The BEST Episodes of Cold Case Files

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2021

Network: A&E

Unsolved crimes locked away in dusty file cabinets. Time is an ineffectual balm. Painful memories are left to a victim's loved ones. What happens when a killer gets away with murder? Thanks to the efforts of a special breed of modern detective, no one escapes the laws of justice - no matter how old the case.

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The School Teacher

#1 - The School Teacher

Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired Sep 10, 2021

When 25-year-old schoolteacher Christy Mirack is found brutally murdered in her Lancaster, Pennsylvania, apartment in 1992, there is no shortage of suspects. Frustration and fear mount as each person is ruled out, one by one, and eventually the case goes cold. Twenty-six years later, in 2018, cold case detectives get a break when a relative of the killer uploads DNA to a public genealogy website. This story features a rare interview with the victim's brother and the forensic genealogist who helped crack one of state's first cold cases to be solved by familial DNA technology.

star 10.00
1 votes
The Merry Widow/The Bad Cop

#2 - The Merry Widow/The Bad Cop

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 22, 2001

In 1983, Navy seamen Sonny Grotton left base for a long weekend at home. But as he pulled into his driveway, a gunman killed him. And in 1993, former state trooper Doug Wright claimed his estranged wife shot and killed herself in their home.

star 9.00
1 votes
The Green River Killer

#3 - The Green River Killer

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 12, 2001

Cold Case discusses the story of the nearly 20-year hunt for the man responsible for the murders of 49 prostitutes and other women in the Seattle, Washington area.

star 9.00
1 votes
Lil' Miss /Skeletons In The Closet

#4 - Lil' Miss /Skeletons In The Closet

Season 3 - Episode 24 - Aired Jun 11, 2001

An eerie note left on a grave helps solve a 12-year-old case of murder, and an exhaustive questioning of a mother helps police unravel the mysterious deaths of three of her

star 9.00
1 votes
A Family Secret

#5 - A Family Secret

Season 6 - Episode 8 - Aired Jun 15, 2017

A 17-year-old girl from a small Kentucky town goes missing, then is found strangled two weeks later; a police investigation into the crime uncovers a terrible family secret.

star 8.50
4 votes
The Answer in the Box/Maternal Instinct

#6 - The Answer in the Box/Maternal Instinct

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 23, 1999

Answer in the Box Alison Parrott was a runner. Not only was she was runner she was a great runner, So much so that she had the local media interested in her, So when she got a call from a photographer to take some pictures of her running she didn't think anything wrong with it. She left to go to her photo session and wasn't seen alive again. The police had a fellow runner as the lead suspect but nothing ever happened with that lead. A cold case detective named Vic Matanovic was going through some files 10 years later and came across the case. When the detective was looking for clues to solve the case the Answer is in the Box. Usually DNA is enough to prove a case but in this case the criminal who lured Alison to her death had a plan to lure the jury to believe in the lie he was about to tell. Maternal Instinct 1981 a brother and sister fell victim to a heartless mother with no regard for life. 3 month old Seth Davis was rushed to the hospital because of insulin poisoning. He was left brain damaged. 5 months later his sister, Tenga Davis, is rushed to the hospital. There she dies of Caffeine poisoning. Even though the autopsy that was turned in by the M.E. stated cause of death was a homicide, the police treated this as an accident. Their mother Mary Beth Davis moves on with her own life by moving to a different state. She starts a new family and forgets all about what happened back in her past. That is until 10 years later when Mary Beth gets a knock on her door by the cold case detectives which brings back her past as the detectives are there to prove a case of murder.

star 8.00
30 votes
The Burning Secret/Justice Delayed

#7 - The Burning Secret/Justice Delayed

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Mar 26, 1999

A rapist is captured seven years after the crime, but when he is released on a technicality his victim is determined to fight back. Fifteen years after a fire claimed the lives of a father and son, detectives interview the grown surviving son and learn a tragic tale of a mother who burned her family.

star 8.00
2 votes
Death Before I Do/Hollywood Homicide

#8 - Death Before I Do/Hollywood Homicide

Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired Mar 5, 2001

Police crack a cold case of murder when a mysterious woman calls to say that her boyfriend is the killer; and the murder of a woman in 1998 provides clues to the 1988 murder of actress Myra Davis, a stand-in for Janet Leigh in the movie Psycho.

