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Awesome moments in Cold Case.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

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     Season 1 
  • In the later portion of "Look Again", Lily Rush boldly faces one of the suspects, an abusive spouse. When he tries to shake her down for information on where his wife and family has gone off to, Lily refuses to tell. She instead goes into a speech about his manipulative nature, with a side dish of her Establishing Character Moment.
    Lily Rush: Is this how you handle women you can't control? You're supposed to scare me?
    Todd: It's supposed to make you think.
    Lily Rush: I'm not like the girls you're used to, Todd. You can't try to charm me, then when that doesn't work, talk down to me. Then when that doesn't work, get aggressive. I'm not Jill, or Melany. I'm the police Headquarters, you moron.
  • Near the ending of "Gleen", When Lily and Vera confront the killer. Instead of letting him listen in on his daughter's conversation with his would-be fiancée, he's forced to stay out. It's barely even thirty seconds before he's stewing in frustration, revealing his weakness as a Control Freak. Lily and Vera casually point out how the killer controls his wives instead of letting them lead their own lives. Just when he's a split second from "teaching a lesson" to Lily, she calmly drops an Armor-Piercing Question about how his wife's flasher was a convenient scapegoat. This leaves the killer speechless, unable to deny what an overall weak person he is.
  • "Love conquers Al": Seeing how much a cold-hearted bitch she was through the episode, it is satisfying to Jane being taken to jail, all for setting up the murder of an innocent girl.
  • During the Medley Exit of "Fly Away", we see Lily going into a interview room and passing by a long line of young girls. Once inside, a little girl tearfully fingers the arrogant, pedophilic social worker who molested her, who sits on the other side of the mirror and knows that his karma is finally coming. Judging by both the evidence and Lily's expression (who at this point is pissed), you know that bastard's going down.
    • Earlier on, when Scotty and Lily confront Mr. Freely in the interrogation room. When they tell him they know what he did, Mr. Freely casually points out how nobody really cares about his victims. In response, Lily presents case files on every child he ever worked with, remarking that their mothers cared. And she tells him that they're on the other side of the window, telling "all about Mr. Freely". ...Only, there's nobody there. But he doesn't know that. It works, and he spills the beans about what happened to Toya and Rosie.
  • "Greed". The killer is a pure Mama Bear, killing the Asshole Victim not because he stole from her, not because he cheated on her, but because he cheated on her son—with her. Even better, she doesn't have any self-pity—"I'm an adult. I've got no one to blame but myself for sleeping with a cold-blooded reptile like you"—reserving all her anger for his treatment of her son.
  • In "Sherry Darlin'", we have James' half-brother who, while James was away, Sherry tried to seduce. She offered that they could run away to anywhere they wanted. But the half-brother had too much integrity and refused. Oh sure, when he tried to tell James what happened, the latter thought he was lying and hit him with a brick that left a scar. But not only does it prove the step-brother has character, it later helps Lily Rush provide evidence of Sherry's other husbands.
  • "Maternal Instincts" has its small moment. Meaning just about every moment Lily has with Sean, from her pointing out how unbelievable it is Sean is letting people who want to listen to him walk out the door, to sitting down and telling him you can't just plow through life winging it without any guidance. The latter requires Lily swallowing her pride and admitting she was once in Sean's shoes and she needed help as well.
    • And then there's the big moment: Kyle, Linda's killer, came only because he wanted her to come away and be her lover. After he murdered her, poor Sean/Bobby reached out to him in hopes he would comfort him. His response to the boy was a cold "Sorry, Bobby, gotta catch a train." Over a decade later, what exposes Kyle as the murderer? Sean/Bobby's vague recollection of those words. In the end, Karl's callousness towards someone who needed help comes back to bite him.
     Season 2 
  • In "Revenge," one of the two cases closed in the episode is that of a pedophile who had raped both his own son and the episode's other victim. As Vera files away his box, he smacks it.
