Cold Case (TV series)
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Cold Case Intertitle
|Created by||Meredith Stiehm|
|Written by||Timothy Slater (Senior Writer)|
|Theme music composer||Helmut and Franz Vonlichten with intro by Michael A. Levine|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||146 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||45 minutes|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),|
|Original run||September 28, 2003– present|
Cold Case is an American police procedural television series which premiered on September 28, 2003 on CBS. The series revolves around a fictionalized Philadelphia Police Department division in Pennsylvania that specializes in investigating cold cases. The series currently airs in syndication on TNT. The seventh season of Cold Case began on September 27, 2009.
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Each episode of Cold Case follows a formula that begins with a flashback scene that establishes the year—sometimes the actual date—in which the crime took place, as well as a set of characters in a seemingly mundane situation. These flashbacks feature a different style of direction, whether it be the colors, lighting, shading, or camera angles. Flashbacks often match a style from that era, such as a black-and-white flashback depicting the 1950s. The next scene generally shows one or two of the characters introduced in the flashback scene dead at some future point in time.
The show then flashes to the present day, with the detectives of the homicide division of the Philadelphia police department prompted to investigate an old case gone cold following, for example, a revelation of new evidence, discovery of the victim's physical remains, or a witness who has decided to come forward. The detectives then give the cold case a new look and begin researching the victim and interviewing their friends, acquaintances, and family.
During the cold case investigation, those who were introduced in the flashback at the beginning of the episode have aged (in one case, a seven-year-old witness to the crime is interviewed by the detectives when she is 95). Gradually, the detectives gather enough evidence to determine the killer, who is usually then arrested. In contrast to many procedural, such as the CSI series, Cold Case stresses cooperative interviews with potential witnesses who each fill in a part of the story, usually in chronological order. There are few adversarial interrogations and very little use of forensic evidence. Violent confrontations with suspects are rare.
At the end of each episode, the detectives mark the case as "closed," putting the evidence box back on the shelf, while an apparition of the murdered person(s) looks on, although the apparition may appear to a friend or family member of the murdered person instead. Sometimes they may make scenes about the apparition victim's future, had they lived. In one recent case, the evidence box is being shipped out of state as it became evident that the crime took place outside of Pennsylvania. This happened with the episode "Wednesday's Women," where the crime took place in Mississippi in 1964.
The problems in the detectives' personal lives are also featured, though the main emphasis of every story is on the victim and the search for the killer. Most notably, Detective Lilly Rush grew up in a severely dysfunctional, poverty-stricken home with an alcoholic mother. As the show goes on Lilly's mother grows worse. In one of the latest seasons Lilly's mother passes on, because her poor health due to her addiction.
The show usually casts a young actor for the flashback sequences and an older actor for the shots in the present, and cuts back and forth between the two to show how the character has aged. The same actor could be used if the crime is in the recent past, or if the character is not likely to have changed much in appearance except for added weight and grey hair.
While all of the information shown in the flashbacks is true, what the characters say in the present day about the flashbacks is not necessarily true and, in fact, is often used for misdirection of the audience.
The theme song is an excerpt from "Nara" by E.S. Posthumus (who also performs the theme for the NFL on CBS), with an introduction by series composer Michael A. Levine. Besides Levine's original music, each episode makes extensive use of era-appropriate music for flashbacks to the year in question. Some episodes contain music only from one artist such as U2, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp, Johnny Cash, Tim McGraw, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, and John Lennon. Pearl Jam's music was used in the two part season six finale, the first time one artist's music has been used for two full episodes. In one episode, the music from the movie "The Rocky Horror Picture Show was used. Due to licensing costs, there are currently no plans for any DVD releases of the series.
A soundtrack CD was released in 2008 by Lakeshore Records, featuring incidental music composed by Michael A. Levine from the first four seasons, as well as the song 300 Flowers, sung by Robbyn Kirmsse. 
