When a note connected to a supposed suicide is found, the team re-opens the 1994 case of a high-school kid who fell from the roof of the school building after having served detention. In 1994 the death was deemed a suicide, but the newly-found note indicates that the victim might have been fearing for his life.
The year is 1994, the year teen idol Kurt Cobain died of an apparent suicide and left a generation in mourning. It's also the year Trevor Dawson, 16 years old, jumped from the roof of his high-school. Near the body was a note saying this was not his parents' fault and that he loved them and didn't regret anything.
Fast-forward 12 years when the first half of that suicide note is found in which Trevor said he was in danger. A look back over the investigation revealed that, the day of his death, Trevor had been in detention with three other students: Raquel Montero, Boris Litvack and Dawn Hill, and that the time of death had been a few minutes before the end of detention, around 6 p.m..
The tape of the detention room that had been submitted as evidence 12 years ago clearly shows the students sitting quietly, minding their own business -- that is until Dawn reveals that the teacher had sent Trevor to sit in the far corner of the class. Looking over the tape with an audio-visual specialist, they realize that what had always been considered as an alibi for all 3 teens was in fact a very clever cover-up, where each student stood quietly while Boris, the tech whiz of the foursome created a loop of the videotape. With the focus now being on murder rather than suicide, the team searches for answers, uncovering deep dark secrets they never would have guessed.
As it turns out, Travis, Boris and Raquel had made a suicide pact in the winter and had actually inscribed it in the form of a concealed poem in their yearbook, so they would not be tempted to back out. But, things changed when Trevor fell for Dawn Hill, a pretty girl with a bright future in front of her and a rich step-dad to boot. But the same step-dad was also drinking heavily and abusing her night after night... That's when the suicide pact changed to a murder pact, where the teens would murder Dawn's step-dad Philip. Dawn was to stand back so nothing could link her to the crime, while the 3 others shot Philip. But Raquel chickened out faking an asthma attack, leaving Trevor and Boris to meet with Philip.
Everything was going according to plan until Trevor realized just how crazy what they were doing was and called a halt to it. He told Philip that he was in love with Dawn and would take her away from Phil so he could never hurt her again. He left with Boris and headed back to school. Once there, Boris told Trevor that they had to do it, they had to act on their pact because he had to leave his life. Trevor tried reasoning with him, saying he wanted to live in the here and now, he wanted love, life, someone to share it with. But Boris was adamant that if something were to happen to him, his mother would not even care.
As he started backing up to the edge of the roof, Trevor went after him, trying to stop him, and in the battle then ensued, Boris accidentally pushed him off the roof to his death. Boris confessed and it is ruled involuntary manslaughter while Phillip is also arrested for abusing Dawn. Dawn sets up a memorial to Trevor at the school with Trevor's parents and Raquel watching.
1994. This was the year Kurt Cobain died. The year Trevor Dawson saved his best friend's life and lost his.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Tracie Thoms as Kat Miller
- Michael Weaver as Boris Litvak (2006)
- Kristen Ariza as Dawn Hill (2006)
- Nicole Dalton as Raquel Montero (2006)
- Meagen Fay as Julie Dawson (1994/2006)
- Joe O'Connor as Chuck Dawson (1994/2006)
- Jake Richardson as Trevor Dawson
- Shannon Woodward as Raquel Montero (1994)
- Oddly enough, despite numerous references to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, no Nirvana songs are heard throughout the episode. The fifth season episode Thrill Kill, also set in 1994, would later feature an all-Nirvana soundtrack.
- Reportedly, the working title of the episode was "All Apologies", the name of a Nirvana song.
- The reason for the working title was because the episode was originally going to open with 'Smells like Teen Spirit', and end with 'All Apologies', in reference to how much the characters liked Nirvana and Cobain. However, the production team couldn't get permission to use the songs, so they had to change the episode title. Eventually, the label/rights holders changed their minds, leading to Thrill Kill.
- The closing song is "Landslide", originally by Fleetwood Mac, but covered here by the Smashing Pumpkins. The original Fleetwood Mac version would later be featured as the closing song for the fourth season episode Fireflies.
- During the closing song montage, Lilly returns Trevor's box to the files; the word 'homicide' written on the box has been crossed out, and replaced by 'accident'.
- This episode is loosely inspired by The Breakfast Club.