  • The moment in "Best Friends" when Rose's psychotic brother finds out about Billie. First, Rose stares him down and tells him point blank that she loves Billie, knowing full well how he's going to take it. Then the brother tells Rose she has to choose between him and Billie and then orders her to get the gun from his truck so he can kill Billie. Rose appears to obey, as she leaves and retrieves the gun... to give her brother a *Click* Hello and force him to let her girlfriend go. What sells it is her cool-as-a-cucumber declaration that he is no family of hers and her direction to her girlfriend to get into the truck so they can leave. It's an especially awesome moment when you consider that Rose is a) afraid of her brother and b) by far the softer and more feminine of the two women.
    Rose: (still holding the gun on her brother) I guess this is goodbye.
  • The female victim's Famous Last Words in "Who's Your Daddy?" to the creepy construction foreman who had just shot her husband and tried to force her to orally service him: "You. Don't. Exist."
    • Even better is that she actually says it in a dismissive, distracted, annoyed manner, barely even looking at him (she's trying to tend to her husband). This creep has tried to rape her, shot her husband, and is about to kill her, and she's irritated instead of scared.
      • What makes it brilliant, it's a Call-Back to an earlier flashback, to when the female victim said the holes in her stockings and the blisters on her fingers did not exist. She not only refuses to acknowledge the foreman, but she's regarding him as little more than a blister or a hole in her stocking. In other words, she rightly insulted the foreman in just 3 words.
    • Before that, the foreman only got the wife to submit to servicing him because he had her husband at gunpoint. Even though she's still a princess in her mind, she nonetheless surrenders her pride and dignity to save her beloved husband. She barely begins when the husband makes up his mind to fight the gun out of the foreman's hand. It doesn't end well. Still, he was willing to sacrifice his own life to protect the woman who's always been a princess to him. He may have married into royalty, but the husband has the heart and soul of a brave prince.
    • Daryl Booker. His Character Development from a gruff former crackhead to Kara's father figure and Protector to (nearly) becoming her parent's avenger.
  • The ending montage of "Discretions", when the two real killers of a college girl are caught in a stake-out. If they had any doubts they'd ever be arrested, those doubts practically evaporate the second those cops show up.
  • At the end of "The Sleepover," a Sympathetic Murderer, with Scotty's supervision, has a tearful reunion with his sister in the mental hospital to which he has been committed. When their Abusive Parents (who had, among other things, forced the brother to waterboard the sister when she disobeyed them) show up, the sister quietly shakes her head and Scotty slams the door to the brother's room in their faces.
  • The scene in The Woods, where Lilly rips apart George's god complex and tells him that for all his bravado and posturing that he's god, he's still just the same frightened little boy whose mommy abandoned him to be raped by a pedophile and never loved him. While George was angry once before, this is the only time where his mask completely cracks, reducing him to a screaming lunatic begging her to shut up.
     Season 3 
  • "The Perfect Day" has the epilogue montage, where Stillman solemnly watches as the victim's late father's picture is taken down from the wall of honor. No matter what he did as a police officer, the fact that he abused his wife and children and killed one of his daughters doesn't make it all right. So it's fitting that he's punished by having his title posthumously stripped from him.
    • The scope of his posthumous punishment takes on a whole new layer when one remembers what's become of his late daughter these past years. Shortly after her death, his wife convinced their remaining daughter that her twin sister was but an imaginary friend to spare her any grief. In the present, it's rather fitting that while the daughter he murdered is remembered again, now it's his turn to be forgotten by all who knew him.
  • In "The River", Miller has Scotty to talk to a guy who has been hanging around a local playground. Scotty talks to the guy and realizes he's a pedophile. After warning him never to come back to the playground, Scott returns to find out that not only has the man returned to the playground, he's now talking to one of the kids he noticed him eyeballing earlier. Without saying a word, Scotty merely gestures to the kid, who instantly knows to get out of there. The next thing we see is Scotty beating the crap out of the guy.
