The BEST Episodes of Cold Case

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Network: CBS

Cold Case stars Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush, the lone female detective in the Philadelphia homicide squad who finds her calling when she's assigned to "cold cases" -- crimes that have never been solved. Previously, she used her instinctive understanding of the criminal mind on current murders. Now, she's interrogating witnesses whose lives and circumstances have since changed, making use of today's new science and finding fresh clues to solve cases that were previously unsolvable, all of which appeals to this smart, driven detective. She's also prepared for the consequences: that her work will open up old wounds and may lead suspects to commit new crimes.

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#1 - Stalker

Season 4 - Episode 24 - Aired May 6, 2007

In the fourth season finale, a hostage situation arises when the entire team is held captive while they're investigating the 2006 killings of a family who had just moved into a new house.

star 8.44
414 votes
Directors: Alex Zakrzewski
Death Penalty: Final Appeal

#2 - Death Penalty: Final Appeal

Season 3 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 16, 2006

The 1994 case of a raped and murdered 16-year-old girl is re-opened when Det. Jeffries gets a call from a prisoner on death-row -- scheduled to be executed in just three days.

star 8.16
400 votes
Directors: Alex Zakrzewski
Writers: Sean Whitesell
A Dollar, A Dream

#3 - A Dollar, A Dream

Season 4 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 18, 2007

The 1999 murder of a homeless woman, whose body is found at the bottom of a river in a station wagon, is investigated.

star 8.12
409 votes
Directors: Chris Fisher
Writers: Erica Shelton
The Letter

#4 - The Letter

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Jan 25, 2004

Rush and Valens re-open the case of a 25-year-old black woman, who was murdered in 1939, after the woman's granddaughter comes forward with new information. The woman was assumed to be a prostitute murdered by a client, but letters written by the victim indicate that she was afraid of a milkman.

star 8.11
481 votes
Directors: Tim Hunter
Writers: Veena Cabreros Sud
The Woods

#5 - The Woods

Season 2 - Episode 23 - Aired May 22, 2005

The discovery of nine human skulls leads Rush back to George Marks, the serial killer she was unable to incriminate months earlier, and who walked away a free man. As the detectives reinvestigate his mother's murder from 1972, George is forced to emerge from hiding to face Rush again. This time, their very lives are at stake in their final showdown.

star 8.06
478 votes
Writers: Veena Cabreros Sud
The Plan

#6 - The Plan

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired May 2, 2004

The 1999 drowning death of a military academy's swim coach, which was originally ruled as accidental, is reinvestigated after the homicide division receives a note that suggests it was murder. Back at the office, Valens searches for Elisa after she goes missing.

star 8.02
408 votes
Writers: Veena Cabreros Sud
The Road

#7 - The Road

Season 5 - Episode 15 - Aired Apr 6, 2008

The team re-investigates the suspected 2007 murder of a bride-to-be who was kidnapped on the day of her engagement party. Lilly and Scotty travel to West Virginia to escort the prime suspect to Philly, and on their way back, they hear his side of the story.

star 8.01
412 votes
Directors: Holly Dale
Writers: Jennifer Johnson

#8 - Revolution

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 20, 2005

Rush and the team investigate the 1969 murder of a 19-year-old girl whose body was found in her boyfriend's apartment the day he fled to Canada to avoid fighting in Vietnam.

star 8.00
427 votes
Directors: Alex Zakrzewski
Writers: Liz W. Garcia

#9 - Offender

Season 4 - Episode 19 - Aired Mar 25, 2007

A father pushes a registered sex offender off of a building and threatens to kill a different sex offender each day until the cold-case unit solves his son's 1987 rape and murder.

star 8.00
527 votes
Directors: David Barrett
Writers: Greg Plageman
It's Raining Men

#10 - It's Raining Men

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 14, 2004

An HIV-positive gay man asks Rush and Valens to re-investigate the case of his dead partner who died of strangulation in 1983. Not only was the victim outspoken in his views about AIDS education within the 1980's secretive gay community, he was also the member of a very prominent family, disowned by his father for his sexual orientation.

star 7.99
465 votes
Directors: Paul Holahan
Writers: Jan Oxenberg
Blank Generation

#11 - Blank Generation

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 9, 2005

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.

star 7.99
481 votes
Directors: David Barrett
Writers: Chris Mundy
The Sleepover

#12 - The Sleepover

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 7, 2004

Lilly reopens a 1990 murder case, in which a prep-school girl was found dead in a local swimming hole, after a present-day victim with similar markings is discovered at the same place. The investigation reveals that the victim of the earlier crime was routinely tormented by a trio of classmates who invited her to a sleepover the night she was killed.

