The WORST episodes of Cold Case

Every episode of Cold Case ever, ranked from worst to best by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The worst episodes of Cold Case!

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.

Last Updated: 8/18/2023Network: CBSStatus: Ended
One Fall
439 votes

#1 - One Fall

Season 7 - Episode 16 - Aired 3/14/2010

The 1986 murder of a dock worker who moonlighted as a wrestler is investigated. Meanwhile, Valens follows a lead that could result in the capture of his mother's rapist.

Writer: Ryan Farley
Dead Heat
415 votes

#2 - Dead Heat

Season 7 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/8/2009

The 1986 murder of a jockey is investigated after his body is discovered in a mass grave for horses. The victim disappeared shortly after losing a race that he had planned to be his finale before retiring.

Directors: Nathan Hope
Writer: Adam Glass
Read Between the Lines
444 votes

#3 - Read Between the Lines

Season 7 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/15/2009

The 1991 murder of a 14-year-old girl in foster care who was a promising rapper is investigated. The probe reveals the victim lived in a gang-infested neighborhood and was recently placed, along with her sister, with new foster parents.

Directors: Kevin Bray
527 votes

#4 - Kensington

Season 2 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/24/2005

The murder case of a young mill worker is re-opened when Rush learns that a recent parolee admitted to stealing money off the victim's body.

Directors: Bill Eagles
The Runner
662 votes

#5 - The Runner

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/26/2003

After a drug addict brings in an audio tape she found on which a fatal shooting is heard, Lilly reopens a 1973 murder case involving the death of a 21-year-old rookie cop. The young officer was shot three times in the chest while responding to a call at a drug-infested housing project. Also on the tape are the victim's final words: "Runner! Runner! Runner!"

Directors: David Straiton
Watch Now:Apple TV
Stealing Home
433 votes

#6 - Stealing Home

Season 6 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/12/2009

The team re-opens the 1999 murder of a Cuban baseball star who fled to the U.S. after being fired from his team.

Directors: Kevin Bray
Stand Up and Holler
428 votes

#7 - Stand Up and Holler

Season 4 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/1/2007

The 1997 murder of a 16-year-old girl high-school cheerleader is investigated after an anonymous confession is discovered in a modern-art exhibit.

Directors: John Peters
Writer: Kate Purdy
355 votes

#8 - Bombers

Season 7 - Episode 13 - Aired 2/14/2010

The 1983 murder of a graffiti artist who died after spray paint was forced down his throat is investigated. Meanwhile, new details emerge about the person who mugged Valen's mother; and Lilly faces additional legal hurdles thrown her way by Moe.

Directors: Janice Cooke
378 votes

#9 - Slipping

Season 5 - Episode 17 - Aired 4/27/2008

The team re-opens the case of a woman who allegedly committed suicide in 1962 when the victim's granddaughter comes forth with evidence that the note found on the death scene -- then thought to be the suicide note -- was not written in the victim's handwriting.

Directors: Kevin Bray
Bullet (2)
560 votes

#10 - Bullet (2)

Season 7 - Episode 19 - Aired 4/4/2010

A serial killer is identified, and Lilly and the FBI attempt to protect his likely future targets while tracking him down.

The Good Soldier
377 votes

#11 - The Good Soldier

Season 7 - Episode 11 - Aired 1/10/2010

The 2005 murder of an Army recruiter who was killed just two days before his scheduled deployment to Iraq is reinvestigated after a soldier comes forward with new evidence.

Free Love
502 votes

#12 - Free Love

Season 7 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/11/2010

Rush and FBI agent Ryan Cavanaugh discover their attraction for one another while investigating the 1969 murder of a GI at Woodstock, and Vera helps his married ex-girlfriend, Megan, after sentimental jewelry is stolen from her home.

Directors: Jeffrey G. Hunt
Writer: Elwood Reid
414 votes

#13 - Metamorphosis

Season 7 - Episode 14 - Aired 2/21/2010

The 1971 death of a teen aerialist who fell during a dangerous circus performance is investigated. New evidence suggests her fall wasn't an accident.

