Cold Case: Season 3, Episode 19

Beautiful Little Fool (9 Apr. 2006)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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It was 1929 and vivacious, plucky Violet Polley was a promising singer and songwriter attempting to support herself. She draws the attention of affluent Nick Bartleby. Initially scoffing ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Carmela La Fleur
Nick Spano ...
Mickey Stein Sr / Mickey Stein Jr (as Michael Clayton McCarthy)
Aimee Goodman
Ginger Swensen - 1928-1929


It was 1929 and vivacious, plucky Violet Polley was a promising singer and songwriter attempting to support herself. She draws the attention of affluent Nick Bartleby. Initially scoffing his attentions, his charm wins her over. The difficulty of the depression and its affect on his family's wealth had him overwhelmed. When Violet Polley shows up with the baby carriage of little Rose, their love child, at the family mansion requesting assistance or marriage. She and baby were cruelly rebuffed by him. Violet is bludgeoned to death within minutes outside the Bartleby's mansion and hidden in the bushes. No one was prosecuted. Also there at that time was a pretty theatrical lover of Nick's who had come around to being more cordial to Violet. Hearing the baby Rose's cries she rushed outside, seeing no one, snatched her and raised her. Written by

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Release Date:

9 April 2006 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Due to the age of the case, the team doesn't have many first-hand witnesses to question. Most of the flashback scenes are told through a diary, written and recorded interviews, and a song. See more »


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User Reviews

Singing the blues
16 February 2010 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This story goes back to 1929. A young aspiring song writer, Violet Polley, arrives in Philadelphia following her almost impossible dream. Women didn't have it so easy during those years as far as getting ahead in such a career. Her roots are set in a poor part of the country where the blues are popular. Violet, a pretty girl, finds a friend in Ginger Swenson, a party girl who she happens to meet in her boarding house. Through her new friend, Violet gets to meet a lot of society types including Nick Bartleby, a playboy attracted to the young woman. Their relationship will have fatal consequences for Violet.

The great-granddaughter of Violet, Aimee, comes to the Cold Case unit to see if she can find out more about the death in 1929 of her ancestor. She only has a few clues to go by. Knowing it will be a difficult task, the detectives begin delving into the past. They get lucky when they find Daniel Spyczyk, the owner of a shipping company. As it turns out, his grandfather, Felix, was employed by Bartleby.

Lilly's mother Ellen appears one day. She has decided to get married again. Her new man, Ray, wants to meet Lilly, something she is reluctant to do because after three previous trips to the altar and an alcohol addiction, this new union doesn't augur a happy ending. Lilly and Ellen collide in almost everything, so the young detective wants to stay out of that picture.

The key to unlocking the secret about Violet's death is found in a diary at the now historic place that was a young women's boarding house and has kept some of its former guests' diaries. Violet's lead to Nick and her pregnancy. She had the child, unknown to Nick. Muriel Bartleby, who still lives and was a young girl at the time of Violet's murder provides some evidence that send the detectives back to Spyczyk, who has some tapes made by his grandfather where the truth about the murder is revealed.

An interesting episode this new chapter turned out to be. Directed by Kevin Bray and written by Liz Garcia, both frequent collaborators of the program, the show proves why it is always so satisfying. Of course, we are asked to make concessions since the events around the murder are more than seventy years old and it's a stretch of the imagination, let alone the plausibility of resolving such an old case. Kathryn Morris has some good moments opposite Meredith Baxter. The guests stars do good work for Mr. Bray.

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