  • The father in "Family".
  • Det. Jeffries in "Death Penalty: Final Appeal". First, midway through the episode, he delivers a Shut Up, Hannibal! Talk to the Fist reaction to the smug, Jerkass lawyer who railroaded an innocent man just to win the case who then is later fired from the D.A.'s office and has a ruined reputation. Also, once we see the real killer arrested by the end of the episode, he is seen roughly handling him in handcuffs. Considering that this is Jeffries we're talking about, it's so shocking, and well-deserved.
  • In "Honor", Stillman shames Ken for having impersonated Carl's identity as a Vietnam War veteran, especially when the latter had actually been suffering in a prison camp for years. Stillman spares him no harsh words about how wrong it is to lie about being a P.O.W.
     Season 4 
  • Stand Up and Holler:
    • Also, how they arrest the Alpha Bitch who had a bunch of Jerk Jocks rape the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds killer: they grab her right out of her ten-year high school reunion.
      • While she walks away with the arrested Becca, Lily glares at the Jerk Jock who raped the killer and the Manchild gym coach who allowed it. It's almost like she's wordlessly telling the two "Wipe that smile off your faces: you're next."
    • There's also this:
    Becca: You don't know how lucky you are! Do you know how many girls would die to shake your pompoms?
    Rainey (smiling calmly): Let them.
    • It's no wonder we get this bit: "My daughter is my hero."
    • When Becca gives a poor "presentation" in class, Rainey voices how inadequate the presentation was. Bonus points for being a moment of character development. Earlier, Rainey backed down when Becca told her being smart was "stupid". Here, we see Rainey stand her ground and tell her how school is supposed to be a place for learning, not earning popularity points.
      • Also in the same scene, she stands up to the teacher's bias towards pandering the popular kids. She isn't moved by his threats of detention because, as far as she knows, he's no more a teacher than he is a "joke". That day leads to him acknowledging that he needed to stop being "one of the popular kids" and start being a real teacher.
  • Scotty taking down the Big Bad in "Stalker".
  • Scotty pulling an in-universe version of Shown Their Work in Saving Sammy to make a connection with the previously-unreachable Brent Harris and solve his parents' murder.
    • In the same episode, the Head of the special needs school, who extorted Brent's parents for their money, getting arrested in the ending montage (probably for doing the same thing to other families).
  • Pretty much everything about the victim in "Fireflies," especially the fact that she's one of the only two main victims to survive the attempt on her life, and the only one of the two to do so under her own power. Also, she's in grade school.
    • Also, this same little girl was bullied earlier by a young man to hit her own best friend, and instead responds by hitting him in the nose with her lunchbox.
  • The ballet dancing Training Montage in Shuffle, Ball Change. The fact that it's done to "Heaven Helps the Man" makes it all the more amazing.
  • The end of "Sandhogs." They track down the killer, a bitter old man, in his favorite bar, where he spends his days drinking, smoking, and pining away for his youth in the '40s. The detectives strike up a friendly conversation with him about said glory days, and then Stillman drops this on him; cue Oh, Crap!:
    "Well, nothing lasts forever... except the statute of limitations on murder."
  • In "8:03", Lily and Scotty confront Madison's killer, a Smug Snake who dealt drugs in his youth. Oh he may act cool as a cucumber at first, but it doesn't last. Evidence points to him, especially since he identified the gun he purchased from Skill. But the true crowning moment of awesome comes when Scotty only threatens the killer, and the killer turns coward and promises to spill his guts.
    • Also in a similar scene, Miller brings in Toomey for interrogation. The latter tries to sweet-talk his way out, but Miller is livid and will not condone that he essentially lied to her about having nothing to do with Skill's death. This scene gets marks for Miller not playing favoritism.
    • In an earlier flashback, a rather snide teacher was giving Skill a hard time with a reading lesson and blatantly claimed he'd never make it far in life. But then, just as she says those words, Skill adeptly reads the entire sentence of the book, a sentence that accurately claims that of course he's not going to learn because she doesn't "see" him.
