Cold Case (2003–2010)
8 user

The Key 

The team reopens a case from the 1970's in which a timid housewife and schoolteacher was murdered. They soon learn that she was going through a rebellion at the time and attending sexy key parties, much to her daughter's horror.


David Barrett


Meredith Stiehm (created by), Jennifer Johnson




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kathryn Morris ... Lilly Rush
Danny Pino ... Scotty Valens
John Finn ... John Stillman
Jeremy Ratchford ... Nick Vera
Thom Barry ... Will Jeffries
Tracie Thoms ... Kat Miller
Nestor Carbonell ... Mike Valens
Tay Blessey ... Helen Bradley (1979)
Ben Bode ... Jed Huxley (2006)
Allison Dunbar ... Alison Huxley (1979)
Matthew Glave ... Carl Bradley (1979)
Jay Huguley ... Joe Livingston (1979)
Ele Keats ... Helen Bradley (2006)
George Newbern ... Bill Huxley (1979)
Robert Pine ... Carl Bradley (2006)


The team reopens a 1979 murder of a schoolteacher when new evidence, including a key-chain belonging to a man with whom the victim had been having an affair, turns up in the wooded area where the body was found. The investigation soon discovers that the relationship was not kept a secret from anyone, including both of the spouses and their children. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

5 November 2006 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The detectives state that a total solar eclipse happened on the day of the murder, February 26, 1979. This is true, but in Pennsylvania, it was only a partial solar eclipse, not total, as depicted in the show. (The path of totality was farther North.) See more »


Written by Dennis DeYoung
Performed by Styx
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User Reviews

The adventures, disillusionment, and aftermath of the 70s
17 September 2011 | by sttrhmSee all my reviews

In its episodes, Cold Case frequently presents a historical survey of selected time periods....the issues, trends, consequences and resulting aftermath that led to the next time periods' reactive changes in response...and is seen through the life philosophies of those who lived in that this episode we have the Swinging ' one who was a young person then and in the 80's that followed, I have to say that the portrayal was quite accurate in many ways....

...Swinging burst on the scene sounding like a heck of a lot of fun at the time...a way to be freer as an individual and not tied down by rules of the it is portrayed as a response by men to the women's liberation movement of the '60s...and there was some truth to that(BTW I'm a man writing this)...however it didn't take long before some reactive consequences reared up...the children were the first to show how uncomfortable, bewildered, and eventually contemptuous they were about actions of their elders which destabilized their families...then the swinger participants themselves realized how a lack of expectations led to a lack of the security, comfort, and stability in their lives which after all things considered they really couldn't do without....and then finally some couldn't handle the emotionally crushing psychological devastation that because she was too naive to know what had really been happening around her and the other because he was too young and too full of adolescent libido to really process what an older, more experienced person would have realized was a reactionary flirtation, not a demonstration of genuine sexual interest....

....yet just like the 70s, the aftermath led to some favorable changes in one's awareness....our once repressed schoolteacher finally comes to realize that she had spent her whole life following others' footsteps and that true self actualization was realized not by holding on to someone else but within her own self, and she had to do this on her own. This reflected the change in thinking that occurred from the 70s to the 90s with many people in the USA.

As in previous episodes, the music really set the stage....again here I would have used a different song for the end, however..."Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac would have been a better choice although it was already the closing song for another episode (Fireflies)...another good choice would be "Songbird" again by Fleetwood Mac (a band which made a career of making record-selling albums dealing with individual instability from failed relationships)....Or for a really unique music application, try "Winter" by the Rolling Stones....a little known track off the otherwise mediocre "Goat's Head Soup" album of 1973... a song which takes a wistful look back at the mixed results of the past and a dimly hopeful wish for the future...

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