Cold Case

Season 1 Episode 14

Boy in the Box

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 15, 2004 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
144 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Boy in the Box
The 1958 death of an unknown 6-year-old boy found in a field inside a cardboard box is reinvestigated after a small suitcase with the child's picture and his old cowboy hat is left in front of a church. The new probe reveals that the rowdy boy lived at a Catholic-run orphanage and was adopted two days before his suspicious demise.moreless

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  • Another true story

    This is anotther episode which was based on a true story.

    The boy in the box coined his name when his battered and bruised body was found in an open field on February 25th 1957 in Phildelphia Pennslyvania....and to this day the murder remains unsolved, unlike on Cold Case where they always catch theit man.

    Overall, it was another great episode.

    Even though the episode's actual written plot was fictional, the same thing could have happened to the 'Real boy in the Box'.moreless
  • the truth is out there ... spoilers

    I really enjoyed watching this episode but it also made me think long and hard about the real boy in the box. I like that they based this episode on a true story although unsolved the real and fictional murder are probably different. I hope so anyway because just the thought of nuns covering up a murder is shocking to think of. I noticed that Rush is now being teased about her friendship with Kite from everyone she works with. Nice to see Scotty rubbing off on to others. She must be getting fed up of it especially when he doesn't even make an appearance in the episode.moreless
  • Eerily memorable.

    Did anyone else feel the eerie, existential emptiness that I felt after watching "Boy in a Box"? It was partly due, I think, to the constrast-y black and white flashbacks which suggest the film noir movies that were popular back then. Partly, to the haunting background music, often with hollow or muffled effects. And especially to Ricky Nelsen's ballad, "Sweeter Than You", which accompanied the final vignette.

    Even though the final vignette of each episode, when the old and departed characters make an appearance, seems to reaffirm the notion of an afterlife, this final vignette at the horse fair seemed to emphasize the irretrievable 46-year loss of that little boy. But that was one of a multitude of losses. The sister lost the biological tie she thought she had with Arnold as well as the news that she actually lost him years earlier. Adding to her poignancy was the fact (thoughtlessly pointed out to her by Scotty) of never being adopted, and, judging by the use of her maiden name, possibly never been married. Then there was the psychological scarring of the man who discovered the boy's body. And the sad fates of the two surviving playmates of Arnold's that we see: one too poor to offer the detectives anything, the other still seething over the corporal punishment he received, both sterile.

    Evidently based on a real-life case, the story threads managed to come together and produce a plausible resolution--despite a certain hasty quality in the writing. The appearance of the suitcase was never explained. No apparent effort was made to find Clayton who may have been the boy's father and who performed the electroshock. And it felt as if they threw in the dental match to prove the identity of the boy when they realized they had a hole in the plot.

    This show benefits from the guest actors: Samantha Eggar with an Irish accent (even tho she's too about a decade too young for the part), Jacqueline Scott as the snoopy nurse, Molly Cheek as Arnold's grown sister, Garrett Brown and Delaney Williams the aging friends of Arnold, and a charismatic Lyndon Smith as Arnold. And I'd love to see the two young actresses (Johanna Watts and Autumn Reeser) who played the young nuns work together again. Actually, I already have...many times...each time I rewatched this episode.

Garrett M. Brown

Garrett M. Brown

Roger (2003)

Guest Star

Lyndon Smith

Lyndon Smith

Arnold (1958)

Guest Star

Molly Cheek

Molly Cheek

Gretchen (2003)

Guest Star

Marisol Nichols

Marisol Nichols


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions