Start Up
Cold Case S03E07 Start Up.jpg

Season : 3
Episode: 7
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.
Written by: Karin Lewicki
Production Number:
Airdate: November 13, 2005
Date of Crime: May 7, 1999
Previous: Saving Patrick Bubley
Next: Honor

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Lilly re-opens the 1999 case of a young, healthy woman who died of a heart attack. In the late 1990s, she was briefly an Internet millionaire, but due to bad business decisions, her company eventually went to bust.


December 6, 1998. An office of a computer company is in celebration after watching their shares rise. One of the co-owners, Scott, is ecstatic but Amy is more withdrawn. After assuring her partner that she’s happy about the rise in their company’s stocks, she can’t help but look at the picture of a little boy on her desk. Out on the lake of a rowing club lies the body of Amy. A detective writes up a report and types Amy Lind’s file as ”sudden death."

Present Day. A mother and her young son are in the station after he recovered death threats about an Amy Lind on the hard drive of a laptop that had been donated to his school. The boy had thought it was a prank, until he looked up the name. Amy Lind was an actual person who is actually dead. Reading over the entries, Scotty and Vera come across mentions of the writer wanting to stop Amy’s ”ghasty” heart with poison. Vera says, to die of a heart attack at 24 years old. The boy and the mother leave the laptop behind. They want to find out who wanted to hurt Amy that much.

Scotty meets up with Anna Mayes, his former boss. She tells Scotty they caught a guy that morning throwing a girl into the river at the exact same spot as Elisa, Scotty's girlfriend who every believed committed suicide. He asked if they thought it might be a serial thing and Anna thought Scotty would want a shot at the guy, Dante. Down at the station Lilly, Stillman and Vera are discussing the case. Amy Lind died two days after the last entry in the diary. They couldn’t identify the writer, but they do know that the computer came from an internet company, Lionstaff. It was the start-up company that Amy co-founded with her Wharton School of Business partner, Scott Sawyer. Her death from heart failure was not questioned because it was looked at as stress-induced: by the end their company was losing $200,000 a day. Standard autopsy found no drugs in her system though it didn’t test for poison. They’ll have to get permission from her family to have the body exhumed for another autopsy. Jeffries and Vera pay a visit to Alora, Amy’s sister, who readily gives them permission. After Amy and Scott got the money to start up their company she rarely saw her sister: Amy would work late every night, go rowing every morning. If Alora ever saw her, it was because Amy was asleep on the couch, couch crashing as Amy called it. They seemed like the perfect business partners: as Amy once said, Scott had all the flash and Amy knew how to close a deal. Alora was there when the two of them first got funded.

Flashback In Alora’s garage/office, Amy and Scott are meeting with a potential funder. He’s skeptical until Amy puts out a situation: his child is having a seizure at 3 am, speaking jibberish, and he has no idea how to help him. If he goes online, he’ll be able to find Lionstaff, type in symptoms and get info on how to help the child in a matter of seconds. Amy knows that desperate people will pay. Finally convinced, Coleman gives them $1 million to start up their company.

Back to Present They rented an office, but Amy was still sleeping on her sister's couch. Alora explains to Vera and Jeffries why Amy wanted the company so bad. They had a brother, Gage, who died before he was 10. The situation pitched to Coleman was an experience Amy dealt with herself. Lilly and Scotty visit Scott, who admits that it was a wild ride he went on, but he couldn’t have taken it without Amy. If Scotty and Lilly are asking if Amy had enemies, she did: employees.

Flashback As the new office is being set up, an employee, Malvinder, approaches Scott and Amy. He wants to be made a partner of the company since he’s building their system. Amy agrees his work has been creative, but no, she and Scott started this company, it’s theirs. They appreciate his work, that’s why he’s getting a big salary. Angered, Malvinder leaves, calling Amy a ”ghasty idiot woman."

