Cold Case…Oh How I Hate You


So I’m watching an episode of Cold Case yesterday (okay, fine, three episodes) and I realize I really hate this show, yet cannot tear myself away. Damn you Cold Case, and damn you TNT for running them back to back so cleverly that I only have approximately six seconds to turn off the television before being drawn into a new crime.

Cold Case has all the train wreak-y elements that Law & Order has that makes it impossible to turn off: A violent crime in the first few minutes?  Check.  An interesting and immediate twist of events?  Check.  A red herring?  Check.  An attractive and “intelligent” cast set to solve the crime?  Check.  But there are some things that Law & Order has, or rather doesn’t have that allow me to hate myself slightly less in the morning after being drawn into an episode (or twelve).

Cold Case has these elements in spades, and I end up hating myself for watching it not only in the morning, but also WHILE I’m watching, which is just not good for anyone.  What are these things you may ask?  Don’t worry, I’ve laid them out for you below:

1. Cheesy Music.  The music is off the charts cheesy and obvious.  I know it’s often put there to mark a point in time – old hippie 60’s music?  Our cold case must take place in the 60’s!  But it’s WAY overused, and also so obvious as to cause multiple eye rolls per scene.  Here’s a hint – unless you’re playing it for comedy, you don’t have a music cue for say, “Brickhouse” when a hot chick enters a room.  Subtlety is not a word these people are familiar with.

2.  Heartstrings & Happy Endings. Law & Order sometimes has happy endings and/or eye-rollingly obvious attempts at cheese, but it’s not the standard.  You cannot find an episode of Cold Case without these things.  What should be a straight intelligent procedural instead becomes a “heartfelt drama” about reuniting people or whatever.  It’s annoying.  Be a procedural, or be a lifetime movie of the week.  Pick one.

3.  Personal Details about the Recurring CastLaw & Order (the flagship version) is really good about keeping the personal stuff for the detectives and lawyers basically non-existent, and it’s the reason it’s the best of all the L&O versions.  SVU is REALLY bad at it, and Criminal Intent is also bad at it, but it seems more forgivable if only because D’Onofrio is such a talent.  Regardless it’s a mistake.  SVU becomes all about Olivia’s personal feelings about rape or about Elliot’s feelings about child abuse.  Guess what – they don’t like them.  Whoo!  Surprise!  Are you surprised that detectives that have kids and a mother that was raped have really really personal feelings about these issues?  No, no you probably weren’t, because it is super obvious and talks down to the viewer.  Also, in the billions of episodes I’ve seen of SVU (yes, it feels like billions) I’ve never seen them effectively delve into the detectives’ actual feelings about these issues beyond the basic “this makes me really really mad!” concept.

Cold Case skates the line on this issue of adding personal details in the most annoying of ways.  They don’t come out and say anything obvious about these characters lives, but in the one of the episodes I watched yesterday (hopefully my last ever) they dropped at least six (SIX!) hints about blondie’s past experience dealing with addicts and her subsequent abandonment issues.  Hello!  We get it – her mother or father or whoever was an addict – she doesn’t trust addicts.  She has DRAMA about addicts.  Move the freak on and solve the god damn case.

So here’s what Cold Case does have going for them:  BOBBY CANNAVALE.  I would watch paint dry if there was even a hint of a suggestion of Bobby Cannavale making a brief apperance.  Especially if he’s going to be all rakishly handsome (as usual) and all funny and full of life but with a slightly shady past…which he is on Cold Case.

So there, now you really know why I watched three freaking old episodes of Cold Case on TNT last night.  Never again though, never again.  Let’s conveniently ignore the fact that Cannavale’s on a new show CUPID soon on ABC – which allows me to be a little more confident in my “never again” declarations in that I can get my Cannavale fix elsewhere.

SIDENOTE:  I’m officially adding Bobby Cannavale to my “list” (top 5)…which I’ll be laminating shortly.  Clive Owen, Bobby Cannavale, and man, I can just never decide between Brad Pitt and George Clooney…


  1. Brooke’s avatar

    ummmm, i thought i was the most obsessed L&O junkie out there – i think i may still be – watch all of them all of the time – 12 hour marathon? no problem – i’ve already seen them all anyway – chris noth still my favorite – as for cold case – evan refers to this show as the music video – watched it when it was on at 8 on sun but since they changed the time i can’t get with the program – i could go on forever about L&O – best thing is that i worked on mariska’s house when i worked for lynda and i have to say i can still watch the show – she’s actually a really cool person so the show has not been ruined by some crappy person that i happened to meet.

  2. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Yeah, you’re not alone. If you were alone TNT wouldn’t run episodes back to back constantly all day and night and have frequent “marathons” in addition to that. And now Criminal Intent runs on Bravo all the time, and I think USA still does too…the shit is EVERYWHERE.

    I’m okay on Chris Noth, he’s cute, but always seems like such a flat foot stereotype of a detective (it’s probably not wildly inaccurate, but he’s not my fav). I’m kind of partial to the Ed Green (Jesse Martin) episodes and I haven’t seen much of him yet but Jeremy Sisto seems interesting. Vincent D’Onofrio and Criminal Intent would be my favorite, but every single episode ends with him outwitting the villain in the last few minutes and forcing a confession. This ruins the show for me everytime, so I’ve tried to stop watching it.

    You know what’s really funny about my continued watching of L&O? I HATE Sam Waterson…well, Sam Waterson actually I’m medium on, but I HATE his character on L&O – Jack McCoy. He’s always so high and mighty when someone breaks the rules, but then the second he gets all riled up about something it’s rules be damned. Annoys the crap out of me. That said, the new guy lawyer that they have on newer episodes (playing the old Sam Waterson DA role I guess?) sucks. Not a fan.

    What about the female ADA’s that change out every couple years – I’ve got real love/hate for some of those women. I liked Elisabeth Rohm best, Angie Harmon was good back in the day and Jill Hennesey was okay, but man did I hate ADA Borgia played by Annie Parisse. Someone else must have hated her too, because she just had the WORST hair and make up ever. And then she got like super brutally killed off. Someone was living inside my mind on that one.

    Also, for some reason nobody ever knows this but me, but since you’ve seen all the episodes maybe you know it too and we can complain together: ADA Borgia (Parisse) and ADA Novak (Diane Neal) on SVU were both “criminals” on past episodes before they were cast as ADA’s. I think Parisse played an escort/someone’s mistress and Neal I remember clearly was a female rapist – one of a gang of three women rapists. So tacky. I know that every New York actor/actress in the world shows up on the L&O shows, but I’m pretty sure there are enough actresses in the world that they can find a competent one without pulling from their criminal pool. Lame.

    It’s great that Mariska was cool. I hate it when I like someone on TV/Film/Etc. and then they turn out to be a dick in real life.

    Okay, I have to go now, because it’s embarrassing to write such an epic comment on my own post. Oh, and just because I know you’re thinking it Brooke…”I KNOW IT’S NOT REAL…”

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