Cold Case

Season 4 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Sep 24, 2006 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
203 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

In 1995, two teenage boys went on a shooting spree at a local mall and committed suicide shortly afterwards. The team is prompted to re-open the case when new evidence suggests that there may have been a third shooter who got away.

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  • The fourth season begins with Lilly and the team reopening a 1995 case in which two teens went on a shooting rampage at a shopping mall and then committed suicide. A camcorder found hidden at the mall contains evidence of a possible third shooter.moreless

    This episode may be difficult to watch for some people, but I think it was a great way to start the new season of Cold Case. There is a lot of emotion in this episode and that's one of the things I liked about it. Another thing I liked is that the viewer gets a good look at all characters involved which gives insite into why the massacre occured. I also like that Lilly is finally getting a life outside of her job. That is a very positive change for the show. Definetly a good start for the season.moreless
  • Cold case is cheap, stupid TV. This episode more so.

    Cold Case is the worst example of a kind of TV that manages to look and feel superficially interesting but eventually proves to be dumb, simplistic and sensationalist.

    It's even worse when this kind of TV tries to be meaningful somehow. Cold Case dares touch on mall shootings and does so with all the subtlety of a baseball bat to the face. From vague assumptions about videogame violence to oversimplification about victims ands attackers, none of it goes past newspaper headlines into the emotional or social core of the issues they're discussing.

    Worse than that, it's just awfully plotted.

    The way Cold Case works is the detectives extort a painful statement off a witness just by asking, which leads to another witness saying something else and things just keep going from there. There's no causal relationship between one plot point and the next, it's all just there for the benefit of the screenplay. There's also not the slightest attempt at justifying why the heck all of this didn't show up in previous investigations. I guess they figured out viewers who got this far into the series are just willing to accept all of this staying hidden for no good reason, just out of habit.

    Cold Case isn't just bad TV. It's probably bad for you. Staring at a wall is probably better for your mental health and/or cultural background than watching this.moreless
  • great season opener

    The team reopens the 1995 case of two teenage boys who killed themselves shortly after killing many people at a mall when new evidence indictates that there may have been a third shooter who got away, possibly posing as one of the survivors. Meanwhile, Scotty becomes involved in a case involving his brother from their childhood. Once again, "Cold Case" fails to disappoint. It shows how bullying leads to violence, and violence, in turn, leads to hatred, ostracizing, and even more bullying. Though matching the fingerprints on the video camera would have easily solved the case, "Cold Case" isn't about forensics, which allows for a better (though unrealistic if the same case would occur in real life) plot and sadder cases.

    Overall: 10/10moreless
  • After a camera that filmed a mall shooting is found implicating that there was a third shooter, the team re-investigates the case to find who the shooter that got away is.moreless

    On September 23, 1995 Cameron Coulter and Neal Hanlon went on a shooting spree at the mall were they both worked. Isolated by their peers, they often talked about going on a rampage. There was no reason to believe a third shooter was involved at the time until a tape is found where someone is holding the camera while the two shoot. The suspect quickly turns to their fellow outcasts.

    This was quite a sad episode for me. It didn't really talk much about the victims, but was based more on the shooters. It kind of made me feel bad for them. These were two kids that were deeply disturbed and they gave plenty of warning signs, but no one believed them. It gave a little insight into why they did what they did and I think it's important for kids that bully others to know that their actions could bring about consequences. It's not the only reason it happens, but it is one of the biggest reasons.

    It also showed how even the people that survived it will never be recovered from what happened to them. In my opinion it was a pretty good episode and it was definitely the right way to start the season.moreless
  • What a way to kick start a season

    This episode was chalked full of soon to be stars, they cast this episode very strong, there are shows that go all out with the plot and "effects" they forget about the cast, but this was amazing to watch.