star 8.00
1 votes
Blood Money/Precious Doe

#9 - Blood Money/Precious Doe

Season 3 - Episode 11 - Aired Mar 12, 2001

Testimony about the growth of larvae in dead bodies helps convict the man who stabbed a couple to death and strangled their 4-year-old daughter in 1993. And the 2001 murder of a young girl, whose head was cut off, remains unsolved.

star 8.00
1 votes
Unholy Bible/A Daughter's Justice

#10 - Unholy Bible/A Daughter's Justice

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Mar 19, 2001

A Texas woman's murder is solved when the killer's plan to murder another woman and stuff her into a duffel bag goes awry; and a reporter doing a story on unsolved homicides helps crack a case of murder that had been ruled an accidental death.

star 8.00
1 votes
The Shopping Cart Killer

#11 - The Shopping Cart Killer

Season 3 - Episode 22 - Aired May 28, 2001

A dry cleaning tag inside a sweatshirt left at a crime scene helps police track down a serial killer and rapist who had been eluding them for years.

star 8.00
1 votes
A Man Scorned/The Dungeon

#12 - A Man Scorned/The Dungeon

Season 4 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 5, 2002

Police suspect a gay man murdered a woman because she became too friendly with his boy friend. And a man goes on a monstrous crime spree, abducting five women over 15 years and forcing each to spend months and even years as his sex slave.

star 8.00
1 votes
A Brother's Burden/The Midnight Attacker

#13 - A Brother's Burden/The Midnight Attacker

Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired Mar 26, 2002

A police officer helps solve an 18-year-old murder case when he finds the prime suspect-his older brother. And a biker with a bloody finger is the clue that police need to put away a rapist who assaulted 31 women over six years.

star 8.00
1 votes
The Well/The Deadly Ex

#14 - The Well/The Deadly Ex

Season 4 - Episode 14 - Aired Apr 2, 2002

A pawned gun and a stolen pick-up truck are the clues that investigators need to solve an elderly man's murder. And a tip from a prison informant cracks open the 15-year-old case of a man who had his ex-wife killed.

star 8.00
1 votes
Killer on Campus/Bow Hunter

#15 - Killer on Campus/Bow Hunter

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Apr 2, 2006

Thirty-two years after the killing of University of Michigan law student Jane Mixer, police use DNA found on her pantyhose to finally track down the killer. And psychologists help solve a cold case by suggesting the lead detective take a page from the game of romance, and play hard to get with the killer.

star 8.00
9 votes
The Taunt / Death in Deadwood

#16 - The Taunt / Death in Deadwood

Season 5 - Episode 14 - Aired Jul 29, 2006

A serial rapist seals his own fate when he sends a taunting letter to police, who use the DNA extracted from the saliva in the envelope's seal to track him down. And when a man is found dead in South Dakota, his head bashed in by a 50-pound rock, investigators go on a 20-year search for the killers--a man and woman who were part of a free-loving hippie group and are known only by the names "Outlaw" and "Inlaw."

star 8.00
1 votes
A Deadly Pattern/A Desperate Housewife

#17 - A Deadly Pattern/A Desperate Housewife

Season 5 - Episode 23 - Aired Nov 18, 2006

When a woman is found murdered in her mobile home, police make two shocking discoveries--her husband may not only have been the killer, but he may have also killed his first wife 31 years before. And after an Oregon man is shot dead, the case takes an unusual twist when one of the investigating detectives has an affair with the chief suspect--the dead man's wife.

star 8.00
1 votes
Murder Checks In / Killer in the City

#18 - Murder Checks In / Killer in the City

Season 3 - Episode 21 - Aired May 21, 2001

Police hunt for a man who killed three women in three different hotels, not far from one another in Des Moines, Iowa. And police get a killer to confess when they tell him prosecutors will show photos of the gruesome crime scene.

star 7.80
5 votes
The Black Dahlia

#19 - The Black Dahlia

Season 5 - Episode 16 - Aired Sep 9, 2006

Bill Kurtis examines one of the most infamous cold cases in Los Angeles history -- the 1947 murder of actress Elizabeth Short, who was found nude and cut in half in an empty lot. Though charges have never been filed in the case, theories abound, and Kurtis investigates some of the most prominent ones. He talks to a retired LAPD detective whose 3 year investigation led to the stunning conclusion that his own father committed the murder. Kurtis also probes the theory that the killer was a surgeon named Walter Bayley. Kurtis finally explores the possibility that there may have been a police cover-up in the case to protect the real killer.