     Season 5 
  • At the climax of "Thrill Kill," Lilly gives an absolutely terrifying Breaking Speech to the wife of the killer and mother of the victim, pulling no punches in laying it on how much of a pathetic coward she must be to stand by the man who murdered her only child in cold blood. Best part? It works, and the wife gives up the murder weapon.
  • "Justice"
    • In penultimate flashback, one of the rape victims has her rapist at her mercy when she holds a gun to him. All his other victims are egging her on to pull the trigger. She has every right to kill somebody who should've been jailed a long time ago. But she doesn't. Why? Because she doesn't want to be the monster he is.
    • It might have been the wrong thing to do and it was probably traumatizing for him, but the young boy shot and killed the bastard who raped his sister, her friends, and several others. Better still, during their ensuing conversation, when the "victim" tries to muddy the waters and say the boy will "understand one day", the brother displays the virtue to recognize that no amount of "understanding" will ever make rape right.
    • As Vera puts away the Asshole Victim box (he was a serial date rapist finally gunned down by the younger brother of one of his victims), he sees the victim's ghost staring at him in disbelief (the cops had convinced the now grown man to claim that he acted in self-defense, thus making it a justifiable homicide, meaning that he wouldn't spend a day in jail). Vera simply sneers at him and walks off. It's satisfying poetic justice that since the victim got away with rape in life, his killer gets away with his murder.
  • "Andy in C Minor" has a small but very notable moment. What ultimately leads the detectives to Andy's killer? Vera caught of glimpse of Andy's parents signing Carlos's name. What makes this impressive is, earlier, Carlos mocked Vera's ability to sign and understand ASL. And yet, Vera was able to recognize the killer's name in ASL.
  • Shamar in "It Takes A Village". He's been starved and basically tortured for four days straight, and he still has the presence of mind to remember that he's being videotaped and leave a clue in the hopes that someone other than his killer will someday see the tape and be able to use it to find the person who hurt him. The clue he provides (the name of the videogame he was playing when he met his killer) turns out to be critical in helping the detectives put the pieces together.
  • Scotty and Vera give the murderer in "Slipping" - a vile piece of work who not only tried to drive his wife to madness to steal her work (recruiting the gullible and lovelorn housekeeper into helping him) and murdered her when she confronted him, but also allowed her daughter to spend 45 years thinking that she had driven her Mom over the edge and that she might go crazy too before wrongfully claiming the Nobel laurate that her work earned - a Massive "Reason You Suck" Speech outlining just how much of pathetic bag of garbage he really is before arresting the bastard in front of a crowd of people.
    • What ultimately gets the murderer caught? His own step-daughter's drawing, which turns out to be the evidence to how he stole his wife's work.
    • In the end, even the killer can't help but bitterly admit he may have been a good writer, but his wife (the victim) was better.
    Daniel: You still don't get it, do you?
    Scotty: Get what?
    Daniel: How good Nancy was.
  • In "Spiders", the way Spider's hide-out is busted by the detectives and a SWAT team.
    • Lily and Will trick Spider's ex-girlfriend into confessing by simply mentioning a witness saw her helping Spider kill an innocent woman, but not that it was nighttime when it happened.
  • The father in "Bad Reputation".
  • In "Ghost of my Child", Priscilla Chapin is a former drug addict who, against all odds, stayed clean for her son, even in the span of the five years she thought he was dead.
    • Another, smaller one: In the flashback, baby Max's abductors read what's sown on the pajamas his real mother made him: "MY MOMMY LOVES ME" It's as though this innocent baby were defiantly telling his abductors "Just you wait, one day, my real Mommy will find me!" And years later, she does.
    • Lily telling Max's kidnappers that his mother's name is "Priscilla" when said-kidnapper calls her "that woman". Lily may have issues with druggie moms, but she's come to see Priscilla is a cut above the rest and deserves to be addressed as Max's rightful mother.