star 7.96
539 votes
Directors: Emilio Estevez
Writers: Liz W. Garcia
Shuffle, Ball Change

#13 - Shuffle, Ball Change

Season 4 - Episode 17 - Aired Mar 11, 2007

When a body is found in a dumpster, the team re-opens the 1984 case of a murdered teenage boy who wanted to become a dancer against his father's wishes.

star 7.95
435 votes
Directors: Mark Pellington
Writers: Liz W. Garcia

#14 - Fireflies

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 12, 2006

The 1975 disappearance of an 8-year-old girl who was never found is reinvestigated after a note written by the girl shortly before she vanished turns up. Their friendship rattled many in the predominantly white neighborhood and the girls quickly became targets of hatred.

star 7.95
491 votes
Directors: Marcos Siega
Writers: Erica Shelton
The Hen House

#15 - The Hen House

Season 3 - Episode 21 - Aired Apr 30, 2006

The 1945 case of a murdered newspaper reporter is reopened when new evidence suggests that the woman was thrown in front of a passing train by someone she knew.

star 7.93
320 votes
Writers: Craig Turk
Who's Your Daddy

#16 - Who's Your Daddy

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 31, 2004

Det. Rush investigates the 1991 double murder of married illegal immigrants from Cambodia who were shot to death in their apartment and found by their 6-year old daughter. The now-teenage girl brings the case to Lilly after she discovers a bracelet once owned by her mother is for sale on the internet. The probe reveals that the parents had dark secrets unknown to their daughter.

star 7.93
496 votes
Directors: Greg Yaitanes
Writers: Tyler Bensinger
The Long Blue Line (1)

#17 - The Long Blue Line (1)

Season 6 - Episode 22 - Aired May 3, 2009

The team re-opens the case of the first ever female cadet in a local military school who was murdered in 2005.

star 7.92
446 votes
Directors: Roxann Dawson
Writers: Greg Plageman, Jennifer Johnson
Andy in C Minor

#18 - Andy in C Minor

Season 5 - Episode 14 - Aired Mar 30, 2008

After traces of blood linked back to a missing teen are found, the team re-investigates the 2006 case of a boy who disappeared from a high school for deaf children.

star 7.92
399 votes
Directors: Jeannot Szwarc
Writers: Gavin Harris
Mind Hunters

#19 - Mind Hunters

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 28, 2004

The headless torso of a woman who disappeared in 1985, on the same day she filed domestic-abuse charges against her husband, is found by hikers in a wildlife preserve. The investigation quickly leads to the grisly discovery of 8 more decapitated bodies, the victims of a serial killer.

star 7.91
482 votes
Directors: Kevin Bray
Writers: Veena Cabreros Sud

#20 - Wunderkind

Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 28, 2007

The team re-opens the 2002 case of a 14-year-old math whiz whose half-brother exploited his unusual talents: card counting and safe cracking.

star 7.91
487 votes
Directors: Kevin Bray
Writers: Greg Plageman
True Calling

#21 - True Calling

Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 5, 2008

The 1991 death of an inner-city schoolteacher is reinvestigated when new evidence indicates she may have been murdered instead of dying accidentally during a carjacking that got out of control.

star 7.90
513 votes
Directors: Paris Barclay
Writers: Christopher Silber
Maternal Instincts

#22 - Maternal Instincts

Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired Apr 25, 2004

The 1989 case of a woman murdered in front of her 3-year-old son is re-opened. A psychologist asks Det. Rush to look into the case again when the son, now a 17-year-old teen, suffers from intense nightmares and troubled behavior.

star 7.89
467 votes
Directors: Kevin Hooks
Writers: Laurie Arent
The War at Home

#23 - The War at Home

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 1, 2006

A 2004 case in which an Iraq War veteran abruptly disappeared is reopened after the missing woman's prosthetic arm is found in the Delaware River.

star 7.88
482 votes
Directors: Alex Zakrzewski
Writers: Samantha Howard Corbin
Thrill Kill

#24 - Thrill Kill

Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 23, 2007

Recovered from the shooting, Lilly wants to convince her boss that she's ready to get back to work. The team re-opens the 1994 case of three 10-year-old kids who were beaten to death when Lilly suspects the teens convicted of the killings may have been wrongfully incarcerated.

star 7.88
519 votes
Directors: Alex Zakrzewski
Writers: Veena Cabreros Sud

#25 - Sabotage

Season 5 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 6, 2008

The team re-opens the 1999, 2001, and 2003 pipe bombing incidents that killed two and blinded one victim. The serial bomber is still on the loose and ready to strike again as he missed his latest target.

star 7.88
429 votes
Directors: Nicole Kassell
Writers: Greg Plageman