star 7.80
5 votes
Killings on Christmas Eve

#20 - Killings on Christmas Eve

Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired Mar 6, 2017

A family torn apart by their grandparents’ murders. Two decades later, a cold case detective takes on the case that has haunted him since he was a child.

star 7.79
19 votes
Daddy Dearest/A Pastor's Wife

#21 - Daddy Dearest/A Pastor's Wife

Season 5 - Episode 10 - Aired May 6, 2006

Nine years after the murders of a mother and her teenage daughters, a wiretapped conversation between the suspected killer and his sister helps police to crack the case. And the baffling murder of a Virginia woman is solved when human bones are discovered by a geologist working in North Carolina.

star 7.75
8 votes
Hour 1 - Cold Case Files

#22 - Hour 1 - Cold Case Files

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 1, 1999

In the first case in this episode Felicia Prechtl is found raped and murdered in Dallas, Texas/ The only thing the killer left behind was a fingerprint which was smudged. The fingerprint was left on a piece of duct tape that the killer used to tie up Felicia. It would take many years before Felicia would get justice. It would take the work of a dedicated detective to runs the prints through the system and find not only a match to the print but also finds the killer. And he wants to confess. The second story in this episode is about a little girl, Surrette Clark, who lived in the Arizona desert. She disappeared with nobody to even recognize that she was gone. After Surrette went missing at the age of 3 it would take more then 20 years to solve this mystery. Her parents took off across the Canadian border right after her disappearance. Finally a woman comes forward to tell of the families secret. With this information cold case detectives find out about a story of child abuse and how deadly some people will go to hide them. The third story in this episode is about a known man. One who has passed through our live via television either from watching the show or somebody talking about it. Its Bob Crane. Best known for his role on Hogan's Heroes as Colonel Hogan. Crane was strangled and beaten to death in his own bed in 1978. The story goes that Bob and a friend of his had a fight one night. With the small evidence that the police did have the police suspected his friend of his murder but could not prove it. It would be 12 years before anybody takes a second look at this case. On the second try police do find the evidence they need but will it be enough? In the fourth installment to this episode is about Ronnie Bullock. He was a man who had served 10 years of his sentence for raping an 11 year old girl. Through the entire time of his imprisionment he stayed stedfast to his claim of innocence. It would not be until DNA was founded that someone would listen to him

star 7.72
74 votes
She Never Came Home

#23 - She Never Came Home

Season 6 - Episode 3 - Aired Mar 13, 2017

The case of a gruesome stabbing death of a bullied teenager remains unsolved for 27 years – until a rookie cold case detective sees a new clue in an old crime scene photo, leading her to a killer that everyone thought could not possibly have committed the crime.

star 7.71
21 votes
The Boy and the Monster/Secret in the Cellar

#24 - The Boy and the Monster/Secret in the Cellar

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 8, 1999

The Boy and the Monster In Wisconsin in the winter of 1991 a young woman's body was found naked, badly beaten and to make it harder to identify her, her fingertips were cut off. After months of trying to figure out who she was they finally came up with a name. Doris McLeod. After finding out who she was the police find out a lot more about her. She had a troubled past. After being on the streets she ended up connected to a pimp. Only one month of being on the streets she is never seen again. It takes a 3 year old boy to finally tell the police about Doris and the Boy and the Monster. Secret in the Cellar The second part of this episode is about a young woman from South Portland, Maine who was in search of her mother. She contacts the police but they get nowhere. They question Bill Bruns, the missing woman's husband who told the police a story about how Pearl drank and ran off with another man. Elaine Woodward, the missing womans daughter, went to the media for help. An investigator takes the case and with the help of science and man power he finds out what happened to Pearl with the Secret in the Cellar.

star 7.71
48 votes
Lady in the Box

#25 - Lady in the Box

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Feb 26, 2000

The murder of an Ohio woman in 1974 is solved more than 20 years later after police get a crucial clue--the woman's husband was seen building a coffin-shaped box about the time the woman disappeared.

star 7.67
3 votes