Cold Case: Season 1, Episode 13

The Letter (25 Jan. 2004)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 132 users  
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A 25-year-old woman was found raped and suffocated in a boarding house for "colored women" in 1939. Written off as a prostitute murdered by a john, Sadie's death made her daughter ashamed ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sadie Douglas
Lou Beatty Jr. ...
Frankie (2004)
Lillian Lehman ...
Sarah Tucker
Frankie (2004)


A 25-year-old woman was found raped and suffocated in a boarding house for "colored women" in 1939. Written off as a prostitute murdered by a john, Sadie's death made her daughter ashamed of her heritage. After her mother's death, the granddaughter asks Detective Rush to find the truth. Few contemporaries survive, and the crucial DNA evidence must be obtained from Sadie's exhumed body's fingernails. Written by jeaneva

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Release Date:

25 January 2004 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sadie Douglas was raped and murdered on August 11, 1939. See more »


The "5th Man" racist group was referenced as a Biblical parallel to the Day Man was created - Genesis tells us that Man was created on the 6th Day (see Genesis 1: 24-31). See more »


Stars Fell On Alabama
Music by Frank Perkins and lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
See more »

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User Reviews

A Time We Regret
2 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An intriguing idea: solve a case from 1939 that has been written off as a "colored" prostitute being killed by a john. Liitle had been done to find the perpetrator. When the granddaughter asks Detective Lilly Rush to help her discover the facts (and perhaps clear the stigma she and her deceased mother have felt), the search is on.

Old employment records, pictures, news stories, diaries, and letters and notes treasured for all those years provide Rush and her team with intriguing clues, but the final conclusive evidence must come from the victim herself: fingernail scrapings from her exhumed body provide DNA which leads to the culprit, still haunted by the event after all those years.

I despise ignorance! Racism, of course, is ignorance personified, but how could anyone writing this script approve the hate group's being called "The Fifth Day" and say it was the day Genesis tells of man's creation?! That was the SIXTH day!!! Animals AND man.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, the poignant look back at a time when people were not able to look past the color of a person's skin to the content of their character. I especially was touched by the two love stories that unfolded as the story progressed: one tragic and one enduring.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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