Cold Case

Season 4 Episode 8


Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 12, 2006 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
160 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When an undelivered letter with a missing child's handwriting on it shows up, the team is prompted to re-open the case of an 8-year-old girl who disappeared in 1975.

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  • Pretty good episode but...

    It was a pretty strong episode-the storyline, the actors, etc. However, I thought some of the racism seemed exaggerated for the 70's; I thought maybe ths episode should have been set in the 50's or 60's. Then again, I wasn't around in the 70's, so I could be wrong. Anyway, my main problem with this episode was that the white racists were depicted negitavely (as they should have been) but the black racists were meant to be sympathetic. I thought that Terrell was one of the worst people in this episode, but I think we (the viewers) were supposed to like him or something. That stuff he said to his sister was just awful. When Dale (one of the white racists) said pretty much the same thing, at least he was a bit more tactful (horses and chickens don't play together) than Terrell (white people look as us and see ugliness). Anyway, despite that issue, it was pretty good.moreless
  • I reacted to this episode on several levels. First, it was interesting to see the reactions of the younger characters to the concept of \"white flight\".

    It is incomprehensible to my 15 year old son how different the times were then. He has no frame of reference for the racism that everyone took for granted in those days, and any time we have watched movies or shows depicting racism in the 60s or early 70s there are always things that I have to explain to him - attitudes and subtle actions that I only know about because I was there. There were certain unwritten rules that we all knew about, but that are very mysterious to him.

    But for me, it also brought back memories of my own 40 year friendship with a black girl that began at a time when that \"just wasn\'t done.\" We had become good friends in school, and during the summer when we wanted to stay in touch, we ended up writing to each other - usually every day! But phoning or visiting were out of the question. We didn\'t think a lot about whether it was right, it was just the way it was. This episode was pretty authentic in its depiction of the turbulence of the times - the slime sucking \"block busting\" real estate guy who only cared about making a buck off the chaos, the white parents who wanted to do the right thing by their neighbors but got caught up in the peer pressure of the neighborhood, the girls who didn\'t understand why they just couldn\'t be friends and the persecution of white kids who befriended blacks, the rage of the boy who was the victim of a violent and racist dad. I remember them all.

    Another interesting thing was the response of the black friend, who stopped trusting whites altogether. I didn\'t realize that in in \"the real world\" that relationships between blacks and whites was different from the way we experienced it in our high school, and at least one of my friends was also totally unprepared for her experiences after we graduated and had our \"consciousness raised.\" I remember how surprised I was at our 10 year reunion how my wise-cracking, easygoing friend had become very hostile and bitter towards me and all the rest of the white kids who has been her friends in school.

    A really good, thought provoking episode - one that provides a great opportunity to talk to our kids about racism, how far we have come, and how much farther we have to go.moreless
  • When a letter from a missing child is found, the team re-opens the 1975 disappearance of an 8 year old girl.

    Melanie Campbell was an innocent 8 year old girl who believed in fireflies and fairies. When a black family moves in to her all white neighborhood, she becomes friends with the young girl. Neither has no idea what damage their childhood friendship can do. Melanie is believed to be abducted from her bedroom in 1975.

    This episode was very sad because of the childlike innocence that brought to the table. They were so obvious to the hate that was going on around them. They had no clue what there friendship meant to all of the grown-ups. They just knew that they loved hanging out and wanted to be best friends forever.

    The acting was great, it was well-written, and the story was original. One of the finer episodes of Cold Case.moreless
  • so touching and strong! never stop believing!

    It is an absolutely perfect episode! i had tears in my eyes when watching this. How one would never stop believing in something. How strong friendship could be! What people could turn into when they are pushed to their limits. How racism was like in the past; and how it will always stay as an issue in future. And how small minor unimportant acts could affect one's life forever; even leading to unexpected horrible consequences! And the ending is perfect; no more deaths, but happiness and reunion.. years of friendship.

    Best friends forever! The music adds a perfect touch to this episode with its simple title "Fireflies" .. A definitely must watch episode!moreless
  • Finally! No personal lives involved!

    Like one reviewer said, I am too glad that the

    Person lived unlike others that have died as well

    As there were no personal stuff involved as sometimes the personal issues of the cops lives can get in the way of the crime. Went by to book and didn't skip no beats at all due to no personal lives involved!
Danny Pino

Danny Pino

Scotty Valens

Jeremy Ratchford

Jeremy Ratchford

Det. Nick Vera

John Finn

John Finn

Lt. John Stillman

Kathryn Morris

Kathryn Morris

Det. Lilly Rush

Thom Barry

Thom Barry

Det. Will Jeffries

Tracie Thoms

Tracie Thoms

Kat Miller (Episodes 3.13+; recurring previously)

Shannon Sturges

Shannon Sturges

Waitress/Melanie (2006)

Guest Star

Becky Meister

Becky Meister

Frances Campbell (1975)

Guest Star

Jenny O'Hara

Jenny O'Hara

Frances Campbell (2006)

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Highlight for a spoiler:

      At the end of the episode, rather than filing the case's file box as "closed," the team disposes of the box altogether, as the victim was found alive, in one of only three such episodes (the other two being "The Road" and "Ghost of My Child").

    • Highlight below for a spoiler:
      The adult Melanie went by the name Jennifer Robinson.

    • Melanie Campbell went missing on October 23, 1975.

  • QUOTES (4)

  • NOTES (5)


    • Terrell: Emmett Till learned that the hard way.

      Terrell tells her sister the story of Emmett Till, the "boy who whistled at a white girl". Emmett Till was a 14-year-old black boy who allegedly whistled at or flirted with a white female shopkeeper. As a punishment, he was later kidnapped by two white men who brutally assaulted and murdered him. His story has earlier inspired another Cold Case episode, episode 2-19: Strange Fruit.

    • Lt. Stillman: Brewerytown was lily white back then. Pierces were the first black family to move in.
      Det. Miller: That some kind of excuse?
      Lt. Stillman: Not excuse; the times.
      Det. Jeffries: A.k.a "white flight": families hightailing it to the 'burbs, terrified that their property values would tank.

      The term "white flight" is used to describe the phenomenon where white people start to desert a previously predominantly white neighborhood once people of other racial backgrounds move in. The reason is often racism combined with the financial reasons Det. Jeffries cited.

  • 9:00 pm
    Dateline NBC
  • 10:00 pm