Cold Case

Season 3 Episode 9

A Perfect Day (a.k.a. The Choice)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 27, 2005 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
174 votes

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Episode Summary

A Perfect Day (a.k.a. The Choice)
When a fisherman finds evidence of a young girl's death washed up on a shore in New Jersey, Lilly re-opens the 1965 case of 4-year-old child who had a seemingly abusive mother.

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  • The Cold case gang re-investigates a case from 1965 after bones of a small child are found.

    I have always loved the entire show "Cold Case" it is actually probably one of the most realistic cop shows that was around (it shouldn't have been cancelled.) Anyways this episode (well most Cold Case episodes are actually very sad.) but this such a sad one as it is a veryreal thing that still happens these days (which is horrible.) I found the acting to be spectacular, the Cold Case cast are always so great they nail it everytime, and same goes for the guest stars, whoever casts this show needs an award. I am so glad this episode had a good ending, most episodes are a bit more bittersweet but this one to me stood out. I give this episode a 10 not only because of the things I mentioned, but also because the music was so great (like always.) I really want this show to be released to DVD, so I can review more episodes. ;)moreless
  • After finding a child's bones in the river, Lilly looks to find who the child is and how she ended up in the river.

    Wow. What a sad, sad episode. I was on the verge of tears when the mother abandoned her child in the chruch. It was sad that she believed that was the only way to help her. It was terrible to see how the people back then treated the poor mother.

    The clues just seemed a little outrageous though. It's one of those episodes where you're just like, 'it's been so long, how can these people remember these things?'. But I do enjoy when they have the older cases, it's just too unrealistic.

    The entire episode, I was just balling my eyes out. It was such a sad story. Words cannot describe how sad it was. It's definitely a must see.moreless
  • A very special and moving episode, a public service that shines a light on a horrific crime that is still far too prevalent in our society (spoilers)

    Remember FCC chairman Newton Minow's famous 1961 speech in which he referred to television as a "vast wasteland?" Well, here is Exhibit A to prove that he's not always right. What a special episode this is.

    The team investigates the death of a 4-year old girl who was killed in 1965. Using facial reconstruction software, a picture of the dead girl is created and then circulated. The team gets a break when a court reporter tells Lily that the child in the photo is her.

    As the story unfolds, we discover that Cynthia Mulvaney has been covering for her abusive police officer husband, who has been beating her and their twin girls. Eventually, Cynthia gets up the courage to flee to a woman's shelter, which back in the day was a Good Samaritan's living room.

    While at the shelter, she falls in love with the police officer that had given her the shelter's number and the two decide to run away and start a new life together. Tragically, as Cynthia returns to the family home to pick up the cat, her husband intervenes and drives to a bridge where he threatens to drop both girls into the water. Mom manages to save one daughter and leaves her in a church to protect her from him.

    The ending is most heart-warming and brings tears to the eyes. The show itself is an important one because any time we can use a medium so powerful as TV to shine a light on the evils of our society, it is good to do so. Perhaps somewhere, some abused mom sees this show and finds the courage to escape her tormentor, perhaps even faces him in court and sees that he ends up in jail.

    If one person is so saved by this show, it is worth it. I think it's also a good reminder to all of us to not turn a blind eye to the evils in our society. Very, very well done!moreless
  • Three words no one wants to hear : A dead child.

    The police find the skeleton of young girl who's been since before most of them were cops, possibly before some of them were alive. The struggle to identify the remains is where we begin, after which we make several twists and turns. A woman remembers the mother and the information leads us to believe that she has been abusive. Then once more information is uncovered we realize that it's she who was abused along with her children. As if the fact that, in those days, there was nothing illegal about that sort of behavior wasn't bad enough, we learn the husband was a cop. Without giving anything away, I have to say the only thing displeasing about the resolution of the storyline is the fact that the killer had already been dealt with. Otherwise, superior programming as always.moreless
  • The skeleton of a four-year-old girl is discovered. Her bones show signs of abuse. The team tracks down her twin sister, who is now in her forties and remembers little of her early years. The girls' father had abused his wife and daughters.moreless

