Cold Case

Season 2 Episode 11

Blank Generation

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Jan 09, 2005 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
112 votes

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Episode Summary

Blank Generation
The team re-opens the case of Matthew Adams, a teen-aged cult member who apparently committed suicide back in 1978, when his sister comes forth with new evidence about the deprogrammer her family hired to rescue her brother.

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  • Above average episode of an always-gripping series

    This intriguing case takes us back to 1978 and involves a cult, specifically the death of one of its members, Matthew by name. His sister turns up and has Lily and co. look back at the cult, its leader, its strong-arm deputy - who has switched to Christianity - and Matthew’s father, who drove him to the cult (a warning to parents here).

    As this investigation proceeds, it raises issues about the cult, amidst the sub-plot of Scotty’s personal life colliding with police work, and Lily finds the cult is still alive and kicking despite its leader being in jail. Things then really kick off as we discover who Maurice the cult leader’s real right hand on the outside is…

    Overall, an enjoyable, above-average episode of this usually-gripping series.

  • Teen blames dad for the death of his mother. Teen rebels. Teen dies. If that doesn't qualify as painful to watch, what does? Oh, and did I mention that one of the main character's fiance commits suicide?moreless

    One of the strengths of this show is how it brings closure to situations long after the world has forgotten about them. However, in this episode, they open as many wounds as they close. Valens reactions to losing his love are heartbreaking. I did think it unlikely that he would be allowed to return to work so quickly. When he returns to work, the first case he works on is a possible suicide. Would that not qualify the Philadelphia office as winner of the 2005 Insensitivity Award? Aside from this nitpick; the show balanced the story of Lily and company with the cult culture very well. However, if you are looking for an episode to leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, this is not the one.moreless
Robin Weigert

Robin Weigert

Anna Mayes

Guest Star

Bug Hall

Bug Hall

Matthew Adams

Guest Star

Polly Cole

Polly Cole

Alison Ray (1978)

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (7)

  • NOTES (3)


    • Title: Blank Generation
      The title of this episode is possibly derived from the album Blank Generation by Richard Hell & The Voidoids, released in 1977. The title song on the album has the lines "I belong to the blank generation / and I can take it or leave it each time", which is very reminiscent of the cult theme in this episode.

    • Det. Rush: They were gonna pull their own Jonestown.

      The Peoples Temple was a cult founded in 1953. In the 1970's the cult leader Jim Jones decided to form a Utopian village called Jonestown in Guyana, Southern America. Following a visit by a U.S. congressman and an ensuing shootout as several of the cult members attempted to flee the village, Jones ordered a mass suicide. On November 18, 1978 over 900 people died of drinking of soft drink laced with Valium and cyanide.

      The Jonestown mass suicide also produced the saying "drink the Kool-Aid", defined as being a blind believer or follower of a cause. However, contrary to common belief the drink used in the mass suicide was actually not Kool-Aid but a similar product called Flavor-Aid.

    • Bill Crawford: Now, or Charlie Manson here gets it!

      In the late 1960's, Charles Manson created a cult-like community called "The Family", made up of young followers who were fanatically loyal to Manson. He planned and ordered some of the community members to commit several brutal murders. On January 25, 1971 Manson was convicted for the murders and is currently serving a life sentence in Corcoran State Prison in California.