  • The end of "The Road." Lilly refuses to take the bait when the exceedingly loathsome doer attempts to provoke her into killing him, as had happened with George Marks three years prior, and instead makes the arrest by the book. The last we see of him, he's being shoved into a tiny, cramped cell - and he just happens to be claustrophobic. For bonus points, it's discovered his most recent victim is actually still alive, and she is rescued and reunited with her fiancé, who had never stopped loving her even with the rest of the world believing she was dead.

     Season 6 
  • Nadia Kosolov, the victim in "Triple Threat," is standing on a street corner singing Tom Petty's "Free Falling" when her father shows up. When she sees him she transitions flawlessly into "Va Pensiero" from Verdi's Nabucco, a song about freedom and homesickness, then switches back to "Free Falling". Doubles as Awesome Music.
    • What makes this moment even more awesome is that in an earlier scene, Nadia's teacher critiqued her singing because it was all (admittedly excellent) technique and no feeling, and it's suggested that this is how she's sung opera all her life and how her father has instructed her to sing. When she sings "Va Pensiero" with real feeling behind it, it's so incredible that even her father, who presumably spent years teaching her not to do exactly that, is awed.
  • In "Into The Blue," Lilly figures out the case in a hallucination. Mind Screw it may be, but it's also a serious testament to her deductive skill.
  • The kids beating up the bullies in "One Small Step" especially since they were completely insane.
    • Later jumping in to save his killer.
    • In the present, Vera giving the suspect a scathing tirade about how they blindly cover for the killer, like a sheep following the herd. It works, and the suspect finally caves about what happened, lending the detectives the missing piece to solving their investigation.
     Season 7 
  • Vera and Miller's tag team operation to sneak the deputy commissioner's gun out of his desk in "Shattered".
  • Lilly and Scotty pull some awesome Rules Lawyering in "Dead Heat" to arrest the evil racetrack owner who had thought he'd beaten the rap for insurance fraud for thirty years.
  • Scotty visiting his mother's rapist in prison and hugging him as if they're friends, in full view of dozens of prisoners, with his badge visible, thus making the other prisoners think he's a snitch, effectively marking him for death. Indeed, by the episode's closing montage, we see that the man's been stabbed to death in the shower. Even better, the next shot is of Scotty and his parents happily enjoying dinner, indicating that she's recovered from her ordeal.
  • Several victims get pretty awesome last stands against their killers. Examples include "Family 8108," "Devil Music," and "Strange Fruit."
  • The victim of the week often gets one of these in the trailer, or at some point in the episode, just before they turn up dead. Sadly, this is sometimes the very reason they end up dead. (ex: the victim in "Blood On The Tracks" who wanted to confess to a crime committed years ago, but was murdered to ensure his silence, the reporter in "Breaking News" who was about to blow the lid off a scandal, etc.)
  • The victims in "Witness Protection," "Cargo," and "Chinatown" all get posthumous CMOAs for essentially the same reason, in that although they're killed in the process they manage to leave behind clues that ultimately lead to the arrests of seemingly-untouchable crime kingpins.
  • Meta example: The fact the series, for the most part, did an incredibly well job with casting actors that strongly resembled one another from the past/present. Perhaps the best example is the younger Lt. John Stillman, portrayed by Anthony John Crane, looking eerily similar to the older, present-day Stillman, portrayed by John Finn, which you'll notice if you watch his older work, such as the first season episode of Law & Order "Poison Ivy", where he also played a cop (albeit a dirty and racist one, unlike the decent, By-the-Book Cop he portrays here.)
    • There's also the equally excellent job at recreating the numerous eras that the show would flashback to—hair, clothes, etc., as well as using filming styles common to that era—film, home video, cell phone video.
  • In some cases, seeing justice be served to the criminals who have long evaded justice.

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