Back to Present Scott admits he leaned on Amy for the good cop/bad cop stint. ”Ghasty” was Hindi for whore. Malvinder insists that everyone in his office picked up on his swear words. That whole time was hard for him: he was new to the country, didn’t have any friends, trying to send money home. His behavior was not graceful. But he would have never commit murder. He was just lucky not to get caught between her and Scott: He says they were friends at first, but the moment the money started coming in: war.

Flashback As Scott strolls into the office Amy asks him what he’s thinking, buying a new Ferrari. With Scott’s spending habits, they can’t afford any setbacks. Scott is confident that they won’t have any setbacks because he has a great idea: a Super Bowl ad: $1.5 million for a 30-second ad and the deal has already been signed.

Back to Present In the end the Super Bowl ad was a flop. They got a lot of hits as a result from it, but zero business. They were $3 million in the hole. That’s when the business took a deep slide and Scott and Amy stopped talking to each other.

Jeffries appears at lunch with news from the medical examiner: Amy’s body had eight times the normal level of potassium chloride. It’s not normally a poison but a high enough dose will induce a heart attack. Potassium chloride will dissolve in water and kick in within half an hour. So the doer had to be someone close to her. Lilly and Jeffries re-interview Alora. It seems she's a suspect because Alora is a chemistry teacher. She insists she would never hurt Amy, she was proud of her. Her sister was all she had left after Gage's death. She has no idea who would want to go down to the river at 6:30 in the morning and poison Amy. She always rowed alone: the river was her place. Amy was driven and focused and that wasn’t really attractive to a lot of guys. Scott on the other hand has a theory that Amy died of a broken heart, she never got over Gage. He was her partner and wouldn’t have profited from hurting her. Ultimately they had one thing in common: the wolf at their door, Coleman. After the Super Bowl ad bust Coleman rained fire on both their heads.

Flashback Scott and Amy show up in the parking lot with Coleman close behind them. He is outraged and demands whose decision was it to do the Super Bowl ad, taking a golf club and smashing the window of Scott’s Ferrari. Amy insists that it was a joint decision. Coleman warns the two of them, if another fiasco happens, he’ll do worse than this.

Back to Present Scott says he was psycho-mad. Stillman knocks on the door of the interrogation and tells Vera they have news. Lilly and Stillman have been checking up on Coleman’s background. In 1994 his rich wife died of a heart attack. Coleman has kidney issues, which is managed by taking potassium chloride in a steady daily dose.

Scotty and Mayes interrogate Dante. He insists that he had to throw the girl off the bridge: some girls just have to go, girls with long hair and who are wrong in the head. Scotty shows her a picture of Elisa and asks Dante if she had to go too. Dante agrees that was the girl and goes on to describe how she wasn’t right in the head: her car had broken down, her boyfriend wasn’t picking up the phone, and she was making her way across town to see him when she had met Dante. Finally he breaks down and says he loved Angela with all his heart, and yet she didn’t love him back. Scotty realizes there were no other girls: Elisa lived six blocks away from him. She never drove, never had a license.

Lilly and Jeffries visit Coleman at his office. He was mad at Amy for the fiasco because he knew she should have known better. He went as far as to tell her again, calmer, right here in this office.

Flashback Coleman welcomes Amy into his office. He apologizes for the parking lot incident and she apologizes for the Super Bowl ad. Coleman knows the ads weren’t her idea and he has great hopes that Lionstaff can succeed, but he knows that can never happen with Scott around. He sees that Amy is a rescuer, first her brother and now Scott. He warns her that when push comes to shove, she has to save herself. But Amy refuses to cut off Scott and leaves the office in a huff.

Back to Present While Coleman and Vera continue to talk, Lilly realizes that Coleman’s secretary, Geraldine, may hold the answer to some of her questions. Geraldine insists that Amy didn’t present herself as one to be liked by anyone. She was typical of the girls these days: hard, aggressive and mannish. Coleman always tried to look for the good in people; she just tried to look after him. Besides, Amy was too busy carrying on with a married man, that Indian. Malvinder insists that their love was just the one way kind. He had an arranged marriage and home was an awkward place. The more time he spent with Amy, the more he fell in love with her. And was hard to keep to himself.