|Season||Homicide Commander||Homicide Assistant Commander||Cold Case Commander||Senior Detective||Senior Detective||Junior Detective|
CSI: NY crossover
On May 2, 2007, one of the Cold Case detectives made a rare appearance outside of the series. In the CSI: NY episode "Cold Reveal", Danny Pino appeared as his Cold Case character Scotty Valens as he traveled to New York when it was discovered that CSI Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) was connected to an unsolved case, proving that Cold Case and CSI take place in the same universe. The CSI shows and Cold Case all air on CBS and are produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
The investigation of "cold cases" has been used as the basis for several other detective dramas, including:
- The Enigma Files, UK / BBC, 1980
- Cold Squad, CAN / CTV Television Network, 1998
- Cold Case Files, A&E Network, 1999 (true cases)
- Waking the Dead, UK / BBC, 2000
- New Tricks, UK / BBC, 2003
Cold Squad controversy
Upon its launch, television critics noted similarities between Cold Case and a similar Canadian series called Cold Squad which debuted in 1998, five years before Cold Case. Fans of Cold Squad accused the American series of copying the basic premise and characters of the Canadian version. In 2003, the creators of Cold Squad considered launching legal action against the makers of Cold Case over copyright issues. Both shows air in Canada (and on the same network, CTV). The law firm headed by famed entertainment attorney Pierce O'Donnell, who successfully represented Art Buchwald in his copyright-infringement suit against Paramount and who has defended the James Bond franchise against copycats, has confirmed that it has agreed to represent[clarification needed] the producers of Cold Squad, who claim that the CBS series is a knock-off of their own hit show. The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that Meredith Stehm, the creator of the American series, attended a seminar on TV writing at the Canadian Film Centre in 2002 where the concept of Cold Squad was explained to her. O'Donnell's law firm stated: "Our clients are very concerned about many striking similarities and have retained counsel to investigate the situation and if necessary, to take appropriate action."
|Season||Ep. #||First Airdate||Last Airdate|
|Season 1||23||September 28, 2003||May 23, 2004|
|Season 2||23||October 3, 2004||May 22, 2005|
|Season 3||23||September 25, 2005||May 21, 2006|
|Season 4||24||September 24, 2006||May 6, 2007|
|Season 5||18||September 23, 2007||May 4, 2008|
|Season 6||23||September 28, 2008||May 10, 2009|
|Season 7||24||September 27, 2009||May 2010|
U.S. television ratings
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Cold Case on CBS.
- Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
|Season||Timeslot||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV Season||Ranking||Viewers|
|1st||Sunday 8:00 p.m.||September 28, 2003||May 23, 2004||2003-2004||#17||14.18|
|2nd||Sunday 8:00 p.m.||October 3, 2004||May 22, 2005||2004-2005||#17||15.10|
|3rd||Sunday 8:00 p.m.||September 25, 2005||May 21, 2006||2005-2006||#21||14.24|
|4th||Sunday 9:00 p.m.||September 24, 2006||May 6, 2007||2006-2007||#23||13.98|
|5th||Sunday 9:00 p.m.||September 23, 2007||May 4, 2008||2007-2008||#34||10.89|
|6th||Sunday 9:00 p.m.||September 28, 2008||May 10, 2009||2008-2009||#23||12.00|
|7th||Sunday 10:00 p.m. (September 27 - November 15)|
Sunday 9:00 p.m. (November 22 - May 2010)
|September 27, 2009||May 2010||2009-2010||TBA||9.08 to date|
- ^ "Fall TV: CBS Announces Premiere Dates". TVGuide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/FallTV-CBS-premieres-1007227.aspx. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- ^ "Pearl Jam Turns "Ten" Buzz". 2009-03-19. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/pearl-jam-turns-ten-buzz-to-11-with-modern-1003953499.story. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
- ^ "Cold Case Soundtrack page at Lakeshore Records". 2009-11-11. http://www.lakeshore-records.com/coldcase/. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- ^ Bob Sassone (2006-09-18). "The strange case of Cold Squad". TV Squad. http://www.tvsquad.com/tag/stephen%20mchattie/. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- ^ Ian Edwards (2003-11-10). "Cold Squad on Bruckheimer Case". Playback. http://www.playbackonline.ca/articles/magazine/20031110/colds.html. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- ^ Dan Brown (2003-12-04). "The genius of Ratchford". CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_browndan/20031204.html. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20070208132303/http://www.abcmedianet.com/pressrel/dispDNR.html?id=060204_11
- ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000937471
- ^ http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=053106_05
- ^ http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=060507_05
- ^ "Season Program Rankings" (PDF). ABC Medianet. 2008-05-28. http://abcmedianet.com/DNR/2008/pdf/dnr052808.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- ^ http://www.abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=052709_07
- Cold Case on CBS
- Warner Bros. Cold Case official site
- Cold Case at TV Guide
- Cold Case (TV series) at the Internet Movie Database
- Cold Case (TV series) at TV.com