    This young cast came together well, they made the characters sympathetic even though they committed a crime that deserves no sympathy. They gave a face to a crime that no one every wants to see again, they gave us a glimpse at the demons they could have been facing. They took on a strong and sensitive subject, and didn't try to glam it out, or over make it, they just showed how it does impact those involved, and why others might take it to those extremes. They gave the bullied a voice, and showed that while it is sad and they didn't deserve it, that not everybody that dies is innocent.moreless
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)

Kyle Gallner

Kyle Gallner

Cameron (1995)

Guest Star

Will Rothhaar

Will Rothhaar

Neal (1995)

Guest Star

Michael Trevino

Michael Trevino

Zack (1995)

Guest Star

Kenneth Johnson (III)

Kenneth Johnson (III)

Joseph (as Kenneth Johnson)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Some of the names in the boys' yearbook – in addition to Cameron Coulter and Neil Hanlon – are Michael Washington, Alan White, Steve Carter, Debbie Harris, Jennifer Johnson, and Mary Jones.

      Jennifer Johnson is also the name of one of the supervising producers on the show, who joins the production staff in Season 4.

    • Some of the names of the mall massacre victims are:
      - Wieland, R., case no. H95-248
      - Fehervari, K., case no. H95-258
      - Hall, C., case no. H95-251
      - Hopper, G., case no. H95-247

    • Cameron Coulter, Neal Hanlon, and their 15 victims died on September 23, 1995.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Tina: They were little kids, they were moms and dads. They never hurt anybody.
      Lilly: And it didn't matter to Cameron and Neal. They were human timebombs, just waiting to go off.
      Tina: And I lit the fuse.

    • Lilly: I'll be a couple of hours. Sorry.
      Joseph: You gotta do whatcha gotta do.
      Lilly: Might as well get some sleep now.
      Joseph: Why's that?
      Lilly: Cause you won't get much later...

    • Joseph: (about the evidence on her nightstand) Aren't you gonna put that away?
      Lilly: No.
      Joseph: Why not?
      Lilly: Because... it helps me remember, keeping photos of the victims up there.
      Joseph: Remember what?

    • (Lilly tries to get Tina to put the gun down.)
      Lilly: For every gun that's fired, someone can't be in a closed room. Or walk. Or see their child again. It's not just you who pays, Tina. It never is.

    • John Stillman: According to classmates, everyone knew the game plan. The boys talked about it 24/7.
      Lilly Rush: But no one believed 'em.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Cameron: Eeny meeny miny mo!
      Catch a tiger by the toe;
      If he hollers, let it go.

      This could be a reference to the movie Elephant (2003) by Gus Van Sant, which also depicts high school students going on a shooting rampage.

    • Cameron: You're about to enter another dimension, it's a dimension not only of sight and sound...
      Neil: But of tweakers, preps, horny housewives and morons galore.
      Cameron: It's the ninth circle of hell, the sweating armpit of suburbia. You've just crossed over into...
      Both: The mall.

      The boys start their video with their own version of the opening narration of the horror/scifi anthology series The Twilight Zone. But they're mixing up the different versions from different seasons. Cameron's opening line ("You're about to enter another dimension") was used during the first season in 1959-1960, whereas the ending ("You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone") is from a later version used in the fourth and fifth seasons (1963-1964).

    • Lilly: According to the boys' computer logs, "The Destroyer" and "The Apocalypse" were monikers they used online.

      This is eerily similar to the September 13, 2006 events in Montreal, Canada, in which a gunman dressed in black started shooting at the entrance to Dawson College before moving in the cafeteria inside the building, killing one victim and injuring 19. The perpetrator, Kimveer Gill, was later discovered to have used the screen name "fatality666" while online. There were reports of another, or possibly even a third shooter – like in this episode – but the police eventually confirmed that the gunman was operating alone.

      In another odd similarity, both the real Dawson College shooter and the shooters in this episode were influenced by violent online games. While the videogame Renegade Massacre mentioned in the episode is fictional, Kimveer Gill has been said to have been a fan of Super Columbine Massacre RPG, itself "inspired" of the Columbine shootings.

    • Det. Jeffries: Killer kids... first this, then Columbine.

      Although in the show's internal world the events in this episode took place before the Columbine shootings, the plot is actually heavily inspired by the April 20, 1999 events at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado. Two high school students went on a shooting spree, killing 12 students and a teacher, and wounding 24 others before committing suicide. There is even an unsubstantiated theory that a third shooter might have been present -- just like in this episode.