The Promise
459 votes

#14 - The Promise

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/2/2005

Lilly re-opens the case of young girl, an overweight college freshman named Laurie, who died in a fraternity house fire in 2004. The fire was deemed accidental at the time, but a cell phone photo e-mailed from the girl's phone just moments before her death prompts a closer examination.

Directors: Paris Barclay
Watch Now:Apple TV
Almost Paradise (1)
619 votes

#15 - Almost Paradise (1)

Season 7 - Episode 21 - Aired 5/2/2010

The 1989 death of a prom queen who was the victim of a potentially deliberate hit-and-run accident is investigated. Meanwhile, Lilly's troubled sister shows up, but Lilly refuses her dad's request to give her a second chance.

Love Conquers Al
539 votes

#16 - Love Conquers Al

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/9/2003

A petty crook, Ricky, hoping to get a reduced sentence, relates witnessing a young man washing blood out of his car the night a teen track runner was murdered. The young athlete, Paige Pratt, was found shot, and her boyfriend Al Clarkson was originally imprisoned for the crime.

Directors: Greg Yaitanes
Writer: Kim Newton
Watch Now:Apple TV
Lonely Hearts
452 votes

#17 - Lonely Hearts

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/19/2006

A homely 33-year-old woman is gunned down in an alley in 1989 and her unsolved murder is reinvestigated when a tape of the victim, made for a dating service, turns up in a suicide victim's apartment. Apparently, it was what the man was watching when he killed himself. Also, Vera moves into an apartment of his own

Directors: John Peters
Two Weddings
422 votes

#18 - Two Weddings

Season 7 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/28/2010

Lilly and the team attend a colleague's wedding and are persuaded by Jeffries to investigate whether the bride killed her former fiancé two years earlier---just hours after he called off their nuptials.

Directors: Nathan Hope
451 votes

#19 - WASP

Season 7 - Episode 5 - Aired 11/1/2009

The 1944 murder of a female pilot who flew noncombat missions for the U.S. during World War II is investigated. The victim was part of a civilian program that assisted the Army and Air Force. Meanwhile, the man who ran Lilly's car off a road is released from prison on bail.

Directors: Chris Fisher
Writer: Denise Thé
The Last Drive-In (1)
555 votes

#20 - The Last Drive-In (1)

Season 7 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/28/2010

A murder is linked to a serial killer who has apparently been inactive for 27 years. Involved in the investigation is an FBI agent who has been tracking the killer for 30 years and who was responsible for breaking up Stillman's marriage years ago.

Directors: Chris Fisher
Writer: Elwood Reid
360 votes

#21 - Forensics

Season 7 - Episode 9 - Aired 12/6/2009

The 1999 death of a high-school debate champion, which was originally ruled a suicide, is investigated after new evidence suggests he was murdered. The probe reveals the victim received a scholarship at a top private school and died shortly after losing a debate at the competitive campus.

Directors: Holly Dale
Lotto Fever
406 votes

#22 - Lotto Fever

Season 6 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/4/2009

The team re-investigates the 2007 murder of a mechanic who won $8 million in the lottery.

379 votes

#23 - Cargo

Season 4 - Episode 22 - Aired 4/15/2007

The 2005 murder of a longshoreman who accidentally became involved in a human-trafficking ring run by the Russian mob

Directors: Andy Garcia
Writer: Tom Pettit
Baby Blues
458 votes

#24 - Baby Blues

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/15/2006

A 6-month-old girl's 1982 death, originally ruled to be a result of sudden-infant-death syndrome, is investigated when new evidence reveals the baby may have drowned. Also, Lilly learns that Ray is in the hospital after apparently being beaten.

Directors: David Barrett
426 votes

#25 - Soul

Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/18/2009

The 1970 murder of a musician who was instrumental in creating the Philadelphia soul sound is reinvestigated. The victim tried to keep his involvement in the music scene from his strict minister father. Meanwhile, Lilly meets her teen stepbrother, Finn.

Writer: Ryan Farley

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