Cold Case

Season 3 Episode 8


Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 20, 2005 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
130 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a box filled with POW support bracelets is found in an abandoned drug den, Det. Rush re-investigates the 1972 shooting of Carl, a veteran of the Vietnam War.

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  • After discovering the bracelets of Carl, a POW soldier who was murdered in 1972 the detectives re-investigate.

    This is the story of a Vietnam veteran who was shot dead not long after returning home from the war. At first it was believed to have something to do with drugs, especially after finding the bracelets in a well known drug house. After discovering why Carl was released from the prison early, new suspects emerge.

    While this was a very slow paced episode. It really got it's point around. It was written well enough that even though everything, I felt bad for the victim.

    Carl gave in and did what his Vietnamese captors wanted (recording propaganda). To those that stuck it out and did not give in, he was a traitor. As he said he just wasn't as strong willed as they were. In some aspects he came back worse than they did (aside from those who died) because it was obvious that he could barely live with the guilt.

    This is definitely an episode worth watching. In the beginning it's a bit slow paced, but by the time you get to the end, it's definitely worth it!moreless
  • Another war story but this one with a different storyline.

    Cold Case has done war/soldier stories before & in future episodes. I like this one because it has a twist. Its about a POW named Carl who goes back home to his family, only to find out that they as well as he are not the same. Like a majority of soldiers, he struggles with PTSD & memories. Some people in the community feel like he betrayed them by getting out of the camp. The very last scene is the most powerful & very well acted. We learn about what Vietam was like from a soldiers view; Dt John (boss), Carl & another whose name I can't remember. Although it wasn't fast paced story I still liked it.moreless
  • A Vietnam vet, POW, is murdered a year after his early relase by his captors--release not because he was sick, or old, but because he gave the North Vietnamese the propaganda they wanted (broadcast throughout the POW camp)--he couldn't take it anymore.moreless

    The principle actor (Alsopp), the POW who copped out, was especially good; there was no backgroud music, only carefully chosen songs, and we learn a lot about the Vie5tam War, without ever seeing any of the fighting, or the miserable conditions in the POW camp.

    The episode is not about the lack of populareity, or the popularity, of the war, but the sense of comraderie among the vets, who all look down, to varying degrees, on Carl, because he bugged out when he had the chance, while they stuck it out in the miserabe camp. The murder is committed by the 15-year-old son of one of these, one who gave the enemy nothing, and died there. Considerable sympathy is built up for Carl, who is too ashamed of hiself enjoy his homecoming, and also the young murderer, who is imediately horrified by what he has done--although he dees ot confess (until Sillman, hiself a Vietnam vet--gets hold of him). Valens, too youg to have had to go to Vietnam, or figure out how NOT to go, is a bit shocked that Stillman treats the case a bit like the quest for the Grail.moreless
  • This made me feel really sad...

    This episode was really sad. I felt so sorry about Carl when he heard about Ken. And it was really paintful to see how his own son didn't recognize him. Ned practicaly grew up with Ken and his father was somebody unknown for him. Poor Carl...

    I felt sorry about Carl but I wasn't sorry about Ken. Who he was to pretend that he is the boy's father? And to tell these stories happened to somebody else like it happened to him? This made me a little angry. He was a total... jerk is not right word but I can't find another one in this moment.moreless
  • War brings nothing but grief

    Whilst nearly everyday we hear about the goings on in the current war zone, Iraq and the various middle east troubles rarely is a thought spared for all the veterans who suffered terribly during previous wars or their families who have to deal with the aftermath. case in point in this episdoe with carl coming back to a family that has moved on in the five years he was away, it was understandable as his wife needed comfort and his son needed a father figure but the entire tragic story, that of a conman showed how despicable people can be.

    The young man who in the end turned out to be the killer was troubled and couldn't make sense of the entire situation, without adaquate support he turned to the only person who had seen his father in recent years, putting pressure on him that Carl could not take. The ending is tragic but Carl had an air of acceptance to his fate, as if he thought the world had moved on, his wife and child were far away from him and he had his problems. Its a shame there wasn't more support that could have helped everyone involved in this tragic tale.moreless
Skyler Gisondo

Skyler Gisondo

Ned (1972)

Guest Star

Sara Van Horn

Sara Van Horn

Lady Neighbor (1972)

Guest Star

Whitney Allen

Whitney Allen

Janet (1972)

Guest Star

Tracie Thoms

Tracie Thoms

Kat Miller

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Janet: We'll dance later. When you're better. I don't want you to pretend it doesn't hurt.
      Carl: Let me pretend! My arms were broken four times. They're busted. I can't lift them. I can't dance.

    • John Stillman: Think of Carl Burton like family. That's how I want this job worked.

    • Scotty: (about Ken) Did your dad follow up with this guy?
      Daniel: Not that I heard about.
      Vera: If I spent five years in a box getting tortured while some guy is taking my wife to dinner...
      Scotty: I'd follow up.

    • Roger Raitt: (about being a POW) It made me realize any day I wake up with the doorknob on the inside of the door, it's a good day.

  • NOTES (3)


    • MIA/POW Bracelets
      The bracelets in this episode were worn to support prisoners-of-war (POWs), but they were also worn by the families and friends of service members who were Missing In Action (MIA) and whose fate was unknown. The first bracelets originated in 1969 during the Vietnam War. They were made by two female college students, Carol Bates and Kay Hunter, as a way to remember American soldiers in captivity in Southeast Asia. Support bracelets are still used to date as a way to commemorate military personnel lost or captured in the Gulf War, and war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Lt. Stillman: Do you think someone who had a nervous breakdown after four months at Fort Hood could survive five years in the Hanoi Hilton?

      Ho Lo Prison in Hanoi was where many of the American POWs were kept during the Vietnam War. It was nickamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by the prisoners. Torture and solitary confinement were common there; the nickname was ironic.