Flashback Malvinder approaches Amy at her desk. She’s worried because someone is shorting their stock, betting against them. If it’s anyone in the office, she swears she will take action and contact the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Malvinder has a gift for her, a book. The main character is a girl that is obliged to marry, move far away from home, but she is brave and works very hard, reminding him of Amy. Malvinder always points out the fact that he is lonely and far away from home, and unable to hold back, blurts out ”I love you”.

Back to Present Malvinder admits his wife wrote the diary about Amy on the laptop that he took to and from work. But he knows his wife couldn’t have been any threat to Amy. The morning she died, Malvinder and his wife were in India. When Malvinder found out what his wife had done, they sat down and talked. And after four months of marriage, they finally met.

That night Stillman sees Scotty outside the headquarters reading over Elisa’s letter. He tells Scotty that he should lay this whole thing to rest, because he’s probably never going to know about Elisa. Not this year, not next year, not the year after that.

Upstairs the rest of the team are going over financial records when Lilly comes across a name. H.G. Friday, a holding company with $9.8 million. Only the name attached to the company is Geraldine, Coleman’s secretary. Geraldine insists that she has nothing to do with shorting stock, nor is she a millionaire. If they don’t believe her they can talk to her accountant, Steven Franklin. Scotty and Lilly realize she has the same accountant as Coleman. They convince her not to be loyal to Coleman anymore, since he has set her up for securities fraud AND murder. Geraldine admits that Amy thought the big boys would play fair, but they didn’t.

Flashback Geraldine sees Scott rush into Coleman’s office. Amy found out about Coleman shorting the stock, only she doesn’t seem to know that Scott is in on the act too. Amy’s calling the SEC and neither one of them want to have to go to jail or declare bankruptcy. He convinces Scott the only way to save everything is to stop her.

Back to Present Geraldine admits that she kept track of Coleman’s prescriptions. She had refilled one for him just before that meeting and by the afternoon, it was gone. Scotty and Jeffries catch Scott in the midst packing and running. He breaks down and tells the two he always knew Amy was better than him. In truth, he was trapped: he couldn’t face jail, nor could he face Amy finding out. Coleman had told him the potassium chloride would work, and fast, because he had done it to his wife.

Flashback Scott meets Amy at the river to apologize for the Super Bowl ad. He asks for peace and gives her a sports drink laced with the potassium chloride, watching her take a drink. She tells him Lionstaff was a good idea but they just chose a bad partner. They’ll have to choose their partners better next time, if he still wants a next time. Scott agrees. Amy confides in him and tells him she feels she’s finally ready to move on from Gage, start having her own life and thanks him for sticking by her. Before Scott leaves, he tells her he’ll see her in the office. Amy paddles off.

Back to Present Scotty and Jeffries arrest Scott and escort him to police headquarters. Vera and a few other officers arrest Coleman at his office while Geraldine watches him being escorted away. Lilly takes the box marked closed and files away Amy’s file box. Alora goes down to the river and ”sees” Amy rowing away from her. Scotty goes down to the river spot where Elisa died and places her letter into the water, watching as it's carried away.


Main Cast

Guest Cast




  • At the end of the episode, Amy's case box is put away close to Toya Miles' and Krystal Hogan's boxes.
  • Will mentions the poems of the last year probably refering to the episode "Best Friends". However, the two episodes were aired in the same year.


  • The New Radicals "You Get What You Give"
  • Filter "Take a Picture"
  • Third Eye Blind "Semi-Charmed Life"
  • Runaway Cab "Stick"
  • Depeche Mode "It's No Good"
  • Garbage "Push It"
  • Sarah McLachlan "Sweet Surrender"
  • Closing Song: Aimee Mann "Save Me"

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