    I have seen this episode twice in reruns and it brought tears to my eyes each time. This was a very touching episode. My only complaint is that after nearly forty years, the mother, who had been in hiding from her abusive husband, did not know that he had been killed about six months after she left him and changed her name. I got the impression that she remained in the general Philadelphia area. Therefore, even in the decades before the internet, she should have been able to obtain Philly newspapers either at the newsstand or the library, and since her husband was a cop, his death in the line of duty would surely have been listed. Wouldn't a woman in her situation want to know whether she was still in danger from her abusive spouse? She might not have been able to find information on her surviving daughter, but finding out whether her husband was still alive should not have been that difficult.moreless
Meredith Monroe

Meredith Monroe

Cindy (1965)

Guest Star

Charlotte Stewart

Charlotte Stewart

Cindy (2005)

Guest Star

Amy Schlagel

Amy Schlagel

Maura (1965)

Guest Star

Tracie Thoms

Tracie Thoms

Kat Miller

Recurring Role

Susan Chuang

Susan Chuang

Frannie Ching

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • When Jeffries says that back in 1965, no records were kept about child abuses, and such children would easily fall through the "cracks of the system", Scotty remarks "And we got another boy in the box." This is obviously a reference to episode 1-14: Boy in the Box, where a boy who lived in an orphanage was never reported missing.

    • Vivian Mulvany died on or shortly after August 28, 1965.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Art Balducci: There were no shelters back then. Just a few Good Samaritans who knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of a fist.

    • Lilly: What kind of family doesn't report their kid missing?
      Scotty: The kind of family that kills their kid.

    • Stillman: Some bum out fishing this morning got a bite.
      Lilly: Floater in the water?
      Stillman: A hand from the river bottom.
      Scotty: That's the way to jump start the a.m.

    • Cindy: (about her abusive husband) And you tell yourself that it was just a shove really. He didn't mean it, he loves me, so you stay.
      Nancy: We all stayed.
      Cindy: Until one day you realize the door you could've walked out a long time ago is nailed shut forever.

    • Lilly: So you ever see Cindy again?
      Nancy: (shaking her head) Usually don't after a woman goes back to her husband. Unless I pay a visit to the local cemetery.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Airdates:
      - Denmark: January 18, 2006 on TV3+

    • Music Featured in This Episode:
      - My Girl by The Temptations
      - Come With Me by Opus 1
      - I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) by The Four Tops
      - As Tears Go By by Marianne Faithfull
      - Where Was My Wedding Dress by Opus 1
      - Will You Love Me Tomorrow? by The Shirelles
      - Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds
      - Catch the Wind by Donovan

    • With this episode, Cold Case achieved its most watched episode to date (19.2 million viewers) and also the highest rated episode of the season (4.4/10 in adults 18-49).

    • In this episode, Lt. Stillman asks narcotics detective Kat Miller (guest star Tracie Thoms) to join the homicide department. By the time this episode aired, Tracie Thoms had already shot her four-episode guest star stint, although this is only the second of those episodes. The network was apparently impressed by her performance as a guest star and offered her to join the show as a series regular.


    • Detective Valens: So in 1965 you set up an Underground Railroad for abused women and children?

      The Underground Railroad was a term used of a clandestine system that helped slaves escape from the southern United States in the days before the Civil War. Abolitionists helped transport the slaves to northern states (where slavery was outlawed). When the government started hunting down escaped slaves in the north and returning them to their owners, the abolitionists responded by leading the slaves to Canada instead. Being an abolitionist required a great deal of bravery; people caught helping escaped slaves could be killed or imprisoned. Some people were involved in the Underground Railroad because they had a personal or religious opposition to slavery. Others were former slaves themselves; Harriet Tubman is a well-known example.