going to Canada. She refuses. Scotty asks how he knew where to find Ellie. He tells her from Bud.
Lilly and Scotty question Bud about their breakup. He denies killing Ellie but admits to stalking her for a week. He recalls going to the apartment and hearing a fight. He pounds the door and Ellie emerges with an injury on her head. He assumes Warren is the one causing her issue. She tells him she loves Warren despite Bud's pleas to leave him. He leaves angrily as she returns to the apartment.
Christina finally admits to Lilly that see is seeing Scotty. Lilly gets mad, telling her she ruins everything she touches. Lilly storms out of dinner, and tells Christina to move her stuff out of her apartment.
Lilly and Scotty go to see Warren. Warren tells them Brian was screaming and detoxing in the apartment after he returned from Vietnam. Ellie would not leave for Canada until Brian gets better. She tells him she can't leave Brian. Warren and Ellie say goodbye before his departure to Canada. He leaves and waits for her, but she never meets him. He assumes she chose her brother over him.
Brian is confronted about killing Ellie. Scotty and Lilly confront him about his drug problem. He admits to killing his sister but that says he was clean and off of drugs when he killed her. He recalls talking with Ellie about leaving him behind. She tells him she wants to be with Warren and there are others to keep him company. He tells her again about the story behind the grenade and his paralysis and why he was targeted. He tells her he's stuck where he is at as he lashes out and strangles her.
Brian is led out under arrest. A pic of him and Ellie shown as young people. Bud leaves an apartment. Christina waits for Scotty outside his apartment. Vera stores the case file box marked closed. Warren walks out of the precinct free and returns to the apartment he shared with Ellie and sees her ghost leave and then fade away.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Nicki Aycox as Christina Rush
- Ray Baker as Brian McCormick (2005)
- Jordana Spiro as Suzanne (1969)
- Nick Cornish as Warren Cousins (1969)
- Joshua Harto as Bud Lydecker (1969)
- Sarah Jones as Ellie McCormick
- Marilyn McIntyre as Suzanne (2005)
- Dafidd McCracken as Pat McCormick (1969)
- Bradley Snedeker as Terry Lucas (1969)
- Serena Spencer as Anne McCormick (1969)
- Sulo Williams as Drummer (1969)
- Unknown actress as Kate
- A closer look at the police report shows the information on the page is actually the dialogue from the scene, even the line "Let's have Frannie take a look at the autopsy."
- The Lovin' Spoonful "Do You Believe In Magic"
- Master Source "Secret Crush On You"
- Bob Dylan "Lay Lady Lay"
- The Zombies "Time Of The Season"
- The Doors "Touch Me"
- Five Alarm Music Library "Je Vous Aime"
- The Foundations "Build Me Up Buttercup"
- The Mamas and The Papas "California Dreamin'"
- Master Source "My Silve Sitar/Let's Take A Trip"
- Blind Faith "Can't Find My Way Home"
- Tommy James & The Shondells "Crimson And Clover"
- Closing Song: Aretha Franklin "I Say A Little Prayer"